The Samsung Note 7 battery problem is indeed a major blow but not unheard of. Samsung will recover and in fact, there are already rumors they've ramped up customer service to save face. Still, with Apple's new iPhone 7 coming out in mere weeks, the battery grenade problem couldn't have happened at a more inopportune time.
The new Galaxy Note 4 is a nice upgrade from your Galaxy Note 3. The new sensors (heart rate sensor, fingerprint scanner, UV sensor) are cool and might prompt some interesting new apps. The CPU is a tad bit faster and the 16MB camera is a step up from the Note 3. But what really shines on the Note 4 is the new retina-searing 2,560 x 1,600 Super AMOLED screen (515 PPI) combined with the Adreno 420 GPU which should enable high-end 3D games at super HD resolutions without dropping too many effects. And these eyeball-popping graphic hardware upgrades are what will allow the Gear VR to drop people to their knees.
Samsung has been teasing its updated Exynos 5 chip since last week and today we find that the dangling carrot is well worth reaching for. The updated Exynos 5 SoC is based on ARM's big.LITTLE design, offering four Cortex A15 cores clocked at 1.8GHz and and four Cortex A7 cores at 1.3GHz giving the CPU a whopping 20% boost over its predecessor. But Samsung didn't stop there. A six-core ARM Mail GPU was added which Samsung says doubles the 3D graphics performance over its current model. According to Samsung, it's been seeing increasing demand for mobile processors that can deliver high-end graphics processing. The company's latest Exynos 5 will deliver that, but will also cut down on power consumption.
Really, again? SamMobile, who has a good record when it comes to Samsung leaks, has reported that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will indeed arrive with a octa-core processor, which was unexpectedly absent from the UK and US release of the Galaxy S4 flagship. The device will reportedly also include an eight-core Mali 450 GPU and a healthy 3GB of RAM (up from 2GB found in the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2). According to “inside sources”, the Galaxy Note 3 will run the Android 4.3 and not Key Lime Pie as was previously expected. The Note 3 will of course, include a large 5.99-inch Full HD display, the same Super AMOLED technology found on the Galaxy S4 with a ‘diamond pixel structure’ and a Full HD resolution (1080p), plus a 13MP rear camera. It is rumored that Samsung is still mulling over three different design options which seems a bit late in the game considering the device is expected to be announced in August/September 2013 (possibly at IFA 2013 in Berlin).
Android Authority and Sam Mobile have released performance results of the various Samsung Galaxy S4 variants and their findings are surprising. Recall that Samsung released three versions of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 – an American and UK version sporting a 1.9 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, an “international" version operating off of a 1.6 Ghz octa-core Exynos 5 processor, and a Korean variant which features a 1.8 Ghz octa-core Exynos 5 processor. Some felt this was a slap against Americans but others countered that the 1.9 Ghz variant would be faster than the octa-core because of the higher frequency and fact that the octa-core will truly utilize only four of the eight cores for most tasks. Sadly, they were mistaken.
The Hybrid Memory Cube Consortium finished hammering out the Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) 1.0 standard this week. With a max bandwidth of 320GB/sec to a nearby CPU or GPU (compared to 24GB/sec for DDR3 SDRAM), HMC offers up to 15 times the performance of DDR3, while using 70% less energy. Rather than placing RAM dies next to each other (as seen with today’s DRAM), the Hybrid Memory Cube design stacks the memory dies connecting them to each other via through-silicon-vias (TSVs) Stacking the dies shortens the wires between them allowing data to be sent at a higher speed while using less energy. The design is similar to smartphone SoCs, where the memory chip is stacked on top of the CPU/GPU, allowing the completed device to be significantly smaller.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 was revealed today and although there were no mind-blowing revelations (and a couple of disappointments), it is indeed a beauty. With a 5 inch Super AMOLED 1920x1080 display (441ppi and protected via Gorilla Glass 3) and 1.6GHz 8-core Exynos Octa 5410 SoC (which is really two quad-cores - four Cortex-A15 cores clocked at 1.6GHz for heavy lifting, and four Cortex-A7 cores in a big.LITTLE setup to perform background and less-intensive tasks), you would think the battery life would be horrendous but thanks to a huge 2,600 mAh battery (up from 2,100 mAH), the device should give you acceptable battery life before recharging. The Galaxy S4 also includes a tri-core PowerVR 544MP3 GPU clocked at 533MHz (the same GPU as the iPhone 5′s A6 SoC, but at a higher clock speed), 2GB of RAM, 16/32/64GB storage, and countering current trends, includes a MicroSD slot for storage expansion (up to 64Gb) and removable battery. Unfortunately, for those that require power hungry LTE connectivity, the Exynos processor is swapped out with a “measly” 1.9 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC with integrated LTE modem. Also included, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and infrared LED (IR transmitter), which can control your television with the WatchOn app. Depending on the market, the Galaxy S 4 will have wireless charging capabilities.
Samsung today announced its new Galaxy Xcover 2, a ruggedized smartphone designed for outdoor adventurers. It is dust and sand proof and water resistant up to a depth of one meter. It features a 4-inch display, 1GHz dual-core processor, VGA front-facing camera, and 5-megapixel rear camera. It will include 4GB of internal memory, expandable to 32GB with a microSD card. It’s small form-factor ensures it will be easy to carry around in your pocket or strapped to your arm. If the specs seem a bit low, it’s ability to hold a 570 hour charge should erase all ill feelings.
XDA Developers member alephzain, has published a vulnerability that exists many Samsung devices that use the Exynos is the ARM-based system on chip. The vulnerability allows read/write access to RAM which of course means arbitrary code can be injected into the kernel. Shortly after the vulnerability was announced on the XDA forums, another member published code that used the vulnerability to gain root access on the devices.
It has been widely rumored that Samsung will unveil its new Galaxy S4 smartphone at next year’s 2013 Mobile World Congress in February (Samsung still insists it will be introduced later in the year though). Now rumors are beginning to circulate that the new Galaxy S4 may include a powerful 8-core processor. The rumored processor will be a 28-nm SoC with two quad-core clusters (using ARM’s big.little architecture that was described in August of this year). Rather than a single quad-core with fifth background processor core, the new architecture would sandwich two quad-core processors together into a massive 8-core unit. One cluster, believe to be four Cortex-A15 cores, would run at 1. 8 GHz, and have a 2 MByte L2 cache (geared for high performance apps) while the other cluster, believed to be four Cortex-A7 cores, would run at 1.2 GHz and be tuned for energy efficiency. The processors are said to be 50% more powerful than their predecessors without consuming any more power. This architecture could potentially provide console class gaming capabilities for smartphones.
And the battle of the two Titans continues. Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo is reporting that Samsung has increased the price of Apple’s processor by nearly 20%. The newspaper noted that this is the first time Samsung has sought to increase the prices of the processors that go inside Apple’s mobile devices. This after Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $1 billion for infringing on Apple’s product design elements. The Korean newspaper went on to report that Apple, faced with no alternatives, has accepted Samsung’s demands in order to guarantee uninterrupted production at the levels required to meet demand for its tablets and smartphones.
Reports are out that Apple has paid $21 million for rights to the Swiss Federal Railway clock it used in iOS 6 without their permission. In addition, Apple and HTC announced this past weekend that they have ended all their patent disputes. The financial terms of their agreement remains confidential but since HTC has been on the losing end thus far, it is safe to assume they paid a hefty sum to stop the litigation. In addition, the companies announced a 10-year license to current and future patents held by both companies.
It’s the song that never ends. Federal District Judge Lucy Koh will "consider the questions" of whether the jury foreman, Velvin Hogan, in the Apple v. Samsung case, concealed information during the jury selection process and whether there was any misconduct on the jury foreman's part. Apple will be required to disclose any information they had gathered on the jury foreman in question, including the undisclosed fact that the foreman had been sued by his previous employer, Seagate. According to Samsung, Seagate and Samsung have a “substantial strategic relationship”. The jury foreman’s battle with Seagate was life-changing for him - he was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1993 after the litigation.
Strong rumors indicate that HTC will be rolling out a new phablet device (cross between a smartphone and tablet), the HTC Droid DNA, to take on the upcoming LG Intuition and Galaxy Note 2. The new device is expected sometime after November 20, 2012. The design is expected to include a 5-inch display (smaller than Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s 5.5-inch screen), 1080p resolution (compared to 720p on the Galaxy Note 2) at 420ppi (some reports indicate the display quality will be less than this), 2GB RAM, quad-core processor, and either Android Jelly Bean 4.1 or 4.2. It will and at Verizon first. Early leaks indicate it will be priced at $199 on contract. Early names of the device include HTC DLX and Droid Incredible X.