Samsung Galaxy Note 8 could be launch in September, retail at approximately Rs 72,200

The Galaxy Note 8 will be the most expensive Samsung smartphone yet. At least, that is what the latest reports indicate. An individual briefed on Samsung’s plan, told VentureBeat that the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 phablet will be priced at €999 (approximately Rs 72,200) and will be available in second half of September, ahead of the launch of Apple’s most expensive offering – the rumored iPhone 8.

After the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, the Galaxy Note 8 is hoped to be a safe product as the global damages owing to the disaster have been huge for the South Korean manufacturer. Based on reports, the Galaxy Note 8 will boast a similar design language as the Galaxy S8 lineup with Infinity Display. However, what will make it an interesting prospect is that it will be the first Samsung smartphone to feature a dual camera module, an element which the Galaxy S8 skipped.

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According to the report, the Galaxy Note 8 will feature an edge-to-edge 18.5:9 aspect ratio AMOLED display with a size nearly the same as the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+. In addition to a large display, the Galaxy Note 8 will have support for the signature S Pen stylus.

Although Qualcomm is said to be working on the next advanced chipset – Snapdragon 836, the Galaxy Note 8 will house the current Snapdragon 835 SoC or its equivalent Exynos 8895 (based on market of release) and paired with 6GB of RAM. With a beefed up RAM, the Galaxy Note 8 will also be one of the few smartphones coming from Samsung to feature up to 6GB of memory. It is worth mentioning that the Galaxy S8 lineup packed only 4GB of RAM in the initial batches and it was only recently that the company launched a 6GB RAM variant for the larger Galaxy S8+. It is worth noting that there have been reports indicating that Samsung might opt for the newer SoC instead of the current Snapdragon 835 processor.

As for the camera, the Galaxy Note 8 is expected to bundle a pair of 12-megapixel sensors with optical image stabilization for the lens. The placement of the camera module is expected to be placed horizontally, similar to how it is placed in the current Apple iPhone 7 Plus.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is further expected to bring no innovation in terms of the placement of the fingerprint sensor. It will continue to be placed at the rear panel, even as competitors are working on under-screen sensors for biometric authentication. In terms of power, Samsung still appears to be reserved with the 3,300mAh battery threshold. This might also be attributed to last year’s Note 7 battery issue which led to combustion of the phones at will.

On the software front, the Galaxy Note 8 is expected to place its custom Android skin with improved split-screen multitasking and add more functionalities to the S Pen, including full-sentence language translation and currency conversion. The stylus has reportedly been added with the ability to pin handwritten notes to the always-on display.

Other speculated features for the Galaxy Note 8 include DeX support. The separate hardware was announced alongside the Galaxy S8 lineup and allows one to use the smartphone for a full-fledged desktop experience by connecting peripherals such as a monitor and keyboard. Lastly, the Gaalxy Note 8 is expected to be available in color options of blue, black and gold.

WhatsApp reportedly testing a new feature that will allow you to share any type of files on Android, iOS, Windows

Social media is all about sharing and WhatsApp wants to stay ahead in the competition. The Facebook-owned company is reportedly working on a new update that will allow users to share any and every type of file with people in their friends’ list, and that also includes APK files!

WhatsApp currently allows one to send files including images, video, audio, and more recently PDF, Word documents, spreadsheets, and slides. However, within these categories, only certain formats are supported. So, if you want to share a different kind of file on WhatsApp which is not supported, you are required to download the compatible app separately such as Google Drive or iCloud, or convert the file in a supported format and then share. Now, WABetainfo has discovered that WhatsApp is experimenting with a new update for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone users that will allow sharing of all types of archive and media files.

The purported update will also mean that all photos, videos, GIFs, etc will be shared without being compressed. However, there will be size limitations to the content shared. According to the report, for iOS users, the size for videos will be restricted to a maximum of 128MB while it will be lower for Android users at just 100MB. Some early users have been able to share different types of files and posted screenshots on Twitter.

It is worth mentioning that the said feature is currently being rolled out to select users and it is unclear if it will be officially launched anytime soon. Users for whom the feature has been rolled out will be able to share all file types through both the desktop and mobile client. 

Recently, WhatsApp announced that it will continue to support BlackBerry and Symbian OS till the end of 2017 and 2018 respectively. This marked a U-turn from the company’s earlier decision of ending support for the two platforms by June this year. BlackBerry OS 7+ and BlackBerry 10 users will be able to use WhatsApp until December 31. As for Symbian users, WhatsApp will continue support for devices running Nokia S40 until December 31, 2018. There is no change for Nokia S60 however, and WhatsApp support for this OS will end by June 30, 2017. 

YouTube announces VR180 video format work on screens and headsets

At its VidCon 2017, YouTube announced a new virtual reality (VR) platform, VR180. With VR180, YouTube aims to make videos more immersive on its platform. YouTube has been working with Google’s Daydream team to make this video format that is believed to make VR content easier to create. In addition to creating the video format, YouTube is also making VR180-compatible cameras with companies like YI, Lenovo and LG. The first VR180 cameras will arrive by the end of 2017.

Speaking about the video format, VR180 will focus on giving an immersive experience within 180 degrees, meaning you get the best by facing straight. VR180 videos, however, restrict turning around and looking behind while viewing the content. To view VR180 videos in full VR experience, one can do so by watching it on the YouTube app using a Google Cardboard headset, Daydream View, and PlayStation VR. These videos can be watched normally as well on desktop and mobile. Although the VR experience won’t be available otherwise, YouTube says that it will still be impressive with high resolution.

Creators can set up and film their videos normally like they do with any other camera. Creators will also be able to edit their VR180 videos with tools like Adobe Premiere Pro, which will be introduced soon. Also, VR180 video format will have support livestreaming support which would be beneficial for game play videos. YouTube aims to give users a more immersive experience with VR180 content like vlogs, makeup tutorials and music videos.

The VR180 cameras are being made from scratch by Google’s Daydream team along with the aforementioned manufacturers. These cameras are not aimed at only professional creators, but can also be easily used people to capture their everyday moments. The pricing hasn’t been revealed as yet but YouTube says that the cameras will cost around the same as point-and-shoot cameras. 

Other than the three companies working on the cameras, YouTube is also opening up a VR180 certification program for other manufacturers. Z CAM will be YouTube’s first partner under the VR180 certification program. There’s an early bird offer as well for eligible creators who can loan a VR180-enabled camera from YouTube Spaces and try it out. 

OnePlus 5 with 8GB RAM, Snapdragon 835 SoC, Dual Rear Camera launched in India, prices start from Rs 32,999: Specifications, features

After the global reveal of the OnePlus 5 by CEO Pete Lau on June 20, the company has launched the phone in India today. The device is priced at Rs 32,999 for the variant with 6GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage, while the variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage is priced at Rs 37,999. The smartphone goes on open sale today exclusively through Amazon India, with no invites or registration needed to purchase the phone.

OnePlus 5 Specifications, features

The OnePlus 5 comes with a dual-camera setup at the rear. With a 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel sensor at the back, the phone is capable of up to 2X lossless zoom using the 20-megapixel telephoto lens, and can also use data from the two sensors to create a depth-of-field effect, similar to Apple’s Portrait Mode. This is achieved thanks to the main Sony IMX398 sensor featuring a wider f/1.7 aperture, while the secondary Sony IMX350 telephoto sensor comes with a narrower f/2.6 aperture. The camera also features EIS, 4K video recording and RAW format capture, while the front camera is a 16-megapixel shooter with EIS and f/2.0 aperture.

The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC, which is fabricated on the 10nm process and comes with eight custom Kyro cores providing the processing power and a clock speed of up to 2.45GHz. Internal storage and RAM vary according to the version you buy, with the lower-priced variant offering 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while the higher-priced variant comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The RAM is at LPDDR4X specification, while the storage is up to UFS 2.1 standards.

The OnePlus 5 has a 5.5-inch full HD (1080p) AMOLED screen and comes with a reading mode for comfortable viewing. Armed with a 3,300mAh battery, the smartphone also comes with support for the Dash Charge fast-charging format by OnePlus. Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX audio codec for wireless music listening, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and universal LTE band and VoLTE support are also present.

OnePlus 5 also comes with Paytm integration as a part of Oxygen OS. Long press on the fingerprint scanner opens the Paytm payment page, where you can scan the barcode or choose from your contacts to make cashless payments.

Next-gen Samsung Gear VR to come with 2,000 ppi OLED screen: Report

One of the drawbacks of the current VR headsets is that they are not independent of a secondary device. Even as the VR is becoming increasingly popular among masses, the technology companies are working to deliver a VR headset that is truly standalone. Google’s DayDream platform is believed to pave way for such affordable standalone VR headsets. In the meanwhile, Samsung, which has a pretty decent lineup of Gear VR headsets, is working on its own version of standalone virtual reality device.

According to a South Korean website, Naver, Samsung’s next-generation VR headset will come with a high-resolution display. The website says it will be an OLED display panel with a whopping pixel density of 2,000ppi. If the report is true, Samsung’s next-generation VR headset will be offering the highest resolution than any of the known VR headsets in the market right now. Along with a stunning high resolution, the device will consist of a Fine Metal Mask (FMM), which essentially is a layer on top of the OLED panel and comes with very tiny holes to collect the RGB pixels in particular areas.

An OLED panel will ensure users a richer experience with deeper colors. Also, the high pixel density is expected to give a closer to real-life experience to users. While the report confirms it will be a standalone VR headset, which means you don’t need to insert your phone into the device, but doesn’t really elaborate how it would function or content will be displayed. 

That being said, it’s not the first time we have heard that Samsung is building its own standalone VR headset. Back in May, the company had stated that it is working on “wireless and dedicated VR devices, not necessarily working with” the mobile phones. The future Samsung VR headsets will also support hand and gesture tracking, as well as positional tracking.

Samsung’s dominance in the mobile space can help the company push its new VR headsets, something which could further propel the VR adoption among people. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg last year had also highlighted this strength of Samsung. It is notable that Facebook is also working extensively in the segment with its Oculus unit.

Meanwhile, another major push to the segment is expected to come from Google, which is credited for making the VR mainstream with affordable VR platforms like Cardboard. At its recently held Google I/O 2017 developer conference, the company showcased a standalone VR headset reference design. 

Based on a ‘WorldSense’ technology, the platform uses the reference design from Qualcomm, further empowering OEMs to build standalone VR headsets. Google has also partnered with Lenovo and HTC for building standalone VR devices, which are expected to be released “in coming months.” As far as Samsung’s new VR headsets go, they are expected to be unveiled at the MWC 2017 later this year.

Vivo teaser possibly confirms it's unveiling under-screen fingerprint sensor next week

Last week, a video surfaced online, allegedly showing off in-screen fingerprint sensing technology by Vivo. While there is still no proof if the video was true, the China-based manufacturer has now itself put out a teaser suggesting we might not be indeed far from the technology, where unlocking the device would be as simple as tapping anywhere on the display.

Vivo’s official teaser ahead of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) – Shanghai, is now doing the rounds on the internet and was spotted by Twitter user Krispitech. Although the poster doesn’t explicitly mention the possible unveiling of an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the accompanying image, with just the boundary of the display and the fingerprint emerging from it, does drop the hint.

It is widely speculated that Vivo will showcase the technology where biometric authentication is carried out right from the main display of a device. Other than bringing a wider surface area to carry out the authentication process, such a technology would also help manufacturers to slim down on bezels and build a button-free front panel.

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Interestingly, if the purported technology does show up at the MWC Shanghai, it will make Vivo a pioneer in the said field where biggies Apple and Samsung are still in test-phase and unlikely to commercialize the technology anytime soon. For the longest time it had been rumored that Samsung will be the first to introduce the in-screen fingerprint technology through its Galaxy S8 lineup. However, that did not materialize and now the same rumors apply to the upcoming Galaxy Note 8, but owing to supply issues, it might again be delayed.

Meanwhile, Apple is expected to introduce it with the anniversary-edition iPhone 8 sometime later this year. Yet again, there are reports of delays owing to manufacturing-related glitches. As for Vivo, it is speculated that at the MWC Shanghai, the company will introduce the technology through a new smartphone – which would evidently be the world’s first to boast such a technology.

There are currently no details available about the specifications of the rumored smartphone. However, based on the leaked video, the fingerprint sensor might still be located at the lower half of the display for an intuitive recognition. In terms of other specifications, the purported smartphone appears to feature an all black finish with a curved display design.

Lenovo ZUK Z3 Max leak hints at 8GB RAM, Snapdragon 836 SoC, bezel-less display

Just a few months back reports surfaced stating that Lenovo was planning on shutting down its ZUK Mobile business. Interestingly though, a yet-to-be-announced ZUK smartphone has been spotted online. Dubbed ZUK Z3 Max, the smartphone has been listed online, which reveals a few of its important specifications and features. The ZUK Z3 Max, as the name suggests, will be the successor to last year’s ZUK Z2.

The new smartphone was spotted on Weibo, with the post showing the alleged front panel of the device, along with a screenshot of its key specifications. The photo of the Z3 Max’s front panel hints at little to no bezels around the screen. You can also make out the power button and the volume rocker on the right side of the device. Under the hood, the device is expected to come with Snapdragon 836 processor clocked 2.5GHz paired with 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. The device is likely to run on Android Nougat 7.1 out-of-the-box.

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Despite all the rumors about shutting down, ZUK is also said to be working on a special edition of the ZUK Edge smartphone. Called ZUK Edge II Special Edition, the smartphone is said to be themed around Luo Tianyi, a Chinese Vocaloid character. The renders show that smartphone will come in light blue color. However, as far as the availability of the smartphone is considered, the smartphone is likely to be only available in China.

ALSO READ: Lenovo showed off a new concept laptop with bizarre foldable display 

Coming back to ZUK Z3 Max, the smartphone is expected to launch in the month of July. However, there is no official confirmation as of now, and so we would suggest you take this information with a pinch of salt.


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