Coronavirus can live on a phone’s screen for 28 days, study finds

There is a caveat, though



Smartphones are one of the grubbiest things we handle every day. From our fingers to our ears to our mouths, a human body comes into contact with a smartphone several times each day. Naturally, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, phone sterilizers have turned into the norm. If you haven’t bought into the “clean phone” hype yet, a new study might convince you otherwise. Apparently, the coronavirus can live on a phone’s screen for 28 days.

According to a study conducted in Australia, the specific strain of SARS-CoV-2 responsible for today’s pandemic can survive up to 28 days on common surfaces including “glass, stainless steel, and both paper and polymer banknotes.” Further, the study also tested common substrates like vinyl, a material found in screen protectors.

Non-porous surfaces — like glass and vinyl — still had the virus after 28 days. Meanwhile, porous substances — like cotton — had the virus for only up to 14 days. Of course, there is a rather large caveat: The study happened under 20 degrees Celsius, a far cry from normal room temperature.

Countering this caveat, the study also conducted the same tests under 30 degrees Celsius. The virus survived for up to 7 days on steel and glass. It survived up to 3 days on vinyl and cotton. Also, at 40 degrees Celsius, the virus survived for only up to 48 hours on all surfaces.

Now, before you throw away your smartphones for good, remember that the tests were conducted under controlled lab conditions. The results do not indicate what might happen in the real world.

Besides the controlled temperature, the study applied the virus without mucus. It’s another important caveat since transmission usually occurs through contact with droplets. Even outside of a body, mucus contains white blood cells, which can reduce the virus’s survivability outside of a host.

Adding to this caveat, the study starts with an even more important warning: “the role of fomite transmission [that is, surface-to-body] is not yet fully understood.” If anything, the test merely proves that the virus is much more durable than expected.

SEE ALSO: Samsung has launched a personal phone sterilizer


Xiaomi’s foldable phone spotted in the wild

Is this a prototype?



Everyone’s getting into foldable smartphones these days. After Samsung’s semi-successful foray into the market, other smartphones are rushing to compete with the South Korean giant. One of the earliest experimenters with the form factor, Xiaomi is apparently making strides in the foldable market. In China, Xiaomi’s foldable phone was spotted out in the wild.

In a now-deleted Weibo post (saved by GSMArena), the leaked phone is a whopper of a device. It’s obviously that Xiaomi’s foldable phone since it runs MIUI 12. It looks a lot larger than Samsung’s Galaxy Z lineup. However, it’s large enough to wield in a subway, as the photo portrays.

Whatever this is, it doesn’t look like it’s doing well. The device has a sizable crease running along its midsection. Back in the Galaxy Fold’s early days, Samsung had the same problem before fixing it in later iterations. Since the technology already exists, it’s likely that the spotted Xiaomi device is an early version of whatever the company is actually working on.

Xiaomi has teased an upcoming foldable phone in the past. However, the company has not outed a consumer-friendly foldable phone outside of prototypes. The last time we heard about a potential Xiaomi foldable phone was an old patent revealed last year.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi patents an upcoming foldable phone

Continue Reading


Samsung announces larger S Pen Pro

And a brand new S Pen



Because of the controversial charger decision, the recently launched Galaxy S21 series lost a lot of momentum for its more bombastic features. For example, did you know that Samsung now supports third-party styluses outside of Samsung’s own S Pens? Additionally, Samsung is launching the S Pen Pro.

Before that, however, Samsung has also announced a brand-new S Pen. Compared to the tiny stylus from the Galaxy Note series, the new S Pen is larger, making it more comfortable to hold. However, there is a tradeoff: The new S Pen doesn’t have an internal battery. It won’t have the same Bluetooth functionalities as the ones from the Galaxy Note series. At the very least, infused with Wacom’s technology, the new S Pen still has some functions for Samsung’s smartphones.

Now, onto the S Pen Pro. Compared to the new S Pen, the S Pen Pro is even larger. Since it’s bigger, it can fit an internal battery, which adds Bluetooth functionality including external buttons like a shutter for the camera.

Because both new variants are larger, they can’t fit inside a smartphone slot. They can, however, fit on a smartphone case.

So far, Samsung has not announced any robust specifications yet. We don’t know how big the new S Pens are or how much they will cost. However, the company has promised that both will launch sometime this year. For now, Samsung users, especially for the new Galaxy S21 Ultra, can still use their old S Pens from the Galaxy Note series.

SEE ALSO: Samsung will remove the free charger from more phones

Continue Reading


Samsung will remove the free charger from more phones

Confirmed in an official Q&A



The cat’s out of the bag. After months of persistent rumors, Samsung has finally ended its free charging adapters and wired earphones starting with the Galaxy S21 series. The controversial decision mimics Apple’s identical ones last October. One question remains, though: Will Samsung remove the free charger in other smartphones? Apparently, yes.

In an official Q&A with Samsung’s officials, the company explained why it chose to remove the free charger from the flagship series. As expected, Samsung is taking the same stance as Apple; that is, everyone already has a bunch of extra chargers lying around anyway. Further, the removal will help in Samsung’s sustainability goals for the future.

However, in explaining their stance, Samsung has revealed its plans for the future. “To support our Galaxy community in this journey, we are transitioning to removal of the charger plug and earphones in our latest line of Galaxy smartphones,” Patrick Chomet, executive vice president of product and innovation, explains.

Besides the Galaxy S21 series, Samsung is likely phasing out the free chargers in future models, too. Thankfully, if you haven’t acclimated to the charger-less future yet, the company is not changing last year’s smartphone packaging; not yet at least, according to online store pages.

If Samsung is truly removing its chargers for future models, we’ll know soon enough. Unlike Apple, who releases smartphones more sporadically, Samsung launches numerous models throughout the year. After starting the year off with a charger-less bang, 2021 is going to be an exciting roller coaster for flagship users.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S21 Series Hands-on

Continue Reading