Samsung permanently discontinues the Galaxy Note7


Samsung has announced that it is ending the production of the Galaxy Note7 and permanently discontinuing it worldwide.

The decision comes immediately after the company issued a press release asking users to power down all original and replaced Note7 units, and for retailers and career partners to stop sales and exchanges of the smartphone.

“We remain committed to working diligently with appropriate regulatory authorities to take all necessary steps to resolve the situation.” said Samsung in a statement yesterday.

The decision to end the Note7 production is the final step in a rather tumultuous journey. After being announced back in August and being met with generally positive reviews, the Note7 first came under fire — quite literally — after reports of units exploding surfaced on the internet. After 35 cases had been reported, Samsung issued an official recall of the device, which sent everyone in a tizzy and airlines and airport authorities calling for an official ban on usage of the device in several countries.

Samsung did what it could, replacing not just the affected but every Note7 it sold and issuing a new device with an updated battery pack and a green battery indicator so the customers and authorities alike could tell them apart. It even restricted the older devices from charging beyond 60% so people who hadn’t replaced theirs yet wouldn’t overcharge them.

But after the replacement units also started catching fire, most notably one on a Southwest Airlines flight 994 from Louisville to Baltimore, which had to be evacuated when a passenger’s replacement Note7 caught fire, Samsung eventually asked everyone to power them down. And finally did what was inevitable and, some might argue, what should have been done from the beginning, pulled the plug entirely on the Note7.

We are waiting to hear from Samsung on how it plans to proceed with existing Note7 devices that are out there and also how it deals with customers who have pending orders.


Google Announces its own phones: Pixel and Pixel XL!

If you’ve formed an emotional attachment to the Nexus brand, it’s time to say goodbye. But this is good news – the legacy continues with the Pixel, a collaboration between Google and HTC, the same team that brought us both the original Android phone and the first Nexus.

Two phones – the Pixel and Pixel XL – cover the bases of size preference, 5″ and 5.5″ respectively. Both have AMOLED screens, with 1080p resolution for the small one (441ppi) and QHD for the big one (534ppi). Battery capacity is also different, 2,770mAh and 3,450mAh.

Beyond that, both Pixels are more similar than they are different. Qualcomm supplied a revamped chipset, the Snapdragon 821, Android 7.1 Nougat (yes, a point upgrade over what the LG V20 has) brings “sustained performance mode.”

The camera boasts the same excellent qualities we loved on the last (ever?) pair of Nexus devices – 12MP sensor, 1.55µm pixels, f/2.0 aperture. But it resolves our one gripe with it too – it adds back the Optical Image Stabilization.

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL have the same storage options – 32GB (for those that use Google Photos and Play Music) and 128GB (for those that prefer their data offline). Both come with 4GB of RAM – one better than the Nexus 6P, nothing extraordinary though a clean Android OS runs leaner.

While HTC built the phones, the Pixels branded only with the Google logo. And they are loaded to the teeth with Google services that cover everything from messaging, through cloud services to AI assistants. The search giant has a growing stable of self-branded devices – the Google phone can connect to a Google router and cast to a Google media player, you get the idea.

The Pixel brand debuted with the best Chromebook money can buy, then ventured into Android with the Pixel C tablet, clearly, it’s a premium brand by Google. And the two phones are priced accordingly – they start $649 and will be available through a bunch of carriers and retailers. Check them out below.

Pre-orders start on October 13, with actual sales beginning a week later, October 20. The phones will be available in Quite Black, Very Silver and Really Blue colors.

More announcements from Google!

WhatsApp will start sharing your number on Facebook, here’s how to stop it!


Facebook-owned WhatsApp today updated its Terms and Privacy Policy for the first time in four years to reflect that the messaging service will start sharing select account data with Facebook in order to improve targeted advertising. Wait, does that mean that you’re going to be inundated with ads on WhatsApp? In a word, no—at least for the time being. As per the amended terms of service, “We still do not allow third-party banner ads on WhatsApp.”

Exiting WhatsApp users can opt out of Facebook data sharing in Settings → Account within 30 days of accepting the new Terms and Privacy Policy.

Don’t worry—your messages, photos and other media shared through WhatsApp won’t be automatically posted on Facebook for others to see.

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“We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers,” reads the post.

Again, only account data is shared with Facebook, not your chats and media.

Data sharing is purely for the purpose of improving users’ Facebook ads and products experiences, the company ensures. It also lets it do things like track basic metrics about how often people use these services and better fight spam on WhatsApp.

After accepting data sharing, you’ll see better friend suggestions and more relevant ads on Facebook. “For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of,” says the firm.

More information is available in this WhatsApp support document.

Thankfully, you can easily opt out, right when the prompt goes up, or within 30 days of accepting the new terms, here’s how.

Method #1

If you haven’t yet accepted the new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy:

1) Launch WhatsApp and you’ll see the updated terms. Tap Read to continue.

2) Scroll the text until you see a check box at the bottom of the screen. If you do not want your WhatsApp account information shared with Facebook, untick the box.

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3) Tap Agree.

Method #2

If you have already accepted the new terms, you will have an additional 30 days to opt out of data sharing by following these simple steps:

1) Launch WhatsApp and tap the Settings tab.

2) Now tap Account.

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3) Untick the box labeled “Share my account info” or toggle the control.

Doing so will stop sharing your WhatsApp account information with Facebook for the purposes of improving ads and products experiences.

When you opt out, the Facebook family of companies will still receive and use this information for other purposes. And what other purposes might these be? According to the official support document, your WhatsApp information is still being used to:

  • Improve infrastructure and delivery systems
  • Understand how these services are being used
  • Secure systems and fight spam, abuse or infringement activities

And that’s all there’s to it.

What if I agree to data sharing?

If you agree to data sharing, things like the mobile phone number your registered with WhatsApp and the last time you used the service will be used by Facebook to improve friend suggestions and make ads more relevant to you.

“Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your messages, photos, and account information, will be shared onto Facebook or any of the Facebook family of apps for others to see,” ensures the firm.

Also, Facebook currently has no plans to start serving ads through WhatsApp.


Sony announces an aftermarket Apple CarPlay & Android Auto audio system for $499

Sony has announced its first smart car audio system, the XAV-AX100. The system is compatible with both, Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto, so regardless of which smartphone you have you are covered.

The double DIN system has a large capacitive touchscreen display up front with physical buttons to change the track and also a rotating volume dial so you can control basic system functions without taking your eyes away from the road.

It also includes a 4x 55W amp with Sony’s Extra Bass feature, and a 10-band equalizer. You also get 3 pre-out connectivity ports for connecting additional amplifiers and other accessories. The Dynamic Stage Organizer feature also compensates for the downward firing door speakers and improves clarity.

The XAV-AX100 is priced at $499.99 and will be available in North America by late November.


If you use these features in Chrome you should get a Chromebook before 2018!

Google announced that it’s planning to phase out support for its browser-based Chrome apps for every single OS except – of course – Chrome OS proper. That means no Chrome apps will be available to download on Windows, Mac or Linux starting the second half of 2017, and in early 2018, existing apps won’t load at all on those platforms.

The reason? People just didn’t use them. According to Google:

There are two types of Chrome apps: packaged apps and hosted apps. Today, approximately 1 percent of users on Windows, Mac, and Linux actively use Chrome packaged apps, and most hosted apps are already implemented as regular web apps.

Instead, Google will be doubling down on extensions and themes, which are getting a more prominent showcase in the Chrome Web Store.

The company says the Web has matured enough to support experiences that used to require dedicated offline apps, such as sending notifications or connecting to hardware. Still, the company is keeping native apps on Chrome OS, saying they play a “critical role,” — clearly there is some advantage to them, but that’s simply by virtue that Chrome OS can only run Chrome apps.