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1 day ago

What is Bixby and is it like Google Assistant?

8

Bixby isn't a search engine. It's the Galaxy S8's live-in assistant.

Virtual assistants are all the rage, and with the success of services like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, it's no surprise that other companies want a go at it, too. Samsung's trying its hand in the AI space with the launch of Bixby, the virtual assistant that comes baked in the Galaxy S8 and S8+.

Unlike the competition, Bixby isn't a search engine. It's an assistant that's there to help you navigate through the phone itself. Samsung's invested quite a few resources into Bixby and its capabilities, and plans to make it a major part of the Galaxy S8's marketing story. If you're wondering what's in store, here's what we learned about Bixby from our brief time with it on Samsung's new flagship smartphone.

What Bixby aims to do

Bixby Home

Earlier this month, Samsung made a point to lay out what Bixby is and how it will live alongside the rest of the virtual assistants making headway in the tech world. Bixby was heralded as a "conceptually new philosophy to the problem [of virtual interaction]," Samsung wrote. "It is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us."

"A conceptually new philosophy to the problem of virtual interaction."

That's a powerful statement, but that's exactly Bixby's aim: to learn what you like to do with your smartphone, and then adapt itself to cater to those particular actions. It's not a search engine like Google Assistant; it is an assistant, and it can navigate around your smartphone the way that you normally would with your own fingertips. Bixby will support almost every task you ask it to do, like cropping a photo, applying a filter, or sharing it with your favorite social network. Eventually, you'll be able to talk Bixby through your process without looking at the screen at all.

Bixby.

Bixby stands by in anticipation of your next command.

Bixby is also supposed to complete tasks, even if you don't shout out the entire command. The idea is that as it's learning what you do with your device, it's also learning how to stay three steps ahead in anticipating what's next. And if it doesn't understand everything that you asked, it can get you most of the way there instead of failing and asking you to try again.

What we've seen it do

Bixby's primary method of contact requires you to press and hold the physical "Bixby button," which resides on the left side of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ — essentially, your own "push to talk" for artificial intelligence. Samsung did say that Bixby would work with hot word detection, but most of the devices laid out for our demonstration were offline. Regardless, if you don't feel like drawing attention to yourself by shouting out "BIXBY!" in the middle of the grocery store, that's what the hardware button is for.

If you don't feel like shouting out "Bixby!", that's what the hardware button is for.

Bixby also offers its own live feed of sorts, akin to Google Now. It's a bit redundant alongside Google's offerings, though it does sort of lay out the kind of data it's aggregating on you. You can check in on things by scrolling to the left-most home screen of Samsung's launcher like you would on the Pixel Launcher. It's not entirely clear how Bixby pulls in all the information — whether it's hooking into apps, or whether it's only limited to the apps that have opted in — but we do know it looks at location data to find the context of where you are, to offer you actions based on whether you're at home or at work.

When is it available?

The bixby feed.

There is quite a bit of nuance behind Samsung's Bixby. We'll be curious to see how it fares against Google Assistant in the long run — particularly after millions of Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones are sold and Bixby gets put to use.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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1 day ago

Samsung has fixed the biggest problem with the Gear 360

5

You might as well forget the original Gear 360 ever existed.

Samsung has refreshed the Gear 360 with a design that eliminates the one real problem with the original — stitching. This new design shrinks the top sphere by moving some of the important bits down to the handle, which means the two fisheye lenses are now much closer together. Closer 8.4 megapixel sensors means the software doesn't have to work so hard to make the two images come together as a single sphere, which means your Gear 360 photos and videos won't have that weird seam splitting the world in half.

Actually, there's quite a bit different about this new Gear 360. Lets dig in!

While the original Gear 360 offered a neat tripod you could add to the bottom of the least pocketable 360-degree camera ever, the new Gear 360 has a base that can't be removed. Samsung moved the battery and display from the sphere into the base, leaving the top to just the sensors and buttons. Instead of a tripod, you get a rubbery base that is wider at the bottom than the top so it's not as easy to knock over accidentally. That base offers a standard camera screw mount, so you can attach this camera to just about anything and start recording.

Not only are you getting a sphere without stitch lines but the image and video quality will be greatly enhanced.

The sensors have been upgraded so the cameras can capture video in 4K at 24fps and photos at 15MP, which means not only are you getting a sphere without stitch lines but the image and video quality will be greatly enhanced. If you want to do more than just capture and publish, the camera can also stream 360-degree video to YouTube from both a mobile and a PC connection. We don't have any compare samples to share just yet, but the demos shown at the reveal looked much better than the original Gear 360.

Speaking of a mobile connection, this new Gear 360 is compatible with any Samsung phone running Android 5.0 or greater, as well as anything running iOS 10 or greater. Want to know where support is for the rest of the Android ecosystem? So would we, but it's Samsung so SSDD. Basically, don't count on an update adding support for anything other than new Samsung hardware.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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1 day ago

Should you buy the Galaxy S8 or the Galaxy S8+?

58

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are great phones, but the differences this year as narrower than ever. If you have to choose one, which would it be?

Are the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ two distinct phones, or one phone in two sizes? Last year, there were clear demarcations in Samsung two-phone strategy; in 2017, that delineation is a bit more diffuse.

This is especially true because both phones are basically just massive AMOLED panels covered by curved glass and surrounded by metal. Gone is the distinction between flat and curved screen, between value and premium. The most important, and popular, high-end Android phones in the world are now separated merely by 0.4 inches in diagonal screen real estate and 16.6% of additional battery.

So, who should buy the Galaxy S8 and who should opt for the slightly larger, longer-lasting Galaxy S8+? Let's take a look.

First, the specs

Category Galaxy S8 Galaxy S8+ Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat Display 5.8-inch AMOLED
2960x1440 (570 ppi) 6.2-inch AMOLED
2960x1440 (529 ppi) Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
or Samsung Exynos 8895 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
or Samsung Exynos 8895 Storage 64GB (UFS 2.1) 64GB (UFS 2.1) Expandable microSD up to 256GB microSD up to 256GB RAM 4GB 4GB Rear Camera 12MP Dual Pixel, f/1.7
1.4-micron pixels
OIS 12MP Dual Pixel, f/1.7
1.4-micron pixels
OIS Front Camera 8MP, f/1.7
auto focus 8MP, f/1.7
auto focus Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC, GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou
LTE Cat.16 Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC, GPS, Glonass, Galileo BeiDou
LTE Cat.16 Charging USB-C
Fast charging
Qi wireless
Powermat wireless USB-C
Fast charging
Qi wireless
Powermat wireless Battery 3000mAh 3500mAh Water resistance IP68 rating IP68 rating Security One-touch fingerprint sensor
Iris scanner
Samsung KNOX One-touch fingerprint sensor
Iris scanner
Samsung KNOX Dimensions 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm Weight 155 g 173 g

As you can see, the only notable differences between the phones are in the screen size, battery size, and overall footprint: the Galaxy S8+ is 10.6 mm taller and 5.3 mm wider than the Galaxy S8, to accommodate the 6.2-inch screen over the other's 5.8 inches, and has a battery 500mAh larger. It also weighs a scant 18 grams more, at 178g.

A few words on size

Unlike previous Galaxy devices, this year's models have a strange-sounding 18.5:9 aspect ratio. In real-world terms, all that means is that they're unusually tall, and at first feel odd to the average smartphone user accustomed to a particular weight distribution. The change also means that the screens can have larger surface areas without necessarily needing to be widened, something that we see in its extreme with the larger Galaxy S8+.

Who should buy the Galaxy S8+?

Because of what we said above, those looking into the Galaxy S8+ should keep in mind that the phone is unwieldy in its tallness, and the fingerprint sensor, which is already difficult to reach on the regular Galaxy S8, uncomfortable to access.

If battery if your primary concern, the Galaxy S8+ is your safe choice.

But in that compromise you get a phone that is, in relation to other phones with 6.2-inch screens, relatively compact. While 16:9 media will either need to play with bars on the sides, or be cropped slightly to fit the new aspect ratio, there aren't many other phones on the market right now that offer the sheer level of screen-to-body efficiency as the Galaxy S8+. This is practically a small tablet in the frame of a moderately-sized phone — and some will gravitate to it just for this.

The Galaxy S8+, with its bigger body, also fits a larger battery: inside is a 3,500mAh cell that matches the Galaxy Note 7 (RIP), and comes in 3% smaller than the Galaxy S7 edge. Still, with a more efficient chip, this will be the longest-lasting Galaxy device to date (barring some unforeseen hardware anomaly), and therefore the one to get if uptime is paramount.

Of course, with those extra powers come extra dollars, and the Galaxy S8+ will be at least $100 more expensive than its smaller counterpart. Last year, the Galaxy S7 edge justified its additional expense, but with both the Galaxy S8 and S8+ sporting curved glass screens and big, high-resolution displays, it may be more difficult to do so in 2017.

Who should buy the Galaxy S8?

Most people. Everyone. You.

Last year, the Galaxy S7 edge had clear advantages over the S7. This year, not so much.

We don't want to undermine the attractiveness of the Galaxy S8+ — it's a great big phone with lots going for it — but unless you absolutely need the additional battery capacity, the Galaxy S8 is the phone to go for.

Not only is it more much compact and one hand-friendly than the S8+, but it's cheaper. And the Galaxy S8's fingerprint sensor, despite being located in an awkward position around back, is not as difficult to reach.

Last year, the Galaxy S7 had clear disadvantages over the S7 edge: it was considerably smaller, and lacked a curved display. And while the compact phone was easy to use in one hand, it was to many people too small to fulfil the phablet aspirations so many early adopters crave. The Galaxy S8 checks all of those boxes, sharing the same basic platform as its larger counterpart.

A 5.8-inch display is larger than nearly every Android phone on the market right now, but Samsung manages to do so without increasing the overall size of the phone beyond a typical 5.2- or 5.3-inch device. (Of course, a 5.8-inch phone in an 18.5:9 aspect ratio isn't exactly 5.8 inches diagonally, but it's close enough that we shouldn't quibble.)

Wrapping it up

This year, both the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are fantastic phones. Really, they are largely without compromise. But it's clear from the get-go that there are fewer reasons than ever to spring for the more-expensive Plus variant, especially since, at 5.8 inches, the regular Galaxy S8 has more than enough screen real estate for most people.

The person who should buy the Galaxy S8+ is someone who needs his or her phone to last as long as possible, who may not have access to a charger — wireless or wired — throughout the day. Or, it's someone who requires as much screen real estate as possible, perhaps to replace a small tablet.

For everyone else, we recommend the Galaxy S8.

Everything you need to know about the Galaxy S8 and S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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1 day ago

Galaxy S8 is the first phone with Bluetooth 5: Here's what it means for you

7
Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung is the first to market with an increasingly important spec.

As we all analyze the Galaxy S8 and S8+ spec sheet it's easy to skip over some of the smaller things like the jumble of acronyms in the connectivity area. But one thing you shouldn't look beyond is the Bluetooth designation: Samsung's new Galaxy S8 is the first to be released with support for Bluetooth 5.

Bluetooth 5 is definitely "better" than previous versions, just by the fact that it is newer, but why is it important to want it on your phone? Well it may not be a game changer immediately, but it's super important for the future of wireless connectivity.

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1 day ago

Galaxy S8 software: Simpler, smarter, and definitely Samsung

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The Galaxy S8 comes with some of the S Pen's features, its own virtual assistant, and even its own desktop operating system. But are those things really necessary?

Gone are the days of Samsung's overly saturated blue-hued interface. You no longer have to deal with backward navigation keys, either, not if you don't want to. The newly retrofitted version of Samsung's software on the Galaxy S8 is cleaner and easier on the eyes. Finally, it all feels so cohesive.

But as Google's Android is getting better and more feature-filled by the version number, do the manufacturers behind Android smartphones really need to put their own spin on things? No, but Samsung is going to do it anyway, in addition to selling you on the necessity of its virtual assistant and built-in animated GIF-making abilities. Despite all the strides Samsung has made in overhauling its interface design, it's still bundling in stuff with its smartphones, not all of which you'll end up using.

GS8.

It's nice

A simpler user interface

The interface you'll see on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is a remnant of the Galaxy Note 7's software, though it also made a cameo on the Galaxy Tab S3. It's different than what came standard on last year's Galaxy S7, which was still very blue in some places. It was obvious Samsung was still transitioning.

The Nougat version of Samsung's UI tells a different story, however; a novella, if you will, of a company that's finally figured it out. The interface is white and black, with gray hues speckled throughout. It's the equivalent of wearing a brightly colored blazer on top of an all-black outfit, except that the blazer is the actual chassis of the Galaxy S8. The interface is simple and subdued so that the hardware can stand out, essentially justifying the cost of the device.

Various snapshots of the Galaxy S8's user interface.

The Galaxy S8 runs Nougat, though it's unclear if it will eventually ship with Android 7.0 or 7.1. (Software on the units we used said 7.0, while we were told to expect 7.1 on retail units.) You'll have access to many of the same features as your stock Android-wielding pals, including direct replies in the notification shade and customizable quick settings, though Samsung's already offered that for some time. The Galaxy S8 also marks the permanent installment of the Edge panels, in addition to the return of the Secure Folder, Game Launcher, and Samsung Pay.

No more hard navigation buttons.

Samsung's new software has also adopted the on-screen navigation bar in use by most other companies, though not without putting its own spin on it. In order to make longtime Samsung fans feel at home the on-screen home button triggers improved haptic feedback that feels more like a "real" button than typical haptics that use a simple vibration motor, not unlike what Apple's doing on the iPhone 7. It's satisfying, particularly if you relied on the tactile feel of the home button on older Galaxy devices.

This isn't a perfect replacement for the physical button, but on the whole it's better.

You won't be able to unlock the Galaxy S8 with a simple press of the home button, of course, because the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back of the phone next to the camera. This is where it starts to get confusing in terms of actually reaching up there ... but that's something for you to figure out when you hold the phone.

Regardless, you now get all of the benefits of on-screen navigation on the Galaxy — including saving bezel space, but also having buttons that can rotate, change and hide depending on what's on the screen. Thankfully, you can also choose how you want your navigation buttons displayed — whether you prefer to have the back button on the left side, or stick with Samsung's typical (backward) setup. It's nice to see Samsung finally offer the choice.

B-I-X-B-Y

Meet Bixby

Bixby is a major part of the Galaxy S8's marketing story, and it's not supposed to be a competitor for Google Assistant. Bixby is not a search engine; it's an assistant, one you can command to help you navigate your interface. Eventually, Bixby will know more about you and the way you use your smartphone, and it will adjust accordingly. The idea is that Bixby should be able to predict what's coming before you even ask it to.

Does this work? We don't know yet, as the Galaxy S8 units in our demonstration were offline. But we do know it's a major part of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, especially if you consider there's a dedicated hardware button on the device you can press to activate.

The Bixby button.Bixby feed.

Bixby also comes with a shelf, akin to Google Now. It lives on the leftmost side of the Home screen, and it integrates with the apps you have installed. Bixby's feed will keep you privy of appointments, the weather, and how you're performing in S Health. It morphs contextually depending on your location and the time of day, and you can curate what shows up in the feed.

You can curate what shows up in the feed based on the apps and services you have installed.

You can continue to utilize Google's voice assistant alongside Bixby as long as you don't mind a bit of overlap. I'll be curious to see how calling out to Google and Bixby in tandem works out, as well as which one plays the nicest with third-party apps. Overall, I imagine it'll be difficult to ignore Bixby's assistant on the Galaxy S8 if you choose not to use it, considering the blatant hardware button dedicated to its existence.

More on Samsung Bixby

No S Pen.

Extra features

A few borrowed S Pen abilities

The Galaxy Note 7 will forever live on in our hearts as the phablet smartphone that could have been. It'll be a while until that fiery scandal is laid to rest, and though I like that the Galaxy S8 now carries the torch for some of the features that had made the Note 7 so verifiably neat, some of them don't seem worth using unless there's a stylus involved.

Take the Samsung Notes app, for instance, which definitely seems out of place on the Galaxy S8. I can see why Samsung included it — bigger display! — but it's not fun to use without the S Pen. A cheap stylus won't do, either.

You'll like using Smart select, though, which is another a remnant leftover from the Note 7. It makes it significantly easier to grab a cropped screenshot. There is also an animated GIF feature you can use to capture a few seconds of a homemade movie or YouTube video.

GS8 iris recognition

Security

(Re-)introducing iris recognition

Samsung has always attempted to herald itself as the secure Android platform; the one that you can rely on when Google is having trouble getting its act straight. In this instance, it's pushing the Galaxy S8's iris recognition abilities, which took me a while to figure out and wasn't as futuristic-seeming as the movies had promised. It's not the fastest unlock feature — I mean, it's fast at detecting my irises, but I still had to let the Galaxy S8 know I wanted to unlock it before it started scanning.

There are other ways to unlock the phone, too. You can use the fingerprint scanner on the back, which is harder to reach for on the taller Galaxy S8+, or set up the iris scanner, which is yet another remnant of the Note 7. It's just as quick to use as it was on its predecessor, though I'm curious to truly time each of the various security methods to see which one is the fastest. If my future smartphone is going to have all these newfangled security features, I want them to be fast!

GS8 camera interface

For millennials

New features in the camera app

The Galaxy S8's camera interface has been slightly tweaked again, this time in an effort to covertly add a few new features. A slight tilt of the shutter button to the left or right will adjust the exposure; a swipe to the right will bring up the various camera modes; a swipe to the left will engage the video mode.

You may also notice a cuddly little teddy bear icon visible on the camera interface. Tapping this will bring up various augmented reality effects you can use inside the Samsung camera app. They're silly, they're fun, and they're absolutely reminiscent of Snapchat's filters. If you use the Samsung camera app to give yourself rabbit ears, it won't translate too well to Snapchat because of that app's finicky import feature. But you can use the filters everywhere else, including Instagram Stories.

More on the Galaxy S8 camera

Samsung DeX

Extra stuff

Samsung DeX

The Samsung DeX capabilities require separately sold hardware to work in the first place, but it's an interesting look at what Samsung is attempting under the hood of its Android devices. In this instance, it's equipped the Galaxy S8 and S8+ with computer-like abilities, so that you can plug in the phone into a dock of sorts and "unlock" a half-baked desktop operating system.

The dock offers two USB ports and Bluetooth connectivity for peripherals, and it charges the Galaxy S8 while it's in use. But its operating system is proprietary and doesn't work with any Windows or Mac apps. There are a few name brand apps you can use with DeX, like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, but they've been optimized for the Galaxy S8's mobile processor.

More on the Samsung DeX dock

Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8

Coming soon

The smartphone show isn't just about putting the best device forward; it's about the message it transmits to others who see you using that phone. Will part of that messaging include Bixby? Unlike Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, probably not. I imagine the question most people will ask instead is, "Hey, is that the phone that blows up?"

In all seriousness, I wonder if perhaps I'd feel differently towards the software on the Galaxy S8 if it weren't for the fiery battery fiasco that preceded it. The new features that come with it are mostly fine additions, but they seem so underwhelming following all that drama. Why do I want another device assistant, when Google keeps selling me on its Assistant? And if I continue to wield Samsung devices, do I have to subscribe into that ecosystem to keep reaping the benefits? There are surely answers to all of these questions, but we'll have to hang tight until the Galaxy S8 goes on sale April 21.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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1 day ago

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ specs: Everything you need in a phone today

36
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ specs

See what makes the latest flagships from Samsung run like they do.

For the past couple of generations, Samsung has been able to fit everything we're asking for into a phone. It gets top-end specs and features into sleek and relatively compact devices, and that's the case again with the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Though many of these hardware features were found on the Galaxy S7, you'll find that the Galaxy S8 simply added to the equation without dropping anything in the process.

Here's the complete spec sheet for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

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1 day ago

Get a lifetime of tech training for $89

Figuring out which skills to try and learn can be difficult. What is popular when you start learning may not be what is popular when you are done, so why not learn a bunch of different topics at your own pace? Whether you are interested in animation and 3D, networking and security, game designing or other topics, wouldn't it be nice to be able to switch your focus between them all as you see fit? Well, you can.

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If you are looking to have a lifetime of access to all this information you won't want to miss out, so be sure to make your purchase now!

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1 day ago

Selling your Android phone or tablet: The ultimate guide

113

How do I sell my Android phone or tablet for the most amount of money? With these tips and tricks, you'll get the best return!

So a new Android phone has caught your eye — maybe the new Samsung Galaxy S8 — and you want to get on the boat as soon as possible. You'll need to sell your old phone in order to make up some of the money you're spending on that new device, but luckily there are a wealth of options available. We're going to get you through some of the best practices out there for preparing your Android phone or tablet for sending off, and some places for sale that would best suit your needs.

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1 day ago

Why I'm going back to the HTC 10 after using the Pixel

126

I was so happy when I got the Pixel.

After months of dealing with Bluetooth reception spottiness on my HTC 10, I ordered a Google Pixel. I made sure to get the 128 GB model so that I could use it as a daily driver, something I never felt comfortable doing on the non-expandable 16 GB Nexus 5X. And my shiny silver Pixel has served me well this winter, but Spring has sprung, and with it, I'm going back to my HTC 10.

Here's why.

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1 day ago

How to use the page zoom settings in Chrome

4

You can easily adjust the way your screen looks with Chrome.

Chrome makes surfing the web easier in a variety of different ways from awesome extensions that make your favorite apps accessible, to being able to quickly and easily adjust the settings.

If you've ever found yourself squinting while looking at the screen, or thought that the text was way too large, you probably want to adjust the zoom settings on your screen. It's ridiculously easy with Chrome, and we have the details for you here.

How to adjust zoom settings in Chrome

With Chrome, you have three basic options to adjust your zoom so that you have the view that you want. You can increase the resolution, decrease the resolution, or zoom and activate fullscreen in your Chrome window.

You'll also be able to what the current zoom percentage is.

First you want to click on the overflow icon: it looks like 3 vertical dots in the upper right hand corner of your screen. This will open up Chrome settings, including the Zoom settings. You can click on the + sign to increase the screen density, or the - sign to decrease the screen resolution. You'll also see what the current zoom percentage is on your screen. Adjusting the screen resolution this way will let you easily click to find the right size. On the right of the Zoom options, you'll also see an icon that allows you to fullscreen your Chrome window.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click on the overflow icon in the upper right corner.
  3. Adjust your screen resolution size by clicking the zoom buttons.

Making sure that you can easily read everything on your screen when using Chrome doesn't have to be complicated. Google has made it easy for anyone to simply adjust the size things in their Chrome window with just a few clicks on your mouse or touchpad.

Do you end up resizing your screen often? Be sure to let us know about it in the comments below!

[custom:chrome]

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1 day ago

HTC U coming later this year with Snapdragon 835 and touch-sensitive frame

30

HTC Ocean is coming later this year as the HTC U.

HTC is said to be working on a flagship simply called the HTC U that will be powered by a Snapdragon 835. Codenamed Ocean, the phone will be the third in the U series — after the U Ultra and the U Play — but it will introduce a new input method called Edge Sense.

HTC is embedding sensors into the metal frame of the device, through which you'll be able to control various facets of the interface by squeezing or swiping along the sides of the phone. The idea was shown off in a concept video that leaked last year, and it looks like HTC succeeded in turning it into a usable feature for its upcoming flagship:

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1 day ago

T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint are already shipping LG G6 pre-orders

15

LG G6 is already in the hands of a few lucky customers.

U.S. carriers have kicked off pre-orders for the LG G6 ahead of its debut in the country on April 7, and customers that have ordered the device are already starting to see shipping notices, with deliveries scheduled for later this week. T-Mobile was the first carrier to announce pricing, and the first to ship the handset to customers.

A few AT&T and Sprint customers that pre-ordered the device are now receiving delivery notices for March 29, which is incidentally when the Galaxy S8 is making its debut.

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1 day ago

Watch as Google walks you through the new wonders of Android O

18

Don't feel like reading up? Watch Google's Android O video for its developers instead.

Developers, get excited! There's a new version of Android on the horizon and it is chock full of new and exciting features to integrate into your apps. Users, you can get excited, too, because these new features mean better apps and an overall better experience on Android.

To get developers revved up and into the trenches of the Android SDK, Google published an Android O Developer Preview video. Sit back, relax, and bring a pen and some paper (or a Chromebook with a comfortable keyboard) to take notes. The video will teach you about new changes to Android, including background restrictions and notifications channels.

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1 day ago

A Dark Room is free in the Google Play Store and you should check it out!

19

Who doesn't love a free game? Get A Dark Room today from the Google Play Store!

Thanks to Google's 'new' plan to offer some paid apps for free on a weekly basis, you can now get A Dark Room for free from the Google Play Store. It's a text-driven adventure game that might seem unassuming or boring when you first start out… but just you wait.

The game starts in a black room, signaled by a black screen. "The room is freezing." You start a fire and suddenly the screen brightens up a bit. "A ragged stranger stumbles through the door and collapses in a corner." Well, it beats being alone in the middle of nowhere.

Your goal is to keep the fire going and collect supplies, as more lost wanderers stumble across your encampment as it slowly grows village. I'll leave it for you to discover from there, since this is one of those games you just need to experience for yourself. I'd compare it to Reigns in terms of its simple gameplay and unique style of storytelling, except solely relying on text and your own imagination.

A Dark Room features no ads, no micro transactions, no permissions and no data usages. It's only available for free for the next 7 days before it jumps back to its regular $.99 price, so don't miss out!

Android Gaming

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2 days ago

Google is doing a great job showing everyone why slow app rollouts suck

39

You probably have no location sharing tools from Google right now.

Unless you've received the most recent Google Maps update, with all of the fun new integrated location sharing features baked right in, you're kind of screwed right now. Instead of waiting until the Maps update was totally pushed out to every Android user, Google flipped the switch and killed location sharing on Google+ for just about everyone.

That means you have no Google-based location sharing option until the Maps update finishes rolling out, because staged rollouts are awful.

Updating an app for the entirety of Android is hard. There are a lot of us in the world, and to make that download available to everyone at the same time is expensive in several ways. What's worse, if you send out an update and there's a bug discovered out in the wild that you didn't know about, you have to send the update all over again once you fix it.

Google's solution allows anyone to only send out updates to a small percentage of users at first, and slowly increasing that release group until it reaches 100%. It's not only a good way to make sure you don't make your entire userbase angry if something is broken, it's significantly less expensive to deliver those updates over a longer period of time.

It's entirely likely this update will finish rolling out by this evening.

But miscommunications like this are the natural consequence of this behavior. I know several people in my immediate social circle with the Maps update already. In fact, my Dad emailed me this morning with a link to add me to his location sharing group on Maps. Because I don't have the update yet, if I click that link I get redirected to a Maps support page telling me to update the app. Which, obviously, I can't do yet because the app hasn't been fully rolled out top everyone yet.

So if you lost location sharing on G+ and don't have the Maps update yet, the official answer from Google is to be patient. It's entirely likely this update will finish rolling out by this evening. But that's never going to be where this stops for some people. Just like when Pokemon Go wasn't available and people started sideloading dangerous versions of the APK that were available on some random shady website, this is the perfect opportunity for someone to tap that "Install from Unknown Sources" checkbox and leave it unchecked just so they can have this new update.

That's bad for everyone, and Google not only can but should do better.

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