Technology

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8: What It Needs to Win

Next week, Samsung executives will take the stage at a press event in New York to unveil the next generation of the Korean company’s supersize Note smartphone. This isn’t gonna be just any old product launch; a lot is riding on this particular phone. Samsung almost had a winner on its hands with the Note 7, a feature-packed phone that dazzled critics —  until it turned into a literal garbage fire. Now, Samsung seeks to recapture the pre-recall magic with the Note 8.

Concept Credit: Benjamin GeskinSamsung faces two hurdles with this launch. First, the infamous recall has made the Note a punchline, and the company needs to turn that around by executing its next Note perfectly. The second challenge is timing: The Galaxy Note 8 is heading to market just weeks before Apple takes the wraps off its 10th anniversary iPhone, and the buzz surrounding that device is already deafening.

So what can Samsung do to take on Apple and prove to the world that the Galaxy Note 8 is a must-have? We have some ideas.

Be flawless

Samsung has mostly recovered from the dragging its reputation took last year. The company apologized for the Note 7 debacle and hired independent investigators to figure out why the batteries were exploding. The company then committed to more stringent standards to prevent future disasters, including an eight-point battery safety check for every phone. Though people still joke about the Note 7, no one expects Samsung’s future devices to catch fire, especially after the Galaxy S8‘s smooth launch earlier this year.

Only time will tell if there are any huge issues with the Note 8.

“If Samsung stays core to quality, to great execution and delivery of this product, I think they can definitely go head-to-head with the new iPhone,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, who analyzes the personal technology industry.

Credit: Evan Blass/TwitterCredit: Evan Blass/TwitterOnly time will tell if there are any huge issues with the Note 8. But in addition to delivering a flawless phone, Samsung needs to innovate. The Note lineup is where the company tends to level up with cutting-edge features. The S8 incorporated some of the Note 7’s technology, like the iris scanner, and now the Note 8 needs to push it forward.

“Last year, the [Note] 7 really raised the bar as far as what the Note represented as a phone,” said Carolina Milanesi, principal analyst for market research firm Creative Strategies. “It was all about the bigger screen, and then the [S] Pen was really a differentiator. Last year, we saw that this was a broader device, and it became the flagship product for Samsung. It was a shame that … they ended up recalling the phone and not actually taking advantage of the broader appeal of the device. This year, that’s what they need to build on and make the device a more all-around flagship product.”

Sell the story

The Note 8’s long-rumored dual-lens camera would be one example of innovation — sort of. Samsung wouldn’t be the first smartphone-maker to incorporate two rear lenses. The Note 8 wouldn’t even be the first Android phone to include a dual-lens system, and that technology is already surfacing in budget Android phones such as ZTE’s $130 Blade Z Max.

According to a new SurveyMonkey study of 1,000 smartphone owners, 45 percent of people who currently own a Samsung device said they would think about buying a Note 8.

So Samsung needs to be clear about how the Note 8’s camera will make a difference. Apple used the iPhone 7 Plus’ dual-lens camera with portrait mode to convince people they needed a larger, more expensive phone, Milanesi said. Samsung could do the same.

Bixby on a Galaxy S8. Credit: SamsungBixby on a Galaxy S8. Credit: SamsungSamsung also needs to improve its personal assistant, Bixby, which stuttered at launch and has failed to impress. Cozza said Samsung needs “to build experiences around their devices” and “articulate the value” of what it’s offering. The company obviously knows how to cram every hot new feature into its flagship devices, but illustrating scenarios in which those features would be useful for the average consumer and marketing the hell out of them? Not so much.

Appeal to fans

Because of itssize, price and stylus integration, the Note 8 will be a niche device, analysts say. As such, Samsung’s core market for the device is its existing fans and people looking for a larger premium Android phone. The Note 8 is rumored to have a 6.3-inch display.

According to a new SurveyMonkey study of 1,000 smartphone owners, 45 percent of people who currently own a Samsung device said they would think about buying a Note 8. Even people who bought the Note 7 — who might be expected to feel burned by the company (literally or figuratively) — are willing to give the company another chance, as 80 percent still consider the company reliable.

Galaxy Note 7. Credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom’s GuideBut the Note isn’t a “churner device,” Milanesi said. In other words, it’s not  a phone that could convince people to switch operating systems — especially not with the iPhone 8 around the corner.

“It’s still going to be hard for Samsung to win over iPhone users,” she said. “There are still a lot of jokes about explosions and how hot they [Note 7 phones] get. The Apple core base take advantage quite glibly of instances that Apple competitors are faced with. I see this as more of an opportunity … to put more pressure on [Google’s upcoming second-gen] Pixel to come out and raise the bar.”

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones offer what most consider a purer version of Android, as close to stock as you can get, but they’re close to a year old and lack many of the hardware and software features Samsung has added to its phones over the last 18 months. Samsung might not appeal to iPhone users or Android purists with the Galaxy Note 8, but the company could win in other ways by redeeming its Note brand and moving the smartphone industry forward. Your move, Google.

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US DIGITAL RIGHTS GROUP SLAMS TECH FIRMS FOR BARRING NEO-NAZIS

 

SAN FRANCISCO – A digital rights group based in San Francisco criticized several internet companies Thursday for removing neo-Nazi groups from servers and services, saying the actions threatened free expression online.

GoDaddy Inc, Alphabet’s Google, security firm Cloudflare and other technology companies moved this week to block hate groups after weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalists had gathered to protest removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park.

“We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous,” Cindy Cohn, executive director of Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote in a blog post along with two other staffers.

The blog post reflected years-long tension in Silicon Valley, where many company executives want to distance themselves from extremists but are concerned that picking and choosing what is acceptable on their platforms could invite more regulation from governments.

“Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected,” Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote.

“We do it because the power to decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t is just too dangerous to hand to any company or any government.”

The group called on companies that manage internet domain names, including Google and GoDaddy, to “draw a hard line” and not suspend or impair domain names “based on expressive content of websites or services.”

The blog post echoed concerns expressed by Cloudflare chief executive Matthew Prince, who on Wendnesday said he decided to drop coverage of neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer but said that his decision was conflicted.

Prince told Reuters he “wholeheartedly agreed” with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s post and said he was hopeful it would help spark a more thoughtful debate about internet regulation.

Google, GoDaddy and Cloudflare did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the blog made outside normal business hours.

On Wednesday, Cloudflare Chief Executive Matthew Prince said his decision to drop coverage of neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer had been conflicted. The Daily Stormer helped organize the protest in Charlottesville, at which a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a vehicle drove into counter-protesters. The website cheered the woman’s death.

It was removed from GoDaddy and Google Domains after they said they would not serve the website.

New GM Crops Use RNA Interference Technology for Mass Sterilization

http://www.renegadetribune.com/new-gm-crops-use-rna-interference-technology-mass-sterilization/

 

By Christina Sarich

Gene silencing raised some eyebrows when it was first touted just over a year ago, as the next “miracle” gene alteration technology. It was developed with the ability to make “precise” insertions and deletions into a plant’s genome. This new technology has been developed to utilize RNA interference to block protein translation in a gene. It doesn’t sound so ubiquitously perilous until you realize that the specific target is an insect’s reproductive ability.

The technology, called RNAi for short, has been touted as a “therapy,” ideologically promoted as a mechanism to silence unwanted genes that can cause cancer and other diseases. This mechanistic scientific viewpoint is a common feature of reductionist views which see the human being, and all of nature as a machine which can be tampered with, without ever affecting its constituent, interrelated parts.

he true intention for the use of this technology seems to be quite different, though.

Genetic researchers are now weaponizing plants by engineering them to have specific RNA fragments that shut down a target gene sequence that allows insects to reproduce. All the insect has to do is eat the plant, and they are rendered sterile.

Sterilizing the insects may seem harmless until you realize that we are destined to eat those plants too, with the very same RNA insertions that block reproductive success.

Plants just like people, can “turn off” one or more of their genes by using a process called RNA interference to block protein translation. On the surface, the technology was meant to sexually castrate beetles, moths, worms, and other pests, the technology will also render beneficial insects sterile, and the implications are that they could cause mass sterilization of the human population as well.

This tactic is not outside the realm of previous genetic modifications, anyhow. To wit:

  • Genetically modified soy has been linked to the sterility of hamsters.
  • Drs. A. Velimirov, C. Binter, and University Prof. Dr. J. Zentek released results of a long term reproductive study on GMO fed mice. They examined the effects of a GMO corn crop on 4 generations of mice, and found that the reproductive viability of each generation fed GMOs worsened. There was a steady decline in the mice litter size over time.
  • GMOS have caused animal miscarriages in sheep, cows, pigs and other farm animals.
  • In humans, it is likely that GMOS cause significant changes in endocrine metabolism, and cause endometriosis, which leads to more miscarriages and birth defects.
  • Gender bending chemicals used heavily in GMO crops are also associated with reduced fertility.

As the evidence that chemical pesticides and herbicides used with GM crops causes major endocrine and reproductive damage, it seems the geneticists are bent on finding another way to sterilize the masses. As usual with this industry, there is little oversight and long-term testing to prove that RNA interference won’t cause long-term damage to the genetic building blocks of humans – or is that the entire point?

To understand more about how RNAi works, you can watch the following video (caution, the process is depicted as purely beneficial, without discussing any of the problems that can occur with RNAi, such as secondary gene silencing or multi-generational effects due to epigenetics, and methylate group/protein expression.)


About the Author

Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet, and her insights also appear in magazines as diverse as Weston A. PriceNexusAtlantis Rising, and the Cuyamungue Institute, among others. She was recently a featured author in the Journal, “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and Healing Arts,” and her commentary on healing, ascension, and human potential inform a large body of the alternative news lexicon. She has been invited to appear on numerous radio shows, including Health Conspiracy Radio, Dr. Gregory Smith’s Show, and dozens more. The second edition of her book, Pharma Sutra, will be released soon.

This article (New GM Crops Use RNA Interference Technology for Mass Sterilization) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.

Microsoft’s biggest Xbox One X launch title is delayed until 2018

Crackdown 3, the long-awaited open-world action game that was set to be released alongside the Xbox One X on November 7th, has been delayed until spring of next year. The decision leaves Microsoft without a major Xbox-exclusive title launching day-and-date with its turbo-charged 4K-capable console. Crackdown 3 was first announced more than three years ago at E3 2014.

“We’re very excited about Crackdown 3, and so are many fans, and so it’s a difficult call to move the release date,” Microsoft Studios Publishing general manager Shannon Loftis tellsPolygon. “However, we want to make sure to deliver the right game, with the right quality, and at the right time.” Part of the extra time will be spent to improve the game’s “visual polish,” Loftis says.

The original Crackdown is one of my very favorite games of all time — it’s an expansive shooter with a unique sense of freedom fueled by an addictive mechanic where finding one of hundreds of orbs around the city gives you a very slight mobility boost, letting you access harder to reach orbs, and so on. Crackdown 2 was pretty much the same thing but was ruined by the inexplicable addition of zombies. Crackdown 3 does not have zombies, as far as I know, which makes it by far my most anticipated Xbox game right now.

It’s always disappointing to move a date. We are very committed to shipping @Crackdown 3 to the level of quality the fans deserve.

Describing the Xbox One X launch slate as “one of the greatest lineups of games ever available with a major new console release,” Loftis points to “several new Xbox exclusives such as Forza Motorsport 7CupheadSuper Lucky’s Tale, and the console launch exclusive PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.” But Forza 7 is out in October, Cuphead is out in September, and PUBG doesn’t have a console release date. Super Lucky’s Tale is actually coming out on November 7th, but it’s a VR-less port of an unspectacular platformer previously bundled with the Oculus Rift.

This means that if you pick up an Xbox One X on launch day, you’re likely going to be playing spot-the-4K-difference with a bunch of games that have already been released and hopefully updated to work with the more powerful system. Which is probably fine for the hardcore enthusiasts likely to pick the console up on day one, but it’s going to make for a considerably less exciting initial experience for everyone else.

Still, if you do want to pick one up at launch, Xbox chief Phil Spencer indicated on Twitterthat information on preorders is coming tomorrow. And at next week’s big Gamescom trade show in Cologne, Germany, Spencer says the Xbox showing will be “different from what fans expect but I’m excited.”

Galaxy Note 8 teaser suggests it’s just a larger S8 with a stylus

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/8/15/16148178/samsung-galaxy-note-8-video-teaser

 

With just over a week to go before the Galaxy Note 8 is officially unveiled, Samsung has issued an upbeat teaser video for its next Android smartphone. As most predictions and leaks of the Note 8 have suggested, this teaser points to a device that’s just a scaled-up variant of the successful Galaxy S8 from earlier this year. Given how much we liked the S8 and S8 Plus, which are our current top picks for best smartphone to buy, that’s no bad thing. Samsung will also, understandably, be feeling rather more cautious with the Note 8 than it was with the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 of last year.

Accompanied by the tagline of “a powerful device to do bigger things,” the Note 8 will likely serve as the Galaxy S8 Plus Plus (or should that be Pro Plus? Plus Pro?) and differentiate itself a little bit with the included S Pen stylus.

Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event for the Galaxy Note 8 is scheduled for August 23rd.

In China, Facebook Tests the Waters With a Stealth App

SHANGHAI — Facebook and many of its apps have been blocked in Chinafor years. To change that, Mark Zuckerberg has made a big point of meetingwith Chinese politicians, reading stodgy Communist Party propaganda, studying Mandarin and — perhaps more daunting — speaking it in public.

Now the social network is trying a different way into China: by authorizing the release of a new app there that does not carry the Facebook name.

Facebook approved the May debut of a photo-sharing app, called Colorful Balloons, in China, according to a person with knowledge of the company’s plans, who declined to be named because the information is politically sensitive. The app, which has not previously been reported, shares the look, function and feel of Facebook’s Moments app. It was released through a separate local company and without any hint that the social network is affiliated with it.

The stealthy and anonymous release of an app by a major foreign technology company in China is unprecedented. It shows the desperation — and frustration — of global tech companies as they try to break into the world’s largest online market. It also underscores the lengths they are willing to go, and their increasing acceptance of the idea that standards for operating in China are different from elsewhere.

China’s internet censorship has left big players like Facebook and Google on the sidelines of a major boom there. The country boasts an audience of more than 700 million internet users who buy $750 billion of stuff online a year, but they are served by local tech companies that have developed their own way of doing business that can seem exotic to Silicon Valley.

Facebook hopes it can learn and potentially assimilate those ways. Yet the social network was banned in China in 2009, followed by its photo-sharing app Instagram in 2014, and its messaging app WhatsApp was partially blocked last month. While the company has more than two billion users around the world, Mr. Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, has often asked where its next billion users will come from.

Now Colorful Balloons gives the Silicon Valley company a way to see how Chinese users digitally share information with their friends or interact with their favorite social media platforms.

“We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways,” Facebook said in a statement.

It is unclear whether China’s various internet regulators were aware of the app’s existence. The under-the-table approach could cause Facebook new difficulties with a Chinese government that has maintained strict oversight and control over foreign tech companies.

“It’s not a mere business thing,” said Teng Bingsheng, a professor of strategic management at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. “It’s politics.”

The Cyberspace Administration of China did not respond to a faxed request for comment.

Before the release of Colorful Balloons, Facebook had taken an unusually high-profile approach to courting China.

Mark Zuckerberg meeting President Xi Jinping of China in 2015 with the country’s internet czar, Lu Wei, at the time. CreditPool photo by Ted S. Warren

Mr. Zuckerberg had paid a series of visits to the country in recent years and become something of a celebrity there. Videos of him speaking Mandarin have gone viral, as did a photo of him jogging on a dangerously smoggy daythrough Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Colorful Balloons represents the opposite approach — one that is low profile.

The app was released in China by a company called Youge Internet Technology, according to a post in Apple’s app store. It is registered to an address in eastern Beijing, yet the room number listed in company registration documents could not be found amid a series of shabby, small offices on the building’s fourth floor.

According to the documents, Youge’s executive director is a woman named Zhang Jingmei. She appeared in a photo of a recent meeting between Facebook and the Shanghai government, sitting next to Wang-Li Moser, a Facebook executive whose responsibilities include building up the company’s relationship with the Chinese government. Ms. Zhang’s presence at such a high-level meeting indicated she is likely a Facebook adviser or employee.

Facebook declined to comment on Ms. Zhang’s relationship to the company, and Ms. Zhang did not respond to phone calls requesting comment.

If Facebook did little to promote Colorful Balloons in China, it did work to tailor the app to a local audience. In the rest of the world, the company’s Moments app connects users through Facebook. Colorful Balloons instead links users through China’s biggest social network, WeChat.

The app, which is designed to collate photos from a smartphone’s photo albums and then share them, does so in China with the use of a QR code, a sort of bar code that is widely used by WeChat and other apps in the country.

While photos can be shared, Facebook appears to have taken steps to ensure the app could not spread widely. For example, people who post photos from Colorful Balloons on WeChat will see a link that lets other users download Facebook’s Chinese app. But the link does not work, meaning people have to seek out Colorful Balloons in an app store instead of grabbing it from their friends, which may limit its distribution.

The risk Facebook is taking with the new app is high. The company appears to have handed over a fully functioning product to Youge for release, and has done so without indicating in any public way that it is connected to Facebook. Coming just ahead of a key meeting of the Chinese Communist Party this autumn, the secretive release of Colorful Balloons could also undermine trust between the company and the Chinese government.

Such tactics underline the degree to which Facebook is willing to experiment and break precedent to get into China. Last year, The New York Times reported Facebook had also quietly been at work on a censorship toolthat could be used on a version of the social network in a place like China, where the government demands control over what is shared. The tool could suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas.

China’s former internet czar, Lu Wei, once visited Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters. CreditChina Network

Yet even if Facebook is able to use Colorful Balloons to keep up with the Chinese market, a recent intense internet crackdown in China suggests the political winds may not soon blow in favor of the company further entering the country.

Mr. Zuckerberg’s attention to China also appears to have waned. And China’s former internet czar, Lu Wei, who had visited Facebook’s offices in 2014, has been removed from his position, making things harder for the company.

“The government’s control and surveillance of media is strict, and it is almost impossible for them to open that door,” said Mr. Teng, the Cheung Kong professor. “Although Mark Zuckerberg has visited China many times and practiced his Chinese very hard, I don’t foresee any major breakthroughs for Facebook.”

China uses a quantum satellite to transmit potentially unhackable data

China uses a quantum satellite to transmit potentially unhackable data

China uses a quantum satellite to transmit potentially unhackable data  19 Hours Ago | 00:38

China has demonstrated a world first by sending data over long distances using satellites which is potentially unhackable, laying the basis for next generation encryption based on so-called “quantum cryptography.

Last August, China launched a quantum satellite into space, a move which was called a “notable advance” by the Pentagon.

Using this satellite, Chinese researchers at the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) project, were able to transmit secret messages from space to Earth at a further distance than ever before.

The technology is called quantum key distribution (QKD). Typical encryption relies on traditional mathematics and while for now it is more or less adequate and safe from hacking, the development of quantum computing threatens that. Quantum computing refers to a new era of faster and more powerful computers, and the theory goes that they would be able to break current levels of encryption.

That’s why China is looking to use quantum cryptography for encryption. QKD works by using photons — the particles which transmit light — to transfer data.

“QKD allows two distant users, who do not share a long secret key initially, to produce a common, random string of secret bits, called a secret key,” the researchers explained in a paper published in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

“Using the one-time pad encryption this key is proven to be secure … to encrypt (and decrypt) a message, which can then be transmitted over a standard communication channel.”

State news agency Xinhua called the encryption “unbreakable” and that’s mainly because of the way data is carried via the photon. A photon cannot be perfectly copied and any attempt to measure it will disturb it. This means that a person trying to intercept the data will leave a trace.

“Any eavesdropper on the quantum channel attempting to gain information of the key will inevitably introduce disturbance to the system, and can be detected by the communicating users,” the researchers said.

The implications could be huge for cybersecurity, making businesses safer, but also making it more difficult for governments to hack into communication.

China successfully sent the data over a distance of 1,200 kilometers from space to Earth, which is up to 20 orders of magnitudes more efficient than that expected using an optical fiber of the same length, the researchers claimed. It’s also further than the current limits of a few hundred kilometers.

“That, for instance, can meet the demand of making an absolute safe phone call or transmitting a large amount of bank data,” Pan Jianwei, lead scientist of QUESS, told Xinhua.

The Chinese government has made the development of the space sector a key priority. For example, it has laid out plans to get to Mars by 2020 and become a major space power by 2030.

And China has global ambitions for its QKD. It sees its satellite system interacting with ground-based QKD networks to create a global secure network.

“We can thus envision a space-ground integrated quantum network, enabling quantum cryptography — most likely the first commercial application of quantum information — useful at a global scale,” the researchers said.

Motorola’s gamepad Moto Mod is $80 and exclusive to Verizon

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/8/10/16125174/motorola-gamepad-moto-mod-pricing-features-release-date

 

The gamepad controller for Motorola’s Moto Z line of smartphone is going on sale August 25th for $79.99. That seems pretty expensive, and unfortunately for those who’ve been awaiting the snap-on accessory, you’ll only have one place to get it: Verizon Wireless. The carrier has an exclusive lock on the mod, which connects directly to the Moto Z via the pins on the back of the phone for reliable and lag-free game controls. It’s available to preorder now and goes on sale August 25th.
The gamepad features two thumbsticks, a d-pad, four primary action buttons, start/select, shoulder buttons, and a home button on the left side. There’s also a 1035mAh battery inside the mod itself, which Verizon estimates can replenish your Moto Z with “up to 8 hours of extra charge.”

That sounds a tad optimistic, but for $80 it’s good to know that you’re getting somethingaside from a plastic shell and some buttons. Even the $300 Moto 360 camera doesn’t include its own battery. Plus, not having to worry about pairing a Bluetooth controller is nice — if you’ve reached that level of Android gaming.

Samsung S8 and S8+ Are Being Heavily Discounted Ahead Of The Note 8 Launch

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is just around the corner, so Samsung is clearly looking to hoover up some late custom before it launches and kills off demand for the S8 and S8+. So now is a good time to buy a Samsung S8 or S8+, especially if you’re happy with the 64GB model, which seems to be the main focus of these discounts.

For the simple life, if you want $150 off, just head over to Amazon.com where you can get the phone unlocked for $574.99 or the S8+ for $100 more at $674.99. This only applies to the midnight black model though, there doesn’t seem to be a discount on the other colours, and this is the US model, not the “international” edition.

Best Buy has the phone for $150 off unlocked too, and you can choose which colour you want, either Midnight Black or Coral Blue, both are the same $574.99 you’ll find on Amazon. Best Buy has some additional savings if you’re connecting to a network. Save $300 on Verizon, $400 on Sprint with new lines, or $350 on upgrades. AT&T is doing buy one, get one free if you’re a DirecTV customer and are activating one new line.

Over at Samsung.com there are some good options too. You can get the same $150 off as at Amazon and Best Buy for an unlocked phone. You can also get another $150 off if you are trading in a handset, those qualifying are: Galaxy Note 5, S5, S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, S7, S7 edge. The Apple iPhone SE, 5, 5S, 6/6 plus, 6S/6S plus or 7/7 plus. LG trade-ins are available on the LG G4, G5, G6 and Google’s Pixel/Pixel XL. The majority of those phones would be worth more on eBay than the $150 trade-in, but let’s be honest, a trade-in is a lot easier and less hassle.

The price for the S8 on Samsung.com also drops to $450 (or close to it, some operators vary by a few dollars) when you take it with a contract. But with it costing just $424.99 unlocked, it’s hard to beat that deal when you factor in the extra costs of a new contract.

The S8 is a terrific phone, I’d have no hesitation in recommending it. I think the S8 is a nicer size than the S8+ and for most people, I think the smaller device is the better phone. Of course, when the Note 8 launches shortly we might see a new killer device, but no matter how good it is you’ll be in safe hands with the S8.

New Galaxy Note 8 Leak Confirms Three Vital Features

Following the confirmation from various carriers around the world of the public release of the Galaxy Note 8, new pictures of Samsung’s upcoming phablet taken ‘in the wild’ have appeared. They show a large-screened device that is pretty much as expected, but three vital features are pretty much confirmed.

First up, and perhaps most disappointingly, is the fingerprint sensor. Like Apple, Samsung has been rumored to be working on an under-glass fingerprint sensor embedded on the front display. It appears that the experiments on the Note 8 led to a visible color deformity, so the technology has been put back to the presumptively named Note 9.

Unlike Apple, Samsung has decided to stick with a fingerprint sensor, and following the design cues of the Galaxy S8 it can be awkwardly found at the rear of the device next to the camera lens assembly. It’s an option a number of Android manufacturers have taken and while it’s in fitting with the Android ecosystem it doesn’t push the Note 8 as having cutting edge solutions.

One change that I do welcome is the design of the curved screen. The fetishists looking for the latest fashion will note the smaller bezels at the top and bottom of the Note 8 that sits alongside the edge-to-edge infinity screen.

I’m happier to see much less curve on the screen at the edges. While Samsung’s visual language is still present, the larger curved area on the Galaxy S8 and S8 plus led to a huge amount of reflections and distorted text and video. The Note 8 is much harsher on its curve, providing more flat surface area while still offering the benefits of the curve. That’s far more practical in my eyes

Finally the dual cameras are confirmed. They are in a vertical orientation, which suggests that the benefits will be focused on photography and special visual effects rather an AR system. It’s not clear if one of the cameras is a fixed focus camera, but the latest documentation from Samsung Electro-Mechanics highlights four photographic abilities its dual lens could have (zoom, perspective, low light ability, and depth information), all of which match up to the dual camera system on show in these leaked pictures.

The Galaxy Note 8 packs in the latest technology and builds on the critical acclaim gathered by the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus – the less said about the incendiary Note 7 the better. The big question now is if it can successfully challenge Apple’s iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, because right now it looks like the iPhone 8 is not going to have the retail presence to take the fight to Samsung.

Now read about the new techniques that will power the dual camera lens…

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