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Galaxy S8, S8+ Dazzle in Samsung's Comeback Launch
March 29, 2017
Samsung on Wednesday launched the Galaxy S8 and S8+, its next generation of smartphones. They feature major improvements in design and security processing power, as well as new digital assistant technology that may challenge the best devices on the market. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are available with 5.8 inch and 6.2 inch screens respectively. Both sport an infinity display using Corning Gorilla Glass, and a bezel-less design.
WikiLeaks Exposes CIA's Device Surveillance Tricks
March 23, 2017
WikiLeaks has released more Vault 7 documentation online, including details about several CIA projects to infect Apple's Mac computer firmware and operating system. The site unloaded its first batch of stolen Vault 7 data earlier this month. The CIA's Embedded Development Branch developed malware that could persist even if the targeted computer were reformatted and its OS were reinstalled.
Apple Unveils Budget-Friendly iPad, Dresses iPhone in Red
March 22, 2017
Apple has announced an iPad update, a red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and a new video-editing app for iOS. The iPad upgrade has a 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536-pixel Retina display and Apple's A9 64-bit processor. The unit will come in silver, gold and space gray with a starting price of $329 for 32 gigabytes of storage and WiFi-only support. It will cost $459 for a 32-GB unit with WiFi and cellular support.
Apple May Alter the AR Competition
March 21, 2017
Apple is stockpiling resources to make a splash in the augmented reality market. The company reportedly is not only marshaling internal resources behind its AR efforts, but also hiring talented outsiders and acquiring companies with expertise in AR hardware, 3D gaming and virtual reality software. The new outsiders include engineers who worked VR headsets for Google and Microsoft.
Malware Found Preinstalled on Dozens of Android Phones
March 13, 2017
Malware has been discovered preinstalled on 36 Android phones belonging to two companies, security software maker Check Point reported. "In all instances, the malware was not downloaded to the device as a result of the users' use -- it arrived with it," noted Oren Koriat, a member of Check Point's Mobile Research Team. The malicious apps were added somewhere along the supply chain.
USB-C Port, Curved Display Top Latest iPhone Rumor List
March 1, 2017
Apple poked a hornet's nest when it removed the standard headphone jack from the iPhone 7. It may do it again by replacing the Lightning port with USB-C in the next iPhone. The Lightning port, introduced in 2012, is used to charge and connect accessories to the iPhone, but Apple reportedly plans to swap it for USB-C, which the company has been introducing into its computer lines.
How Deeply Could Bribery Scandal Wound Samsung?
February 28, 2017
South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday indicted Samsung head Lee Jae-yong and four other executives on bribery and embezzlement charges, following a lengthy investigation into Lee's ties with impeached president Park Geun-hye and her confidant, Choi Soon-sil. Charges against Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Group, include pledging bribes to organizations tied to Choi.
Nokia 3310 Pushes Nostalgia Buttons
February 28, 2017
HMD Global, owner of the Nokia phone brand, on Sunday reintroduced the classic 3310 feature phone at the MWC, along with a line of brand new Nokia smartphones that run on the Android platform. The relaunch of the 3310 is the reimagination of one of the world's best-selling feature phones as a sleek, lightweight device that features 22 hours of talk time and an entire month of standby time.
FCC Head Champions FM Radio for Smartphones
February 27, 2017
Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, last week issued a call for activation of the FM chips in smartphones. The vast majority of smartphones sold in the U.S. have FM chips, but they're activated in only about 44 percent of the top brands, Pai said. Although that's nearly twice the 25 percent figure of two years ago, it's not good enough, he suggested.
Mobile World Congress: Gigabit Wireless and the Anti-iPhone Set
February 27, 2017
One of the biggest disappointments at this year's Mobile World Congress is that the Samsung Galaxy 8 phone won't make it. The Galaxy line has been the ultimate iPhone fighter. Rumors around the anniversary edition of the iPhone suggest that it will do amazing, magical things, like 3D selfies. OK, I'm really missing Steve Jobs at the moment -- who the hell wants 3D selfies?!?
Was Apple's Outstanding Q1 a Fluke?
February 6, 2017
Apple had a good quarter, but if you look under the numbers there is a ton of trouble. It just dropped behind Google in brand value, and valuation may crater in a few months. The iPhone 7 did well, but that shouldn't be a surprise, given that its biggest competitor, Samsung, saw its phone literally go up in flames last quarter. The Galaxy 8 is coming, though, and it looks really impressive.
Apple Goes on Record-Breaking Spree
February 1, 2017
Apple stunned Wall Street with Q1 earnings that set new quarterly unit and revenue records in key product segments, and its highest-ever earnings per share. CEO Tim Cook said the company set all-time revenue and unit records for its iPhone and Apple Watch brands, all-time revenue records for its Mac and Services businesses, and all-time revenue records for four of its five geographic sectors.
Trump Clings to Personal Phone Despite Security Risks
January 27, 2017
President Donald J. Trump apparently has continued to use his personal Android smartphone despite security concerns. Trump was concerned about losing access to his personal phone even prior to taking his oath of office, according to a report citing unnamed aides who said he worried about how isolated he could become in the White House without his phone to keep in touch with friends.
Barra Leaves Post as Xiaomi's International Point Man
January 24, 2017
Almost four years after being poached from a critical post at Google to join Chinese upstart Xiaomi, Hugo Barra on Monday announced he will return to Silicon Valley in February. Barra, who led the Xiaomi's overseas expansion as vice president, international, explained the move largely as a desire to reconnect with his family and restore a sense of normalcy to his life.
Samsung Explains Note7 Failure, Promises to Do Better
January 23, 2017
Samsung has announced new quality assurance protocols to ensure that it won't have a repeat of the catastrophic issues that plagued its Galaxy Note7 handsets. The company last fall issued a universal recall after several of the devices caught fire or exploded. In one incident, an aircraft had to be evacuated after a Samsung Galaxy Note7 caught fire and produced thick smoke.
Samsung's Note7 Post Mortem Turns Up 2 Problems
January 21, 2017
Samsung is set to release the results of its Galaxy Note7 investigation on Monday, explaining the underlying causes of the problems that led to the phone's demise. The three independent quality control and supply chain analysis firms Samsung engaged to conduct the investigation concluded that the Note7 was affected by two separate issues. One was a battery issue; the other was the rush to market.
iPhone at 10: The Best Is Yet to Come?
January 10, 2017
It seems like yesterday -- not 10 years ago -- that Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld to debut Apple's latest new gadget: the iPhone. The iPhone was three devices in one, he declared. It was a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough Internet communications device. The iPhone went on to become a critical contributor to the company's success.
Looking Ahead to CES: This Will Be a Big One
January 2, 2017
CES week is here, and it's the one week of the year I look forward to looking back on. CES is a killer show -- not because you are up to your armpits in interesting new products, but because it is so spread out that it'll kill your legs as you hike all over the damn place. One year, I walked so much I actually ripped the soles off both shoes. This show is weird, in that it really comes too early.
Samsung May Unleash a Beast
December 21, 2016
Hot off the rumor mill on Wednesday is news of Beast Mode, a new feature Samsung may include in its upcoming Galaxy S8. Spotted in an EU trademark application, Beast Mode would apply to smartphones, mobile phones and application software for smartphones. The Galaxy S8 is expected to be the first smartphone built around Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor.
Apple AirPods Finally Good to Go
December 14, 2016
Apple has begun taking online orders for its wireless AirPods, and said it would start delivering the $159 earphones to customers, Apple Stores, resellers and carriers next week. At the iPhone 7 launch in September, Apple SVP Phil Schiller said the AirPods would be available in October. Missing the deadline for release of any hot product is bad news for a company.
Gadget Ogling: Rolling Records, Designing Lawns, and Placated Phones
December 13, 2016
RokBlok is a portable record player without a turntable. It's a block that dashes around the top of your records, and uses both its needle and built-in speaker to soundtrack your day. All you need to operate it are your records and a flat surface. If you'd like higher quality audio, you can connect it to your Bluetooth speaker or headphones. It's designed with protecting your records in mind.
SCOTUS Scuttles Apple's Big Samsung Award
December 7, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday spoiled Apple's hopes for a big payday, scotching the $399 million award in its successful patent infringement suit against Samsung. Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered the Court's decision, which turned on what lawmakers meant by the term "article of manufacture." The appeals court had ruled that it encompassed the entire phone. The Supremes disagreed.
iPhone Envy May Have Felled Galaxy Note7
December 6, 2016
Samsung's desire to match the iPhone 7 Plus led it to implement an aggressive design and manufacturing approach that led to problems with its Galaxy Note7 -- including some instances of the smartphones bursting into flames, Instrumental reported last week. Instrumental engineers tore down a Galaxy Note7, and found "tension between safety and pushing the boundaries," CEO Anna Shedletsky revealed.
iPhone 8 Dreaming in Full Swing
November 29, 2016
Apple's latest iPhone was barely out of the gate when rumors began percolating about the company's next new phone. Although the iPhone 7 garnered mostly tepid reviews, initial inventories sold out quickly, and the company had to scramble to meet demand. That demand may have peaked, though, which may be why chasers of the next big thing are looking down the road.
BlackBerry to Deliver One Last Keyboard Phone
November 14, 2016
BlackBerry has a new phone in the works, and it will have a physical keyboard, according to reports that surfaced last week. The company recently announced that it would exit the smartphone hardware market and transition to developing back-end mobile security software. However, BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed that one last device is in the pipeline.
Daydream Believers May Boost VR, Suggest Early Reviews
November 10, 2016
Reviews for Google's Daydream View VR headset began to appear on Thursday, and the consensus among those who were able to test the new US$79 device appears to be two thumbs up. Although it has limitations, Daydream could be a gateway to affordable virtual reality technology, they suggested. The headset needs to be paired with Google's new line of Pixel and Pixel XL phones.
Samsung's Next Galaxy Phone Could Have Siri-Like Smarts
November 9, 2016
Samsung Electronics this week revealed plans to unveil its flagship Galaxy S8 mobile phone with a new digital assistant powered by AI. The assistant will be based on technology gained with Samsung's recent acquisition of Viv Labs. The plans call for Samsung to incorporate the AI into its family of electronics and appliances, ranging from mobile devices to wearable technology and home devices.
Google's Pixel Wins a Place in the Sun
November 8, 2016
Google's Pixel smartphone, which made its debut last month, has gathered some high praise from reviewers. "The Google Pixel is now the best Android smartphone you can buy," wrote Joanna Stern. "The other leading contender was disqualified due to spontaneous combustion," she added, referring to Samsung's doomed Galaxy Note7, which was recalled for safety reasons.
Gadget Ogling: Mac's Back, Nintendo Returns, and Huawei Goes to the Edge
November 5, 2016
Apple has unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, giving the company's core laptop its first full refresh in a few years. The design has metal on all sides, along with a Force Touch trackpad double the size of previous versions. There's a customizable OLED touch strip above the keyboard that responds to gestures and taps, useful for fast access to emoji or secondary controls within an app.
Xiaomi Debuts Magical Mi Mix
October 27, 2016
Xiaomi on Tuesday fired another shot in the shrinking bezel wars, as it announced a smartphone with a front that's more than 90 percent display. The Mi Mix is a 6.4-inch phone that's stylishly crafted by French designer Philippe Starck. It sports a feature set that indicates Xiaomi wants to compete at the high end of the smartphone market. The Mi Mix has a screen-to-body ratio of 91.3 percent.
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How do you feel about flying on a pilotless plane?
No way -- if there's a screw-up, you can't just jump out.
I'd do it -- flights are pretty much entirely automated anyway.
I'm skeptical but open minded, especially if fares would be much less.
I would try it if there were *someone* on board to take over in a pinch.
It's the wave of the future -- I'm resigned to it.
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