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Apr 8 2019

Samsung Galaxy S8 price, specs, release date – features: Samsung – s Bixby voice assistant is not ready for launch

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Samsung Galaxy S8 price, specs, release date features: Samsung s Bixby voice assistant is not ready for launch

Latest news

01/06/2017: Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant is not ready for launch

Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby will not be ready for its original release. The Wall Street Journal reported that the voice assistant won’t be ready for release in the US until late June, as the software is having trouble fully understanding English.

Samsung will miss the spring release date of Bixby it announced in April and will instead aim for a summer release.

Bixby is meant to be one of the flagship features of the Galaxy S8, especially since it has a dedicated button on the side of the device to launch the assistant.

At launch, Bixby is meant to answer questions, plan out a user’s day and interact with their device. Bixby is also meant to have image searching capabilities, where a user takes a picture and Bixby can identify what is in the image and suggest actions to take. If it’s a landmark, for example, the AI might offer more information on it, or if it’s a product it might suggest online shopping pages.

Currently the Bixby app is available without the voice assistant, where users can see calendar entries, reminders, health data and more onto one screen for easy access.

26/05/2017:The Samsung Galaxy S8’s iris recognition system is hackable

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) appears to have hacked the Galaxy S8 iris authentication service, despite Samsung’s focus on biometric security.

The S8 offers both the standard fingerprint reader as well as iris scanning technology as security options for its users. Samsung promises that the Galaxy S8’s iris scanner offers “airtight security”, explaining that “the patterns in your irises are unique to you and are virtually impossible to replicate”.

Unless, that is, you have access to a digital camera, a printer, and a contact lens, like the hackers at CCC. A video demonstrates CCC’s simple method of tricking the iris scanner by printing a photo of the user taken with a digital camera on night-shot mode and then placing a contact lens on top of the photo to imitate the curvature of a real eye.

The CCC biometrics security researcher responsible for discovering the hack, called starbug has previously beaten other biometric authentication systems such as fingerprint readers with equally elementary tactics, but warns that iris authentication is especially untrustworthy, as we expose our irises quite a lot. According to Dirk Engling, spokesperson for the CCC, it is possible that a high-resolution picture of the user online could be used to replicate the iris effectively.

Aside from finding selfies posted to the internet, a thief could just as easily take a picture of the user with a digital camera. There are two possible camera adjustments that achieve the necessary picture quality. Changing the camera mode to night-shot or removing the infrared filter can produce a clear image of the iris’s typically indistinguishable details.

As for now, the safest security option seems to be the traditional PIN protection.

Apple is also experimenting with iris authentication systems, and it’s rumored that the iPhone 8 will feature this technology.

10/05/2017: Samsung has started rolling out an update that gets rid of the weird red tint some Galaxy S8 users said was haunting their devices.

The update to software versions G950FOXM1AQDG and G955FOXM1AQDG for the S8 and S8 Plus respectively began apppearing on unlocked devices yesterday, with the company planning a staged update to try and make sure all devices are updated as soon as possible.

Samsung said the update delivers “improved color optimization and convenient color adjustment,” although it doesn’t say exactly what the problem was or how many of its flaship devices were suffering from the warm glow.

The update began hitting devices in Canada and the US late last week, although UK customers are still waiting for some carrier-branded devices to be updated.

A Samsung spokewoman previously told The Sun . “The Infinity Display on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ has applied Super AMOLED and provides rich and expressive colours, enabling users to enjoy a clearer and more vivid viewing experience.

“The Galaxy S8 was built with an adaptive display that optimises the colour range, saturation and sharpness depending on the environment. If needed, users can manually adjust the colour range of the display to change the appearance of white tones, through “Settings – Display – Screen Mode – Colour balance.”

Release date

Samsung officially revealed the S8 and S8 Plus on 29 March. It opened pre-orders the same day, which lasts until 19 April, with orders fulfilled from 20 April.

While rumours pointed to 21 April as the device launch date, based on previous launches like the Galaxy S7 and Note 7. Samsung confirmed the S8 will become available from 28 April in the UK.

Price

Samsung generally prices its flagship Galaxy phones at around £550 inc VAT, with the fancier ‘Edge’ variants costing a little bit more, but sterling’s weakness amid Brexit uncertainty appears to have pushed prices up. The S8 will cost £689 and the S8 Plus will cost £779.

Specs hardware

Unsurprisingly, Samsung has once again opted to use a combination of popular Qualcomm Snapdragon CPUs and its own-brand Exynos processors to power its flagship smartphones. While the S8 will be powered by the Snapdragon 835 in markets like Korea and the US, the UK’s version will use the Exynos 8895 – octa-core chips built with the company’s 10nm FinFET architecture.

These chips feature four 2.3GHz cores for heavy lifting and four core clocked at a slower 1.7GHz speed, paired with 4GB of RAM. While this isn’t quite as large an allocation as some other phones we’ve seen, early signs indicate that Samsung has nevertheless retained its place at the top of the performance pile.

As with the Galaxy Note 7, the S8 comes with 64GB of storage as standard, along with expandable storage via MicroSD card and IP68 waterproofing.

Screen

For the latest generation of smartphones, Samsung opted for a similar release strategy seen with the Galaxy S6, releasing both a Galaxy S8 and a larger S8 plus model. Both models come with a QHD+ display at 2,960 x 1,440 resolution, rather than making the leap to a 4K panel that would certainly impact on battery life. In terms of screen size, they feature 5.8in and 6.2in displays respectively, and while this is almost a full inch larger than the S7, the overall footprint is the same.

This has been achieved by scrapping the physical home button and cutting away at the S8’s screen bezels – the result is a device that is seriously eye-catching, with a front panel that benefits from the lack of black bars. Both models also incorporate the curved design of previous ‘Edge’ models.

The S8 also drops the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, in favour of a rather bizarre 18.5:9 ratio, resulting in a device that is taller and thinner. Although this is likely due to that ultra-thin bezel, it does make it easier to operate with one-hand.

Battery safety issues

Given the disaster that was the Note 7, it is unsurprising that Samsung was keen to show off its rigorous safety testing for its latest device, particularly when it comes to the battery. It is understandably one of the less innovative parts of the phone, with the S8 using the same 3,000mAh battery found in the S7, while the plus model uses a slightly beefier 3,500mAh cell.

Both devices charge via USB-C, with wireless and fast-charging capabilities also on offer. Samsung will undoubtedly be playing it safe with regards to charging and power, so at most we’re expecting the S8 to equal the battery life of its predecessor.

Fingerprint sensor Iris scanner

Biometric authentication has been one of Samsung’s focus areas for its last few device generations, and the technology is out in force here. Not only does it come with the standard fingerprint reader (now located on the back following the death of the home button) but it also incorporates the Note 7’s iris scanner and all-new facial recognition technology.

Bixby

Samsung is jumping on the AI bandwagon this year and has included its own Alexa-style digital assistant, named Bixby, on the Galaxy S8. Bixby boasts a couple of interesting features, such as the ability to run searches on things just by snapping a photo, as well as the usual suite of digital assistant abilities such as setting reminders, answering questions and controlling smart devices. Some features will be available at launch, but sadly the voice control element won’t be coming to UK English-speakers until later on this year, as the company has reportedly been struggling with fine-tuning the feature.

DeX

One of the S8’s more interesting features is the new DeX mode. Similar to Windows 10’s Continuum feature. this allows S8 owners to plug their phone into a dock and use it as a desktop PC, complete with support for monitor, mouse and keyboard. While it’s not as capable as a dedicated PC, it should provide a flexible, versatile option for S8 users who want to be more productive.

Samsung will also be hoping to tempt businesses to roll it out as a corporate device, and the company already has partnerships with the likes of Citrix, Adobe and Microsoft to bring optimised versions of their enterprise software to the Samsung DeX.


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