Monthly Archives: August 2016

High demand for Galaxy Note 7 puts pressure on supply chain, Samsung boosts production

This isn’t the first time a Samsung flagship is in high demand, so one would think the South Korean company took all precautions to fulfill all pre-orders and have the necessary stock needed for launch.

However, it doesn’t seem like Samsung has been able to cope with the strong demand for the Galaxy Note 7, which is the main reason the phablet has been slightly delayed in several European markets.

According to a new report, the strong initial sales of the Galaxy Note 7 are putting the pressure on the supply chain, and seems to have caused stock constraints all over the globe. Although this could mean a solid financial quarter for Samsung, it could very well mean disaster if the South Korean company does not manage to quickly ramp up production of its flagship to meed the strong demand.

A Samsung official confirmed that due to the unexpected high number of pre-orders, the Galaxy Note 7’s release in some markets needed to be adjusted. The official also said that his company has already boosted production at the secret locations where the Galaxy Note 7 is manufactured, so the supply shortage should be only a temporary problem for Samsung.

The history seems to be in Samsung’s favor since the company almost never confronted with supply shortages in the long term.

In the same piece of news, analysts predict that Samsung could sell up to 15 million Galaxy Note 7 units by the end of the year, which is quite a lot considering the Galaxy Note 5 only sold around 9 million units in 2015.

The Galaxy Note 7 has been met with favorable reviews from the media, which determined many analysts to revise their forecasts over the number of units sold during 2016. That, and the fact that Samsung said it won’t have any issues with the curved display production.

Alively lets you stream videos to select friends without taking up storage space

Masterminded by former Facebook Live manager Vadim Lavrusik, Alively is an app that makes it easy and fun to capture and share moments privately with your friends via live or recorded video. You can broadcast live video by selecting a friend or group of friends who you want to share with, or simply begin recording and add friends to share during, or after you’re done.

The catch is that only people you chose can watch your livestream and comment as it’s happening, or after the matter. There is no like and dislike system, just comments. Having space on your smartphone is no issue, as Alively uploads and stores video in the cloud, not taking up any storage on your phone.

Alively is designed to capture high quality video with live interactions, regardless of your internet connection. You’ll get to see when friends are watching or commenting while you’re sharing live. If your friends aren’t on Alively, you can send them videos through SMS – they will get a text with the video caption and a link to watch it on a mobile page.

Alively also allows for uploading and sharing videos from the Camera Roll, letting you upload videos from your phone to share them with your friends, or free up space.

The app is free and currently exclusive to iOS.

BBC and Finnish developer team up for a series of Top Gear mobile games

BBC and Finnish developer team up for a series of Top Gear mobile games

Top Gear, the famous British TV series about cars, is about to get a series of games for mobile devices. BBC Worldwide has decided to offer the Top Gear license to a Finnish developer that goes by the name of Motorious Entertainment.

The studio specialized in mobile games comprises of veterans of the gaming industry, people who worked for well-known mobile, PC and console projects like the FlatOut series, Sega Rally, Ridge Racer Unbounded and Brawl Bolts.

With the newly licensed Top Gear IP, Motorious confirmed the upcoming release of no less than three mobile games, which will be available on the Android and iOS platforms.

The first game with a working title, Top Gear the Road Trip, is supposed to be launched at the end of 2016. The other two are scheduled for release in 2017.

In Top Gear the Road Trip players will take on a road trip and play through some familiar favorites, including launching the Reliant Robin Space Shuttle into space, Amphibious Cars, Car Football and Toyota Hilux Destruction.

According to developers, the game features casual match three control mechanics, as players will progress on a map that will allow them to visit countries like England, France and Italy during their road trip saga.

Also, Top Gear the Road Trip will feature puzzle races that players will have to win in order to advance further. Strategy, planning and car tuning are absolutely necessary to make your road trip as long and relaxing as possible.

The game will definitely come with some sort of leaderboards since developers confirmed that Top Gear the Road Trip will allow players to try to beat their own records and challenge their friends as well. You will also be be able to unlock different Top Gear challenge levels, which will vary by performance.

Android Nougat 7.1 on the way? Might launch with Nexus Marlin/Sailfish

Android Nougat 7.1 on the way? Might launch with Nexus Marlin/Sailfish

The roll-out of Android 7.0 Nougat began on August 22, but the Internet is already buzzing about a possible Android 7.1 update that might be closer than we thought. Since Google has promised to adopt a more regular maintenance update cycle with Nougat, hardcore Android fans are now speculating that the 7.1 update might launch with the upcoming Marlin and Sailfish HTC-build Nexus phones.

The excitement was spurred by a screenshot showing Android version 7.1 listed in the crash and report filter section of Google’s developer console. Given that Google has promised that the developer preview of Nougat Maintenance Release 1 (MR1) will be available sometime this fall, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to assume that the final release would bump the version to 7.1, as MR1 is likely to bring quite a few things to the table.

The initial report on Reddit was followed by a tweet from David Ruddock of Android Police, claiming that the new Nexus phones will launch with Android 7.1, which is confirmed to be Nougat’s MR1 release.

The user who started the Android 7.1 thread on Reddit also posted a screenshot of the statistics page for one of his apps, showing 115 installs on Android 7.1 and 4 installs on Android O. This was followed by another redditor, claiming to be working at XDA, posting a screenshot of website visits filtered by OS, showing 162 hits from Android 7.1 and 105 hits from devices running version 7.1.1. Those were complemented by a handful of visits from strange, and likely fake, versions of Android, such as 6.7.1 and 7.1.9. The latter, including Android O, are likely version numbers spoofed by editing the build.prop files of current Android builds. Versions 7.1 and 7.1.1, however, might be legitimate and under testing from Google.

Android 7.0 Nougat review: refocusing on what’s truly important

While it’s not a customization feature in itself, the Settings app now boasts a hamburger menu that allows for an easy and quick navigation throughout its numerous menus.

We can’t say this one gets our blood flowing, but it’s definitely a useful thing to have, especially given that Google has implemented it so nicely.

See, once you fire up the Settings app, there is no indication that you such a menu even exists. Go into a certain menu, however, and the hamburger icon will immediately pop up in the top left, indicating that you can access a navigation menu by swiping left. Pretty intuitive, if you ask us.

Update to AT&T’s LG V10 adds Wi-Fi calling

The AT&T version of the LG V10 has received an update that brings Wi-Fi calling to the device. If you happen to be in a location where AT&T’s cell signal is a bit iffy, using the feature will allow you to make that call over a Wi-Fi network. Once you receive notification that the update is ready to be downloaded and installed on your phone, make sure you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. You should also make sure that your battery is fully charged before starting the updating process.

The update features software version H90021v, with build number MRA58K. The size of the file is 368MB. If you haven’t received notification that the update has arrived, you can try to manually pull it out by going to Settings > General > About phone> Update Center > Software Update > Update Now.

The LG V10 was released on October 8th of last year with Android 5.1 pre-installed. It has since been updated to Android 6.0. The sequel, the LG V20, is expected to be the first phone to come with Android 7.0 out of the box.

source: AT&T

Touchscreen problems are affecting the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

According to smartphone repair chain iFixit, older Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus units are being hit with a problem that Apple is aware of, but refuses to consider an issue. You can read all about it on Apple’s support forum where there are a number of complaints about an unresponsive touchscreen, accompanied by a horizontal flickering gray bar at the top of the screen.

The problem has been dubbed “Touch Disease” by iFixit, and many independent phone repair experts have seen it on the 2015 iPhone models. Consider the experience of New Orleans based repair expert Rami Odeh. He sees 100 iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units a month with touchscreen problems. Jason Villmer owns a board repair shop in Missouri called STS Telecom. Every week, a few more iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets are brought in for a touchscreen repair. He says, “This issue is widespread enough that I feel like almost every iPhone 6/6+ has a touch of it and are like ticking bombs just waiting to act up.”

While Apple employees are familiar with the problem, a number of them have told owners of an affected device that Apple does not recognize the touchscreen problem as an issue. If your warranty has expired, as is quite likely, Apple will tell you that your only option is to buy a new phone.

Twisting the phone, or pushing on the screen, will provide some temporary relief. But the disease comes back, hitting even harder than before with the gray bar covering more real estate on the screen. The display then gets worse and worse until it doesn’t work at all. Replacing the screen also provides only a short term fix. Eventually, the gray bar reappears on the new screen.

Repair experts have zeroed in on a pair of touchscreen controller chips located on the motherboard inside the handset. The chips turn your finger-pressing input into directions for the touchscreen to follow. Because Apple Geniuses aren’t trained to work on the motherboard, taking the phone to the Apple Store is a waste of time for this problem.

Theories as to the cause of the problem have been narrowed down by most repair pros to two. One theory is the U2402 Meson Touch IC chip has a manufacturing defect. The other possibility has to do with bendgate. As the phone naturally bends, solder balls used on the motherboard start to crack and lose contact with the board. This prevents touch inputs from turning into the signals required to make the touchscreen work properly.

Most of the things that an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus owner can do to repair the issue are expensive. Buying a new phone or replacing the motherboard both come with a high price tag. It is less costly to replace the IC chips. The suggestions made by iFixit are pretty clear cut. If you still have a valid warranty, use it. If you’re out of warranty, go to a repair center that handles board-level repairs and have them replace the two Touch IC chips. This could be done for less than the price of a new iPhone. And some repair centers will also reinforce the motherboard to prevent them from flexing.

To see what this issue looks like live, click on the video at the top of this story.

source: AppleSupportForum, iFixit via Forbes

Bloomberg: Google’s VR platform Daydream to launch within weeks

VR equipment revenue will rise from $1 billion this year to $20 billion by 2020 according to Gartner

VR equipment revenue will rise from $1 billion this year to $20 billion by 2020 according to Gartner

Back in May, during Google I/O, the company introduced Daydream, its platform for VR.  According to a report published today by Bloomberg, Google has started sending out an update to Android users so that the operating system will support Daydream. Google is now expected to launch the platform in a matter of weeks.

Google has been investing in content from Hulu and certain YouTube stars. YouTube and HBO will be among the streaming apps that Daydream users will be able to turn to for VR video, along with sports-related content from Major League Baseball and the NBA. Video game companies have also teamed up with Google to make sure that the platform offers enough different VR options for consumers. After all, the more content that Google can provide to consumers through Daydream, the more VR users will be attracted to it and make it the preferred VR portal.

Besides offering a virtual storefront that will hawk apps, games and video clips, Daydream will also provide manufacturers with reference designs and specs. The idea is to give consumers a uniform VR experience that they can rely on when they see the Daydream logo. Besides offering these designs to other companies, Google plans on selling its own hardware as well. 

This is just the beginning for VR. According to research firm Gartner, VR equipment sales will hit $1 billion this year and soar to nearly $20 billion by 2020.

source: Bloomberg