Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

2016 in review: 10 defining moments in the world of Android

2016 will surely be entered in the annuls of history as annus horribilis. But for the Android world at least, the tragic lows have been counterbalanced by equally euphoric highs. From the emergence of the outstandingly good Pixel phones at the expense of the Nexus program to the all-too-brief reign of the Galaxy Note 7, the year has been bittersweet. In what can only be described as one of the most tumultuous years for Android on record, here are ten defining moments of 2016.

See also:

15 best Android apps released in 2016

20 hours ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall

Easily the biggest Android event of 2016, the global sales halt and subsequent total recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was the Android story of the year. It had everything: the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones, explosions, mystery and arguably the best Android phone ever to have graced our pockets. As unfortunate as it was unprecedented, the Galaxy Note 7 recall will remain a black spot on 2016 not only for Samsung but for Android in general.

Google gets in the hardware game and Nexus dies

If you had asked most Android fans a year ago (at peak Nexus 6P popularity) if they’d want to drop the Nexus program in favor of Google-built hardware, you’d probably have been lucky to get more than one hand in ten raised. But Google clearly thought it was a good move and graced us with the Pixel phones this year, sadly at the expense of the Nexus program. Nexus fans are justifiably miffed, but there’s no denying the Pixel has proven it was a risky bet that has already paid off in spades.

2016 in review: 10 defining moments in the world of Android

CyanogenMod breathed its last

Almost as long as there has been Android there has been CyanogenMod, with the custom ROM even pre-dating the Nexus program. But Steve Kondik took some risks that unfortunately didn’t pay off as well as Google’s Pixel punt. Arguably getting mixed up with folks he would have been better off avoiding, the fate of the various Cyanogen properties has looked grim for a while now. The recent announcement that Cyanogen Inc. will shut its doors by December 31 demolished the infrastructure of CM with it, marking the end of an era. Thankfully the soul of CM will live on as Lineage OS.

“Cheap” phones got redefined, again

The definition of a “cheap” Android phone has been steadily rewritten in recent years, perhaps starting with the game-changing Moto G. That same impulse – offering rock solid performance at a rock bottom price – has officially reached the mid-range too, with more and more “high-end” phones priced like mid-rangers. Despite diminutive price tags, these phones deliver similar specs and performance as their more expensive competition. The honor 8, OnePlus 3 and ZTE Axon 7 are obvious examples in 2016, a year when an awesome phone no longer had to be an expensive phone.

2016 in review: 10 defining moments in the world of Android

The Xiaomi Mi Mix shows OEMs what users want

Xiaomi has never really been known for its original smartphone design, fitting comfortably into that dated Chinese approach of cloning popular device designs. But all that changed with the Mi Mix, a concept phone that took everyone by surprise, not least because it miraculously avoided being leaked in advance of its announcement. A phone this cool, this futuristic, has been on every Android fans mind for years, and while we’ve seen similar phones before, the Mi Mix will be remembered as the phone that ushered in the era of the bezel-less smartphone.

Pokemon Go takes the world by storm

To say Pokemon Go has had a troubled childhood would be an understatement. If it were a teen idol it would’ve been in rehab twice by now. But despite a painfully slow global rollout, launching in a bizarre half-finished state with nowhere near enough server infrastructure, requiring a permanent connection to a battery pack and offending its most dedicated fans at almost every turn, Pokemon Go was the game of 2016. Augmented reality has been around for years, but it wasn’t until Pokemon Go that regular folks fully understood what it was. That, and it made $600 million in a couple of months.

2016 in review: 10 defining moments in the world of Android

Nokia sells its brand to HMD Global

Nokia finally gave up the hardware ghost after a misguided OS bet on Windows Phone that resulted in Microsoft selling off the company for spare parts in early 2016. Fortunately, the branding rights to the Nokia name went to a newly-formed company called HMD Global Oy, a hastily constructed mishmash of Nokia veterans committed to keeping the flame alive. With tons of experience and a deep-seated love for the Nokia of old under their belts, HMD is promising new Nokia-branded devices in 2017. They’ll be running Android and will have the whole world watching when they are eventually unveiled at MWC 2017.

BlackBerry sells its brand to TCL

With the Priv, BlackBerry presented itself as a potential Android manufacturer to pay attention to. But the Priv didn’t quite fly and the next couple of Android-based follow ups were equally overpriced. With one last BlackBerry-built device planned for 2016, the company has now sold its naming rights to TCL Communications, meaning come 2017 there will be no more BlackBerry-designed devices from the iconic Canadian company. BlackBerry will now focus on software, security and enterprise and TCL will take a punt at getting BlackBerry-branded hardware up and running on Android.

2016 in review: 10 defining moments in the world of Android

OnePlus returns to form, twice

When OnePlus’ follow up to the breakout OnePlus One failed to even outdo 2015 flagships, it looked like the company’s “flagship killer” promise might have been misguided. But with lesson in humility learned, OnePlus returned with a vengeance in 2016, delivering outstanding phones in both the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. OnePlus offended a lot of its core fans by releasing an updated device just a few months after the first, but OnePlus has practically turned stepping on toes into an art form. And when the results are as good as the OnePlus 3T, a few bruised toes are a small price to pay.

Project Ara dies and modules face an uncertain future

For a while it looked like 2016 might be the year of the module. With Project Ara on the horizon, the LG G5‘s modular slot design and the Moto Z‘s magnetic version, modules had officially arrived. But then no one bought the G5 or its Friends, Project Ara got scrapped entirely and Moto Mods found themselves the only residents left in an overpriced graveyard populated by ghosts. Lenovo may now be the best company doing modules, but it might also be the only company doing them next year.

2016 in review: 10 defining moments in the world of Android

Bonus mention: Android apps on Chrome OS

This may not have registered too highly on most folks’ radar this year, but bringing the million-plus Android apps to Chrome OS devices suddenly made Chromebooks even more compelling. Already massively popular for offering great performance at an almost laughably low price, Chromebooks have already become the default option for education and business, with Chromebooks outselling Macs for the first time in 2016. With Google Play’s massive app library now available, Chrome OS and Chromebooks are only going to get bigger.

Wrap up

2016 was a year of game-changing events: from the end of CyanogenMod, Nexus and Project Ara to imminent rebirths for BlackBerry, Nokia and Lineage OS. Affordable phones held their own against expensive rivals better than they ever have before and finally all major flagships raised the bar on camera performance. Google Now/Now on Tap essentially got supplanted by Google Assistant, AR and AI was everywhere and tablets and smartwatches were nowhere.

Qualcomm became reliable again, Alphabet was briefly the most valuable company in the world and Samsung’s crown prince finally ascended to the board of directors before losing face in the wake of the South Korean presidential impeachment scandal. Nougat arrived, the Note 7 departed and we all looked like idiots in VR headsets (when we weren’t busy talking to our speakers that is).

HTC, Sony and Moto largely dropped off the radar, only to be replaced by Pixel, Huawei and Xiaomi. Headphone ports became an endangered species, smartwatches saw signs of life with Google promising new Android Wear 2.0 watches in early 2017 and everyone and their dog ran beta previews for Android 7.0. It was a wild rollercoaster of a year, no doubt, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

What did we miss and what are you predicting for 2017?

T-Mobile rolls out battery shutdown update to remaining Galaxy Note 7s

Samsung’s previously announced plan to kill the battery in the remaining active Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in the US has begun. T-Mobile is the first of the four major carriers to begin rolling out the battery shutdown update for the recalled phone.

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Best T-Mobile Android phones

2 weeks ago

T-Mobile’s support page for the Note 7 states that the update’s version number will be N930TUVU2APL2. The changelog says that the update will offer an on-screen reminder to owners of the phone about the recall order, along with what steps they should take to send back the Note 7.  Once the update is installed, the changelog says it will “prevent the charge ability of the device.”

This latest update to the phone is meant to encourage the remaining Note 7 owners to turn in the smartphone, after it was discovered that many of its units started catching on fire or even exploding soon after it was launched. AT&T and Verizon will begin rolling out the same update to its Note 7 phones on January 5, while Sprint plans to do the same on January 8. Samsung said a few weeks ago that 93 percent of Note 7 devices in the US have already been turned in following the recall order.

Galaxy Note 7 recall may not hurt Samsung’s profits in Q4 2016

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The recall of the Galaxy Note 7 in October was certainly not something that was desired by the leaders at Samsung. However, it looks like the exploding phone may not prove to be a huge hit on the company’s profit line.

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Samsung Galaxy S8: all the rumors in one place

2 weeks ago

According to financial analysts in Samsung’s home country of South Korea, the company could see its highest profits in the past three years. Korea Times reports that both IBK Securities and HMC Investment Securities are projecting Samsung will see an operating profit of 8.7 trillion won in the fourth quarter of 2016. Two more firms, Kium Securities and Hyundai Securities, have predicted a slightly lower profit of 8.5 trillion won, but that’s still higher than Samsung’s profit of 5.2 trillion won in the third quarter of 2016. It’s important to know that these are just predictions from analysts and have not yet been confirmed by Samsung.

Those same analysts believe that Samsung’s semiconductor business will help turn around the company, thanks in part to strong prices in memory chips. A previous prediction claimed that Samsung’s overall profit could be as high as 36.8 trillion won ($30.95 billion) in 2017.

Samsung is trying to move on from the Galaxy Note 7 debacle and onto its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, which may be officially announced by the company in April.

Samsung aiming to achieve highest ever operating profits next year

Samsung is aiming to achieve its highest ever operating profits next year, according to a report from Business Korea. The news arrives during one of Samsung Electronics biannual global strategy meetings, running from December 19-22, throughout which the company is expected to discuss the current market conditions and strategy for 2017.

An “official familiar with Samsung Electronics” told Business Korea that Samsung’s plans would allow it to “exceed” its record 36.8 trillion won (US$30.95 billion) operating profits from 2013. The official said that “the price of semiconductors and displays is rising and the dollar remains strong,” and that this would help Samsung “increase exports.”

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Samsung reportedly considering LG batteries for Galaxy Note 8

21 hours ago

Samsung was on course to smash the 30 trillion won barrier once again in 2016 before the Galaxy Note 7 cancellation caused a setback. Samsung is now working on its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, and has made calls for its employees to stop leaking confidential product information as it makes attempts to ensure its successful launch.

Galaxy Note 7 reportedly still being used more than LG V20, HTC Bolt and OnePlus 3T

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 may have been recalled, but the explosive smartphone still has plenty of users out there, at least according to mobile research firm Apteligent. In the firm’s  “2016 Mobile Year in Review” report, it claims that global use of Samsung’s phone is still higher than many high profile phones that have been recently launched.

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Samsung brand escaped the Note 7 recall untainted, poll finds

4 weeks ago

The report, which takes a look at phones that were released in the second half of 2016, claims Note 7 usage has exceeded those of the LG V20, the HTC Bolt and the OnePlus 3T. However, other phones launched during that time, including the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, and the Sony Xperia XZ, are currently exceeding Note 7 use, according to the report.

Keep in mind that these stats are just for phones that were released in the second half of the year; it’s likely that other phones launched earlier, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, are still doing very well. Also, some of the phones on this list have had limited availability, such as the LG V20, which has yet to be released to Europe.

Samsung has been trying to cut down on the number of Galaxy Note 7 devices through its recall program. It has rolled out updates to the Galaxy Note 7 in Canada, New Zealand and Australia that have cut off its Wi-Fi and cellular data. In Europe, it plans to release an update that will cut its battery charging power down to 30 percent of its normal amount. This month, an update for the US market will begin to roll out that will keep the phone from charging completely.

What do you think about this report, surprising or not? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Samsung has reportedly finished its Galaxy Note 7 battery investigation

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It seems that the Note 7 battery saga may finally be behind us, as the company fully puts the issues behind them and marches forward to what is next. A new report claims that Samsung has completed its internal investigation on the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7, and has turned over its findings to third-party labs like Korea Testing Laboratory and UL.

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Samsung will kill remaining Note 7’s in the US on Dec 19

7 days ago

The report, from the Korea-based The Investor, does not offer any information on what Samsung discovered during its Note 7 battery examination. Previously, the company indicated that it would release its findings to the public before the end of 2016. A third-party teardown of the Note 7 claims that the phone’s design did not allow for enough internal space for the large battery. That may have lead to a pressure build-up inside the phone, which could be the reason why some of them caught fire and exploded.

Even when Samsung does release its finding about the Note 7, there are sure to be tons of questions as to why the phone was allowed to ship with this issue without proper testing beforehand. The battery issues were discovered very soon after the phone began shipping in September. Samsung has since stopped selling the Note 7 and has issued a full recall of all of the units that have been shipped or sold to customers.

While Samsung says the vast majority of Note 7 units have been returned, it is taking steps to make sure the few that are still out in the wild are rendered useless, or very close to unusable. It is rolling out updates to those phones in Canada, New Zealand and Australia that cut off its Wi-Fi and cellular data. In Europe, it plans to release an update that will cut its battery charging power down to 30 percent of its normal amount. Later this month, an update for the US market will begin to roll out that will keep the phone from charging completely.

Verizon will roll out Galaxy Note 7 battery killing update after all

It looks like the few remaining Samsung Galaxy Note 7 owners on Verizon will get that promised battery killing update after all. The carrier has quietly confirmed it will roll out that update on January 5, after previously stating it would not be participating in Samsung’s update program designed to encourage Note 7 owners to turn in the recalled device.

See also:

US Note 7 return rate at 93%

3 days ago

Last week, Verizon stated flat out it would not be releasing the update that Samsung has created for all Note 7 phones in the US that are still in circulation. The update will not allow the phone to charge its battery after it is applied, which will basically make the smartphone useless. At the time, Verizon said its decision not to release the update was due to its view that it will offer “added risk” to its Note 7 owners that don’t have another device to switch to.

Now, the carrier’s support page for the Note 7 has shown a change of heart, stating the update will indeed be pushed out on its network on January 5. Verizon stated it is waiting until that date so that Note 7 owners can “contact family, first responders, and emergency medical professionals during the holiday travel season.”

Samsung said it will release the Note 7 battery killing update on December 19, with T-Mobile following suit on December 27. AT&T will join Verizon and roll out the update on January 5, while Sprint plans to do the same on January 8.

US Note 7 return rate at 93%, as US carriers reveal plans for upcoming kill-off

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Samsung is trying its best to convince Galaxy Note 7 users around the globe to return their devices for safety reasons. On average, around 90 percent of them have already done so, while the rest have decided to take the risk and keep using the device.

To make sure we don’t see or hear about another Galaxy Note 7 fire incident, Samsung has already effectively killed off its phablet in a few countries – New Zealand, Australia, Canada. On Friday, Samsung announced it would follow the same path in the United States. The update will prevent Note 7 units from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices.

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Verizon won’t be rolling out Samsung Galaxy Note 7 shutdown update

3 days ago

The update will first be released on December 27 by T-Mobile. AT&T will follow soon after and will release it on January 5. Sprint will do the same three days later — January 8. Verizon, the biggest US carrier, has surprisingly decided not to join in and therefore won’t push the update to the Note 7 devices on its network.

In the US, more than 93 percent of users, which is above the global average, have already returned their Galaxy Note 7s. If you’re one of the remaining 7 percent, we advise you to do the same for safety reasons. You’ll be able to get a refund or exchange your Note 7 for a different Samsung device, including the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge.

So, what do you think about the update that will soon hit most of the remaining Galaxy Note 7 devices in the US? Is it the right thing to do? Let us know.

Verizon won’t be rolling out Samsung Galaxy Note 7 shutdown update

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Earlier today, Samsung confirmed that it will issue an update on Dec. 19 to all remaining Galaxy Note 7 phones in the US. The update will prevent the  device’s battery from charging, which will of course make the phone useless. As it turns out, one major US carrier won’t be rolling out that update: Verizon Wireless.

See also:

Why Samsung would be crazy to kill the Galaxy Note brand

October 27, 2016

In a statement, Verizon said the reason for its decision was that it feels Samsung’s update will put the few remaining Note 7 owners at “added risk” if they cannot quickly switch to another phone. It added:

We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation.

Verizon notes that the “vast majority” of its Note 7 owners have already turned in the recalled phone for another model and repeated its call for all those users to “immediately stop using their devices” and turn them in or exchange it for another phone. It’s very interesting move on Verizon’s part, and it makes sense they don’t want any of their users to be stranded if the Note 7 is their only phone. Then again, these users have been warned multiple times that they should return the phone, so some might argue that this update is necessary in order to get the remaining hold-out users onboard.

 

If you are a Note 7 owner with Verizon, how do you feel about the carrier taking a stand against offering Samsung’s shutdown update?

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 might be made useless in the US on December 15

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A new report claims that all remaining Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in the US will basically become useless on Thursday, December 15.  The company may potentially release an update to the phone that could disable the battery from charging.

See also:

How to return a Galaxy Note 7 bought second-hand

October 13, 2016

The report comes from The Verge, which states that a Note 7 owner on the US Cellular received the following message on his device:

As of December 15th, Samsung will modify the software to prevent the Galaxy Note 7 from charging. The phone will no longer work.

So far, US Cellular has not issued a comment on this report, and Samsung declined to comment. However, it certainly follows the pattern the company has followed to encourage people who still own the Galaxy Note 7 to turn in their phones, following its recall in October due to many of the devices exploding. Wireless carriers in Australia, New Zealand and most recently Canada have announced plans to cut off access to the Note 7 on that date as well.

Samsung previously released an update to the Galaxy Note 7 that restricted its battery charging to 60 percent of its full charge in the US. The company also stated that about 85 percent of US Note 7 owners have already turned in or traded the device as part of the recall order. It would appear that the few remaining holdouts will soon have a very expensive paperweight.

Are you still holding onto your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and, if so, will this reported move to disable the battery make you finally trade it in?