The promised Amazon Alexa update is coming to the Huawei Mate 9 today, but don’t get too excited just yet. Unfortunately, this particular Alexa is only going to work within one app.

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The Huawei Mate 9 was unveiled all the way back in November, and in January, the Chinese company officially announced that the phablet would launch in the US for $599.99. But perhaps the biggest surprise of the announcement was Huawei’s partnership with Amazon to bring Alexa on board via a software update. The company simply stated that this feature would be available sometime in early 2017.

Well, that time has come: Huawei will start pushing out an OTA software update to US-based Mate 9 users today which will include the highly-anticipated Alexa integration. But don’t get too excited just yet because unfortunately, it looks like this particular Alexa won’t work system-wide; instead, she will live only within the new Huawei Alexa app. This means that unlike Google Assistant, which can be summoned via a simple command on any screen, you will have to physically access Huawei’s new app to ask Alexa for help. That kind of defeats the purpose of having a voice assistant, don’t you think?

This means that unlike Google Assistant, which can be summoned via a simple command on any screen, you will have to physically access Huawei’s new app to ask Alexa for help.

To be fair, though, the app itself can’t be more straightforward. You simply tap the button and ask away. According to Huawei, these are some of the things Alexa can help you with:

  • Get information by asking about famous people, dates, and places
  • Find a restaurant, movie or local business
  • Order from Amazon Prime
  • Control connected smart home features such as lights, temperature and appliances
  • Hear weather or traffic updates
  • Check your calendar
  • Hear the news through personalized Flash Briefings

So as long as you surmount that daunting task of finding the Huawei Alexa app and pressing the initiate button, the Alexa that lives within that app is the same capable and intelligent woman found in Amazon Echo devices. In other words, it has over 10,000 skills and can help you access smart home appliances, play games with you, become your fitness coach, and more.

Have you received your update yet? What are your thoughts on the Huawei Alexa app? Let us know by leaving a comment down below!

It’s been awhile since we last reviewed an Android tablet, especially ones that cross the $500 threshold. There’s a reason why the majority of Android tablets released in the last couple of years have been largely inexpensive ones, since consumers are finding it even more difficult than ever before to invest in high-spec’d Android tablets. And when you consider that dedicated tablets in general are a dying breed, it really makes you wonder more about their advantages.

Samsung just recently announced its latest convertible-styled Chromebooks, which now offer support for full blown Android apps – opening a gate that was once closed to them, so it’s especially intriguing how things have turned out. Now that by itself should make anyone question Samsung’s decision to launch its new Galaxy Tab S3, which comes almost two years after its predecessor. In that time, we’ve seen a radical shift in how consumers perceive tablets.

The Tab S3 is competing against other Windows 10 tablets and convertibles in the same price bracket, as well as these cheap Chromebooks and Apple’s iPad Pro tablets. So, do we really need another high-end Android tablet? Find out in our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review!


Drawing inspiration from its own Galaxy smartphones, Samsung has predictably outfitted the Galaxy Tab S3 with glass surfaces on the front and back – with an all-metal frame sandwiching everything together. There’s no denying the premium aspect in play here, one that’s further accentuated by its svelte chassis and lightweight feel. All of this, of course, helps to justify its more premium price point.

Since it’s glass, though, there’s a certain level of fragility with it, as well as being a magnet for smudges and fingerprints. When it’s clean, however, light bounces beautifully off its surface. It’s premium in every way imaginable, but just be careful using it – you don’t want it to accidentally slip. Glass meeting pavement is never a pretty sight afterwards.


The Tab S3 has the same screen as its predecessor, but we’re certainly not complaining. It sports a 9.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. It looks good, just as you’d expect, but many of the qualities have been improved over its predecessor. For starters, it’s significantly brighter with a peak brightness output of 465 nits, ensuring that clarity isn’t compromised when it’s used outdoors under direct light. And even though it’s extremely saturated in tone when it’s in adaptive mode, a common quality of AMOLED, switching to the basic display profile results in true-to-life, accurate color reproduction in the sRGB color gamut chart.

The biggest change to the display, however, is that it now features high dynamic range – that fancy HDR tech allows it to adjust details, contrast, and color saturation to give videos more of that cinematic vividness. From what we saw in our demo time during MWC 2017, it looked really great in how the contrast in the shadows were adjusted to draw out more details in the scene. However, it’s something you’ll witness with content produced in HDR – so existing videos without HDR won’t necessarily see improvements.

The quad speakers deliver crisp-sounding audio perfect for videos

That being said, there’s no arguing that the Tab S3 is remarkable for media consumption, since it’s been bred for that purpose. In complementing the HDR-enabled display, Samsung pairs the experience with quad speakers; two sets of speakers positioned on both edges of the tablet in landscape. They’re tuned by AKG by Harman, delivering crisp-sounding audio perfect for videos – giving it the necessary stereo effect. But despite reaching a top output of 75.4 dB, it doesn’t sound more potent than the speakers in the iPad Pro.


Clearly following after Samsung’s own Galaxy S7, the Tab S3 leverages the same quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 4 GB of RAM. Now, some eyebrows might be raised by that revelation, seeing that they’re probably expecting the newer Snapdragon 835 instead. But given that Sammy had ample time in the development stages to really optimize the Snapdragon 820, it doesn’t surprise us to see them use it here.

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Indeed, the Tab S3 handles most of the basic functions of a tablet, but it still stumbles when trying to juggle around more processor-intensive stuff. We see it happen when using Nougat’s baked-in side-by-side multitasking, as there are still some instances when it freezes momentarily. Most actions result in fluid movements, like surfing the web or using the S Pen in a painting app, but there are still times when hiccups do occur with the performance. It’s not frequent, thankfully, but that does make us wonder if it’s the software that’s the culprit.

The benchmark tests reveal it’s very much a powerhouse, in the elite class as you’d expect, rivaling the scores achieved by today’s top-end smartphones. One area that Samsung places a lot of emphasis on is gaming, thanks in part to the Vulkan graphics API engine – allowing it to deliver a solid gaming experience. The emphasis on gaming is especially noticeable in Samsung’s Game Launcher, which dishes up tools that allow gamers to do things like record their footage; without impacting its graphics processing performance in the process.


Aside from a few aesthetic changes to the design of the tablet, such as its quad speakers, everything else is pretty much in its usual position. Just like before, the power button and volume keys are located along the right edge of the tablet, along with the microSD card slot. Around the bottom, we have a 3.5 mm headphone jack with the newer USB Type-C connection port, which is positioned offset from the center.

Due to its skinny chassis, there’s no place to store the S Pen in the tablet when it’s not being used

Due to its skinny chassis, there’s no place to store the S Pen in the tablet when it’s not being used. That’s due to the thicker size of the S Pen itself, which gives it a more substantial feel when it’s held, but there’s not even a magnetic connection of some kind that could allow it to attach around the sides of the tablet. Honestly, we would’ve been happy with a skinnier S Pen, much like what was found with the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 back in 2014 – where you can tuck the S Pen safely away.

Speaking of the S Pen, we’re happy to see that it’s included with the purchase. In standard practice, this S Pen has been improved with even more pressure sensitivity, making it perfect for graphics artists and such, but there’s no palm rejection feature here. The features of the S Pen are familiar ones we’ve seen before, like screen off memo, screen write, smart select, translate, and much more. The tablet does come preloaded with some apps that leverage the S Pen, like Samsung Note, which has a sketching option that showcases the S Pen’s pressure sensitivity.

The S Pen’s integration isn’t a new concept, it’s something that has been done time-after-time, with most recently seeing it with Samsung’s new Chromebooks. Plus, competing tablets have also done the same, making the stylus a commonplace occurrence with tablets. While the S Pen definitely has its conveniences, like being given that paper-pen experience, it still begs the question of whether or not it adds any meaningful value to a broader range of users.

Finally, if you opt to pick up the optional Pogo keyboard, it doubles as a protective folio case that props the Tab S3 in landscape. While the spacing is a bit cramped, it does require some practice before you’re able to speed type comfortably – and without much pause along the way, too. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t require a power source because it draws juice from the tablet itself through the pin connectors. However, the magnetic connection that props the tablet only offers a single angle to view the tablet.


Samsung has increased the battery capacity to a 6,000 mAh cell, up from its predecessor capacity of 5,870 mAh. That’s a very miniscule upgrade, which results in barely any difference with its battery life performance on a real-world basis. It’s average to say the least, which means that it’s something that would benefit from nightly charges.

Battery life on the Tab S3 is average, to say the least

In our benchmark testing, it topped out at 6 hours and 41 minutes with web surfing – while video watching lasted a minute more at 6 hours and 42 minutes. That’s really nothing worth bragging about, since they’re very average in comparison to other devices we’ve tested. However, it’s at least speedy enough with its recharging via its fast charging technology, taking only a mere 168 minutes to fully charge. That’s impressive given the capacity we’re dealing with, as most smartphones can take nearly the same time to accomplish.


With the Tab S3 running Samsung’s custom skin on top of Android 7.0 Nougat, many of the previous TouchWiz features have gone away, being baked-in with Nougat already. Sure, the interface sports a cleaner look than before, but you can still see some of the remnants of TouchWiz. Whoever thought of having a piano tune play whenever a notification pops up probably forgot about the annoyances of those bursting bubble sounds in TouchWiz’s past.

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Productivity has always been a strong focus with the series, but now that Android adopted many of the features users craved with TouchWiz’s experience in the past, namely the true multi-tasking aspect, it’s no longer something we can vouch is exclusive to the tablet. Regardless, though, it’s nice being able to have two apps running side-by-side to one another, rather than being forced to flip between the two with the Recent Apps menu.

Out of the box, Samsung also preloads many of the staple Microsoft Office apps to give us even more diversity when it comes to the productivity aspect. That’s a nice gesture, of course, but nowadays nearly every tablet released has access to the same level of productivity.

Owners of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones will be able to continue having access to certain things on their phones while using the Tab S3, thanks in part to Samsung Flow, which allows us to share files wirelessly with the phone – and even respond to message and view notifications. We actually prefer using the old SideSync app, which essentially virtualizes the phone in all of its glory on the tablet. You basically have a window that displays the contents of the phone, so you can do things like send text messages, receive phone calls, and much more!

There still aren’t enough tablet-optimized apps on Android yet

The biggest flaw with the software in our opinion, which is a big deal breaker when you think about it, is how the platform lacks optimized apps meant to be used on tablets. We’re not even talking about third party apps here, just because some of the native apps still don’t support landscape orientation – so it’s an annoyance that forces us to place it in portrait.

Going back to third party apps, this is the disparity that allows the iPad Pro to expose Android’s weakness. There are a handful of popular apps that still don’t properly adjust dynamically in landscape, like Instagram for example. Due to this lack of tablet optimized apps, it really doesn’t help out the tablet’s cause – making it feel like we’re dealing with a very huge phone, as opposed to a tablet. And when you consider that some Chromebooks now offer support for Android apps, it lessens the value of owning an Android tablet nowadays.


As for the cameras on the Galaxy Tab S3, there’s a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 5-megapixel front-facing one. Unlike Samsung’s phones, there’s no quick access feature to the camera app, so double pressing on the home button doesn’t do anything. Looking into the interface, it’s nothing out the ordinary, as swiping right access some of its shooting modes – while swiping left gives us several filters to use.

The quality is pretty typical of tablets, nothing worth writing home about. The rear camera, in particular, suffices enough when the situation is ideal, but even then, details can still be spotty at times – with colors appearing a bit subdued. Under low light, the quality degrades further with splotchy looking visuals that don’t try to hide the noise that’s evident in the shots.

Video recording tops out at Full HD 1080p recording, with an option for video stabilization. Again, there’s nothing that wows us with its quality, but it’s nonetheless there for convenience, which pretty much sums up its usefulness.


  Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Display 9.7-inch AMOLED
2048 x 1536 resolution
Processor Snapdragon 820 quad-core
Storage 32 GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 256 GB
Camera Rear: 13 MP AF with f/1.9 aperture
Front: 5MP with f/2.2 aperture
Battery 6,000 mAh
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Direct
Bluetooth 4.2
LTE Cat6 (300 Mbps)
USB 3.1
USB Type-C
Software Android 7.0 Nougat
Dimensions and weight 237.3 x 169.0 x 6.0 mm
Wi-Fi: 429 g
LTE: 434 g


Pricing and final thoughts

The Galaxy Tab S3 marks a crossroad for Samsung, since the tablet landscape has shifted significantly over the last few years. When you also look at what it has to compete against nowadays, it can potentially be overlooked – due to the kind of value it brings to the table with its cost. Apple’s iPad Pro is still widely regarded as the king in the tablet market, but Samsung manages to undercut its rival with the Tab S3’s starting price of $600 with 32 GB of internal storage, which of course can be supplemented with a microSD card. And that price includes the S Pen! Whereas with the iPad Pro, it’s an additional $100 for the Apple Pencil. So when it comes to price, Samsung definitely has the advantage.

Compared to the iPad Pro, Samsung definitely has the advantage when it comes to price

Besides the iPad Pro, the Tab S3 also has to worry about the numerous sub-$500 Android tablets that on the surface offers the same superficial functions as any other Android tablet. Sure, the specs look really nice with the Tab S3, which is arguably a differentiator that makes it appeal more for those who are into productivity and gaming, but it’s really tough to totally disregard these inexpensive Android tablets – moreso when the core experience is no different.

And then there are other things like Windows 10 tablets and Chromebooks. With the latter, many of them come in at a lower price, including Samsung’s own recent offerings. Additionally, many Chromebooks can download Android apps via the Google Play Store – so it’s no longer something exclusive to Android tablets. Spending more money on the other hand, you can get a full blown Windows 10 tablet, which would offer more versatility in terms of productivity.

Until Android gets a proper treatment and focus on tablet-optimized apps, the Tab S3 is going to remain as a media consuming tablet first and foremost. You can enhance the Tab S3’s arsenal by purchasing the $129.99 Pogo keyboard, but at a total cost of $730, it still teeters near premium Windows 10 tablets territory. Portability is an absolute asset to the Tab S3, but it’s going to be tough convincing consumers to choose it over other options until it can be used 100% as a tablet, with real tablet optimized apps.

What are your thoughts on the Tab S3? Are you thinking of picking one up? Be sure to tell us what you think in the comments below!

Samsung will soon announce the highly-anticipated Galaxy S8 and S8+. The two devices will officially be unveiled on March 29 in New York City. The company has big plans for its upcoming flagships and obviously wants to sell as many units as possible. According to a report from The Korea Times, pre-orders for the devices in South Korea will kick off on April 7 and end ten days later, April 17. Both smartphones will go on sale on April 21.

In hopes of increasing the number of pre-orders in the country, Samsung will reportedly do things a bit differently this year. It will start shipping pre-orders to customers on April 18, which is three days before the devices officially go on sale. Although not confirmed, Samsung might opt for the same strategy in other markets as well, depending on how successful it will be in its home country.

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To boost sales, Samsung has an additional marketing strategy in mind. The Investor reports that the company is considering offering customers who purchase either the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ the option of returning the device and getting a full refund after using it for up to three months, no question asked. That’s a very generous refund policy that goes beyond what Samsung and other phone makers typically offers.

Reportedly, Samsung wants to show it has a lot of confidence in the quality of its products and a move like this would make sense, especially because of the Note 7 fiasco, which didn’t do the company’s reputation any good.

It’s not clear for now whether Samsung plans to offer the three-month refund policy exclusively in South Korea or in other markets as well.

Be sure to check out our Diving into Android O series for more coverage!

The System UI Tuner in the Android O Developer Preview has introduced new ways to customize the navigation bar of your device. The navigation bar is the panel at the bottom of a number of Android handsets (not all: some use physical/capacitive buttons instead) that houses the Home, Return and Recent Apps buttons.

In stock Android, these are currently represented by a triangle, a circle and a square but the Android O Developer Preview lets you add further buttons, up to a total of five, for a new range of functions. These extra symbols can be added to the left or right side of the pre-existing ones but you can’t remove any from the standard three-button setup.

Among the buttons you can add are +, -, <, >, and ☰ symbols. What do each of them do? Well, that’s up to you to decide. By entering one of the Keycode numbers (the full list of which can be found here) the button will behave as you want it to. For example, if you would like to use a dedicated button specifically to end a call (hey, someone might), you can give it the Keycode “6”. You can also add a clipboard icon which is used for pasting content.

Finally, you can squash the icons closer together and move them to the left or right side of the device. More than just an aesthetic preference, this could help users of larger devices operate their handsets one-handed. Note that you can’t change the order of the original buttons, however.

These features are a work in progress and Google is unlikely going to have users enter Keycodes from its developer reference guide in the final version of Android Oh Henry! coming later this year (or Android Oreo, possibly). Still, it’s an indication of where the software might be headed.

We’ll have more on Android O for you very soon. Until then, take a look at an overview of what’s new in the video below.

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Samsung is continuing its quest to outdo Apple at the tablet game with the new Galaxy Tab S3. The $600/£599 Android slate improves on the already pleasant multimedia experience that the Tab S2 offered by packing a brilliant HDR display and four speakers tuned by AKG. It also comes with an S Pen for on-the-go scribbling. Plus, its beefy processor and long-lasting battery help the Tab S3 better take on rival flagships. But although I enjoy watching movies, playing games and sketching on the Tab S3, I still find its $600 price hard to swallow.

Google has officially taken the wraps off Android O, and there are a lot (and I mean a lot) of new features and improvements to dig through. Most of them are neat under-the-hood changes that will make your Android device run smoother and last longer, but there are a few aesthetic changes too. A revamped settings menu and notification shade tweaks are present in this new update, and of course, Google also bundled a new stock wallpaper with this release, as well!

There’s only one new wallpaper in the Android O preview, but as always, more will likely be added as more developer previews are released. I’m really liking this wallpaper so far, and already have it loaded up on my phone.

To download the full 1.7MB image, head to the MediaFire link below to grab the .zip file.

Download the Android O stock wallpaper (.zip)

So, who’s downloading?

Tasker Profile Bluetooth speakers headphones

Be sure to check out our Diving into Android O series for more coverage!

The Android O Developer Preview was just made available this morning, and there are a ton of new features to dig through. From better battery life to adaptive icons, Google is stocking its newest version with new settings and features that will have enthusiasts incredibly excited. And while some hardware manufacturers are beginning to remove the headphone jack from their devices to make space for… courage, the newest edition of Android is giving devices even better Bluetooth audio with support for advanced codecs like LDAC and the AAudio API.

If you weren’t aware, LDAC is a codec created by Sony which can transfer up to 990kbps of data compared to the 328kbps cap of the much more common SBC codec. The codec also has a frequency of 44.1 kHz, which is the same frequency as playing directly from a CD, a huge step forward for Bluetooth audio. Previously, the codec was only available on specified Sony products such as Xperia and Walkman devices, but the codec being baked into Android itself means you should be able to play back these high-res files on any compatible Bluetooth headphones, though manufacturers will likely need to pay a hefty licensing fee to play it back.

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Another option that is likely set to be supported is Qualcomm’s aptX, a high quality streaming protocol which offers a much higher bitrate than more common options already on the market. While Google doesn’t directly reference this protocol in the update notes, it would make sense for this new protocol to come to a variety of devices which will most likely be running compatible Qualcomm chips.

The AAudio API is a new native API from Google designed specifically for apps that require high-resolution, low latency audio. Google says that apps using this API can read and write data via streams, and while the API is not yet complete, they are looking for feedback from developers to help build the API overtime. This will hopefully have something complete and ready once Android O launches in Q3, but until then you’ll want to stick to other high-quality options until this is complete.

With Bluetooth 4.1 and 4.2 already in the mainstream and Bluetooth 5.0 making its way to devices in the near future, we’ll hopefully be able to emulate the quality of plugged in devices soon. Do any of these changes interest you?

Editor’s note: In this post, which will be updated regularly, we take a look at the most credible Samsung Galaxy S8 release date, specs, features, price rumors and reports.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are coming very soon. That means we’re seeing more and more leaks and rumors every day, making it difficult to judge what’s real and what’s probably fake.

In this latest batch of leaks, we’ve been able to see images and videos of both handsets out in the wild, as well as leaked details regarding the price, camera, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and more. Join us as we analyze the most likely Galaxy S8 specs and features.

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Samsung Galaxy S8: release date

It’s official: Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S8 and S8+ on Wednesday, March 29 in New York City. The event will begin at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. We obviously still don’t have any firm availability details as of yet, though rumors have been pointing to a release date some time in April, most likely April 21, according to Korea’s ET News. Reportedly, the Canadian release date is pegged for April 28.

Samsung Galaxy S8: specs

Schematics generated by CNET Korea based on eyewitness accounts ‘confirm’ a lot of what we’ve recently been hearing about the Galaxy S8. They also reinforce what we saw in the image leaked by Evan Blass above. The schematics put the finger scanner on the back of the device next to the camera lens and feature a USB Type-C port, 3.5mm headphone port and bottom firing speaker grill, just like the Galaxy S7. The schematics also reveal a new hardware button, presumably for calling up Bixby (more on that below).

Of course, none of the Galaxy S8 specs that follow are confirmed, but there are quite a few details that seem increasingly legitimate. We’re looking at two different-sized models — a smaller Galaxy S8 and larger Galaxy S8+ — both of which will feature a dual-curved Super AMOLED display (hence dropping the Edge moniker) with a tighter curve like that found on the Galaxy Note 7.

All of these details are further backed up by two recently-leaked spec sheets, coming to us from TechnoBuffalo and @evleaks. The images, attached above, appear to be a pretty credible look at the S8 and S8+’s specs. The sheets explain that the two phones will come with 5.8- and 6.2-inch displays (more on that below), 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal memory and microSD support. Both images also say the devices will come with iris scanners, support for wireless charging, and an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.

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Other rumored Galaxy S8 specs include a Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 chipset, depending on the region, and Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box (for more on the SD 835, read this and this). Earlier reports put 6GB of RAM in the S8, but it now looks more likely that we’ll only be getting 4GB of RAM with a 6GB of RAM model being released in China only.

Fortunately, most reports claim the base model storage will be bumped up to 64GB and some claim there will be a 128GB and even a 256GB model available. The Galaxy S8 will likely feature the new hybrid slot that supports both microSD expansion and Samsung’s new UFS memory cards.


Stereo speakers are expected to arrive on the S8, but Samsung has publicly stated Harman audio won’t appear on Galaxy devices until 2018. Despite earlier rumors claiming the S8 would ditch the 3.5mm headphone port, this will be in place on the S8 and S8+, and these are the AKG headphones coming with them.

In addition, not only are the S8 and S8+ expected to launch with Google Daydream support, it’ll also be compatible with Samsung’s updated Gear VR headset with controller.

Three-coil wireless charging is expected to provide more efficient wireless fast charging, requiring less precision when placing the device on a wireless charger. If the S8 does use Qualcomm’s SD 835 chipset, it will also support Quick Charge 4 — which offers five hours of battery life in just five minutes.

In terms of battery capacity, that’s still up for debate. Blass and others have claimed a 3,000mAh and 3,500mAh battery for the Galaxy S8 and S8+. But recent news from South Korea suggests the Galaxy S8 battery will be slightly larger at 3,250mAh battery and 3,750mAh for the larger model. This claim is backed up by a report from The Investor, which claims the same 3,250 and 3,750mAh sizes.

Despite getting blamed, at least initially, for the Note 7 disaster, Samsung SDI will continue to supply the battery for the Galaxy S8, according to this report. If you have any concerns over this battery supplier being used in the Galaxy S8, take a look at Samsung’s notes on how it plans to avoid any future battery problems. Recent news from The Wall Street Journal indicates that Samsung will also use batteries manufactured by Sony in the upcoming flagships. Aside from the Sony batteries (and of course the batteries from Samsung SDI), Murata Manufacturing is said to be supplying batteries, too.

As indicated by a Galaxy Tab S3 system dump, the S8 might be launching with compatibility for a desktop feature known as Samsung DeX (see image above). This new feature will allow you to connect a mouse, monitor and keyboard to your Galaxy S8 via a dock so you can use it more like a Windows PC, in a way similar to Windows 10 Mobile’s Continuum feature. Speculation suggests the dock will launch for 150 euros (~$162).

Samsung Galaxy S8: display

We’ve all heard the claim that the Galaxy S8 will feature a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio and most of the leaked images and schematics certainly seem to confirm that claim, with very thin bezels above and below the display. This has been made possible by removing the physical home button (see below).

The Galaxy S8 was originally rumored to stick with the same diagonal screen size found on the Galaxy S7 family: 5.1 and 5.5 inches. However, following an earlier report that the Galaxy S8 screen size would be increased to attract Note 7 fans looking for a larger screened device, we’re now looking at increasing evidence for a 5.8- and 6.2-inch diagonal.

According to the two leaked spec sheets that you can find above, the Galaxy S8 will supposedly have a 5.8-inch (full rectangle)/5.6-inch (rounded corners) Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display, while the S8+ will have a 6.2-inch (full rectangle)/6.1-inch (rounded corners) display. These are certainly some of the more credible display rumors we’ve received thus far.

The Galaxy S8 is expected to feature an 18.5:9 aspect ratio (rather than the standard 16:9), which will become something closer to the 2:1 aspect ratio on the LG G6 if you account for on-screen buttons.

Note that the display diagonal measurements given in the schematics (above) seem to be for the flat part of the screen though, with the curved part making up the difference. This obviously affects screen-to-body ratio calculations, which, for the given values, are closer to 85 percent rather than 90 percent.

In case you don’t want to believe the schematics, two new videos of the S8 have leaked out, showing the device in the real world. In the short video attached above (via MobileFunTV), we see the device in working order. While the user only presses a few buttons on the display, we do get a better look at all the features we’ve been hearing about in recent rumors: the edge-to-edge display, lack of physical home button, as well as the sensors on top that likely house the front-facing camera module and iris scanner.

The video below comes to us from Slashleaks, giving us a better look at the hardware of the S8 and S8+ in black. We get a brief glimpse of the always-on display, on-screen navigation buttons, and the back of the devices. This video may not be super informative to some, but it does reveal one thing — a few recent leaked images have given us a good look at the S8’s on-screen buttons, but in the “wrong” order (recent apps key on the left, back button on the right). But in the videos attached above and below, it looks like users will be able to swap around the order of the on-screen keys, like you can do with other devices on the market.

This video from Samsung Display (also attached below) provides a nice example of what to expect from the Galaxy S8 in terms of display and screen to body ratio, even though the phone in the video is just a concept meant to showcase recent display innovations from Samsung Display.

In terms of definition, both 4K and QHD resolutions had been bandied about in the early days, but most have settled on QHD in recent times, possibly due to changes in display tech. The Galaxy S8 display will be Super AMOLED yet again but it’s believed to make the jump to an M8 OLED material, offering better energy efficiency and longer display life.

Some also claim the S8 will use an RGB pixel array rather than a Diamond Pentile pattern. This will bump the pixel density up significantly (from 7,372, 800 to 11,059,200), which will benefit virtual reality fans greatly. The Galaxy S8 will of course be compatible with the new Gear VR with its USB Type-C connection.

As far as the screen itself goes, the Galaxy S8 is expected to use the same Y-OCTA display technology as that found in the Galaxy Note 7, whereby the touch layer is bonded to the display glass during production, allowing for a marginally thinner device and lower production costs.

In addition, one report indicates that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ may feature force touch-like capabilities. This is believed to be built only into the navigation bar at the bottom of the handset, however, and would allow for things like a strong press to wake the device, rather than a simple tap. The result could mean less device waking when it’s being carried in a pocket, for example.

Samsung Galaxy S8: home button

The front of the Galaxy S8 will be one smooth, uninterrupted sheet of glass, with no physical home button due to the finger sensor being located on the back of the device and the larger display up front. A recent leaked image, obtained by SamMobile, tells us that instead of the software home button only showing up when the display is turned on, the button will instead remain visible as part of the S8’s always-on display. This is so you’ll be able to tap the on-screen button to wake the device. The button will also reportedly be able to be double tapped to quickly launch the camera, similar to the camera shortcut on Nexus and Pixel devices.

So where is the fingerprint sensor going to be placed? Well, just about every rumor and leaked image suggests that the fingerprint sensor will be placed in an odd spot, to the right of the camera module on the back. The leaked image from that reported Galaxy Tab S3 system dump, attached above, not only gives us a good look at the on-screen buttons, but also the rear-facing camera sensor, heart rate sensor (on the left) and fingerprint sensor (on the right).

Here is a video, via GSMArena, which supposedly shows that fingerprint scanner in action:

See also:

Why the Galaxy S8 finger scanner location is …

February 7, 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8: AI features

Samsung’s VP of mobile communications went on record a while back, promising an “enhanced artificial intelligence service” for the Galaxy S8. Following Samsung’s recent acquisition of AI firm Viv Labs, the company admitted that it was bringing a new AI digital assistant to the Galaxy S8 and other Samsung products. Since then, we’ve heard more reports about Bixby and Kestra, the male and female voices Samsung trademarked for its new voice assistant.

Samsung has now officially announced the new Bixby assistant, however, it appears that it is not based on the newly acquired Viv Labs tech. It’s believed instead to have been built from Samsung’s previous S Voice system.

In a lengthy blog post, Samsung outlined how it intends for its AI assistant to deliver “completeness”, “context awareness” and “cognitive tolerance,” but it still leaves much to speculate about in terms of real-world application. “At its core, Bixby will help remove friction,” Samsung wrote. “It will simplify user education with new voice interfaces and will make using your phone even more seamless and intuitive.”

Samsung Bixby will reportedly also be able to handle your mobile payments using voice commands alone, courtesy of a feature called Bixby Pay. Samsung has also commented previously on being able to use its new voice assistant to order a pizza or request an Uber. All of this may be achievable through Bixby alone, without needing to launch your pizza app or Uber. Samsung also says a “handful” of system apps on the S8 and S8+ will be Bixby-enabled, meaning that users will be able to control them with voice commands

Furthermore, Samsung has confirmed that the platform on which Bixby is built supports IoT devices and will be used to connect smart appliances, mobile devices and more in future. With this in mind, Bixby might end up being a phone-based competitor to the likes of Google Home or Amazon Alexa rather than Siri or Cortana.

Bixby will also reportedly support a total of eight languages at launch, including English, Korean, Chinese, and five other unspecified languages. It’s said to be capable of performing visual searches, and Samsung has stated that it will have a dedicated button on the S8 and S8+, as had been rumored.

On a related note, S Health, Samsung’s fitness app, will reportedly be updated to allow users to make doctor’s appointments and look up medical issues, presumably with your voice.

Samsung Galaxy S8: camera

The Galaxy S8 had previously been rumored to feature an improved dual-lens camera with reports out of South Korea claiming Samsung was opting for two 16MP cameras on the back with an 8MP front-facing camera. Other claims put dual 12MP cameras on the back. However, since then, Bloomberg reports that the dual camera setup has been scrapped due to high manufacturing costs. The same seems confirmed by the leaked images and schematics.

The Bloomberg report seems to clash with the leaked spec sheets from TechnoBuffalo and @evleaks, though. Those leaks point to both devices sporting 12MP “Dual Pixel” main cameras. It’s possible those leaked spec sheets are outdated, which could explain the reason for the conflicting rumors.

Samsung is, however, said to be working on a new camera with a super-wide f/1.4 aperture but we’ll just have to wait and see if that’s what makes it into the Galaxy S8 or if we get a 12 MP f/1.7 camera. A report from Naver would seemingly corroborate this, suggesting that there’ll be a 12 MP rear camera which can record at 1,000 FPS (super slo-mo). The same source speculates that the front facing camera will come in at 8 MP.

The front-facing camera is expected to feature smart auto-focus, with Samsung recently trademarking the term Smart AF. Equally possible is the inclusion of the Smart Glow notification ring and selfie illumination solution from the Galaxy J2.

Finally, Samsung is said to be prepping facial recognition technology for the S8 and S8+, ultimately to allow for authenticated payments. Apparently, this feature would not make the initial release, however, and instead would be made available via an OTA update later.

Samsung Galaxy S8: price

According to a report from VentureBeat in January, the Galaxy S8 range will have an additional €100 added to last year’s price tag. The 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 will reportedly cost €799 (roughly $854.50) and the 6.2-inch version will be priced at €899 (roughly $961.71). These figures were reaffirmed only a few days ago by Evan Blass, who wrote the original piece for VB.

This is backed up by leaker Roland Quandt who claims the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be out in Black, Silver and Violet color options in Europe for €799 and €899 respectively.

A leaked screenshot (above) from a Ukrainian retailer provides further potential pricing info. The screenshot indicates that the Galaxy S8 (SM-G950) will retail for UAH 25,999 (~$950), while the S8+ (SM-G955) will go for UAH 28,999 (~$1,050). If true, these prices mean the S8 range will be significantly more expensive than the Ukrainian prices for the S7 family, which sat around the UAH 18-20,000 mark for a 32GB model. This screenshot also gives us an idea on the S8 and S8+’s color options; the image attached above says the devices will be available in Black, Gold and Orchid Gray. It may come in a total of five colors.

In general, smartphones are more expensive in Europe than they are in the US, mainly because of higher taxes, so we wouldn’t advise placing too much emphasis on the US conversions for these figures. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ will more affordable in the US, but will likely still be $100 more expensive than the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

Whatever the price may be, reports signal that Samsung expects to sell huge volumes of the device at launch, more so than their popular predecessors, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

If Samsung goes all out on the Galaxy S8 it’s reasonable to believe that the price might go up due to increased component costs or simply to maximize profit. Regardless of the reasoning, the S8 is Samsung’s flagship, so a high price tag is guaranteed.

Read: Full review of the Galaxy S8’s biggest rival, the LG G6

There you have it for our take on the most credible Samsung Galaxy S8 specs, features, release date and price rumors. What do you think of the device so far?

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