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Royal Mail Plc, operator of Britain’s main postal service, said on Wednesday it had banned the delivery of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphones through its network for safety reasons, making it potentially difficult for many Britons to return the recalled devices.

Samsung recalled about 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7s last month after reports some had caught fire due to faulty lithium batteries, and the company said on Tuesday it would stop making the devices after fires were reported in replacement phones.

Royal Mail said the ban also applied to its Parcelforce UK and international courier service.

The company said it would ask customers to detail the contents of their packages to ensure that hazardous items such as faulty lithium batteries were not transported.

[“source-ndtv”]

Samsung may have dug itself into a hole too deep to come out unscathed. The company is in the process of unprecedented second recall, after ‘safe’ Galaxy Note 7 replacement units also started to catch fire. While the engineers at Samsung cannot pin down a solid reason for these explosions, a report suggests that the SoC is to blame, and not the battery.

A Financial Times report states that the explosions are being caused due to an SoC tweak made by company’s engineers with the aim to speed up the charging process. However, the battery could not handle the rate at which it was being charged, and this is causing the handset to catch fire and explode.

“If you try to charge the battery too quickly it can make it more volatile. If you push an engine too hard, it will explode. Something had to give. These devices are miracles of technology – how much we can get out of that tiny piece of lithium-ion,” the report writes, citing a person informed by Samsung executives.

This is in no way confirmed by Samsung, and the company still maintains silence on that front. There is no official word on what is causing the safe units to catch fire, and Samsung engineers are also reportedly unable to narrow down a flaw.

For now, Samsung has completely halted production and global sales of the Galaxy Note 7. The controversy is said to be costing the company billions of dollars, not to mention attract heaps of ill will in the market. In the most recent cases, a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was caught on video catching fire at a Burger King, and a US plane was immediately vacated after a replaced unit started emitting smoke.

[“source-ndtv”]

BlackBerry late last month announced that it won’t make any smartphones and instead focus on its software business. The company said it would completely outsource smartphone design and production marketed under its brand. Now, the BlackBerry DTEK60 Android smartphone, which had leaked on several occasions earlier, has made it to the market via third-party retailers.

The BlackBerry DTEK60 Android smartphone was last month accidentally made public on the company’s own website ahead of any official announcement. The official webpage with BlackBerry DTEK60 smartphone featuring some specifications was soon taken down by the company. The smartphone, said to be a rebranded variant of the TCL 950, has since then briefly made its way back to the company site, and was even spotted passing through the US FCC and the Wi-Fi Alliance. The smartphone is now available for pre-orders via a third-party online retailer, B&H Photo, priced at $499.99 (approximately Rs. 33,500). The online retailer clearly lists the handset as “Coming soon” and the shipping time as “Not available.”

According to the online retailer, the BlackBerry DTEK60 Android smartphone features a 5.5-inch QHD Amoled display with 534ppi pixel density; a Snapdragon 820 processor; 4GB of RAM; 32GB of inbuilt storage; a 21-megapixel rear camera with PDAF and dual-LED flash, and an 8-megapixel front camera. It measures 153.9×75.4x7mm, weighs 165 grams, and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The handset is backed by a 3000mAh battery and supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 for fast charging. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, GPRS/ EDGE, 3G, and 4G. The online listing was first reported by Crackberry.

To recall, BlackBerry in July this year launched its second Android-based smartphone – DTEK50 – and called it “the world’s most secure Android smartphone.”

[“source-ndtv”]

Samsung suffered another blow in its effort to move past a crisis over exploding smartphone batteries, as customers reported problems with replacement devices and the company was forced to halt production of the Galaxy Note 7 phones.

Samsung has temporarily stopped making the high-end phones, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said Monday, asking not to be identified because the decision hasn’t been made public. The move came after wireless companies in the US and Australia stopped selling Galaxy Note 7s following reports that replacement devices thought to be safe were overheating and bursting into flames. Samsung shares fell as much as 4.6 percent in Seoul.

The Korean company was engulfed in controversy after its most expensive phone hit the market two months ago and customers began posting videos of devices that had exploded. Samsung quickly issued a recall and began working with officials worldwide to replace the original shipment of 2.5 million phones. But reports of fires from supposedly safe devices began emerging two weeks ago in China and then with replacements in the US, fueling concerns Samsung hasn’t solved the battery problems after all.

“It’s an ongoing nightmare,” said Bryan Ma, vice president of devices research for IDC. “You would have hoped that they could have gotten past this already and moved on. Clearly, it keeps coming back.”

AT&T and T-Mobile US both halted sales of the devices in the US over safety concerns, while Telstra Corp. followed suit in Australia. “Based on recent reports, we’re no longer exchanging new Galaxy Note 7s at this time, pending further investigation of these reported incidents,” AT&T Inc. spokesman Fletcher Cook said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday.

Suwon-based Samsung said it will take immediate steps approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission if it finds a safety issue exists.

The production suspension raises questions about Samsung’s original investigation into the battery problems. The company said the issue stemmed from one supplier, which it had stopped using.

AT&T is the third-biggest customer of the South Korean company while T-Mobile’s parent is No. 4, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sprint Corp. said its exchange policy is unchanged while Verizon said the phone is out of stock at its stores.

Telstra, Australia’s biggest phone company, is offering alternative phones to customers as Samsung investigates the issue.

The latest imbroglio coincides with mounting pressure from investor Paul Elliott Singer, who this month advocated a break up of the complex Samsung empire. Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. – through affiliates Blake Capital LLC and Potter Capital LLC – proposed that Samsung separate into an operating company and a holding company, dual-list the former on a US exchange, pay shareholders a special dividend of KRW 30 trillion ($27 billion or roughly Rs. 1,79,617 crores) and improve governance by adding three independent board members.

Ma at IDC said the production halt will deal another blow to a smartphone that had won strong reviews when it first came out in August.

“They’ve invested so much in the product, which was supposed to be the product that helps turn the company around,” Ma said. “To their credit, it was doing really, really well. That’s why it’s such a shame it has developed the way it has.”

[“source-ndtv”]

Reliance Jio today announced a partnership with Apple to offer iPhone customers in India a number of offers, including a year of complimentary Jio service worth Rs. 18,000 for retail customers and a 25 percent discount for enterprise customers.

Those who buy a new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus as well as the existing iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone SE from a Reliance retail store or Apple authorized store will be eligible for the offer. All Jio users currently benefit from free service under the Reliance Jio Welcome Offer, so the one year of free service kicks in as soon as that offer expires, on December 31 2016. That means those who buy now will get almost 15 months of free service.

In particular, users will get the benefits of Jio’s Rs. 1499 monthly plan: unlimited local, STD and national roaming voice calls, 20GB of 4G data, unlimited 4G data usage at night, 40GB of Wi-Fi data at Jio hotspots, unlimited SMS, and subscription to Jio’s apps. Reliance pegs the value of all this at Rs. 18,000.

Enterprise customers will be eligible for a 25 percent discount and a special tariff plan, but further details of this offer are not available yet. The discount will be upfront rather than implemented as a cashback offer, sources told Gadgets 360. Details will be made available on Jio’s website in a few days’ time.

Sources also indicated that iPhones will not be locked to the Jio network in any way, and that customers are free to use other service providers if they do not want to take advantage of the free service. However, stocks of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are running low, and those who haven’t pre-booked might not find their preferred colour and capacity available.

[“source-ndtv”]

At its Made by Google event, the tech giant unveiled the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. The smartphones are coming to India this month, and the pre-order begins from October 13. However, in the US, Google has already started taking pre-orders. The Pixel and Pixel XL are being sold unlocked on the Google Store, while the only carrier partnered for these smartphones is Verizon. This exclusive partnership has raised eyebrows, and buyers are looking for hidden caveats that could stem as a result of this exclusivity. Now, clarity on the Verizon and Google partnership is surfacing, and the Pixel smartphones sold through Verizon will come with ‘preloaded’ apps, a locked bootloader, and the system updates will be managed by Verizon – not Google.

Verizon will be ‘preloading’ three apps onto the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones – My Verizon, Go90, and Verizon Messages. We are placing the word preloaded between quotes as out-of-the-box, the smartphones will not have these apps on board, instead, they will be installed during the setup ad activation process. These apps are in addition to the Google suite that anyways comes pre-installed on most Android smartphones. This time Google is bundling Allo, Duo, Android Pay, Docs, and Keep apps as well. Thankfully, the Verizon installed bloatware is removable, and can be uninstalled, reports Business Insider. So, even though the smartphone will initially bundle these Verizon Play Store apps, they can be easily manually uninstalled from the smartphones.

Regarding updates, Google has informed 9to5Google that it will take care of all monthly security updates, but the Android system updates will be managed by Verizon for the units they sell. However, all the unlocked units brought from Google, the tech giant itself will handle the system updates and security patches for those phones. “Monthly security updates will come from Google (for all models), and system updates will be managed by Verizon for Verizon models, and Google for unlocked models bought from Google Store,” the Google spokesperson told the publication.

A Verizon spokesperson told Engadget that it won’t delay in system updates, as it looks to give the ‘best experience’ to its customers, but did not divulge in any specific timeframe. Customers that pre-order the Pixel or Pixel XL are getting a Daydream View VR headset for free as well.

In India, only the Pixel smartphones are coming for now. As for the other hardware products launched at the event – Google Home, Daydream View, Google Wi-Fi router, and the Chromecast Ultra – there is no clarity on when Google plans to launch them in India.

[“source-ndtv”]


We’re just a few hours away from the launch of Google’s Pixel smartphones and the leaks continue to pour in. After pretty much revealing all there is to know about the devices on UK retailer Carphone Warehouse, we now have a little more from Verizon. The listing on Verizon’s site unofficially confirms a Blue model along with Black and White options that was previously leaked by Canadian carriers Bell and Telus.

The listing, spotted by Gizmodo, also shows some highlights about the devices, which includes what Verizon is calling ‘Google Magic’, which could just be the site’s own marketing ploy, but could also refer to a new, unknown feature. The site further reveals that the Google Pixel and Pixel XL will be offered in 32GB and 128GB storage options. Lastly and unsurprisingly, the devices come with 4G LTE support.

A separate reveal by TheTrademarkNinja shows an EU trademark application filed by the company with an official logo that reads “G Pixel Phone by Google”, which confirms that the devices are in fact going to be ‘Pixel’ smartphones.

Based on the Carphone Warehouse leak, the Google Pixel is said to feature a 5-inch full-HD (1080 x 1920 pixels) Amoled display with a pixel density of 441ppi and Gorilla Glass 4 on top. The device is powered by a 2.15GHz quad-core Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB of RAM.

Meanwhile, the Google Pixel XL is listed with a 5.5-inch Quad HD (1440×2560 pixels) display sporting a pixel density of 534ppi and Gorilla Glass 4 on top. Other than the size and resolution of the display, the rest of the features are similar to the smaller Pixel. Both the devices also feature a 12-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front.
The Pixel and Pixel XL will run on Android 7.1 Nougat with Pixel Launcher. The listings also mention both 32GB and 128GB inbuilt storage variants. Storage expansion via microSD card is also listed, but this seems unlikely considering Google’s entire previous Nexus lineup. The Pixel is listed to sport a 2770mAh battery, and the Pixel XL is listed with a bigger 3450mAh battery, both with fast charging capability.

On the software front, the Pixels is likely to come with Google’s latest Allo and Duo applications preloaded. Carphone Warehouse also revealed the two devices will offer unlimited storage for photos and videos at full resolution with Google Photos.

Along with the unveiling of the Pixel smartphones, the event on Tuesday is also expected to see the launch of the Google Home smart speaker, alongside other rumoured products like the Google Chromecast Ultra, and Google Wi-Fi smart router. The Daydream VR headset unveiled at at Google I/O this year is also expected to make an appearance.

Google’s event is set to start at 9:00am PT (9:30pm IST) on Tuesday, and Gadgets 360 will be covering the event live from San Francisco – so stay tuned.

 
[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]


Apple may have created quite a buzz after it removed the 3.5mm headphone jack with the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but it wasn’t the first company to do that. The natural progression of technology is slowly killing the iconic jack and moving towards making the USB port more accessible. To make that happen, USB Implementers Forum recently published its Audio Device Class 3.0 specification, which will provide device makers the solution they need to get audio over USB Type-C port.

Ditching the 3.5mm jack eliminates the need for multiple ports, according to a statement released by USB-IF. This hints towards an all-in-one connector, which Apple is also aiming for after the launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Removing the headphone jack also allows for slimmer devices, better water resistance, and room for more innovative features.

USB-connected headphones would provide better audio support with possibilities of inbuilt DACs and noise cancellation. USB sound specifications from USB-IF would also reduce power consumption and bring in features like hotword detection for voice controls.

A jack-less future may not be embraced by all. Many still hold on dearly to the classic 3.5mm jack, but the benefits of jack-less devices do exist and are worth considering as technology progresses.
“USB is the simplest and most pervasive connector available today, making USB Type-C the logical choice for the future of digital audio,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF President and COO.

Popular names like Apple, Moto, and Intel have supported the removal of the headphone jack, while some companies like Samsung still believe in the classic rounded port. Meanwhile, other companies were perhaps waiting for a an official support to make that move and we might soon see more brands coming out with devices that leave behind the headphone jack.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Samsung Electronics Co said on Tuesday it has got back around 60 percent of recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones sold in South Korea, the United States and Europe, suggesting it is making progress in its attempts to recover from the crisis.

In a statement, Samsung said it was focused on replacing all affected devices “as quickly and efficiently” as possible and reiterated its request that customers affected by the current recall should power off their device and turn them in.

The world’s top smartphone maker announced on September 2 a global recall of at least 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in 10 markets due to faulty batteries causing some phones to catch fire. The company says replacement devices it began issuing in mid-September use safe batteries.

Samsung hopes to take the faulty products off the market as soon as possible in order to limit further damage to its reputation and resume sales of the flagship device ahead of the key holiday shopping season in major markets such as the United States.

But the nearly month-long recall process has provided additional stumbles and embarrassment for the firm. Reports of Galaxy Note 7 fires and damages have continued after the recall announcement, while aviation authorities around the world issued warnings or outright bans on the use or charging of the Note 7 on aircraft.

Samsung was also forced to push back the start of Galaxy Note 7 sales in South Korea by three days to October 1 due to relatively slow progress in the recall in its home market.

Samsung Europe said the rapid response to the company’s exchange offer, which only started early last week in the region, gave the company confidence it can move to re-start sales of new models in key European markets by October 28.

As of Monday, 57 percent of Galaxy Note 7 owners had swapped for new devices, Samsung Europe said. Galaxy Note 7s were available for pre-order only days before the recall, limiting the number sold in the region, it said. Most of the devices to be recalled in the region were in Britain, France and Germany.

Some analysts say the cost of the recall and lost sales could wipe off nearly $5 billion in revenues for Samsung this year. Samsung said around 90 percent of customers who turned in their devices through the exchange programme have opted for a replacement Galaxy Note 7, but it remains unclear how strong demand from new customers would be when sales resume.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

After much speculation and a leak, Samsung’s rumoured new smartphone – the Galaxy C9 – has reportedly appeared on Geekbench.

A smartphone bearing model number SM-C9000 was spotted on Geekbench, and it’s thought to be the Galaxy C9. A smartphone with the same model number was also recently spotted on Indian import-export website Zauba with a per unit price of Rs. 17,107. Note that import/ export website price listings are only declared values, and usually aren’t accurate reflections of actual market price. Coming back to the Geekbench listing, we see the smartphone is listed to sport a 6-inch display, quashing the early rumours of a 5.7-inch display. The device may also sport an octa-core Qualcomm CPU clocked at 1.4GHz.

The Geekbench listing also shows the Samsung Galaxy C9 to sport 6GB of RAM – significantly higher than all of Samsung’s flagship smartphones that have just 4GB of RAM. If the listing is correct, it will be the largest amount of RAM Samsung has offered in a smartphone yet. Of significance is that Samsung was anticipated to launch a 6GB of RAM variant of the Galaxy Note 7 in China last month, with the company’s mobile division chief citing intense competition with Chinese rivals as the decision for the move. However, that never happened.

It will run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and other specifications look identical to Samsung Galaxy A9. As reported by Sammobile, Samsung may also be working on Galaxy C5 Pro and Galaxy C7 Pro as well. Both smartphones are thought to house mid-range smartphone specifications.

The Samsung Galaxy C range is presently available in China for now, so it is relatively safe to presume that the Galaxy C9 will launch in China initially.

Samsung launched the Galaxy C9’s predecessors in China – the Galaxy C5 and Galaxy C7 – in May this year. The Galaxy C5 was launched at a price of CNY 2,199 for its 32GB variant and CNY 2,399 for its 64GB variant, while the Galaxy C7 was priced at CNY 2,599 for its 32GB variant and CNY 2,799 for its 64GB variant.

The details are yet to be confirmed and we are not sure if the Galaxy C9 will launch with 6GB of RAM or not. Thus, we recommend you to take all of these details with a pinch of salt, until official details are spilled by Samsung.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]