mardi 19 septembre 2017

The Google Pixelbook will be Google’s New Convertible Chromebook, Starting at $1,199

Google is now preparing to announce their newest fleet of in-house devices, which, just like last year, includes their take on many different household electronics. We’ve had our fair share of leaks today, including color options and pricing information on the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL, as well as the new Google Home Mini and the new Google Daydream View. Now thanks to a series of leaks from Droid-Life we also have confirmation that Google is working on a new Chromebook Pixel, which they are calling the “Google Pixelbook”.

This Pixelbook seems to be yet again a shift in paradigm established by previous Chromebook Pixels, just like the Pixel phones were a shift in direction from their cancelled Nexus program. Google’s newest in-house laptop ditches the Chromebook branding entirely, instead favoring the label of “Pixelbook”, seemingly in an attempt to unify all their hardware efforts under the Pixel naming scheme. There is currently no information on internal specs, but we do know that it’s coming in Silver (not unlike previous Pixel Chromebooks), along with 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB configurations.

The Pixelbook is also different from previous Chromebook Pixel laptops in some key aspects. For example, you can fold it into a tablet, and get extra freedom with the additional Pixelbook Pen which is pressure sensitive and comes with tilt support. It will also come with pretty steep pricing points, starting at $1,199 for the 128GB model, with the 512GB model going all the way up to $1,749. If you’ve previously bought Chromebook Pixels, you’d know that these are not affordable laptops at all, but these prices can indeed look outrageous compared to other offerings from Acer or Samsung.

We should know more about the newest Google upcoming hybrid device, including the full specification list and possibly more color options, on October 4th, where they plan to announce the newest Pixel phones as well as some of their other offerings. For now, this seems to be shaping up like a nice refresh of the Chromebook Pixel line, which hasn’t seen a new iteration since early 2015.


Source: Droid-Life



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Chainfire Announces Firmware.mobi, a Website Hosting Stock Boot and Recovery Images

If you’ve ever tried to search for stock images to fastboot flash on your device, it can be pretty annoying. Having to navigate old XDA threads trying to find the right version can be a complete pain as very few companies, other than ones like Google and OnePlus, actually release their stock images. To help tackle this problem for users, XDA Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire has announced his newest project called firmware.mobi.

It contains all of the stock images he has been able to get his hands on over the years (which is a lot). How it works is simple, just open the website and search for your device. A list of files including their MD5 and SHA-1 hashes and file size will be available for you to peruse. Users can submit their own files and folders too! If you find that a device isn’t in the repository but you have the files for it, simply submit them through the option labeled “Dropbox” on the home page.

 

Currently, only the desktop version of the website is available. When you visit the site on your phone, you are greeted with a prompt stating that the mobile version/app is in the works. Not a huge deal at the moment, but it’ll certainly be nice when it launches!

CF Auto Root on firmware.mobi

This is probably the coolest part of the website. When you find the device you want and you have chosen the file package, you can select the “CF Auto Root” option, which will pre-package root with your download. Not only that, you can customize various system aspects apart from root. You can change the installation mode, existence of suhide, encryption settings, factory reset protection, and even selinux mode!

Go check out the site, look for your device and see what you think, and please submit any files you have for devices that may not be in the repository yet!


Check out firmware.mobi by Chainfire



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Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ Receives Unofficial Port of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 ROM

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has just been released a few days back, but it’s notable in the software department for being the one and only Samsung phone to run Android 7.1.1 out of the box. Samsung’s Nougat update rollout has been remarkable for skipping Nougat’s maintenance release, Android 7.1, entirely on their device lineup. Those who would like to have Android 7.1.1 on their Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+ are in luck, though, as the Note 8 firmware has been successfully ported to both of these phones.

This port, dubbed “Renovate Ice Note 8”, has been released by XDA Recognized Developer mwilky. Aside from bringing over Android 7.1.1 to the Galaxy S8 / Galaxy S8+, it also brings in pretty much all new apps and features from the Galaxy Note 8 – except for the S-Pen stuff, of course. As it’s the first release, many of the Renovate Ice exclusive features added by the developer will be added in later releases. For now, this is the first semi-stable Note 8 port released for the Galaxy S8 line, made possible thanks to both phones having almost identical specifications right down to the SoC. The ROM also brings some custom tidbits like the Renovate Kernel and a tweaks app which allows you to change lots of things inside the OS.

It’s still marked as a beta, so if you want to install it on your device, you should know that it may and most probably will contain some bugs here and there. However, we should say that it is indeed a remarkable first release. If you want to try it out on your device, head over to the official thread, download it, and flash it on your device. This is just one of many Samsung Experience-based custom ROMs, so if you want to give your device your own touch, head over to our Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+ forums!


Download the Renovate Ice Note 8 ROM for the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+



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Google Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL Colors Leak, Prices Start at $649/$849 Respectively

The Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL are finally coming, with the Pixel 2 reportedly manufactured by HTC and the Pixel 2 XL made by LG. They will share the same storage options and both devices will have different colour choices, but they’ll be sticking to a similar design language as the original Pixel devices.

We have been waiting for months for new information, and we originally heard the first leak back in June where we saw leaked specifications. The device, staying through to the original specification leak, will not pack a Snapdragon 836 as it does not exist. We have also learned of some new features including ambient display, display squeeze, and multiple display profiles. But now let’s take a look at the new devices! As time went on, we saw the device pass the FCC, and then finally a release date was revealed. Now, DroidLife has shared a few images of the actual design in various colors.


Colours of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Pixel 2

First we have the Pixel 2 itself. The HTC-made device comes in “Clearly White”, “Just Black” and “Kinda Blue”  — they are all pretty much self-explanatory, and are also very similar to the original Pixel colours. The only real change here is the lighter shade of blue. Note: the black background on the “Clearly White” is simply to allow the device to actually be seen and not blend into a white background.


Pixel 2 XL

Sticking to the simple naming conventions again, the LG made Pixel 2 XL will feature a “Just Black” colour and a “Black & White” colour. The devices look gorgeous and are two of the three original colours of the Pixel, we should note that the two devices do not have the exact same colours like they did the first time around (“Quite Dark” is not quite “Just Black”).


Specs & Features

As mentioned above, we actually have pretty much had the specs since last June. In short, expect the Snapdragon 835 (not the Snapdragon 836) and 4GB RAM. The XL version will have a 1440p 6 inch screen and the non-XL version will have a 1080p 5 inch screen. We also have learned of some pretty cool features! Always on ambient display will finally be coming to stock Android, a squeezable frame (like the HTC U11) and there may also be a new system font coming!


Pricing

A bit of a scary topic given the original Pixel cost a staggering $649.99 for the 32GB non-XL version. One would hope that this was a once-off, and that the price may decrease this time around.

Sadly, that does not seem to be the case. The Pixel 2 non-XL will cost $649, although it is fair to point out that it will also have 64GB of storage. The 128GB version is said to hit $749, a large price to pay for twice the storage.

The Pixel 2 XL sounds even crazier. The 64GB version will be launching at a price of $849, while the 128GB version will be launching at $949. These are some pretty high prices.

It’s not all bad though, Google will be offering financing options to pay monthly, where you can pay for the device over 24 months. For the Pixel 2, the 64GB model will cost $27.04 per month, while the 128GB model will cost $31.21 per month. The XL version has the same system, costing $35.38 per month for the 64GB version while 128GB version will rise to $39.54 per month.

These devices actually look pretty awesome, but the price may be an issue. Thankfully the financing plans will be there for those who may need them. The device should hopefully launch on October 4th, or at the very least soon after that, and we’ll be sure to get our hands on one when we can!


Source: Droid-Life



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Google Daydream View 2017 Refresh Brings New Colors at a $100 Price Point

We’re learning a lot today about the products that Google will allegedly launch this upcoming October 4th. First, we heard additional details of the Google Home Mini. Next up, we’re hearing from Droid-Life that the Google Daydream View is allegedly getting a 2017 refresh as well.

This is an interesting move from Google since the Daydream View headset is quite a simple accessory already, so you wouldn’t think there is much they can improve upon. However, we are learning that the new Daydream View headset that will receive a bump in price to $100 (compared to the $80 that its predecessor was launched at).

And as the feature image above shows, it will be made available in three different colors (which actually matches the three colors the Google Home Mini will have too) so we can expect that from the upcoming launch event.

Google Daydream View Google Daydream View

When comparing these images to the original, a subtle difference we can see is the flap being pressed against the headset better. It also looks like the top part that sits above your forehead has a slightly different shape to it.

It’s speculated that there could be more going on inside the unit, but the goal of Google’s Daydream VR platform is to do all of the heavy virtual reality processing within the smartphone itself. So it’s possible that the only changes happening here have to do with the size, shape, and build materials. Droid-Life says it may be a more rugged headset compared to the original, so that could translate to the fabric being less soft.

We can’t tell the exact size of the new Daydream View model from these images, but it’s possible this size increase may be to accommodate a larger smartphone frame given that smartphones with screens up to 6.3″ are now capable of being Daydream VR certified.


Source: Droid-Life



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Google Home Mini Images Leaked, Will Reportedly Cost $50

Google was late to the market with Google Home (and really Google Assistant in general), but the company has slowly been expanding its feature set and making it available to more countries around the world. However, as the Google Home costs $130 if purchased from the Google Store, it’s hard for users to justify purchasing a device for multiple rooms in their house. Amazon has already released cheaper versions of the Amazon Echo, and now we have more confirmation that Google will do the same with the release of the Google Home Mini.

We first heard mentions of an alleged Google Home Mini late last month. At that time, we weren’t told much about the new device, but the name implied that it would be smaller and would logically sell at a lower price point.

But today a new rumor about the Google Home Mini has surfaced from Droid-Life. Not only can they can confirm that the device exists, but they also have images and presumed pricing of the device as well. At $50 a piece, the Google Home Mini will be a more affordable way to outfit your home with Google Assistant capable devices.

Google Home Mini Google Home Mini

We can see it has a bit of an egg shape to it, and that it carries over the cloth design that we’ve seen with multiple products from Google’s hardware division (Google Home, Daydream View). If these rumors are indeed true, then we can expect it to be made available in Charcoal, Chalk, and Coral color options.

The lower price point matches the Amazon Echo Dot which also retails at $50, so it’s clear what Google is looking to compete with here. Although, Amazon is known to frequently offer deals dropping the price of the Echo Dot to $40, so we’ll have to wait and see if Google is able to do the same.


Source: Droid-Life



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Startup Company Wants to Extend Qi Wireless Charging to 12 Inches

Some Android smartphones have had some form of wireless charging for years now. Many have heard of Qi wireless charging, but PMA has been around for a while as well. There was a surge in popularity for wireless charging in Android phones a few years back, but then the trend seemed to die down. Now with the renewed interest in Qi wireless charging technology thanks to the Apple iPhone X, a new startup company wants to capitalize on that interest with what they call the Pi Charger.

The Pi Charger promises to extend wireless charging distances up to 12 inches in any direction. According to co-founder John Macdonald, they’re able to increase the distance of Qi wireless charging thanks to a beam-forming algorithm that lets them safely direct a magnetic field to wherever the device is sitting.

Of course, charging speed will still depend on how close the devices are to the Pi Charger. If it’s right next to it then it will charge at full speed, but charging gets slower the further away it gets. The product debuted in the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield event this week, and was demonstrated to work at its advertised range with 5 devices – 1 tablet and 4 smartphones.

The company has already raised $3.5 million to bring this product to market. The company says it will be available “sometime in 2018” and that it should be “well under $200” when it is launched. Pi is even entertaining the possibility of building charging pads for devices such as the Google Home, or phone cases for devices that do not natively support Qi wireless charging.

As you can see from the feature image above, the charger isn’t your typical wireless charging pad that we’re used to seeing these days. While this isn’t as adventurous as the whole room charging technology that companies like Energous have been showing off at tech conventions over the last few years, extending the wireless charging distance by even a couple of inches will make these kinds of products more enticing to consumers.


Source: TechCrunch



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Google Nexus 4 Receives a Port of Android 8.0 Oreo

While OEMs ignore some of their older smartphones, the developer community here at XDA continues to work hard to keep them alive. Just yesterday, XDA Recognized Developer Ziyan released their first alpha build of Android Oreo for the Nexus 4. Since this is an alpha release, we should expect some features to not work right now (including NFC, screen rotation, and likely others), but they looking into fixing them right now. Users are also reporting that there isn’t much system space to install Google apps, but XDA Senior Member n0b0dy666 found that flashing a “pico” Gapps package should work just fine.


Check out this Android Oreo port for the Google Nexus 4



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Android Oreo Bug Causes an Issue with Apps that Inject Context Menu Options

A feature that was introduced in Android 6.0 Marshmallow allowed for 3rd-party applications to add an item to a text’s context menu. This has become a popular option for applications such as AutoShare, and it’s being used by millions of others with those 3rd-party applications which take advantage of it. This feature was brought over to Nougat and is still in place with the new Android Oreo update, but there seems to be a new bug that prevents these additional items from being displayed properly.

To reproduce this bug, you need to have a 3rd-party application installed that adds an item to the context menu. As shown in the video from João Dias on Google+, we simply need to bring up a text field and type something in there. Then we proceed to highlight that text and what we would expect to see is the AutoShare option alongside the traditional ones such as cut, copy, paste, and share. However, the bug prevents these 3rd-party menu options from showing up the first time you bring up this context menu.

We’re unsure exactly what is so different about the first time you bring up this menu in an application as opposed to the 2nd attempt and onward, because on your 2nd attempt the 3rd-party options appear and it will continue to appear while you are in that application. You can minimize it and come back and it will continue to show up as it should. However, once you force close that application and open it back up, the bug comes back on that first attempt of highlighting some text to bring up the context menu.

Since this was brought to the attention of the AutoShare developer (João Dias), they decided to submit a bug report for the issue and this can be found in the Google Issue Tracker page linked below. Google has yet to confirm if they are able to reproduce the issue (although we have been able to on our own devices), but they have assigned the bug report to someone so the issue should be looked into shortly.



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Google Play Music Adds an Option to Stop Automatic Playback

There are times in which you connect a Bluetooth device to your smartphone or tablet and find out that Google Play Music, Pandora, or Soundcloud automatically starts music playback. This can be annoying for some people so we wrote up a method using ADB or Tasker that would let you disable this automatic playback feature that is built into so many devices. Some haven’t had success with that method, but thankfully for those of you with Google Play Music there’s now a built in feature to stop this annoyance from ever happening.

This new toggle can be found in the settings of the Google Play Music app. It’s called “allow external devices to start playback” and when it is disabled, then Play Music will no longer automatically start music playback when you connect your phone to your headphones or Bluetooth device.

So why does this happen in the first place? It’s because Google Play Music on your phone is still registered as the last media button receiver app, so when you connect some external devices such as your Bluetooth car kit to your phone, a media play event is sent to the currently registered media button receiver (Play Music). This is a behavior of your Bluetooth device itself, which in many cases cannot be disabled.

Thankfully with this new option we can at least disable automatic playback in Google Play Music upon connecting to a Bluetooth device. We would hope that the Android OS would get a toggle to disable such a thing system wide, that doesn’t seem like it will ever be the case though application developers will need to add this toggle into their application if they want to let the user disable it.

We are very appreciative that Google added this feature to Google Play Music, and it appears to be rolling out to Google Play Music users via a server-side switch, as some of our colleagues on the latest version of the application cannot find this feature in the app.

Thanks for the tip mhaxx!



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Many LG Phones have a Root Checker Tool which Heavily Slows Down Device Performance

LG once had a mixed stance when it came to modifying their devices, though they’ve opened up in recent years and now most international LG phones have an easy way to unlock the bootloader. In fact, LG devices are now pretty popular among developers in our forums, with flagship lines having solid custom ROM support. However, for years now the company has been incorporating a root checking tool onto many of their devices, which users on our forums have found to significantly degrade performance until it is disabled.


LG Root Checker Tool – A Years Old Issue

This issue was most recently brought up by XDA Senior Member dimm0k. According to him, he was attempting to determine performance issues on his rooted T-Mobile LG V20. Even after wiping the device and only installing Magisk, he noticed a number of ‘sh’ processes which kept spawning until system performance was affected negatively. His research eventually led him to a process called “rctd” being triggered on boot, which checks for root access and for certain signs of root access, and apparently logs what it finds.

The process is, indeed, a root checker tool added by LG. And it stands for, unsurprisingly, Root Checker Tool (RCT). The large amount of data it apparently logs on rooted devices and the myriad of processes it spawns can noticeably degrade UI performance, as reported by LG V20 users on our forums.

While it was most recently found on the T-Mobile LG V20, we have also confirmed the existence of RCT for the T-Mobile LG G6 and the European LG G5 (unlocked) on both Marshmallow and Nougat. We can’t confirm it’s there on all Android 6.0+ LG devices, though, as we didn’t find it on the LG G4. However, we do know that LG has been incorporating RCT for quite a while, as we have mentions of RCT-removal tools dating all the way back to 2013.

Unlike some carrier bundled apps like DT Ignite, this isn’t an Android package you can just disable. RCT is buried into the phone’s boot image, making it extremely difficult to disable for the average rooted user to disable. If you are able to repack your boot image and flash it onto your device, however, then you may notice significantly improved performance, as users on our V20 forums have noted.

How can I know if my phone has it?

If you’re rooted, there’s a pretty simple way to know if your device is affected by RCT background processes. First of all, you’ll need a terminal app like Termux or any other terminal emulator. You can download Termux using the link below. You can also do this with the ADB shell, but you need root either way in order to get an output, so we’re using terminal apps on the phone to simplify things.

Termux (Free, Google Play) →

Once you’ve set up the terminal app, enter the su command to grant the terminal root permissions.

su

Next, send the following command:

ps | grep rctd

If the output is empty, then you’re unaffected. But if you get an output, then your device is affected by RCT. The image below shows you how it should look on an unaffected device.

lg root checker

How can I disable it from my phone?

As we said before, it’s not a package you can just disable from your phone. It’s started as a service within init.lge.rc located inside the ramdisk/boot image, so you’ll need to manually comment out the lines that start the service inside the boot image. If you got an LG V20, you’re in luck, as XDA Senior Member dimm0k himself edited the V20’s boot.img to disable all of the root checker tool’s instances. Head on over to his thread in order to download and flash the modified boot images. For other devices, you’ll need to manually edit the boot image or wait for a developer to edit it for your device. Luckily, there’s a wrapper script available which auto-patches your boot image for you.

We are not quite sure what the exact purpose of the Root Checker Tool is or why it seems to spawn so many processes that can hinder device performance on rooted LG devices. We reached out to LG for comment a few weeks back, and are waiting to hear back from LG’s engineers on the matter.

Thanks to Zachary Wander for checking the boot images for us!



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How to Force Apps to Fill the Screen on the Essential Phone

When Andy Rubin first unveiled the Essential Phone, many were amazed by the bezel-less design the company was able to come up with. One feature that stuck out though (literally) was the camera and sensor cutout at the very top of the display. Other OEMs such as Sharp and Xiaomi decided to embed the camera and sensors in the bottom chin bezel of their bezel-less phones, but Essential went down a different route. This is actually a feature that some assumed would be very distracting when they first saw the smartphone too.

Reviews poured in and a lot said that the camera and sensor cutout weren’t as distracting as they had first thought. Current owners of the device say that your eyes just start to ignore it and that you stop noticing it, until certain apps make its existence too obvious to ignore. While certain applications are allowed to blend into the status bar on the Essential phone, not every application is able to do so.

before essential fix

Here’s an example of what an application looks like on the Essential Phone when it does not cover the top of the screen. The rest of the application looks and functions as it should, but there’s a distracting space right above the status bar that just looks ugly. Thankfully, there’s a way to fix this issue without needing root. Essential actually has a whitelist of applications that are allowed to make full use of the status bar area, and thankfully we have a way of editing that whitelist.


Make Apps Fill the Screen of the Essential Phone

The easiest way to do this is to use an application called “Layout Whitelist Editor” available on the Google Play Store.

Layout Whitelist Editor (Free, Google Play) →

This is an open source app made by Reddit user TsFreddie on the /r/Essential subreddit, and it lets you add or remove individual applications to the application list. This was brought to our attention thanks to XDA Senior Member tw1tch175. All you have to do is install the application and then grant it a hidden permission via ADB, which we’ll show you how to do.

  1. Download and install the “Layout Whitelist Editor” from the above Play Store link.
  2. Set up ADB as outlined in this tutorial.
  3. Open up a command prompt/terminal and enter the following command: adb shell pm grant in.tsdo.elw android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGSEssential Phone
  4. That’s it! Now open up the app and begin whitelisting whatever apps you want to fill the Essential phone’s status bar!
Essential Layout Whitelist Editor Essential Layout Whitelist Editor Essential Layout Whitelist Editor

Once you select the apps you want to whitelist, you should see those applications (especially 3rd-party launchers) start to take up the full screen of your device. If not, it is recommended that you go ahead and reboot the smartphone but it should work instantly. Applications should look much better after this has been done. The wallpapers of 3rd-party launchers (such as Action Launcher) should now expand to the top of the display so it will create a much more immersive experience.

essential phone after

Credit: Reddit user heyitzrj

I say should here because not all applications play well with this setting in certain situations. A few people in our forums show it doesn’t work properly with Tapatalk, but then another person says this conflict is due to the application’s dark theme option.


Explanation

Essential Products wants to make sure that the applications and games which are added to this whitelist work and look the way they should. Currently, developers have to request to be added to the whitelist, and while the company is working on a way to make that situation better, it may take a while for your favorite application to be added to that whitelist. Even the popular Nova Launcher was only just added to the Essential phone’s whitelist. Thankfully there’s a way for us to bypass the restriction the software has put in place.

Using the application above, we are able to manually modify the whitelist put in place by Essential. What the app does is write to the preference called Settings.Global.ESSENTIAL_LAYOUT_WHITELIST using a comma separated list of package names representing the apps that you want to whitelist. This is not unlike many of the tricks we outline in our previous tutorials, but the app makes this process far easier as you don’t need to deal with the command line anytime you want to modify this whitelist.

So there you have it. It was virtually impossible for Andy Rubin’s first smartphone to be exactly what everyone wanted, but at least there are some workarounds for some of its most glaring issues. Another complaint people have had with the phone is the camera, but there’s a workaround for that which at least improves the camera quality (even if it ignores the monochrome sensor).



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Unofficial TWRP Recovery Released for Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Exynos)

TWRP has become an essential tool in the life of an Android enthusiast. It’s a must have if you’re serious about modifying your device with custom ROMs, kernels, and more. Official and unofficial builds are available for dozens of different devices, but today we are adding another new device to that list: the newly launched Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

Samsung phones have not had outstanding developer support since the Samsung Galaxy S6, mainly because of the lack of documentation for Exynos processors, as well as Snapdragon-powered phones shipping with locked bootloaders. However, development on Exynos-based devices has been slowly picking up in our forums. This seems to be true of the Galaxy Note 8, for which XDA Senior Member geiti94 has just released an unofficial TWRP 3.1.1 build for the Exynos 8995-powered model. As usual with Exynos related development, it will not work on the Snapdragon 835 powered versions.

This means that Note 8 owners can now officially root their devices by installing Magisk v14.0. This also means that you will be able to install custom ROMs as soon as they become available. As we said above, Exynos development has not been quite as active as Snapdragon development, but seeing that some Exynos phones like the Galaxy S7 have received mostly bug-free ROMs like LineageOS, it’s possible that we’ll soon be seeing custom ROM development pick up for both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

If you’d like to take a jab at this unofficial build and get your device rooted, you can download it over on the official thread. It’s still in beta, and while it will work fine for most things, there is still space for improvement. However, a couple of weeks (if not less) should be enough for it to reach official status on the TWRP website. Have in mind that this will trip Knox once you flash custom binaries to your phone, and you will not be able to take OTA updates on your device.


Unofficial TWRP on the Galaxy Note 8 XDA Forum



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Amazon’s New Fire HD 10 Tablet has a 1080p Display for $150

Back in 2015, Amazon added a 10″ tablet to their Fire HD line called the Amazon Fire HD 10. While many were happy to see the other tablets released in that batch, the 10″ model wasn’t in line with what people were expecting. The company was trying to charge $230 for a 10″ tablet that had a measly 1280 x 800 pixel display (149 PPI). There were simply other tablets on the market at that time that offered better hardware at the same price (or even cheaper).

So at that time, the only reasons to pick up the Fire HD 10 were if you didn’t mind that display, or really needed deep integration with the Amazon ecosystem. Suffice to say, that wasn’t a popular device for the company but now they have announced a refresh for just this 10″ model. It seems the company learned from its previous mistakes too as this new Amazon Fire HD 10 comes with a 10″ 1080p display and it only costs $150 this time.

Along with that 10″ 1080p IPS display, the Fire HD 10 is powered by a 1.8GHz quad-core CPU from MediaTek. There’s 2GBs of RAM, 32GBs of internal storage, stereo speakers with Dolby Audio technology, and a microSD card slot. They haven’t detailed the size of the battery just yet, but are advertising 10 hours of battery life. The other new standout feature here is hands-free Alexa integration which is actually the first time it’s been implemented in a Fire tablet from Amazon.

This device comes at a time when there simply isn’t much activity in the Android tablet space. Lenovo did just release 4 new tablets recently with the 10.1″ Tab 4 having a 720p display and costing $20 more than what Amazon has to offer. Lenovo also has a Plus version of that Tab 4 tablet that does come with a 1080p displa,y but that comes with a price increase to $280. So Amazon really has a deal here with the refreshed Fire HD 10.


Source: Amazon (Press Release)



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Samsung Likely to Hit Record Profits Due to Increased Demand of DRAM Chips

If you’ve been following the trends in both the smartphone and personal computer space, then you likely know that there is a supply and demand issue happening in regards to memory chips. Due in part by the demand of smartphone components, the demand of memory chips has been increasing over the last year and that trend doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. With Samsung and SK Hynix holding nearly 70% of the global memory semiconductor market, these two companies are poised to make about $42 Billion in profits this year.

If you’ve been wanting to build a computer lately, you likely already know that this isn’t the best time to do so. Cryptocurrency mining has made the price of many video cards go higher than they launched at — that’s if you can find them in stock in the first place. We’re also seeing prices for RAM go up across the board thanks to the supply and demand issue mentioned above. Sure, we don’t see the same types of chips used in computer RAM sticks that we do in smartphones, but it’s those same factories that are producing them.

Desktop computers and mobile phones aren’t the only thing that has caused an increase in demand as of late. Many analysts cite the release of the new iPhone as a big factor here as well. But both Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix have had to convert some of their PC and mobile DRAM production lines to server DRAM lines. So not only are the demands from consumer PCs and mobile causing a strain at these facilities, but there’s also the rapidly rising demand of server DRAM chips.

It can cost a lot of money and time to build a new memory facility too, and if a company overextends then they could end up closing down the plant after the supply and demand issue levels out. Still, companies like Samsung and SK Hynix stand to make a lot of profit this year as they continue to churn out memory chips at increased prices as quickly as possible. Both of these companies are expected to publish record high profits for the third quarter of this year.


Source: Business Korea



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Alleged Photograph of the Huawei Mate 10 Surfaces

It’s getting close to that time of the year when Huawei releases a new flagship smartphone and so it is only natural that more details leak as we get closer to launch. Last month, the company teased the upcoming release with a video telling you to meet the device that is worth waiting for. We weren’t really given any information here since it was just a teaser, but it was clearly meant for the upcoming release of their new flagship smartphone, the Huawei Mate 10.

Around that time we did see some rumored codenames for a couple of devices in the Mate 10 series and earlier this month we learned more about them. Last year, we had the Mate 9, Mate 9 Pro, Mate 9 Lite and the Mate 9 Porsche Design Edition that were all released for the company’s Mate 9 series and we could see something similar this year. As of right now, we have only heard rumored hardware specs for devices with the codename Blanc and Alps but again, we don’t know what names these devices will be released under at this time.

Huawei Mate 10

As shown above, we now get a look at what is said to be a live photograph of the upcoming Mate 10 from Huawei. We can just about see a fingerprint scanner in the bottom front bezel but it looks like it will still use software navigation buttons along with that. The left and right bezels are incredibly thin, almost non-existent, with the top and bottom bezels being reduced to a degree that we’ve seen from the likes of Samsung and LG this year.

Huawei says they want to tackle the high-end smartphone market while competing head to head against companies like Apple and Samsung. The Chief of Huawei’s consumer division even came out and said the battery and camera in the Mate 10 will perform better than what Apple has to offer. We’ll just have to wait and see if the company is able to make good on the claims they laid out back in July of this year.


Source: @evleaks



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OxygenOS Open Beta 24/15 Released For the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T

OnePlus has announced the release of OxygenOS Open Beta 24 and Open Beta 15 for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T, respectively. Unlike the last update, which was loaded with a plethora of new features and UX improvements, this has a comparatively smaller changelog.

Speaking of the changes, the new update brings in “Soft” screen calibration mode, new boot animations, optimization to recent apps clearing, an update to Community app, and some bug fixing.

More importantly, though, the changelog for the update states that the recently discovered BlueBorne vulnerability has also been patched in this update. In case you are not aware, earlier this week, IoT security firm Armis Labs discovered a major Bluetooth vulnerability which could enable an attacker to gain unauthorized access to unpatched Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux devices. BlueBorne is pretty dangerous in a sense that the attacker doesn’t even need to pair to the target device nor it requires any user interaction in order to gain the full control of the target device.

OnePlus notes that they have to fixed this vulnerability with their own patch independent of the Android security update, and that some BlueBorne vulnerability scanners may fail to recognize their independent patch.

As always, if you’re already running the latest version of Open Beta, you can look forward to receiving this new update via OTA. If you aren’t, you can head over to the OnePlus download page for more details on how to manually flash the beta ROM on your device.

Here is the complete changelog for OxygenOS Open Beta 24/15:

System:

  • Added “Soft” screen calibration
    We’ve reverted the screen calibration and added the new calibration from last build as “soft.” You can enable the new calibration in the “display> screen” calibration section of settings
  • New boot animation
  • Optimized the clearing of recent apps

Other:

  • Updated Community app to V1.9.5
  • Minor bug fixes

Source: OnePlus



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lundi 18 septembre 2017

Gmail and Inbox Will Now Convert Addresses, Phone Numbers and Contacts Into Clickable Links

If you’ve ever received an email with an address, phone number or contact information, it can be pretty annoying to have to copy and move information out of Gmail or Inbox, especially if you have a slower device. Having to switch apps and copy and paste lines can be annoying, or even just having to copy and paste one line can be mildly frustrating, especially if you have to fiddle with the text selection.

Thankfully, with the latest updates for Gmail and Inbox, within the next few days you will be able to click an address, phone number or email address to access the dialer or relevant app without having to deal with switching apps and all of that yourself. Clicking an address will take you to Google Maps, clicking a phone number will bring you to your phone application and clicking an email address will open a compose window with that email already selected as the receiver.

As you can see above, the address has become tappable. When you tap the address, you are brought to a view of the address within Google Maps!

Above you can see that the address is highlighted again, along with the phone number. The address will take you to Google Maps while the phone number to your dialer, where you can call the number or save it as a contact.

Google’s Inbox and Gmail have both become smarter, and we look forward to seeing more improvements. To be honest, I’m kind of surprised these changes have only been added now! Google even added smart reply in 2015, which analyses the emails you’ve received to provide some basic responses, and that sounds a lot more advanced than this! Still, Google is slowly improving their email services, and it would be great to see what the future holds for the Google suite of applications.


Source: G-Suite Updates Blog



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Motorola to Honor Android Oreo Update Promise for the Moto G4 Plus After Backlash

Lenovo caused an uproar in the community when it announced its Android 8.0 Oreo update plans for its smartphone portfolio. The update list included most 2017 smartphones and 2016 flagships, but ended up excluding the Moto G4 Plus.

Such uproar was rightfully warranted in this case, as Motorola had explicitly promised Android N and Android O updates for the Moto G4 Plus in its marketing materials. This left Motorola no room to wiggle out of their promise on semantics alone, as ambiguous wording like “one major Android version” or “one year’s software update” were not present in their sales pitch at all.

The situation appeared all the more frustrating when one realizes that the newer generation Moto G5 can not really be considered a thorough, substantial upgrade over the older Moto G4. Here is a quick comparison between key specifications of the devices (and the Moto G5S as well) in order to highlight the major differences:

Specification Moto G4 Moto G5 Moto G5S
Launch May 2016 February 2017 August 2017
Display Size 5.5″ 5″ 5.2″
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
4x Cortex-A53 @1.5GHz +
4x Cortex-A53 @1.2GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
8x Cortex-A53 @1.4GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
8X Cortex-A53 @1.4GHz
GPU Adreno 405 Adreno 505 Adreno 505
Internal Storage 16/32GB 16/32GB 32GB
RAM 2GB 2/3GB 3GB
Rear Camera 13MP, f/2.0 13MP, f/2.0, PDAF 16MP, f/2.0, PDAF
Front Camera 5MP, f/2.2 5MP, f/2.2 5MP, f/2.0
Battery 3000 mAh 2800 mAh 3000 mAh
Fingerprint Sensor No Yes Yes

The improvements between the smartphones were mainly found in the design as each successive “generation” of the Moto G lineup from the G4 onwards started adopting more metal in its external hardware. But on the inside, the Moto G5 comes off as an unimpressive downgrade in key specifications from its predecessor, while the Moto G5S counts as a mere sidegrade to an existing Moto G4 owner.

A somewhat similar situation exists on the Plus variants:

Specification Moto G4 Plus Moto G5 Plus Moto G5S Plus
Launch May 2016 February 2017 August 2017
Display Size 5.5″ 5.2″ 5.5″
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
4x Cortex-A53 @1.5GHz +
4x Cortex-A53 @1.2GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
8x Cortex-A53 @2GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
8X Cortex-A53 @2GHz
GPU Adreno 405 Adreno 506 Adreno 506
Internal Storage 16/32/64GB 32/64GB 32/64GB
RAM 2/3/4GB 2/3/4GB 3/4GB
Rear Camera 16MP, f/2.0, PDAF & Laser AF 12MP, f/1.7 Dual 13MP, f/2.0
Front Camera 5MP, f/2.2 5MP, f/2.2 8MP, f/2.0
Battery 3000 mAh 300 mAh 3000 mAh
Fingerprint Sensor Yes Yes Yes

The Moto G5 Plus and Moto G5S Plus gave a larger reason to upgrade with their adoption of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 that featured 14nm FinFET technology, and changes to the rear camera setup may have also been good driving factors to prefer the newer device over the older Moto G4 Plus.

But the argument still stood. Whether or not the G5/G5S and G5 Plus/G5S Plus make worthy successors to the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus should be irrelevant to the software upgradeability of the G4 lineup, especially when Motorola explicitly mentioned Android Oreo update for the G4 Plus (at least). The fact that some of the successors were sidegrades made the situation worse as it highlighted how Motorola and Lenovo were banking heavily on planned obsolescence to make current devices appear as better purchases over their predecessors.

What’s even worse, Motorola was caught attempting to edit its marketing materials to remove mentions of a promised Android O update. Newer infographics on product pages only mention Android N as a promised update, with Android O removed to make it appear that it was never promised in the first place. Motorola India also erred when it replied to a user on Twitter re-affirming their promise for Oreo on the G4 Plus. However, the error was quickly noticed and the tweet was deleted. But several users on Twitter managed to call out this mistake by Motorola.

Seeing the uproar and the damage to reputation it caused, Motorola has issued a statement to AndroidPolice after their coverage on the same:

It’s been brought to our attention that there were some errors in our marketing materials around Android O upgrades for Moto G4 Plus. This was an oversight on our part and we apologize for this miscommunication. It’s our general practice for the Moto G family to get one major OS upgrade per device, but it’s important to us we keep our promises, so in addition to the N upgrade it has already received, we will be upgrading Moto G4 Plus to Android O. Because this is an unplanned upgrade, it will take some time to fit it into our upgrade schedule. Watch our software upgrade page for more information.

Motorola’s statement mentions that the Moto G4 Plus’s marketing materials had errors when it came to talking about updates. So in order to “keep their promise”, the company will release Android Oreo for the Moto G4 Plus. But because of this supposedly being an “unplanned” update, it will take some time to arrive.

The update statement entirely skips over the Moto G4, ignoring that such a device still exists. The Moto G4 and G4 Plus are almost the same phone with a few minor differences, like the lack of a fingerprint sensor on the G4. Motorola is also shielding itself on a technicality, as it only promised Android O for the G4 Plus. Thus, it would appear that there is no obligation on them to assume responsibility for the G4. Nevertheless, it’s good to see that at the very least, their initial promise is being honored and users will get the update that possibly influenced their purchase decision.


 

What are your thoughts on the latest promise from Lenovo/Motorola? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Source for Motorola’s statement: AndroidPolice



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Report: Google Proposes to Display Rival Shopping Comparison Sites via Auction

After a long investigation and multiple reports, The European Commission claimed Google was abusing their market dominance as a search engine to promote their Google Shopping service. This led to the EU saying Google needed to pay the biggest antitrust find they have ever issued out ($2.7 billion). While this case plays out, the company decided to comply with their initial demands and make changes to their search engine so they could avoid racking up additional fines.

However, they haven’t admitted any wrongdoing and are just following protocol that is laid out for these types of cases. Google has been working on its defense for the case and one week ago they formally filed for an appeal against the EU’s antitrust fine. This means they still have to keep the changes they made to their Google Shopping service so that it complies with EU law, but they are now able to state their case and try to work things out.

Today, it is being reported that the company is now offering to display rival shopping comparison websites via auction. The report cites “four people familiar with the matter” and it is actually quite similar to a failed proposal they made to the European Commission three years ago. The idea here is to let competitors bid for any spot in its Product Listing Ads shopping section. So not only would it allow for competitors to get a prime spot, it would also open it up so it encourages even more competition.

There is a change from this proposal than to what we saw previously though. Before, Google had reserved the top two slots for its own ad places but this new proposal would also have them set a floor price with its own bids (minus the operating costs). Now we must wait to see if the European Commission agrees to this so the issue can move forward.


Source: Reuters



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Xiaomi Redmi 3 (Ido) Receives Functional Port of LineageOS 15

The Xiaomi Redmi 3 (Ido) has received a functional port of Android Oreo based off of Lineage OS 15. What’s more, the only broken feature that is known is HDR. Everything else including the camera, Bluetooth, and the FPC1020 fingerprint scanner currently work! If you have the device, you should take a look at it.

This should soon be added to our growing list of Android Oreo ports to replace the discontinued ROM for the Redmi 3. If you don’t have this particular device but are interested in when an update becomes available, you should keep an eye on that post to see when your device receives an upgrade!


LineageOS 15 for the Xiaomi REdmi 3



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Report: Samsung to Mass Produce a 3-Layered Image Sensor Capable of 1,000 FPS

Back in February of this year, we learned that Sony had been working on a 3-layer stacked CMOS image sensor for their smartphones. This was interesting because the new sensor was going to enable slow motion video recording at up to 1,000 frames per second. Most smartphones these days can only go up to a couple of hundred FPS at 720p, with the Xperia XZ Premium being capable of 960 FPS. A new report out of South Korea now claims Samsung is working on a similar sensor that will go into mass production this November.

Most image sensors that we see in smartphones these days consist of 2 individual layers. Therefore, the data lanes and storage of the 2-layer image sensors are only able to transfer so much information at one time. With Sony’s 3-layer image sensor, we’re now able to dump the information to the local cache and then flush the data to the internal storage as it fills up. This specific method allows for up to 1,000 frames per second at 1080p video recording and this is what we’ve seen in some of Sony’s devices including the Xperia XZ Premium with its 960 FPS ultra-slow-motion feature.

Sony was able to do this by adding DRAM to the third layer of the image sensor and it looks like Samsung will be doing something similar. This DRAM allows the device to capture one still image of a video (at 19.3 million pixels) in only 1/120 of a second. Samsung is said to start an internal pilot program with this new image sensor next month and if everything goes smoothly then they will begin mass production of this component in November of this year.

While unlikely, this could increase the prices of the smartphone which use it even higher because the manufacturing process is more difficult. Just like with Sony though, it will give them another sought-after feature that they can use in marketing material to help win more customers.


Source: etnews



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New Replicant 6.0 Update Doubles the Number of Supported Devices and More

Replicant has been in development since 2010 and has received a few updates since that time. For those who are unaware, this is a version of Android that is completely open source and doesn’t rely on any closed source drivers or code. This results in some hardware not working properly, but there are some workarounds available for those who truly want to go down this route. Version 6.0 of Replicant was released back in May of this year and now a new update has been made available.

While Google has gotten into the habit of rolling out major updates to Android every year, the folks at Replicant take things a bit slower. There have only been 4 different versions of the software available with it first being based on Android 2.2. It was then updated to Android 4.0, followed by Android 4.4 and now it is currently on 6.0 Marshmallow. This current build of Replicant is based on LineageOS 13 and the team has been working to develop open source drivers for as many devices as possible.

This is a big reason why it takes so long to push out updates and also why the software is only available on a limited number of devices. With the initial 6.0 update, it was available for the Galaxy S2Galaxy S3Galaxy Note 2, and Galaxy S3 4G. Now, the team has pushed out another update to version 6.0 that brings support to the Galaxy NoteGalaxy Nexus, Galaxy Tab 2 7.0Galaxy Note 8.0 (GSM and WiFi) and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 models.

Along with support for additional devices, this new version of Replicant 6.0 also adds a number of improvements to the platform. This includes the ability to use USSD messages with Replicant (again), and they’ve also improved WiFi adapter usability. Once up and running with this new version you can connect to hidden networks, manually set DNS servers, and auto-connect to a Wi-Fi network. They’ve also enabled the key backlight at all times on supported devices when you’re inside recovery and there’s also a new Setup Wizard based on the one from LineageOS.


Source: Replicant



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Samsung’s Dedicated Bixby Button Can Now Be Disabled, but Not Remapped

Samsung won a lot of fans when they finally got rid of the dedicated navigation buttons with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. This was a big move as they’ve been hanging onto that aging system for so long, and this allowed them to decrease the size of the bottom bezel. With this change, the company then introduced a 4th dedicated hardware button on the side of the device and this was used with their brand new exclusive virtual assistant, Bixby.

Many people wondered why Samsung would go down this route but there were likely multiple reasons behind this decision. Firstly, it put this new virtual assistant right in front of people who were buying their new flagship smartphone. Even if you were able to learn to not hit the button accidentally when you were trying to adjust the volume, it was incredibly hard to ignore it. But it also replaced some of the functions that Samsung has been using the home button for (like booting into Download Mode).

When Android enthusiasts first learned about the button, many wondered if Samsung would let you customize it to open any application or launch any activity. This wasn’t the case, but there were 3rd-party applications that could add this functionality. That is, until Samsung disabled that option through regular means. Community developers continued working on the case and eventually figured out other methods that let you perform other actions (or even disable) with the Bixby button.

Upon further investigation, changing this options doesn’t actually disable the button entirely. It will prevent accidental presses, but holding the button down will launch Bixby Voice even if change this to the “Don’t Open Anything” option. However, you can go into the settings of Bixby and disable Bixby Voice itself, so that this long press action doesn’t do anything. Granted, we still can’t use it to launch another application, but at least we can disable it so that we’re preventing accidental launches. Maybe we’ll see Samsung add more features to this button in the future.


Source: /r/GalaxyS8



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Google’s New “Tez” Payment System Launches in India with Scratch Cards, Cash Mode and Tez for Business

Today, Google has launched their new mobile payments system in India dubbed “Tez”, meaning “fast” in Hindi and Urdu. This is an entirely separate application from Android Pay (which does not exist in India), but it not completely unlike Android Pay.

Tez – A new payments app by Google (Free, Google Play) →

In India, there is a government regulated system called the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). The UPI is a government-run platform for all mobile transactions, which Google has integrated with. It will also support other mobile wallets in India, such as Paytm and MobiKwick. It supports all major banks in the country as well. Tez weighs about 7MB in size and is claimed to work with a vast majority of Android smartphones, going back to Android 4.4 Kitkat for support. The app is also available on iOS with support for iPhone 4S and newer, thus covering a very good portion of the smartphone market.

The news was originally reported last week, with a few news sites reporting that they received an invitation to a Google event for the 18th of September, where they would announce “the launch of a new product developed ground up for India”. Tez launches with support for many languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.

Cash Mode

Tez introduces a new “cash” mode. This cash mode allows you to pay your family and friends nearby without having to deal with the nuances of bank details and long identification numbers. Cash mode transmits audio using Google’s QR technology to identify the person nearby, and lets you pay and receive money when you’re able to find that user. Google has partnered with Axis, HDFC, ICICI and SBI for backend processing.

Tez Scratch Cards

Users can win up to ₹1,000 simply by transacting. Users don’t need to do anything, just make transactions and the winnings will go straight to your bank account- that is, if you win! Users on lucky Sundays can also win ₹1 lakh (₹100,000). There is also a referral program in place that awards money to both the inviter and invitee when he signs up for Tez.

Tez for Business

Google is also looking to target businesses in India in order to break into the digital payments market. With Tez for Business, Google is allowing businesses their own channel to talk to customers in-app, providing them with offers and news about products. Business channels will also help customers easily find Tez-supported services, as well as allow them to pay for the offers they avail from within the app.

Google Tez is available for download in India. Check it out and let us know how was your experience with Google’s latest app!

Tez



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Motorola Served with Warranty-Related Class Action Lawsuit, Arrived to Settlement

We recently covered Motorola not releasing timely or working kernel sources, a punishable offense. Now they have been arrived to a settlement in a class action lawsuit filed against them, but for warranty-fulfillment reasons. Motorola allegedly is not fulfilling warranties correctly- if at all. If you have submitted any devices to Motorola under warranty, you may be entitled to benefits as a result of this Motorola settlement.

If you purchased a Motorola phone or smart watch and submitted it for warranty service, a class action lawsuit may affect your rights and you may be entitled to a cash payment or other benefits.

This is the first line of information found on the “Lynch v. Motorola Class Action Settlement” page. Motorola has not claimed responsibility and the courts have not made a decision regarding either side and who is right or not. Motorola is settling outside of court, and the company denies any wrongdoing. The court has preliminarily approved the settlement, however, compensation will not be paid out until the court has fully approved it. Motorola has accepted the settlement to avoid further litigation, absolve themselves of liability and so that members of the settlement classes can receive compensation and other benefits in exchange.


You May be Entitled to a Cash Payment or Other Benefit Due to the Motorola Settlement

Motorola has agreed to settle out of court, so what does this mean? Until December 6h, anybody who feels they fall under the categories listed on the website can submit a claim.

A device must have been submitted to Motorola between November 1, 2012, until August 14, 2017, for warranty reasons to be entitled to a claim. Not only that, you must also fall into one of the following four categories.

  • An Advanced Exchange Program security deposit was charged but was never released;
  • Motorola did not ship a replacement device within 10 days of receiving the Advanced Exchange Program fee;
  • Motorola did not ship a repaired or replacement device within 20 days of Motorola receiving the original device; or
  • Never received a repaired or replacement device and were not credited with a refund.

If you fit all of the above criteria, you may be entitled to make a claim for the following.

  • If the security deposit was charged and never released, you will be entitled to receive the full amount that was charged.
  • If you did not receive a repaired or replacement device and were not given a refund, you will be entitled to a new/like new device and $20 in cash.
  • If Motorola did not ship a repaired/replacement device within 20 days, you will be entitled to $15 cash.
  • If Motorola did not ship a repaired/replacement device within 30 days, you will be entitled to $20 cash.

If you submitted a device and have met any of the problems above, you fall into the “Damages Class” and can file a claim. If you submitted a device to Motorola within the time period but did not meet any of the problems listed above, you fall into the “Injunctive Class” category. This category is ensured that Motorola will be improving their warranty service in future, increasing checks and improving their warranty services for those having to avail of it.

How do I claim from the Motorola Settlement?

You can get a copy of the claim form here. Once you do that and fill it out, you can submit it through the post, fax or email using the following information.

KCC Class Action Services

P.O. Box 404000

Louisville, KY 40233-4000

E-Mail: info@motorolawarrantyclassaction.com

Fax: 866-860-8924

A final hearing will then be heard in court on the 21st December 2017. If the settlement is then approved by the court and provided there are no appeals, then Motorola will begin to fulfill the settlement. If there are appeals, resolving them can take a long time and it may be well over a year before those claiming damages will receive benefits.



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samedi 16 septembre 2017

XDA Charging Standard Comparison (Speed/Throttling/Thermals) – OnePlus DashCharge Takes the Crown

One of the most common qualms from smartphone users is how their phones never last through the whole day. Despite all the advances in smartphones in recent years, such as quick charging solutions like Quick Charge, Dash Charge and SuperCharge, batteries feel like they have not evolved quick enough to keep up with our needs.

Part of the blame goes onto OEMs, who do work towards making our smartphones more efficient year-on-year. But on the flip side, the increasing efficiency of our smartphones are seen as perfect excuses to thin down our phones by yet another millimeter. And to retain the practicality of the phone, advances in the field of charging are advertised as a key feature of the device. So what if your phone dies after 6 hours of standby? Now you can get a day’s power in half an hour, or some other slogan.

Choice, one of Android’s strongest selling points, also ends up confusing users when it comes to charging standards. There are multiple charging solutions available across Android flagships, with their own positive and negatives attributes, intricacies and particularities. Some charging solutions are quick, some are efficient and some aren’t really quite as great as one would expect.

In this article, we will take a look at the performance and efficiency of some popular charging standards, namely Huawei’s SuperCharge, USB Power Delivery, OnePlus’s Dash Charge, Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging, and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

Index

Conclusion
OnePlus Dash ChargeHuawei SuperchargeQuick Charge 3.0Adaptive Fast ChargingUSB Power Delivery

Current Winner 9/16/2017

OnePlus Dash Charge

Offering an excellent balance between speed and stability, Dash Charge surprised us with its ability to charge your phone quickly and painlessly. Its custom charging adapter and signature red cable allow newer OnePlus devices to remain cool while charging, without sacrificing performance on device nor charging rates. This means you use your device while it’s getting topped up and keep on messaging, browsing the web or even playing a game. Dash Charge cannot offer wide compatibility or a diverse set of charger options, but in the end it provides an excellent charging solution that does not get in the way of the user experience.


Methodology

The data we collected involved the use of a script that automatically measured key charging parameters  (as reported by Android) and dumped them into a data file for us to analyze. All charging standards were tested with their stock charging adapter and cable to ensure that the data is representative of what we can expect from each standard. All data collection began with the battery at 5% and ended with the battery at 95%. To test thermal performance and charging speeds during screen-on use cases, the script looped PCMark tests while the phone was charging to simulate a real-world usage environment; temperature readings are gathered from the OS, and they are not measured externally. For the sake of clarity in this presentation, averaged data was rounded off while preparing the graphs.

Charging Standard Device Tested Battery Capacity
Dash Charge OnePlus 3 3,000mAh
USB-PD Pixel XL 3,450mAh
Adaptive Fast Charging Galaxy S8+ (Exynos) 3,500mAh
QuickCharge 3.0 LG V20 3,200mAh
Supercharge Huawei Mate 9 4,000mAh

Quickest Charging Standard

When we measured the charging times of the popular charging solutions, we came across a peculiar conclusion: USB Power Delivery was the slowest of all fast charging solutions that we tested, at least as implemented on the Pixel XL. This is only surprising because USB Power Delivery is the “standard” pushed forth by the USB-IF standards body, and the one that Google strongly encourages as well — once we look at each standard’s workings further down this article, it’ll make more sense.

USB Power Delivery has been implemented in the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. The smaller Google Pixel is marketed at being capable of 15W-18W charging, while the bigger Google Pixel XL is capable of 18W charging. As we noted in our Google Pixel XL review, actual charge times on the device were not competitive, ending up in the last place when compared with other solutions, and our extensive testing on the charging times for the purposes of comparison reveals the same. Below you can see the charging time of each standard from 5% to 80% when scaling the battery capacity across test devices to 3,000mAh — this does not represent how each standard would charge such battery capacity with perfect accuracy, and the graph should be used to get an approximate idea as to how they compare.

When we look at which device charged the fastest, the quickest charging solution we tested is OnePlus’s Dash Charge functionality, which on the OnePlus 3 ends up being quicker than competitors by about 10 minutes in the end (before adjusting for battery capacity), and by a good half hour against USB Power Delivery. On the flip side, Dash Charging is proprietary technology, which adds its own set of complications which we will discuss later on in this article. Dash Charge does end up behind Huawei Supercharge when we take into account, and adjust for, battery capacity in the device, as the Huawei Mate 9 has a substantially larger battery than the OnePlus 3. While Supercharge achieves a faster peak charging rate, the Huawei Mate 9 does not reach 95% charge the earliest because of its larger battery capacity. So while the OnePlus 3 tops up faster in terms of reaching the higher percentages of its battery capacity, the Mate 9 is actually adding more charge per unit of time (a function of Huawei’s higher power delivery ouput).

Huawei Supercharge and Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 performed similarly, while Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charge had less of an initial speed advantage but it still managed to reach the goal of 95% charge while giving close competition to the other two.

We also have temperature data alongside the charging time. This graph coincides with the charge percentage, but had to be separated to keep things simpler, uncluttered and easy to understand.

We were unable to finely control all the starting temperatures of our test devices because of the varying temperatures in the different locations they were tested in, so our focus should be on consistency and stability rather than the absolute highs and lows displayed by each data set. Battery temperature was obtained from Android’s low-level system record of battery temperature.

The most thermally consistent of the lot is Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging as it maintains a good hold over the device temperature throughout the entire session. Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 was the “coolest”, though again, we would need better-controlled initial conditions with perfect starting points and minimal extraneous variables to crown it the king. Similarly, we cannot call USB Power Delivery the “hottest”, but it definitely displays the widest range of temperatures. It’s also worth noting that most of these devices end up cooling down once their charging rate begins slowing down, and USB-PD does a good job at managing temperature past its peak.

The situation changes when you look at how these technologies perform when the device is subjected to a real-world workload. As stated before, we looped PCMark’s Work 2.0 test to simulate real-world usage while charging these devices, in order to measure how charging times and temperatures differed.

OnePlus’s Dash Charging remains as the top performer primarily because of its implementation, which we’ll detail further down. The voltage and current regulating circuitry is situated in the Dash Charger, which leads to lower temperatures while charging. So Dash Charge’s idle-charging and under-load charging scores tend to show very little variation.

On the other hand, Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging shows the worst performance when subjected to charging under a real-world workload. The device takes about twice the time to charge if it is being used, and the charging also increases in a peculiarly linear fashion (given voltage and current remain constant) that is not seen across any of our other tests. In fact, according to Samsung’s support page for the S6, its Adaptive Fast Charging solution is entirely disabled when the screen is on. Express mentions like these could not be found on newer support pages, but Samsung continues to recommend devices to be switched off while using Fast Charging.

Other standards continue to occupy positions between these extremes, most lying on the better side of the scale. Even USB Power Delivery, the worst performer of idle-charging takes just about 10 minutes more to achieve the same charge levels under load.

Temperature-wise, Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging (if we can call it that under this test) maintains a consistent range of temperatures, flowing within a 5°C range. Huawei’s Supercharge follows along next, followed by OnePlus’s Dash Charge. Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 and USB Power Delivery are the worst performer temperature-wise with large inconsistencies and variations throughout their cycles.


With inter-standard comparison out of the way, let’s take a closer look at how the standards performed individually under idle-charging and load-charging scenarios, with a short explanation as to why they behave this way and how they work.


Huawei Supercharge

Huawei’s SuperCharge is one of the more interesting standards we’ve tested, showing impressive results under most conditions. Unlike traditional high-voltage charging solutions, Supercharge employs a relatively low-voltage and high-current formula that aims to maximize the amount of current going into the device, while minimizing efficiency losses, heat, and throttling. Coupled with the Smart Charge protocol, the Mate 9 also adapts its charging parameters based on the requirements of the battery, as well as the charger supplied (for example, it can make full use of a USB-PD charger). The actual Supercharge charger comes with 5V 2A, 4.5V 5A, or 5V 4.5A (for up to 25W, or a common 22.5 throughout the most relevant segment) and uses a chipset in-charger to regulate voltage as well — this means that there is no additional in-phone voltage transformation, in turn reducing temperature and efficiency losses. Coupled with what Huawei calls “8- layer thermal mechanics” in its design, the Mate 9 promised fast charging speeds at low temperature. Focusing on current over voltage, and going for a less-lopsided distribution is similar to the Dash Charge standard’s approach, and in many ways both OnePlus (or Oppo’s) solution is similar to Huawei’s Super Charge.

Looking at the data we’ve gathered, we see the typical pattern of temperature beginning to go down past the 55% mark, the point at which current begins dropping off as well. Peak current comes close to the 5A rating of the charger, and sustains the 4.5 nominal current throughout the first 20 minutes, or until around 45%. The fastest charging rate occurs from 10% to 5%, with a linear slope that begins curving at that current drop-off, where voltage starts remaining somewhat constant after a fast climb from 2V to over 3.5V. Throughout this test, peak temperature hits 38° Celsius, which is significantly hotter than most other standards in this list. However, temperature will become really important when we take a look at our “under load” test, where we simulate activity on the device to compare charging speeds. We can clearly see temperature decreasing alongside the current, which doesn’t drop in clearly-defined steps as other standards in this article, but with a set downwards trajectory

In terms of charging speed, Huawei SuperCharge arrives to 90% in about 60 minutes, putting it second in in terms of speed behind OnePlus’ Dash Charge. However, the Huawei Mate 9 we tested also has a 4,000mAh battery, which means the mAh per percentage are higher than on all OnePlus devices, actually putting the standard in a better light and ahead of OnePlus. There are differences, however, in terms of charging speed, as Super Charge begins leveling off harder than Dash Charge at the 30 minute mark. Most of these companies advertise how much battery life one can obtain in half an hour, and Huawei’s claims were surpassed by our testing as the device managed to climb past 60% in that time period.

Under workloads, the rate of charging naturally is lower than during idle charging. Instead of a steep drop off, we see a more relaxed curve that trails off at around 75%. Current and temperature drop off is experienced when the device approaches 60%.


OnePlus Dash Charge

One of the newer champions of fast charging is Dash Charge, which surfaced in 2016 with the OnePlus 3. While the OnePlus 2 had disappointingly long charging via a regular 2A charger, the OnePlus 3 brought what OnePlus called “exclusive technology [that] sets a new benchmark for fast charging solutions”. As with most marketing statements from OEMs, this is only half true. Dash Charging technology is actually licensed from OPPO, which OnePlus is a subsidiary of, and mimics their VOOC charging system — Voltage Open Multi-Step Constant-Current Charging. While Dash Charge is a much better name, VOOC charging can be found on OPPO devices like the R9 and R11, though in this article we are focusing on Dash Charge as implemented on the OnePlus 3 / 3T and OnePlus 5.

So what’s special about Dash Charge? Not unlike Huawei SuperCharge, it produces a larger electrical current of 4A and at 5V for 20W power delivery. Rather than increasing voltage, OnePlus opted for a more even distribution with larger electrical current, meaning more electrical charge delivered per unit of time. This is accomplished via both software and, primarily, through hardware — specifically the charger used, which is non-standard (unlike the plethora of QC chargers, for example) and thus you need a VOOC or Dash Charger to make use of these charging speeds.

Much like Huawei’s solution, OnePlus employs dedicated circuitry in the charger itself, and both VOOC and Dash Charge deliver higher amperage thanks to many components of the charger, including a microcontroller that monitors charge level; voltage and current regulating circuitry; heat management and dissipation components (that contribute to a 5-point safety check); and a thicker cable that delivers greater current, specializing in minimizing power fluctuations. Because the charger converts the high voltage from your wall into the lower voltage the battery requires, most of the heat from this conversion never leaves the charger — in turn, your phone remains cooler. The consistent current going into the phone coupled with the lower temperatures on the actual handset allow for reduced thermal throttling, which impacts both charging speed and consistency as well as the direct user experience.

OnePlus proudly proclaims it can give you “a day of power in half an hour”, which in reality means you are looking at around 60% of battery capacity in 30 minutes. This is not only extremely fast, but there are also a few perks that come with it. The charging speed is fastest and one of the fastest at those lower percentages, ensuring you can get extreme amounts of charge in just a few minutes should you be running low on battery. Moreover, the thermal consistency and lack of throttling is no joke. As we can see from the data supplied, the difference between under-load charging and regular charging is minimal. And this does mean that you will not notice slowdowns, additional stutter or general throttling side effects whilst using your device. This is a great plus and, as we’ve noted in a past analysis, it does truly mean you can play demanding 3D games such as Asphalt 8 while still getting nearly the same charging speed, with the difference being explained by the drain incurred by gaming itself.

Dash Charge does have a major disadvantage, and that’s compatibility. The OnePlus 3 and 3T, for example, are not able to fully utilize USB-PD should you not have a Dash Charge cable and charger handy. And you need both the charger and the cable to make Dash Charge work its magic. Unlike with Qualcomm Quick Charge, you won’t find multiple charger offerings and accessories from various suppliers — you are stuck with OnePlus and their stock, which includes regular chargers and also car chargers (that have been known to be out of stock in regular and somewhat frequent intervals). You could try getting your hands on a VOOC charger, but that’s arguably more difficult in many markets. There’s also a noticeable and disappointing lack of battery packs supporting Dash Charge speeds, as OnePlus offers none — you could try OPPO’s power bank with an adapter, but this is far from ideal.

If you can look past those inconveniences and incompatibilities, Dash Charge is a clear winner in both speed and consistency. It’s a charging standard that does its job quickly and efficiently, without tying down the users to a wall for long periods of time, and without hindering their real-world usage while plugged in. The heat reduction could even lead to increased battery longevity. Your phone will remain cool, but your charger will not — so just make sure not to touch it while it’s doing its thing!


Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0

Qualcomm Quick Charge is by all accounts the most popular charging standard in this list, and for good reason. Its paradigm is different than what we see with OnePlus and Huawei, because most of the magic happens through Qualcomm’s power management IC, their SoC and the algorithms they employ — all of this enabled Quick Charge to be a relatively low-cost solution (to OEMs) who are already packing a Snapdragon chipset in their smartphones anyway, and while it might not be as impressive as some of the dedicated solutions in this list, the reach of Qualcomm Quick Charge comes with its own set of benefits. While we are focusing on Quick Charge 3.0, keep in mind Quick Charge 4.0 is already available with considerable improvements. The latest revision is also compatible with USB-PD, as strongly recommended by the Android Compatibility Definition Document.

Quick Charge 3.0 has been offered in chipsets including the Snapdragon 820, 620, 618, 617 and 430, and offers backwards compatibility with previous Quick Charge standard chargers (meaning you can benefit from a plethora of lower-cost, slower chargers). This is mainly because the power draw is handled entirely on-device, with you only needing to provide a charge capable of supplying the requisite current to make use of its advantages — there’s no shortage of Quick Charge-certified chargers, so it shouldn’t be hard to stumble upon one. But again, we should re-emphasize that Quick Charge 3.0 even allows a phone to charge faster or more efficiently than non-Quick Charge devices while using a non-certified charger, precisely because so much of what makes it tick is independent of specific charger hardware, unlike Supercharge and Dash Charge.

Quick Charge 3.0 makes use of ‘Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage’ (INOV), and as the name suggests this allows for intelligent voltage control in order to determine the most efficient voltage, for the most efficient power delivery, at any given point while charging. This coupled with a higher voltage than competitors does allow the standard to expedite charging time, while preventing overheating and ensuring battery safety. INOV is also a step up from Quick Charge 2.0, which had rather discrete power modes of 5V/2A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.67A and 20V); instead, this revision allows for fine-grained voltage scaling, anything from 3.6V to 20V in 200mV increments, and up to 3A or 60W of power. By determining which power level to request at any point in time, QuickCharge also prevents damaging the chemical composition of the battery while still providing an optimum charging speed taking into account factors like temperature and available power output. A potential downside is more inconsistency in charging speeds across charging scenarios and chargers, and the improvements do manifest in the earlier stages of charging and a noticeable decline around the 80% mark.

Still, looking at the graphs provided, one can see the finer granularity and wider range of voltage steps are clearly being taken advantage of. It’s worth noting that the Quick Charge 3.0 samples shown here do not behave as efficiently under load as other alternatives that offload much of the voltage conversion and heat dissipation to outside hardware; it’s more than serviceable if you want to use it while charging, however we don’t see the lack of throttling and heat buildup found on solutions like Dash Charge. And, unlike with other standards, you really won’t have a hard time finding power banks that’ll provide the rated charging speeds — this isn’t the case for SuperCharge or OnePlus, unless you are willing to spend more money, spend more time, or make extra concessions.

It’s precisely this level of versatility and support that make Quick Charge a great standard, and some OEMs do ultimately rebrand it as a superior “customized” alternative. But in the end, Quick Charge is an excellent solution for most OEMs looking to implement fast charging that’s efficient, highly compatible, and does not need special accessories. This holds extreme significance given Qualcomm is essentially granting the option to provide faster charging to dozens of smaller OEMs, or of bringing faster charging to mid-range devices through mid-range chipsets. This, in turn, improves the minimum baseline of fast charging offerings, in turn promoting competition and prompting those brands that do offer fast charging as a specific selling point to aggressively improve or market their solution.


USB Power Delivery

USB as a standard has been evolving for years, from a simple data interface that eventually became widely-used as a constrained power supplier, to a fully-fledged primary power provider alongside a data interface. Many small devices have featured USB charging for years, and you probably have a handful of peripherals being powered up by USB cables right at this moment. Power management in the initial generations of USB, however, was not meant for battery charging — rather, it was cleverly exploited for that by manufacturers who saw the slow power delivery was enough for the small batteries of their products. Since then, we’ve seen a tremendous jump — from the USB 2.0 power source of 5V/500mA (2.5W), to USB 3.0 and 3.1’s 5V/900mAh (which was very, very underutilized on Android) and finally, USB PDs 100W charging maximum.

Of course, smartphones have no need (and cannot take in!) such power draw — while 20V/5A is a peak for USB PD, actual chargers see a much lower specification with our tested Pixel clocking in at up to 15W (5V/3A), and the Pixel XL up to 18W. In most charging circumstances, however, voltage goes up to 5V with current sitting just under 2A, with the highest power draw we found during charging being just under 12.25W. As shown in the data provided here, USB-PD really isn’t the fastest charging standard, nor does it offer the best thermal consistency/lack of throttling. It does charge quite quickly under load, however, and overall it offers a very satisfactory – if unspectacular – charging profile.

It is, however, an extremely versatile standard that’s relatively easy to implement and that’s increasingly being pushed forth by Google in products like the Pixel C, Pixel Chromebooks, and Pixel smartphones as well as by various other manufacturers for laptops and other devices of varying sizes. Moreover, USB-PD is now part of the Android Compatibility Definition Document. Last year, the following entry made the rounds because it showed Google’s commitment to the standard, and what many interpreted as discouragement of proprietary solutions.

Type-C devices are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to not support proprietary charging methods that modify Vbus voltage beyond default levels, or alter sink/source roles as such may result in interoperability issues with the chargers or devices that support the standard USB Power Delivery methods. While this is called out as “STRONGLY RECOMMENDED”, in future Android versions we might REQUIRE all type-C devices to support full interoperability with standard type-C chargers.

Since then, we’ve seen Qualcomm adopt USB-PD spec compliance with their Quick Charge 4.0 release for newer Snapdragon chipsets, which is a huge victory for both Google and Qualcomm. The increasing proliferation of USB-PD and Type C ports can lead us to a future where we see more device interconnectivity, with a near-universal port for audio, video, data transfer and charging needs. USB Type C devices like the Pixel XL currently allow the option to charge other devices using their battery as a power source, for example, and widespread USB Type C and USB-PD adoption in other devices such as laptops could lead to more convenient charging and cable-management use cases.

There’s also no shortage of charger options available for USB-PD devices, and if the standard can co-exist with proprietary standards, that opens up even more possibilities for device manufacturers. As it stands, though, it’s not present in many Android devices yet, with the Pixel and Pixel XL leading the charge. For these two phones and their adequate battery capacities, the charging rate and resulting times are sufficient, and Pixel / Pixel XL owners have multiple options at their fingertips — one just needs to make sure the charger is able to meet the 9V/2A or 5V/3A requirements of the phone, and that it meets specifications. With the emergence of USB Type C and USB-PD, we did see a few reports of potentially dangerous cables being sold online, as they didn’t meet the specifications of the resistor in the cable, for example. Luckily such issues are disappearing and if you make sure to research your purchase properly, you should be OK. Keep in mind that the standard is scaleable, and there will be more voltage and current configurations that OEMs can experiment with.


Adaptive Fast Charging

Adaptive Fast Charging has been Samsung’s preferred charging solution for many years and, unfortunately, it has largely stayed the same since. While our results show that it’s one of the slowest (yet more stable) standards, Samsung opts for it year after year over either a charging solution more in line with what OnePlus and Huawei are doing, or the proper Qualcomm Quick Charge (however, Samsung devices can make use of Quick Charge chargers for fast chargers!). The latter is a consequence of their split chipset strategy, given that their Exynos chipsets wouldn’t be able to take readily take advantage of Qualcomm’s charging technology. Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging is thus present in their devices across the globe, and limited to Samsung devices.

While Adaptive Fast charging is faster than USB-PD when adjusting for battery capacity, it’s still significantly slower than Supercharge and Dash Charge, and slightly slower than Quick Charge. It features a peak power delivery of 15W (5V/3A) which is in line with other standards, but Samsung seems to be quite conservative with its charging times — this is particularly evident when charging under load, as the charging rate becomes nearly linear, and has the slowest charging rate out of all devices we’ve tested for this article. That being said, the temperature difference is also the smallest of the bunch, and throttling the charging speeds and minimizing temperature led to consistent performance under usage.

 

Under both circumstances (regular charging and charging under load*) Samsung’s solution is the slowest (without adjusting for battery capacities) and the coolest (or, rather, features the smallest range of temperatures). This emphasis on stability and consideration for thermals is now more important to Samsung more than ever, after what happened with their Galaxy Note 7 and its faulty batteries. While there might be no correlation between this approach to fast charging and this incident – after all, as we’ve mentioned, their standard has remained largely constant over time – it’s still worth considering that a safer approach to fast charging is not bad in and of itself.

 

This is especially true for Samsung devices, which also provide an additional different rapid charging solution altogether — fast wireless charging. While conventional wireless charging was gaining popularity a few years back, Samsung is one of the few that stuck with it and then improved upon their implementation by adopting faster wireless charging, which originally cut down charging times from around three hours to just around two. Having this alternative can make up for some of the disadvantages of Adaptive Fast Charging, given wireless charging is a more passive approach that is less cumbersome and thus allows for more regular charging intervals, effectively taking the hassle out of topping up a phone around an office or bedroom space.

* You might notice that the intervals between points in these data sets are smaller than on other stubs and graphs. While gathering data from the GS8+, we stumbled upon a device-specific issue that prevented the PCMark test with UI automation from being carried out properly. We thus revised our data collection and automation tool for the GS8+ and improved the polling mechanism while we were at it. Data added in the future will benefit from these improvements resulting in more accurate or smoother graphs.


This article will be continuously updated as we get our hands on more devices, and get to test newer or updated standards. Stay tuned for more comparisons!



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