Samsung HMD Odyssey Headset Comes With New Features

The Microsoft’s Mixed Reality headset lineup received a brand new title. This time it is a premium product that has been unveiled by Samsung. The HMD Odyssey has been revealed and users are already able to preorder it. For now you can pre-order the product only if you live in the US and you can get it from Microsoft Store or Samsung.

The headset will cost $499 and it should start shipping on November 10, after Microsoft releases the Fall Creators Update. This timing is important because this update will also come with support for Windows Mixed Reality. After its release, the HMD Odyssesy headset will become available in Hong Kong, Brazil, Korea and China.

The HMD Odyssey is one of the most performant devices of its kind

The new Samsung device is a good addition for the Microsoft’s Mixed Reality lineup and it surpassed the other headsets from Microsoft partners. Those were created by HP, Lenovo, Dell and Acer, and the starting price is $399.

The HMD Odyssey aims to rival Oculus Rift, since it comes with the same price and with two controllers that are not sold separately. Another similarity is that both headsets come built-in headphones.

Samsung’s headset manages to come up with some impressive characteristics. For example, it brings a per-eye resolution of 1440 x 1600 pixels and a dual 3.5-inch AMOLED display.s The refresh rate goes up to 90Hz. This makes the HMD Odyssey one of the best headsets, since its competitors usually come with 1440×1440 pixels or even 1080×1200 pixels per eye.

The headset does not come with the flip-up visors that are available on other devices, but its design brings extra padding on the cheek fittings. This means that it won’t squeeze your head, like other headsets do.

Samsung gets DMV’s OK to test autonomous cars in California

The California DMV has just updated the list of companies that can test self-driving technologies in the state, and there’s one notable addition: Samsung Electronics.

In a statement, a company spokesperson confirmed that it’s participating in California’s Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program. However, he clarified that the Korean conglomerate still has “no plans to enter the car-manufacturing business.” Samsung will instead continue to develop sensors that use its AI and deep learning software, as well as other components for autonomous vehicles.

Samsung first got a permit to test self-driving technologies in its home country earlier this year.

The chaebol revealed then that it was planning to test the sensors and parts it’s developing aboard a Hyundai car. It unfortunately didn’t elaborate on what those components can do, but we might find out more details when the company starts testing them in California.

The number of companies testing on California roads is only bound to grow, especially now that the government is mulling on giving tech titans and automakers exceptions to federal safety rules. Next week, lawmakers are slated to vote on the SELF DRIVE Act that would prevent states from regulating autonomous vehicle designs. If it passes, companies like Waymo will be able to test 100,000 autonomous vehicles, though, in exchange they have to turn in more data to the feds.

See the Galaxy Note 8 from every angle


Instead of splashing out, though, Samsung played it safe. The Note 8’s battery is smaller than 2016’s model, in part to keep from repeating last year’s fatal mistake.

There are also a lot of carry-overs from the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy S8 that keep the Note 8 from feeling truly fresh. For example, the S Pen stylus only adds a few more tricks, none of which will set off industry shockwaves. (They’re still fun, though. More on that below.) And then there’s the awkward placement of that fingerprint sensor. Sorry, rumor junkies, it hasn’t moved under the screen after all. Why Samsung chose to replicate the worst design shortfall of its earlier phone is beyond me; the Note 8 is a large phone that’ll have you stretching for the sensor. Or else you’ll give up and use a different way to unlock the phone and green-light Samsung Pay.

The twin rear cameras are the only major feature that’s truly new, and they’re a first for any Samsung phone. But dual cameras are now so common in high-end handsets that they’ve quickly become the norm. Samsung’s implementation, however, is really promising, and it takes Apple’s Portrait Mode to the next level. That’s tentatively a notch in Samsung’s belt. (And again, much more on this below.)

I can’t wait to fully test the Galaxy Note 8’s new twin cameras, battery life and hidden tricks. At first glance, it’s an attractive, fully featured device for power users who are looking for the ultimate in handheld computing. In a lot of ways, the Note 8 is the Galaxy Note 7 we should have had, but with a modern camera experience that promises something extra.

There’s just one final sticking point, and that’s price. The Note series is typically Samsung’s costliest phone, an expense that Samsung justifies with the most cutting-edge features and a heap of stylus tricks. This could work in Samsung’s favor if the , Google Pixel 2 and also cost a bundle. Or, the relatively high price could backfire if more buyers go for the Galaxy S8 Plus instead. Sure, the S8 Plus has only one rear camera and no stylus, but it’s otherwise about the same, for a little less cash.

Read on for a breakdown of the Galaxy Note 8’s specs, and photo-taking capabilities and S Pen features. For a full comparison with today’s top phones, skip to the end.

And remember, our final verdict on whether the Note 8 is worth the price will come after we’ve received a review unit and had a chance to fully test the phone.

Note 8 price and when to buy

Absolutely excellent news for original Note 7 owners: Samsung will grant a discount on the Note 8 as an apology for the hassle of having returned your last phone. The big catch? This is currently for US customers only. It’s a good start, and one we hope Samsung will extend to other affected buyers worldwide.

Note 7 owners who go to Samsung.com will receive an instant trade-in value of up to $425 (about £330 or $AU540) when you upgrade your current phone for a Galaxy Note 8. It’s gratifying to see Samsung make good with 2016’s endangered, inconvenienced buyers. Moreover, it’s the final step Samsung needed to take to finally put the Note 7 disaster to rest.

Preorders start Aug. 24, and the phone goes on sale Sept. 15 in the US, UK, South Korea and other select countries. It’ll roll out globally through October.

All US buyers who preorder the phone will get a fast wireless charger and a 128GB microSD card or a Gear 360. This has nothing to do with being a Note 7 owner, it’s available to everyone. More details here.

You’ll be able to buy the phone through carriers, Samsung.com and other retailers. Samsung is also doing something different and immediately selling the Galaxy Note 8 unlocked rather than waiting weeks or months to offer an unlocked option.

In the US, you can pick up the Note 8 from Best Buy, Target and Walmart in addition to Samsung.com. As for carriers, AT&T will sell it for $950 and Verizon will sell it for $960. T-Mobile users can nab it for $930 while Sprint offers it for $960. The phone will also be available on U.S. Cellular for the full retail price of $963 ($32.10 on 30-month plan) or for $899.99 prepaid.

Is the Note 8 battery safe?

If you were burned by the Galaxy Note 7 flame-out, you might be a little gunshy about the Note 8.

Here’s what Samsung’s done to help cool your fears:

Of course, we won’t know for certain if any phone battery is faulty until users’ reports come in. For the record, there have not been similar widespread reports of problems with the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus batteries. However, if you’re wary, it doesn’t hurt to watch and wait.

Upping the dual-camera ante

Samsung’s first two-camera setup places a 12-megapixel telephoto lens alongside a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens (there’s also an 8-megapixel camera up front). Both cameras use optical image stabilization (OIS) to help keep images and video looking smooth.

Portrait mode is the major use case here. This applies a softly blurred background around the subject (which itself is in focus), like an aura of mystique that makes the person or thing pop out.

Samsung calls it Live Focus, and it lets you do more than you can on other phones with similar modes, including the iPhone 7 Plus, which popularized the feature.

Other camera details for shutterbugs: 2x optical zoom, up to 10x digital zoom, F2.4 telephoto lens, F1.7 wide-angle lens with dual-pixel auto-focus.

Galaxy Note 8’s best new features

You won’t see these on the Galaxy S8, or any other phone for that matter.

This creates an animated GIF of a handwritten note, which is written back in real time. You can add photo backgrounds to create your own personal meme. What stands out here is that you can share these on any app that supports animated GIFs, so Facebook Messenger, for example, or WhatsApp.

On the Note 8, you can create a Live Message from the Air Command navigation wheel (which you see when you pull the S Pen from its holster) and from the keyboard, if you hold down the custom key and find the Live Message option.

Screen-off Memo was introduced on the Note 7. It lets you scribble on the screen without having to unlock the phone, and it’s pretty great. You can pin a note to the always-on display, and now you can save it and pin again to lengthen the list and create up to 100 pages. You can still transcribe pages if you save them to your Notes app.

If you find yourself constantly using the same two apps in split screen mode, the Note 8 gives you an option to link them together and open them both with a tap. Say, for example, YouTube and your internet browser, or Google Maps and music.

It’s called App Pair. You start by pulling out the tab on the edge of the screen, and swipe to get to the app shortcuts. Samsung says it will start you off with one or two pairings, but you can also link your own apps in settings. Then when you’re ready to use them, a tap on the app pair icon loads them both in split screen mode.

You used to have to translate in foreign languages a word at a time — say by selecting words on a foreign-language website with the S Pen. But now you can click an entire sentence and translate it all at once. The expanded feature works for over 70 languages and uses Google Translate. The tool also converts currency.

What else?

Sorry, US buyers, you won’t get blue or gold colors at launch; you get your choice of black and gray. It’s possible Samsung will release a new shade down the road.

Samsung and Shazam have partnered up to put an end to the head-scratching torment of hearing an unidentifiable song on TV.

Samsung’s newest update for its 2017 smart TV platform will give viewers access to Shazam at the click of a button, allowing them to identify the title, artist and lyrics of a song playing on screen. This can happen live, or via content delivered through HDMI. Viewers can also speak “what is this song?” into the Samsung One Remote to access information, plus stream the music they identify and create playlists that can be accessed without running an external app.

This is a logical step for Shazam, which has regained relevance in recent times by adding extra content to TV advertising. And of course it’s a win for Samsung TV viewers, who will no longer have to scramble for their phones to launch the app when they hear a tune they like on-screen.

And for the relatives of the less technologically-inclined (hi, mom!), who frequently spend months hunting down a particular song based on a single vague lyric playing in the background of a generic soap scene.

“We are excited to integrate Shazam’s functionality with another medium that’s enjoyed by so many people around the world,” said Fabio Santini, Shazam chief product officer. “Smart TVs felt like a natural evolution for the Shazam experience. We can’t wait for viewers and Shazam users alike to try this new feature.”

We liked Samsung’s Gear Fit 2, but it had its limits. You couldn’t use it to track your swimming, for starters. It’s a good thing, then, that well-known leaker Evan Blass claims to have a training deck detailing a sequel that should be unveiled at Samsung’s August 23rd event.

The Gear Fit 2 Pro would look much like its predecessor, complete with that tall, curved display, but would include some big design upgrades.

Most notably, it would add 5 ATM water resistance and that hoped-for swim tracking — it’ll sync up with the Speed On app. Accordingly, the Pro switches from a snap-on strap to a watch-like buckle to prevent it from falling off in mid-backstroke.

The full extent of the software upgrades isn’t available, but the new wristwear should also support offline Spotify playback. So long as you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones, you won’t need to bring your phone to get a soundtrack for your gym sessions. GPS tracking was already included in the Fit 2 and should carry over here.

There’s no mention of pricing, not to mention whether this will replace or complement the Fit 2. The Pro badge suggests that it could be sold alongside the earlier wrist-wear, but nothing mentioned so far would explicitly justify a price hike. There’s only a few days until the reported launch, though, so it won’t take long to learn whether or not the new model is within your budget

There has been chatter about a Samsung watch for awhile now, and it looks like the rumors have legs.

Android Headlines reports that the company has filed documents with the FCC about a device called the Samsung Gear Sport. Based on the included designs, it appears to be some sort of smartwatch or fitness device.

Details on the device are sketchy — the only hint we get as to the device’s design is a schematic of the bottom of the device. We also know that it will have onboard support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Unsurprisingly, Samsung requested that the rest of the documents (including the operational description, parts list and other specifications) remain confidential.

With IFA coming up in the next few weeks, it’s understandable that Samsung is focusing on a new watch/fitness device (or even introducing a new line of watches/fitness devices). We still don’t have a lot of information, but now we’re even more curious as to what the company has planned for the consumer electronics conference.

Following Apple’s announcement of its HomePod last month, Samsung is now the latest tech giant to hop on the smart speaker bandwagon. The Wall Street Journal reports that the South Korean hardware maker is baking its Bixby assistant into a voice-activated device.

It’s presently codenamed Vega, and has been in the works for over a year now – and there still isn’t a set launch date. That might be due to the fact that Bixby – which debuted on the Galaxy S8 handset in March – still doesn’t support English and hasn’t arrived in major markets like the US yet.

It’s worth noting that Samsung has worked on numerous smart speakers in the past and shelved them because they didn’t make the cut. Bixby might be just the thing that makes Vega work. WSJ’s sources say it’ll operate similar to Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo line of speakers, allowing you to play music, ask questions, and control your connected home gadgets.

Of course, Samsung will have plenty of competition to contend with if its speaker makes it to store shelves. Besides the Echo range, there’s Google Home, Microsoft’s Cortana-based Invoke (made by Harman Kardon) set to launch this fall, and the aforementioned Apple HomePod that will go on sale in December. The question is, how will it convince people to choose the Vega over the rest?

Budget phones are often very popular due to the attractive pricing. If you are planning to get one, you might want to consider Samsung’s upcoming Pro version of the Galaxy J Series.

The J Series is the South Korean electronic giant’s entry level offering, in contrast to the mid-range A series and the flagship S and Note series.

In a leak from Samsung’s retailer that has been circulated online, the series will consist of three models, namely J7 Pro, J5 Pro and J3 Pro.

All three sport a new sleek metal unibody design and while the J5 Pro and J7 Pro will have a unique U-shaped antenna band in the upper rear of the devices. With the introduction of the Pro variants, the specs seem to be heading much closer to the mid-range, with a pretty decent amount of RAM, internal storage and large batteries.

The J7 Pro sports a 5.5in Super Amoled full-HD display, 3GB RAM, 13-megapixel f/1.7 rear camera and a large 3,600mAh battery, along with other advanced features such as front fingerprint sensor and always-on-display.

On the other hand the J5 Pro has a 5.2 in HD display, a 3,000mAh battery and front fingerprint sensor. It has the same amount of RAM and camera as the J7 Pro.

The J3 Pro will be the base model for the series featuring a 5in HD display, 2GB RAM, 13-megapixel f/1.9 rear camera and a 2,400mAh battery.

All three will reportedly run on the current generation Android OS, 7.0 Nougat. From the leak, the J7 Pro is set to be priced at RM1,299 while the J5 Pro and the J3 Pro will be priced at RM1,149 and RM699 respectively.

Based on the previous leak of Galaxy C9 Pro at a retailers’ briefing, the J Pro series availability might happen within weeks.

While waiting for the new Galaxy J Pro phones, you might be interested to know that the Galaxy S8 now comes in a new shade, Coral Blue. The Galaxy S8 Coral Blue will be available at the recommended retail price of RM3,299, while the Galaxy S8+ Coral Blue is offered at a recommended retail price of RM3,699 from July 7 onwards.

Samsung is set to build the world’s largest-ever OLED plant, according to a report from etnews. The new facility, said to be called “A5,” would be comprised of two buildings in South Korea’s South Chungcheong Province.

This is tipped to crank out “180,000 to 270,000 units of the sixth-generation OLED panels per month,” claims the The Investor, which is roughly a 30-percent jump on its A3 plant (the current largest OLED plant in South Korea).

The Investor says this information was provided by an industry source on the condition on anonymity, and that it could cost Samsung two trillion won (around $1.75 billion) just to construct the building. Equipment costs could set the company back between $4 and $14 billion, claims etnews. Facility operations are tipped to begin in 2019.

Though this is simply a rumor for right now, it is exceedingly likely that Samsung is seeking ways to increase its OLED output; last year, reports emerged that it would invest a whopping $6.8 billion in AMOLED displays.

A new factory would certainly help Samsung build more panels, but to what end? Here are some possibilities.

Staying on top

Samsung is already the largest producer of small displays (nine inches or less) and its Display arm is a lucrative part of its overall business. But the company is facing competition from Japan Display, LG Display, and others while the rising Chinese companies like Xiaomi, Huawei, OPPO and Vivo have the potential to cause Samsung problems too.

A reported deal between Samsung and Apple has prompted several Chinese manufacturers to band together with the aim of securing a homegrown OLED supplier to rival Samsung. While a reported 100 million panel shipments to Apple over three years isn’t a bad prospect for Samsung, the Chinese OEMs’ smartphone market shares are on the up, and Samsung could miss out on the action.

Though investing in a better display infrastructure now will cost Samsung a lot of doe, it would give it a chance to secure its market foothold before a potential Chinese solution even gets off the ground. And it would be hard for smaller companies to compete with the prices offered by the biggest global OLED factory.

Market growth

Though LCD is still the most prevalent smartphone display type, OLED panels have been catching up, and the market is expected to continue to grow through 2023. Curved displays, meanwhile, are a current smartphone trend that analysts predict is going to continue over the next few years — and OLED is the best display type for it.

Add to this that OLED prices are dropping overall and it’s clear that they could overtake LCD on smartphones and in other tech spheres too, like smartwatches, home appliances, TVs, VR, etc.

Realistically, there probably won’t be anything to disrupt the prominence of small OLEDs in the next five years or so. Plus, if a superior tech — like microLED — does become preferable, there aren’t a whole lot of companies that would have the capacity to deliver it on a scale like Samsung could with OLED (i.e. they won’t be able to sell it to the market at as low a price).

Larger displays

The other major region that Samsung may need to invest so heavily in this proposed super plant is to produce larger displays. Samsung’s current factory apparently isn’t geared up to produce high volumes of the larger panels required for curved displays (The Investor‘s sources also indicate this), and, as has been previously discussed, these screens are becoming pretty hot. Even Apple is said to be joining the curved-screen party with its 10th anniversary iPhone.

Samsung Display is said to be holding a meeting next month to finalize its plans for the investments on the new plant, though it told The Investor that nothing is confirmed just yet. We’ll let you know when we learn more.

 

Choosing the best Apple Watch apps is the best way to bring your Apple Watch Series 2 or first-gen Apple Watch to life. Despite heavy hitters like Amazon and Google Maps recently pulling their Apple Watch apps, the ecosystem of apps compared to rival platforms, with more than 200,000 available to download, is awfully impressive.

With the new update, Apple watch apps run natively on the device itself. So which should you download first? So then let’s go through the choose the best apps to download!

Wearable’s eight essential apps

Best workout tracker: Strava

The best Apple Watch apps: 50 apps tried and tested

The giant of fitness apps has finally embraced the Apple Watch Series 2 to offer GPS tracked running and cycling. Why it’s taken so long, we’re not sure, but after testing the app out on the road, results are good: distances are nailed onto dedicated running watches and the experience was stable and reliable. Live pacing is not so strong and we found that aspect a little sluggish, and sadly there’s are no live Segments data, but for serious runners and cyclists, it’s the best on the App Store,

Best for football fans: Onefootball

So there you are in the world’s longest and most pointless business meeting, or an endless dinner with the in-laws, with no idea about the progress of your team’s valiant cup campaign. Onefootball enables you to track teams and have live scores sent to your wrist. Just don’t emit a huge cheer or cry of anguish after sneaking a crafty look at the display.

Best workout app: CARROT Fit

The best Apple Watch apps: 50 essential apps and games

The CARROT series puts a new spin on tired app categories, and this one’s all about the 7-minute workout. The malevolent CARROT AI puts you through your paces, doing ‘Celebrity Face Punches’ and ‘Dragon Mating Dances’. Start your workout and your Apple Watch can become a heads-up display, so you know what exercise you should be doing – or can pause things for a bit if your body’s about to break. Plus, if you’re a CARROT Weather user you get another weather complication! Yay for working around Apple’s complication rules!

Best Apple Watch notes app: Cheatsheet

The best Apple Watch apps: 50 essential apps and games

If you’re the kind of person forever forgetting important details – the office Wi-Fi password, a new phone number, your own name – Cheatsheet lets you make a tiny list of quick notes and shove them on your Apple Watch. Each item can have its own icon, making it easier to spot, and you can set items to appear on your watch face as a Complication.

Best Apple Watch wellbeing app: Streaks

This clean and simple habit-builder has come in for some criticism due to its limitations: you only get to define six habits, and must set them to happen on specific days of the week. But it’s effective to focus on a smaller number of tasks, and the Apple Watch app is great for marking them as done, and for keeping track via the app’s complication.

Best Apple Watch calculator: PCalc

It’s astonishing Apple omitted a calculator from Apple Watch (maybe Tim Cook hates Casio), but we’re dead chuffed PCalc exists to heroically come to our rescue. It has a smart interface, with operators and tip calculation just a button tap away (rather than placing these things behind a Force Touch wall). On watchOS 3, everything’s super-responsive, and you can use the Digital Crown to adjust tip amounts. (Generously, the free PCalc Lite also includes the Apple Watch app.)

Best Apple Watch productivity app: Just Press Record

On iPhone, Just Press Record is a very efficient app for making quick recordings: tap the record button, capture some audio, stop the recording, and your audio then syncs to the cloud. With watchOS 3, this all comes to your wrist, and you can record without your iPhone being around. The next time you connect, your recordings are transferred across. Also, more immediate access to the app can happen by way of its Watch Complication, a tap launching you straight into a recording.

And, brilliantly, the iPhone app now offers transcription. So you can talk to your wrist and later get a text file of what you said. It’s like living in the future.

Best Apple Watch game: Rules!

Rules! gives you a daily mini-game challenge, which is all about memorising rules and tapping relevant cards. Easy! Only it isn’t, because several rounds in, you’ll be juggling a bunch of rules in your head (“Tap ascending”; “Reds if you see green”; “No animals”), which must be dealt with in reverse order, all the while knowing that a single incorrect tap ends your game. With watchOS 3, the app’s far more responsive, boasts more levels, adds haptic feedback, and bundles the cutest complication you’re ever likely to see.

So after going through, we guess you’ll install the top 8 best apps for your Apple Watch to enhance your daily tasks!