Razer with new Gaming Mobile Phone

Finally Razer introduced their Razer Phone, a gamers handset. It boasts the first in use 120 Hz Ultramotion display with the potential to deliver fast refresh rates and the smoothest graphics available. “It’s common knowledge that I’m obsessed with my smartphones. I play a ton of games on them, and they’re my go-to for streaming content,” said Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan. “We have wanted to make a phone with gaming-level tech for years, and the Razer Phone delivers in every way we imagined,” he said. Razer Gamers Smartphone Tech Specs: At a glance 120 Hz UltraMotion™ screen Featuring Dolby ATMOS and THX certified audio Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with 8GB RAM 12MP dual cameras for complete versatility 4,000 mAh battery for all-day power Processor Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 Mobile Platform System Memory 8GB dual channel (LPDDR4, 1866 MHz) Storage Internal: 64GB UFS External: microSD (class 10, 2TB max.) Display 5.7-inch IGZO LCD 1440 x 2560 120 Hz, Wide Color Gamut (WCG) Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Rear Cameras 12MP AF f1.75 Wide 13MP AF f2.6 Zoom Dual PDAF Dual tone, dual LED flash Front Camera 8MP FF f2.0 Sound Stereo Front-facing speakers Dual Amplifiers Audio Adapter with THX certified DAC Power 4000 mAh lithium-ion battery Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 4+ Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Bluetooth 4.2 NFC Bands GSM: Quad-band GSM UMTS: B1/2/3/4/5/8 LTE: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/66 TDD LTE: B38/39/40/41 TD-SCDMA: B34/39 Size 158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm 6.24 x 3.06 x 0.31 in 197 g More info – https://www.razerzone.com/mobile/razer-phone

What Is 5G?

5G is coming this year. Or maybe not. In the race to 5G, or fifth generation wireless, companies are starting to promise the impossible, which will result in a lot of confusion over the next few years.Because there isn’t any official definition of 5G yet, all the players in the wireless world, from chipset makers to carriers, are jockeying to define 5G and establish themselves as 5G leaders. 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G The G in 5G means it’s a generation of wireless technology. While most generations have technically been defined by their data transmission speeds, each has also been marked by a break in encoding methods, or “air interfaces,” which make it incompatible with the previous generation. 1G was analog cellular. 2G technologies, such as CDMA, GSM, and TDMA, were the first generation of digital cellular technologies. 3G technologies, such as EVDO, HSPA, and UMTS, brought speeds from 200kbps to a few megabits per second. 4G technologies, such as WiMAX and LTE, were the next incompatible leap forward, and they are now scaling up to hundreds of megabits and even gigabit-level speeds. Okay, So What’s ‘Real’ 5G? 5G is a new network system that has much higher speeds and capacity, and much lower latency, than existing cellular systems. The technologies to be used in 5G are still being defined, but there are many details on which everyone agrees. 5G networks will use a type of encoding called OFDM, which is similar to the encoding that LTE uses. The air interface will be designed for much lower latency and greater flexibility than LTE, though. The new networks will predominantly use very high frequencies that can transmit huge amounts of data, but only a few blocks at a time. The standard will work all the way from low frequencies to high, but it gets the most benefit over 4G at higher frequencies. 5G may also transmit data over the unlicensed frequencies currently used for Wi-Fi, without conflicting with existing Wi-Fi networks. That’s similar to a technology T-Mobile is launching this year called LTE-U. 5G networks are much more likely to be networks of small cells, even down to the size of home routers, than to be huge towers radiating great distances. Some of that is because of the nature of the frequencies used, but a lot of that is to expand network capacity. So 5G networks need to be much smarter than previous systems, as they’re juggling many more, smaller cells that can change size and shape. But even with existing macro cells, Qualcomm says 5G will be able to boost capacity by four times over current systems by leveraging wider bandwidths and advanced antenna technologies. The goal is to have far higher speeds available, and far higher capacity per sector, at far lower latency than 4G. The standards bodies involved are aiming at 20Gbps speeds and 1ms latency, at which point very interesting things begin to happen. Is 5G for Phones, Cars, or Homes? Driverless cars may need 5G to really kick into action. The first generation of driverless cars will be self-contained, but future generations will interact with other cars and smart roads to improve safety and manage traffic. Basically, everything on the road will be talking To do this, you need extremely low latencies. While the cars are all exchanging very small packets of information, they need to do so almost instantly. That’s where 5G’s sub-1 millisecond latency comes into play, when a packet of data shoots directly between two cars, or bounces from a car to a small cell on a lamppost to another car. (One light-millisecond is about 186 miles, so most of that 1ms latency is still processing time.) Another aspect of 5G is that it will connect many more devices. Right now, 4G modules are expensive, power-consuming, and demand complicated service plans, so much of the Internet of Things has stuck with either Wi-Fi and other home technologies for consumers, or 2G for businesses. 5G networks will accept small, inexpensive, low-power devices, so they’ll connect a lot of smaller objects and different kinds of ambient sensors to the internet. So what about phones? The biggest change 5G may bring is in virtual and augmented reality. As phones transform into devices meant to be used with VR headsets, the very low latency and consistent speeds of 5G will give you an internet-augmented world, if and when you want it. The small cell aspects of 5G may also help with in-building coverage, as 5G encourages every home router to become a cell site. When Is 5G Happening? The first official 5G launches will come in 2018, with broad deployment in 2019. The schedule was previously set for 2019-2020, but carriers and equipment manufacturers figured out an accelerated schedule earlier this year. Source: pcmag.com

Xiaomi’s new Mi Max 2 – two-day battery

Fresh from announcing the Mi 6, its latest flagship smartphone, last month, Xiaomi gone and unveiled another new phone. The Mi Max 2, announced today at an event in Beijing, will be available in China from June 1 priced upwards from RMB 1699, that’s around $247. Xiaomi claims it sold over three million of the original Mi Max, which is headlined by its big screen. The main selling point of the second version is a gigantic 5300mAh battery which the company claims will last for two days per charge. It claims that the device can charge to 68 percent in an hour and that its full capacity will give a user up to 18 hours of watching video, or 57 hours of call time. The Mi Max 2 packs a unibody metal design and comes it at the same 6.44-inch size. It is available with 4GB RAM with the option of 64GB or 128GB storage — that larger capacity option costs slightly more at RMB 1999, or approximately $290. The device packs a 12MP rear camera, with a five megapixel front camera, stereo speakers and a fingerprint sensor on the reverse. Under the hood, the party is powered by an octacore 2.0 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset. On the software side of things, the home-baked MI UI includes a one-handed mode — not unlike Apple’s reachability for larger iPhones — while a split screen version is planned soon to provide multi-tasking options. There’s no word on an international launch date but, given the popularity of the original Mi Max, you can expect that there are plans to sell this new version outside of China soon. The launch of the Mi Max comes right after Xiaomi unveiled its newest flagship, the Mi 6, last month. As we said at that launch, these are challenging times for the company — which investors valued at $45 billion as recently as 2014. In 2016, rivals Huawei, Vivo and Oppo were among the challengers that rose up with competitively priced phones and strong offline distribution reach to knock Xiaomi off the number one perch for smartphone sales in China. Lei Jun has promised to bounce back and expand Xiaomi’s offline commerce efforts, while he intends to continue its ‘smart device’ ecosystem push to increase customer engagement and generate increased revenue. Indeed, the Xiaomi CEO recently likened his firm to U.S. retailer Costco rather than Apple, the latter being a common comparison made in previous years. Source: techcrunch.com

Apple has made mockups of iMessage for Android

Apple has created internal mockups of iMessage for Android, according to John Gruber. These detailed mockups were used to test the look and feel of the iMessage experience on the competing platform, but they have never been released publicly. “I’ve heard from little birdies that mockups of iMessage for Android have circulated within the company, with varying UI styles ranging from looking like the iOS Messages app to pure Material Design,” Gruber wrote on Daring Fireball. The Apple Music app for Android, the only Apple service to have made the crossover, features Android fonts and Material Design. Why this matters: Just because Apple has considered iMessage for Android to the point of actually making mockups does not mean that it’s bound to happen. There’s a reason why these mockups have yet not materialized. Apple seems to have come to the conclusion that keeping iMessage exclusive to iOS devices brings added value to owning an iPhone or an iPad. Furthermore, iMessage already has 1 billion active users, which is enough to power machine learning. Services without revenue Apple Music is cross-platform, but that’s a paid subscription service that helps boost Apple’s total revenue. Bringing iMessage to Android, on the other hand, seems to offer very few benefits to Apple. In fact, it might actually help Google convince iPhone users to pick up a Pixel instead. Then again, Apple might try to make the most out of its services by making them all cross-platform. In the latest earnings call, Apple services like Apple Music, Apple Pay, and the App Store were the silver lining to disappointing iPhone sales. Apple services have nearly doubled in revenue in the last four years, Tim Cook said. The popularity of iMessage could help add to that bottom line if Apple decides to monetize its messaging service somehow. On iOS 10, Messages has its own App Store, and Apple gets its standard cut of sales from sticker packs, games, and other iMessage apps. Assuming that store doesn’t go cross-platform with the base iMessage services, maybe Android users would get sponsored ads with their iMessages instead. That strategy wouldn’t fly with iPhone users, but people using Android are used to advertisers using their personal information like that—right? Source: macworld.com

Cyanogen’s Android Alternative Goes Modular

Cyanogen, the maker of an alternative version of Android, on Tuesday announced that it was going modular. Future releases of its open source firmware product will not support a full stack of the Android OS. The new modular setup will bring a slew of benefits to phone makers and developers, according to Cyanogen. “The new partnership program offers smartphone manufacturers greater freedom and opportunity to introduce intelligent, customizable Android smartphones using different parts of the Cyanogen OS via dynamic modules and MODs, with the ROM of their choice, whether stock Android or their own variant,” noted Cyanogen CEO Lior Tal in an online post. “At the same time, the program will offer the broader ecosystem and developers the opportunity to tap into Cyanogen’s expanding artificial intelligence cloud services, which learn usage patterns throughout the operating system and introduce smarter and more effective ways to resolve intent and interact with smartphones in a personalized and highly contextual way,” he explained. Opportunity in Fragmentation Changes in the Android ecosystem prodded Cyanogen to diverge from its original business model, according to Tal. Android’s extreme fragmentation has created serious security vulnerabilities, and there are no incentives for device makers to push software upgrades and security patches, he maintained. “All of this has created an opportunity for Cyanogen to break free from its legacy model, which required it to own and deliver the full-stack of the operating system, and instead aim for something greater than the sum of our parts,” Tal wrote. “Cyanogen’s Modular OS program will allow value, independence and intelligence to flow freely between the layers of the ecosystem,” he continued, “providing more companies and developers with the freedom to borrow from, unite and utilize our technology in new and innovative ways.” At Google’s Mercy As a modifier of Android, Cyanogen always has been in a dicey position, noted Jeff Orr, senior practice director for mobile devices at ABI Research. “They’ve been challenged over time because they have no control over the operating system,” he told LinuxInsider. “They were always doing modifications on top of it, so if the development path of Android went in a direction that didn’t align with the Cyanogen folks, then they’d have to react to that,” Orr said. “It doesn’t surprise me that they’re making these changes, because they really have not made any headway with organizations that would preload devices with Cyanogen.” Perils of Piggybacking In moving to mods, Cyanogen may be anticipating big changes in the wind for Android. For example, it’s been long rumored that Google eventually will merge Android with its Chrome operating system. “That could make their entire business model obsolete,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. Since Cyanogen doesn’t control the Android stack in the first place, it makes sense to go modular, he noted. “With an integrated stack, when Google makes a change, the entire stack has to be rewritten,” Enderle told LinuxInsider. “With a modular approach, change should be simpler and faster. If Google merges Android and Chrome, it will be blowing up Cyanogen’s foundation. Going modular may allow them to survive that kind of change.” New CEO In addition to its change in product strategy, Cyanogen announced some shuffling of its top brass. Kirt McMaster, one of the company’s founders, left his CEO post and is now the new executive chairman of the board. Another founder, Steve Kondik, switched hats from CTO to chief science officer, reporting to the company’s senior vice president of engineering Stephen Lawler. McMaster’s move is significant, said ABI’s Orr. “It’s a change in strategy. His time is probably going to be spent less on the day-to-day operations of the Cyanogen organization and looking more long term on what its overall strategy should be,” Orr speculated. “In Lior Tal taking on the CEO responsibilities, you’ve got someone from inside the company that Kirt trusts to carry forward and execute on future plans,” he noted. “They’re clearly reorganizing in anticipation of significant changes,” said Enderle, “to make sure they don’t go out of business.” Source: linuxinsider.com

Smartphone iris scanning

You hold your smartphone in front of your face, the angle and distance guided by on-screen feedback. It flashes near-infrared (NIR) light into your eyes — a brief dull-red glow. Your smartphone recognizes one or both of your irises, and unlocks itself. At least, that’s the new smartphone login scenario. Previously seen mostly in military devices and fixed installations, iris scanning is joining other biometric authentication methods (such as fingerprint scanning, facial recognition and voice recognition) intended to move mobile devices beyond the limitations of password-based security. How it works The iris is the colored ring in the eyeball between the central pupil and the sclera (the outer white area). It contains muscles that control the aperture of the pupil along with interlaced ligaments of connective tissue. While the color of the iris is determined by genetics, the patterns in the ligaments are created by random tissue folding during gestation and are unique to each eyeball. The odds of any two irises being identical has been calculated to be one in 10 raised to the power of 78. Barring injury, the patterns remain stable through life, unlike faces, voices and even fingerprints. “There are 225 different points of comparison that are unique to each iris, compared to 40 on a fingerprint,” says Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “So iris scanning can be more accurate. And fingerprints get worn, calloused, and dirty — and in winter you have to wear gloves.” So it’s no wonder that smartphone vendors are adding iris scanning capabilities to their new devices. As of this writing, smartphones with iris scanning included the Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note7, the Fujitsu Arrows NX-F-04G, the ZTE Nubia Prague S, and the new HP Elite x3. As for how they work, published specifications and responses from corporate spokespeople are sketchy — for a reason. “No one is very boastful about how secure they are, since it would make them a target for black hats,” says Moorhead. “They want to keep it a mystery. The more people you tell the details to, the less secure it will be.” Less reticent is Daehoon Kim, founder and CEO of IriTech, a Virginia-based maker of stand-alone iris scanners and component modules for smartphones. “Due to advances in [image] capturing technology, iris scanners no longer require dedicated and bulky camera sensors and lens,” he says. “Instead, high quality iris images can now be captured using CMOS sensors, with negligible extra cost for an NIR LED.” NIR light is needed for iris scanning because it consistently captures the textures of both light and dark irises, and shining an NIR light into the user’s eyes does not cause the discomfort that shining visible light into the eye causes, Kim adds. Vendors add a third camera to the unit (i.e., a second one on the user-facing side) for iris scanning, explains analyst Ville-Petteri Ukonaho of Strategy Analytics, because standard digital cameras include infrared-blocking filters that would defeat NIR iris scanning. (Digital cameras are more sensitive to infrared than the human eye; without the filters, colors would be distorted, the sky would look dark, and foliage would have an ice-like sheen due to its high infrared reflectivity.) A camera with VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels) is sufficient to scan an iris, but to register both eyes simultaneously a higher resolution (usually 5 megapixels) is common, Kim says. As for the possible dangers of flashing NIR into the users’ eyes, “There are none that I know of,” says Ukonaho. “The amount of infrared light is no more than would be received by walking outside on a sunny day.” The power of the IriTech NIR LED is about 2% of the power allowed by government safety standards, Kim adds. A Samsung spokesperson states that the company’s NIR LED turns off if the unit senses that the user’s eye is too close to the scanner, or if the NIR LED is on for more than nine seconds. Practicalities Security is initialized using both eyes but (except for the Fujitsu unit) subsequently only one eye is needed to unlock the device, Ukonaho says. Users with normal glasses can wear them during later logins but should take them off when initializing, while clear contact lenses are not an issue during either initialization or later log-ins. However, some sunglasses, especially mirrored ones, and colored contact lenses can defeat scanning, Ukonaho continues. Other sources have admitted that glasses with scratched, high-diopter or progressive lenses can also defeat infrared scanning. Additionally, scanning in direct sunlight can be a problem since the iris may be obscured by bright reflections on the overlying cornea, Ukonaho adds. Kim says his units have been able to control the problem with a proprietary combination of software and lens filters. As for accuracy, Ukonaho gives the false acceptance rate (FAR, when someone other than the owner is able to log in) for iris scanning technology at one in 1.2 million, and the false rejection rate (FRR, when the owner is unable to log in) as “very close to zero.” For fingerprint scanning, FAR is usually about one in 100,000 while the FRR is about 3%, he adds. Another example of the accuracy of iris scanning can be found in India. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has been conducting an on-going effort to give each of India’s 1.2 billion citizens a unique identifying number, backed by both iris and fingerprint biometrics. In 2015, the UIDAI tested ten different mobile iris scanners from different vendors, scanning 3,300 citizens who had already been enrolled to see if they could be matched in the government database. Accuracy (meaning they could be matched) averaged 99% and was as high as 99.76%. Failure to scan averaged 0.1% and was as low as 0.03%. By the way, don’t be afraid that someone will get into your smartphone by showing it a photo of your eye. In theory, iris scanners cannot be spoofed using a picture or model of an eye (or by the movie cliché of an enucleated eyeball) since the scanners actually use short videos rather than still images, and so can spot the normal fluctuations of a live eye, explains Ukonaho. Security Unlocking a device involves comparing the iris of the would-be user to the description of the iris created during initialization, in a manner similar to that used by other biometrics. Frank Dickson, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, notes that when a password is stolen, you can change that password. But if biometric data is stolen, you’re defenseless, since there is no way you can change your biometrics. Consequently, the approach used by the vendors is the one advocated by the FIDO Alliance (FIDO stands for “Fast IDentity Online”): Keep the biometric data within the device and never post it online. Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO Alliance, explains that FIDO requires that biometric data and authentication remain restricted to a co-processor on the device called the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). Electronic wallet software also typically resides in the TEE, he adds. Since the encrypted representation of the scanned iris (and fingerprint or other biometrics) remains in the TEE, he says, there is no online repository of credentials that hackers can raid, as happens with passwords. All the major vendors of smartphones with biometrics are either FIDO compliant or have equivalent technology and intend to become fully compliant, he says. Steve Brasen, analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, notes that one in 11 enterprise-owned mobile devices is lost or stolen every year, and a thief could break in by figuring out the device’s password, or (if it uses a fingerprint scanner) by potentially lifting the user’s fingerprint from its exterior. But with iris scanning the hacker would have to both steal the phone and then make a surreptitious iris scan of the owner. “It would take a covert operation to even attempt a surreptitious iris scan — you’d be getting into the James Bond world,” Brasen adds. But he also predicts the appearance of “eye-scan phishing” devices in public places that will attempt to get iris scans through false pretenses. Meanwhile, there have been no reported cases of biometric descriptions being stolen, Dickson says. Moorhead is more cautious about iris-based security. “Every biometric security implementation needs to be examined by third-party researchers, and that has not happened yet with iris scanning. But iris scanning should be the wave of the future if it’s as good as they say,” says Moorhead. Source: computerworld.com  

Why Apple dropped the headphone jack in the iPhone 7

As had been rumored, Apple removed the headphone jack from the upcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and introduced wireless AirPods for listening to music, talking to Siri and making phone calls. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, offered up a thorough argument for why dropping the jack is a good technology move. Simply put, doing so leaves room in a slender phone body for other technology. Plus, Apple is shipping — in the box — EarPods that connect via wire to the lightning power port, which also supplies sound to the EarPods. And, if a user has third-party headphones or accessories still requiring a headphone jack port, Apple is also shipping in the box a small 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter to connect to the iPhone’s lightning port. Schiller used the removal of the headphone jack as a way to transition to wireless EarPods, which Apple calls AirPods, that go on sale for $159 in late October. The AirPods operate on a new low-power W1 chip that’s designed to provide highly efficient audio playback with a consistent connection. Infrared sensors inside the AirPods will detect when they are in the ear. Accelerometers will respond to touch, and a double touch will activate Siri and help determine the direction of a person’s voice. The AirPods will work for five hours of listening on a single charge and can be stored in a wireless charging case that has 24 hours of battery life. That case can itself be charged via a lightning port. AirPods can also be activated across an iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time. “We’re just at the beginning to a truly wireless future where tech enables a seamless and automatic connection to you and your devices,” Schiller exclaimed. “It is a breakthrough design to deliver a truly Apple magic experience.” The pre-announcement online talk about the removal of the headphone jack and the possibility of wireless headphones was intense among analysts and Apple fans. Some were concerned that Apple was forcing too much change on users, and worried that Apple would require users to carry around an adapter. Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said the lack of a headphone jack will have “minimal to no impact on iPhone 7 sales. The relatively few customers that care about this won’t be much of a burden to Apple’s sales efforts.” Even so, Schiller took the time to address the concerns over removing the jack. “Some people have asked us why we would remove the analog headphone jack,” he said. “It’s been with us a really long time. It comes down to one word: courage. Our team has tremendous courage. Our smartphones are packed with technologies, faster processors…and all of it fights for space.” That argument alone makes it less reasonable for “maintaining an ancient single-purpose analog connector.” Other innovations to the camera and processors in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus might bring more sales to Apple, but Schiller put a premium on the removal of the headphone jack and launch of AirPods. Analyst Patrick Moorhead at Moor Insights and Strategy, tweeted about the importance of the move. “Did Apple just fix crappy Bluetooth headphone experience with AirPods? Probably,” he tweeted. Moorhead added later via email that Apple has a tradition of tackling customer experience concerns, like poor Bluetooth headphones and headsets. “From what I experienced with AirPods, they…fixed Bluetooth headsets. AirPods connect consistently, are truly wireless, stay in your ear and are easy to charge and harder to lose. I think Apple has a real winner here.” Apple has a long history of moving reluctant customers along to new technology. The lightning port was one such innovation, introduced on Sept. 12, 2012. It replaced the 30-pin dock connector in many Apple devices. Making the adjustment meant that customers needed an adapter for speakers and other devices. Schiller said there are now 900 million lightning connector devices in use. With the AirPods, Apple is not relying on standard Bluetooth technology in its W1 chip, according to a report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that was obtained by AppleInsider. Kuo also argued that the wireless headphones will become the default option for many iPhone users. The low-power wireless communications used in the W1 chip could become the basis for communications with smart home accessories and smart automobiles. Kuo said that Apple needed higher requirements for power savings than what the Bluetooth specification provides. Source: computerworld.com

Galaxy Note 7 recall: What to do with the phone until it is replaced

After reports that some Galaxy Note 7s have caught on fire, Samsung said Friday it will stop all sales and replace all of those devices now owned by customers. But the South Korea-based company so far remains unclear in its public statements about what a customer should do immediately with that model of smartphone in their hands. Should a customer stop using a Note 7 right now because it might catch fire? Should a customer stop charging the phone because the reported fires are related to a battery issue, as Samsung said in a statement on Friday? The answer, several analysts said, is to use your common sense. Several said that Samsung noted there have been just 35 cases of fires reported globally to date, with some 2.5 million Note 7s already sold — a tiny proportion. Some observers suggested customers should go to the place where the phone was purchased and see what a replacement plan will be, possibly seeking another phone to use until a replacement Note 7 arrives. And, they wondered, once the replacement Note 7 becomes available, what assurances will there be that it won’t also catch on fire? Customer service reps for both AT&T and Verizon, when reached by phone, weren’t able to offer much insight. “We have no recommendation from anybody to stop using a Note 7, but we’ve been told, basically, to watch it during charging, that there’s no sizzling,” said an AT&T customer service rep who asked not to be identified because he’s not authorized to talk to the press. A Verizon service rep said, “that is a great question” when asked what to do with a Note 7 today, following reports of fires with some. She then said to reach out to Samsung at 888-987-4357 or www.samsung.com. Samsung’s service line had a recording that explained it was getting a high number of calls. Computerworld reached a service tech after waiting 45 minutes and was told that it was okay to continue using a Note 7 and to continue charging it as long as it is still working. The tech said to “avoid overheating” the phone as well. Note 7 customers who provide their phone number and the IMEI 15 digit number on the back of the device will be called back when Samsung has more information on the recall, she said. The company said in its Friday statement that it will “voluntarily replace” current Note 7 devices with a new one “over the coming weeks” but didn’t offer the same advice that the phone service tech offered. That “coming weeks” waiting game might be a little too much for some Note 7 owners. “Nobody wants a phone that goes up in flames,” said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas. “I’d err on the side of caution. One case of a phone catching on fire is one too many. If there are 35 reported fires, that’s too many. I suggest using your common sense.” Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen said it is a “tricky question” whether a Note 7 user should stop using his or her phone. “I’m clearly not qualified to say what to do, but…. if I have another phone, I’d use that for a while as Samsung works through what to do. Or I’d take it back to the store and see what the channel partners can do about it immediately.” Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said consumers with little tech experience will have no clue about what to do until Samsung offers more details. “Not to blow this out of proportion is important. It’s a very small number of defective devices we are talking about. Even if the total is 10 times the 35 reported, that is a rounding error. There needs to be a PR balance between giving people information and not scaring consumers. So, saying what to do if the phone gets smelly or overheats may actually be too much information for some to understand and may actually scare them needlessly.” Nguyen said it will be interesting to see how Samsung offers assurances that the replacement Note 7’s, once available, are safe. “It’s bad publicity to have your flagship product literally go up in flames,” he said. “They are an honorable company and … they have to convince people it won’t happen again.” He added, “Personally, I don’t think it’s cause for huge alarm, but it comes down to individual tolerance. Some might worry if they charge it overnight and leave it plugged in the next day, the worst that could happen is if the house gets burned down.” Llamas said he generally tells people not to charge any phone overnight, mainly because it can lead to battery wear over many months of doing so. Ultimately, Samsung may find that a product from an outside company — like a third-party battery charger — was related to the fires, Nguyen said. Some reports have speculated that the lithium-ion batteries inside the Note 7s are to blame, which Samsung seemed to indicate when it said, “we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market.” Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said that Samsung has “done a pretty good job so far with the recall, but could take that next step and tell current users what they should do right now with their phones.” He added: “If consumers and channels feel like they were treated fairly, then I don’t see any long-term repercussions. The biggest brands have had recalls and we just forget about them unless we feel wronged in some way.” Gold said that it is likely that Samsung doesn’t actually know the extent and cause of the problem. “I give them credit for trying to stop any potentially dangerous situations proactively.” Source: itworld.com

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