Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘smartphone’ Category

The Folding Fold

leave a comment »

Happy Monday.

As I expected would happen, Samsung is apparently folding on the rollout this Friday of its Galaxy Fold smartphone this Friday due to folding issues with the new device.

According to a report from Reuters, it has cancelled media events for the Fold in both Hong Kong and Shanghai.

And The Wall Street Journal is reporting that “the company’s internal investigation remains ongoing,” and that the Galaxy Fold’s reported issues “stem from problems affecting the handset’s hinge and extra pressure applied to the internal screen.”

Whatta ya think, is the Fold a solution looking for a problem? Whatever the case, the price point ($1,800) could still care off even the most audacious of early adopters.

Over at AWS, it seems that Apple has become a huuuugeee customer of theirs, having spent $350M in 2018 and now at a $30M/month run rate in 2019.

According to CNBC, Apple has a multiyear agreement with AWS, and spends more on Amazon’s cloud than Lyft and Pinterest, even as the company invests heavily in its own cloud infrastructure.

Apple’s cloud expenditure reflects the company’s determination to deliver online services like iCloud quickly and reliably, even if it must depend on a rival to do so.

The company is investing heavily to build its own infrastructure: In January 2018, Apple announced plans to spend $10 billion on data centers in the U.S. within five years. In December, Apple said it would spend $4.5 billion of that amount through 2019. The company also depends on smaller third-party cloud providers. But it also relies on the big cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services and Alphabet subsidiary Google. Microsoft has also provided cloud tools to Apple in the past.

So when Apple wins, Amazon does, too.  Coopetition is your friend!

Also on the Apple front, 9to5Mac is gathering some early leaks on the company’s coming WWDC developer event. 

What’s expected to be announced thus far? New Siri intents, APIs to port apps to Mac, a new AR content creation app (does this mean we can play Pokemon again??), support for stereo AR headsets. All the leaks thus far can be found here.

And if you’ve been wondering how the Mueller Report is going over, as I was, editions from Skyhorse Publishing and The Washington Post now a best-seller and ranked #1 and #2 on Amazon’s best-seller list. 

Which is funny that people are signing up to buy the printed book, when you consider it’s available in PDF format at any number of institutions, including here at WAPO.

I’m just curious if anyone’s actually reading it.

Written by turbotodd

April 22, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Posted in 2019, samsung, smartphone

Tagged with , ,

Know When to Fold ‘Em

leave a comment »

“You know, of all the things I wish for in this lunatic fringe of a world we find ourselves living in, if I could just have one wish…yeah, it would be a foldable smartphone.”

Said no one ever.

Well, save for Samsung, which introduced its Galaxy Fold smartphone this week at an event in London.

I watched a snapshot of the demo Samsung presented of its Fold smartphone yesterday, and it’s very Jetson-y. 

The Verge provided some speeds and feeds:

Samsung is using a new 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display that allows the phone itself to have a tablet-sized screen that can be folded to fit into a pocket. The main display is QXGA+ resolution (4.2:3), and when it’s folded, a smaller 4.6-inch HD+ (12:9) display is used for the phone mode. Samsung is using 512GB of Universal Flash Storage 3.0 (eUFS) for fast speeds, alongside a Qualcomm 7nm octa-core processor and 12GB of RAM. Samsung has even built two batteries for its Galaxy Fold, that are separated by the fold but combined in the Android operating system to represent a total of 4,380 mAh.

But the hook is its foldability, which The Verge explained this way:

Samsung has built a sturdy backbone to the device, with a hinge system that has multiple interlocking gears. All of these gears are hidden at the rear of the device, and allow the Galaxy Fold to transform from tablet to phone modes….Samsung is allowing the Galaxy Fold to run three apps at once on this Android device, and it’s using an app continuity system to adjust these apps when you move between tablet and phone modes. Apps like WhatsApp, Microsoft Office, and YouTube have all been optimized for the new display and modes, and Samsung has been working with Google to ensure Android 9 Pie fully supports this display.

In a separate story from The Verge, journalist Vlad Savov isn’t having any any of it, however. His lede~”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.”

Of course, I haven’t even gotten to the price tag…are you ready for it….hold on, I’ve got to figure out how to unfold this thing…okay, almost there…and, drum roll, please: $1,980 U.S.!

Now to be fair, if you compare that to the Vertu Aster P at $4,200 (a luxury smartphone made for people who have too much money on their hands), that’s a heck of a deal! And compared to the Vertu Aster P gold version at $14,120, it’s a downright steal. Right?

Rightttt.

But the real question I want to see answered by consumers is what problem does the Fold solve?  

Could it supplant the perceived need to have both a smartphone and tablet? Instead of reaching into your backpack for the iPad, you can now just crank open the Fold and voila?

IBM went down a similar path in 1995 with the introduction of its ThinkPad 701C, which had a TrackWrite keyboard (better known as the “butterfly” keyboard).  It was very cool, and it was trying to solve a similar problem: Fitting more into less.

In this case, more keyboard into a more compact form factor — it was clever and, for some, probably useful.  

One also now sits on display in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, eagerly awaiting some curator to pop the butterfly keyboard open and start a typing frenzy.

I guess we will just have to wait until the Fold is actually in market before we can determine if it will come to a similar fate.

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2019 at 11:46 am

Posted in 2019, samsung, smartphone

Tagged with ,

The Razr’s Edge

with one comment

2004 just called, and it wants its Motorola Razr phone back.

Yes, everything old is new again, and The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Motorola Razr will be attempting a comeback.

Only this time around, the Razr will apparently be a smartphone with a foldable screen and a…gasp…$1,500 price tag.

This time around, Lenovo Group will be leading the way, and partnering with Verizon on an exclusive deal to start selling the new Razrs “as soon as February.” 

The backstory: Lenovo bought the Motorola Mobility handset business from Google in 2014.

The Journal story reminds us the Razr V3 flip phone was first released in 2004, but its market success was rapidly snuffed out by the introduction of the Apple iPhone.

Samsung is also reported to be working on a foldable smartphone.

I had a Razr back in the day, and it was a cool device for its time…then again, so was the late 1990s Motorola StarTAC. Eventually, I dropped mine in a river down in Gruene, Texas, and I don’t think any amount of white race ever brought it back to life.

And on the subject of iPhones and apps, App Annie’s 2019 State of Mobile report is out, and coverage via ZDNet has a few headlines.

First, App Annie expects consumers to spend $120 billion on app stores in 2019, a spending clip that is “5X the growth rate of the global economy.”

Next, global app downloads topped 194 billion in 2018. up 35 percent from 2016 — and it was emerging markets that led the growth. And lest you think everyone is playing Fortnite all day and all night, about 65 percent of total global downloads are non-game apps.

Social and communications apps account for 50 percent of time spent in apps, a number that grew 45 percent from 2016 to 2018.

And for those concerned about mobile commerce, global time spent in shopping apps was up 60 percent last year, reaching some 18 billion hours.

18 billion hours…shopping in mobile apps…last year…

Put that in your virtual shopping cart and let that just sit there until…well, until you get your new Motorola Razr (or, you could find an original for as little as $17.99 U.S. on eBay!)

Written by turbotodd

January 16, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Posted in 2019, smartphone

Tagged with ,

Bigger, Better, Badder Pixels

leave a comment »

Well, uh, that was awkward. 

Just a day after Google had to come clean about its Google+ privacy debacle (and announced the imminent demise of G+ for consumers once and for all), Google announced some new members of its hardware family.

I’m an iPhone guy, but I did purchase a Google Pixelbook chromebook earlier this year that I’ve been very happy with, so at minimum I wanted to pass along the speeds and feeds from yesterday’s Google Pixel 3/XL Android smartphone announcements.

The Verge has this tight breakdown:

The Pixel 3 starts at $799 for 64GB, with the 3 XL costing $899. Add $100 to either for the 128GB storage option. That’s a $150 and $50 premium over last year’s models, respectively.. Core specs for both include a Snapdragon 845, 4GB RAM (there’s no option for more), Bluetooth 5.0, and front-facing stereo speakers. Also inside is a new Titan M security chip, which Google says provides “on-device protection for login credentials, disk encryption, app data, and the integrity of the operating system.” Preorders for both phones begin today, and buyers will get six months of free YouTube Music service. The Pixels will officially launch on October 18th.

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL both feature larger screens than last year’s models thanks to slimmed down bezels — and the controversial notch in the case of the bigger phone. The 3 XL has a 6.3-inch display (up from six inches on the 2 XL), while the regular 3 has a 5.5-inch screen (up from five inches). Overall, though, the actual phones are very similar in size and handling to their direct predecessors.

And Google’s own blog post explains how the Pixel 3 will help you keep from talking to those undesirable humans you’re trying to avoid:

…Starting out in English in the U.S., Pixel 3’s on-device AI helps you screen phone calls and avoid spam calls. Imagine you’re at dinner with family or in a meeting at work and a call from an unknown caller comes in. Just tap on “Screen call” to find out who’s calling and why, as well as other information (as prompted by you). You’ll immediately see a transcript of the caller’s responses so that you can then decide whether to pick up, respond by tapping a quick reply (e.g., “I’ll call you back later”), or mark the call as spam and dismiss. Processing the call details on-device means these experiences are fast, private to you, and use up less battery.

Second, Pixel users in the U.S. will be the first to get access to an experimental new Google Assistant feature, powered by Duplex technology, which helps you complete real-world tasks over the phone, like calling a restaurant to book a table. This feature will initially be available later this year in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area to help people book restaurant reservations and will roll out to other U.S. cities in the future.

Because why talk to even yet another human to make a restaurant reservation when your Google Assistant can do all the work?

Written by turbotodd

October 10, 2018 at 9:44 am

Posted in 2018, google, privacy, smartphone

Tagged with ,

Xiaomi’s Float Stumbles

leave a comment »

Happy Monday.

CNBC is reporting that shares of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi stumbled on their debut, slipping as much as 6 percent.

The company’s Hong Kong offering was priced at 17 Hong Kong dollars, and opened for trade down more than 2 percent and slipping as much as 5.88 percent during the session.

Some analysts were quoted in the story as thinking the valuation was too high. 

Hao Hong, head of research at BOCOM International, explained:

“The share was priced at a very high valuation multiple, substantially higher than its global peers. Even though Xiaomi remained to be a very good story, I think the market is at a stage where you have to prove yourself first before the market can give you a good valuation,” Hao Hong, head of research at BOCOM International, told CNBC.

Meanwhile, back at The New York Times, Paul Mozur goes deep on AI and surveillance in China in a piece entitled, “Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras.”

For some reason, the movie “Minority Report” kept coming to mind as I read through his chilling story.

The Net: There are an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras watching its Chinese citzens’ every move, and their surveillance system is getting smarter every day, partially due to a boom in surveillance-related startups in the country.

And no Orwell jokes, please…China is well past that point.

Written by turbotodd

July 9, 2018 at 9:56 am

Posted in 2018, china, smartphone

Tagged with ,

Finding a Mate

leave a comment »

If you’re in the market for a new Samsung smartphone, you’ll have to wait until Mobile World Congress in late February for the Galaxy S9 announcement.

ZDNet is reporting that DJ Koh, president of Samsung’s mobile business, said its first flagship smartphone of the year will be unveiled at MWC (where they will also announce the on sale date).

If, on the other hand, you were looking for the new Huawei Mate 10, it’s looking more and more like you’ll be needing to acquire it not from a major telecom vendor if you’re a prospective customer in the U.S.

As Android Police reported recently, The Information reported that the U.S. and House intelligence committees sent letters to the FCC back in December alleging Huawei was a security threat, and expressed “concerns” that the company was working with U.S. telecom providers to sell smartphones here in America.

The AT&T deal died a few weeks after members of the U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees wrote to the Federal Communications Commission raising concerns about reports that Huawei had struck a deal with a major telecommunications carrier. The Dec. 20 letter, reviewed by The Information, cited an intelligence committee report on the Chinese firm’s alleged ties to the Communist Party and China’s intelligence and security services. “Additional work by the Intelligence Committees on this topic only reinforces concerns regarding Huawei and Chinese espionage,”
– via Android Police – Android News, Apps, Games, Phones, Tablets

Android Police goes on to report that Verizon is facing similar pressure.

You can read CNET’s review of the Huawei Mate 10 here.

Also in the China Internet news front…9to5Mac writes that Apple has announced a date for when it will hand over operations of iCloud data services for residents of mainland China to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Ltd., a cloud partner in the Middle Kingdom.

GCBD will manage a new Apple data center in China that will eventually store all iCloud data for Chinese customers. Affected customers are now being notified about the transition which will start on February 28. Apple reassured users that the data will be protected by the same encryption standards as its current US policies and that no special backdoors will be created. This means that customers who live within mainland China will see the physical storage location of their data change, although it should go unnoticed in terms of available iCloud features and functionality. All of a user’s data will not move across to the new geographic location, but the process is beginning from February 28.
– via 9to5Mac

According to 9to5Mac, the switchover will happen automatically on February 28, and Apple customers in China will be “notified in due course.”

Written by turbotodd

January 10, 2018 at 11:27 am

iPhone Shmyphone

leave a comment »

Apparently I missed the whole iPhone 10-year anniversary celebration thing yesterday.

Judging from my RSS feeds, though, there was a lot of fond remembrances of how much the iPhone changed the world, even if the original 2G phone connections were lethally slow.
In 2007, I was still a diehard BlackBerry user — my Bold took me around the world and back again, and it did email really, really well (and worked in just about every country I flew to).

But eventually I pried my cold, live hands from the BlackBerry keyboard and migrated to the iPhone. I’d already been a Mac user since…well, I won’t say when…and it only seemed logical.

I’m not one of those who holds the iPhone up on the altar of technology worship. Nor do I denigrate the iPhone because it’s presence has led to no end of human folly and absurdities due to its use or misuse. And don’t ask me to name any of them, because I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

No, for me, the iPhone is a tool, plain and simple. A wonderous one, one that allows me to stay in touch with people all over the globe at the touch of a button.

One that allows me to watch human calamity in real-time from afar.

One that allows me, for good and bad, to respond to work email from anywhere I have a data connection (which is almost everywhere, but not completely).

One that allows me to learn new things, entertain myself, buy stuff, take pictures and videos….we all know what it does for us, personally.

What it does for culture and society and the broader world? Well, I can make a strong argument that it brings us all closer together, but others would argue it does just the opposite, that it takes us further apart.

As with anything, and as with any technology, it’s really all relative and depends on your point of view.

As I look back on the first ten years of the iPhone, I force myself to remember that these devices are called “smartphones.”

Whether or not the iPhone (and subsequent smartphones) have made us any smarter is probably still up for debate.

Whether or not I would pretty much be lost without my own is not.

Are you paying attention to me? Are you still reading this?!

Look at me and stop looking at that damned phone!

: )

Written by turbotodd

June 30, 2017 at 9:06 am

%d bloggers like this: