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Samsung edges ahead with the Galaxy S6

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Do Samsung's cutting-edge edges give it the edge?

After a disappointing run of results for its mobile division driven in part by indifferent response to recent product launches, Samsung needed to make a bold statement. 'Innovate, don't iterate', came the cry, 'but please, no more of those cheap plastic and leatherette backs, okay?'.  

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is that bold statement.  

Announced at Mobile World Congress alongside its flat-screened sister the Galaxy S6, the S6 edge confidently treads where no smartphone has ventured before.

Inevitably, the big draw is the display, the smooth edges of the rich 5.1-inch Quad HD screen lapping decadently around both sides of the handset's sharp metallic chassis. 

Thumbnail image for Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The aesthetic is without doubt one of beauty - Samsung has stolen the Android industrial design crown from an HTC now falling into its own samey design trap. Build quality feels excellent, with Gorilla Glass 4 protecting both front and rear - that's right, Samsung has turned its back on the plastic back and, frankly, good riddance. 

Turning its back on the plastic back - Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

However, the function and practical benefit of the handset's key point of difference is somewhat less clear, leading many to ask: what is the point of the edge?

Truth be known, not a lot. In fact there's the inescapable smell of software features that have been built around the edges simply to justify their inclusion. People Edge does bring updates from friends a touch closer, and the edge notifications are well presented if clumsily executed.

Cutting edge?

However, many of these edge functions are fundamentally foiled by the revelation that the display's edges don't curve far enough around the phone's body to be able to read content side on. 

Unlike the lop-sided Galaxy Note Edge revealed last September, so subtle is the curve here that when the phone is face down you can barely perceive the edge. At nighttime the edge promises a discrete alarm clock, and indeed in an otherwise dark room there is usefulness here face up or face down, but forget any ideas about reading notifications on that edge alone.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge front on

Beneath the edge, the hardware stacks up well. First of all it's nippy: Samsung has eschewed the hot-to-handle Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset in favour of its own snappy octacore Exynos 7420 processor. Supported by 3 GB RAM and up to 128 GB of storage, the S6 edge is a powerful unit. 

Samsung has improved on its biometric home button: now, simply placing your thumb on the lozenge is enough to read and unlock, no need for grand sweeping gestures. KNOX, Samsung's enterprise grade mobile security, gets an upgrade too. And for the first time in a Samsung smartphone wireless charging is integrated, supporting all major standards. A wireless charging pad is not included, however they are increasingly inexpensive online.

The flipside of cramming all this tech into such a tight unit is the dispatch of some much appreciated features: water resistance takes a dive, expandable storage gets dropped and the removable battery is discharged. Inbuilt storage options up to 128 GB plus 115 GB of cloud courtesy of Microsoft OneDrive may satisfy some, but water resistance might be a difficult step backwards for others.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Specs at a glance:

  • Display: 5.1-inch Quad HD (2560x1440) Super AMOLED
  • Processor: 64-bit Octacore Samsung Exynos 7420 (4 x ARM Cortex A57 @ 2.1 GHz, 4 x ARM Cortex A53 @ 1.5 GHz)
  • Storage: 32, 64 and 128 GB options (no expansion)
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Cameras: Rear 16 MP f/1.9 with Optical Image Stabilisation, front 5 MP
  • Power: Fixed 2600 mAh battery, integrated dual-mode wireless charging
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 GHz), HT80 and MIMO
  • Availability: The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge goes on sale on 10th April 2015.
  • Price: 64 GB from £760.00 inc VAT SIM free

Perhaps to compensate for the fixed battery Samsung is making much of its improved quick charging capabilities. The S6 edge, it is claimed, charges 1.5 times faster than previous S models, recouping 50% of its battery capacity with less than 30 minutes of charge, and four hours of usage from just 10 minutes.

Moving to the S6 edge's software, and the enterprise-friendly Android Lollipop 5.0 experience is responsive, clean and uncluttered. Samsung has significantly cut back on the bloatware that has blighted previous models, the TouchWiz UI now a help rather than a hindrance. Some core Microsoft productivity apps do get bundled, and McAfee VirusScan Mobile integration will be welcome to many.

Finally to the imaging hardware: a 16 MP camera with optical image stabilisation and fast f/1.9 lens stands proud from the rear of the handset, while a generous 5 MP sensor with selfie-friendly 120 degree spread hides on the front. Both are accessible in 0.7 seconds flat by a double tap of the home button.

Galaxy S6 edge software

With the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge you get arguably the best-looking and best-feeling Android smartphone to date, while under the bonnet it's one of the best-performing devices too. The much-lauded edges aren't genuinely functional in a way that will significantly change how you use the phone, however they will guarantee a steady stream of admirers eager to see, touch and feel it. 

If both brains and beauty are important to you then there's no better Android handset on the market right now; if looks can take a back seat then there's bags of personality both here and in the £100-cheaper, edge-less but almost identically-specified Samsung Galaxy S6.

CES 2015: Hands on with Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge smartphone

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The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge's curved touchscreen is in my opinion one of the strangest design choices for a smartphone to date.

The device has been available for some time now, but seeing it in the flesh I was able to test this concept first-hand and I became aware of how difficult the device is to use.


The curved screen real-estate itself is quite useful as it's easier to reach with your thumb, but it all depends on you holding the handset with your right hand.

So not only is the device inconvenient for left-handed people, but it's also too big. I would say if you're going to produce a smartphone with the purpose of having an easier-to-use touch screen you don't then develop a handset so big it doesn't fit in your hand.


The curved part of the screen acts as a sort of notifications bar so you can easily access everything going on, similar to the pull down feature on an iPhone or in the new LG Flex 2.

On a positive note, the 5.6 inch screen has an AMOLED Quad HD+ display that is super sharp, and colours are really vivid.

One of the more useful features of the phone is the ability to multi-task with split screening allowing you to look at two applications at the same time, which could be quite useful if watching video or taking notes from a presentation or web page.

The device, which runs Android, has a 16mp camera and dual SIM ports, as well as 3GB of RAM and up to 18 hours of battery time during medium usage.

And the device comes with a "new and improved" S Pen for using the touchscreen.

The bad news? It comes in at around £700, but it was announced this week the phone is available for a slightly cheaper price tag through Verizon in the US. Better start saving. 

IFA 2014: Samsung's first business tablet

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Samsung is well known for its consumer offerings, providing everything from TVs to connected fridges. So the technology firm surprised us all today when it announced its first ever business-focussed tablet designed for use in enterprises. 

The ruggedised Galaxy Tab Active has been developed for portable use in work environments with a focus on B2B industries such as retail, logistics and transport. 

Other tablets, such as the iPad Air, have features built in to make it easier for employees to use their devices at work, but they are still clearly consumer products. The Tab Active takes that one step further and combines features such as 8-10 hour battery life, KNOX and extended support, with an anti-shock cover. 

Galaxy Tab Active_5.jpg
Photo: Samsung

To make absolutely sure the tablet appealed to business customers, Samsung ran workshops with Fortune 500 companies to find out what was needed from a tablet for professionals. This is what they came up with:

When professionals are carrying around their tablet, they want to be able to drop it. This is what I've learnt from releases of products such as the Panasonic Toughpad. Suddenly when a device is used for work as opposed to personal tasks, we need to be able to make sure it will survive a nasty fall. The Galaxy Tab is shock-resistant, waterproof and resistant to dust and other nasties that can get stuck in cracks, so should be safe to use in every environment.

Replaceable battery
When you're out and about all day, you want to make sure your device is going to last in case you can't charge it. This device has 8-10 hour battery life and an easy to change battery to ensure the devices doesn't run out on you. It also has a built-in pogo pin charger to stop connectors getting mashed.

Hardware features
The built-in camera on this devices can be used as a barcode reader for use in the retail or logistic industry. The tablet also features NFC technology, comes with an input pen for ease of use and a cover designed for people who need to wear gloves when doing their jobs. 

Support is something that a lot of firms can struggle with when implementing a BYOD solution, as it can be difficult to get ongoing support contracts for the devices that employees want most. But, like most Samsung devices, the Galaxy Tab Active will have KNOX to ensure security. The device will also have an extended 3 year warranty and Mobile Care Service, and remote Smart Tutor Service to get technical support.

Specs at a glance
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Quad-Core Processor
  • Display: 8" WXGA(1280 x 800) TFT LCD
  • OS: Android Kitkat (4.4)
  • Memory: 1.5GB LPDDR3 + 16GB internal memory MicroSD up to 64GB
  • Size: 126.1 x 212.9 x 9.75mm / 388g

Samsung Simband - The future of health technology?

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All this week we've been hearing reports on how the health crisis in the UK is growing ever more serious and although there have been positive initiatives launched to help the sector, such as the health tech competition, progress in the industry still seems slow. 

Not to worry, because Samsung has come to the rescue with its "Digital Health Initiative", a project that uses open hardware and software platforms that will increase innovation and speed up development of technology in the personal healthcare technology industry.


The initiative will look into developing advanced sensors, algorithms and data analysis in order to allow consumers to better keep track of and understand their own health.

The firm has developed an open hardware design called Samsung Simband - the Samsung concept of how a smartband should be. The suggestion is that smartbands such as this could be used with the Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions (SAMI) concept, which will be a cloud-based open software platform capable of collecting data from various sources for analysis which can then be delivered to any other device.


Earlier this week Samsung's team from its Strategy and Innovation Centre demonstrated that the Samsung open platform can be used with wearable wristband hardware in order to track heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate. Data collected from these various sources can then be displayed in a format that will help users to better understand their health and how these measurements are affecting them.

There have already been a number of advancements in the wearable technology space including smart watches and smartbands that help to measure physical activity, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 is able to measure the user's heart rate, but no one device yet measures all of these at the same time,  which is exactly what Samsung hopes the combination of SAMI and designs such as the Simband will be able to do, all so that you can know what your body is trying to tell you about your health. 

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MWC 2014 FIRST LOOK: Samsung Galaxy S5

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Samsung has been very busy this year, having already launched a new range of products in January at CES in Vegas.

They definitely saved the best until last though, as the new Samsung Galaxy S5, announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, is an ultra-stylish and easy to use smartphone.


As I approached the stands I had my usual sinking feeling when I noticed its size; it's another quite big smartphone, and I often complain that I find larger phones hard to use. Expecting the size to make it heavy, I used a considerable amount of force when picking it up, and then almost dropped it because it was actually extremely light.


This, in turn, makes it easy to use, as it fits nicely in your hand, but gives you the opportunity to move your hand around a bit to cover the larger screen without fear of dropping it.

The interface is easy to figure out, and the buttons that you will need most, including the icon that switches the phone between home screen and app screen, are situated near the thumb so that they can be easily reached and pressed.

There are obviously the usual improvements on previous models, including a much faster and clearer camera and faster usage speeds. A few nifty features of the phone, though, include the ability to be totally emerged in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes, which is a nice step beyond basic splash-proofing.


It also has a power saving mode for sticky situations, allowing you to shut off almost all functions of the phone, including the colour, and receive only calls and text messages. It may seem like a drastic step, but it will conserve the battery life for 5-8 days, which could be really helpful if you're stranded somewhere without a charger.

I received a practical demonstration of a new feature that allows the phone to use a combination of Wi-Fi and 4G in order to increase internet speeds. Considering the thousands of people using the Wi-Fi and data connection at the event, the web really did zoom.

It also has a new built-in heart rate monitor for use with sporting or whatever it is you'd want to use a heart rate monitor for. You simply hold your finger over the sensor for a few seconds and stand perfectly still until it tells you what your heart rate is. I have to admit though, and I'm not a doctor so I don't know how accurate it was, but when I tested it, my heart rate seemed a little lower than normal. Let's chalk it up to the noise level in the room interfering with the sensor.


Finally I also got to take a little look at the Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch, which has a new home button, which does what it says on the tin, a repositioned microphone so that the angle of the arm is more comfortable during calls, and the ability to be used as a remote control. It was easier to use than I expected. I had previously thought that smartwatches were not worth having, but this changed my mind.


In summary, these devices are easy to use, and after a while using them I found myself happily browsing the apps and features without trouble. We're hoping to get these devices in for a full review soon, so please check back for more detailed specs! 

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CES 2014: Samsung announce new range of products

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Samsung has been a busy bee at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year launching products left, right and centre, including new tablets, additions to its current ATIV product range and even a new range of appliances for the home.

Galaxy NotePRO and Galaxy TabPRO

The new NotePRO and TabPRO each have 12.2inch screens with more than 4 million pixels, making them fully HD and a good platform for viewing pretty much anything, especially magazines, papers or ebooks. The dashboard can allow automatic feeds or news updates, allowing users to customise their experience.

With Samsung's CEO of the IT & Mobile division hailing 2014 the year in which Samsung will establish "leadership in the tablet market", we have high hopes for these sizeable tablets.

The new TouchWiz interface replacement, dubbed Magazine UX, sits on top of an Android 4.4 Mobile OS and utilises tiles for smoother user interaction. Add some new productivity software and these devices could make the perfect companions in the workplace.



Display Size: 12.2-inch (10.1-inch or 8.4-inch also available for the TabPRO)

Resolution: 2560x1600 16:10 Widescreen


ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition

A Windows 8 machine with new and improved 14 hour battery life makes this device more portable, and it has a new Underwriters Laboratories certified keyboard to increase comfort while typing.

The device has two processors to choose from, so you can make sure that the performance is suited to your needs. It's small, light and comes in black. The display, which is 15.6 inches, is 125% clearer than the previous ATIV 9, and the device comes with SPlayer+ pre-installed allowing lossless audio playback along with a Wolfson DAC chip.



Display Size: 15.6-inch FHD

Resolution: 1920 x 1080

OS: Windows 8

Processor: Core i5/i7 ULV

Memory: 8 GB

Dimensions: 374.3 x 249.9 mm

ATIV One7 2014 Edition

The new ATIV One7, which is being marketed as an "all-in-one" PC, allows better connectivity with mobile devices and an immersive multimedia experience.

The PC has 1TB of storage and can act as a secure cloud service for saving and accessing documents or photos through Samsung Link. Samsung SideSync can also be used via Wi-Fi or USB and the remote power-up feature ensures that you can access your data even away from home.  

With a 24-inch full HD screen and 178 degree viewing angle, this PC is perfect for work or play.



Display Size: 24-inch LED full HD with 10-point touch screen

Resolution: 1920x1080, 16:9 with 178 degree free viewing angle

OS: Windows 8 64 bit

Processor: 4th generation Intel Core i3/i5

Memory: 8 GB

Dimensions: W 575.4 X H 345.4 X D 26.6mm

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The many shapes of smartphones - the reason businesses should redesign their mobile web platforms?

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Could variation in the screen size of tablet devices be making it difficult for brands to design web experiences for smart phones? Netbiscuits, a mobile web experience software solutions provider, believes so. In an analysis of global web-user trends, they've found that the mobile screens of web users range from 2.36 inches to 10.1 inches, with a range of 26 unique screen sizes recorded in total. 

Even Samsung and iPhone devices, two of the three most shipped smartphone devices in the third quarter of 2013, account for less than 47% of the Netbiscuits Cloud Platform traffic recorded during the analysis, which indicates the diversity of handsets being used to access the mobile web. 

Companies of all shapes and sizes are currently trying to adapt their mobile experience to best suit users, a subject that Coca-Cola CTO Kevin Flowers spoke about in detail at Apps World Europe 2013 in October. Netbiscuits believe that this means that developing apps and mobile browsing experiences focused on just the top 10 most-used devices just won't cut it anymore. 

In fact, they think that if corporations don't stop trying to be 'all things to all people' then global experience of mobile-web surfing will be impacted in 2014 due to the varying size and performance of mobile devices being used to access the web. 

Daniel Weisbeck CMO and COO for Netbiscuits advises: "Now is the time for brands to really wake up and execute effective adaptive mobile web strategies that work on every device for every one of their customers." 


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Gadget Guide: Smartphones

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Computer Weekly's Gadget Guide on smartphones gives you a round up of all the latest smartphone news, previews, and reviews from Inspect-a-Gadget.

If you're researching the wide range of smartphones in the market head over to our guide for the low-down on the devices you just can't live your life without. 

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Samsung launches the Galaxy S4

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Last night in a highly anticipated launch in New York, Samsung unveiled its latest flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy S4, which many are saying could be the iPhone's closest competitor yet.

GALAXY S 4 Product Image (1).jpg

The device is running Android Jelly Bean and will offer peace of mind through its Knox security software.

The new device is closing in on the territory of the Galaxy Note II, with a 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED screen.

While the phone has joined the giant screen trend, it has not sacrificed this on the scales, weighing a mere 130g and with dimensions of 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm.

It's ready for 4G and EE have announced that it will be offering the device on its super-fast 4G network. It also holds a whopping 13MP camera with 4128 x 3096 pixels and an LED flash.

GALAXY S 4 Product Image (2).jpg

The device runs on an Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chipset, and features a Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7

Smart Scroll

One of the big rumours around this device was its ability to recognise your eye movements and scroll through the page accordingly. This Smart Scroll feature was indeed announced last night, the software tracks eyes and wrist movement in order to scroll through emails. Additionally its Smart Pause functionality works in a similar way: watch a video and take your eyes away from the screen and it will recognise this and pause the content.

"The debut of nifty eye motion-sensitive controls to allow users to pause video and scroll through pages using eye movements alone is smart, and for commuters crammed in trains - or just those who love a bit of futuristic tech that makes their lives easier - this novel feature will really help the Galaxy S4 to stand out," said Ernest Doku, Telecoms from

Is it nifty or just a consumer gimmick? And more importantly, will it truly work? We will have to wait to get our hands on a review unit until we can be sure. 

Translator tool

Business travellers will find the translator function useful. Samsung claim that its "S Translator" feature will understand and translate nine languages including Brazilian, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin American Spanish and Portuguese. This feature can translate from speech-to-text and text-to-speech, while also recognising 3,000 phrases stored in the phone, in case you are without data connectivity.

Added security

Businesses will also welcome the new built in Knox software to tackle the poor security record of the Android OS.

Knox provides securing booting when the S4 starts up, enhancements to Android that separate data from applications and Tima, a technology Samsung said offers continuous monitoring of the system. 

Knox also allows the IT department to separate work from personal use. The S4 presents the user with a different environment in work mode, which Samsung claims is separate from the personal use environment. It offers an encrypted file system, virtual private network and mobile device management support.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Tony Cripps, devices and platforms analyst at Ovum noted that, with Knox, Samsung is offering enterprise-grade mobile security, which makes it an alternative to Blackberry Enterprise Server.

"Samsung can also take advantage of any reluctance by businesses to deploy applications and data on Apple iOS devices," Cripps said. 

While the hype over recent innovative smartphones such as the BlackBerry Z10 and the Nokia Lumia 920, may have died down. It seems that excitement of the latest Galaxy may have continued the two-horse race between Samsung and Apple. But will the two companies put their patent battles behind them? I doubt it - it's just too easy to throw money around in the court room, than to spend it on actual innovation.

Available in white and black, the devices should be entering the market at the end of April.

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Samsung launches mobile wallet app, but my pocket is still not satisfied

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The last day of the mobile-fest that is Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and Samsung have announced a mobile wallet app for users to keep all their coupons, vouchers, tickets and membership cards in one place.

When Apple launched Passbook there was excitement in the air (for all of 24 hours), at the thought that this was the mobile manufacturer's first tentative steps into the domain of NFC and mobile payments.

A safe option is to start with mobile couponing wallet, similar to Passbook, which is what Samsung has launched today at MWC. However, these schemes are only as good as the volume of partners and brands involved.

What is the point in having my Starbucks points in my mobile wallet, if my Costa card isn't? (Although, in regards to Starbucks, what's the point in having a mobile strategy with a postal service for your coupons?But I digress...

The same goes for flights, it's great to have my Lufthansa boarding card on my mobile ready to scan at the gate, but what if the following week I travel with a budget airline which doesn't? The CO2 I huff and puff while riffling through my draws for my travel wallet would probably equate to the CO2 I'm plunging into the atmosphere. But I digress again...

Samsung partners so far include: Belly,, Expedia,, Lufthansa and Major League Baseball Advanced Media - that's not going to get you far in day-to-day life without your wallet? However, the company did say that they were still in development, so we can keep our eyes peeled for more announcements which will later go unnoticed as they won't make enough noise in the industry on their own. 

I understand that the concept of the "mobile wallet" doesn't necessarily mean leaving your traditional wallet at home (yet!), but surely we should be aiming high for that type of lifestyle, knowing that we will fall short, to what will hopefully be a happy medium with plenty of brands to choose from.

I know these things take time, but in the UK we're already so far behind in the realms of NFC, it actually seems like science fiction rather than possibility. 

Early this week at MWC, Visa announced a partnership with Samsung to accelerate mobile NFC payments. 

Visa will include its payWave NFC applet on the next generation of Samsung NFC-enabled handsets. As part of the alliance, Visa will also partner with financial institutions to push forward global mobile payment solutions.

Maybe we're starting to get somewhere after this week, but until then, pass me my Radley purse.

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