Samsung Offers 30-Day Trial on Flagship Phones to Tempt Apple Fans

Samsung has recently launched an incentive designed to wean long-term Apple loyalists from their normal upgrade path and seriously consider a number of alternatives. The offer applies to existing iPhone owners prepared to try either the Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5 or Galaxy S6 Edge for 30 days. There is a small $1 fee for this service which covers administration costs.

So how does it work? Firstly, you need to navigate to the trial’s webpage on an iPhone and insert the phone model and network provider. Once complete, Samsung will swiftly dispatch the selected model with an activated SIM. This allows you to keep your existing number and use the phone on a standard data plan. Unfortunately, the scheme is currently plagued by stock shortages but Samsung reiterated:

“In just a few hours, all of the kits earmarked for this program were reserved by customers looking to try our latest and greatest devices.”

“We’re now working quickly on how to make the Ultimate Test Drive available to even more people,”

This is an extremely aggressive move from Samsung and could help to gather feedback on UI improvements or simply transfer loyal Apple customers onto the Android platform. I do wonder how many people will abuse the idea to access a premium phone for special events. However, Samsung probably believes it is worth the risk and giving potential customers the benefit of the doubt. It’s a difficult feat to persuade Apple customers to defect, but this scheme is possibly the best idea I’ve seen.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.

Samsung to Start Mass Production of HBM2 in 2016

While SKHynix was the first to produce HBM for AMD, things may change next year. Samsung is leveraging their massive production base and getting into the HBM market with plans to start mass production in 2016. Given that Samsung is planning to provide 4Hi and 8Hi stacks, Samsung is skipping right past HBM1 and straight to the more useful HBM2. Samsung is marketing the use of HBM as a fast cache like eDRAM for both normal consumers but also targeted towards high-performance computing as well.

Having more suppliers for HBM is obviously a good thing for AMD as it ensures that SkHynix won’t become a bottleneck both for current HBM cards but also for their upcoming Greenland flagship in the future as well. This is also bad news as AMD reportedly has a priority agreement to get HBM from SKHynix. It was inferred at the time this meant that AMD could effectively lock out Nvidia from HBM for a while till production ramped up. With Samsung leveraging their massive fabs, it seems that Nvidia will probably be able to get all the HBM they want as well.

With HBM being in plentiful supply, Nvidia probably won’t face any issues on this front for their new Pascal GPUs. It’s important to note that while Samsung does plan to start mass production in 2016, when that ramp up will take place and how long that will take is still unknown. This means that AMD might still have an advantage, albeit now diminished. With widely available HBM2, a new process node and new architectures, the GPU landscape for 2016 looks very promising.

Thank you ComputerBase for providing us with this information

Samsung Announces Premium Wireless Pro Headphones

Samsung has expanded its headphone range into the luxury market to compete with designer fashion brands such as Beats. The Level On Wireless Pro features dual 40mm drivers to produce a rich, warm and premium-grade UHQA sound. This means the headphones are capable of sound quality higher than a CD’s Bit-rate and embellishes the qualities of SACD or similar formats. Additionally, the sound is directed through Active Noise Cancellation to eliminate background noise

In terms of build quality, the headphones contain a memory foam cushion which enhances comfort and makes them easier to withstand for long periods. However, the plastic housing, and “LEVEL” branding on the cups is pretty horrid and looks quite cheap. Although, I’ve always believed the same about Beats headphones and they remain ridiculously popular among a certain demographic.

 

Another inclusion is Samsung’s Smart Touch technology which allows you to adjust the volume and cycle between tracks directly on the headphones. This isn’t too exciting considering most headphones utilize an in-line remote. Possibly the most interesting development is the Talk-In Mode. This disables the noise cancellation and lets you experience background noises to increase safety as you walk across busy roads. The battery life revolves around BlueTooth 4.1 and is predicted to last up to 18 hours of standard play time.

While these headphones have a place in the audio market, I’m clearly not the target customer. For me audio quality is paramount and I’ve been using Bang & Olufsen headphones for some time. However, Samsung believes they can encourage enough people to move from Beats to their “LEVEL” brand and only time will tell.

Samsung Reveals 2.5-Inch 16TB SSD

Samsung has unveiled the world’s largest hard drive and, surprisingly, there’s no disc to be found. Revealed at the Flash Memory Summit in California, Samsung has developed a 16TB solid state drive, beating its nearest size-rival, a 10TB HDD.

The 2.5-inch 16TB (15.36TB actual size) PM1633a is made possible by Samsung’s new 256Gbit (32GB) NAND flash die, which boasts twice the capacity of last year’s 128Gbit NAND dies. To achieve such a feat, Samsung has squeezed 48 layers of 3-bits-per-cell (TLC) 3D V-NAND into each die. The drive is packed with technological innovations, including speeds of 1,000,000 IOPS, and a continuation of their intelligent drive initiative.

Since SSDs are essentially analogue devices – electrons held within quantum wells – shrinking storage devices isn’t feasible, so presumably Samsung has vertically stacked the 480-500 3D NAND chips (the ‘V’ in V-NAND stands for ‘vertical’). Fitting all those chips into a 2.5-inch drive seems just as great a feat as a 16TB SSD itself.

Though the PM1633a is aimed at enterprise customers, home PC users are bound to be excited by the prospect of owning a super-high capacity drive, boasting the speed and durability that comes with an SDD.

Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information.

Former Google and HTC Employees to Launch “Friggin’ Awesome” Smartphone Next Month

Nextbit was originally founded as a software company and enables users to transfer files between Android devices using cloud-based storage. The company now has a more grandiose ambition and aims to take the hardware market by storm. The specialized team includes Android veterans Tom Moss and Mike Chan as well as Scott Croyle, who designed the stunningly beautiful, HTC One M8.

The chief executive of Nextbit, Tom Moss told CNET,

“It’s going to be friggin’ awesome.”

“Phone fatigue is a real thing, that’s why we’re doing something different.”

Interestingly, Nextbit always had long-term intentions to be a smartphone manufacturer and believes their unique design skills will entice customers to a relatively unknown brand. Although, competition in the Android market is intense and it’s extremely difficult to stand out from the crowd. You only need to look at the amount of Chinese brands and Microsoft’s poor Windows Phone sales to see how turbulent this sector is. Despite this, Moss made a rather bold statement and proclaimed:

“Your phone will perform better over time and function at a higher level because of this software enhancement.”

This is a startling statement to make and refers to new functionality and software optimizations. Current handset makers are under pressure to bloatware software bundled with high-end devices. Perhaps, Nextbit will offer a top-tier unit without any of this and include the basic operating system. I’m not entirely sure how they can improve a handset compared to huge companies like Apple and Samsung but only time will tell.

While Moss didn’t confirm an exact price, he did imply that they are targeting the premium bracket between $300 and $400.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information.

Samsung Starts Mass Production of 256bit V-NAND

With super large SSDs arriving for both consumers and enterprise, the ability to produce dense NAND dies is critical. As with all silicon products, a denser die means lower costs on the same wafer size as it means you can get more usable dies out of the same wafer if the dies are denser. Samsung looks to have raced ahead of its competitors with the mass production of 256 Gbit (32GB) 3D V-NAND dies.

Samsung has always been at the forefront of extracting more efficiency from their wafers with dense dies. They were the first to arrive at market with TLC dies and the first to get 3D NAND out. With the first 32GB 3D V-NAND, Samsung has the ability to offer cheaper NAND or to reap a larger margin. One major caveat though is that the 256 Gbit dies are actually TLC, which normally is slower but denser than the usual SLC or MLC and suffers from slower speeds and lower lifespan. This shouldn’t be an issue though as V-NAND TLC is just as fast as 2D MLC and the lifespan should be improved compared to 2D TLC.

Samsung likely plans to use these new dies in their tablet and smartphone lines where space and cost savings are always welcome. We can also expect the V-NAND to show up in the refresh of the 850 EVO TLC SSD lineup later on. With ever cheaper NAND, the 16GB tier of smartphones may soon disappear from flagship devices as NAND gets cheaper and cheaper; you can find the Samsung release here.

Samsung Enters SOC Market by Opening Up Exynos to Third Parties

Folks at Qualcomm, MediaTek and other SoC producers may soon be having sleepless nights. According to a report, Samsung is set on releasing their in-house Exynos SoC including the latest 7420 to third parties, the first being Meizu. The Exynos 7420 is Samsung’s top Soc with 4 A57 and 4 A53 cores respectively tied to a Mali-T760 MP8 GPU. As a giant conglomerate, Samsung probably thinks that maximizing the chip and fab profits will outweigh any risks from supplying competitors with good chips.

While Samsung has long been designing and manufacturing their own Exynos Socs for their own use, they were not shy about using Qualcomm SOCs in certain markets. That practice has dwindled off however in recent years as Samsung moves towards using their Exynos chips exclusively. While cost is likely a big reason, Samsung has also been able to improve their chips be competitive in both the radio connectivity and CPU performance.

If Samsung starts expanding their Exynos business quickly, both Qualcomm and Mediatek should be worried. With the latest 14nm process and their own fabs, Samsung is able to leverage better power efficiency, cost and control their product cycle better. Qualcomm is also hurting heavily with their major misstep with the 810 though the 820 may soon come and save the day. Qualcomm has previously enjoyed a near monopolization, with most major smartphones using their chip. A new competitor that brings as many resources as Samsung does is probably the last thing they need right now.

Thank you Sammobile for providing us with this information

Your Smart Home Appliances Are Not as Safe as You Think

Are you a proud owner of smart lock? How about motion sensors, temperature sensors, bulbs or other Internet of Things gadgets? Well, if they’re made by ZigBee, chances are your house is vulnerable to hacking, according to a paper revealed at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.

ZigBee, a company that specializes in IoT smart appliances that supplies big name companies such as Samsung, Philips, Motorola and Texas Instruments, is said to have implemented just enough security measures to pass the requirements to ship, which means that security measures are almost non-existent. Hackers are said to easily be able to sniff out exchange network keys, gaining access to the entire network and all smart appliances.

The security experts say that the main cause for the lack of security is due to the companies, who want to quickly ship out the latest tech, make it communicate and interact with everything, all while keeping prices down to a minimum. As a consumer, I get the bit to keep prices down, but if I have to pay a bit extra to prevent someone opening my door or fiddling with my lights, I think that would be an option all of us may opt for. In the end, security is more important than cheap product, don’t you think?

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Architect’s Toy Box

Get Ready for a Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge Discount

If you were looking to buy a Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge, you might consider waiting until next month. Samsung may be dropping their prices for the latest flashgrips soon, so hang in there for a month and get it at a discount.

All facts point to the company trying to get out of their Q2 sticky situation. Their profits fell four percent this year compared to the same time last year and as Apple is getting ready to reveal their latest iPhones, things are not looking so good. The predictions don’t look so good either, falling 3 million smartphone sales prediction short by the end of the year. Oh year, they have teased an event planned for mid August where they plan on announcing a bigger and better S6 Edge, but will they be able to make up for the demands this time?

The whole things started after they announced the S6 and S6 Edge, who had a bigger than anticipated success. This led to a short supply and high demand, thus the company missing their targets right now. However, with this kind of pressure on them, the only practical solution is to make ‘adjustments’ to their latest handsets on the market. This means that the S6 and S6 Edge will see a price drop in the near future, something that Samsung thinks will get them back in the high-end smartphone game by the end of this year.

In the end, people could get to buy their long-awaited S6 or S6 Edge at a lower price and Samsung could see more numbers of smartphone sales added by the end of the year. However, let’s just see how much Samsung is willing to slash off the latter handsets’ price tags. Excited? I know I am!

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Samsung Reveals First Monitor With a Qi Wireless Charging Stand

Interested in something that serves more than one purpose? Samsung seems to have the same idea and has just revealed their first display with a Qi wireless charging stand. The SE370 seems to come in two sizes, a 23.6-inch and 27-inch, and provides a way to ditch the old data cable for charging your smartphone.

Samsung says that all Qi wireless charging smartphones are compatible with the stand, so there won’t be any smartphones featuring the wireless charging technology left out. The idea is quite brilliant because let’s face it, most of us want or already have a wireless charging pad on their desks. So why use more space than needed? What’s better that to have the charging station integrated into your display that will always be plugged in and on your desk?

In addition to the wireless charging feature, the display features a PLS panel, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, 4ms response timing and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. Besides the latter, the 23.6-inch model comes with a 250 cd/m2 brightness ratio, while the 27-inch model features a 300 cd/m2 ratio, both having a 170­° viewing angle. Also, when talking about connectivity, the SE370 seems to come with one HDMI 1.4, one DisplayPort 1.2 and one D-Sub connectivity options.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_uNw-ueAZM

The extra features found on the display consist of Eco Saving Plus, Magic Bright, Magic Upscale, Game Mode, Eye Saver Mode, Flicker Free, FreeSync, Image Size. Samsung did not mention a price or release date, but the latter information is bound to follow soon enough. Stay tuned!

Thank you Venture Beat for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Business Korea

Samsung Pay Users Best Avoid Rooting Their Phones

First you paid in coins, then you paid in notes, then you swiped your card and put in some numbers, now you don’t even swipe your card to pay with it. So what could be next for paying for everything? With the recent release of Apple Pay, the answer seems to be simple, your mobile phone.

Apple pay uses the same technology as NFC (Near field communication) based cards, this means that you can swipe your phone/card/tag and the card reader will receive the information from it, after just a few seconds of being in contact with each other. This means you can pay very quickly but it has raised some concerns, such as the fact that there is no check on who is using the card. Apple Pay addresses this by asking that when you swipe your phone you simply place your thumb on the fingerprint reader and it checks that you are authorized to use that card.

When money is involved people want to be safe, and during its trail run in South Korea Samsung Pay has given a few users a problem. The people involved all have one thing in common, their phones are rooted, a technique where you modify the operating system the phone uses, this means you can gain access to new features which are blocked by the system normally. Samsung pay doesn’t seem to like this and has been throwing up messaging warning users that they can’t use the app because “the system has been modified”. NFC payment systems, such as Google Wallet, tend not to care about rooting because they never physically handle the information about the payment, they just use tokens to point and share the required information.

Samsung Pay looks to accelerate the pace that Apple Pay has set, with not only the ability to pay in an NFC manner but also featuring another three letter acronym technology, MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission). MST enables you to use your phone to act as if you have swiped your card on a magnetic card reader, such as those found on a lot of payment terminals, this means that you could use Samsung Pay on devices and terminals which don’t support NFC, allowing stores all over to benefit from the latest addition to the payment methods roster.

Thank you Phandroid for the information.

Image courtesy of TheTechy. 

Samsung Unveils New Class of Solid State Drives for SMBs

Samsung have been incredibly successful with their 840 and 850 series of drives in the consumer market and the drives have been well received for their performance vs price ratio. But Samsung also makes drives for the more business oriented sector and they’ve just introduced the latest high-performance SATA solid state drives for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), the Samsung PM864 and SM863 SSDs.

The PM863 and SM863 solid state drives are the ideal solution for SMBs as they offer a much higher density in the 2.5-inch form factor which in return saves IT managers precious real estate in the data center without sacrificing power or performance.

The PM863 and SM863 deliver outstanding performance and reliability thanks to the V-NAND technology. The 3-bit MLC V-NAND-based PM863 is developed for mixed pattern applications and ideal for use in content delivery networks and streaming or Web servers. Alternatively, the write-intensive SM863 based on 2-bit MLC V-NAND is an optimal choice for online transaction processing (OLTP) and serves as an ideal choice for email and database servers.

There are plenty and great capacity choices in these two drive series. The Samsung PM863 comes in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.9TB and 3.8TB capacities and offers sequential read speeds up to 540 MB/s and random read speeds of up to 99,000 IOPS.

The Samsung SM863 provides more options for configurable over-provisioning and is available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, and 1.9TB capacities. It features read speeds up to 520 MB/s and write speeds up to 485 MB/s. Both drives will be available to SMBs in early August 2015 and are already available for the enterprise customers now.

The price isn’t all that bad, but it is of course a premium price over ordinary desktop drives such as the Samsung 850 series. The PM863 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB, and 3.84TB capacities have an MSRP of $124.99, $159.99, $289.99, $1099.99, and $2199.99 respectively. The SM863 drives will cost you $139.99, $179.99, $329.99, $869.99, and $1259.99 respectively for the 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB and 1.92TB drives.

TSMC Ships 16nm FinFET Chips – 10nm and 7nm On Their Way

In a move that is sure to please AMD and Nvidia fans, TSMC has started volume production of 16nm FinFET chips. According to TSMC president and co-CEO Mark Liu, the ramp up for 16nm will be more aggressive than their 20nm process, leading to improved market share for TSMC. Both AMD and Nvidia rely heavily on TSMC to deliver their chips, with the mobile focus of 20nm leading to an extended cycle on the 28nm for PC GPUs.

With the reveal that AMD has taped out their first FinFET chip, its looks like the chip was for TSMC 16nm FinFET, not Global Foundries/Samsung 14nm FinFET. With shipments for 16nm already started, AMD and Nvidia may have new GPUs set for Q2/Q3 2016, offering improved power efficiency and lower power consumption.

TSMC also revealed that their 10nm process, based heavily on 16nm, will also begin production in 2016. The 10nm process will improve frequencies by 15% and power consumption by 35%, which is understandable given that FinFETs tend to reduce clock speeds when they are introduced. 7nm is also planned for early 2018, which is a pretty aggressive schedule for TSMC.

With TSMC back on track, the future for GPUs looks brighter. Given the differing standards for semiconductors, Intel 14/10nm and Samsung 14nm are not comparable with TCMC’s. So while TSMC may reach 10nm before Intel does, Intel will actually still have the smaller process.

AMD Tapes Out First FinFET Chips – Expect Arrival Q2/Q3 2016

While much of the focus from yesterday’s financial call was the poor state of finances, another small tidbit about future plans was mentioned. CEO Lisa Su revealed that AMD has taped out their first FinFET chips back in June this year. While the exact process node has not been revealed, we can assume it is either TSMC 16nm or Samsung/Global Foundries 14nm.

From when the chip first gets taped out to initial production, it takes about a year for the chip to get to market. It takes about 3 months for the chip to get produced, and about 1 month to implement all the fixes. Then the cycle happens once more, taking another 4 months, then finally, production is ramped up, taking a grand total of about 12 months. This means we can expect the FinFET chips to arrive about June/July in 2016, assuming AMD doesn’t hit any major obstacles.

FinFETs will help AMD claw back power efficiency from Intel, who already moved to FinFETs with their mainstream 22nm process back in 2013. Given the timeframe, the chip is likely either  a GCN Arctic Islands chip or a Summit Ridge Zen based processor. Both, but especially on the CPU side, can do with better efficiency as Nvidia and Intel are ahead on that front. FinFETs can also reduce overclocking headroom so AMD will have to focus on improving instruction efficiency to compensate. In all, 2016 looks to be a good year for AMD if they can make it there.

Apple and Samsung Reportedly Planning to Ditch SIM Cards

Apple, Samsung and a number of other leading telecom companies are poised to revolutionize mobile networking with a brand new E-SIM card. The embedded SIM is a more versatile system which allows you to instantly switch between different mobile operators. Traditionally, SIM cards transferred data from a particular carrier and you had to swap between physical cards to access different networks. While the E-SIM isn’t removable, there’s no need for this technology considering it’s extremely easy to assign a new network. However, I’m not sure if this will apply to acquiring a new number from an existing network by changing from one tariff to another.

According to the Financial Times, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone are all expected to support this move and if more parties follow, then the death of the traditional SIM might be closer than first expected. Personally, I foresee E-SIMs as a supplementary device and not something to replace traditional cards in the short-term. The amount of customers using older handsets with basic SIMs, Nano SIMs and Micro SIMs means the roll-out could take some time. Although, that doesn’t stop brand new devices from utilizing this superior form of technology.

Another possible problem revolves around phone upgrades. If your number is assigned to a handset, what happens if you want to sell your device on eBay and buy a better model? What if the phone becomes defective? Perhaps, networks will assign each number to an IMEI and disable it when transferring to a new handset.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

Apple Pokes Fun at Android in new Commercial

When you have two competitors as large as Apple and Google, or Apple and Samsung, Okay Apple Vs the World; things differentiating between the two (or more) companies can become extremely petty. In the newest advert launched by Apple, they seem to poke fun at the software and hardware compatibility.

Apple design most of the hardware and software in-house, the boffins know that in every single iPhone, it will feature 99% the same parts; so software writing is essentially a simple process. This then means that the software can better utilise the hardware to increase efficiency and/ or performance.

When the magnifying glass points at Android, the operating system has to be compatible with hundreds, if not thousands of different hardware configurations. In some cases, it works perfectly fine, in others it flops. This is why each manufacturer releases their own version, so it works better with the phone in hand.

https://youtu.be/wl3PlrPq8sw

Personally I don’t like Apple, but I have to admit that they are onto something here. Google released the Nexus a few years back which took the Android world by storm thanks to the optimised performance (and screen), and that is what Apple do with almost every iteration of the iPhone.

What smartphone do you own? Do you wish you went for the competition? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to BGR for providing us with this information.

Samsung is Working on 11K Super-Resolution

Not that long ago we just had Full HD 1080p monitors, the standard set when flat screens started to emerge and press the CRT monitors away. Then we got the 1440p monitors, then 4K, and we’ve even seen some 5K monitors already. But that’s all peanuts compared to what Samsung is working on; an 11K super resolution panel.

That’s a lot of pixels, but it isn’t the only impressive thing in Samsung’s announcement. It will also have an absolutely insane 2250PPI. When comparing that to a 27-inch 5K monitor we really see how insane as that only features 218ppi.

The high PPI count will reportedly implement a 3D effect which could mean a huge boon for VR screens, large-scale TVs and even cinema screens large billboards.

Samsung is collaborating on this with other industries and the South Korean government is investing $26.5 million spread out over a 5-year period.

Executive Director Chu Hye Yong of Samsung Display’s Base Technology Department said: “We are hoping that we are able to show such technologies at Pyeongchang Olympics if there is a progress in developing technologies. Although some might think that 11K as ‘over specification’ that consumers do not need, this can work as a basis for Korean display industry take another leap if related materials and parts improve through this.”

Thank You TweakTown for providing us with this information

Here’s How to Get $200 off Your Newly Bought Samsung Galaxy Note 4

It’s been a while since Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 4. Even so, people do enjoy it and proof stands in the number of people owning such an Android device. Samsung did pay attention to this and is still interested in getting people to buy the Note 4 with a new rebate promotion in the US.

According to the rules, everyone who purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 handset at full price from a retailer or carrier is eligible to get $200 back. In order to get your hands on the cash, Samsung needs your contact information, the handset’s IMEI and the Wi-Fi MAC address, along with a photo of the receipt that has the purchase date clearly visible.

Once all the above have been submitted, it is said that it usually takes up to two working weeks to receive the money. One thing to take into account is that wireless carriers such as US Cellular or Sprint are not eligible. Also, the offer is only available between the 7th and 26th of July, so you have to hurry if you don’t want to miss this chance!

More information on the terms and conditions can be found here and you can start your rebate application here.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of TheGadgetBook

Samsung Launches 2TB 850 Pro and 850 EVO SSDs

Super sized SSDs are not new as both SanDisk, Intel, as others have launched 2TB SATA SSDs already. However, those drives have all been enterprise or server oriented. Samsung has just announced the first 2TB consumer SSDs, with the new drives coming from the current 850 Pro and 850 EVO families. Pricing is set at $1000 and $800 respectively which in the grand scheme of things is quite reasonable. Of course, those prices are the MSRP and retail pricing will likely be different.

While the 840 and 840 EVO has experienced ongoing problems for a while, the 850 Pro and 850 EVO have not yet suffered any documented slowdown issues. Both the 850 Pro and Evo are based on Samsung’s 3D V-NAND technology, using MLC and TLC respectively. Most users will do fine with the EVO though the Pro has a longer warranty, more stated durability and is faster.  The 2TB drives are limited to 2.5 inch SATA for now, but M.2 and mSATA may be coming shortly.

While priced 8-10x more than a similar sized HDD, the speed increase of an SSD can be well worth it. For those needing lots of fast storage, the larger drives will reduce drive count, eliminate RAID difficulties and reduced shuffling of files. As HDDs start hitting a capacity wall, it offers a chance for SSDs to finally catch up. Maybe 2016 will be the year that SSDs and HDDs finally reach price parity. I for one, can’t wait till my entire system is on NAND.

Samsung’s Cutting Edge Research Could Theoretically Double Battery Capacity

Samsung’s Institute of Research and Technology has developed an innovative production process based on a new silicon cathode covered in high-crystalline graphite to double the battery life compared to existing products. This results in a huge density increase without any concessions being made in terms of battery size. In Hyuk Son, a specialized researcher on the team explained“The research has dramatically improved the capacity of lithium-ion batteries by applying a new synthesis method of high-crystalline graphene to a high-capacity silicon cathode. We will continue to improve the secondary cell technology to meet the expanding demand from mobile device and electric vehicle markets.”

(a) A low-magnification TEM image of Gr–Si NP. (b) A higher-magnification TEM image for the same Gr–Si NP from the white box in a. (Insets) The line profiles from the two red boxes indicate that the interlayer spacing between graphene layers is ~3.4 Å, in good agreement with that of typical graphene layers based on van der Waals interaction. (c) A high-magnification TEM image visualizing the origins (red arrows) from which individual graphene layers grow. (d) A schematic illustration showing the sliding process of the graphene coating layers that can buffer the volume expansion of Si.

The diagram above provides a synopsis of the technical research paper and indicates how the symbiosis of silicon and graphite merge into a high-capacity battery. While this is exciting news, I cannot see it being widely implemented on an affordable, mainstream product line for many years. Samsung are undoubtedly at the cutting edge of technological advancements and aiming to distinguish themselves from Apple, HTC and other competitors. Handheld devices have consistently become more capable of multi threaded and demanding tasks which puts great strain on battery life. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to carry the computational horsepower around without having to perform daily charges?

Thank you The Korea Times for providing us with this information.

Intel Faces More Delays in 10nm Production

We brought you news earlier this week that Intel appeared to have delayed their 10nm Cannon Lake chips in favour of 14nm Kaby lake. Now more reports have emerged about the delays and yield issues Intel is facing with the transition to 10nm. Word in the industry is that Intel is further delaying their 10nm ramp up into 2016 meaning it’s very likely there will be no 10nm chips till late 2016 at the earliest.

The biggest issue appears to be 10nm yields are below expectations. With low yields, the new process isn’t able to offer any new value for Intel, meaning it makes financial sense to hold off on the transition. This delay is supported by news that a planned $6 billion upgrade to Fab 28 is also being delayed, pointing to a lack of urgency to hit 10nm from Intel. If 10nm delays pile up, the death of Moore’s law and Intel’s Tick Tock strategy are just around the corner.

Intel faces stiff competition from fellow semiconductor manufacturers TSMC and Samsung, both of whom are pushing their own 10nm process. If either of those firms is able to hit 10nm first, they could have a marketing coup as Intel has long been held to be the leader in process technology. Intel would still liklely have a qualitative edge as their process tends to be more advanced at the same node and not all nanometers are equivalent.

A delay to 10nm would also hurt Intel’s mobile plans. While Intel has good mobile architecutres, the backbone is based on a superior process technology that allows Intel to outperform competitors while being more cost effective and power efficient at the same time. If ARM competitors are able to catch up with their own 10nm chips, Intel will be forced to abandon their strategy of offering expensive subsidies to sell chips. AMD also has a chance to strike back in the desktop and server space if Intel is forced to stand still. While competitors will likely hit the same wall Intel has, parity may be enough for them to catch up.

Thank you SemiWiki for the information 

PC Specialist Lafité Notebook Review

Introduction


When I found out I’d be reviewing this laptop from PC Specialist I decided to check out their site and do some homework to see what I was getting.  Having no hands on experiences with Intel’s new Broadwell chips previous to this meant I finally get a chance to see what all of the Broadwell fuss was out, or perhaps to discover it was just marketing hype. After a while of making the cheapest and most expensive builds possible to curb my curiosity my very own review unit had arrived. Reading the spec list I was given ahead of the arrival, features like “5th Gen i5 Broadwell CPU”, “1080p 13.3″ screen”, “250GB SSD” were all ticking the right boxes to me, but when I seen how remarkably thin the chassis was on the website photos it was then my interest peaked.

The question is though, is it as good as it looks or is it all style and no substance? Let’s get this unboxed and find out!

Specifications

  • Name: PC Specialist Lafité
  • Case: PC Specialist Lafité Silver Aluminium Chassis
  • Processor: Intel® CoreTM i5 Dual Core Processor i5-5200U (2.20GHz, 2.7GHz Turbo)
  • System Memory: 8GB Kingston SODIMM DDR3 1600MHz (1 x 8GB)
  • Main Boot Drive: 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (upto 540MB/sR | 520MB/sW)
  • Graphics card: Intel® HD Graphics 5500
  • Battery: Lafité Series 4 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (6,300mAh)
  • Optical Recovery MediaWindows 8.1 (64-bit) DVD with paper sleeve
  • Optical Drive: None
  • Wireless: Gigabit LAN & Wireless Intel® AC-3160 M.2 + Bluetooth
  • Screen: 13.3″ Matte Full HD IPS LED (1920 x 1080)
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
  • Price: £599 as configured Delivered.

Opening the outer box reveals shows the majority of the notebook inner box is surrounded by extremely strong air padding

Removing the air padding reveals the inner box, it may be plain, but there’s no chance of damage in transit here.

The contents merely a few items, including AC Adapter, SSD Manual and PC Specialist handbook

Up close on the power supply.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Man Literally Splits His Tech in Two After Divorce Settlement

The Beatles proclaimed the elixir of life was the most humanist of emotions, love, well that’s until 20 years from now when Dave from accounting falls for an AI life form with emotions. But when love fails and a couple drift apart, there are always a few complications which could include, say being ordered by a court settlement to share half your possessions with your other half.

A German man has taken the words “share half” quite badly with his ex-wife and has taken amongst other implements a Knife, Drill and Circular Saw to his processions with the aim of quite literally fire axing them in half. The man’s real identity is yet unknown, he does however go by the alias of “Der Juli” But wait! There is a whole new level of malevolence to come as this court scorned individual has uploaded his half of each item onto eBay.

Want to know more? Then let’s play the Generation Game conveyor belt of a court order. Would like a computer but too busy for the right side? Then why not try a split MacBook Pro, yours for 100.99 Euros (£72) like retro but only half a decade? Then feast your eyes on a split Vinyl REM record, grab it now for 73.22 Euros (£51.53) Hate nuisance calls? Then receive 50% less of them with this stylish half a cordless phone, a bargain at 40.50 Euros (£28.90) Grab it now before he smashes the remaining half, you know he will.

“Der Juli” has also shot a video with hopefully a whole camera to capture the moment when he severed all these gadgets and items in half. Well this is a unique way of proving a point and people are bidding on eBay for half his items.

I don’t think romance will be happening anytime soon between the separated couple

Thank You RT and eBay for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of Der Juli” eBay page

Samsung Laptops Disable Windows Updates

Samsung laptops with Windows pre-installed have disabled Windows Update, in favour of its proprietary Samsung SW Update, potentially leaving computers at risk of having unpatched security issues exploited by hackers. Samsung SW Update is pre-installed updates designed to handle software updates itself, and in the process runs the program Disable_Windowsupdate.exe. The issue was discovered by Microsoft engineer Patrick Barker, who was trying to fix a problem with Windows Update on a Samsung laptop.

When Barker contacted Samsung regarding the matter, he was told, “when you enable Windows updates, it will install the Default Drivers for all the hardware on the laptop which may or may not work… so to prevent this, SW Update tool will prevent Windows updates.”

Though Samsung SW Update is designed to perform the similar tasks as Windows Update, such as updating drivers, it does not update the Windows operating system itself, for which Microsoft regularly releases up-to-date security updates to protect users against potential vulnerabilities.

“As there are many instances of malware trying to deliberately disable Windows Updates in order to get on with their dirty work, I personally wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable if Samsung was going around doing the job for them,” independent security researcher Graham Cluley said. “Turning off Windows Update in its entirety, the Microsoft software with the responsibility for keeping your Microsoft operating system and apps like Internet Explorer updated with the latest security patches, seems like a risky move to me.”

Though Samsung left the European laptop market last year after declining sales, it still ships computers around the rest of the world. Samsung has so far declined to comment on the matter.

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

The Times of DDR4 Costing More Is Almost Behind Us

DDR4 memory has been on the market for some time now and up until recently it had one major problem – the price. The DDR4 memory prices were also the only reason that I went with a Z97 instead of an X99 rig when I last upgraded. That has however changed slightly in the background and without many people noticing it.

If you don’t care about the brand name or looks and enter a price comparison site, you’ll notice that there barely is any difference between DDR3 and DDR4 memory. A search on a 2133MHz memory kit consisting of two modules and a total capacity of 16GB brings some surprising results.

The cheapest DDR4 kit is a Crucial 16GB kit (CT2K8G4DFD8213/CT2C8G4DFD8213) that only costs €109.95, or €6.872 per GB. Looking at DDR3 memory, the cheapest kit is a G.Skill Ares kit (F3-2133C10D-16GAB) for €104.30, or €6.519 per GB. That is a very small difference and granted these are two different types of modules, but it paints a great image of the trend that is going on.

And it could very well be thanks to Samsung that we see this trend, as DigiTimes reports that sources tell them that Samsung is slashing their prices in order to gain market share. This is great news for us as consumers, but it does set its marks in the industry.

There is less profit for companies in producing DDR4 memory chips and module vendors have started to suffer as a result of this. Allegedly, OEMs have started to purchase their chips directly from manufacturers, cutting vendors out of the loop with demands of reduction in quotes. Adopting the 20nm process also brought along more costs and issues than anticipated and Intel’s delay of Skylake is also hurting the companies.

So we might soon be living in a world where DDR4 memory not only is price equivalent to DDR3, but one where it’s actually cheaper.

Thank you DigiTimes for providing us with this information

Samsung Introduced New 4K 60Hz Monitors with FreeSync

If you haven’t made the switch to 4K yet then Samsung’s latest monitor offerings might be right up your alley and something to take into your purchase decision. Not only do the specs look nice, they also come at a very nice price point.

The U24E590D and U28E590D are 24-inch and 28-inch respectively and they are Samsung’s first monitors in the UHD line to deploy AMD’s FreeSync technology. The UHD monitors come with a 3840×2160 resolution and can both do 60Hz at this resolution.

Samsung didn’t just add DisplayPort connectivity but also HDMI 2.0 allowing you to choose wich method you want to use and still get 60Hz. The grey to grey refresh rate is 4ms for the small monitor and 1ms for the big one. But impressive and both would be suited well for both work and gameplay.

The two monitors variate slightly as the 24-inch (23.6″) uses a PLS panel while the 28-inch uses a TN panel. The small has 178-degree viewing angles in all directions where the 28-inch only has 170/160 degrees. On the other hand, the large one has a better brightness level of 370cd/m2 where the small only has 300. Both monitors offer Picture-in-Picture Picture-by-Picture technology

The U24E590D has an MSRP of just $399.99 and will be available July 26. The U28E590D is available now and comes with an MSRP of $599.99.

Samsung Brands Selfie Stick Users “Cave People”

In a new advert for its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge model smartphones, Samsung has attacked selfie stick users, dismissing them as “cave people” for using the telescopic arms to take pictures of themselves. The risky marketing move – aimed at promoting the Galaxy S6 iterations’ wide-angle, high resolution cameras – laments owners of the awkward monopod photographic aid, probably alienating half the population of China in the process.

The advert proclaims, “This is what it’s come to. Human sardines packing into tiny frames, carrying around sticks like cave people.”

http://youtu.be/l4_CZd69ZBU

Selfie sticks have been given a hard time recently, being banned in football grounds (Tottenham  Hotspur’s White Hart Lane, Arsenal’s Emerates Stadium, and England’s Wembley Stadium), music venues, such as the O2 arena, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., and even the country of South Korea, where a licence to use one is required, under threat of £17,000 fines.

Much like wearing Crocs or combining socks with sandals, so long as an action doesn’t affect other people – which admittedly, in some cases, the use of a selfie stick does – if seems uncouth to judge based purely on appearances. Personally, I know a guy that owns an Apple Watch and like the Star Wars prequels, but I don’t castigate him. Live and let live.