Xiaomi will launch the Mi Band 5 in China on June 11.
It could soon launch globally as Mi Smart Band 5.
Keeping with last year, the India launch could happen later in the year.
Xiaomi’s Mi Bands are extremely popular for being the cheap, feature-filled wearables that they are. The newest member in the series — the Mi Band 5 — has been anticipated for a while now and thanks to various rumors and leaks, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from it. Now, we also know its launch date.
Xiaomi has announced that the new Mi Band will go official on June 11 in China. Coincidentally, Xiaomi is also launching a Mi Notebook in India on the same date.
The Chinese launch of the Mi Band 5 is pretty much in line with that of the Mi Band 4 last year. Keeping that in mind, we can expect the new fitness tracker to have a similar launch timeframe for global markets as well. Last year, the Mi Band 4 launched globally just days after its China reveal. So it’s quite possible the Mi Band 5 will also release in UK and Europe soon after its June 11 unveiling.
It’s also likely that Xiaomi will rebrand the global version of the Mi Band 5 to Mi Smart Band 5, as was the case last year. It’s rumored that this international variant will lack NFC support for payments.
The best fitness trackers (May 2020)
Fitness trackers have come an extremely long way over the years. No longer are they glorified pedometers; most standard fitness trackers nowadays can track your steps taken, distance traveled, caloric burn, and even your sleeping …
In the US though, consumers interested in buying the Mi Band 5 will most likely have to import the international model from Amazon. Meanwhile, Indian users might have to wait longer to get their hands on it. Last year, Xiaomi launched the Mi Band 4 in India in September and the company could very well have similar timelines this time around.
So what’s new with the upcoming Mi Band? The biggest physical change seems to be a larger 1.2-inch display compared to the Mi Band 4’s 0.95-inch screen. The band could also get some new features, such as new watch faces, a camera shutter key, blood oxygen level tracking, new exercise modes, and more. Looking for more details? Then check out all the Mi Band 5 rumors at the previous link.
The filing doesn’t include pictures — the device is too small for a label, according to the test agency. The frequency data shows this is Bluetooth hardware, though, and the model number is consistent when the Buds Plus launched as the SM-R175.
Not much is known about the Buds X, although they’re reportedly bean-shaped. A US trademark application even hinted that they might include on-device music playback like what you saw with the older Gear Icon X. You might not need a phone or watch nearby to listen to tunes during a workout.
It’s still not certain when these new earbuds will arrive or how much they’ll cost. With the next Galaxy Unpacked event slated for August 5, however, we wouldn’t rule out a debut in the next few weeks.
While most of what we “know” about the Galaxy Fold 2 is unconfirmed, Samsung has made at least one thing clear. The world’s largest phone brand is introducing its next foldable phone, the third after the original Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Flip. The company made that statement in April, in the same breath it said that another Galaxy Note (presumed to be the Galaxy Note 20) is also in the lineup.
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These revelations aren’t terribly surprising, but it’s noteworthy that Samsung could release a phone expected to cost more than $1,400 during a global recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Global device shipments are expected to dip by 14% in 2020 as a result, according to Gartner.
Perhaps Samsung is counting on the hype machine — and a possible second stimulus check for the US — to stoke interest in the speculated Galaxy Fold 2? We’ll find out soon enough. This story updates frequently with the most important rumors.
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Everything there is to know about the Galaxy Fold 2
Aug. 5 launch. Now what about Fold 2 sale dates?
We know Samsung Unpacked 2020 will take place Aug. 5 online, starting at 7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET. Samsung will livestream the event (which CNET will also cover in a live show.) Since the first Galaxy Fold was introduced in February 2019 during the same Unpacked event that brought us the Galaxy S10, it’s likely we’ll see the Fold 2 at this event.
The rumors agree on that much. But the sale date is still up in the air, with rumors ranging from Aug. 20 (the same speculated sale date as the Note 20) to September, as suggested by Korean outlet ET News and Twitter leaker Riccolo.
Notably, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Unpacked event was the last time the mobile industry congregated in full before concern over the spread of coronavirus put a stop to dozens of events within and beyond the tech world…including Mobile World Congress the world’s largest mobile-focused show, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (now 2021, we hope).
5G for the US, and will sell on Verizon
Frequent Twitter leaker Max Weinbach tweeted an image of firmware said to belong to the Galaxy Fold 2, which cites a version for Verizon. That could indicate that the Galaxy Fold 2 could support 5G, specifically Verizon’s mmWave version of the ultrafast data standard. The original Fold was released with 4G carrier support in the US, but was sold as 5G in Korea and the UK.
Could Samsung drop the ugly screen notch?
A notch the size of my thumb on the original Galaxy Fold’s 7.3-inch internal screen was one of the phone’s most enduring drawbacks. According to one rumor from prolific leaker Ice Universe, that’ll go away for good.
Galaxy Fold 2 sale price: 2,000 euros?
Twitter leaker Riccolo cited a 2,000 euro price tag, which converts to roughly $2,260 or AU$3,227. While Samsung may adjust prices per market, it would be surprising to see a more advanced Galaxy Fold 2 come in at less than the original Galaxy Fold’s $1,980 asking price. For reference, the ultraportable Galaxy Z Flip costs $1,380.
Trade-in deals, bundles and freebies are more likely than a cheaper Galaxy Fold 2. Although Samsung has been known to cut prices a few months after a launch, at least on its own website, the brand usually prefers to bump up the value of its premium products with bundled deals instead, like a buy-one-get-one or a free set of earbuds.
Will the Galaxy Fold 2 be waterproof?
Water resistance is standard fare among premium smartphones, but the nature of the hinge and the price made it impossible for the first wave of foldables to take advantage of waterproofing technologies, Samsung told us at the time the original Galaxy Fold launched.
That could change with the Galaxy Fold 2. Earlier this month, a patent for a water-resistant foldable phone design that looks awfully similar to the Galaxy Fold appeared, Let’s Go Digital reported. The patent (PDF) for “Electronic device including waterproof structure” details exactly how and where the waterproofing material would go inside the phone housing.
Square ‘periscope’ camera, ticker notification on cover screen
The same Samsung patent application mentioned above also reveals two interesting design changes, Let’s Go Digital pointed out. First is the camera array, which shows three rear lenses, one of them square. That’s the same design Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra (and other phones) use for a periscope camera designed to enhance optical and digital zoom.
The second detail is a long, narrow ticker seen in the image above all the way to the right on the device cover screen. It’s clear that Samsung is at least experimenting with the idea of removing the original Fold’s 4.6-inch cover display — where you could open and use any Android app — with a ticker-style window for basic information like the date, time and notifications.
Such a move would mean you need to use the phone in its open position and could potentially improve battery life from the original model. It’s also possible that — if there are multiple Galaxy Fold models for 2020 — one of the cheaper devices could see a smaller outer screen.
Is there a cheaper Galaxy Fold E or Fold Lite in the works?
What if there isn’t just one new Galaxy Fold headed our way, but two or even three? Weinbach tweeted a rumor that Samsung could be making a Galaxy Fold E or Galaxy Fold Lite in addition to the more premium Galaxy Fold 2.
Weinbach’s tweet even named a potential price: $1,100 for the cheaper model — or models — which could use a plastic screen compared to the Galaxy Fold 2’s ultrathin glass, or UTG. Weinbach’s uncertainty (“and keep in mind this is a rumor,” he wrote) leaves room for doubt, but it does suggest that Samsung’s experiment with cheaper models won’t stop with the $1,380 Galaxy Z Flip.
There was just one problem with that. The original Fold’s plastic screen was too soft and infamously damage-prone to sustain the pressure from a fingernail, much less a stylus. But with enough structural support and a flexible glass screen (ultrathin glass, or UTG) — which was first used with the Z Flip — the rumors of a Fold 2 with a stylus are possible.
There’s little doubt that the Galaxy Fold 2 would follow in the footsteps of the original with two screens — one on the outside to start short tasks, like launching a phone call or responding to a quick text, and the larger screen inside that does all the heavy lifting of video watching, multitasking and longer email composition.
The larger screen is said to follow the Galaxy S20 with a 120Hz screen refresh rate, while the smaller screen will top out at the default 60Hz screen (see below). The faster refresh rate makes scrolling, navigation and some games run extremely smooth, but it can also drink up battery life at a faster rate. It’s likely that the Fold 2’s 120Hz screen setting would be an option, with the typical 60Hz rate the default, as it is on the S20 phones.
Galaxy Fold 2 cameras
The original Galaxy Fold took its camera cues from last year’s Galaxy S10 Plus, so it stands to reason that the Fold 2 would do the same, drawing from the Galaxy S20 Plus’ camera array and design. That’s the content of a rumor from Weinbach.
And what about the inner screen? Good question. The original Fold included a big thumb-shaped cutout that included two camera lenses and other sensors, and detracted from the overall look as well as took up screen space.
I’d wager that Samsung will minimize the camera look on the inner screen, possibly shrinking the space down to a single sensor for selfies and video chats, and using a more minimalist hole punch design. That said, the patent above (which may not reflect the final design), shows a similar internal notch as the original Fold.
Weinbach, in his February tweet, suggested that the “main” camera could include a V-shaped notch or an underscreen sensor.
Battery size and battery life
Battery life is a sticking point for any phone, but on a foldable device like the original Galaxy Fold, with power-thirsty screens and a promise to be the everything-device in your life, it has to deliver.
If rumor prevails, the Galaxy Fold 2 could top the Fold’s 4,380-mAh battery with a 4,500- or 5,000-mAh battery, according to a source cited by XDA Developers. You can also expect Samsung to stick with reverse wireless charging, which Samsung calls PowerShare, and fast charging to align with the Galaxy S20 phones — likely at a rate of 25 watts.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra, for example, supports even faster 45-watt charging, but keep in mind that there’s often a trade off between how fast a phone can charge and how much heat it generates and holds onto as a result. If the Fold 2 comes to life without support for 45-watt fast charging, that’s likely why.
Screen size, storage and other specs
Display consultant Ross Young tweeted a long list of specs in late April, unsurprisingly related to the screen size, resolution and technology. That, combined with other rumors circulating about the Galaxy Fold 2’s storage capacity, 5G variants and colors (from XDA Developers, SamMobile, ET News and others), paints a picture that concept artists can use to sketch out renders of how the Galaxy Fold 2 could look.
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Main display: 7.59 inches; 2,213×1,689-pixel resolution
Footballs from the Canadian Football League are photographed at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium in Winnipeg, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Even if the CFL plays an abbreviated ’20 season in a hub city under the strictest of health-and-safety guidelines, an infectious diseases doctor believes there will still be positive tests for the novel coronavirus that could force the league play to end abruptly. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
TORONTO – Even if the CFL plays an abbreviated ’20 season in a hub city under the strictest of health-and-safety guidelines, an infectious diseases doctor believes there will still be positive tests for the novel coronavirus that could force the league play to end abruptly.
The CFL is reportedly looking at playing in a single hub or two hub cities to limit teams’ exposure to the virus. But Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases expert at Toronto General Hospital and associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, said positive tests remain possible and could threaten play – just like in other leagues.
“The short answer is nothing in this era is going to be without risk,” Bogoch said during a telephone interview. “There are certain things we can do to minimize the risk but as with anything, there’s going to be some element of risk of acquiring this infection.
“The league and players can work with medical professionals to make this as safe as possible but at the end of the day they’ll have to sit down collectively and decide, ‘Is this worthwhile.’ As individuals they’ll have to ask themselves, based on the protocols in place and individual risk perception, risk tolerance and risk threshold, ‘Am I willing to play?’”
The CFL and CFL Players’ Association continue to discuss amendments to their current collective bargaining agreement that would allow for a partial ’20 season. The earliest action would begin is September, but commissioner Randy Ambrosie has said a cancelled campaign also remains possible.
In March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a global shutdown of sports. In Europe, pro soccer has resumed while domestically Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball, the NHL and NBA are all attempting to either restart or open their seasons.
But it hasn’t been easy as all four North American circuits have had players or team officials contract the virus. FC Dallas was forced to withdraw from the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando after 10 players and one coach tested positive.
The NHL hopes to open training camps Monday and resume play in Edmonton and Toronto on Aug. 1. Players would stay in tightly controlled bubbles and play games without fans.
Teams can bring 52 personnel, with no more than 31 players, to their hub. Everyone in the bubble will be tested daily – including players, staff, hotel workers, food service employees and bus drivers.
Players and team officials will remain inside the bubble except in specific extenuating circumstances. That includes medical attention, the birth of a child or death in the family.
Anyone returning to the bubble will be subject to a minimum four-day quarantine with daily nasal swab tests for COVID-19.
The NHL and NHLPA have the ability to delay, postpone, move or cancel games due to a “risk to player health and safety” and/or chance that “the integrity of the competition” is in jeopardy, including “an uncontrolled outbreak of COVID-19.”
However, perhaps the biggest challenge the CFL faces is a financial hurdle. Unlike other major sports entities, it doesn’t have a billion-dollar TV deal and thus isn’t flush with money.
Ambrosie has stated often the nine-team CFL collectively lost $20 million last year. That hardly puts it in an ideal position to cover food and lodging costs for its teams as well as daily testing.
Bogoch said regardless of the measures taken in a hub or bubble, positive test results are inevitable.
“Oh, 100 per cent and there already have been,” he said. “If they do proceed, I think the leagues and fans should be aware that anything can happen.
“The leagues could come to a halt should there be an outbreak or safety concern, individuals or teams might be pulled out. Quite frankly, as much as we want to have high expectations we should really lower them. We’re in the COVID-19 era, anything can happen.”
No league has said a specific number of positive tests will result in the cancellation of games.
Bogoch said hubs and bubbles are beneficial. With the exception of baseball, the other three North American leagues are going with hub plans.
“First, they reduce the probability of introducing infection within the bubble,” he said. “If (infection) is introduced, it really reduces the probability that it can be transmitted.
“If there’s infection it will hopefully be rapidly identified because of the high frequency of diagnostic testing and symptom checks. Now, the best-laid plans can still have holes in them but what we’ve seen with basketball and soccer is these plans work in that they’ve identified positive cases and players have been isolated. That tells me the safety mechanisms are working and that’s fantastic.”
But the mounting positive tests have prompted many to question sport’s return before the discovery of a suitable vaccine.
“The key is ensuring if you’re going to play pro sports, you’re doing it in a safe and ethical manner,” he said. “Safety really means player safety, safety of the auxiliary personnel but also public safety as well.
“Ethical manner means you’re not drawing resources away from the community in which you’re playing. Can that occur while there’s still an ongoing push to ensure safety across the country and develop a vaccine and develop programs? I personally think if it’s carefully planned out, they can both be done very well.”
Bogoch, a Calgary native, is a recreational hockey player in his spare time. But he also watches at least two CFL games each year: The Labour Day Classic between the Calgary Stampeders and arch-rival Edmonton Eskimos; and Grey Cup.
“That (Labour Day game) is just ingrained in my DNA,” he said with a chuckle. “The Labour Day Classic is so quintessential Alberta, it’s wonderful.
“There’s something so Canadian about (the Grey Cup), it’s 40 below in a blizzard and the guys are out on the field. It’s just wild.”
While Bogoch appreciates sport isn’t a priority for some, he said it can definitely provide a boost for others during a pandemic.
“When we step back and think about what’s been happening the last six months and especially since our lockdown in March and throughout our gradual reopening, people have taken a tremendous hit,” he said. “We’ve taken financial hits . . . we’ve taken emotional and psychological hits by staying at home.
“While some people might say (sport) isn’t an essential service and they’re correct, I think we can also say professional and amateur sports and other forms of entertainment like the arts are extremely important to the psychological and emotional well-being of our society. This may help provide some intangible benefits as well.”
Mercifully, Bogoch sees light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel.
“I think we’ll gradually see this start to wind down as vaccines are developed and rolled out globally,” he said. “In the best-case scenario it could be as early as late 2020 . . . but more realistically needles will start going into arms in 2021.
“I think the key word there is globally because if there’s an infection in one part of the world, there’s a problem in all parts of the world. This thing is pretty contagious and people are mobile so we need this vaccine deployed on a global level.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020.
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