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Galaxy S11 leaks and rumors: Everything we know about Samsung's camera, price, release date – CNET

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An artist’s rendition of the Galaxy S11, based on the rumors and leaks.


Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET from Concept Creator

Buzz is already building around the Galaxy S11, the phone that industry watchers suspect (with good reason) to be Samsung’s next premium device for the masses. That is, unlike the $2,000 Galaxy Fold or $1,100 Galaxy Note 10 Plus, this is a phone designed to appeal to lots of folks, not just enthusiasts looking for the most cutting-edge or powerful handset. 

The leaks and rumors are only intensifying as we approach 2020, from the Galaxy S11’s official lineup and price, to the camera setup and battery (hint: it could be massive). I’m throwing in my own educated guesses too, because Samsung often follows historical patterns and topical trends. So, certain features make sense.

The Galaxy S11 family of phones is Samsung’s first mainstream handset that could help bring 5G’s faster data speeds to the masses. Samsung got a start with 5G this year, with the S10 5G, Note 10 Plus 5G, Galaxy A90 5G and Fold (in the UK and South Korea). But these phones either aren’t targeting everyday users, and many are variants of 4G devices that already exist.

Headed into the Galaxy S11 launch, Samsung is in a much stronger position than it was a year ago. It made waves in 2019, nabbing a CBET Editors’ Choice award for the Galaxy Note 10 Plus and releasing the unforgettable Galaxy Fold. 2020 is only destined to get better — and that goes for Samsung’s next foldable phone, too.

There are a lot of specs to absorb, so here they are — the Galaxy S11’s most important rumored features so far, plus what we don’t know and what we think we might get.


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Three models, three sizes: Galaxy S11, S11 Plus, S11 Pro

First things first. The Galaxy S11 line isn’t going to be one phone, that we know. It’s rumored to be three, just like last year’s S10 family of 4G models. 

Some rumors name the phones as the S11E, S11 and S11 Plus, but more recent whispers, including that from frequent Twitter leaker Evan Blass, suggest S11, S11 Plus and S11 Pro, which is a lot closer to Apple’s strategy with the iPhone 11, the base model for that line.

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Screenshot by ZDNet

Here are the rumored screen sizes:

  • Galaxy S11: 6.2-inch or 6.4-inch
  • Galaxy S11 Plus: 6.7-inch
  • Galaxy S11 Pro: 6.9-inch

Blass also stated that all the Galaxy S11 phones could have curved sides, unlike 2019’s Galaxy S10E, which had a flat display that I sometimes preferred.

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A peek at the Galaxy S11? We’ll know soon enough.


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Feb. 11 or 18 launch, later release dates

The all-important question: When do we get to see this thing for the first time? February is a given. Samsung has unveiled its Galaxy S series in late February or early March for years, sometimes at the Mobile World Congress tech show, sometimes before, and a couple of times, even after.

If Samsung follows last year’s model, we’ll see the Galaxy S11 and its kin appear shortly before MWC. If we let the rumors guide us, Samsung will show its hand on either Tuesday, Feb. 11 (this is in Greek) or Tuesday, Feb. 18. So yeah, February seems solid.

Look for the phone to go on preorder shortly after, with units shipping a week or two after the reveal. I’ll continue to update this story with fresh rumors, so come back for more.

Could look like a cross between the Note 10 and Galaxy S10

The Galaxy S11 renders are out, and so are the concept designs, which I love because they can bring the rumors to life. 

So what might we get with Samsung’s S11 phone? Rounded shoulders, which have become the Galaxy S trademark, but with a more squared-off look reminiscent of the Galaxy Note 10. A slim body. Curved sides for all models, unlike the Galaxy S10E’s flat screen, which I actually really liked.

The camera array could become square, off to the left, and stick out from the surface, a lot like the iPhone 11 and Google Pixel 4. I really hope that’s not the case. Cameras that stick out are more vulnerable to breaking when you drop your phone. A case is an absolute must.

5G guaranteed, but there’s a catch

I mentioned 5G earlier. This is a rumored feature, but also a given. The Galaxy S11 is 99.9% likely to use the powerful Snapdragon 865 processor in it, which chipmaker Qualcomm won’t make available to phone brands without the 5G modem it pairs with. Ipso facto, you get a phone with the Snapdragon 865, you get a 5G-ready phone.

The same goes for any regions that will package the Galaxy S11 with Samsung’s in-house Exynos 990 5G processor, which often happens in Asia, especially Samsung’s home country of South Korea. (Ice Universe says Samsung is “determined” to use Snapdragon 865 for South Korean models.)

I promised a catch and here it is. While the Galaxy S11 will be 5G-ready, not every phone may be able to access 5G. Cities and countries that are 4G-only will only be able to use 4G networks, so the 5G Galaxy S11 could very well act like a 4G phone. 

We’ll see how it all shakes out, but I’d be surprised if Samsung used any chip other than Snapdragon 865. The Galaxy S series is its mainstream flagship and Samsung is the world’s largest phone-maker. It will want to put its best foot forward by delivering the phone with the “best” chip.

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Another artistic rendition of the Galaxy S11.


Concept Creator

108-megapixel camera, periscope lens, 5X optical zoom

Now for the fun stuff, the camera. We already talked about how rumors, leaks and renders predict a square camera array overflowing with cameras. It gets wilder.

Samsung is said to be outfitting the Galaxy S11 (or at least one variant) with a 108-megapixel main camera sensor. Is that madness? It sounds like madness. But Chinese brand Xiaomi already beat Samsung to it with the Mi CC9 Pro, which already uses a 108-megapixel camera.

In addition, the Snapdragon 865 chip we talked about above can support a 200-megapixel camera. You may not be using all 108 pixels all the time, but having that extra resolution can be helpful for zooming in and cropping. If you like the sound of all that, thank the chipmaker for making it happen.

Here’s what else you could get with the S11 camera (at least on some models), according to Ice Universe and 91Mobiles:

galaxy-s11-Galaxy-S11Egalaxy-s11-Galaxy-S11E

Suggested renders for the Galaxy S11 and “S11E”.


Pricebaba

Screen: 120Hz AMOLED display

We talked about phone screens earlier, but here’s what else we’re likely to get: the ability to turn on a 120Hz screen refresh rate. That will make animations and scrolling a whole lot smoother than the standard 60Hz refresh rate wwe have now. 

While a 120Hz refresh rate is great for gaming and other quick transitions (even 90Hz like on the OnePlus 7T), it’s a battery hog. The Galaxy S11 could put the power in your hands with settings to switch between 60Hz to preserve battery life and 120Hz if you want to rev up animations.

This is pretty much a done deal since both the Snapdragon 865 and Exynos 990 5G support 210Hz screens.


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A whopping 5,000-mAh battery?

Different size phones get different size batteries, and another rumor from the prolific Ice Universe dials in the Galaxy S11 “Plus” battery at 5,000 mAh, which is ridonculous. 

Keep in mind that the “Plus” could also be the “Pro” (e.g., the highest-end model of the trio), which makes far more sense to me than the middle phone getting a battery that size. For reference, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus battery is 4,300 mAh and battery life is outstanding.

There have been some phones with ultra-large batteries before, so 5,000 mAh fits my expectations. For instance, the Asus’ new ROG Phone II is an Android specs powerhouse, which makes it a gaming beast.

In-screen fingerprint reader

I loved the concept of an in-screen fingerprint reader, until I used it in the Galaxy S10. The accuracy, speed and convenience never quite lived up to the promise for me. 

My best-case scenario would be to the Galaxy S11 return to some form of secure face unlock, combined with the in-screen reader. Samsung already knows how to do this well. Remember, the series got iris scanning in the S7, but dropped it for the S10. Google has now done it better, with the Pixel 4’s gesture tracking lending a hand.

We could at least see a more robust form of in-screen biometric scanner, if Samsung decides to take advantage of the Snapdragon 865’s support for two-finger scanning, which is meant to improve the technology on all fronts. I sure hope it does.

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In One UI 2, right, app folders open lower on the screen so that it’s easier for you to interact with them one-handed.


Samsung

Android 10 and Samsung One UI 2

There’s little doubt that every Samsung phone in 2020 will run on Android 10 and the company’s own One UI 2, which was announced in October and is now available in beta.

I’m much more excited about Android 10, which brings systemwide dark mode to phones, gesture navigation, some seriously impressive live captioning and new privacy settings. One UI 2 aims to push icons and screen controls toward the bottom of the phone so they’re easier to reach one-handed. 

Galaxy S11 series: Price will break $1,000

Now for the question on everyone’s mind: How much is the Galaxy S11 going to cost me? As always, it will depend on which model you buy. 

Let’s start with the Galaxy S10 prices for the base storage configuration:

  • Galaxy S10E: $749, £669, AU$1,199
  • Galaxy S10: $899, £799, AU$1,349
  • Galaxy S10 Plus: $999, £899, AU$1,499
  • Galaxy S10 5G: $1,300, £1,099, AU$2,950

5G costs the phone makers more to buy and integrate, so we could see a price bump right off the bat. You’ll also spend more if you opt for a model with greater storage, say 512GB, assuming Samsung offers it and begins storage at 128GB.

If the largest version (“Pro” or “Plus,” depending on the rumors) lines up with the S10 Plus pricing, it’ll start at $1,000. With the 5G component and more camera tech, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that rise to $1,100, a price that matches the Galaxy Note 10 Plus today.

Originally published earlier this week.

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Amazon Sidewalk is coming to your neighborhood. Here's what you should know – CNET

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James Martin/CNET

Amazon has had its sights set on the smart home ever since Alexa came along — but now the online mega-retailer is thinking bigger, and envisioning entire smart neighborhoods. First announced in 2019, the effort is called Amazon Sidewalk, and it uses a small fraction of your home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth to pass wireless low-energy Bluetooth and 900MHz radio signals between compatible devices across far greater distances than Wi-Fi is capable of on its own — in some cases, as far as half a mile, Amazon says.

You’ll share that bandwidth with your neighbors, creating a sort of network of networks that any Sidewalk-compatible device can take advantage of. Along with making sure things like outdoor smart lights and smart garage door openers stay connected when your Wi-Fi can’t quite reach them, that’ll help things like Tile trackers stay in touch if you drop your wallet while you’re out on a walk, or if your dog hops the fence.

Amazon Sidewalk is coming this year as a free feature for Alexa and Ring users.


Amazon

Maybe most noteworthy of all is that, for a lot of us, Amazon Sidewalk won’t require any new hardware. Instead, it’ll arrive as a free software update to the Echo speakers and Ring cameras people already have in their homes. That means that the infrastructure is already in place for Sidewalk to be a robust, large-scale network right at launch — and it also means that you’ll soon see it pop up as a new feature in your Alexa app (and yes, you’ll be able to turn it off).

Amazon didn’t have a whole lot to say about Sidewalk at its September products showcase, but it’s likely that we’ll hear a lot more about it in the weeks ahead, as Amazon draws closer to a launch. For now, here’s everything we know about it.

How exactly does Sidewalk work?

Amazon is designating many of its existing Echo and Ring gadgets (and presumably the majority of its new devices from here on out) as Sidewalk bridges. That means that they’re equipped to siphon off a tiny amount of your home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth and then use it to relay signals to Sidewalk-compatible devices using BLE and 900MHz LoRa signals. Those kinds of low-energy signals can’t carry much data at all, but they can travel great distances.

Amazon claims that the 900MHz band, which is the same band used for amateur UHF radio broadcasts, allows for range of up to half a mile. So, if you have an Echo speaker or a Ring camera in your home that works as a Sidewalk bridge, you’ll be able to send wireless signals to Sidewalk-compatible devices across a huge area. And, if you had a Sidewalk-enabled device like a Tile tracker paired with your Sidewalk bridge, you’d be able to connect with it so long as it was within half a mile of anyone else’s Sidewalk bridge.

With Amazon Sidewalk, data travels from the device to the application server and back by way of the Sidewalk bridge (or gateway) and Amazon’s Sidewalk Network Server.


Amazon

Are there any security or privacy concerns?

There’s definitely a lot to think about. By design, smart home tech requires the user to share device and user data with a private company’s servers. By extending the reach of a user’s smart home, Sidewalk expands its scope and introduces new possible uses. That means new features and functionality, yes — but it also means that you’ll be sharing even more with Amazon.

Jeff Pollard, an analyst at Forrester, took the example of a dog with a Tile-type tracking device clipped to its collar when he described his concerns to CNET last year.

“It’s great to get an alert your dog left the yard, but those devices could also send data to Amazon like the frequency, duration, destination and path of your dog walks,” Pollard said. “That seems innocuous enough, but what could that data mean for you when combined with other data? It’s the unintended — and unexpected — consequences of technology and the data it collects that often come back to bite us (pardon the pun).”

In this example, a Ring motion alert passes through three levels of encryption on its way to the Ring server. During the trip, Amazon can’t see the inside of that packet — just the data needed to authenticate the device and route the transmission to the right place.


Amazon

Now, as Sidewalk prepares to roll out across Amazon’s entire user base, the company is looking to get out ahead of concerns like those. This week, Amazon released a detailed white paper outlining the steps it’s taking to ensure that Sidewalk transmissions stay private and secure.

“As a crowdsourced, community benefit, Amazon Sidewalk is only as powerful as the trust our customers place in us to safeguard customer data,” Amazon writes.

To that end, Amazon compares Sidewalk’s security practices to the postal service. In this analogy, Amazon’s Sidewalk Network Server is the post office, responsible for processing all of the data your devices send back and forth to their application server and making sure everything gets to the right place. But the post office doesn’t get to read your mail — it only gets to read the outside of the envelope. And when it comes to your device data, Amazon says, it uses metadata limitations and three layers of encryption to create the digital version of the envelope.

“Information customers would deem sensitive, like the contents of a packet sent over the Sidewalk network, is not seen by Sidewalk,” Amazon writes. “Only the intended destinations [the endpoint and application server] possess the keys required to access this information. Sidewalk’s design also ensures that owners of Sidewalk gateways do not have access to the contents of the packet from endpoints [they do not own] that use their bandwidth. Similarly, endpoint owners do not have access to gateway information.”

In other words, Amazon’s server will authenticate your data and route it to the right place, but the company says it won’t read or collect it. Amazon also says that it deletes the information used to route each packet of data every 24 hours, and adds that it uses automatically rolling device IDs to ensure that data travelling over the Sidewalk network can’t be tied to specific customers.

Those are good standards that should help Sidewalk steer clear of creating new privacy headaches for consumers — but as Pollard points out, it’ll be important to keep an eye out for any unexpected data consequences of such an expansive and ambitious smart home play.

How much of my home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth does Sidewalk use?

Not much at all. The maximum bandwidth of each Sidewalk bridge transmission to Amazon’s Sidewalk server is just 80Kbps. Each month, Amazon caps the total data allowance at 500MB, which the company notes is roughly equivalent to the amount of data you’d move to stream 10 minutes of HD video.

And keep in mind that you aren’t going to use Sidewalk to stream video or anything else that needs a lot of bandwidth. The signals Sidewalk devices pass back and forth are things like authentication requests and quick commands to turn the lights on, things that don’t require very much data at all.

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Ring cameras and a wide range of existing Echo devices — including every version of the ultrapopular Echo Dot — will now double as Sidewalk bridges.


Ry Crist/CNET

Which devices will work as Sidewalk bridges?

A lot of them, as a matter of fact. Here’s the list of the ones that will work once Sidewalk launches later this year:

It’s noteworthy that the list includes so many Echo devices, including some that date back nearly five years, including the very first Echo Dot. That suggests that Sidewalk is something that Amazon’s been planning for quite some time, and it also means that there are already millions and millions of Sidewalk bridges installed and ready to go in people’s homes. That might even be understating it. At the start of last year, Amazon claimed it had sold more than 100 million Alexa devices.

Also noteworthy: There aren’t any Eero devices on the list. Amazon bought the mesh router maker in early 2019 and released a new version of its mesh system later that year. This year, Amazon introduced two new versions of the Eero system, each of which support the new, faster Wi-Fi 6 standard — but none of them will double as Sidewalk bridges. 

Does Amazon Sidewalk cost extra?

Nope. It’s a free feature for Amazon device users, with no installation or subscription fees.

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Expect to see things that typically push your Wi-Fi range to the limit, like outdoor smart lights, to join Sidewalk’s network in the coming year.


Ry Crist/CNET

What else will work with Sidewalk?

We’ll likely know a lot more about that in the weeks ahead, but judging from Amazon’s imagery, it’s safe to assume that the list will include Ring smart lights and accessories. Tile is also working on a new, Sidewalk-enabled tracker for the platform, and it’s likely that other manufacturers will follow suit with new devices of their own. Things like outdoor lights, connected car tech and smart garage openers that might typically sit on the fringes of your home’s Wi-Fi range seem like especially strong bets, but we’ll update this space as we learn more.


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Google Maps will now show COVID-19 outbreaks for users – National Post

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Google Maps is set to launch a COVID-19 filter showcasing global coronavirus cases and regional trends, the company announced Wednesday.

Google will begin showing users weekly averages of cases per 100,000 using a colour-coded filter. Areas will be one of six colours to signify the severity of the outbreak — Green areas have less than one instance per 100,000 people whereas more than 40 cases per 100,000 people are indicated by dark red, Forbes reported.

This optional filter will show users if cases are trending upwards, remaining stable, or heading down. This is available for all 220 Google Maps supported countries at a national, state or local level depending on available data.

“(It’s) a tool that shows critical information about COVID-19 cases in an area so you can make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do,” wrote Google.

Google will aggregate data from multiple sources, including Johns Hopkins, the New York Times, and World Health Organization. They are also relying on data from varying levels of government.

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Apple Watch Series 3 vs Apple Watch SE: Which should you buy? – 9to5Mac

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For the first time ever, Apple has a new mid-range Apple Watch consideration for potential buyers. The Apple Watch SE sits between the Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 6 in Apple’s lineup, and it provides an interesting hybrid of features. Here’s how the differences between the Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Apple Watch SE stack up.

Design and Display

One of the most striking differences between the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Apple Watch SE is the design. The Apple Watch Series 3 features a boxier design with a smaller display and larger bezels. It’s the same design that the very first Apple Watch model used and it’s available in 38mm and 42mm sizing.

On the flip side, the Apple Watch SE features the same physical design as the Series 4, Series 5, and Series 6. This means you get slimmer bezels with rounded display corners. In practice, this difference makes for a notable increase in display area with the Apple Watch SE compared to the last-generation design of the Apple Watch Series 3:

  • 38mm Apple Watch Series 3 display area: 563 sq mm
  • 40mm Apple Watch SE display area: 759 sq mm
  • 42mm Apple Watch Series 3 display area: 740 sq mm
  • 44mm Apple Watch SE display area: 977 sq mm

If you’re looking for the always-on display, you’re out of luck with both the Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch SE; instead, this feature is only available on the Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch Series 6.

The Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch SE both feature Retina OLED displays with 1000 nits max brightness, though the Apple Watch SE also includes the power-preserving LTPO display technology that could help battery life.

Performance and battery life

Another major difference between the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Apple Watch SE is performance. The Apple Watch Series 3 is powered by Apple’s dual-core S3 processor, while the Apple Watch SE features Apple’s S5 processor. In terms of real-world performance, Apple says the Apple Watch SE is up to two times faster than the Series 3.

This means you can expect performance of apps, Siri, Maps, and other features to run notably faster with the Apple Watch SE than with the Apple Watch Series 3. The Apple Watch SE is also more likely to receive additional software features in the future, while the Series 3 could be excluded because of performance concerns.

As for battery life, Apple says that the Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch SE can both run for up to 18 hours on a single charge. Actual battery life will always vary, but this 18-hour benchmark is a good way to shape your expectations.

Best Apple Watch charging docks:

Health features

apple watch fall detection

Both the Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch SE miss out on Apple’s newest health features, including electrocardiogram support and blood oxygen level detection. If you’re looking for the best Apple Watch in terms of overall health features, the Apple Watch Series 6 is your best choice.

But with that having been said, the Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch SE both support high and low heart rate notifications as well as irregular heart rhythm notifications. Both models also feature Apple’s Emergency SOS feature, but only Apple Watch SE features international emergency calling support, noise monitoring, and fall detection.

The Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 3 both feature support for Apple’s Fitness app and looming Fitness+ service, ensuring you’ll be able to close your rings, track fitness progress, compete with friends, and more.

Cellular vs GPS

One of the key differences between the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Apple Watch SE is the available connectivity options. The Apple Watch SE is available in two configurations: GPS and GPS + Cellular. The latter configuration allows your Apple Watch to connect to cellular networks and work independently of your iPhone.

This also has implications for the new Family Setup feature in watchOS 7, which allows you to set up an Apple Watch for a family member without an iPhone, such as a kid or elderly relative. Because the Apple Watch operates completely on its own in this arrangement, however, a cellular connection is required. The Apple Watch Series 3 is not available with cellular connectivity and therefore is not supported by Family Setup.

Note: Even if you have a cellular Apple Watch Series 3, which Apple used to sell, it does not work with the Family Setup feature.

Apple Watch Series 3 vs Apple Watch SE: Pricing

The Apple Watch Series 3 is available in Apple’s lineup in 38mm and 42mm sizes. The former will cost you $199, while the latter will cost you $229. These are the only two configuration options available, aside from your choice of silver or space gray casing.

The Apple Watch SE is available in 40mm and 44mm configurations, with the former going for $279 and the latter going for $309. If you opt for cellular, you’re looking at $329 for the 40mm size and $359 for the 44mm size.

Something to consider here is that if you plan on choosing the 42mm Apple Watch Series 3 for $229, you could consider the 40mm Apple Watch SE. There’s a $50 price difference, but the 40mm Apple Watch SE actually gives you more display area (759 sq mm) than the 42mm Apple Watch Series 3 (740 sq mm).

Comparison chart

Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Apple Watch SE: The verdict

apple watch SE

For someone looking to enter the Apple Watch ecosystem at the most affordable price point possible, the Apple Watch Series 3 is a great option. Even though it’s several years old, it’s one of the best smartwatches on the market and one of the best fitness trackers on the market.

If you can justify the additional price jump to the Apple Watch SE, however, that is the best choice for most people. You’ll get significantly better performance, a more modern design, quadruple the internal storage, Family Setup integration, and much more.

What do you think of the differences between the Apple Watch Series 3 vs. the Apple Watch SE? Which are you planning to buy? Let us know down in the comments!

Where to buy Apple Watch SE:

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