Samsung

Samsung

Samsung share price soars to a record high

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Despite the Galaxy Note 7 recall and witnessing the biggest drop in its smartphone market share and sales this year, the stock price for Samsung Electronics hit a record high earlier today at 1.747 million won, or just under $1,500 a piece. The surge came after the company announced a list of measures to boost shareholder value in the short term, which added $9 billion to the company’s market valuation.

Earlier, Samsung announced up to $3.6 billion in dividend payouts this year, which could add up to $256 per share. This marks a 36 percent increase in payouts over last year, and the company has committed to returning 50 percent of its free cash flow to shareholders through dividends and treasury share buybacks in 2017 as well. While this strategy is good news for investors in the short term, Samsung is burning through around $10 billion in its cash reserve to keep shareholders happy.

The company is also reviewing the proposal to split its corporate structure into two separate businesses, a move that could be another boon for its stock price and simplify the company’s structure in the longer term. The new structure would see Samsung reorganized into one holding and one operating company, however a decision isn’t expected to be made for another six months. The split was initially proposed by US hedge fund and Samsung shareholder Elliott Management, which is keeping up the pressure for a split.

The day hasn’t all gone perfectly for the electronics giant though. The US Court of Appeals has rejected Samsung’s bid for a second hearing regarding its long running case over three iOS patent infringements. Samsung originally lost the case back in 2014, which related to auto-correct, quick links, and slide-to-unlock patents held by Apple for use with iOS. Samsung was ordered to pay $119.6 million at the time, which is a lot less than the $2.2 billion that Apple requested.

Samsung didn’t receive much support from the industry on the matter, with only the Computer & Communications Industry Association filing an amicus curiae brief in support. The brief suggested that blogger conspiracy theories and political gamesmanship influenced a previous reinstatement decision, which the court doesn’t appear to have taken to kindly to.

Samsung Electronics will review the possibility of a split; final decision in 6 months

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Yesterday, we reported that Samsung Electronics is thinking of splitting into two companies. By doing so, it would simplify its complex corporate structure and more importantly, increase the value of its stock. According to the US-based activist hedge fund Elliott Management, it is currently undervalued by as much as 70 percent.

The split, along with quite a few other things, was proposed by Elliot Management a while ago. At the time, Samsung said it would respond to the recommendation by the end of November. The biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world has now released an official statement on the topic, saying that it will indeed review the possibility of splitting the company into a holding firm and an operating unit, but will need some time to do so.

As this is quite a complex undertaking, Samsung has hired external advisors who will help it conduct a thorough review of the optimal corporate structure. The process will take at least six months to complete and after it is finished, the company will announce its decision.

See also:

Samsung trademarks a male and female voice assistant called Bixby and Kestra

4 days ago

In addition, Samsung has calmed its investors down a bit by announcing further enhancements to its shareholder return program. It will return 50 percent of free cash flow to investors in 2016 and 2017 and increase dividends by 30 percent when compared with 2015.

It will also initiate quarterly dividend payments starting in April 2017 and review its cash position every three years. Any excess cash beyond its target balance will be returned to shareholders.

So we’ll have to wait for at least another six months to see how this story pans out – but it’s a story worth keeping an eye on. According to Samsung, the decision to split could go either way, but market experts expect that it will happen as the split would greatly benefit the founding Lee family.

The Galaxy S8 may provide better selfies thanks to autofocus implementation

 

The Samsung Galaxy S8’s front-facing camera may include autofocus (AF) functionality, according to a report from Korean news site etnews. Samsung would implement the feature, which automatically adjusts camera lenses to provide the most advantageous focus-level according to a subject’s position, as the challenge to offer better smartphone photo quality increases.

AF functionality is often included in rear-facing smartphone cameras – typically used for a wider range of purposes than front-facing cameras – however implementing it is costly. As front-facing cameras are generally used for close proximity subjects, like in selfies or video-calling, many manufacturers haven’t considered AF to be crucial there in the past.

See also:

Samsung Galaxy S8 to have 90% screen-to-body ratio?

4 weeks ago

“People are starting to take more selfies and number of demands for cameras that take selfies with higher qualities is increasing,” an industry representative told etnews. “It is heard that Samsung Electronics has decided to [include autofocus] for Galaxy S8 in order to differentiate its flagship Smartphone.”

etnews also reports that Samsung will use a slimmer technology for its front camera’s autofocus module compared to the rear camera’s to ensure that it doesn’t stick out. Other recent Samsung Galaxy S8 rumors suggest it will come with a bezel-less display and an all-new digital assistant similar to Siri and Google Now.

Samsung Pay launch in UK delayed to 2017

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Samsung Pay, the mobile payment service, first launched in South Korea and the US in 2015. The biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world has since expanded the service, as it is currently also available in Spain, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, and a few other countries.

At the beginning of the year, Samsung promised that it will also bring the popular payment service to the UK by the end of 2016. But unfortunately, it looks like that’s not going to happen. According to The Telegraph, the company recently confirmed that the launch date of Samsung Pay has been pushed back. Samsung plans on releasing it next year but hasn’t given a more specific time frame as to when that might happen.

See also:

Android Pay vs Apple Pay vs Samsung Pay Overview

April 27, 2016

Supposedly, the main reason for the delay is that Samsung is still negotiating with banks in the UK. These things apparently take a bit more time than the South Korean giant expected. But we do believe that the company is trying its hardest to bring the service to the UK, where it will go head to head with Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Do you see yourself using Samsung Pay when it hits the UK in 2017, or will you still be sticking to more conventional payment methods for now? Let us know in the comments below.

Samsung Pay launch in UK delayed to 2017

0

Samsung Pay, the mobile payment service, first launched in South Korea and the US in 2015. The biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world has since expanded the service, as it is currently also available in Spain, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, and a few other countries.

At the beginning of the year, Samsung promised that it will also bring the popular payment service to the UK by the end of 2016. But unfortunately, it looks like that’s not going to happen. According to The Telegraph, the company recently confirmed that the launch date of Samsung Pay has been pushed back. Samsung plans on releasing it next year but hasn’t given a more specific time frame as to when that might happen.

See also:

Android Pay vs Apple Pay vs Samsung Pay Overview

April 27, 2016

Supposedly, the main reason for the delay is that Samsung is still negotiating with banks in the UK. These things apparently take a bit more time than the South Korean giant expected. But we do believe that the company is trying its hardest to bring the service to the UK, where it will go head to head with Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Do you see yourself using Samsung Pay when it hits the UK in 2017, or will you still be sticking to more conventional payment methods for now? Let us know in the comments below.

Samsung Pay launch in UK delayed to 2017

0

Samsung Pay, the mobile payment service, first launched in South Korea and the US in 2015. The biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world has since expanded the service, as it is currently also available in Spain, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, and a few other countries.

At the beginning of the year, Samsung promised that it will also bring the popular payment service to the UK by the end of 2016. But unfortunately, it looks like that’s not going to happen. According to The Telegraph, the company recently confirmed that the launch date of Samsung Pay has been pushed back. Samsung plans on releasing it next year but hasn’t given a more specific time frame as to when that might happen.

See also:

Android Pay vs Apple Pay vs Samsung Pay Overview

April 27, 2016

Supposedly, the main reason for the delay is that Samsung is still negotiating with banks in the UK. These things apparently take a bit more time than the South Korean giant expected. But we do believe that the company is trying its hardest to bring the service to the UK, where it will go head to head with Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Do you see yourself using Samsung Pay when it hits the UK in 2017, or will you still be sticking to more conventional payment methods for now? Let us know in the comments below.

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

When major versions of Android are announced, it normally takes third-party OEMs a few months to update their devices with the latest version. Motorola and LG are normally two of the first manufacturers to release updates to their devices, while others, such as HTC and Samsung, tend to lag behind a bit.

This year, though, Samsung began rolling out a beta version of Android 7.0 Nougat to its flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge devices before many other manufacturers could. If you’re lucky enough to own one of these devices and are wondering what to expect, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at Android 7.0 Nougat (beta) on the Galaxy S7 Edge.

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Android 7.0 Nougat review: an Android version for Android fans

October 21, 2016

First thing’s first – want to test out Android Nougat on your S7 or S7 Edge? You can! Just make sure you have an active Samsung account and the Galaxy Beta Program app installed (it can be downloaded through Samsung’s Galaxy Apps store). Alternatively, users can download the Samsung Members app which is available in the Google Play Store or Galaxy Apps depending on the region. Once you’re signed up, just wait for a software update to arrive for your device. That’s it. Once the update is complete, your device will be running the latest version of Android.

Before we get into what’s new in Nougat, let’s first talk about something many users are curious about:

Just how stable is Android 7.0 (beta) on the Galaxy S7 Edge?

Very. Unlike the experience you’d get with other software preview programs, this build (NRD90M to be exact) is extremely stable. Personally, I’ve found day-to-day performance to be a breeze, and I haven’t experienced much lag at all.

With that said, if you do opt to test it out, don’t be surprised if an app crashes here or there.

Now let’s talk about what changes Nougat brings to the table. To start, let’s focus on improvements in the user interface:

UI improvements galore

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Nougat on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge brings along with it a good amount of improvements and tweaks throughout the user interface. New animations, a completely revamped settings menu, and a new font are just some of the things you’ll notice right off the bat.

Samsung has been changing the way it approaches its TouchWiz interface for years now, and we’re seeing even more changes to the interface with Nougat. Everything is cleaner, simpler, and much more easy to use, which is a huge step up from TouchWiz in years past.

Pulling down the notification shade for the first time, you’ll notice a lightly-colored row of quick settings below the date and time. Pulling down once more will open the quick settings menu, which is now completely customizable. Why is this good news? If, for example, you don’t want to keep a rarely-used quick settings tile (like Smart View or Ultra Power Saving Mode) front and center, you can now remove it.

Blue Light Filter

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Ever since the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung has been working hard to bring a number of features found in the Note 7’s Grace UX to the S7 lineup. One of the most useful features Samsung was able to bring over to the S7 line is the new blue light filter. In case you’re unfamiliar, blue light filters reduce the amount of blue light emitted from your screen, which allows for less eye strain particularly at night.

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

You can toggle the blue light filter on and off by tapping the quick settings tile. A long-press of the quick settings tile will take you to the blue light filter settings, where you can change the opacity and set which time you’d like it to turn on or off. You have the option to set a custom schedule for the filter, or it can turn on and off automatically with the sunset and sunrise.

Revamped settings menu

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Gone are the days of giant, confusing settings icons.

One other stark change with Nougat is a revamped settings menu. The entire menu is now in list format, which makes the menu much easier to navigate. Each category is listed in bold font with a short description of what you’ll find in that category. For instance, under the Display category, you’ll find “brightness, blue light filter, font” settings and more.

One other notable addition to the settings menu: if you’re looking for a particular setting but can’t seem to find it, you’ll get little suggestions at the bottom of each settings page that will help point you in the right direction. If you’re in the Display category, for instance, and can’t seem to find what you’re looking for, you can find a small prompt at the bottom of the settings page with suggestions. Simply tap on one of those suggestions to jump right to that page.

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

SamsungOne

You might also notice the font looks a bit different. That’s because the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are now using the company’s SamsungOne font, which was unveiled back in June 2016. Samsung says SamsungOne isn’t just a font; it’s a family of scripts that covers 26 writing systems, more than 400 languages and over 25,000 glyphs. Overall, the font seems clean, legible and Samsung-y. For reference, check out the image of Google’s Roboto font compared to SamsungOne:

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

New animations

The S7 Edge’s user interface has been quite snappy overall, and that’s thanks to the new animations Samsung threw in with Nougat. Below we’ve attached a short video showing these new animations in action:

Device Maintenance

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 EdgeSamsung also included a new Device Maintenance tool, which can be found in the device’s settings menu. What does it do, exactly? If your phone is running slowly, draining battery too quickly or experiencing any other normal smartphone problems, this new tool will help find the culprit. Once you open it up, it’ll automatically begin running a test. Your device will then be given a performance score out of 100. You can choose the Optimize now button which will fix the errors, or tap on the separate categories at the bottom of the screen to get more granular information.

In my experience, this new Device Maintenance tool has done a good job at finding the obvious things. Most of the time it will offer up suggestions to close background apps, clear cached data, or some other semi-obvious outlier. This feature won’t be for everyone, but it’s there if you need it.

Also, if you need help remembering to clear these things out regularly to help with device performance, you can add a Device Maintenance shortcut to your home screen.

Performance Mode

Since none of us use our phones in the same way, Samsung has added in a few new modes that will cater to those who spend more time gaming, watching videos, and more. Your Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge should be in Normal mode by default, but you can easily switch to a different mode that will better suit your needs by heading to the Device Maintenance app and tapping on Performance Mode.

Depending on which mode you select, your phone’s settings will change to better cater to that profile. For instance, choosing Entertainment mode will result in your display increasing to 100% brightness, your screen resolution increasing to WQHD, and your video enhancer and UHQ upscaler being turned on.

New display settings

Samsung is giving users the option to scale down their displays to a lower resolution

With Android 7.0 Nougat, Samsung is giving users the option to scale down their displays to a lower resolution. Under the Display portion of the settings menu, you can opt for the full WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution, or bring it down to FHD (1920 x 1080) or HD (1280 x 720). This feature first debuted on the Galaxy Note 7, which offered users more screen resolution options as part of the phone’s Power Saving Mode.

It’s worth noting that the latest Android 7.0 beta scales down the display to 1080p by default, so you’ll need to manually change it back to Quad HD if you’d like to take full advantage of the high resolution display.

See also:

Latest Nougat beta for the Galaxy S7 defaults to 1080p display

5 days ago

Improvements to Always On Display

This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Last but not least, Samsung included some improvements to the Always On Display that makes it a little more functional.

Samsung’s Always On Display has been one of the most customizable implementations among Android manufacturers, though it’s been pretty useless if you need to actually interact with anything on your screen. Previous versions of the Always On Display would show when your phone receives a new notification, but there was no easy way to jump to that notification if you wanted.

Now Samsung’s Always On Display can jump right to a notification with a simple double-tap. It took a pretty long time for this feature to arrive, but I’m really thankful it’s finally here.

Other Nougat goodness

There’s a lot more where that came from. Samsung packed a lot of good stuff in this update, some of which we’ve already talked about in our Android 7.0 Nougat review. With Android Nougat, you’ll see improvements to multi-window and the ability to quickly switch between apps with a double tap of your recent apps key. You’ll also be able to directly reply from notifications without jumping into the app, as well as take advantage of bundled notifications.


Overall, I’ve been enjoying Android 7.0 Nougat on the Galaxy S7 Edge. Not only has Samsung brought its users a solid, feature-rich beta experience, but the company is building this version with user feedback. It’ll be interesting to see what features make it into the final, consumer-ready version of Nougat, and what features are left out.

Are you liking what you see so far with Nougat on the S7 and S7 Edge? Be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s Grace UI is rolling out to Note 5 units in South Korea

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is no longer on sale (not officially anyway) but the Grace UI that was included in the ill-fated smartphone is making a comeback. The company has quietly started rolling out an update for its year-old Galaxy Note 5 phone in South Korea, specifically for Korea Telecom-branded units, which includes the Grace UI used for the Note 7.

See also:

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is dead: what’s next?

October 11, 2016

Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s Grace UI is rolling out to Note 5 units in South Korea

The UI update, which is included in new firmware for the Note 5 with the version number KKU2CPI1, was spotted first by a member of the XDA Developer forums. It adds a number of features to the Note 5 such as Ultra Power Saving Mode, Blue Light Filter, and much more. The update also has a number of other bug fixes and improvements beyond the Grace UI.

There’s no word yet on when, or even if, Note 5 owners in other parts of the world will be getting this over-the-air update. There’s also no info on whether Samsung was already planning to bring the Grace UI to the Note 5 or if it decided to make it available to those phone owners after the Note 7 was recalled.

Samsung is already planning to release an even bigger update for Note 5 owners, which will bring the Android Nougat update to the smartphone – a very nice consolation prize indeed. Unfortunately, there’s no word on a specific date for that major update.

Are you happy to see Grace UI on the Note 5? or did you prefer the old UI?

Samsung’s third Android Nougat beta update for the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge now rolling out

A few weeks ago, Samsung announced its Galaxy Beta program in the US and the UK, which enables a few Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge users to try out an early version of Android Nougat on their devices and provide feedback on the experience.

By the looks of it, Samsung has really been paying attention to all the feedback it received. The tech giant has recently released a new Nougat update — the third so far — that brings a few nifty little features to its flagship devices.

The new update allows you to change the layout of the Quick Settings panel toggles, as you’re able to select between three different grid layouts — 3×3, 4×3, and 5×3. You can also choose to place the Brightness slider above the toggles for easy access or “hide” it in the expanded notification view. For some strange reason, Samsung has removed the Edge feed panel, but will probably bring back an improved version of it with the next update.

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Samsung has also made a few other small usability improvements — lock screen, multi-window, notifications etc — and fixed a few bugs in the process. However, the update is not without its faults. According to Samsung, some users may experience a problem with the screen. After you wake up the device, the screen won’t light up immediately (sound familiar?), which may pose a real problem for some.

The update is currently being rolled out to users in the UK, but we assume that it will soon be available on Galaxy S7/S7 Edge devices across the pond as well. If you get your hands on it, do let us know your first impressions in the comments below.

Samsung trademarks a male and female voice assistant called Bixby and Kestra

The rumored Samsung Galaxy S8 voice assistant already had a name: Bixby. But now it has a feminine alter ego by the name of Kestra (another Star Trek reference – Kestra was Deanna Troi’s older sister). New trademark documents reveal identical applications other than the name, revealing that Samsung is an equal opportunity AI employer.

Trademark filings don’t always pan out to anything in the real world, with many OEM’s “camping” on terms they may or may not ever take to market. But considering all we’ve heard about the Galaxy S8’s AI virtual assistant, there’s no reason to doubt we won’t have a male and female voice option when the Galaxy S8 arrives around MWC 2017.

Samsung trademarks a male and female voice assistant called Bixby and Kestra

The trademark applications, filed in both South Korea and Europe, relate to “interactive computer software,” “speech recognition software” and, most tellingly: “computer software for enabling hands-free use of a mobile phone through voice recognition”. Hit the source link if you want to peruse the documents for yourself.

Samsung has also applied to trademark multiple spelling variations for Bixby, including Bix-bee, Bix-by, Bix:)bee and Bix:)by. Meanwhile, SamMobile claims to have information related to Bixby Pay, a voice-based payment system that will also arrive with the Galaxy S8. Stay tuned for more Galaxy S8 rumors as we close out the year and get closer to go time.

Would you use a voice-based payment system?