Cell Phone

Samsung Galaxy J3, Galaxy J5 and Galaxy J7 (2017) officially introduced

Samsung has just unveiled its new Galaxy J series in Europe. Three new mid-range Android smartphones that we already know about will be making their debut on the market in the coming months: Galaxy J3, Galaxy J5 and Galaxy J7 (2017). Although Samsung announced pricing would vary by country, we already know the Galaxy J5 (2017) will be up for purchase for €279. As far as availability goes, the first to hit the shelves is the Galaxy J5 (2017), which is supposed to go on sale later this month (possibly on June 22). The next to arrive on the market is the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017), which is expected to make its debut in July. Last but not least, the Galaxy J3 (2017) will be launched in Europe sometime in August. Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) All three smartphones feature a metal body and ship with Android 7.0 Nougat operating system on board. They have decent specs, but the main differentiator should be the stylish design. The cheapest of the three, the Galaxy J3 (2017) sports a 5-inch display with HD (720p) resolution, along with a 13-megapixel camera on the back. The smartphone is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 7570 processor, coupled with 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal memory. Dual-SIM support will be included as well, along with a secondary 5-megapixel selfie camera and a decent 2,400 mAh battery. Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) has a slightly larger 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display with HD (720p) resolution. At the core of the mid-range handset sits a 1.6GHz octa-core Exynos 7870 processor, 2GB RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. Also, the phone features 13-megapixel cameras on the front and back. The Galaxy J5 (2017) drains energy from a 3,000 mAh battery. Finally, the Galaxy J7 (2017) is the most expensive of the three, as the phone comes with a 5.5-inch full HD (1080p) display and LTE Cat6 support. The phone is equipped with a similar 1.6GHz octa-core Exynos 7870 processor, 3GB RAM, and 16GB storage. Just like its smaller brother, Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) includes 13-megapixel cameras on the back and front. However, unlike the other two Galaxy J series phones, this one embeds a much bigger 3,000 mAh battery inside.
Cell Phone

WSJ: Bixby is having problems with the English language

According to a report published in today's Wall Street Journal, Bixby has not been a good student when it comes to learning the English language. Apparently, Samsung's AI personal assistant is failing grammar and is also having problems with syntax. This means that Bixby is having difficulties creating sentences in English. The problem, as far as Samsung is concerned, is that competing assistants like Google Assistant and Siri have no problem turning out a snappy sentence in English when called on to do so.

The Journal's report says that it won't be before late June at the earliest before Bixby is launched in the U.S., a month later than the May launch that Sammy was originally aiming for. The delay in launching Bixby could affect sales of the recently released Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+ in the U.S., even though market research firm Ovum says that only 9% of smartphone users access their personal assistant on a regular basis. And only 50% of consumers have an interest in digital assistants like Bixby, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant.

Still, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is on its way to topping the sales generated last year by the Samsung Galaxy S7. The latter became the highest grossing smartphone in Samsung's history. The company obviously does not want a problem with Bixby to prevent a new sales record from being set.

Ovum says that there are 3.5 billion active devices that have a native AI assistant on board. By 2021, the company expects that figure to reach 7.5 billion active devices. That would be more than the entire world population for that year, based on computations by the U.S. Census Bureau. Google Assistant is projected to have a leading 23% market share of the market for AI assistants by 2021, followed by Bixby's 15%. Siri will be third with 13%, followed by Alexa's 4%. But this is all a pipe dream for Bixby unless Samsung straightens out the current problem the personal AI assistant is having with the English language.

Cell Phone

Report: Samsung to double OLED panel supply for iPhone 9

We're still about 4 months away from the announcement of this year's iPhone models, but it looks like Apple is already acting to secure display panels for its future handsets.
 

A hot new report from The Bellsuggests that Cupertino and Samsung have recently signed a deal for the shipment of more than 180 million OLED panels, which will be used for the creation of Apple's 2018 flagship, tentatively called the iPhone 9. This is more than twice the amount which Sammie's display division has allegedly agreed to produce for 2017, in which Tim Cook & Co. are said to unveil at least one OLED-powered iPhone model.

 
Those of you who are actively following the story might be a bit puzzled (we know we are), as less than two months ago, sources from the East Asian country indicated that a two-year deal between the companies has already been sealed. However, said earlier reports didn't mention the amount which Samsung has agreed to produce for 2018, so it is possible that we now have the specifics for that particular period. 
 
Apparently, next year's iPhone 9 is expected to come in two OLED variants, one with a 5.28-inch screen, and one with a colossal 6.46-inch display. If Apple is truly planning to stop employing LCD panels on its phones from next year, these numbers might correspond with the tech giant's sales expectations. Still, it is advisable that you take this information with a huge grain of salt, as we first need to see Apple's plans for this year before we can safely label this as anything other than speculations.
 
The Korean media outlet cites an anonymous industry source, who has commented on the agreement:
 
The two companies have recently signed a non-disclosure agreement on general conditions, including the screen size. Other details such as screen design and functions could be adjusted considering the phone is still under development.
Cell Phone

First Sony Xperia XZ Premium benchmark results show great promise

The Xperia XZ Premium is the Sony's first smartphone equipped with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the same CPU that's inside Samsung's flagships, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

However, unlike Samsung's smartphone, the Xperia XZ Premium is not yet available for purchase, though, it can be pre-ordered in many countries across the globe. As we reported a few days agoSony Xperia XZ Premium is likely to make its debut on the market at the end of May or early June.

If you've been wondering how powerful the Xperia XZ Premium really is in comparison with other Snapdragon 835-powered smartphones, you're in luck since Sony's flagship has just popped up at Geekbench.

Apparently, someone tested the Xperia XZ Premium in Geekbench, and the results seem promising enough. We don't know whether or not it was a retail unit that got tested or a sample device.

Although it did not manage to surpass the results achieved by the Galaxy S8 and S8+, Sony's flagship is quite powerful. The smartphone scored 1943 points in single core and 5824 points in the multi core tests.

In comparison, Samsung Galaxy S8 scored 2008 points in single core and 6575 points in multi core tests, while the Galaxy S8+ achieved 2006 points and 6708 points, respectively. 

At first glance, the difference is almost negligible when it comes to single core tests, but the multi core tests show the Xperia XZ Premium is a bit behind Samsung's flagships. Still, we don't want to jump to conclusions just yet, at least not before we test a retail unit.


Cell Phone

Apple iPad mini could be discontinued

Apple is reportedly planning to discontinue the iPad mini, its 7.9-inch tablet that's been available since 2012. Of course, the tablet is now at its fourth iteration - iPad mini 4 - but this hasn't been properly updated since its original launch in 2015.

According to BGR, a "source close to Apple" mentioned that the iPad mini is being phased out because there's "fierce cannibalism" of Apple's own products, and sales numbers seemingly provide a "very clear" indication of the tablet's recent lack of popularity.

Size-wise, the iPad mini stands between the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus and the 9.7-inch iPad (including the Pro version). Unlike in 2012, 2013, or a large part of 2014, when there were no 5.5-inch iPhones on the market, the iPad mini is now in a rather awkward position, and it looks like consumers are simply less interested in mini tablets (especially when they're not exactly cheap).

Earlier this year, Apple changed its iPad mini 4 offering, so it's currently selling only a 128 GB version of the slate, and you can choose to get it in Wi-Fi-only ($399), or Wi-Fi + LTE ($529) flavors.

For now, there's no word on exactly when Apple will stop selling the iPad mini 4. Also, it's not clear if the company already stopped producing the device or not. But maybe we'll get an official statement on this sometime soon.

Cell Phone

Microsoft Offers OneDrive Grandfathered Data – Must Act To Save Your 30GB Storage

Microsoft has relented after massive outrage. The company has set up a special web site where you can opt-in to preserving your current free 30GB storage. The company recently announced it was withdrawing plans to offer unlimited storage for Office 365 customers, and worse, was reducing all free accounts to 5GB. Previously, Microsoft offered 15GB of free storage, and customers that enabled OneDrive’s mobile phone photo sync feature received another 15GB, for a total of 30GB of free storage. Microsoft claimed the changes were sparked by PC users backing up extremely large files. OneDrive client sync allowed for large files, even DVR recordings, to be automatically stored on OneDrive. But the reduction of free plans was considered brash by many – as those plans did not cost Microsoft nearly as much, and many competitors like Box have routinely offered free 50GB plans. At 30GB, OneDrive was one of the largest free storage solution of all the major OS/cloud platform vendors. Also Office 365 customers who had backed up terrabytes already, are being forced to reduce to 300GB of storage, or being forced to pay for storage.
Cell Phone

Apple is now the first $800 billion company, Buffett the smartest guy in the room... again

The highly-anticipated iPhone 8, edge-to-edge OLED screen and all, is apparently going to throw Apple fans in an upgrade "super cycle," or so think the analysts, whose predictions made investors take notice, and push Apple's stock past the $800 billion market cap mark yesterday after the quarterly resultswere announced. To put things into perspective, that's the first time in the history of the US stock market that a company has reached this exorbitant market capitalization. 

 
While the shares were briefly down, as investors heard that Apple sold slightly less iPhones than the same quarter last year, the stock quickly rebounded when they figured out that the actual profit was higher, as Apple has a more expensive product mix now. All in all, in afternoon trading AAPL pushed past $153 a share, and was up more than 3 percent for the day, which, for the company the size of Apple, is a pretty impressive feat.
 
All that is left now is to see if the iPhone 8 will meet all the hefty expectations that are piled up on it by investors and fans alike, and make Apple the first trillion dollar company in history. On a side note, Warren Buffett looks like the smartest guy in the room again, after years of refusing to invest in the "fickle" consumer electronics industry. His $1 billion investment in Apple is up more than 50% in less than a year. No wonder the guy is known as the Oracle from Omaha. He returned the favor by praising the iPhone after Apple's quarterly results were out, saying that "you can't move people by price in the smartphone market" like in home appliances, and that the iPhone is "a very, very, very valuable product to people that build their lives around it."
Cell Phone

Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite with Android 7.0 Nougat coming soon for €329

An affordable duo of Huawei-branded Android tablets was silently introduced in Europe last week, the MediaPad T3 slates. They are now available for purchase for prices starting at €129, a good deal for those looking for their first Android tablet.

However, the MediaPad T3 tablets won't be the only ones to make their debut on the market this year, as Huawei is readying yet another Android slate.

Not quite the sequel to the MediaPad M3, a Lite version of the tablet recently made a stop at Wi-Fi Alliance where it was granted certification by the regulatory commission.

Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite is a mid-range tablet that runs Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. It sports a large 10-inch display and packs 3GB RAM, along with 32GB expandable storage.

The Chinese company is expected to launch two variations of the tablet, which will sell for different prices. The Wi-Fi only model will cost only €329 outright, whereas the LTE-enabled variant will be available for purchase for €379.

Now, the only thing that remains to be determined is when exactly Huawei will unleash the Lite version of the MediaPad M3 on the market.

Cell Phone

Analysts: HTC cut prices because of 'bleak prospects' with carriers, may refocus on phones like Pixel

When you look at the US smartphone market, it's dominated by the usual two suspects - Apple and Samsung - with the team from Cupertino taking the lead, which is understandable as it is a domestic company to be proud of. Last quarter's breakdown for American users aged 13 and up pegged them as having mostly iPhones (44%), or Galaxies (28%), with LG vying for third place with 10%, Motorola at 4%, and HTC at 5th place with only 2.3%. If anything, that shows the dire straits that HTC finds itself in when it comes to the American market. Not being represented in a carrier roster is a kind of a death sentence in the US, as that's where most users shop for new phonese. In fact, T-Mobile dropped the HTC 10 only a few weeks after it launched without citing any reason, but if there was big interest and profit with the handset, it would have probably stayed in the portfolio. "HTC has bleak prospects, given lack of availability from T-Mobile and AT&T and weak prepaid availability, while the OEM has (a) tiny share of 2% at Sprint and <1% at Verizon," according to Wave7’s analyst Jeff Moore. All of these mishaps have forced HTC, which wasn't known for great value tags, or significant cuts, to readjust its pricing strategy in the US. The HTC 10 went from the whopping $699 down to $499 very soon after launch, and now the U Ultra is following suit. HTC announced recently on Twitter that it is slashing the prices of its newest flagship from $749 to $599, and that's a handset with large QHD panel, high-end camera and premium design augmented by a secondary screen that was just announced last month. Not only that, but the One A9 went down to just $199, and the Bolt for $150 off. In fact, another analyst, Cliff Maldonado from BayStreet Research, thinks that HTC is winding down its inventory and may not out other flagships in the US, but rather end up making phones for external customers like Google: "We believe the launch of the Pixel at Verizon and the Bolt at Sprint, combined with the recent headcount reductions, indicate HTC will follow more of an ODM business model going forward. We believe HTC has astutely restructured to compete with their hardware design strengths and partner with brands to lower marketing and distribution costs and overall risks. It will be interesting to see how and with whom HTC partners with next." There you have it, no matter what HTC does, there just doesn't seem to be much interest from US carriers when it is going it alone. What do you think, is this some nefarious plot by carriers, or is the problem of HTC's own making?
Cell Phone

New phone in the Galaxy C line could be first Samsung model to sport a dual camera setup

Many have assumed that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 would be the first Samsung handset to sport a dual camera setup. But you know what they say about making assumptions. Instead, a sketch tweeted by a source reveals that it will be a new handset in the Samsung Galaxy C line that will be the first Samsung handset to carry two cameras on back. The sketch also shows that this Galaxy C phone will sport the slotted antenna design instead of those unsightly antenna lines that run on the top and bottom of a phone. Not only do they look much better than those ugly lines, they also do a better job of making sure that your hands don't interfere with the phone's signal (if you are holding it the wrong way). Late last year and earlier this year, there was talk that the Samsung Galaxy S8 or the Samsung Galaxy S8+ would feature a dual camera setup in back. As it turns out, Samsung must have been serious about this because an alleged Galaxy S8+ prototype was discovered with a pair of cameras on the back. If the prototype is legit, Sammy planned on using a vertical placement for the two cameras. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 could be unveiled at IFA during the first week in September. The unknown Samsung Galaxy C model sporting the dual cameras is supposed to launch before the Galaxy Note 8 does. We might not know if this is a legitimate story for a few weeks. Even if it isn't the first Samsung model to offer it, we would have to say that the odds certainly favor a dual camera setup being employed on the Galaxy Note 8.
Cell Phone

Apple is once again rumored to start a P2P money transferring network similar to Venmo and PayPal

Venmo is a free digital wallet that allows users to wire funds into or out of their Venmo account, bank account or debit card. Today, word surfaced about meetings that Apple has held with firms in this industry about starting up its own money transfer system. In other words, Apple is looking to build a Venmo competitor that would allow iPhone owners to transfer funds to and from others' iPhone handsets.

Those in the know say that Apple could officially unveil this new payment service some time later this year, allowing Apple to compete with others in the industry such as Pay Pal, Square Cash and Chase's Quick Pay. The latter processed a leading $28 billion last year while Venmo had a hand in $17.6 billion worth of financial maneuvers; Venmo's annual payment volume is doubling each year. Subscribers to these so-called peer-to-peer services use them to split the tip on a dinner, or to come up with their share of next month's rent.

Most financial companies that offer such a service use them as a loss leader. This means that huge financial supermarkets typically lose money offering such small sum wireless money transfers. But they are willing to do that in order to get consumers hooked on their firm, hoping that new subscribers end up using other profitable services offered by the banking company. Need a loan, a credit card or a mortgage? If you already have a money transfer arrangement with a financial firm, you're more likely to use that company for a loan that is highly profitable to the lender. Apple, however, doesn't think in terms of loss leaders. If it does make a go at starting a peer-to-peer wireless financial service, it would do so with the intent of turning a profit on the business.

Keep in mind that Apple has been rumored to be setting up such a P2P (peer-to-peer) money transferring system before. Back in 2015, the Wall Street Journal said that Apple was about to start such a service in 2016, which would have been folded into Apple Pay. The inclusion of Apple Pay in the new service remains a strong possibility. However, the new rumor does include talk about a new Visa card that would be offered by Apple, but would run through Visa's debit card system. It would work with the new P2P service by allowing those wired funds from an iPhone user to have access to that money instantly, instead of waiting for the money to hit the user's bank account. This is something that PayPal currently does.

Bank executives are not happy about Apple working with Visa, and plan on letting Visa know that at an annual summit that is set to be held next week.

Cell Phone

Xperia X to get Android 7.1.2 Concept update without the fingerprint issues that plagued the Pixel

The Sony Concept team announced that it's preparing an Android 7.1.2 concept update for the Xperia X smartphone. Concept releases are a way to get the latest pure Android version running on your Xperia phoneif you would like that in place of the official Sony firmware, which is a reasonably clean build of Android as well.

The Android 7.1.2 update will bring Bluetooth connectivity improvements, battery usage alerts, and various other fixes. Notably, this Android build gave Google Pixel and some Nexus phones issues with their fingerprint sensors. The changes Google applied to this part won't be included in the Xperia X Concept Update.

A drawback to the update is that the setup wizard for the initial setup (or after performing 'factory reset' and 'add user' functions) after powering the phone will only work with Wi-Fi. It's not very likely you will be impacted by this in any major way.

The concept update is ready for release and is going to be published soon. The Xperia X Concept program is only available to Sony's European users for some reason.

Cell Phone

LG G6 to gain 100 customized apps for its 18:9 display

LG Electronics is planning to increase the number of applications optimized for its 2017 flagship – the G6. The Seoul-based tech giant announced that by next month, its app store will boast 300 apps which will fully support the 18:9 "Full Vision" display of the G6. At the time of writing, there are about 200 apps which support the unusual aspect ratio on the company's SmartWorld store, so these numbers suggest that we will see a 50% increase in this particular segment of LG's digital market. As Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones also feature screens with similar aspect ratios, this latest move by LG can be seen as an attempt to gain and maintain a competitive edge over its larger South Korean adversary. The company's official stance is that it aims to allow users to enjoy superior digital content, such as games and movies through the screen of the G6. In a previous statement, the company said: Compared with conventional 16:9 aspect ratio displays, the 18:9 format offers more viewing space and a more immersive experience when streaming videos and playing games.
Cell Phone

Buy the LG G6 or LG V20 from T-Mobile and get a free LG G Pad X 8.0 tablet

How would you like to receive a "free" tablet on T-Mobile's dime? Purchase the LG G6 or LG V20 from T-Mobile along with the LG G Pad X 8.0 using the carrier's Equipment Installment Plan. Then, sign up for a data plan containing at least 2GB of data a month. Six to eight weeks later, you will be reimbursed for the tablet via a pre-paid MasterCard. In theory, the MasterCard should be used to pay off the remaining balance of the tablet. But you could decide to use it for something else; as long as you are making the monthly payments on the device. Speaking of the tablet, the LG G Pad X 8.0 features an 8-inch LCD screen with a 1200 x 1920 resolution. Powering the slate is a Snapdragon 617 SoC carrying an octa-core 1.5GHz CPU, and the Adreno 405 GPU. 2GB of RAM is inside along with 16GB of native storage. The actual amount available to the user is 9.18GB. Those seeking additional memory can access the 128GB capacity microSD slot. Both back and front cameras weigh in at 5MP, and a 4650mAh battery keeps the hamster wheel spinning. Android 6.0 is pre-installed. Besides this very serviceable tablet, if you purchase the LG G6 from T-Mobile before April 30th, you will also receive a free Google Home (although to be fair, the free Google Home is available to anyone who buys the LG G6 in the U.S. before April 30th. The free tablet deal is a limited time offer, and we have no idea when it will expire. In addition, once supplies of the tablet run out, the deal is over. If interested, click on the sourcelink or visit your local T-Mobile location.
Cell Phone

Touch ID issues may delay OLED iPhone 8 says analyst

We're in full swing for Apple iPhone 8 rumors and a lot of the chatter has been regarding the "premium/pro" version of the next iPhone. That's the model expected to have a bezelless OLED display and because of that design, Apple has to do something different with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. But, that has been proving difficult.

 
The prevailing theory is that Apple wants to embed the Touch ID sensor under the display and essentially hiding it. However production issues for such an advanced component have been popping up according to sources in the supply chain. Because of these issues, some have speculated that Apple might do something drastic like put the Touch ID sensor on the back of the phone, which some apparently hate, but we find no faults with. 
 
But, according to Andy Hargreaves, analyst for Pacific Crest Securities, it could be an all-or-nothing choice by Apple. In a research note shared with MacRumors, Hargreaves thinks the "likely options for Apple include a delay of production or elimination of fingerprint sensing on the OLED iPhone." That's right, he actually thinks Apple might release an iPhone without a Touch ID sensor at all. We think that's basically madness. There's no way Apple would do that given its push on security and privacy, and how deeply integrated the sensor is with Apple services at this point. No "pro" iPhone is going to be released without Touch ID. 
 
So, we'd say Hargreaves real prediction is that if Apple can't figure out the production issues in the next month, it will likely end up delaying the premium iPhone. That also seems troublesome, given the whole point of it is to hit the 10 year anniversary, but we'll have to see.
Cell Phone

Watch the LG G6 survive a Mouse Trap like adventure and come out unscathed

Remember the game Mouse Trap? The idea was to put together a wacky Rube Goldberg-esque contraption piece by piece, depending on the roll of the dice. This weekend, LG released a video that shows the LG G6 being put through a number of obstacles while certain features appear on screen. It's an interesting way to show off the durability of the handset, while confirming some of the specs and capabilities of LG's new flagship phone to consumers.

Some of the features highlighted in the video include the IP68 certification rating which allows the device to be submerged to as deep as nearly 5-feet for as long as 30-minutes, and emerge unscathed. The phone passed 14 different military tests and a straight drop of 3-feet, proving that it could survive a fall. It also will live through temperatures as cold as -4 degrees Fahrenheit to as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit. With Quick Charging 3.0, the battery is charged to 50% in just 35 minutes. And the maximum temperature of the LG G6 after charging is 95.09 degrees Fahrenheit, so you shouldn't have to worry about it overheating while plugged in

If you want to see the LG G6  survive an entertaining test in the lab, click on the video at the top of this story. It certainly looks like LG has built a better mouse trap.

Cell Phone

A new Android powered BlackBerry tablet could be coming soon

BlackBerry CEO John Chen spoke to analysts today via conference call following the release of the company's fiscal fourth quarter earnings report. BlackBerry reported profits on an adjusted basis of 4 cents a share, topping forecasts of a breakeven quarter. During his chat with the Wall Street prognosticators, Chen made everyone's ears perk up when he said that BlackBerry is moving into the second phase of its licensing program. He noted that one of BlackBerry's partners is very interested in building an Android powered slate, and as a result "you may soon see a BlackBerry tablet," Chen said. The company interested in building the device is one of the three companies now licensed to build BlackBerry phones. The trio include China's TCL, India's Optiemus and Indonesia based PT BB Merah Putih. Chen did not reveal which of the three is interested in producing the slate. If the tablet is manufactured, BlackBerry will be in line to receive royalties based on sales. The tablet would run on software provided by BlackBerry. The BlackBerry PlayBook is the only tablet to wear the BlackBerry name thus far. Released in 2011, the tablet used the QNX operating system which later morphed into BlackBerry 10. While the OS received positive reviews, BlackBerry shipped the slate without a calendar app, and email required the use of a BlackBerry handset and the BlackBerry Bridge. These are shocking omissions for a company well known for the email client on its handsets. "One of our partners are (sic) very excited to build a tablet based on Android, and so they wanted us to give them the portfolio rights to do that. I'm interested to do that because I'm going to get royalties for every tablet they ship. I will just leave it at that, and it's not even that, we have to curate it, we have to do a lot of things on with it, so it's not a 100% committed thing but it's gonna come from our partners and BlackBerry will only receive royalty but it's using our software and we do the QA and portfolio management, so I hope that clarifies that point."-John Chen, CEO, BlackBerry You can count former BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins as being among those surprised at the possibility of a new BlackBerry tablet. Back in April 2013, Heins said that tablets would be dead in five years.
Cell Phone

Samsung Malaysia is giving away a power bank and more with a Galaxy S8/S8+ pre-order

Those pre-ordering a Samsung Galaxy S8 or Samsung Galaxy S8+ from Samsung Malaysia will be receiving some free items for their new handset. That's because the Samsung unit is trying to entice consumers in the country into reserving one of the two new models. A useful 5100mAh power bank is one of the items. It's the perfect accessory for power users or for those who plan on showing off their new phone to friends, family and strangers that they bump into.

Other items being given away by Samsung Malaysia to consumers pre-ordering the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ include a Limited Edition Starter Kit. This contains a clear cover, a screen protector, a wireless stand and a USB Type-C cable. And the last freebie is a one-year Samsung Protection Plus subscription. The latter extends the warranty on either model by one additional year, and also covers one year of protection for the phone's display. With the warranty in force, a cracked screen can be replaced for free (one time only).

The power bank, Starter Kit and Protection Plus subscription are valued together at $203 USD. Not a bad haul at all. Reserving a unit in Malaysia requires leaving a deposit equivalent to $68 USD on Samsung Malaysia's pre-order page, which can be found by clicking on the sourcelink. Pre-orders begin in the country at 10 am local time on April 11th, and run until 11:59 pm local time on April 13th. The phones will be available a day early, on May 4th, for those who pre-order one of the two models.

In other markets like the U.S., Samsung is tossing in a Gear VR headset, a controller, and some content from Oculus with the pre-order of  a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+. The value of that package is $130.

Cell Phone

The Huawei P10 Lite makes another appearance in Europe; new listing shows a slightly bigger battery

At this year's MWC, Huawei unveiled the latest additions to its flagship line - the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus. However, anyone who is familiar with the business practices of the Chinese manufacturer knows that after the grand announcements of its high-end phones, Huawei usually launches a Lite member of the "P" family as well. This year is no exception, as the new P10 Lite was first seen available for pre-order from Dutch retailer Coolblue. Now, despite the fact that we still don't have any official information from Huawei about the handset, Italy-based online store Moonclick has also listed the P10 Lite, citing April 11th as the date on which the phone will be available. Overall, the two retailers have put up identical specs for the device - The P10 Lite will come with a 5.2-inch Full HD (1920x1080) IPS display, an octa-core Kirin 658 chipset, 4GB RAM, and 32GB of internal storage plus a microSD expansion slot. However, the Italian retailer has listed a slightly larger battery capacity - 3,100 mAh compared to the 3,000 mAh one that can be seen on Coolblue. The P10 Lite will have Android 7.0 Nougat and EMUI 5.1 out of the box, but don't expect to find the signature dual Leica sensors of the P10 and P10 Plus at the back, as the Lite version of the handset will come with a single 12MP main camera. If the information on both sites is anything to go by, the handset will be priced at €349 or about $379. The retailers list black, white, and gold as the color variations for the P10 Lite, which means that we won't likely see the unusual "Dazzling Blue" or "Greenery" hues that are featured with its bigger siblings. Although this news almost certainly confirms that we will see the new phone very soon, we can't help but wonder about Huawei's plans for the announcement of the device.
Cell Phone

LG's first TV commercial for the G6 launches a day before Galaxy S8 announcement

Ah, the games that companies play to get the attention of consumers. Yesterday, LG threw another jab at Samsung by releasing the first big TV commercial for its latest flagship – the G6. As you may know, Samsung is set to announce its Galaxy S8 and S8+ flagships today, so the decision to air the commercial at this time is anything but random.

The tagline that LG has chosen to use in the advert sums it up pretty well: "The big screen that fits in your hand.” Just about everything in the 30-second videorevolves around the G6's large 5.7-inch display with its unusual 18:9 aspect ratio and the very slim bezels that encompass it. 

Two short scenes also bring the attention to the device's water resistance and the interesting dual-camera setup at the back, which consists of two identical 13 MP sensors. As this is the first of supposedly many commercials for the smartphone, we suspect that LG will accentuate on all the other cool features of the G6 at a later stage.

There is little doubt that the new flagship will sell better than its predecessor – the modular G5 – but it looks like the company might be aiming much higher for this year.
LG has done everything in its power to release the G6 as soon as possible, and the handset will hit the shelves in the US in the next few days. It will be interesting to see if this strategy will bring success to the Korean manufacturer, as its main competitors have also stepped up big time.

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