News

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip expands the foldable category

Refined foldable

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We already got a good look at the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip thanks to the ad showing up at the Oscars. Now that it’s official, we finally get more details on Samsung’s new foldable.

Samsung is calling this the first device on the Z series. It’s not a direct successor to the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which kind of makes that device feel even more like a concept phone that the company decided to sell to be first to market.

A premium display

That said, the Z Flip looks to be more promising as Samsung is ditching the plastic screen on the Galaxy Fold for the Infinity Flex Display. It’s Samsung’s proprietary Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) display which promises to look and feel more premium and be more durable.

It foregoes the notch and instead opts for a centered in-display camera cutout for the selfie camera. No notch means no distractions on the 6.7” screen with a 21.9:9 aspect ratio. A curious ratio choice, but perhaps one that fits the Z Flip’s design.

Purposeful folding

While the Galaxy Fold was a foldable for the sake of being a foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip’s approach appears more practical.

To achieve the folding action, Samsung developed what it calls the Hideaway Hinge. It ensures a stable way for the device to flip and fold. It can stay open at a range of angles much like a laptop screen which invites several possibilities.

The primary possibility being how the Galaxy Z Flip can practically stand on its own, giving you a camera that you can prop up nearly anywhere and will let you take timed camera shots. Now you really won’t have to rely on another person to get your photo or even video taken when you’re traveling alone.

Close the Galaxy Z Flip and you can still take photos using the main camera for high quality selfies. Additionally, it can also shoot 4K video and Night Hyperlapse, among others.

Software designed for flipping and folding

Working closely with Google, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has what it calls the Flex Mode. It’s essentially a version of Google with ONE UI that adapts to the device’s form factor.

When the device is free-standing, it automatically switches into two 4-inch screens. You can view photos, video, and other content on the top half and navigate, search, or comment on the bottom.

In this position, you gain access to the Multi-Active Window. Open the Multi-Window tray to drag and drop apps you want to use. There will probably only be limited app support at this time but expect this to grow as devices in the foldable category increase in number.

When opened, it’ll function like any normal smartphone. Close it and you can still check the date, time and battery status on the cover display.

Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip will be available in limited quantities in Mirror Purple and Mirror Black, starting February 21, 2020 and will retail for US$ 1380.

News

New leak reveals a much, much more expensive AirPods Pro

Costs as much as a midrange phone

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Recently, the rumor mill reignited discussions over an upcoming AirPods launch in the midrange segment. Supposedly, the mid-2020 device will sell for more than a pair of regular AirPods but less than a premium pair of AirPods Pro.

Surprisingly, the rumors are still going. This time, Target, the American superstore chain, has apparently readied its inventory system for an unannounced AirPods product, according to a leak from tech YouTuber Jon Prosser.

The product — named the Apple AirPods (X Generation) — will retail for a staggering US$ 399.99. For reference, the AirPods Pro sells for only $249.99. Given the heightened price, the AirPods (X Generation) is likely a pair of headphones worthy of the price, especially since the AirPods Pro is already the top-of-the-line product for earbuds.

According to a follow-up from Apple Insider, Target employees explained that reserving inventory slots for upcoming products, especially regarding pricing information. However, the official name will likely change on launch.

Additionally, Presser has also asked Apple for a potential launch date. According to another tweet, Apple is still undecided whether to hold an event in March.

Still, with a pair of wireless over-ear headphones, Apple will be ready to take on a market populated by its subsidiary brand Beats and competing brands like Bose, Sony, and JBL. We’re dreading the potential charging case, though.

SEE ALSO: Apple lets you personalize your AirPods case

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Enterprise

Samsung temporarily shuts down infected Galaxy Z Flip factory

Coronavirus strikes again

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The coronavirus epidemic is burning through the technology industry, leaving a trail of delays and shortages in its wake. So far, the virus has already torched Apple’s China-based manufacturers and the entire MWC 2020 event.

For the immediate future, the global epidemic can add Samsung to its list of victims. Previously, the South Korean company saved itself from the crisis, owing to its geographical roots. Unfortunately, if you turn into world news today, the virus has already made its way to South Korea.

In the city of Gumi, one of Samsung’s factory workers has contracted the disease, forcing the company to shut down the entire plant, according to a South Korean news outlet. The entire factory will open again on February 24. Additionally, the infected employee’s floor will remain shut down until February 25.

As for the workers themselves, Samsung has urged those who worked with the employee to put themselves in quarantine and undergo tests for potential infection. The company has also asked all employees to limit travel when possible, conducting business only through video calls.

Of course, Samsung has a tight hold on the South Korea business sector. The closure of just one factory probably won’t affect the company’s supply too much.

The affected Gumi factory specializes in Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Flip production. If anything, the temporary closure will only slow the foldable phone down partially. Regardless, it’s not a good look for Samsung, especially if the virus continues to spread across the country.

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Accessories

Apple is likely working on a midrange AirPods Pro

Coming mid-2020

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Have you bought into the wireless earbuds trend? Despite performing at a lesser capacity than wired earphones, wireless earbuds have infiltrated every major player in the tech industry. Currently, Apple, Huawei, and Samsung all sell their own variant of the growing market.

Now, Apple looks to expand their own catalog even further. According to Chinese publication Digitimes, the AirPods maker is developing a budget-friendly version of last year’s AirPods Pro — the AirPods Pro Lite.

Supposedly, Universal Scientific Industrial (USI), a Taiwan-based manufacturer will likely acquire orders from Apple for the upcoming device. The Taiwanese company is working with other manufacturers from China and the US to fulfill the orders.

According to the report, the AirPods Pro Lite will arrive sometime in the middle of the year. However, given the current situation in China, the device’s development might run into a few delays, especially if Apple pursues China-based manufacturers.

Because of the name, the AirPods Pro Lite will likely carry a price tag between the regular AirPods and the premium AirPods Pro. That puts it around US$ 199.

Despite being an accessory, the AirPods lineup is still one of Apple’s most successful products in the current generation. Of course, it helps that the audio accessory almost comes as a requirement for iPhone users.

SEE ALSO: Unboxing the Apple AirPods Pro

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