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FILE - CIA Director Mike Pompeo testifies before a Senate Intelligence hearing during his nomination process, in Washington, Jan. 12, 2017.

WASHINGTON — If this week’s WikiLeaks document dump is genuine, it includes a CIA list of the many and varied ways the electronic device in your hand, in your car, and in your home can be used to hack your life.

It’s simply more proof that, “it’s not a matter of if you’ll get hacked, but when you’ll get hacked.” That may be every security expert’s favorite quote, and unfortunately, they say it’s true. The WikiLeaks releases include confidential documents the group says exposes “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.”

 

The CIA has refused to confirm the authenticity of the documents, which allege the agency has the tools to hack into smartphones and some televisions, allowing it to remotely spy on people through microphones on the devices.

Watch: New Generation of Hackable Internet Devices May Always Be Listening

Screenshot 1

WikiLeaks also claimed the CIA managed to compromise both Apple and Android smartphones, allowing their officers to bypass the encryption on popular services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram.

For some of the regular tech users, news of the leaks and the hacking techniques just confirms what they already knew. When we’re wired 24-7, we are vulnerable.

“The expectation for privacy has been reduced, I think,” Chris Coletta said, “... in society, with things like WikiLeaks, the Snowden revelations ... I don’t know, maybe I’m cynical and just consider it to be inevitable, but that’s really the direction things are going.”

The internet of things

The problem is becoming even more dangerous as new, wired gadgets find their way into our homes, equipped with microphones and cameras that may always be listening and watching.

One of the WikiLeaks documents suggests the microphones in Samsung smart TV’s can be hacked and used to listen in on conversations, even when the TV is turned off.

 

Security experts say it is important to understand that in many cases, the growing number of wired devices in your home may be listening to all the time.

“We have sensors in our phones, in our televisions, in Amazon Echo devices, in our vehicles,” said Clifford Neuman, the director of the Center for Computer Systems Security, at the University of Southern California. “And really almost all of these attacks are things that are modifying the software that has access to those sensors so that the information is directed to other locations. Security practitioners have known that this is a problem for a long time.”

Neuman says hackers are using the things that make our tech so convenient against us.

“Certain pieces of software and certain pieces of hardware have been criticized because, for example, microphones might be always on,” he said. “But it is the kind of thing that we’re demanding as consumers, and we just need to be more aware that the information that is collected for one purpose can very easily be redirected for others.”

Tools of the espionage trade

The WikiLeaks release is especially damaging because it may have laid bare a number of U.S. surveillance techniques. The New York Times says the documents it examined layout programs called “Wrecking Crew” for instance, which “explains how to crash a targeted computer, and another tells how to steal passwords using the autocomplete function on Internet Explorer.”

Steve Grobman, chief of the Intel Security Group, says that’s bad not only because it can be done, but also because so-called “bad actors” now know it can be done. Soon enough, he warns, we could find our own espionage tools being used against us.

“We also do need to recognize the precedents we set, so, as offensive cyber capabilities are used ... they do give the blueprint for how that attack took place. And bad actors can then learn from that,” he said.

So how can tech-savvy consumers remain safe? Security experts say they can’t, and to remember the “it’s not if, but when” rule of hacking.

The best bet is to always be aware that if you’re online, you’re vulnerable.

Source: This article was published voanews.com By Kevin Enochs

Categorized in Online Research

With the launch of the much awaited Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+, expectations of what one could possibly do with their phones have been redefined.  The phones are gorgeous looking, packed with innovation, loaded with never seen before features and to top it all, a screen that manages to live up to its Infinity Display moniker.

Apart from Display, both the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ come packed with a host of features that make them hard to resist. Some of these are:

 

  • Samsung Pay that allows you to make digital payments virtually anywhere
  • Iris Scanner, a feature that defense grade security to ensure that your data is safe at all costs
  • Cameras that takes Smartphone photography to a whole new level
  • And Bixby, your very own AI-powered personal assistant

samsung-galaxys8-sponspored-image-3

Infinity Display

The Infinity Display might take your breath away as no other phone has even come closer to achieving this size of the display. Interestingly, even the chin and forehead of the front screen have been shrunk to create a larger vertical display.

 

samsung-galaxy-sponsored-post-2

To accommodate the large screen, Samsung has done away with the home button and replaced it with a pressure-sensitive section at the bottom of the screen. The displays have an amazing 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The Samsung devices are the first in the market to offer a quad HD+ resolution of 2960 x 1440. They are also “Mobile HDR Premium” certified so you can stream HDR shows from Amazon Prime and Netflix.

The Galaxy S8 and the S8+ come with extremely vivid Super AMOLED displays that ensure gloriously vivid colors without over saturating brighter shades.

Design

It is not hyperbole to say nothing on the Smartphone market comes anywhere close to the design of these two devices. The curved rear fits perfectly in your palm. The phones are beautifully crafted to feel like one homogenous block where the glass, screen and metal somehow magically combine together.

Samsung Galaxy S8-hands-on-3

Features

Samsung Galaxy S8-hands-on

One of the most interesting features is Samsung Pay. You can use it almost anywhere to make digital payments. Samsung uses a proprietary technology called Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) to securely transmit data to credit card terminals…any credit card terminal. Where payment terminals have Near Field Communication (NFC) the data is transmitted through NFC. Basically infinite ways to pay, using just your phone.

The device sports an Iris Scanner that is at the heart of the phone’s defense grade security. The Galaxy S8’s Iris Scanner can register up to 200 identifying features from a single iris, which means close to 400 identifying features from your eyes. The default setting for unlocking your Galaxy S8 and S8+ with the Iris Scanner is an impressive biometric feature. However, Samsung made it even more interesting by adding cartoonish screen masks to the Iris Scanner.

 

Both the Galaxy phones feature a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with Dual Pixel sensor with a f/1.7 lens which is great for low light photos. There is also a manual mode if that takes your fancy. On the front, there’s an 8-megapixel camera with smart autofocus and continuous face detection.

Conclusion

With the launch of the Galaxy S8 and the S8+, Samsung has virtually rewritten the rules of what a smartphone should look like, and be capable of. These are the two most stunningly attractive and capable phones your money can buy.

Disclaimer: This is an article sponsored by Samsung and does not necessarily reflect the views of India Web Portal Pvt Ltd.

Source: This article was published bgr.in By Sponsored

Categorized in Others

A new day, and a new set of iPhone 8 renders are here to gawk at. This time around it’s not a concept that a designer created based on rumors. Instead, we’re looking at high-quality 3D renders that were created using leaked factory CAD images of the OLED iPhone.

Categorized in Others

The annual Mobile World Congress trade show is less than a week away, which means we’re about to be introduced to some of the most exciting new smartphones that will be released this year. Well, perhaps “introduced” isn’t the best choice of words, since a long string of leaks has already revealed just about everything there is to know about the three biggest stars of the show.

According to everything we’ve seen so far, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge are going to be sleek and speedy upgrades to last year’s Galaxy S models, and the LG G5 is also set to be a major upgrade. But once all these new lightning-fast Android phones start hitting store shelves, won’t your older Android smartphone start to feel a bit slow?

 

Not if you follow the simple instructions in this post, which will show you some hidden settings you can adjust in just a few seconds that will make any Android phone feel twice as fast.

Late last week we told you about a nifty free Android app that will speed up your Android phone. Dubbed Chromer, the app allows all apps on your phone to make use of Chrome custom tabs so that web pages load much faster than they did before. After all, loading a web page is often a painfully slow endeavor compared to loading local content on your phone.

There are also other things you can do to speed up your Android phone, like deleting the Facebook app.

In that post about Chromer, we mentioned an older article on BGR that included what we believe to be one of the most simple but important things users can do to speed up any Android phone, new or old. We got so much positive feedback after mentioning it that we thought it was time to revisit the trick so those who might have missed it aren’t left out in the cold.

 

There is no question that hardware specs determine how fast a smartphone is, but only to an extent. Software also plays a huge role, as do graphics. To that end, smartphones all use transition animations to spice up the user experience. Many users likely don’t even think about it, but each time you tap on something or open an app, some type of animation transitions the UI from one screen to the next.

Those little animations might seem fast, but they’re not as fast as they can be.

Android phones include a secret developer options menu that is hidden from users until they unlock it. Inside that special menu is a series of three settings that control how fast a phone’s transition animations play. By tweaking those settings, you can double the speed of those animations and as a result, your phone will feel much faster than it was before.

Here’s all you need to do:

  1. In the Settings app on your Android phone, scroll to the bottom and tap About phone
  2. Find the entry titled Build number and tap it repeatedly seven times
  3. Press the back button and you’ll see a new Developer options menu above About phone
  4. Inside the developer options menu, scroll down and find the following three settings: Windows animation scale, Transition animation scale and Animator duration scale. By default, each one is set to 1x. Open them one at a time and change 1x to .5x (that’s “.5x” not “5x”).

 

Presto… you’re done. Animations will now display twice as fast as they did before and your phone will feel much faster as a result. There will also be no impact on battery life. And if you decide you want to go back to the way things were, simply go back into that menu and set each of the three items back to 1x.

Also note that you can set each of those three menu items to “off” to make your phone even faster, but then those nifty little animations won’t play at all.

Categorized in Others

Samsung's latest phone, the Galaxy S8, is packed with a lot of thoughtful features that you won't find on the iPhone.

While the iPhone still has a slight edge over the Galaxy S8, there are plenty of things that set it apart from its biggest rival.

Here are the most important Galaxy S8 features you won't get from the iPhone.

1. There's an iris scanner that can be used to unlock the phone and access secure folders.

1. There's an iris scanner that can be used to unlock the phone and access secure folders.
Corey Protin

Samsung says it's more secure than a fingerprint sensor. The iPhone only has a fingerprint sensor.

 

2. More screen. The S8 has a 5.8-inch screen. The S8+ has a 6.2-inch screen.

2. More screen. The S8 has a 5.8-inch screen. The S8+ has a 6.2-inch screen.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Compare that to the iPhone: The iPhone 7 has a 4.7-inch screen and the iPhone 7 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen.

 

3. You can charge the Galaxy S8 with a wireless charging pad. There's also fast charging, which charges the S8 faster than normal.

3. You can charge the Galaxy S8 with a wireless charging pad. There's also fast charging, which charges the S8 faster than normal.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The iPhone does not have wireless charging. There's also no fast-charging option.

 

4. You can plug in standard headphones thanks to the headphone jack.

4. You can plug in standard headphones thanks to the headphone jack.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Apple famously removed the standard headphone jack on the iPhone 7. You have to use a dongle if you want to plug in your regular wired headphones.

 

5. Samsung Pay can make payments on standard magnetic credit card readers.

5. Samsung Pay can make payments on standard magnetic credit card readers.
This is an older Samsung phone using Samsung Pay, but it works the same on the Galaxy S8.Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

You don't need a special NFC pad like you do with Apple Pay.

 

6. The Galaxy S8 comes with its own virtual reality software, powered by Facebook's Oculus.

6. The Galaxy S8 comes with its own virtual reality software, powered by Facebook's Oculus.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The iPhone can work with some VR headsets like Google Cardboard, but it doesn't natively support VR and content is extremely limited.

7. The S8 has a heart rate sensor on the back.

7. The S8 has a heart rate sensor on the back.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Get your pulse on the go! You'll have to buy an Apple Watch or another accessory if you want to measure your pulse using the iPhone.

 

8. You can attach the Galaxy S8 to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse with a special dock and run a desktop version of the smartphone's operating system on a normal computer.

8. You can attach the Galaxy S8 to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse with a special dock and run a desktop version of the smartphone's operating system on a normal computer.
Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

While features like this haven't been proven, it could appeal to enterprises. You can only mirror your iPhone screen on an external display.

10. Samsung's Galaxy S8 screen is more power-efficient and produces better colors.

10. Samsung's Galaxy S8 screen is more power-efficient and produces better colors.
Hollis Johnson

That's because Samsung uses a screen technology called OLED. The iPhone still uses LCD, which doesn't look as good as OLED.

Even More..

 

This article was published on businessinsider.com

Categorized in Others

Over the course of the last decade, many companies have tried to make the smartphone-to-desktop dream a reality with varying degrees of success.

Microsoft, for example, launched Continuum alongside the Lumia 950 to considerable fanfare a few years ago, though most users felt limited by its less feature-rich version of Windows. Looking even further back, Motorola also attempted a similar Android-based solution with the ill-fated Motoblur. Even Samsung has dabbled in the space before with Galaxy S4 and Note 2 mobile docks, though these devices just mirrored Android’s standard user interface on a larger screen.

The DeX dock itself can be plugged into any HDMI compatible monitor and connects to USB or Bluetooth-enabled (as long as it includes a Bluetooth dongle) or standard USB mouse or keyboard. Strangely, DeX does not include an HDMI cable or power cord, instead relying on the Galaxy S8’s USB-C cable and the owner to provide the HDMI cable. In total, DeX features two USB 2.0 ports, an ethernet port and a USB-C port for power.

Samsung also says that while the S8 is connected to DeX, the device is protected by the company’s Knox security platform, which means that no data is transferred between the smartphone and the company’s new desktop-friendly version of Android.

 

In some ways, using DeX reminds me of the Nintendo Switch, mostly due to its plug-and-play nature. Similar to Nintendo’s console, as soon as you drop the S8 on the dock, DeX instantly activates, switching to a Windows or macOS-like desktop user interface. Unlike the Switch, however, some apps close when DeX is removed from the dock. While a minor issue, this is something I hope Samsung fixes in the future.

Mobilesyrup

MobilesyrupSamsung's DeX interface.

On a basic level, those that are familiar with desktop browser staples such as re-sizable windows and contextual menus, will feel right at home with DeX. Samsung has completely redesigned Android’s UI to be optimized for use with a keyboard and mouse, a task that likely wasn’t easy given the operating system’s inherent focus on touchscreen devices.

App support is one of DeX’s most significant issues currently, though given that the underlying code of every app likely remains similar to its stock Android counterpart, in theory a simple user interface shift shouldn’t be that difficult for developers. Still, it remains to be seen how many developers are willing to put in this extra work, especially with DeX only supporting the S8 and the S8+.

While DeX may support more Samsung devices in the future, it’s likely that it only currently works with the S8 and S8+ because of its powerful Snapdragon 835 processor.

 

It’s worth noting that any Android app can be opened with DeX, even it hasn’t been optimized for desktop. These apps appear in a smaller window and moving the mouse around mimics the functionality of the S8’s touchscreen. Compatibility with this form of interacting with an app is hit or miss, with some app user interfaces being more suited to a mouse and keyboard than others.

Further more, it’s strange that pressing enter on an external keyboard doesn’t send a message with apps that don’t support the DeX’s full desktop mode.

Looking at specific apps that don’t currently support DeX, Google Chrome actually crashed on me quite frequently. If you’re able to navigate its cumbersome interface, Samsung’s internet browser features a relatively solid full-screen DeX mode. As someone who uses Chrome to sync their personal and work life across multiple devices however, it’s disappointing that the web browser isn’t compatible with DeX at launch, though it’s possible that could change in the future.

Mobilesyrup

The main question surrounding DeX is whether or not the S8’s 10nm Snapdragon 835 processor has the power to push apps to a full-sized desktop. While I’ve only spent a few hours with DeX, the device seems capable of consistently running a light-weight desktop OS, though I’ve only dabbled with Word documents and browsed the internet via Samsung’s proprietary browser app for a few hours.

 

The only moments of slowdown I encountered were when I was opening more resource intensive websites that feature large images or high-resolution video.

The most compelling thing about DeX is that it’s capable of handling almost 80 to 90 percent of what the average person uses a PC for. So while I may not be able to do my day-to-day job with an S8 and DeX, if I worked in another industry, or was simply just interested in owning a very basic PC, the dock effectively turns Samsung’s latest flagship into a handy 2-in-1 device.

Author: Patrick O'Rourke
Source: business.financialpost.com

Categorized in Internet Technology

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are finally here, boasting perhaps the best specs we’ve seen in a flagship phone yet. But they’re not the only flagship phones around — some pretty excellent devices have launched in the past six months or so. Like, for example, the Google Pixel XL.

But how do the two “plus”-size phones compare when it comes to overall power and performance? We pit the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus against the Google Pixel XL to find out.

Specs

 

Google Pixel XL

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Size 154.7 × 75.7 × 8.5 mm (6.09 × 2.98 × 0.33 inches) 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm (6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches)
Weight 5.93oz 6.1oz
Screen 5.5-inch AMOLED 6.2-inch AMOLED
Resolution 1,440 × 2,560 pixels (534 ppi) 2,960 x 1,440 pixels (529 ppi)
OS Android 7.1 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat
Storage 32GB/128GB 64GB
MicroSD Card Slot No Yes
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 9 Series 8895 (International)
RAM 4GB 4GB
Connectivity GSM, CDMA, HSPA, EVDO, LTE, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera 12.3MP Rear / 8MP Front 12MP Rear with OIS / 8MP Front
Video 4K 4K
Bluetooth 4.2 5.0
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor, compass Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor
Water Resistant No IP68
Wireless charging No Yes, PMA and Qi-compliant
Battery 3,450mAh 3,500mAh
Ports USB Type-C, Headphone USB Type-C, Headphone
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color options Quite Black, Very Silver, Really Blue Silver, Black, Orchid Grey, Blue (International), Gold (International)
Price $649 Starts at $840
Availability UnlockedVerizon Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-MobileUnlocked
DT Review 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

When it comes to specs, it’s truly a case of newer is better. For starters, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus has the latest and greatest Qualcomm chipset, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, while the Google Pixel XL has the Snapdragon 821. The Snapdragon 821 was certainly a good chip for its time, and still is relatively powerful, but not against the newer Snapdragon 835.

So just how powerful is the Snapdragon 835? Well, we don’t know exactly just yet, but early benchmark results suggest the device is at least 15 percent more powerful than its predecessor.

 

Of course, the processor isn’t the only thing to note in the specs department. It’s expected that we’ll start seeing more phones with 6GB of RAM over the next year or so, but for now Samsung has stuck safely with 4GB, putting it on par with the Google Pixel XL when it comes to RAM.

Next up is storage. The Google Pixel XL offers either 32GB or 128GB of storage, while the Galaxy S8 Plus only comes in 64GB — so while the base model of the Galaxy S8 Plus has more than the base model of the Pixel XL, the Pixel XL has more options. Of course, then there’s the microSD card slot in the Galaxy S8 Plus, which lets you expand your storage by up to 256GB.

The Galaxy S8 has a better processor and the ability to expand on storage, so it’s the winner in the performance department.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Design

Both the Google Pixel XL and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus are relatively stylish phones, and both feature some unique design choices by Google and Samsung respectively. The Google Pixel XL, for example, has a half glass back, which was somewhat criticized when the Pixel was first launched. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, on the other hand, features a full glass back, helping it look very sleek and stylish.

 

The S8 Plus on the front, though, looks very much like a Samsung device that has evolved. Ultra-slim bezels coupled with the familiar Edge display make for a gorgeous smartphone that has an 83 percent screen-to-body ratio. The Pixel XL, on the other hand, is quite the opposite with glaringly large bezels that only seem to take up a lot of room for no reason.

On the right of the Google Pixel XL, you’ll find the power button and volume rocker, while the bottom sports the USB-C port and the top the 3.5mm headphone jack. On the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, you’ll find a dedicated Bixby button below the volume rocker on the left of the phone, while the power button sits alone on the right. The bottom features a USB Type-C charging port and, thankfully, a headphone jack.

The dimensions of the phone are interesting. While the display on the 6.2-inch S8 Plus is much bigger than that the 5.5-inch Google Pixel XL, the phone is only a tad taller — that’s thanks to the much smaller bezels on the Galaxy S8 Plus. On top of that, the phone is phone is slightly less wide, and a little thinner, but not by much.

Design is largely subjective, but this one’s a no-brainer — the S8 Plus takes the cake.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Display

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The two phones aren’t too different in the display department as they both feature AMOLED screens. While the Google Pixel XL has a pretty decent 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1,440 × 2,560, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Plus offers a massive 6.2-inch display with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,960 — so you get a slightly higher resolution to accommodate for the larger panel, but the Pixel XL packs slightly more pixels per inch.

 

The Google Pixel XL features a pretty standard display, but the Galaxy S8 Plus utilizes the famed “Edge” panel on the sides of the device, which offers some more functionality. The S8 Plus is also premium HDR compliant, so you can be sure to see accurate colors, deep blacks, and an overall vibrant display.

Because of the higher resolution, classy curves, and HDR-ready display, the Galaxy S8 Plus is the winner.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Battery life and charging

Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel XL

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The battery is obviously an area that Samsung will want to be careful about — especially considering the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. The Galaxy S8 Plus offers a battery with a capacity of 3,500mAh, which isn’t slightly larger than the 3,450mAh battery on the Google Pixel XL.

That doesn’t mean that the Galaxy S8 Plus will last longer on a single charge — in fact, it probably won’t. The display is the single biggest user of battery life, and considering the fact that the Galaxy S8 Plus’ display is larger and has a higher resolution means there’s a chance the S8 Plus could take up a lot more battery.

Thankfully, Samsung’s S8 Plus supports wireless charging, offering users more options in how they want to charge their phone. That helps it win this contest.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Camera, software, durability, and more

Camera

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL were highly praised for their camera, and rightly so — the camera is an increasingly important part of the smartphone.

 

When it comes to raw specs, the Google Pixel XL offers a 12.3-megapixel rear-facing camera with a f/2.0 aperture and electronic image stabilization. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus carries over the same camera as the Galaxy S7 — a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with a f/1.7 aperture.

The front-facing camera on both devices are packed with 8-megapixels, and they’ll likely offer similar quality shots. The specs on the two phones are ultimately pretty similar, but in our camera tests the Google Pixel outperformed the Galaxy S7, so we’ll have to crown it the winner here.

Winner: Google Pixel XL

Software

While both of the two phones feature the latest and greatest Android Nougat version, software is a pretty big point of difference for the Google Pixel XL. The Pixel series replaces the Nexus program as offering Android as Google intended it — so you won’t find any bloatware other than pre-installed Google apps. Pixel owners will also get timely security and version updates as soon as Google rolls them out — it’s why the Pixel XL is on Nougat 7.1. The S8 Plus will likely stay on Android 7.0 Nougat for quite some time.

 

The Galaxy S8 Plus has Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface, which looks far better and isn’t quite the performance hog we remember on prior devices. The S8 Plus also offers Samsung’s all new personal assistant Bixby, which even has a dedicated button on the side of the phone. Bixby can recognize objects via the camera app, can perform touch actions via voice, offers personalized information based on time and location, and allows you to set reminders. What’s great is if Bixby isn’t for you, you can still access Google Assistant by pressing and holding the home button, like on the Pixel XL.

On top of that, the Galaxy S8 Plus features software like Samsung Pay, which is available at far more locations than Google’s Android Pay on the Pixel XL.

Still, while Samsung may offer a few more features in its software over Google, we think the importance of getting timely Android version and security updates are pretty important. We’ll have to go with the Pixel XL based on Samsung’s track record.

Winner: Google Pixel XL

Durability

Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel XL

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Smartphones should last for at least a few years these days, and a part of that means being able to withstand a least a drop or two. Unfortunately, the heavy use of glass on both of these phones limits that. For starters, the Google Pixel features a half glass back, so it would be easy to crack it if you dropped it. That’s magnified on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, however. The device not only features the curved edge, but it also has a glass back — so dropping it could be disastrous.

The Google Pixel XL isn’t waterproof, and that’s where Samsung gains the upper hand. Like the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 Plus has an IP68 dust- and water-resistance rating, meaning it’ll be able to withstand up to 1.5 meters of water for as long as 30 minutes.

We’d recommend a case for both these phones, but the Galaxy S8 Plus wins this round. At least Samsung offers some protection over water.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Extra features

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both the devices have plenty on offer, but the S8 Plus has a few features that don’t seem to fall into any other category. For starters, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus lets you connect your phone to an external monitor through the DeX dock, after which you can use the device like a desktop computer. The dock basically puts the phone in Android freeform mode, and optimized apps can be resized. It’s really a pretty cool feature, and we’re hoping to see more Android phones adopt this functionality.

 

There’s also iris scanning and facial recognition technology, which you can use to unlock your phone.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Price and availability

Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel XL

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel XL started shipping towards the end of 2016, and you can buy it through Verizon or through the Google Play Store. The device starts at $770, which isn’t cheap — and if you want to get the higher storage option you’ll be looking at a total cost of $869. Sadly, Google has been having inventory problems and it’s extremely difficult to find the smartphone in stock. Estimated shipping times are often more than a month.

Samsung hardly has inventory issues as it’s better equipped to make smartphones in huge quantities. The Galaxy S8 Plus hit shelves on April 21.

  Google Pixel XL Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
AT&T N/A $850 or $28.34 per month for 30 months
Sprint N/A $850 or $35.42 per month for 24 months
T-Mobile N/A $850 or $30 per month for 24 months with a $130 down payment
Verizon $770 or $32.08 per month for 24 months $840 or $35 per month for 24 months

That’s a lot more expensive, but you are getting double the storage of the base Google Pixel XL, and a much-improved processor. We have to hand it to Samsung due to Google’s poor stock issues.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

 

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

There’s really no question here — the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is a better phone. It’s more powerful, has a better display, and has cool features like desktop mode with the DeX dock. That’s not to say that the Google Pixel XL isn’t a good phone — it’s actually an excellent one, but newer is generally better in the tech world, and it’s no different here.

Source : Digital Trends By Christian de Looper

Categorized in Others

Samsung's new personal assistant makes its debut on the Galaxy S8. Let's take a look at what it can -- and can't -- do.

Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant have a new frenemy. Samsung's Bixby is a personal assistant that comes with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. Here are eight things we currently know about the mysterious assistant.

It's on the Galaxy S8 only... for now

Bixby is making its debut on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, with more Samsung products anticipated to integrate the assistant in the future. If you own an older Galaxy phone, you'll need to upgrade in order to gain Bixby.

 

Bixby Voice will be MIA at launch

Little more than a week before the Galaxy S8's launch, Samsung announced that Bixby Voicewill not be available in the US until later this spring, and the UK and other English-speaking countries at some point in the future. It's unfortunate and frustrating, but if it's not ready, it's better for Samsung to delay the feature.

The good news is other Bixby features, such as Home, Reminders and Camera, will be ready at launch.

Opening Bixby is super easy

When it does arrive, you'll have a few different options to open Bixby. On the left side of the Galaxy S8, just below the volume buttons is a dedicated Bixby button.

A quick press of the button to launch Bixby and give a command, or long-press to open Bixby Home. The third method to access Bixby is through the camera app.

You can also summon Bixby using your voice, with the wake word of "Bixby," naturally enough.

There's also Bixby Home

Flipboard's newsfeed is gone, replaced by Bixby Home on the Galaxy S8. With a swipe to the right from the home screen, a stream of information ranging from smart reminders for tasks you commonly carry out on your phone, to news and weather are displayed. Third-party apps such as Facebook or Uber can also display cards in Bixby Home.

Voice commands mimic touch commands

When using your voice to interact with Bixby, it will accept commands such as, "Set screen brightness to 50 percent" or, "Show photos I took in San Francisco."

Samsung equates Bixby voice commands to touch actions, stating if you can do it with touch, you can do it with Bixby.

There's a 'handful' of apps at launch

When it becomes available, Bixby will only work within Samsung apps and a limited number of them at that. Samsung is only saying a "handful" of apps are supported at launch, but stopped short of providing an exact list or number.

 

The company has committed to regularly updating Bixby and adding more apps and capabilities over time.

During the S8 launch announcement, Samsung demonstrated taking a screenshot and sending it as an attachment in a text message using Bixby. The company also announced Bixby will work with Google Play Music.

 

Bixby can control the camera

Using the camera app on the Galaxy S8, Bixby Vision is capable of six things:

  • Product search
  • Wine search
  • Identifying places and landmarks
  • Translating text
  • Find similar images
  • QR code and barcode reading

Just hold up your phone, wait for Bixby to scan an object or landmark, and tap on the proper button at the bottom of the display.

There's a lot it doesn't know

Answering questions about the age of a celebrity isn't something you can ask Bixby quite yet, and Samsung isn't ready to say when it will be possible.

For now, you're going to have to rely on Google Assistant (just long-press the home button) to answer trivia questions or provide random facts.

Source : cnet.com

Categorized in Others

Samsung recently renamed its S Health app as Samsung Health and added the ability to video-call doctors directly within the app. The new name and feature were announced alongside the Galaxy S8 at the end of March.

With the company's renewed focus on healthy living, there's no better time to give Samsung Health a try. Here's what you need to know.

Not just for Samsung devices

samsung-health-main-tabs-on-non-galaxy-device.jpg

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Despite its namesake, Samsung Health is compatible with the majority of Android devices and is available in the Google Play Store.

You will need a Samsung account to complete setup, regardless of the make or model of phone you own.

Wearable not required

The app itself is capable of tracking your steps and guessing how long -- but not how well -- you slept.

Each morning you will receive an alert asking you to confirm when you went to bed and woke up.

Naturally, if you want the app to track exercises and count your steps, you'll need to have your phone on you at all times. For most of us, that's a non-issue.

Use it with iOS

If you search the App Store for Samsung Health, you won't find it among the weird list of results.

To use Samsung Health with an iPhone, you'll need to own one of Samsung's fitness bands or smartwatches.

Currently, Samsung offers a Gear S app and a Gear Fit app in the App Store. Each one is required to pair, set up, and manage the respective wearable it's designed for.

Inside each app is Samsung Health, where you can view your fitness stats. Unfortunately, sharing your progress with friends or contacting a doctor isn't possible when using Samsung Health iPhone.

Compete with friends

The Together tab in Samsung Health is where you and your friends can compete with one another to see who is the most active.

Additionally, you can view how your stats match up to fellow Samsung Health users your age.

Set up for Together involves Samsung Health sending a text message on your behalf as a means to verify your account.

Once the app has verified your phone number, you can view which of your contacts uses Samsung Health, create challenges and send invites to your friends.

Contact a doctor

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When Samsung announced the Galaxy S8, it briefly mentioned Samsung Health users would have the added benefit of contacting a doctor directly in the app.

That feature has been added to all Galaxy devices ahead of the S8's launch later this month. However, the Experts feature is not available on non-Samsung devices.

The service is only accessible in the US right now, and it states that most insurance companies cover the cost of a video call with a doctor.

Think of Experts as a means to quickly visit a doctor when you have a common cold or have been running a fever, not for something more serious when an in-person appointment with a physician is needed.

Organize the app

samsung-health.jpg

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

On the main screen of the app, under the Me tab, are various tiles containing information or shortcuts to workouts and taking multiple readings.

 

If you want to remove a tile, or add other types of exercises to the app, tap the "Manage Items" button at the bottom of the screen. Arrange existing tiles with a long-press and then drag and drop.

Slide switches on or off, depending on your preferences, set your goals or opt into a program to get in shape for a 5K or 10K.

Start a workout

Starting a workout is as simple as: open the app and tap on the tile for the corresponding exercise type.

If you forget to start a workout, Samsung Health will try to guess what you were doing and the duration.

Track calories

You can also track your calorie intake by enabling the Food tile. With each meal, tap on the Food tile and search for your meal or the various items that make up your meal.

Samsung Health has a relatively extensive database of food and corresponding nutrition information.

Record heart rate, stress levels (Galaxy only)

Using the camera and flash on the back of a Galaxy phone, Samsung Health can monitor your stress level and heart rate. Tap the proper tile and follow the prompts to begin a test. Be sure to remain as still as possible during the test.

It's all backed up

Samsung automatically backs up your health data, meaning you can restore your history when you start using Samsung Health on a new device.

Source : cnet.com

Categorized in Others

So far so good for Samsung's newest smartphones, likely much to the dismay of Apple (AAPL) ahead of its big iPhone 8 release later this year. 

Categorized in Others
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