Features

All burned out: Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 is done for

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Samsung did something today I thought it would never do — not after what had occurred recently. All across the company, stockholders, executives, and staff must have thought the same thing.

The Galaxy Note 7 should’ve been fixed. That’s the whole point of the recall, exchange, or whatever it is Samsung did the past couple of weeks on an unprecedented scale — all that effort should have resulted in a safer phone than when it first arrived in stores. Even though its propensity to spontaneously combust in your hand or in your home should be the least of your concerns when deciding on your next handset.

Yet, clearly — pardon me — the fire on the Note 7 hasn’t died down. And it has forced Samsung to ask carriers and retailers worldwide to “stop sales and exchanges” of the troubled phone and tell customers to “power down and stop using” their device altogether. Again — and at a time when the company was starting to win back the trust of affected customers with swift action and accountability, along with apologies and compensation.

For a while, things seemed to be going well enough. I was there to witness first-hand how genuine company representatives were to Note 7 owners who exchanged their phones on the first day of Samsung’s replacement program in the Philippines. Samsung even put out a press release saying more than one million customers around the world are using “safe” Note 7 units. How long ago those times seem.

Today’s announcement puts the final nail in the Note 7’s coffin; or, more accurately, its black cardboard box. Not that critics and consumers alike didn’t see it coming. As The Verge notes, at least five incidents of replacement units igniting were reported in the U.S. alone within the past week.

Today’s announcement puts the final nail in the Note 7’s coffin.

A Note 7 caught fire on a plane, prompting airline staff to evacuate those inside; a man in Kentucky woke up to find his bedroom filled with black smoke from his burnt replacement device; a Virginia native saw his Note 7 “burst into flames” on his nightstand just two days ago. Many more incidents were reported across China, Taiwan, and South Korea.

It all seems like a replay of the same nightmare scenario Samsung found itself in a month ago. Which is a shame, because I really like the Galaxy Note 7. The rest of the folks here do so, too. So do a bunch of other people in tech, as well as consumers who want their handsets big and cutting edge. Beyond the top-shelf specs, the Note 7 has fancy looks; it has fancy features (the retina scanner is more useful than I predicted); it has fancy everything — including price.

Most importantly, Samsung tried to push the needle forward amid a stagnating industry mired in a prolonged technical slump. Perhaps, as others had suggested, it tried too hard, having recently found out about the “dull” iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

We’re already months behind its fall launch, but the Note 7 obviously still isn’t market-ready, for whatever reasons. But its rivals are. And in the coming months, you can expect to see Samsung’s fiercest competitors pounce on the opportunity to sell more big-screen handsets while throwing shade at Samsung’s misdeeds and misfortunes. Sick of seeing those new phone commercials? Well, too bad — you’re probably going to see more of them.

Perhaps Samsung tried too hard to push the needle forward amid a stagnating industry mired in a prolonged technical slump.

This site had a lot of content planned for Samsung’s co-flagship, and the operative word here is “had.” The post-crisis review, the how-tos, the related videos — they’re all in the past tense now. The recommendation I made in early August is also no longer accurate; the best advice I could give anybody still using the Note 7 is the same one Samsung is dispensing with urgency: Turn off your device immediately and return it to a store for a refund or another handset. Period. No ifs and buts.

What was supposed to be the most important Samsung smartphone yet had crashed and burned unlike any other, leaving in its trail more questions about the company’s commitment to consumer safety than anything else. Samsung, it bears noting, did the right thing and went to great lengths to keep the battery issue in check. It halted sales and issued a global recall of potentially flammable handsets — twice, following a botched first try.

For the tech giant, maybe the best way to move forward is to eat a sizable slice of humble pie, drop the Note 7 altogether, and focus on the development of its other signature smartphone, next year’s S8. After all, it has enough in the coffers that it can afford to permanently discontinue the Note 7.

The longer this issue takes to resolve, the bigger the mess it makes. What it can’t afford is to let its reputation go up in smoke over one product that has caught fire a few times too many.

Features

Hanebado!, Ant-Man and the Wasp, BAAM by Momoland: Now Playing

Pop culture overload!

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Since the start of the year, GadgetMatch has been covering major tech events like CES, MWC, Computex, and E3. July is the month wherein the GadgetMatch team finally gets to slow down a bit to relax before the next wave of events comes up. If you’re curious about what we’re up to, here’s what’s now playing for GadgetMatch.

Movies to see

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Marvin: If you still haven’t moved on from the catastrophic ending of Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp should be able to turn those sad tears into tears of laughter. It mimics the original movie in terms of action and character development, yet isn’t afraid to make fun of itself and the superhero genre in general. Like always, be sure to stick around for two scenes during and after the credits. They fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a… dramatic way.

Isle of Dogs
Chay: The long wait is over, Wes Anderson fans. His latest film is his second animated masterpiece, this time set in a dystopian Japan that centers around the search for a dog exiled to Trash Island. Like most, if not all his films, Isle of Dogs is filled with themes of melancholy and disappointment, and sometimes hope, depending on your own interpretation. Whether you watch it for Anderson’s iconic style or your love for dogs, what we have here is a classic that needs to be watched at least more than once in your lifetime.

TV shows to binge watch

Hanebado!
Rodneil: The future is female, and for the first time in recent sports anime history, the main characters are mostly women! Hanebado opens with a riveting badminton sequence between freshman prodigy Ayano Hanesaki and third-year student Nagisa Aragaki. Hanesaki struggles with her desire to play while Aragaki struggles with working hard but still falling short. If you enjoyed titles like Haikyuu!! and Yuri on IceHanebado! is definitely worth checking out.

GLOW
Kevin: The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are who you’ll need if you’re looking for a well-written TV series that fuses drama, female empowerment, and the poofy hair of the 80s. It’s about a group of women with different backgrounds but have a common reason to stick it out together. The second season was released last month, and it’s filled with the same gems we loved from the first season.

Music to listen to

BAAM by Momoland
Rodneil: I’m not even gonna lie, this is really more about the visuals for me than the actual music, but as I watched from one version of the music video to another, the song eventually got stuck in my head. It has a nice perk-you-up vibe to it, similar to “Boom Boom” which is the song that propelled Momoland beyond South Korea’s airwaves. In case it’s not obvious, Nancy is my main bias and Yeonwoo is a close second.

Summer Pack by Childish Gambino
Kevin: Just like his This is America track, Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover) dropped new tunes out of nowhere late this week. He didn’t only release one, but two fresh originals. Together, they’re called Summer Pack and the two-track release consists of “Summertime Magic” and “Feels Like Summer.”

While both have that laid-back, relaxing vibe, “Summertime Magic” has more of a dance approach between the two and would go well on the beach while sipping on Pina Colada. “Feels Like Summer,” on the other hand, makes you want to take a stroll downtown in a convertible and spark a fatty.

Apps to download

InShot
Rodneil: InShot is a mobile video editor available on both Android and iOS. With it, you can splice together clips you have stored in your phone and even choose the aspect ratio, whether it’s 1:1, 16:9, or 9:16. There’s also an option to add effects, text, and music that’s also stored in your phone. It’s a pretty powerful video editing tool on mobile — one that can help jumpstart your IGTV career.

Events to check out

AsiaPop Comicon Manila 2018
MJ: Once again, AsiaPop Comicon is back in Manila from July 27 to 29, 2018, to be held at the SMX Convention Center. Marvel plans to show what’s new in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Netflix returns to premiere a never-before-seen film. It’s also expected to be bigger and more exciting than last year’s event. Finn Jones from Game of Thrones and Tye Sheridan who appeared on Ready Player One and X-Men as Cyclops, are the major celebrity guests to attend.

Did you like any of our picks or have suggestions of your own? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

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Accessories

Sony XB Series Speakers: His and Hers

Portable speakers for everyone!

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Speakers may be made for parties and fun gatherings, but that’s not always the case. It can also be your best buddy, even during times when you’re not out socializing.

In the fourth installment of His and Hers, I went through a different route. I wanted to show how instrumental music is in our lives. These are the latest additions to Sony’s Extra Bass Portable Bluetooth speakers: the SRS-XB41 and SRS-XB21.

Both speakers have the same features and the only noticeable differences are in terms of size and, of course, the party lights. The SRS-XB41 comes in red with flashing strobes and a changing line light in multiple colors. It’s perfect for guys who like it flashy but don’t mind having a bulky and heavy speaker.

The SRS-XB21, on the other hand, comes in white with lights of the same color. It’s perfect for girls who like something that will fit in their bags — something they can carry wherever they go.


Let your heart sing with art

It’s not every day you get to wake up with a beautiful view. So, when creativity kicks in, bring out your portable speaker and art kit! Roll up your sleeves and paint something in sync with the beat. Next thing you know, you’ve already created something you can be proud of.


Beating the game

Some game nights can be enjoyed when you have a friend by your side. But sometimes, a speaker can be enough of a buddy. Play loud music that pumps you up, makes you smash those buttons, clear the stages, and win!


Pretty by the pool

There are times when stress gets the best of us, so it’s important to find time to relax. Put those sunglasses on and show off that new swimsuit you just bought. This splash-proof speaker is a good companion when lounging by the pool so you can listen to some great summer tunes. Now, go ahead, take a dip, and enjoy this moment.


Playing the right jam

After playing ball, you’ll find yourself trying to recover from a tiring game. Pull out that speaker and play your relaxing tunes. With the Sony Music Center app, you can select your favorite playlists, change the lighting patterns and sound modes, and be in complete control of your music. Be your own DJ when you turn on the live mode; you’ll get a festival vibe that takes your experience to the next level.


Lost in music and words

When the weather’s all cuddly and gloomy, it becomes ideal to stay indoors and have coffee by the bedside table. Pair it up with a good book, like Eat, Pray, Love, and a speaker to play some mellow music that soothes you. That’s the recipe for a perfect day!


Own the night

These wireless speakers remind us to stay connected. Invite your BF or BFF to come over and light up the night. Hand over some wine and unwind from everyday stress.


This episode of His and Hers proved that music is a necessary companion in our lives. It has the power to change a person or a place’s mood, and with the right speakers like Sony’s SRS-XB21 or the SRS-XB41, the moment can be more enjoyable and memorable.

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Features

No more sucking at Starbucks, Android P leaks: Weekend Rewind

Effort for a greener world, new hardware, and leaked software!

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. No more sucking! Starbucks halts the use of plastics straws

In an attempt to help make the planet a greener place, the world-famous coffee shop chain has vowed to go strawless and the world is thankful for this contribution. Replacing the offending cold drink accessory is a specially designed cup cover that’s made of recyclable materials.

This move has already started, with most people finding no straws in their Starbucks orders today. By 2020, the chain aims to eliminate all single-use straws in their shops.

2. Microsoft outs its smallest and most affordable Surface

Microsoft has just announced new hardware under its Surface line of devices. The company veers away from its usual premium offerings and is going for the affordable route this time. The new Surface Go is the most affordable of the bunch — and also the smallest. It is a full-blown Windows 10 tablet aimed at schools, kids, and even the enterprise market.

3. Expect to lose followers on Twitter

Twitter is serious about taking down trolls and fake accounts. The California-based company just announced that it’s removing locked accounts from users’ follower list to avoid suspicious activities like spamming or posting questionable links. The way it works is the company prompts the account owner to verify their account and if not done, they lock said accounts.

Image credit: Apple

4. Apple refreshes its Macbook Pro line

Apple has updated the MacBook Pro line with newer processors, more configuration options, a quieter keyboard design, and True Tone displays. The models feature eight-generation Intel Core processors, although only the top-tier variants and those with Touch Bar get the latest features.

5. Did Huawei accidentally reveal the next Android name?

The news came all the way from Poland. As reported by Polish site Tabletowo, a reader of theirs shared an email thread between the support department of Huawei. Long story short, a representative slipped that Android P would be called Android Pistachio.

Of course, take it with a grain of salt, but it lines up with Bloomberg‘s theory that Google is going for Pistachio Ice Cream for this year’s Android version.


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

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