The Galaxy Fold makes no sense as a consumer device yet

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The foldable Galaxy Fold phone-tablet hybrid is Samsung’s Google Glass: an exciting technical showcase that is hitting the market far too soon and risks souring everyone on the entire nascent category.

Pardon me for being such a strident skeptic, but I’ve seen this pattern too many times before. It happened with the first iteration of 3D cameras on phones (RIP HTC EVO 3D), it happened with modular phones (RIP Project Ara), and it happened with Android Wear smartwatches (which are trudging on as unloved, purposeless zombies). The failed hype cycle has a common basic structure: take an application of technology that has universal, self-explanatory appeal, build a few prototypes, get to a stage where the product doesn’t look hideous, and…

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Samsung’s Gear VR isn’t dead yet — will work with Galaxy S10

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Two years ago, Samsung’s virtual reality ambitions were big enough to produce a bizarre, award-winning commercial featuring an ostrich who learns to fly, thanks to a Gear VR headset and the music of Elton John. But 2017 was also the last year that Samsung produced a new Gear VR device, much less a TV spot. Just like in 2018, today’s Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event featured a whole bunch of new phones — but not a single mention of VR.

But Samsung hasn’t stopped supporting the tech quite yet. The new lineup of Galaxy S10 phones is still compatible with an existing Gear VR headset, a Samsung spokesperson tells me. “Yes, the latest model Gear VR will work. Gear VR comes with an adapter that will work with S10,” he wrote. Road to VR reports…

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Samsung Galaxy S10E vs. iPhone XR: two budget flagships compared

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Along with the new $899 Samsung Galaxy S10 and $999 Galaxy S10 Plus, Samsung is introducing a slightly more budget-friendly phone: the Galaxy S10E. While not the most surprising thing ever, following the release of Apple’s popular iPhone XR in late 2018, it’s encouraging that Samsung isn’t entirely pushing high-end smartphones out of reach.

Both the Galaxy S10E and iPhone XR start at $749, which is probably no coincidence on Samsung’s part. (That’s actually a higher starting price than the $720 Galaxy S9 last year, which had a higher-res curved screen.) But whether you’re focused on the design, or the specs inside, both of these phones have most of the selling points of their more expensive counterparts. Of course, there are plenty of…

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Samsung’s vision of tomorrow’s phones doesn’t include the headphone jack

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The Galaxy Fold was the most exciting announcement at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event by a long shot. While the new S10 and its variants look like top-tier phones, it was the Fold that captured everyone’s imagination. As Samsung CEO DJ Koh proudly declared at the event, the Fold “sets this industry on a new path.” And apparently, it’s a path that — unlike the rest of the phones Samsung announced today — doesn’t include a 3.5mm headphone jack.

It’s a sour note on what otherwise looks like a really interesting product. And if the Galaxy Fold is the future of Samsung’s smartphones, then it might be time for users to start saying goodbye to the beloved headphone jack.

Whether or not to include a headphone jack is a decision that’s painted a…

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Samsung’s Galaxy Fold might only launch on two of the big US carriers

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Samsung’s very fancy foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, will be available on two carriers when it launches in the US in a couple months: AT&T and T-Mobile. As for everyone else? Samsung hasn’t said, but for now, it sounds like the initial model of the Fold won’t launch on Verizon and Sprint.

It’s not clear if that means the Fold outright won’t work on those two carriers, but that may be the case. Verizon and Sprint rely on a different mobile technology for their 3G networks, and it’s possible the Fold just doesn’t include support. Sometimes, unsupported phones can still access LTE on Verizon and Sprint, but it isn’t guaranteed.

This is a particularly surprising detail given that Verizon is getting an…

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How the Samsung Galaxy S10 measures up against the iPhone XS and the Pixel 3

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Where the Samsung Galaxy S9 phones last year felt mostly iterative, the latest S10 devices are some of the company’s biggest changes yet, with the company’s modus operandi being to win over customers that didn’t shell out for an upgrade last year.

The latest S10 flagship phones are packing a punch — they have more RAM, larger storage options, newer Snapdragon processors, better screen resolution, and Wi-Fi 6 support. That means that for almost the same weight and dimensions, these phones should be faster and better for streaming Netflix in HD while on the go. There are three rear cameras rather than two and the S10 Plus has dual selfie cameras as well — along with a built-in Instagram mode.

While that all sounds impressive, the past…

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Hands-on with Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch Active

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Samsung just spent 90 minutes talking about its new Galaxy S10 phones that are coming out this year, including a folding model, but it also dropped information on a new smartwatch in its line of Galaxy wearables. The Galaxy Watch Active is the latest watch running Samsung’s proprietary Tizen software, and it will be available for $199.99 when it hits shelves on March 8th. We just spent some brief time with the Watch Active, and here’s what you need to know: it’s light. It feels almost unnaturally light.

The biggest change from prior Samsung watches is the lack of a rotating bezel, which is a bit of a bummer. Instead, the Active relies on its touchscreen and two side buttons for navigation. They work fine, but they are a little clumsier…

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Samsung’s Galaxy Home smart speaker will launch by April

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After announcing it last summer, Samsung is nearing the release of its Bixby Home smart speaker. The device, meant to compete with the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod, and Sonos speakers, will launch by April. That’s according to co-CEO DJ Koh, who spoke to CNET today.

The Galaxy Home uses Samsung’s own Bixby virtual assistant to respond to a user’s voice commands. Its sound performance is tuned by the company’s AKG division. Samsung first revealed the Galaxy Home during its Note 9 event back in August, but has stayed relatively quiet on launch details ever since. The Home can act as a hub for SmartThings and control any smart home gadgets compatible with that platform by voice.

The company also claims this is “the only AI…

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You can remap the Bixby button on Samsung’s Galaxy S10 to do whatever you want

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Samsung will allow buyers of its new Galaxy S10 smartphones to use the Bixby key to open whatever app they want. The Verge has confirmed that with the S10, the company has added settings that allow you to customize the button beyond what has been allowed previously. You can assign the Bixby button to open a third-party app with either a single or double press of the button.

Whichever option you don’t assign to a different app will continue to open the Bixby feed. So for example, if you choose to open Instagram, Google, Spotify or some other app with a single press, a double press will trigger Bixby. Holding down the button still opens Bixby voice no matter what.

Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

This addresses the…

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Fortnite has an exclusive K-pop skin for those who preorder the Galaxy S10 Plus

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Samsung made an exclusive Fortnite skin for people who buy the new Galaxy S10 Plus phone. It’s K-pop-themed, and it’s modeled after Jung Chan-woo, a member of South Korean boy band iKon.

You may not have heard of iKon, but just know it’s a seven-member band from YG Entertainment, which also brought bands like Big Bang and 2NE1 to fame. Like their predecessors, iKon mostly performs hip-hop, from catchy ballads to more straight-up rap. Chan-woo is known as the group’s youngest member, or the maknae, who’s usually unofficially responsible for bringing more cuteness to a group.

The deal is exclusive to the S10 Plus, so if you’re planning on getting a regular S10, you won’t qualify. It feels like Samsung is trying to incentivize more mobile…

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The Galaxy S10 will have an Instagram mode built into its camera

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Samsung is partnering with Instagram to add a new “Instagram mode” directly to the native camera app on the newly announced Galaxy S10. “We’ve worked together to rethink the experience of Instagram on the S10,” said Instagram’s head of product Adam Mosseri onstage at the Galaxy Unpacked event.

The new Instagram mode is built right into Samsung’s stock camera app, and is selectable just like you would choose the panorama or pro shooting modes. Instagram mode lets users shoot and upload directly to their Instagram stories, complete with stickers, Instagram’s editing tools, text, hashtags, and more, for what Samsung is calling the “best Instagram experience on a smartphone.”

To show it off, Mosseri shot a picture and uploaded it to his…

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Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch Active measures blood pressure

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Samsung officially announced multiple wearables today, including its newest smartwatch, the Galaxy Active, which it says is designed to make “pursuing wellness goals more convenient, more stylish, and more fun.” The watch monitors blood pressure, in addition to heart rate, which is the biggest functional change for the company’s watch. It also underwent an aesthetic overhaul. It has an aluminum body with a new strap material, as well as a new watch face interface.

The watch has 4GB of storage and also supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and mobile payments via NFC. It can track more than 39 activities, monitor sleep, count steps, and has GPS built in. The company also says its new S10 phone line will charge the watch wirelessly. Of course, the…

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How to preorder the Samsung Galaxy S10

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Samsung’s Galaxy S10 lineup of phones have been announced, and you’ll be able to order them starting February 21st. We have first looks of all three devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and the new S10E, which all will ship on Friday, March 8th. What’s the S10E, you ask? Like Apple did with its more affordable iPhone XR, Samsung is trying to tempt those who might be reluctant to upgrade to do so with a cheaper Galaxy S10 phone.

You can sign up right now through Samsung to reserve your spot that gives you 72 hours to place a preorder when they go live at 12:01AM ET / 9:01PM PT. Additionally, you can trade in your current phone for up to $550 in credit toward a new Galaxy S10 from Samsung. If you place an order on the S10…

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The new 1TB Galaxy S10 Plus costs an eye-watering $1,600

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Today Samsung announced several new Galaxy S10 flagship phones, but there’s one out of the three that stands out. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus with 1TB of upgraded storage is their most expensive Galaxy S phone to date, at $1,600. If you’re on a 30-month contract plan, like what’s available from AT&T or US Cellular, that’s $53.34 per month, on top of your service plan, making the 1TB S10 Plus one of the most expensive smartphones you can buy from a US carrier.

Except, of course, Samsung’s $1,980 foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, if carriers sell it too. Or if Samsung’s 5G-equipped Galaxy S10 5G winds up costing even more.

There’s not as much precedent set for a $1,600 smartphone as there has been for the thousand-dollar mark, as seen…

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The 5 biggest announcements from the Samsung Galaxy S10 Unpacked event

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Samsung announces a new Galaxy S phone in the first half of every year, so while it’s no surprise that we would get an official look at the new S10 and S10 Plus devices today, the company also unveiled the Galaxy Fold, its first foldable smartphone. This was a product Samsung had teased since last fall and worked on for years, with its first prototype dating back to 2012.

Alongside the smartphones, Samsung also confirmed all of the new wearable devices it let loose earlier this month on its own app. Here’s a recap of all the biggest announcements from this year’s Unpacked event.

The Galaxy Fold is official, and it’s pricey

Samsung’s first foldable smartphone has been teased since last fall, and today, we got a few more details about what…

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Samsung’s Galaxy S10 has up to six cameras: here’s what they all do

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Not only is Samsung increasing the number of phones it’s releasing with the new Galaxy S10 lineup, it’s also adding more cameras to these devices than in years past. Every Galaxy S10 model will feature at least three: you’ll get both a standard camera and an ultra-wide angle camera on the back, plus a selfie camera up front. The S10 and S10 Plus offer a portrait camera, but the S10E doesn’t. And the upcoming 5G model has six cameras in all. It seems a bit silly, but having so many different, specialized lenses will allow for a ton of creative flexibility.

So if you’re constantly taking photos and video with your phone, it’s important to pick the S10 that best aligns with your shooting style. Here’s a breakdown of the number of cameras…

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The Galaxy S10’s ultrasonic fingerprint reader is amazing

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Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 phones feel great to hold and to use, and you can pick from a library of features to explain why that is. Having handled all three of the new S10s unveiled today, I’d say my favorite thing about them is the new in-display, ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. It lets Samsung combine the gorgeous all-display screen with a clean design on the rear and the convenience of fingerprint authentication on the front of the device.

Built into the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus — but not the lower-tier S10E, which makes do with a fingerprint scanner embedded in the power button on its side — Samsung’s ultrasonic reader is easily the best in-display system I’ve tried yet. Vivo was first out of the gate with an optical solution at…

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Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are cheaper than AirPods and have wireless charging

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What does it take to beat Apple’s AirPods? Most headphone companies have landed on the idea that the answer is better performance, noise isolation, and battery life — but every time they’ve achieved that, they’ve done it at a higher price and with a much larger charging case. Samsung, Apple’s most direct rival in the consumer hardware business, is trying to win without compromise, introducing today the true wireless Galaxy Buds that will cost $129.99 or be bundled with preorders of the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus.

I got to see and touch (but not hear or wear) the Galaxy Buds ahead of their announcement today, and everything that Samsung presented made them look like a winner. Their pill-shaped enclosure is as close as anyone’s yet come to…

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Samsung announces the Galaxy S10 5G

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Samsung will launch a top-tier model of the Galaxy S10 that offers 5G mobile data connectivity. The device, which has a larger screen and battery than the S10 Plus, will temporarily be a Verizon Wireless exclusive before expanding to other carriers in the weeks after launch. It will go on sale sometime “in the first half of 2019.”

The 5G Galaxy S10 will feature a giant 6.7-inch display; the standard S10 Plus screen measures 6.4 inches. It will also have a 4,500mAh battery compared to 4,100mAh in the S10 Plus. However, it’s important to remember that 5G modems are still relatively new, so a beefier battery is likely a necessity to deliver battery life that equals or bests the other S10 models. You’ll be able to charge it quickly, too:…

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Samsung’s Galaxy S10 has Wi-Fi 6 and faster LTE

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They might not be the flashiest features, but Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 line has a subtler pair of upgrades that could meaningfully improve the experience of using them day in and out. All three new phones, the S10, S10 Plus, and S10E, include support for Wi-Fi 6 as well as 2 gigabit LTE speeds, up from 1.2 gigabits last year. The upgrades offer the potential for faster internet speeds, whether you’re connected to a cell network or just your home router.

Now, there are some big caveats here. For one, you’re never actually going to hit 2 Gbps on your wireless network — that figure is the phone’s theoretical maximum speed. But the higher figure reflects various speed-boosting improvements, which ought to translate to at least some…

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