Although the Galaxy S20 lineup is just around the corner, the S10+ remains a performant and attractive device. If you missed your chance to snatch one for $300 off last month, here’s another opportunity to get the same markdown on a brand new handset. The three versions are on sale, namely the 128GB model for $700, 512GB for $950, and 1TB for $1300.
Unlike plenty of other deals, these devices come with Samsung’s limited U.S. Warranty and are factory unlocked, meaning they’ll work with all four major US carriers. Unfortunately, only the Galaxy S10+ is $300 off, so you’re out of luck if you preferred its smaller siblings. Thankfully, the deal applies to all S10+ color variants, so you’ll get to pick how your phone looks without having to pay extra.
If you’re interested in the deal, don’t miss your chance, as it’s set to expire at the end of the day.
A bombshell report from Reuters suggests Apple ditched end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups at the behest of the FBI. Citing several former Apple employees and FBI officials, the publication notes that Apple planned to switch to end-to-end encryption for iCloud — putting it on the same level as iPhones and iPads — but reversed course after consulting with the FBI.
iCloud data is also encrypted by default, but Apple holds a key to decrypt it. So in a scenario where an iCloud user is locked out of their account for whatever reason, Apple has the ability to decrypt the contents of that iCloud library. It is this reasoning that Tim Cook gave in defence of the move last year:
We do this because some users lose or forget their key and then expect help from us to get their data back.
According to Reuters, Apple was considering switching to end-to-end encryption wherein it won’t be able to recover data even when served with a court order. However, the company ultimately decided to not do so:
More than two years ago, Apple told the FBI that it planned to offer users end-to-end encryption when storing their phone data on iCloud, according to one current and three former FBI officials and one current and one former Apple employee.
Under that plan, primarily designed to thwart hackers, Apple would no longer have a key to unlock the encrypted data, meaning it would not be able to turn material over to authorities in a readable form even under court order.
In private talks with Apple soon after, representatives of the FBI’s cyber crime agents and its operational technology division objected to the plan, arguing it would deny them the most effective means for gaining evidence against iPhone-using suspects, the government sources said.
When Apple spoke privately to the FBI about its work on phone security the following year, the end-to-end encryption plan had been dropped, according to the six sources.
It isn’t clear if FBI was able to persuade Apple to not switch, or whether the company decided of its own volition. What is clear though is that Apple has the means to provide law enforcement agencies access to your data should a court require it.
Here’s where Google comes in. The search giant quietly enabled end-to-end encryption for Android backups back in 2018, with a Titan security chip housed in Google’s datacenter ensuring data integrity. The system ensures that only you have access to your data, and should you lose your client device (your phone), there won’t be any way to recover the information as Google doesn’t hold a decrypt key. Here’s how the system works:
Starting in Android Pie, devices can take advantage of a new capability where backed-up application data can only be decrypted by a key that is randomly generated at the client. This decryption key is encrypted using the user’s lockscreen PIN/pattern/passcode, which isn’t known by Google. Then, this passcode-protected key material is encrypted to a Titan security chip on our datacenter floor.
The Titan chip is configured to only release the backup decryption key when presented with a correct claim derived from the user’s passcode. Because the Titan chip must authorize every access to the decryption key, it can permanently block access after too many incorrect attempts at guessing the user’s passcode, thus mitigating brute force attacks.
The limited number of incorrect attempts is strictly enforced by a custom Titan firmware that cannot be updated without erasing the contents of the chip. By design, this means that no one (including Google) can access a user’s backed-up application data without specifically knowing their passcode.
Basically, your phone PIN or passcode acts as a decryption key for the Titan module, and without it you won’t be able to access your data. So if you are looking for end-to-end encryption for backups, Google is the way to go.
A key distinction here is that the system only works for application backups and not content stored in your Google Drive. If you want to secure your data in Drive, you should look at Cryptomator or try rclone if you like to tinker.
With the tablet-like Galaxy Fold, Samsung’s embraced the saying, “Go big or go home.” But its second foldable phone — rumored to be called the Galaxy Z Flip — is almost guaranteed to be cheaper, smaller, vertically bending and outfitted with half the cameras. I couldn’t be more excited.
There’s something about foldable phones that still feels magical to me, a sensation that’s hard to come by after nearly 14 years working with phones. I thought I’d seen it all: phones that flip up, kick out, flex, even phones shaped like a circle. But a screen that’s both thin and strong enough to bend in half without breaking feels like the future come to life.
Where the Galaxy Fold was a luxury device designed to make a splash as the first major foldable phone, the Z Flip (internal code name: Galaxy Bloom) will take on the Motorola Razr as a more affordable phone that highlights not the luxury, but the practicality of a foldable phone. It’s likely Samsung will unveil the Galaxy Z Flip at it Unpacked event on Feb. 11.
For Samsung, the Z Flip will give the company a dramatic lead in the foldable space, with a large premium device (the Galaxy Fold) followed by a simpler phone with a smaller screen. That’s two pathways for Samsung to secure interest from early adopters. For the rest of us, there are several practical reasons to train our eyes on the Galaxy Z Flip, or whatever it winds up being called, that go way beyond the novelty of a foldable phone.
It’d be interesting to see how completely a glass screen would bend. Could the two sides really fold flat? I’d also love to test firsthand the screen’s ability to keep the electronic display underneath safe from pressure, scratches, drops, dust and water damage.
Now playing: Watch this:
The bendable glass that’s shaping up to cover foldable…
Foldable phones are still a proof of concept
Right now, foldable phones inhabit a zone of uncertainty. They’re expensive, fragile and few. At this point it’s hard to believe that they could replace the large-screen rectangles we carry today, but there are hints it just might work.
The more foldable phones exist — both in design and in total number of units made — the more we can see if they’ll actually take off. Or if they’re just fun, expensive toys. The Z Flip will be one more effort that helps determine the fate of the category.
The variety we see already in early foldable designs is crucial. We’ve seen commercial devices and prototypes for small foldables like the Razr, which can slip into a pocket, all the way up to a 10-inch tablet that folds into three parts.
It will be through real-time trial and error that the industry determines which designs work best, how to fix common weaknesses and what it is that people actually want in a foldable phone. Only then can companies collectively begin to perfect them.
This is Samsung’s chance to prove it can make a sturdy foldable
An embarrassment for Samsung, the Galaxy Fold’s early screen flaws overshadowed its historic debut. Samsung delayed the initial sale date for months, redesigned the phone, scaled back production and dropped two colors. Now with the rumored Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung gets a second chance.
Choosing a radically different design — the Galaxy Z Flip should be a vertical flip phone with a smaller screen than the 7.3-inch Galaxy Fold — gives Samsung an opportunity to apply the lessons it learned from the Fold’s early mistakes.
Tight seals between the display and the folding mechanism, tamper-proof cover material and a reinforced OLED display will go a long way toward reestablishing its reputation in the foldable space. It should also have fewer cameras and a cheaper price tag than the Fold’s $1,980 starting price.
Finding the limits of a small outer screen
Like the Galaxy Fold and the Motorola Razr, the Galaxy Z Flip should have an external display, and I’m interested to see how Samsung will design it. On both the Fold and the Razr, the screen was relatively small, making it fine for viewing alerts and initiating quick tasks, but less ideal to actually use.
If the Galaxy Z Flip goes even smaller than the Galaxy Fold’s 4.6-inch exterior screen, I’ll have a few questions. Will you still be able to use every app on the outer display and open it to reveal the app inside, or will your actions and activities be more limited?
I’ll have to wait for its debut to find out.
Now playing: Watch this:
Motorola Razr is futuristic and familiar
Lower prices will make foldable phones more accessible
With the Galaxy Fold priced at $1,980, the foldable Z Flip is expected to cost significantly less.
Samsung was clear about calling the Galaxy Fold a luxury handset, which somewhat cushioned the news that it would cost nearly $2,000. The messaging was this: It’s worth it for a futuristic device that’s big enough to replace a tablet.
The Galaxy Z Flip is sure to be another case entirely. One rumor suggested it could cost around $850, which is half the price of the Motorola Razr and more than half the price of the Galaxy Fold.
We’ll see what happens, but one thing is clear: The more affordable they are, the more Samsung and its competitors will snag more real-world buyers (or “testers”). And the more people who use these early foldable phones, the faster we’ll know where their future truly lies — in pockets and purses all over the globe, or in a museum of futuristic tech that never panned out.
Updated – Wed 22nd Jan, 2020 03:30 GMT: DOOM has always been known for having multiple difficulty settings that will give even the most seasoned gamer a tough time. When DOOM Eternal is released, it’ll continue this tradition. Shacknews recently went hands-on with a preview build of the game and spotted a “top-tier” Nightmare difficulty, which supposedly adds “roguelike” elements to the game. Most of all, you’ll only get one life per run. So, if you die, it’s a complete restart.
It sounds very similar to the Ultra-Nightmare mode in DOOM 2016, which resulted in permadeath and the player losing their save file the second they were killed in battle. According to Shacknews, the latest take on this mode will encourage players to compete against each other (a bit similar to games like Super Mario Maker 2 and Dark Souls) and allow you to also see how far other Doom Slayers got.
Are you looking forward to the arrival of this game? Comment down below.
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