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The frayed scrap of paper taped to the sidewalk outside Apple’s flagship store in San Francisco’s Union Square had a simple message: $5 for photographs.

The sight of Apple fans clamoring to get the latest phone was replaced Friday by people looking to make a few bucks from their lead spot in the line. For the first time, being first through Apple store doors around the world is no guarantee of securing the top-of-the-line new iPhone. A combination of limited supply and Apple’s push toward online pre-orders meant walk-in customers were unable to buy the larger iPhone 7 Plus version.

The result: smaller, less-enthusiastic lines. That’s a big change from the retail frenzy that has long been a ritual of the company’s marketing for a product that still accounts for at least 57 percent of revenue.

“My iPhone 5 died two days ago, the screen became detached,” said David Nelson, a 51-year-old attorney from Oakland, California, who waited toward the back of a line of several hundred people outside the San Francisco store Friday morning. “If my phone had survived, I wouldn’t be here.”

It was subdued outside the London Apple shop in Covent Garden. A well-organized line of a few hundred people cycled through, mainly consisting of people with receipts to pick up pre-ordered devices.

The line outside Apple’s Fifth Avenue store in New York was the smallest since the launch of the iPhone 3GS in 2009, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. His research team counted 400 customers lining up there Friday, down from a peak of 1,880 for the iPhone 6 debut in September 2014. Apple said earlier this week that all models of the 5.5-inch screen iPhone 7 Plus were sold out in advance, as were all other new handsets with the glossy jet black finish.

“Consumers continue to trend toward pre-ordering new devices to specifically avoid long launch day lines,” Munster wrote in a Friday note to investors. “Pre-orders and early inventory issues will continue to impact future launch day lines, thus would not be surprised to continue seeing smaller lines across the world on future launch days.”

This year, Apple extended its iPhone Upgrade program, in which customers pay a monthly fee in return for a new handset every year. This may help Apple stabilize iPhone sales in years without new blockbuster models, but it also reduces the need for people to gather for hours outside stores on launch day. After being introduced in the US a year ago, iPhone Upgrade was rolled out to the UK and China this year.

Several Apple retail employees in Europe said their stores had no stock for customers walking in without a pre-order reservation, despite Apple’s statement that there would be iPhone 7s available in all colors besides jet black. At European stores where stock for walk-ins was available, quantities were scarce and customers seeking a particular color and capacity configuration ended up with a model they didn’t want or left empty-handed, the employees said. Some big Apple stores in California received fewer than 100 units for walk-in customers, other employees said. They didn’t want to be identified sharing descriptions of early sales. Apple won’t disclose initial weekend sales numbers for the new models, breaking with the tradition of past years.

The lack of sizable crowds this year is a far cry from previous product launches. The first iPhone in 2007 introduced the world to customers camping outside stores to buy a new technology product. Greg Packer, a former government maintenance worker, started the line at Apple’s Fifth Avenue store five days before the original iPhone became available, while a group of organic farmers sat in line for more than a week before the iPhone 3G’s launch in 2008.

Lines at some malls were so long that security guards made crowds wait at nearby locations and escorted customers in small groups to the store to buy their phones. Apple employees provided waiting customers with bottled water, coffee and donuts.

The large crowds were not only made up of shoppers. Some people paid others to line up for them and re-selling new iPhones purchased early from stores became a thriving side business.

Piper Jaffray’s Munster said this year’s line outside the Fifth Avenue store had “little to no representation from overseas re-sellers.” Last year, these entrepreneurs accounted for about 20 percent of the line, he noted.

Still, smaller lines do not necessarily mean fewer sales, because online pre-ordering has picked up, the analyst said. “We remain comfortable with our thinking for slight growth in the iPhone 7 cycle compared to the iPhone 6 cycle,” he wrote.

Back in San Francisco on Friday, some customers were still waiting to get phones for other people. Matic Skok, a 23-year-old from Slovenia, was buying an iPhone 7 for his uncle back home.

“My uncle is addicted to his iPhone,” Skok said, adding that he didn’t plan to buy a new handset for himself. “I have a 5S but it’s too expensive for me to get a new one.”

Dual-camera setups for smartphones aren’t new, with HTC back in 2014 launching the One M8 with dual-camera setup at the rear. The dual-camera setup has been lately seen on a lot of smartphones including the LG G5, Huawei P9, and more recently the iPhone 7 Plus. In an attempt to tap the trend, chipmaker Qualcomm has introduced its new Clear Sight technology for dual-camera setups. The company says that the new Clear Sight technology is designed to “mimic the attributes of the human eye” which means the setup can mimic functions of binocular vision. The company is also detailing colour and low light technologies, likening them to the human eye’s cones and rods.

Qualcomm says the biggest advantages of the new Clear Sight tech are that it enables taking images with improved dynamic range, sharpness, and less noise in low light. The new dual-camera tech from Qualcomm is supported by the high-end Snapdragon 820 and 821 processors. Clear Sight can be expected to be seen on smartphones launched in 2017.

Detailing the new tech, Qualcomm says Clear Sight features integrated hardware module that contains two cameras – each comes with its own lens and image sensor. Both the cameras have different image sensors: one colour image sensor, and a separate black and white image sensor.

With Clear Sight, Qualcomm has removed the top layer’s colour filter which means it won’t be able to capture colour, but its ability to capture light is claimed to increase by 3 times.

“The human eye is a great analogy because your eyes contain cells called “cones” and “rods.” Cones are great at capturing colour, but require well-lit environments, while rods excel in capturing light in low-light conditions, but don’t capture as much colour. Clear Sight is designed to mimic cones and rods to give you the best of both worlds, producing an image that has optimal contrast and brightness,” notes Qualcomm.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Google few weeks back started rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat for compatible Nexus devices. The Android Nougat update was rolled out to the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C tablet, and Android One General Mobile 4G devices gradually. The list of devices however missed out the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 LTE devices giving an impression that they may miss out on Android N update altogether.

Google has now confirmed that both the Motorola Google Nexus 6 and HTC Google Nexus 9 will receive the final Android 7.0 Nougat update “in the coming weeks.” The company confirmed the details to Android Police without giving an exact timeline for the update. Unfortunately, Google has so far also not revealed the reasons for the delay of the Android 7.0 Nougat update for the devices. For those users who can’t wait for the official rollout of Android 7.0 Nougat can register for the Android N Developer Preview to experience Nougat.

To refresh, the final Android 7.0 Nougat build brings a host of improvements such as multi-window support, enhanced notifications, revamped doze, and number blocking. Google has already released the final build to OEMs which means they can start building their skins on top of Android 7.0 Nougat and release it soon to their customers.

Dave Burke, Engineering VP, during official Android 7.0 Nougat release had announced that Google has moved Nougat into a new regular maintenance schedule for the coming quarters. Burke had added that the first Nougat maintenance release was already in the works.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Samsung’s troubles as it tries to recall millions of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are continuing to stack up, and its advice for dealing with the phones just got a little more complicated.

The batteries in the smartphones have been known to explode and catch fire while charging. Now, Samsung is telling customers in South Korea to download a software patch to their phones, the Associated Press reports. The patch will keep the phone’s battery from charging to more than 60 percent capacity.

It’s not clear at the moment whether this patch will also be rolled out to US customers.

Samsung told The Washington Post in a statement Tuesday that any steps it takes in the United States must be approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. “Samsung is continuing to work with the CPSC and our carrier partners to develop and evaluate solutions that are best for US Note 7 owners,” a Samsung spokeswoman said in the statement. “No action will be taken without the approval of the CPSC. Customer safety remains our top priority.”

Samsung announced last week that it was working with the federal agency to formally issue a recall for the large-screen smartphone. Samsung previously started a voluntary replacement program in cooperation with major US carriers. That opened it up to criticism from consumer advocates, including writers at Consumer Reports, who said that a problem as serious as the one affecting the Note 7 should be handled formally by the government.

The release of a software patch seems to contradict the company’s initial advice, which was to stop using the phones and to turn them off. Samsung hasn’t offered details on how capping a Note 7’s battery charge at 60 percent may reduce the risk of fire or explosion – or explained its confusing instructions. But the company may be releasing this patch to reach those who continue to use their phones despite being told to stop.

Keeping your phone off is still the guiding direction, at least in the United States. The CPSC has said, in no uncertain terms, that the best course of action with Galaxy Note 7 units is “to power them down and stop charging or using the device.”

Without further information from Samsung about whether the phones are safer if charged only to 60 percent, consumers may still wish to be safe rather than sorry – and keep the phones off altogether.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s shares fell to their lowest level in nearly two months on Monday after the tech giant told customers to switch off and return their new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones due to fire-prone batteries.

Investors had wiped trillions of Korean won off the South Korean firm’s market capitalisation, as a series of warnings from regulators and airlines around the world raised fears for the future of the flagship device.

“Some said initially the Galaxy Note 7 could be the best smartphone ever, but now it’s possible the phone will go down as the worst ever,” IBK Securities analyst Lee Seung-woo said, predicting weak sales in the fourth quarter.

Samsung Electronics’ common shares were down 6.3 percent to KRW 1,476,000 (roughly Rs. 88,500) each after touching their lowest level since July 12, and were on track for their biggest daily percentage drop in more than four years.

Analysts said the recall could torpedo Galaxy Note 7 sales and have a lasting impact on the $211 billion (roughly Rs. 1,411,55 crores) company’s brand image, which could derail a recovery in its smartphone market share against rivals like Apple.

The global smartphone leader on Saturday urged all customers to turn off their Galaxy Note 7 units and return them as soon as possible as part of the recall which it voluntarily initiated on September 2.

Unprecedented
The recall is unprecedented for Samsung, which prides itself on its manufacturing prowess. Some analysts estimate the firm might lose KRW 5 billion worth of revenue after accounting for recall costs. The company had said it had sold 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7s that need to be replaced.

Nomura said it had cut its forecast for Samsung’s third-quarter mobile operating profit by KRW 900 billion to KRW 3.1 trillion (roughly Rs. 5,395 crores to Rs. 18,584 crores) in the wake of the Galaxy Note 7 recall.

“Even if Samsung puts Note 7s with new batteries in the market it won’t sell as well as it had initially,” HMC Investment analyst Greg Roh said.

“Long-term, it will cost Samsung significant marketing spending to ensure the next products can overcome this issue.”

The Galaxy Note 7 problems are a major blow to Samsung’s efforts to build on the strong sales of its Galaxy S7 smartphones launched in March.

The firm was beginning to claw back smartphone market share and had tried to pre-empt Apple by launching the almost $900 (roughly Rs. 60,000) Galaxy Note 7 on August 19, about a month ahead of the latest iPhone release.

The recall forced Samsung to halt sales indefinitely in markets such as the United States and push back launches in other regions such as Europe.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on Wednesday, and even though the smartphones are market-leading in terms of performance, like every other iPhone model they also carry a hefty price tag. Price is a crucial factor for Apple, and more so in a country like India, which is a very price sensitive market.

Apple announced that the iPhone 7 32GB variant will be priced in India at Rs. 60,000 when it launches on October 7. But what is the price of the iPhone 7 in launch markets across the world?
Country

Local Price

Price in INR*

iPhone 7 price in India

₹ 60,000

₹ 60,000

iPhone 7 price in Italy

€ 799

₹ 59,900

iPhone 7 price in Norway

NOK 7,390

₹ 59,750

iPhone 7 price in Sweden

SEK 7,495

₹ 58,900

iPhone 7 price in New Zealand

$ 1199

₹ 58,800

iPhone 7 price in Denmark

DKK 5,799

₹ 58,400

iPhone 7 price in Finland

€ 779

₹ 58,400

iPhone 7 price in Iceland

€ 779

₹ 58,400

iPhone 7 price in Portugal

€ 779

₹ 58,400

iPhone 7 price in Belgium

€ 769

₹ 57,700

iPhone 7 price in France

€ 769

₹ 57,700

iPhone 7 price in Netherlands

€ 769

₹ 57,700

iPhone 7 price in Spain

€ 769

₹ 57,600

iPhone 7 price in Austria

€ 759

₹ 56,900

iPhone 7 price in Germany

€ 759

₹ 56,900

iPhone 7 price in Luxemborg

€ 743

₹ 55,700

iPhone 7 price in Mexico

MX$ 15,499

₹ 55,000

iPhone 7 price in Australia

AU$ 1,079

₹ 54,500

iPhone 7 price in China

CN¥ 5,388

₹ 53,800

iPhone 7 price in UK

£ 599

₹ 53,100

iPhone 7 price in Taiwan

NT$ 24,500

₹ 51,900

iPhone 7 price in Switzerland

CHF 759

₹ 51,900

iPhone 7 price in Singapore

SGD 1,048

₹ 51,600

iPhone 7 price in Hong Kong

HK$ 5,588

₹ 48,200

iPhone 7 price in Japan**

¥ 72,800

₹ 47,350

iPhone 7 price in UAE

AED 2,599

₹ 47,300

iPhone 7 price in Canada**

CA$ 899

₹ 46,100

iPhone 7 price in USA**

US$ 649

₹ 43,400

* Based on INR price calculated at the time of publishing this story. Exchange rates may vary.
** Price does not include local taxes, which may vary from state to state.

If we talk about the higher-end of the price band, the smartphone will be priced at NOK 7,390 in Norway, EUR 799 in Italy, SEK 7,495 in Sweden, and NZ$ 1199 in New Zealand. iPhone 7 price is EUR 779 in Portugal, Ireland, and Finland; DKK 5,799 in Denmark, and EUR 769 in Spain, France, Netherlands, and Belgium. The iPhone 7 will cost EUR 743 in Luxembourg, and CHF 759 in Switzerland.

The iPhone 7 price in Germany and Austria is EUR 759. It will cost MXN 15,499 in Mexico, AUD 1,079 in Australia, and CNY 5,388 in China.

The iPhone 7 32GB will launch at GBP 599 in the UK. It will be available at SGD 1,048 in Singapore, TWD 24,500 in Taiwan and AED 2,599 in the UAE. In Hong Kong, the smartphone is priced at HKD 5,588.

The iPhone 7 will cost JPY 72,800 plus taxes in Japan and CAD 899 plus taxes in Canada. The smartphone will cost $649 in the US.

Note that while the iPhone 7 price in some countries like UK and India includes taxes, in other countries like the United States, taxes vary from state to state, and not included in the price listed above.

Note that all prices mentioned are for the iPhone 7 32GB and have been take from Apple’s website for each region.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 units are now being reported worldwide. After the incident in Australia, where a man was presented with a $1,400 bill because his handset exploded and caused damage to his hotel room, the most recent explosion cases are now coming in from the US. A Florida resident’s jeep was completely totalled after his Galaxy Note 7 was said to catch fire while on charge inside his car, and another incident was reported from South Carolina where a resident’s house was set on fire because his handset reportedly exploded while on charge.

Beginning with the jeep incident, victim Nathan Dornacher took to Facebook to relay the incident. He claims that he left his jeep on, outside his house, to keep the AC running and his charging point working. His family was about to head back out in a few minutes, so he didn’t shut the jeep off. When he got out of his house, he saw his jeep in flames. After the Fire Department finished their job, he shared images of his charred smartphone and damaged car.

Samsung said in a statement, “We are working with Mr. Dornacher to investigate his case and ensure we do everything we can for him.” The company also urged buyers to swap their handsets at the earliest.
Another incident was reported out of South Carolina in the US. Horry County resident Wesley Hartzog claims that he came home to find his garage had caught fire. He had plugged in his Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in the garage for charging, and had left to pick up his two daughters. When he got back, he found his garage in flames. The local fire department’s rescue investigators told WMBF that the fire originated near a wall outlet where Hartzog’s phone was charging. However, the exact cause of the fire is still unknown, and Hartzog and his family are forced to live in a hotel till the investigation ends.

Samsung hasn’t issued an official worldwide recall yet, but has announced an exchange policy for all the Galaxy Note 7 buyers. Even though sale has been suspended, because there is no official recall, third party retailers are still able to sell it.

As mentioned, an incident in Australia left the owner with a huge AUD 1,800 (roughly Rs. 91,600 or $1,400) damage bill. All of these incidents have forced the US FAA to issue a statement discouraging users to fly with the Galaxy Note 7. “In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the FAA strongly advices passengers to not turn on or charge their devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.”

Three Australian airlines – Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia – have also banned passengers from using or charging Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones during flights.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple finally unveiled its latest smartphones – iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus – on Wednesday. One of the most pleasant surprises that the launch brought along was the announcement by the company that the new models carry the best battery life on any iPhone ever. In order to understand how the company accomplished this upgrade, we will have to dive deep into the specifications of these latest smartphones.

Apple’s iPhone 7 models carry the A10 Fusion SoC, which not only provides the smartphones with performance boost compared to previous iPhone models, but according to Apple, also enables more efficient power usage by the device. As for the performance, the A10 is supposedly 40 percent faster than the Apple A9, and twice as fast as the Apple A8.

The Apple A10 Fusion SoC has four CPU cores built right into the chip. Two of these cores are “high-performance” cores and are responsible for all major tasks. The other two cores are being termed by the company as “high-efficiency cores” and are capable of running at just one-fifth the power of the high-performance cores. These cores ensure that the smartphones utilise their batteries in an efficient manner, and are used for low-power apps that run in the background. In order to decide what runs on which set of cores, the company has also implemented its self-designed performance controller into the smartphone.
According to the Cupertino-based tech giant, the battery life on iPhone 7 will last around 2 hours longer than it does on iPhone 6s. In our review of iPhone 6s, the battery life of the phone lasted for 10 hours and 42 minutes in video loop test.

Of course, another reason for the improved battery life on the iPhone 7 is the inclusion of a bigger battery – roughly 14 percent bigger, Apple revealed. The company was able to fit a bigger battery into a similar sized frame thanks to the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, Apple said.

The iPhone and iPhone 7 Plus will launch in India on October 7. The pricing in India for iPhone 7 starts at Rs. 60,000 but there has been no word yet on price of other models for India.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

iPhone 6s accounted for 4 percent of all smartphones shipped in Q2 2016 iPhone 6 took the second spot with 8.5 million units shipped

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge had 2 percent market share

Apple’s iPhone 6s was the world’s top-selling smartphone model in the second quarter of 2016, a report said on Wednesday, adding that the US giant currently accounts for two of the three top-selling smartphone models shipped worldwide.

Apple shipped 14.2 million units and accounted for four percent share of all smartphones shipped worldwide in Q2 2016, said market research firm Strategy Analytics.

“Apple’s iPhone 6s is currently the world’s most popular smartphone. The iPhone 6s is wildly popular in dozens of countries globally, due to its attractive hardware design blended with rich features such as 4K video, large multi-touch display and fingerprint security,” informed Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics.

Total global smartphone shipments grew one percent annually from 338.0 million units in Q2 2015 to 341.5 million in Q2 2016.
“Smartphone growth is sluggish at the moment due to ongoing economic volatility worldwide, high ownership penetration in most major countries, and a lack of new innovation from device manufacturers,” added Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics.

The Apple iPhone 6 shipped 8.5 million units worldwide for second position and 2 percent marketshare during Q2 2016, followed by Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in third place with 8.3 million and 2 percent share.

“Apple iPhone 6 has been on sale for almost two years and it remains near the top of best-seller lists in many regions like Europe. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge has proven popular among high-end consumers and its curved hardware design has given the firm a differentiator,” noted Woody Oh, director at Strategy Analytics.

The news came as Apple is set to launch its next-gen Apple iPhone7 in San Francisco.

According to media reports, the mega event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium will unveil the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus smartphones, along with the next-generation Apple Watch.

People can pre-order the luxury smartphone from September 9 while sales may begin from September 16.

The new iPhone 7 may have a dual rear camera, a pressure-sensitive home button, Bluetooth-supported headphones, dual speakers at the bottom and Type-C interface, signalling the end of the 3.5 mm headphone jack in the iPhone family.

Intel announced Project Euclid, at its Intel Developers Forum last month, based on company’s RealSense perceptual computing platform. With this announcement the company made it clear that it is serious about the concept of computer vision. Now, the company has gone ahead further and announced that it is going to acquire computer vision chipmaker Movidius.

Movidius as a chipmaker is not an unknown entity in the industry as it is already working with companies such as Google, DJI, FLIR, and Lenovo to provide its vision technology to various electronic devices such as drones, security cameras, AR/VR headsets etc.

Movidius, interestingly, provided the computer vision chips used in the first generation of Google Project Tango devices, including the first commercial Tango product, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Its hardware helps map surroundings using 3D tools like cameras and sensors. The company also provided chips for the collision avoidance system on the DJI Phantom 4.

In a note regarding the acquisition, Movidius CEO Remi El-Ouazzane said that the company will remain focused on its objective to provide vision to machines but will now have the resources to innovate faster and execute at scale.
(Also see: Your Android Smartphone Could Soon Recognise People and Objects Around You)

“With Movidius, Intel gains low-power, high-performance SoC platforms for accelerating computer vision applications. Additionally, this acquisition brings algorithms tuned for deep learning, depth processing, navigation and mapping, and natural interactions, as well as broad expertise in embedded computer vision and machine intelligence. Movidius’ technology optimizes, enhances and brings RealSense capabilities to fruition,” Intel’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of the New Technology Group Josh Walden said in his editorial.

Walden further said that specifically, the company will look to deploy the technology across its “efforts in augmented, virtual and merged reality (AR/VR/MR), drones, robotics, digital security cameras and beyond.”

“Computer vision will trigger a Cambrian explosion of compute, with Intel at the forefront of this new wave of computing, enabled by RealSense in conjunction with Movidius and our full suite of perceptual computing technologies,” Walden added.

A spokesperson from Intel has told The Verge that all of the 180 employees at Movidius will be “integrated” into Intel’s Perceptual Computing group.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]