Samsung details the display on the Galaxy X foldable phone


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This will be the next big thing … at some point.

The mobile industry has been tracking this rumored Samsung “Galaxy X” prototype phone for several months, and while we don’t even know if that’s what the phone will actually be called, it’s what the current rumor mill has been spitting out. In any case, here’s what we know and what to look forward to with Samsung’s upcoming foldable smartphone.

The latest Galaxy X news

November 7, 2018 — Samsung details the specs for its Galaxy X foldable phone

Samsung showed off its foldable phone earlier today, and now the manufacturer has detailed some of the key aspects of the device. As noted by CNET’s Shara Tibken, the Galaxy X has a fold-out design that transforms the phone into a tablet, with the phone part featuring a 21:9 4.58-inch screen with a resolution of 1960 x 840.

In tablet mode, the screen extends to 7.3 inches with a ratio of 4.2:3 and a resolution of 2152 x 1352. The pixel density in both modes is 420PPI.

November 7, 2018 — Samsung is working with Google to develop guidelines for foldable devices

Samsung is partnering with Google to create developer guidelines for the “best experience” on foldable devices. In the short-term, Samsung will release an emulator that will let devs test how Android 9 Pie-based apps behave with changing screen sizes.

Starting with next year’s Android Q, Google will add support for foldable and multi-screen devices, and there will be an AOSP emulator that will allow for more fine-tuned testing.

November 7, 2018 — Samsung shows off its foldable display tech for the first time

The Samsung Developer Conference 2018 was held today, and while we didn’t get an actual product announcement for a foldable smartphone, we did see a live demo of how the foldable screen tech works.

Samsung’s calling its foldable panel “Infinity Flex,” and during the opening keynote, we saw a live demo of a device built with Infinity Flex. The gadget itself was hidden in a large case as to not reveal its actual design, but what we did see is that Infinity Flex has one display on the front, and when opened up, reveals a large 7.3-inch panel that’s not interrupted by any black bars or bezels.

Google’s already announced native Android support for foldable devices, and apps will be able to transition seamlessly from both the inside and outside of the display based on what you’re doing.

Mass production for Infinity Flex will begin on the coming phones, so while we’ll have to wait a little while longer before we can purchase one ourselves, we’re a heck of a lot closer to the long-awaited Galaxy X than ever before.

November 5, 2018 — Samsung begins teasing its upcoming foldable phone

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They did it. They finally did it! After years of endless back and forth rumors, Samsung’s officially begun marketing for its upcoming foldable phone.

If you take a look at Samsung Mobile’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, you’ll see that the profile picture has been changed to show the Samsung logo folded underneath itself — obviously hinting at the foldable Galaxy X smartphone.

It’s still unclear when exactly the Galaxy X will be announced, but a report from late last week claimed we’d learn more about the phone at Samsung’s developer conference that’s taking place on November 7 and 8.

October 12, 2018 — Samsung’s foldable phone will basically be a pocketable tablet

The folks at CNET recently had a chance to speak with DJ Koh (Samsung’s head of mobile) about the upcoming Galaxy X, and during their conversation, Koh offered some further details about what we can expect from the upcoming foldable phone.

Per CNET’s article:

DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung’s mobile business, said you’ll be able to use the device as a tablet with multitasking capability before being able to fold it up into a more portable phone.

We’ve been expecting that the Galaxy X will offer more screen real estate compared to traditional phones, so it’ll be interesting to see how close of a tablet experience it really is able to offer.

The Galaxy X is still scheduled to arrive at some point before 2018 is over, so stay tuned.

September 4, 2018 — Samsung confirms a folding phone will be launched this year

While there’s been no doubt that Samsung’s working on a foldable smartphone, one detail we haven’t had a definite answer on is when the thing will be released. That’s now changing, however, as the company’s CEO of its mobile division — DJ Kohn — confirmed to CNBC that a folding phone will launch at some point this year.

Koh told CNBC that “it’s time to deliver” and that Samsung has “nearly concluded” its development of the phone. We’re still uncertain how exactly the foldable nature will be implemented, but during IFA in Berlin, Kohn went on record saying:

You can use most of the uses … on foldable status. But when you need to browse or see something, then you may need to unfold it. But even unfolded, what kind of benefit does that give compared to the tablet? If the unfolded experience is the same as the tablet, why would they (consumers) buy it? So every device, every feature, every innovation should have a meaningful message to our end customer. So when the end customer uses it, they think ‘wow, this is the reason Samsung made it’.

July 18, 2018 — Galaxy X reported to fold in the shape of a wallet, might cost over $1,500

A report from The Wall Street Journal surfaced this morning outlining a few key details we can expect from the Galaxy X. When describing the design of the phone, part of the report notes that:

The screen can be folded in half, like a wallet, these people said. When folded, the exterior of the phone boasts a small display bar on the front and cameras in the back, they added.

Furthermore, it’s said that the Galaxy X has a screen that measures in at 7-inches diagonally.

As for pricing and availability, WSJ notes that the Galaxy X has “taken on a greater sense of urgency in recent months” and that its price tag could reach well beyond $1,500. The phone’s expected to be released at some point in early 2019.

All the big details

Samsung’s folding screen tech is called “Infinity Flex”

At its 2018 Developer Conference, Samsung announced that its foldable AMOLED panel is called “Infinity Flex.”

Infinity Flex consists of two different displays — a smaller one on the front that looks like a traditional phone, and when you open it up, there’s a large 7.3-inch panel inside. Unlike other foldable smartphones, the actual display is bending rather than a separate hinge. That means no black bars or bezels covering the display. It’s just one, gorgeous, uninterrupted screen.

Per Samsung’s announcement:

Users now have the best of both worlds: a compact smartphone that unfolds to reveal a larger immersive display for multitasking and viewing content. The app experience seamlessly transitions from the smaller display to the larger display as the device unfolds. Also, users can browse, watch, connect and multitask without losing a beat, simultaneously using three active apps on the larger display.

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The device seen in the pictures above is likely what we’ve been referring to as the “Galaxy X,” but that large, chunky body isn’t what it looks like. It’s simply a dummy case to hide what the phone’s real design, but the function of the foldable panel will work the same come launch time.

Samsung’s new Infinity Flex Display will hit mass production soon, enabling foldable phones of all kinds

Android natively supports foldable phones

Just before Samsung’s conference, Google officially announced support for foldable smartphones.

With this native support, apps will be able to adjust and rearrange themselves based on whether they’re being used on the smaller display or the larger, folded-out one.

Google’s referring to this process as “screen continuity” and is best to be thought of as an evolution of how elements on your screen move around when you go from portrait to landscape mode.

Mass production will begin in a few months

If you were hoping to rush out and buy Samsung’s foldable phone soon, you’re unfortunately going to have to wait a little while longer.

Samsung says that it’ll begin mass production of its Infinity Flex displays within the coming months, meaning we’re looking at a release at some point in 2019. We currently don’t have anything more specific than that, and while the price is unknown, don’t expect it to be cheap.

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Follow the yellow brick road? New pee-based ‘bio-bricks’ cut construction costs


What do you get when you mix human urine, loose sand, and bacteria? The answer is urine-based bio-bricks: A more environmentally friendly substitute for kiln-fired bricks, according to researchers at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Civil engineering master’s degree student Suzanne Lambert recently unveiled the newly formulated bricks. Similar to seashell formation, the bio-bricks result from a process called microbial carbonate precipitation.

When loose sand mixes with certain bacteria, the bacteria colonize and produce the enzyme urease. In the next step, urease breaks down the urea in urine. The same chemical reaction creates calcium carbonate, which binds or cements the sand mixture. The binding sand takes on the shape of the area, container, or mold in which it occurs.


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Lambert worked with fellow student Vukheta Mukhari and UCT senior lecturer in water quality engineering Dr. Dyllon Randall experimenting with various mold shapes and tensile, or binding, strengths. The goal was to create an innovative and environmentally friendly building material.

Creating the pee-bricks checks the boxes for environmental concerns. Kiln-fired regular bricks cook at 2,552 degrees Fahrenheit, which uses massive quantities of fuel and releases prodigious amounts of carbon dioxide. Bio-bricks, on the other hand, harden in molds at normal room temperatures.

It’s also simple to produce bio-bricks of different strengths, depending on their intended use.

“If a client wanted a brick stronger than a 40% limestone brick, you would allow the bacteria to make the solid stronger by ‘growing’ it for longer,” Randall said.

“The longer you allow the little bacteria to make the cement,” Randall continued, “the stronger the product is going to be. We can optimize that process.”

According to the UCT team, Lambert’s bio-bricks are the first time human urine has been used to make bricks, although earlier testing with urea took place in the U.S. with non-human urine.

While making bio-bricks, microbial carbonate precipitation also produces nitrogen and potassium as valuable by-products.

Large-scale human urine collection and transportation, plus human social acceptance, are significant logistical considerations in forwarding the bio-brick cause. The UCT students are optimistic about the urine-based building material’s future.

“This project has been a huge part of my life for the past year and a half, and I see so much potential for the process’s application in the real world. I can’t wait for when the world is ready for it,” Lambert said.

Oddly enough, this isn’t the first urine-based technology we’ve ever seen. Last year, Stanford University researchers showcased super efficient batteries powered by a urine by-product.

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Samsung cleans up its Android interface with One UI, replaces Samsung Experience


Samsung One UI

Details about Samsung’s upcoming foldable phone may have stolen the show at the Samsung Developer Conference keynote, but Samsung had some other news to show off. Namely, the company took the wraps off of a new Android skin for its phones going forward. The new skin is called One UI and apart from the sweet visual aspects it has on offer, it could make using your phone that little bit easier.

We were able to check out One UI for ourselves at the Samsung Developer Conference, and can confirm that the overall experience seemed very clean and stripped back. It’s not quite on the same level as stock Android — it still has Samsung apps and services — but compared to Samsung Experience, it’s much more basic, which is a good thing.


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In One UI, Samsung seems to be prioritizing being able to use your phone with one hand. Most of Samsung’s apps had the majority of their controls at the bottom of the user interface, with other information — that you might not want or need to interact with — being found at the top. For example, when you open the Settings app, the top third of the interface simply says “Settings,” and offers a small button to activate search in the app. Scroll down, and the app will start to use that space — but the advantage is that it’s easy to tap a menu item with one hand. Other apps featured a similar layout, including the Clock app and Photos app.

We also saw a new “Dark Mode,” which gives apps a black background to make it easier to read elements on the screen in the dark without straining your eyes. Speaking of background colors, Samsung is also making the experience between software and hardware a little more uniform by color-matching aspects of the interface with the color of the phone itself. So, for example, if you buy a purple phone, you’ll find different purple user interface elements too.

Other changes to the software are less subtle. For example, in the Messages app the app will be split into two sections — a preview section and an “interaction area.” With these two sections, you’ll be able to select what messages you want to read, which will appear in the viewing area without opening a new screen.

While initially it wasn’t quite clear, Samsung confirmed to us that One UI is indeed aimed at being the successor to Samsung Experience, which is itself the successor to TouchWiz. It’s clear that Samsung has put a lot of work into creating a clean interface since the days of TouchWiz.

Samsung’s One UI will be available to the Galaxy S9, S9 Plus, and Note 9 in early January, and will presumably show up in Samsung’s other phones going forward.

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The MacBook Air’s battery is easier to replace, but you can’t do it at home


Source: MacRumors

To go along with the environmentally friendly theme of the new MacBook Air for 2018, Apple is making the battery easier to replace inside its latest laptop, though home users still may not be able to service the battery themselves. The process isn’t quite as simple as popping open the MacBook Air’s casing and swapping out a depleted battery for a new one, but in redesigning the notebook, Apple is giving service technicians the necessary tools to replace just the battery, rather than the whole top case.

Like Apple’s current crop of notebooks, including the MacBook and the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air’s battery is still affixed inside via glue. However, according to Apple’s service documents sent to its service providers and glimpsed by MacRumors, Apple, authorized service centers will now be given the tools to remove the battery and reinstall a new one should servicing be needed. “Once the new battery is installed, technicians are required to place the notebook in Apple’s existing iPhone display press tool to activate the new adhesive,” the publication reported. “The glue strips are exactly the same as those used for iPhone batteries.”

In the past, replacing internal components that required service technicians to also replace the top case contributed to increasing repair costs. A widely documented example of is the repair costs associated with Apple’s first- and second-generation butterfly switch keyboards. Because replacing the keyboard required replacing the top cover as well, keyboard repairs were reported to be twice as much as keyboard repairs on older Apple notebooks.

By allowing technicians to save the top case and just replace the battery, Apple is essentially reducing the cost and waste associated with repairs related to battery issues. Apple made a big deal about the MacBook Air’s design and environmental impact when it introduced the laptop in late October, with executives highlighting that the laptop is Apple’s first Mac made from 100 percent recycled aluminum. In addition to aluminum, Apple also claimed that the Air is made from 60 percent recycled plastic.

Though the process for replacing the battery is more complex than the older generations of MacBook Air, Apple may have had to rely on adhesives to keep the design of the laptop slim. On older models, the battery was secured by screws, which are accessible once the laptop was opened.

In addition to making battery repairs simpler for technicians and Apple’s own Genius Bar staff, the service guide also points out that the new larger trackpad and Touch ID sensor can also be individually replaced. On the MacBook Air, if the Touch ID fingerprint scanner fails, replacing the sensor no longer requires a full replacement of the logic board. However, Apple states that the laptop has to pass a diagnostics test for the repair to be completed.

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If you’re a gamer who depends on Nvidia for graphics, then G-Sync is probably high on your priority list. This monitor technology includes a specialized chip that helps the monitor get in sync with your Nvidia video card. It ensures a smoother image for your gaming experience, and once you’ve tried it, you won’t want to game without it.

So, if you’re looking for a new gaming monitor, G-Sync is important — and it’s something you should know about if you’re buying a monitor for a gamer friend, too. That’s why we’ve collected the top G-Sync monitors on the market for you to check out.

Acer Predator XB1 Gaming XB271HK ($660)

The best 4K G-Sync monitor

This 27-inch Acer Predator monitor is the ideal gaming monitor to handle everything, even without the bonus of G-Sync–although that helps! The excellent IPS UDH display offers a 60Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time (fairly common specs for a screen that offers such high resolution). It includes technology to reduce flickering and help your eyestrain as well! Like all Predator models, it’s designed to pivot, tilt, swivel and move up or down to accommodate basically any desk you can imagine. HDMI and DisplayPort connections are included. and the model includes 4 USB 3.0 ports for your accessories

Note we chose the 3,840 x 2,160 resolution model for this Predator, an ideal feature for serious gamers who want the best graphics. However, there are many different versions of the Predator monitor, allowing you to customize resolution and screen size.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

Asus ROG Swift PG279Q ($690)

The best 1440p G-Sync monitor

If you don’t mind spending a bit more for a high-quality display, this 27-inch ROG Swift model is one of the priciest on our list, but also one of the top displays available. It provides a WQHD IPS screen with a native 165Hz refresh rate and LED backlighting.

Built-in software includes flicker free and blue light filter options. The Swift models also have excellent tilt, swivel, pivot, height and mounting options. Both HDMI and DisplayPort ports are available. The ROG Swifts come in a variety of sizes and resolutions, but again we think that this model offers the best possible result for general use and gaming.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

Dell Gaming Monitor 24-inch ($375)

The best budget G-Sync monitor

Dell’s 24-inch model is a reliable G-Sync monitor that sacrifices a bit of screen space for a low price (you can upgrade to the 27-inch model for around $100 more, although at this point we suggest going with a Predator or ROG model instead). The screen includes top-notch stats, included QHD 2, 560 x 1,440 resolution, a 165Hz refresh rate, and a 1ms response time — with flicker free tech included.

We’re also enjoy the clean, utilitarian design: It can save space when necessary and expand or adjust when you need it, including tilt, pivot, swivel and height options. That also makes it an excellent monitor for linking multiple monitors together if you need some extra screen real estate

Buy it now at:

Amazon

Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor ($453)

The best high refresh-rate G-Sync monitor

Alienware’s 25-inch full HD monitor includes a native refresh rate of 240Hz, a 1ms response time, and a design that’s a lot more adjustable than it looks, with the traditional tilt, pivot, swivel and height options still firmly in place. Ports include DP1.2, audio out options, USB 3.0, and HDMI, but no DisplayPort.

There’s also a couple Alienware-specific features that you might be interested in. AlienFX is included, along with some extra LEDs that you can program to your heart’s content, and a dynamic on-screen display lets you quickly switch between preset gaming modes or make easy settings/multi-monitor changes.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

Acer Predator Z35 ($681)

The best ultrawide G-Sync monitor

Are you the sort of gamer looking for an ultrawide model instead? As you probably know, ultrawide models are excellent for immersion and have great compatibility with racing games, shooters that support wider aspect ratios, and other games where field of vision is important and there’s a lot of scenery to show off. The curved nature of this 35-inch Predator model is also effective at this, giving you more immersion and maybe even saving a little desk space at the same time.

The monitor offers full HD resolution, a 144z refresh rate via DisplayPort (60Hz via HDMI). Overclocking options are available to around 200Hz if you like to tinker. There are also five USB 3.0 port for your accessories. There’s even some ambient lighting at the edges of the monitor if you want extra light or just think it looks cool. This model is available in a number of sizes, but the 35-inch is the largest available, and the most bang for your buck.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

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