This week, after months of leaks and speculation, Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 line of phones — all boasting the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processors, upgraded 120Hz displays, improved camera hardware, and built-in 5G capability. As an added surprise, we also got a new foldable model in the form of the Galaxy Z Flip, which according to my ZDNet colleague, Chris Matyszczyk, is the phone to be “seen with.”
Stake in the ground
Now, I’m not going to downplay thein terms of their strategic importance to Samsung. The company needed to do a refresh this year because you can’t go a year without doing a device or tech refresh in the consumer electronics industry, especially when you are talking about something as visible as smartphones.
This year, it was important for Samsung to put a stake in the ground about its commitment to 5G and to reassure its customers about continuing to make investments in folding screen technology. Those two technologies are key to the Korean tech giant retaining their No. 1 mobile device manufacturer status on a worldwide basis while also maintaining leadership in the mobile industry as a whole.
Not practical choices
That being said, if you are up for a mobile device upgrade because your phone is several years old and are looking across multiple vendors for a top contender, the S20 series and the Z Flip are not practical choices. As my Jason Squared co-host, Jason Cipriani, has noted, 5G coverage in the US is currently abysmal, and it will likely take two years or more for the major telcos to achieve comprehensive coverage for both Sub-6 and mmWave 5G networks.
Unless you are buying the top-end S20 Plus or S20 Ultra, you’re not buying a phone with mmWave capabilities anyway; you can only use the more extended range, slower Sub-6 networks on the regular S20, and Verizon will not even offer the standard model for the time being due to lack of Sub-6 coverage on its network.
And folding screens? I’m not confident after Samsung’s last fiasco that this folding screen phone is going to be any more resilient to wear and tear than last year’s Tech Turkey. And while Motorola isn’t Samsung, its first-generation phone using this tech doesn’t seem to be living up to the 100,000 fold MTBF it was supposed to have — it failed at 27,000 folds on a test performed by our network sister publication, CNET. So, the technology for this is far from baked. In a few years, these issues may very well work themselves out, and I am confident in Samsung and Motorola as engineering firms. But, at these prices, I’m not going to be an early adopter.
Oh, yeah… If you do buy one of these things? They start at $1,000 for the base S20 and almost $1,400 for the Z Flip. Yeah, that.
Yes, there are also the sweet 40MP and 108MP cameras on the new phones. But, unless you’re aiming to take professional style photos using RAW, then intend to show them on native resolution devices such as 4K and 8K displays, and print them with costly boutique art reproduction quality printers, you’re not going to enjoy the full capabilities of the cameras on those phones. By default, when you take photos, they are going to be stepped down to a much lower resolution and file size to put less strain on mobile networks and eat less onboard storage. Can you get more sharpness out of an extreme crop? Yes, but that’s not something people typically do.
Even if you do sync these at native resolution to a service like Google Photos (which, you can’t, unless you pay extra for it with a storage plan), services like Instagram and Facebook will heavily compress everything you upload, so you’re going to get digital artifacts, and they will not look nearly as sharp as the originals. Most people take casual photos of things — selfies, friends, candid family shots, pets, food. You don’t need a 40MP — let alone a 108MP camera sensor. Most of this type of photography benefits much higher from image processing than sensor quality, and Samsung so far hasn’t invested in this in the same way that Apple and Google have.
Sounds like a bummer, right? Well, not so fast.
Samsung did announce something that should make everyone very happy: A significant price drop on last year’s S10 models, which are very lovely phones indeed.
Disclosure: ZDNet may earn an affiliate commission from some of the products featured on this page. ZDNet and the author were not compensated for this independent review.
Samsung dropped the prices for the unlocked Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10, and Galaxy S10 Plus with 128GB of storage down to $599.99, $749.99, and $849.99, respectively, in the US. That’s at least a $200 price cut from the original launch price for these devices, and that is not reflecting final trade-in price with a qualifying Samsung, Apple, or Google device. As of this writing, most of the major retailers have not yet followed suit with discounts — although the current price is reflected at Amazon and Best Buy.
I expect there to be additional promotions in the next month or two, as Apple is expected to launch its iPhone 9, and Google is expected to announce the Pixel 4A and drop the price of its flagship phones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL.
As a refresher, the S10 uses the Qualcomm 855 processor (the flagship SoC from last year) with 8GB RAM and 128GB of flash storage. It has a 550ppi pixel density display at 1440×3040 resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate. In addition to a 12MP selfie — which is the same as the Galaxy S20 — the phone has three cameras: A 12MP wide, a 12MP telephoto, and 16MP ultrawide. And it can take a high-definition video at 2160p. The phone recently received its Android 10 upgrade, as well.
In every area that is practically meaningful to the average end-user, the S10 is as good as a phone the S20 is — for a lot less money.
Are there cheaper Qualcomm 855 phones on the market? There sure are, such as OnePlus and ZTE, which have some genuinely excellent devices in the $500 price range. The ZTE Axon 10 Pro is now $469, and the OnePlus 7 Pro is $499, and we highly recommend both of those excellent devices. But I expect that, with this increased pressure from Samsung (and Apple in the next few months), we will see these phones drop in price even more, as well.
But if you want to go with a phone that will be well-supported and is a no-brainer purchase if you need to upgrade from an existing Samsung, Google, or Apple device? Pick up an S10.
Are you planning to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S10 after the recent price drops? Talk Back and Let Me Know.
Now you can buy puzzles of Toronto businesses – NOW Magazine
In Toronto, puzzles have become an increasingly popular pandemic pastime. Seemingly endless time indoors means we’re all partying like it’s 1799, with local gift and game shops having a hard time keeping puzzles in stock.
A new Toronto startup wants to combine our newly-minted jones for jigsaws with the opportunity to help out struggling small businesses. PieceTogether is a new project that creates jigsaw puzzles featuring images of beloved local businesses – and gives $15 from every $35 sale directly back to the business.
“Even as restrictions ease many of these smaller businesses will still have to operate at a loss, it’s going to be difficult for a long time,” said co-founder Rich Pauptit in a release. “It’s just devastating to think that some of our favourite neighbourhood places to visit may have to close down.”
By buying a puzzle, he adds, “you get something fun to do at home as well as an easy way to support these vital independent businesses.”
Among the first wave of puzzles available for purchase: The Cameron House’s iconic exterior, the leafy cocktail bar Reyna, a cool bottle of beer from Shacklands, and a bird’s eye view of Stackt, with even more on the way. Check out the full lineup here.
Google Silently Releases Android Auto in More Countries – autoevolution
But more recently, users in a couple of new countries have been provided with the official Android Auto listing the Google Play Store, including here those in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Users who turned to reddit to confirm that Android Auto is now live in these two countries explain that they can “update it legitimately,” as seen in the screenshot here.
Others based the same countries, however, claim Android Auto isn’t available in the Google Play Store on their devices, so the app either rolls out in stages to these users or the Play Store updates are actually the result of the app originally being installed with the APK file.
In other words, if Android Auto is deployed using the dedicated APK installer, then updates are automatically served through the Google Play Store, and this is why some might be tempted to believe the app is now officially supported in their country.
But one user in the Netherlands says this isn’t the case, as updates through the Google Play Store weren’t possible before.
“I couldn’t update it through the store prior tot this, even with android 10. So I had to keep reinstalling through apk. Android auto seem to work different for a lot of people though. On my s9 plus it won’t show up in the store, even if I reinstall it on this phone (s10+)it will still show up in the store. On my phone it’s not a system app though,” one user explains.
Google is yet to officially announce the availability of Android Auto in more countries, so our only option is to actually wait until a confirmation on this is offered. Until then, a healthy dose of skepticism is definitely recommended.
Distributel Permanently Waives Data Overage Charges on all Internet Plans – Canada NewsWire
Company responds to the evolving needs of its customers
TORONTO, May 28, 2020 /CNW/ – Distributel Communications Limited is proud to announce that we have eliminated internet overage charges permanently on all current plans for our customers. In March, we communicated that we would temporarily waive these fees to support the large number of customers whose families are working and learning from home. Today’s decision reflects our customers’ changing needs and furthers our commitment to doing what’s right for Canadians.
“Our customers’ satisfaction is extremely important to us. They told us that they truly appreciated having data caps removed and that it made a real difference for them,” said Matt Stein, CEO of Distributel. “We thought about extending the program past the initial three months, but we quickly realized that customers’ needs have changed for the long term. The right thing to do was to eliminate these charges permanently. The internet has become such an essential part of our lives, that we want to make sure our customers can stay connected without ever worrying about additional charges.”
We listen to our customers and continue to respond to their evolving needs. This change is effective immediately across all capped plans, and no further customer action is required.
This is a time of change for everyone – our customers, our employees, and our partners. Our business continuity plans and practices have allowed us to continue supporting Canadians throughout this period. We are grateful for the tremendous efforts of our employees, customers, vendors and partners—all of whom continue to be there for one another.
“We’re all still adapting to this new world, and it’s clear that even as pandemic restrictions begin to lift, there are going to be long-term changes to how we work, learn and live,” said Stein. “Today more than ever, the internet enables many of the things we value most: keeping loved ones close, learning and developing, interacting with customers and colleagues, and recharging at the end of the day. We’re very proud that we can play such an important role in Canadians’ lives.”
Established in 1988, Distributel is a leading national, independent telecommunications provider offering a wide range of business and residential communications services. 100% Canadian-owned, with offices across the country and a national network, Distributel continues to forge new partnerships and bring innovative solutions to market directly and through a thriving wholesale division. ThinkTel, the Business Services Division of Distributel, is a provider of advanced voice and data services for the SMB and Enterprise markets throughout Canada. TV services provided through TotalTV Inc., an IPTV service provider that operates in Ontario and Quebec. As a top Microsoft Solutions Partner and a Cisco PMP, the Business Services division is focused on driving industry innovation. For more information, visit: www.distributel.ca.
SOURCE Distributel Communications Limited
For further information: Aby Bueno, Broad Reach Communications, T: 416-858-3135, E: [email protected]
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