Events

Samsung Gear S2 First Look

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Samsung showcased its sexiest wearable so far – the Gear S2.

Given Samsung’s history with wearables (the Galaxy Gears and Gears of the past didn’t exactly pan out) it’s only right to be cautiously optimistic about the Gear S2. But from all angles, this looks to be their most promising wearable yet.

First thing you’ll notice is it actually looks like a watch thanks to its round design. Made of stainless steel, your primary physical interaction with the Gear S2 will be through its bezel which lets you dig deeper into whatever you’re checking on the watch. Think of it as a scroll bar except, it’s round.

Samsung is also hoping to get you to put their watch on your wrist thanks to its cool factor. Need to book an Uber? No need to take your phone out, do it from the watch. Want to skip to the next track on your music player? Turn the bezel to go to the next song.

And just like traditional watches, the Gear S2 is also being positioned as a fashion accessory. Samsung partnered with renowned Italian designer Alessandro Mendini to create a good-looking range of watch faces and bands for the Gear S2.

Mendini’s designs along with a wide selection of watch faces and watch bands also helps Samsung market their latest wearable as a versatile accessory. One you can wear whether you’re going to a fancy dinner date or to the gym.

Speaking of the gym, the Gear S2 also appears to be a reliable fitness companion. If you haven’t taken a step for a while, the watch gives you gentle tap reminding you to move your feet.

From a glance, there’s a lot to like about the Gear S2 but only real-world use will determine if it’s worth your hard-earned cash. And that’s what we’ll all be looking out for in the next few weeks.

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CES 2021

Technology trade show CES 2021 will be digital-only

Hopefully, it’ll be back to normal in 2022

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It’s official, CES 2021 will not be a physical event. Amid the Coronarivus pandemic, the technology trade show has been shifted to an online-only model for the time being. Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest trade show of the year and heaven for technology enthusiasts from all over the globe.

The event is still scheduled for the first week in January, but everything will be online. This shall include conferences, product announcements, interactions, as well as roundtable discussions.

Major brands like Samsung, LG, and others, often show off new products ranging from televisions to refrigerators. Filled with concepts, prototypes, and commercial-grade gadgets, the show determines the path of the coming year in technological advancement.

Organizer’s of CES, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) said, “Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it’s just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person.”

However, the announcement isn’t shocking now because we’re used to events getting canceled right now. Other trade shows like MWC and IFA too were terminated this year and shifted to online-model.

Brand conferences like Facebook F8, Google I/O, E3, WWDC, and more were also held online this year. Smartphone companies have also shifted to online launches and do not organize physical events.

While the event is still months away, a vaccine or permanent solution to tackle the virus isn’t available right now. A timeline on the same isn’t clearly available, prompting companies to revaluate their short-term moves. However, folks are optimistic the trade show will be conventionally back in action soon.

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IFA 2020

Samsung reportedly pulls out of IFA 2020

It begins once again

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Here we go again. After an abysmal first quarter for in-person events, the tech industry is once again migrating out of big conventions for the foreseeable future. This time, a major company has reportedly pulled out from one of the last remaining big events of the year, IFA 2020.

According to The Korea Herald, Samsung has decided to cancel its appearance at the upcoming Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) in September. Though the company has not made an official announcement yet, the swirl of reports all conclude that Samsung is currently reassessing its plans for in-person events in the future.

Currently, IFA 2020 is still one of the remaining stalwarts in 2020’s diminishing slate of tech showcases. Since the advent of the coronavirus crisis, major events have decided to cancel their cornerstone dates for the interest of public safety. Though some have migrated to online or limited conferences, 2020 is essentially a write-off for in-person events.

While IFA 2020 is still currently pushing through with in-person plans at the time of writing, the latest one to bite the dust is Computex 2020, settling for a safer 2021 date instead. Similarly, other events have decided to restart operations in 2021, pending any further developments in the ongoing pandemic.

Samsung’s expected announcement is major, however. Back in February, companies very quickly dropped out of events one after the other. Will Samsung restart an unfortunate trend this time around?

Recently, Apple successfully held its annual WWDC 2020 online, proving the efficacy of online-only events for the short term. If Samsung migrates to an online-only platform, it will be in good company.

Samsung is expected to launch three major devices between August and October this year. Safe to say, the company won’t launch any of those products at IFA 2020 anymore.

SEE ALSO: IFA 2020 to adopt an ‘innovative’ form of conferencing

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Apps

Digital keys lets you unlock your car with an iPhone

No more keys that’ll scratch your phone

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Apple wants to replace physical keys with an iPhone and the brand has announced a new feature at WWDC 2020 to make this possible. Digital keys are stored on your iPhone and can be used to unlock the car with just a single tap. Furthermore, you can share the key with your friends and family via iMessage.

Emily Schubert, Apple senior manager of car experience engineering, demonstrated how a driver can tap the door handle with their iPhone to unlock the sedan. To start the car, just keep the iPhone on the car’s charging pad and you’re good to go.

The technology leverages NFC (Near Field Communication) to interact with the car. The Wallet app is a safe haven for your keys and this is the same app where your Apple Card, as well as other tickets, are stored.

On the automobile side, BMW will be the first marque to introduce it to drivers. The digital key functionality shall feature first in the 2021 BMW 5 series this July. Apple said more cars that work with the system will come to the market next year. For electric cars, the tech giant is also working on its mapping application to show nearby charging points.

While Tesla owners will not be surprised by this announcement, it can bring a monumental change for many since it relies on existing technology and can support cars that are already on the road.

Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, said the tech giant is working on a standard with industry groups to realize a secure, “real” keyless experience by next year.

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