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Samsung is recalling its best smartphone yet

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If you’ve been thinking about acquiring the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 sometime in the very near future, consider your plans derailed until further notice.

In a statement, Samsung said it is issuing a global recall of its latest phablet, following reports of the phone catching fire and exploding during or after charging. Customers who already bought the Note 7 can exchange it for a new one “over the coming weeks.” The world’s biggest phone maker also said it will stop selling the device momentarily.

According to Samsung, a total of 35 cases have been reported worldwide, with many taking to the internet to report the issue. On August 29, one user uploaded a video of a Note 7 that had burst into flames; the following day, images of another burnt Note 7 were uploaded to a popular social media site in South Korea. An internal investigation has confirmed that faulty batteries were to blame.

An unnamed Samsung official earlier told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency that only 0.1 percent of devices sold so far are affected by the issue, but clearly Samsung is taking no chances and has taken extra measures on the side of precaution.

So far, the Note 7 has launched in 10 countries, including the U.S., South Korea, and the Philippines. News about a confirmed hardware defect would be a major blow to a device hailed by many as the best on the market today. And its timing couldn’t be more off: Samsung’s main rival, Apple, is set to announce the iPhone 7 next week.

Worse still is the adverse impact a widespread recall would have on Samsung’s business. In July, Samsung posted its best quarterly results in over two years on strong smartphone sales. The company had earlier predicted that demand for smartphones and tablets will increase in the second half of 2016.

Below is the full, unabridged statement from Samsung.

Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously. In response to recently reported cases of the new Galaxy Note7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.

To date (as of September 1) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7.

For customers who already have Galaxy Note7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current device with a new one over the coming weeks.

We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the replacement experience is as convenient and efficient as possible.

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Essential Phone is down to only $250, making it a steal of a deal

Cheaper than most midrange phones

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When we first reviewed the Essential Phone, it cost US$ 700. When we reviewed it again, it retailed for US$ 500. Now, it’s down to a mouthwatering US$ 250 on Amazon’s Prime Day sale!

That’s an unbelievable price for a phone that has flagship-grade specs from last year, along with impeccable build quality thanks to the combination of titanium and ceramic.

This phone receives great software support, too. It’s currently part of the Android P Beta program and it even gets monthly security patches before Google’s own Pixel phones at times.

When we reviewed it as a US$ 500 device, we already called it the best deal you can get at that price point. Bringing it down to US$ 250 is just cheating.

Andy Rubin, Essential’s founder, fully endorses the major discount:

Sure, the Essential Phone isn’t perfect — the cameras are sub-par and it lacks certain essentials — but you really can’t complain for such value. It’s safe to say it’s the best smartphone deal you can snatch today, if you can order fast enough through Amazon, that is.

With no follow-up in sight, it’s a safe bet to go for this without any immediate buyer’s remorse. If anything, you get a premium 2017 flagship for the price of a typical midrange phone.

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Singtel introduces PVP eSports Championship

The telco’s next step in the world of gaming

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Singaporean telco giant Singtel has announced its latest eSports initiative, the PVP eSports Championship. It will be a multi-title regional eSports league from October 5 to 7, 2018 with a prize pool of US$ 300,000. For executives, the tournament is part of their efforts towards gaming within the Asia-Pacific region.

The tournament is done in partnership with industry players Razer, MET, Garena, and Blizzard. It will feature the popular PC game Dota 2 and Garena’s popular mobile game Arena of Valor. The Singapore leg of Blizzard’s global tour will also feature their popular game Hearthstone during the tournament.

Teams from Australia, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines will compete in local qualifiers organized by Singtel. The winning teams will then move on to the Grand Finals in Singapore, where they will compete against professional teams from North America, Europe, and China. The tournament also serves as Singtel’s opportunity to scout for Singapore’s own eSports team, which they wish to sponsor for future competitions.

Singtel hopes that the tournament builds upon current gaming initiatives from telcos like Globe in the Philippines and Telkomsel in Indonesia. Singtel CEO Arthur Lang recognizes the power of mobile gaming within the region, with smartphones being the main gaming device. “Telcos have every right to play in the growing gaming ecosystem,” Lang said in a statement.

To know more about the upcoming tournament and how to get there, you can visit its official website or MET’s official post. Singtel will provide details on streaming services for the tournament in the future.

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Samsung will launch three S10 variants, report says

Will have a feature that Apple doesn’t have yet

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If you’ve followed the tech industry closely, you would have noticed a troubling trend. Someone is always copying someone else. Features are almost always shared between brands. Hence, we have ubiquitous notches, dual cameras, and AI features.

As such, it comes as no surprise that Samsung might copy Apple’s lineup next year.

Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that Samsung will adopt Apple’s three-model lineup from this year. (Despite Kuo’s infamy with Apple, he has recently opened his repertoire up to other brands.)

Previously, multiple rumors suggest that Apple’s 2018 lineup consists of three phones for different markets. This includes 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.5-inch models. More succinctly, these three models will fit into traditional market classifications: affordable, regular, and premium.

Likewise, Samsung might launch the same structure next year. Already, rumors have speculated on the features that will grace the Galaxy S10 and S10+.

For example, the premium Galaxy S10+ will likely pack in five cameras, including a rear triple-camera system. This year’s premium iPhone offering may also feature Apple’s take on the triple-camera system introduced by Huawei.

Additionally, Kuo reports that Samsung will introduce a more accurate ultrasonic, under-screen fingerprint reader for next year. Amid rumors that Samsung is copying Apple, this is a new feature that has not graced Apple’s phones yet.

Regardless of the new features, the company has traditionally released two models anyway. Arguably, the more surprising part of Kuo’s report is the lower-end Galaxy model. Samsung has usually relegated their midrange and budget models to other lineups.

If Samsung does copy Apple’s three-models strategy, it adds another page to the “Samsung is copying Apple” saga. Regardless, Samsung will announce their new Galaxy lineup early next year at MWC 2019. Prior to that, the company will launch the highly awaited Galaxy Note 9 at this year’s Unpacked event happening in a few weeks’ time.

SEE ALSO: Galaxy S9 is Samsung’s least popular phone since the Galaxy S3

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