Samsung is still betting on a future where smartphones fold in half. But first it must convince users that’s a future they want.
At its annual Unpacked event on Wednesday, Samsung will focus on its foldable smartphones instead of its flagship Note devices — despite lackluster sales for foldable models and a PR crisis in 2019 concerning earlier versions breaking.
Samsung announced two new foldable smartphones coming later this month: the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, a smartphone that opens outward like a book to form a tablet, and the clamshell-like Galaxy Z Flip3 5G, with a design reminiscent of flip phones from the early 2000s. While the company dropped the prices for its third-generation foldables, these products will still cost buyers at least four figures.
Samsung said the Z Fold3 and Flip3 are slimmer, lighter, more durable and water resistant than its previous foldable models. These improvements follow hiccups in earlier versions that couldn’t handle drops, dust and water, and presented significant issues with the screen. The devices also feature new ways to multitask, support for the Note’s signature S Pen and an under-screen camera — yes, a camera that lives under the screen that could someday spell the end of the hated notch.
Even with those updates, Samsung has a long hill to climb. According to data from market research firm Canalys, Samsung shipped just 257,000 foldable phones in the three months ending in June, compared with nearly 58 million non-foldable phones. The company’s offerings make up 66% of the total 3.4 million foldable devices shipped since 2019. As Ben Stanton, research manager at Canalys, puts it: “It is still niche … but Samsung envisions this as a new paradigm for the industry — with itself at the center.”
Samsung also may not have had much of a choice this year. The company has been hit with a reported delay in Note manufacturing due to the global chip shortage./ (A spokesperson told CNN Business the company’s decision to focus Unpacked on foldables was unrelated to the shortage.)
The Z Fold3
Samsung touted the Z Fold3 as more durable and dependable than its predecessors. Its 7.6-inch Infinity Flex display is layered to protect against daily wear and tear and features scratch resistant Gorilla Glass. The outer frame is made of 10% stronger aluminum than previous models, and the infamous hinge, where the smartphone folds, is designed with shorter internal bristles to better repel dust and other particles.
Those features could be key to building up trust in what is still a new design. In 2019, some early reviewers of its first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, reported flickering and broken displays and a screen bulge. Even after its official launch was delayed for months to address the issues, user reviews were mixed.
But at least one big obstacle remains for wider adoption: the price. The new Z Fold3 is $1,799, nearly $200 less than its predecessor but still a staggering sum even compared to other premium devices. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G starts at $799, the Galaxy Note20 starts at $999 and the iPhone 12 Pro starts at $999.
To help entice buyers, Samsung is taking a risk by trying something new with this product. In addition to the three cameras on the back (a wide angle, an ultra-wide angle and tele-photo lens), the company teased its first ever under-screen camera. The hidden front-facing camera is built under the display so a notch won’t get in the way of what a user sees on screen. Considering the technology is still in its infancy, it’s possible issues could surface, but Stanton said the Fold3 is the “perfect test bed” for this type of tech because it’s more of a prestige device than a mass market product.
The Fold3 also supports S Pen functionality, allowing users to make the most of its massive screen. For example, notes can be taken on one side of the device while doing a video call on the other side, or a to-do list can be checked off while reading emails. The Z Fold3 is available in black, green and silver.
Foldable displays still lack a solid use case to make them a must-have feature in 2021, but both the Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 have elements that nod to their unique potential.
The Z Flip3, which opens and closes vertically like a traditional flip phone, now comes with a thinner hinge and redesigned cover screen that is four times larger, correcting one of the biggest complaints about the Flip2. It’s now easier to view notifications, widgets and messages, and users will have the ability to eyeball their schedule, purchase a coffee via Samsung Pay, check the weather and monitor their daily step count without ever opening the phone.
Flex mode lets Z Flip3 users take a photo or video from the cover screen. When kept partially folded, users can move a video to the top half of the screen and allow the bottom area to serve as a remote to control the brightness and volume.
Both the Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 include partnerships with Google, Microsoft, and others, so apps better fit the screens. For example, Microsoft Outlook’s dual-pane mode for Samsung foldables lets users read a full email while previewing others on the side, similar to a desktop experience.
Tuong Nguyen, senior principal analyst at Gartner, said much of the success of these products will depend on the apps that developers create to showcase innovative use cases for the extra real estate a foldable screen provides. But convincing developers to spend time creating apps for foldable devices with low user adoption rates will present a challenge.
“It’s a bit of a chicken-egg dilemma,” he said.
The Z Flip3, which comes in cream, green, lavender and black, costs $999 — or $400 less than last year’s model, but nonetheless at the high-end for smartphones.
Smartwatches and wireless earbuds
In addition to foldables, Samsung’s wearables lines got a refresh on Wednesday. Its new Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Watch4 Classic — the company’s first smartwatches to run on the Wear OS co-created with Google — promise an even deeper look at a user’s health profile.
The watches are faster, the display’s resolution is crisper and the battery charges faster (the company says a 30 minutes boost will get users 10 hours of battery life). But the real innovation is packed into a new chip with three health sensors. Samsung said the sensors can now assess body composition by measuring skeletal muscle, basal metabolic rate, water retention, and body fat percentage. It also comes with advanced sleep tracking features, such as the ability to monitor snoring.
The Galaxy Watch4, which features an aluminum frame, a sweat-proof sport band and a digital bezel, is available in two sizes, an assortment of colors and starts at at $249.99 for Bluetooth versions and $299.99 for LTE models. The higher-end Watch4 Classic features luxury materials such as stainless steel, and offers a rotating bezel, two size and color options. It starts at $349.99 for Bluetooth versions and $399.99 for LTE models.
Samsung also unveiled its second-generation wireless Galaxy Buds2, its smallest, lightest and most affordable earbuds ($149) to date. Buds2 comes with active noise cancellation, three sizes of soft, flexible tips that users can choose find the most comfortable fit. It’s available in graphite, white, olive and lavender.
‘Overwatch 2’ Ramattra Gameplay Trailer Shows The Transforming Tank In Action – Forbes
Season 2 of Overwatch 2 is just 10 days away. It’ll add another hero to the fold in the form of Ramattra, an omnic tank. To kick off a week of Season 2 hype, Blizzard has provided the first official look at Ramattra in action with a gameplay trailer.
We already knew that Ramattra would able to transform between two forms, and we get some sense of that in the trailer. He has a barrier he can project, in a similar vein to Sigma (though it’ll likely work in a different way).
One of his abilities seems to be a gravity well that can pull airborne enemies to the ground. Used properly, it could be an effective way to make a Pharah, Echo, Wrecking Ball, Mercy or perhaps even a wall-riding Lúcio an easier target to take out.
In his larger form, Ramattra can mitigate damage from the front by crossing his arms (similar to Doomfist’s Power Block). It looks like his attacks are more melee-based in that form too. As for Ramattra’s Ultimate, it seems like he deals area-of-effect damage while being able to use his other abilities.
We’ll find out more details about Ramattra and his kit in a developer update video that will premiere tomorrow. Next week, we’ll get the first gameplay trailer for Season 2, the content roadmap for the season and a reveal of the new map. There’s a lot to look forward to.
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Fido, Virgin add $45/50GB plan for Black Friday
Fido and Virgin Plus have joined Koodo in offering a $45/mo 50GB Black Friday plan.
Like Koodo, both Fido and Virgin offer a $65/mo plan with 50GB of data plus a $20/mo bill credit for 24 months. That means customers pay $45/mo for two years with the plan.
The plans are only available for new activations and hardware upgrades, which means if you’re with one of these providers, you’ll need to swap to another one.
Hilarious Video Shows Psyduck Startling A Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Player While Taking A Photograph
One Pokemon Scarlet and Violet fan has shared a funny video that shows a Psyduck appearing out of nowhere to startle a player who was snapping a photo. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are among the best selling titles of the year, despite the mixed reviews from fans and critics globally. The gameplay and multiplayer mode of the latest Pokemon games receive praise and backlash for the myriad performance issues.
Because of these technical problems, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are getting review bombed, but some fans are embracing them. Glitches are common in the latest titles, and players have reported seeing some truly bizarre things in their playthroughs. Some gamers have seen a grotesque glitch in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, whereas a random Psyduck bug is also common. Psyduck makes the headlines again after a player spotted it in rather unusual circumstances.
Reddit user metronn uploaded a video that shows their funny encounter with the duck Pokemon. The user intended to photograph a scenic view of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s region of Paldea. Paldea is a brand-new area introduced in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, which is based on the Iberian peninsula and has diverse geographic features like mountains, forests, and several lakes. In the video, the player attempts to take a picture of a serene place on the shoreside of a water body, with mountains in the background and water flowing peacefully.
After successfully capturing one side of the scenery, the player slowly moves the camera to show the surrounding areas and a few fish pocket monsters in the body of water. As the camera moves, something unusual is seen in the bottom right corner of the screen, which appears to be another Pokemon. This turns out to be a Psyduck, who appears out of nowhere and is standing right next to the user, who was seemingly unaware of its presence. The original poster is understandably startled by seeing the Psyduck, who apparently photobombed their efforts to take a beautiful picture in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.
Since its introduction in the first generation, Psyduck has established itself as one of the most famous Pokemon of all time. It has featured in almost every Pokemon game from each generation until the current ninth-gen games, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Psyduck is not the strongest or the fastest pocket monster, but still, it has millions of fans around the world who are excited to see it in unusual circumstances.
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