Samsung Mobile on Thursday released a nicely done commercial via its official YouTube channel, with the 30-second video touting its prowess as the creator and manufacturer of the best smartphone display technology. Good timing, by the way.
Galaxy S8 Plus
Following multiple delays stemming from lack of big data, Samsung on Wednesday said its new personal digital assistant Bixby is now available in U.S. English to customers in the United States and Korea via a software update for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 smartphones. The company will add support for additional languages and devices “in the near future.”
Influential US magazine Consumer Reports today published their latest smartphone rankings. After weeks of “rigorous testing”, the organization has ranked Samsung's new Galaxy S8 Plus, which released in late April, higher than Apple's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices, which have been on the market for eight months now.
The testing procedure took into account popular user features such as design, battery life, cameras, display quality and more. The top spot was previously occupied by the earlier-generation Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.
As for Apple's smartphone, Consumer Reports ranked iPhone 7 Plus fifth.
Here are the top five smartphones, according to Consumer Reports:Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge LG G6 Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Despite the latest Galaxies not having a dual-camera setup, Consumer Reports doesn't think consumers will miss the depth of field photography and optical zoom features found on iPhone 7 Plus.
“A few top-end cameras, including the iPhone 7 Plus and the LG G6, have dual rear-facing cameras, to enhance either zoom or wide-angle photography,” notes the report.
“The Samsung phones haven’t gone that route yet—and we don’t think they suffer for it.”
The latest Galaxy phones have “some of the best smartphone battery life we've seen,” they added.
Consumer Reports testers found the latest Galaxies' curved AMOLED display with the drastically reduced bezels at the top and the bottom both pretty to look at and functional, with a bigger screen area in the same-size device.
That doesn't necessarily make the flagship Samsung phone comfortable to hold in one's hand.
“Even on the smaller model, it will be hard for most users to reach the upper regions of the screen with their thumb,” said lead phone tester Richard Fisco.
Consumer Reports' biggest gripe with the new Galaxy S8 family? An “awkwardly” positioned fingerprint sensor on the back.
Here's what they had to say about it:
The fingerprint scanner on the back is awkwardly placed. You can use the scanner for unlocking the phone, and that works well. But it's right next to the rear camera, and we found ourselves repeatedly poking around to locate it—and smudging the camera lens in the process.
Consumer Reports is, of course, the same publication that lost some of its credibility by first not recommending iPhone 4 due to Antennagate only to change its mind a few weeks later. The fact they're now pitting the latest devices from Samsung and LG against Apple's 2016 smartphone—which will be superseded by iPhone 8 in a three month's time—isn't helping either.
Eyeballs and faces are not as secure as fingerprints—German hackers with the Chaos Computer Club have bypassed iris authentication technology that's prominently featured in Samsung's Galaxy S8 smartphone. All that's needed to trick Galaxy S8's iris scanner into unlock the phone is an infrared photograph of the eye of the phone’s owner and a contact lens.
ArsTechnica says the photo need not even be a close up.
This video below, originally posted by Starbug (the moniker used by one of the principal researchers behind the hack), demonstrates how to circumvent the iris recognition of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone—such as a basic digital camera, Samsung's laser printer and a contact lens—by using equipment that costs less than the $725 price of an unlocked device.
An attacker must posses a photograph of the phone owner's face, which must be printed out to place the contact lens on the iris in the printout. Holding the image in front of a locked Galaxy S8 fools the iris scanner into unlocking the device.
Princeton Identity, the makers of Galaxy S8's iris authentication technology, say the phone provides “airtight security” and that consumers can “finally trust that their phones are protected”. Samsung itself claimed that Galaxy S8's iris scanning mechanism is “one of the safest ways to keep your phone locked.”
That said, we've known that bypassing the phone's biometrics is laughably easy.
In March, iDevice posted a video proving that Galaxy S8's facial recognition feature can be fooled into unlocking the phone by scanning a simple headshot of the phone's owner.
According to The Korea Herald, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus handsets can even be unlocked by scanning the face of a sleeping person. Samsung is aware that Galaxy S8's facial unlocking technology is not its most secure biometric system: in a March statement to Mashable, a company spokesperson said that facial unlocking cannot be used for purchases with Samsung Pay.
For that, you still must use the phone's fingerprint reader as the iris scanner can only be used to purchase apps and media or unlock the phone. Galaxy S8 includes both iris scanning and facial recognition via the front-facing camera, in addition to fingerprint scanning via a sensor relocated to the rear side.
Apple's own Touch ID fingerprint reader isn't immune to hacks either.
Back in 2013, Starbug demonstrated that fingerprints casually collected off of water glasses can be leveraged to fool Touch ID into unlocking your iPhone. Android phones are susceptible to a similar hack.
As you know, Apple is expected to use facial unlocking and maybe even iris scanning in iPhone 8. Starbug, however, cautions that future smartphones with iris recognition may be equally easy to hack. Iris recognition, says Starbug, is hard to make hack-proof because you can't really hide your iris.
“It's even worse than fingerprints,” added the hacker.
Some owners of Samsung's nearly bezel-less Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus smartphones are complaining about burnt-in pixels in their AMOLED screens. According to web reports, the affected customers are seeing permanent discolorations in the lower part of Samsung's Infinity Display where the new virtual button resides, Korean outlet The Investor reported Monday.
Samsung Electronics on Thursday posted financial results for the first calendar quarter ended March 31, 2017. While the South Korean conglomerate increased both revenue and profit from the year-ago quarter, the growth is attributed mainly to Samsung's lucrative components business as its mobile segment actually shrank year-over-year.
The firm appears worried about Apple's upcoming iPhone 8, cautioning that its mobile unit could suffer as “market competition is expected to intensify” in the second half of 2017.
Ahead of the upcoming April 21 Galaxy S8 launch in the United States, Canada and Europe, Samsung has already covered Times Square with advertising for its new flagship phones. Today, the South Korean conglomerate published a pair of official Galaxy S8 television commercials on its YouTube channel.
Titled "The New Normal" and “Breaking Out”, the videos showcase the key features of the handsets, like their curved AMOLED screen, branded as Infinity Display, and a stunning industrial design with a nearly full-screen face and no chin at the bottom.
Samsung's top-of-the-line Galaxy handsets are typically outfitted with some of the best-performing batteries. That said, you could imagine our surprise when we learned that the battery in Samsung's flagship Galaxy S8+ performed worse than the cell powering Apple's iPhone 7 Plus, as per a new test carried out by review website PhoneArena.
Wednesday, Samsung fired the first salvo against Apple's upcoming iPhone 8 with the official introduction of its Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones at media events in New York's Lincoln Center and London's Olympic Park.
But the South Korean conglomerate didn't stop there: they announced a 4K-capable 360-degree camera and other accessories, including a docking station that lets you connect your new Galaxy to an external display and wireless or wired keyboard and/or mouse to use it as an Android-driven computer with a desktop-like interface.
Without further ado, here's a quick recap of everything Samsung announced today.
According to prolific smartphone leakster Evan Blass, Samsung's regular Galaxy S8 and the rumored Galaxy S8 Plus models will occupy prices between Apple's iterative iPhone 7s and a new premium iPhone 8 model that will likely cost more than $1,000 unlocked. Blass also shared genuine-looking press renderings of the next Galaxy smartphone.
Meanwhile, SamMobile is reporting that Galaxy S8's slow motion video capture mode could blow iPhone 7 out of the water with the ability to capture a thousand frames per second. Apple's camera partner Sony recently announced a new 19-megapixel CMOS sensor (IMX400), built it into the new Xperia XZ Premium, that can capture slo-mo video at 960 frames per second.