News Article | March 21, 2016
At a press event Monday in Cupertino, California, Apple unveiled a 9.7-inch iPad Pro, a smaller version of the business-friendly 12.9-inch iPad Pro announced last October. The new device borrows some important features from last year's iPad Pro, and puts them inside a more manageable form factor. The new iPad features an external magnetic interface—the Smart Connector—to which a hardware keyboard can be easily attached. The new device also gets the earlier iPad Pro's Apple Pencil stylus, which enables users to write or sketch on the screen. Apple SVP of marketing Phil Schiller called the Pencil "the greatest accessory Apple has ever made." Like the iPad Pro before it, the new iPad Pro gets two additional stereo speakers (for a total of four). It's powered by the same A9X chip used to power the 12.9-inch Pro. The new iPad gets a 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera that can also shoot 4K video. If it seems awkward to shoot photos from a iPad, the camera can be used for document scanning, and in augmented reality apps. The front-facing camera is 5-megapixels and HD. Schiller says display is 40% less reflective than the iPad Air 2. It's also 500% brighter, he says. The display works with Apple's Night Shift feature, which switches to warmer-color tones during nighttime hours. "It's the ultimate upgrade for existing iPad users and replacement for PC users," Schiller said of the iPad Pros. "iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative. It’s incredibly fast, extremely portable, and completely natural to use with your fingers, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And now it comes in two sizes," Schiller said in a statement. The new iPad comes in Silver, Gold, Space Gray, and Rose Gold, and in three storage sizes. The 32 GB version is $599, a 128 GB model is $749, and a 256GB model is $899. All models connect with Wi-Fi. No LTE models are available. The last 9.7-inch tablet, the iPad Air 2, was released in October 2014. Since then, Apple has released the iPad Mini 4 and the enterprise-oriented 12.9-inch iPad Pro. This new iPad is being unveiled during tough times for Apple’s tablet business. iPad sales have been in decline for the past two years. Sales declined 25% in Apple’s fourth quarter 2015, which included the holiday shopping season. In the previous quarter, it shipped 9.9 million iPads, marking a 19.5% decline from the year-earlier quarter, and hitting below the 10-million unit mark for the first time since Q4 2011. Apple has been unable to defy the overall shrinkage of the worldwide tablet market. IDC said in December that worldwide tablet shipments would reach 211.3 million units in 2015, down 8.1% from 2014. The new numbers, IDC said, follow three consecutive quarters of declining shipments in 2015. Can a new 9.7-inch iPad do anything to change that dynamic? In the consumer market, probably not. But the new device could be seen as the latest step in Apple’s retooling of the iPad for the business market. It may hit the bull's-eye for some buyers who liked the new business-friendly features in the iPad Pro, but balked at that device's huge 12.9-inch size.
News Article | August 21, 2016
Remember the impending Samsung Galaxy smartphones that surfaced on China's TENAA earlier in August? Now, the Galaxy On7 (2016) has popped up again, but this time it is listed in the database of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the regulatory authority in the U.S. The Galaxy On7 (2016) from Samsung bearing the model number SM-G610F has been certified by the FCC, hinting that the device's release is imminent. The Samsung smartphone's listing on the FCC does not give away too many details on the Galaxy On7 2016. However, the listing reveals that the handset will tout a powerful 3,300 mAh battery. This specification affirms the TENAA details, which also pointed at a 3,300 mAh battery for the Android-powered Samsung device. For the unfamiliar, the Galaxy On7 (2016) is the successor of the Galaxy On7 smartphone that debuted in 2015. While the FCC listing for the Galaxy On7 2016 does not highlight any essential features or specs of the upcoming handset, it sheds light on the device's dimensions. The Samsung smartphone will measure 151.5 x 74.9 x 8 mm (5.96 x 2.95 x 0.31 inches), which is in keeping with previous rumors. The Galaxy On7 2016 will also offer support for 4G LTE, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Previous leaks have hinted at the Samsung smartphone boasting a 5.5-inch TFT display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Under the hood, the Galaxy On7 is anticipated to house an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, which is clocked at 2 GHz. The device is also expected to tout Adreno 506 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. The Galaxy On7 is rumored to offer 32 GB of on-board storage, which will be expandable to 128 GB via a microSD card. The smartphone is also said to come equipped with a fingerprint scanner that will be embedded on the home button. The budget offering from Samsung will potentially house a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera. Selfie lovers will also have an 8-megapixel secondary camera to look forward to. The Galaxy On7 2016 will come pre-loaded with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and not Android 7.0 Nougat. Rumors also hint at Samsung releasing the Galaxy On7 alongside its smaller sibling - the Galaxy On5. There is a possibility that the Galaxy On7 might come only in Gold, while the Galaxy On5 will retail in four colors: Metallic Gold, Black, Gold and Pink. The Samsung Galaxy On7 2016 is anticipated to make its debut at the IFA 2016 in September in Berlin, Germany. With the FCC certifying the smartphone, a strong possibility exists that the handset will hit the U.S. shelves soon after. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | March 29, 2016
Samsung’s latest smartphones, the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, are the first handsets to support the next-generation LTE connectivity in South Korea. With the next-gen LTE, these phones have faster download and upload speeds, according to a report. BusinessKorea says on its report that Samsung started, on Sunday, March 27, implementing the 12 LTE on the Galaxy S7 edge and the category 11 LTE on the Galaxy S7, via the three mobile operators in the country. “By using the next-generation long-term evolution (LTE) for the first time in the world, Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy S7 will realize the world's fastest speed among all smartphones in existence,” says the report of BusinessKorea. Specifically, the download speed of these two phones is amped up by a whopping 33 percent. The upload speed of the Galaxy S7 edge, in the meantime, is enhanced by 200 percent, while the speed of the Galaxy S7 is improved by 50 percent, as opposed to earlier models. This means that it takes only 15 seconds for users to download a movie sized at 1 GB. As a point of comparison, other LTE-enabled handsets are able to download the same size file for 20 seconds. The report states that these smartphones are optimized for uploading video clips, plus virtual reality photos on social networking services. These newest Galaxy smartphones seem to really have raised the bar in terms of technical specs, build quality, durability and features, plus integration of hardware and software capabilities. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has been crowned as the best smartphone ever by Consumer Reports, which calls itself as an honest in-depth reviewer of electrical appliances and devices. "These new models aren't just Samsung's best smartphones, but, perhaps, the best smartphones," says the senior editor at Consumer Reports, Mike Gikas. Consumer Reports praises the handset for several aspects, including its improved camera performance and beefed up battery life. Moreover, the handset’s VR support, water-resistance and a microSD card slot add value to this smartphone. You may also want to check out our review roundup that covers what experts say about the Galaxy S7 edge and why this phone is among the best phones one can snag in the market today.
News Article | February 26, 2016
The Moto X Force, Motorola's first ever smartphone with a shatterproof display, now hits a number of physical retail stores in India. Customers in India can purchase the Moto X Force at the retail price of Rs 49,999 ($728). They can choose from three color options that include Black, Gray and White. There are also EMI options that are offered on certain bank credit cards for easy payment schemes. Initially available on e-commerce sites such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon, the Moto X Force can now be purchased at 400 retail stores across 15 cities in the country. These include Vijay Sales, Poorvika Mobile World, Spice HotSpot and Tata-owned Croma. The 5.4-inch Moto X Force features the so-called ShatterShield display, which is the first display in the world guaranteed not to crack or even break. Moreover, the handset is designed with a water-repellent coating brought by advanced nano-coating technology, which prevents it from getting damaged by accidental spills, splashes or even a rainy weather. The Motorola handset comes packed with a 3 GB RAM and an internal storage of either 32 or 64 GB. Customers also can opt to expand the storage by up to 2 TB with a microSD card. "Play games, stream video, and multitask at the speed of life with the ultra-powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with 2.0 GHz octa-core CPUs," says Motorola. "Get tons more space for pictures, videos, music and apps." Apart from having a heavily protected display and water-resistant case, the Moto X Force also delivers up to 30 hours of battery life with its ultra capacity 3,760 mAh battery. It also comes with an ultra-fast TurboPower charging system that brings 8 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes. Photo buffs will also be glad to know that the Moto X Force comes with a 21-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-camera. The wide-angle selfie snapper becomes even better with the addition of the flash feature. "Capture beautiful, true-to-life images - even in low light," says Motorola. "Rapid focus with zero shutter lag and a color-balancing dual LED flash will deliver great shots every time." The Moto X Force runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and has various connectivity options that include 4G LTE, 3G, CDMA, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. While it has no fingerprint sensor, it does come with NFC support.
The annual CES gadget show that officially kicks off Wednesday is expecting between 150,000 attendees and last year's record 176,000, after the host organization took measures to cap attendance. The Consumer Technology Association made getting passes tougher and charged early registration fees of $100 to $300 to people who hadn't attended shows in the past two years. It's an attempt to rein in the sprawling show and ensure attendees have a good experience. But exhibitor square footage continues to grow, to over 2.4 million square feet, up from last year's 2.23 million. That's fueled by the growth in space devoted to autos, health and fitness wearables, virtual reality, 3-D printing and drones. There are also over 500 startups at the show, up from around 375 last year. Can you really walk away from your oven? Whirlpool hopes so with its new smart oven. With a smartphone, you can start, stop and adjust the temperature from another room. You get alerts when pre-heating or cooking is done so you won't have to keep checking. And if you leave home, the app will alert you if the oven is still on—if you also have a Nest thermostat, which can detect when you're away. It isn't immediately known, though, whether there are any mechanisms to prevent you from accidentally turning the oven on while away. Manufacturers like Whirlpool are using this week's CES gadget show in Las Vegas to showcase the latest technologies in everyday appliances. As these appliances connect to the Internet and to each other, people will be able to perform many basic functions from another room with a smartphone. Whirlpool is also unveiling a dishwasher that can alert you when your dishes are done and estimate how much detergent you have left. It'll even automatically order more supplies if you've set up re-ordering through Amazon's Dash program. The CES show starts Wednesday, though companies typically unveil new products earlier. A new floor-cleaning robot from LG will respond to its owner telling it: "You missed a spot." The South Korean company's HOM-BOT Turbo+ makes use of cameras that record where it's already cleaned. If it didn't do a good job, augmented reality will come to the rescue. Using any smartphone screen, the owner can point to a still-dusty area and the robot will go there to tidy up. And unlike a human, it probably doesn't mind being bossed around. Pricing and availability weren't announced. This and other gadgets are set to be on display at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, which opens Wednesday. Fiat Chrysler is joining the parade of automakers incorporating Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto into their infotainment services. The company says both smartphone systems will be available on some unspecified models worldwide starting later in 2016. They will be part of the fourth generation of Fiat Chrysler's Uconnect touch-screen system. Fiat Chrysler says the new Uconnect system will start faster with quicker and more vivid touch screens. Automakers have gradually been adding the Apple and Google systems to their infotainment systems, largely because customers want the screens to mimic their familiar smartphones and perform tasks the same way. On Monday, Ford also announced plans to add the systems to its Sync infotainment centers. General Motors is rolling the systems out on select models, and others are also moving in that direction. At the same time, automakers are developing their own systems to control car functions. Among the holdouts: Toyota says it has no plans yet to add Apple's or Google's system yet to its Toyota and Lexus infotainment services. The announcements come as the CES show in Las Vegas is set to open Wednesday. The move is part of Intel CEO Brian Krzanich's broader strategy to promote the use of Intel chips for new technologies—including drones, robots and a variety of sensor-equipped devices. This comes as sales decline for makers of personal computers, which are traditionally among Intel's biggest customers. The German company, Ascending Technologies, already uses some Intel gear in its flying devices. At last year's CES gadget show in Las Vegas, Krzanich showed how Ascending Technologies is using Intel's RealSense three-dimensional optical sensors to help its drones navigate. Intel has recently invested in several drone makers, including Ascending, China's Yuneec and California-based Airware. Now Intel is buying Ascending outright. Intel wouldn't disclose the sales price, but says Ascending's 75 or so employees will be offered jobs at Intel. Krzanich is scheduled to give the opening keynote at CES on Tuesday evening. Toyota will link all of its new vehicles to cellular networks starting with 2017 models in the U.S. Driver and passengers get access to selected Internet data, but Toyota's "Data Communication Module" won't be a wireless hotspot just yet. Drivers will get improved navigation and get updates on vehicle health and service. They'll be able to locate, lock, unlock and start their vehicles from a smartphone. The system will notify authorities if air bags are inflated in a crash. Eventually passengers will be able to get broader wireless access, but Toyota had no details on timing or fees. The company also plans to set up a data center to communicate with the cars, and it's joining Ford and Livio to develop the bones to link smartphone devices and apps to vehicles. Toyota says it has no plans yet to add Apple's CarPlay or Google's Android Auto to Toyota and Lexus infotainment systems. Smart TVs running Roku's streaming TV software will display better pictures this spring as Roku introduces sharper, 4K resolution and an emerging technology known as HDR. With HDR, or high-dynamic range, TVs will be able to display a greater range of color and contrast. It's a feature expected in many TV models to be unveiled this week at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas. Roku said Monday that Chinese manufacturer TCL will be the first to offer 4K, HDR sets using Roku's system. Like other Roku TVs, the new sets will not only display traditional TV channels, but also thousands of streaming services including Netflix and Hulu. It's largely the same software used in Roku's stand-alone streaming devices. Although CES doesn't open until Wednesday, many companies are unveiling their new products and services earlier. Oculus says it will start taking orders for its much-hyped Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset at 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday. The company says this is the final product that will go on sale, not a developers' kit. However, it is staying mum for now on the price or shipping date of the headset. More details are expected to emerge Wednesday. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey will also do a Q&A on social media site Reddit on Wednesday. The company, which was bought by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion, says the headsets will come with two video games, "Lucky's Tale" by Playful and CCP's "EVE: Valkyrie." The Rift will require a fairly powerful computer. Oculus plans a certification program so consumers can look for a sticker on PCs that support the Rift. Asus, Dell and Alienware will have certified models that cost less than $1,000. Oculus was also behind a $100 Samsung VR headset. It is less powerful than the Rift and works with a Samsung phone rather than a PC. Microsoft says Windows 10 is now running on more than 200 million computers and other devices, five months after the new software was released. The company says Windows 10 is seeing faster adoption than earlier Windows versions, with 40 percent of Windows 10 devices activated since the holiday shopping season started after Thanksgiving. Microsoft made the announcement in a blog post as PC makers prepare to unveil new Windows 10 products at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week. Microsoft is hoping the new software—which runs on personal computers, tablets, game consoles and other gadgets—will help it regain ground as it battles Apple and Google for consumer loyalty. It hopes to have Windows 10 on a billion devices in three years. But it has a way to go. Analysts say the most common PC operating system is still Windows 7, which was released more than six years ago and lacks capabilities of newer releases. Ford is joining several other automakers and adding Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto to its Sync touch-screen infotainment system. The automaker also plans to install a 4G LTE wireless connection to its vehicles starting with the 2017 model year. The familiar Apple and Google systems will be mimicked on the car's screen, with voice commands available. Ford said Monday that owners of Sync 3-equipped 2016 models in North America will get a chance to update software later this year, and the systems will appear on all Sync-equipped 2017 models. Initially the wireless modem will let drivers find their cars in parking lots, unlock and start them from smart phones, and check the gas level and tire pressure. While the car is moving, smartphones will still be needed for Internet access. But spokesman Alan Hall says eventually the modems will be available for use as wireless hot spots. He says there won't be any recurring service fee for the first five years. Ford also will announce additional apps that will be compatible with Sync. Hall wouldn't comment on reports that Ford and Google will announce an autonomous car partnership at the gadget show. But he says Ford will have an autonomous car announcement. Explore further: Apple dials up effort to meld iPhone with cars