Tag Archive: Samsung


Galaxy Note 8 Concept

Galaxy Note 8 Concept

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is far and away the best phone Techsnoop has ever owned. But it is now getting a bit dated and tired. Unfortunately, Samsung released the Note 5 with out the expandable storage and the Note 7 was a fire hazard.

But the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are both huge hits and the ‘infinity’ display is a compromise between the edge display and usable screen real estate. So now we wait for these same specs to be bumped up for the flagship phone, the Note 8. Rumours of 6GB of RAM are enough to make a tech geek drool.

Smartphones are a central part of our lives now with the ability to locate and start your car, lock and unlock your home door and control smart home devices. In addition, apps like Samsung Health help you keep track of fitness and dietary goals to improve your health, eliminating the need for additional devices. And importantly for Techsnoop, there are great productivity apps for web design and business.

In his final post, Walt Mossberg states that technology will soon become ‘ambient’ or just a part of the everyday objects we use. The combination of artificial intelligence / machine learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics and drones, smart homes, self-driving cars, and digital health / wearables (Walt Mossberg, the Verge) will make the computer an invisible butler in accomplishing our tasks.

So it only makes sense that smartphones will continue to be an important link between other computing devices and our interface. Making a power house phone like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 a true value.

Are you waiting on the Note 8 or did you take the S8 plunge? Let us know in the comments.

Superphone Evolution

Samsung clawed themselves  to the top of the smartphone mountain and have reigned King of super-sized smartphones for a while now. Their sleek looks and crisp specs managed to woo Techsnoop from the beloved HTC Evo line-up. Led solidly by the Galaxy and Note super phones, Samsung forced everyone, including Apple to up their phone game. Now Samsung finds themselves in an uncomfortable position. They still have premium phones, but many competitors have managed to improve their specs and catch up. And, at a lower price.

Note Evolution

Credit: CNET

The Note 4 is a premium phone and needed only minor upgrades for the Note 5. A faster processor and possibly a slimmer profile would have been great. The improvements to the S-Pen are solid. Why in the name of all that is tech-savvy would Samsung take a step back and have a non-removable battery? The Note line is not for the messaging-selfie obsessed crowd. This is a phone for multi-tasking professionals and we don’t want non-removable batteries and non-expandable storage. Ask HTC, as they lost this market to the Note when they adopted these features.

Techsnoop has several non-negotiable requirements for a phone. One is excellent camera, another is expandable memory, and a third is removable battery. Samsung has dropped the last two on the Note 5 and ensured that this phone is not on the list of considerations for upgrade. Phone makers listen to your customers; we don’t want cloud storage at the expense of expandable storage. It is not an acceptable trade-off.

The Note 5 has a great screen, nice upgrade features and the latest Android OS along with the upgraded S-Pen. The specs are a modest upgrade from the Note 4 and makes the phone a good choice for some who are not super users. But with both built-in battery and non-expandable storage, the Note 5 doesn’t make Techsnoop’s contender list for upgrade. Perhaps Samsung will wake up with the Note 6.

What are your deal-breaker features on a smartphone?

A Geek Princess Tale

Once upon a time there was a happy girl geek with a smartphone and laptop. Soon, more powerful apps and high resolution graphics overloaded her outdated tech.

Our girl geek went out into the wilds of the web to see what she could find to update. Long she searched for the perfect multi-tasking gadget. It needed a beast of a camera, gigs of RAM and long battery power. And of course, it must be Android OS. But she couldn’t find this dream machine anywhere.

Samsung Note 4

Photo: CNET

Enter Samsung Note 4

Then along came the shining prince Samsung with the shiniest new gadget of all; the Note 4. Packing a large 5.7 inch Quad HD AMOLED screen, 16 mega pixel camera, 3GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage upgradable to 96GB (with 64GB SD card) and the ability to operate multiple apps at once with split-screen or hover windows, puts the Note 4 at the top of the mountain. And, whoa, the 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor is faster than her laptop (I sense another upgrade soon). The Note 4 will ship with Android 4.4 KitKat (the princesses’ favorite candy).

Our geek princess was torn, she loved her HTC, but lately it had been letting her down. Once the king of innovation with large screens and awesome cameras, the king had been dethroned. With a heavy heart, the geek princess made preparations to say goodbye to her EVO 4G LTE. Come October, the Note 4 romance will begin. Shall it be gold or pink?

To Be Continued…

Skynet is Destiny

Let’s face it, a Google/Apple showdown was destined to happen. With all the recent moves Google has with Glass, self-driving cars, Nexus, and fiber optic internet all powered by Android, Apple had to swing back. Well, the gloves are off and the fight is on.

Disclaimer: Techsnoop believes Apple makes good products. Just not superior, and they’re overpriced for value. Techsnoop’s main objection to Apple world is their invasiveness. If I buy a product, I own it. Don’t shackle me to your way of life. Rant over.

According to Mashable, Apple feels they can meet your needs with seamless cross-device integration. Phone, tablet, laptop, TV are all powered and connected with the same familiar interface. Leave off email or movie on your phone and pick it up on your laptop or TV.

Android vs Apple

Innovation Fail

Hello? Where is the innovation in this? Google has seamlessly integrated across devices already. Ever heard of Google Docs, Google Voice, Calendar and Maps? (Have you picked up a Samsung phone lately?) All of these apps are connected through the Android system and are just as easily accessed from your Windows laptop, tablet, or PC. Oh yeah, and that little Google owned platform called YouTube.

Once again Apple has taken someone else’s great idea, tweaked it a bit and yelled INNOVATION! Thinking that if they yell loud enough and slap enough slick Apple logos on it, no one will notice they copied (stole) from some one else.

The upside is that Google will certainly fight back with a tightened up Android universe and some goodies to boot.

Taking a look at some of Apple’s “innovations”, check iCloud Drive with 5GB of free storage with larger amounts available for monthly or annual fees. This sounds remarkably similar to Google Drive, yet Google offers 15GB free. But, hey, you can now auto back up your photos in iCloud. A feature that Android has had for four years.

Does Techsnoop think some of the Apple software tweaks are good? Absolutely. And, frankly, Apple fans deserve the overdue upgrades. But Techsnoop needs an ice pack for the headache that comes in when Apple claims innovation when all they did is take a bunch of great ideas from other companies and scoop them into the Apple universe. But, if you are an Apple Fangeek, you’re in for some awesome treats that Android users have  enjoyed for five or more years. Congratulations.

Let Techsnoop know if you are a Droid or Fangeek.

Happy April Fool’s Day

Samsung April Fools PrankThe tech pranks are flying fast and furious. First up, Samsung with the epic Fingers, the wearable smartphone using curved display glass, 4GB RAM, and 16 megapixel camera. Techsnoop’s favorite feature is solar charging by raising your hand to the sun. (“Wave your hands in the air…”). This feature leaves you permanently acting like you’re at a concert.

Style Options

Because Samsung knows there are different needs for smartphone users, they offer the Fingers, Fingers Tough and Fingers Class variants to meet every style need.

HTC Terminator Gluuv

HTC also offers up a wearable version of the smartphone for today’s festivities called the Gluuv. The Gluuv offers the holo-call technology everyone wants integrating with the new One M8 and brings visions of fighting futuristic robots. This massive accessory has an 87.2 megapixel camera that can be activated by a fist bump. Another gesture control is the “thumbs up” feature. When you thumb up a spot you’re in, you give it a “Like” on Facebook.

The Gluuv also utilizes their exciting Boom-Bass sound technology with an actual boom box. Yep, it’s the 80’s again. There are no variants available as HTC states it is still “in beta”. The intro tag line is “Hello day after today. Imagine the power of complete smartphone creative freedom. Now imagine that freedom in the shape of a glove.”

HTC April Fools Prank

Now, if enough consumers like these features and the concept of wearable smartphones, the joke may be on HTC and Samsung. The race will be on to make this product work in the real world. Would you want a wearable phone that responds to your hand movements? Let Techsnoop know in the comments.

This year big business taught us several lessons.  Did you miss them?  Techsnoop has rounded them up for you.

HTC

Think big, act bold.

HTC OneAfter learning the hard way not to develop timidly, HTC has jumped out with bold devices and marketing.  Using Robert Downey, Jr. in their “Here’s To Change” campaign is a great and unexpected  move for them.  The HTC One line up is proving popular and useful, reminiscent of the initial EVO launches.

But they still have a way to go.  Allowing Samsung to take their best features on smartphones and improve on them may prove a costly misstep.  Personally, Techsnoop is rooting for them as a long time HTC fan.

Take a base of popular features and innovate like HTC did with the 4 inch screen and 8MP camera into being standard features.

Samsung

Curate the best of tech and give it to your customers.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3Samsung took many hits for the perceived cheapness of their plastic casings and low quality cameras on their smartphones and tablets.  Apparently, they listen to their customers.

Somehow, without exactly copying, the best features and styling from other brands have been rolled into Samsung products and improved upon.  The Gear watch is a great example. Instead of attempting to make a standalone watch-phone, the natural use would be as an accessory to the mega-screen phones of today. Samsung beat everyone else to this.

Take notes, using the best of existing technology within your own brand is a savvy idea every business can use to leap ahead.

Apple

Don’t treat your customers like babies.

iPhone 5S-5CAfter years of implementing miniscule “upgrades” to the iPhone, Apple finally offered a “large” 4 inch screen on the iPhone 5C and 5S. The audience and tech world are completely underwhelmed. Apple is attempting to sell this iteration of the iPhone solely on looks. Yes it is pretty, but Techsnoop and the rest of the professional world are happy with 5 inch screens we can actually use.  In comparison to the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy 4, the iPhone 5 screens look cramped with too many icons and not enough breathing room.  If your fingertips are not tiny, how do you select apps?

Clearly Apple is targeting a giggling teen market.  What with colors no business man would be caught dead with and the tiny screen, this is not a business class phone.

So, if your emerging market is young hipsters, follow Apple’s example and treat your customers with condension.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3Techsnoop has been a long-time fan of the HTC EVO series phones.  With large screens, beautiful displays and great cameras, these phones re-shaped the future of the smartphone landscape.  And while there is still mad love for the brand, at long last, a phone has come that disrupts this love affair.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Overlooking for the moment, the add-on gear, the Note 3 has a 13 megapixel camera, 60 frame per second HD video, 3GB RAM, and … wait for it, it comes in PINK!  Techsnoop followers will know of the fondness for pink tech.

The Note 3 has been upgraded with a 3200 mAh battery for up to 4 hours extra use, a 2.3 GHz processor (for comparison my laptop has a 2.20 GHz processor) and a 5.7 inch screen.  With these upgrades, Samsung has also addressed customer concerns about speed, battery life and the plastic casing.  The new back is a leather-like material giving a soft and gripable surface, there is a metallic trim on the edge and the bezel has been reduced slightly.  Overall the effect is of a premium phone worthy of its heavy-duty specs.  The S Pen has been upgraded to make using the Note 3 more intuitive with a short learning curve.

Introducing…

The Galaxy Note 3 was introduced on September 4 with much fanfare from Samsung.  But it was a venue for more than just a new smartphone.  The Note 3 has partner tech that makes it work seamlessly for productivity and fun.

First up, Samsung Gear.  The age of the smart watch has arrived with bells and whistles.  The Gear watch allows you to check messages, answer calls and take pictures without ever taking your phone out.  It also includes S Voice to allow for complete hands free usage of your note when fiddling with a large touch screen is not convenient (like driving).  And it is backwards compatible with the Note 2.  Specs for the Gear are;

1.63-inch Super AMOLED screen  320×320 resolution
Dual core processor 800MHz
1.9 MegaPixel wrist camera 720p
Speakers in the device’s strap
Accelerometer
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Android Jelly Bean
512MB of RAM
4GB of storage
Available in six colors:
Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green with initial pricing of $300.

 Galaxy Gear Watch

The Galaxy Note 3 10.1 tablet is also made to integrate with the Note 3 phone.  You can share apps and notes seamlessly.  The S Pen makes apps like Photoshop Touch extra useful for small businesses like DKemp Designs.  While the total sticker for the three devices may be a bit pricey, the specs, security and flexibility make this a worthy trio to own for the multi-tasking business owner.  All in all, Techsnoop gives this tech trio a 5 star rating.

Check out the Samsung Unpacked video and let us know if you will be switching to the Note 3 when you upgrade.

 

Continuing the current trend of multi-use tech, Samsung has just announced the Ativ Q, a hybrid laptop and tablet that takes multi-tasking to a new level.

The Ativ Q is a 13 inch, Intel powered tablet with a swing out keyboard that doubles as a stand.  It runs Windows 8 (full version, not RT) and Android  Jellybean.  And if that’s not enough for you power users, it can run both OSs side by side.

Whew, that’s a lot of multi-tasking even for Techsnoop.  With 4GB of ram, it should be fairly speedy compared to other tablets.  It also comes with 2 USB ports and a nini-HDMI port for ultimate connecting.

The trade off, (there’s always a trade off in tech) is the thickness (13.9mm vs 8.2mm for the Tab 3) and weight (1.29kg compared to 550g for the Tab 3).  But, if you need something a little more robust than a normal tablet, this may be the Lablet for you.

Take a look at the video and let us know what you think of this fab new machine.

 

If you like to be on top of the latest in technology, here is a round-up of the most useful items coming out soon.

Human-technology interfaces are undergoing upheaval.   The mouse is dying and the physical keyboard may be next.  Touch screen and gesture based technology is growing fast.  Now LuminAR has developed the light bulb as touch screen interface to be placed anywhere.  The projection creates an instant display that interacts with user gestures.  It can be used as a display or to scan and send documents.  The bulb will be able to be placed in any lamp as plug and play with your wireless network.

For on-the-go pet owners Pintofeed lets you feed your furry family from your smartphone.  There is a feeder that can be programmed manually or, with a downloadable app, can be remotely programmed to kick out a half-cup of food for Fido or Felicity.

 

More human-machine interface technology comes from the portable, virtual keyboard which can be used with any device;

 

Samsung is on fire with great tablets, smartphones and now the man-cave dream; an 85″ ultra HD TV with 8 million pixels.  Yes, 8 million.  If money is no object, treat your hubby to ultimate bragging rights this Christmas.

Parents everywhere will appreciate the Owlet baby monitor which straps onto baby’s foot and monitors heart rate and blood oxygen levels.  An alert is sent to your smartphone if there are changes.  Created to give parents extra response time in case baby stops breathing.  Not yet ready for production, it will bring huge peace of mind to parents everywhere.

samsungs3 vs iPhone5This ultimate test of smartphones lies firmly in the “don’t try this at home” category.

Both phones are placed in a Blendtec blender and blended till smooth.  While this is not an accurate test of a smartphone’s capabilities, notice that the Samsung Galaxy S3 took a lot longer to turn to e-dust than the iPhone 5.  Surprising since many have dissed the Galaxy S3 as seeming frail in construction.

Apparently, thinness and lightness are not an accurate predictor of durability.  Congrats to the Galaxy S3 for standing up to the Blendtec for a longer time.  Ultimately, however, no phone is going to compete with high-density steel blades rotating at high speeds for long.  But, your phone may survive a few additional drops from your pocket longer.