Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: TheGuruReview.net ::

Apple Watch Sales Off To A Strong Start During Holiday Season

December 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

apple-watch-2-150x150Sales of the Apple Watch to consumers racked up an impressive record during the first week of holiday shopping, and the current quarter is on track to be the best ever for the product, Apple Inc  Chief Executive Tim Cook told Reuters.

Cook said the gadget’s sell-through – a measure of how many units are sold to consumers, rather than simply stocked on retailers’ shelves – reached a new high.

Cook’s comments followed a report on Monday from technology research firm IDC estimating that the tech giant sold 1.1 million units of the Apple Watch during the third quarter of 2016, down 71 percent from the year-ago quarter. The comments offer a glimpse of the gadget’s performance during the holiday quarter, which is typically Apple’s strongest.

 “Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year,” Cook wrote.

“Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch,” he said.

Cook did not respond to a request for specific sales figures for the gadget.

Apple has disclosed few details about the performance of the Apple Watch, its first new product released under Cook. The company has not broken out sales of the gadget in its earnings, instead lumping it into an “other products” category that includes devices such as the iPod and Apple TV.

Strong sales of the Apple Watch are to be expected during the holiday quarter as the gadget is a more natural gift than some of the company’s other products such as the iPhone or Mac computer, said analyst Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. Apple also lowered the price of the gadget this year, potentially helping the holiday sales comparison, O’Donnell noted.

 

‘Distributed Guessing’ Hacking Turns Focus To Credit Card Numbers

December 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

credit-card-theft-150x150Credit card fraud has been added to the list of things that distributed processing can hasten.

An e-commerce site will typically block a credit card number after 10 or 20 failed attempts to enter the corresponding expiry date and CVV (card verification value), making life difficult for fraudsters who don’t have a full set of credentials.

But there are plenty of e-commerce sites out there, and it’s possible to obtain missing account details by submitting slightly different payment requests to hundreds of them in parallel.

It takes less than six seconds to perform the “distributed guessing attack,” according to the researchers at Newcastle University in the U.K. who figured out how to do it.

Guessing the expiry date of a valid card isn’t all that difficult: Cards are typically issued for five years at most, so sending the 60 possible values to different websites will get a confirmation from one of them. The three-digit CVV is a little harder, involving spreading 1,000 requests across multiple websites.

“Practically unlimited guesses can be made by distributing the guesses over many websites, even if individual websites limit the number of attempts,” wrote researchers Mohammed Aamir Ali, Budi Arief, Martin Emms, and Aad van Moorsel.

The title of their paper asked the question: “Does The Online Card Payment Landscape Unwittingly Facilitate Fraud?”

Their answer is emphatically yes — at least for Visa cards, for which they were able to submit sufficient requests to obtain the missing values.

MasterCard’s centralized payment network, on the other hand, detected their attack on a card account after fewer than 10 authorization attempts.

Ali and colleagues studied 389 websites drawn from the 400 most-visited according to Alexa.com. Of those, just 47 used the 3D Secure authorization system, making them immune to the attack.

The weak links in the system were the 26 sites that required only the card number and the expiry date to validate payment. The 20 of them allowing at least six guesses provided ample capacity for guessing such an easy answer.

A further 291 sites would validate a card number with just the expiry date and CVV — but with 238 of them allowing six or more guesses, the CVV could soon be obtained.

Online Holiday Shopping Surged Over Thanksgiving Weekend

November 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

online-holiday-sales-150x150Online spending by U.S. deal seekers exceeded $1 billion by Thanksgiving evening, according to Adobe Digital Index, surging almost 14 percent from a year ago and reflecting a broader trend away from brick-and-mortar shopping.

At the start of the first holiday shopping season since the U.S. Presidential election on November 8, U.S. consumers loosened their purse strings and spent $1.15 billion online between midnight and 5 pm ET on Thursday, according to Adobe.

Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, has started the holiday shopping season in the United States with retailers offering steep discounts and turning a profit. But its popularity has been on the wane given the emergence of online shopping and cheap deals through the year from retailers including e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc.

U.S. stores are now opening on Thanksgiving to try and boost in-store sales, while retailers have been offering online deals weeks in advance to cope with lower demand and stiff pricing competition.

“We saw one of our strongest days ever online,” Brian Cornell, chief executive of discount retailer Target, told reporters on Thursday evening. He added that online sales grew by double digits, without giving further details.

The holiday season spanning November and December is crucial for retailers because it can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales. Retailers try to attract shoppers with deep discounts, sometimes as much as 85 percent.

The National Retail Federation, which has been bullish with projections in the past, expects holiday sales to grow 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion.

“Online discounts are earlier and a lot bigger than last year,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal research analyst at Adobe Digital Index.

Walmart To Offer Web Sales Of Cyber Monday Deals Starting Friday

November 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

walmart-ecommerce-150x150Walmart Stores Inc will start offering online deals reserved for Cyber Monday two days earlier this year, joining a growing list of U.S. retailers who offer web promotions over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Walmart’s special web promotions will be available on Black Friday, the retailer said in a statement late on Sunday. Cyber Monday is the biggest day of the year for internet shopping and follows Black Friday, which is the busiest shopping day for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Walmart recently said it will boost its online inventory for Black Friday by more than half this year, as it pulls out all stops to grow online sales this holiday season. The retailer has grown its online inventory to 23 million items from 8 million at the start of the year.

 Walmart’s step to boost online sales comes at a time when Black Friday is losing its importance as early discounts and online shopping keep shoppers away from stores.

The year-end shopping season, which spans November and December, is crucial for many retailers because the two months can account for anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of their annual sales. The National Retail Federation expects industry holiday sales to grow 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion.

Walmart said orders that were ordered on the Walmart mobile app and picked up in store, increased more than 75 percent during the first two weeks of November from the same period a year earlier.

Walmart Pay Seeks Expansion, Hold Discussions With Mobile Wallet Companies

November 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

walmart-pay-150x150Wal-Mart Stores Inc is holding discussions with several mobile wallet companies to offer more payment options in its Wal-Mart Pay app, an executive at the world’s largest retailer said, after signing up JPMorgan Chase & Co last week.

Starting next year, Chase Pay will become the first third-party digital wallet on Wal-Mart’s website and app, they said on Thursday.

Customers can pay within the app with any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift card.

Daniel Eckert, senior vice-president of services at Wal-Mart U.S., said in an interview late on Friday that the retailer would tweak its marketing for the app after the most frequent users turned out to be Gen X customers, born from 1965 to 1967, and baby boomers born from 1946 to 1964.

“The target demographic during the launch of a technology product tends to be younger, more male, so we have had that target market in mind,” Eckert said.

U.S. mobile payments accounted for an estimated $67 billion in 2015, and are expected to grow this year to $83 billion, or 24 percent of all purchases made via smartphones, according to the latest Forrester Research data.

Apple Inc’s Apple Pay or Alphabet Inc’s  Android Pay are the most popular digital wallets, and U.S. retailers have launched many mobile payment apps in the last two years.

But acceptance has been slow, largely because most systems require new equipment at stores.

Wal-Mart Pay was launched in December 2015 and can be used in all of the retailer’s 4,600 U.S. stores.

Customers at the checkout counter must choose the payment option within the app on their smartphone, and activate the camera to scan the code at the register.

An e-receipt is sent to the app.

Eckert also said more than 90 percent of transactions on the app involve customers are using the service more than three to four times a month.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc  is in talks with several mobile wallet companies to offer more payment options in its Wal-Mart Pay app, an executive at the world’s largest retailer said, after signing up JPMorgan Chase & Co last week.

Starting next year, Chase Pay will become the first third-party digital wallet on Wal-Mart’s website and app, they said on Thursday.

Customers can pay within the app with any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift card.

Daniel Eckert, senior vice-president of services at Wal-Mart U.S., said in an interview late on Friday that the retailer would tweak its marketing for the app after the most frequent users turned out to be Gen X customers, born from 1965 to 1967, and baby boomers born from 1946 to 1964.

“The target demographic during the launch of a technology product tends to be younger, more male, so we have had that target market in mind,” Eckert said.

U.S. mobile payments accounted for an estimated $67 billion in 2015, and are expected to grow this year to $83 billion, or 24 percent of all purchases made via smartphones, according to the latest Forrester Research data.

Apple Inc’s  Apple Pay or Alphabet Inc’s Android Pay are the most popular digital wallets, and U.S. retailers have launched many mobile payment apps in the last two years.

But acceptance has been slow, largely because most systems require new equipment at stores.

Wal-Mart Pay was launched in December 2015 and can be used in all of the retailer’s 4,600 U.S. stores.

Customers at the checkout counter must choose the payment option within the app on their smartphone, and activate the camera to scan the code at the register.

An e-receipt is sent to the app.

Eckert also said more than 90 percent of transactions on the app involve customers are using the service more than three to four times a month.

Apple’s Mac Sales Slide Enters Fourth Straight Quarter

October 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

apple-bldg-150x150Apple announced that it sold 4.9 million Macs in the September quarter, a 14% year-over-year decline that extended the sales slump to four consecutive quarters.

The total was under most estimates made before Apple unloaded its numbers on Wall Street after the close of the market. Last week, research firms IDC and Gartner had pegged global Mac shipments at 5 and 4.95 million, respectively. This week, 28 financial analysts delivered forecasts that ranged from 4.65 million to 5.8 million; their average bet was a too-high 5.1 million.

Apple executives had little to say about the Mac’s contraction. CFO Luca Maestri contended that the quarter was a “difficult year-over-year compare,” referring to the record-setting 5.7 million Macs sold in the same period in 2015, but CEO Tim Cook mentioned the personal computer line only in passing.

Maestri also teased the previously-announced event Thursday that Apple will host at its California headquarters. “We’ll have some exciting news to share with current and future Mac owners very soon,” Maestri said.

The September quarter recorded the fourth straight Mac sales decline, equaling the stretch from late 2012 through most of 2013, when the Mac posted year-over-year reductions. Even so, the Mac of 2016 is in a stronger position than the line was in the 2013: Sales over the past four quarters reached 18.5 million. During the earlier slump, Apple sold 16.3 million personal computers.

 

Staples Develops Competitor To Amazon’s Echo, Google Home

October 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

staples-easy-button-150x150While the Amazon Echo and Google Home introduced the digital assistant to the home, Staples aims to do the same for the office.

To do so, the office supply chain store is bringing its iconic Easy Button to life.

Massachusetts-based Staples is testing a smart assistant device that looks like its Easy Button, which was launched as a marketing campaign and gained a bit of a cult following, but that customers can use to order products, track shipments and help with returns.

One day, according to Staples’ chief digital officer Faisal Masud, the device, backed by artificial intelligence-based IBM Watson, will also be able to call up janitorial services, make restaurant reservations, check traffic and weather, set reminders, act as an alarm clock and play the radio.

“We want to be the assistant’s assistant,” Masud told Computerworld in an interview at the IBM World of Watson conference here this week. “Offices are going to evolve, and these services and products shouldn’t be more than a click away. I need the carpets cleaned, the windows cleaned. I need reservations for the boss at a restaurant… It will be for more than ordering pens and pencils.”

Staples’s smart office assistant will go into alpha testing with five to 10 customers by the end of the year. It’s scheduled to go into a larger beta test with about 100 large customers in the first quarter of next year.

Depending on the results of those two tests, the Easy Button device could be released in the second or third quarter of 2017, Masud said.

Initially, the device will be focused on ordering products, returns and tracking orders, but Staples has a bigger roadmap planned for it.

As new versions of the product are released, the Easy Button is expected to gain more abilities. Users will be able to ask it for the weather forecast or traffic advisories, to make dinner reservations for the CEO, or call a repair service to fix the coffee machine in the break room or to have the office carpets cleaned.

Eventually, Masud expects it to be 4G-enabled so it won’t need to connect to Wi-Fi.

It’s about getting ahead of, or at least keeping up with, the growing trend toward conversational commerce, which refers to interacting with companies in new ways, like messaging, voice commands and chat apps.

“Conversational commerce is here already, and we need to play a role in it,” Masud said. “I think it’s less about [gaining] advantage over competitors. It’s about where the market is going. Conversational commerce is the future. You won’t be tied to the screen. We believe we need to give customers choices. It could make us more competitive, but that’s not the reason we’re doing it.”

China’s Alipay Teams Up With Payment Terminal Maker Verifone On Mobile App

October 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

alipay-150x150China’s Alipay has teamed up with U.S.-based Verifone to integrate its mobile app on Verifone payment terminals at merchants in Europe and North America, the latest such deal to reach Chinese consumers traveling abroad.

Alipay, which counts 450 million active users in China, is the top mobile payments player there. It is a unit of privately held ANT Financial, which is in turn an affiliate of publicly traded Chinese Internet giant Alibaba.com.

It has begun actively expanding outside Asia this year via partnerships with Western payment providers. Verifone terminals are used by most of the top 200 retailers in the United States, a spokesman said.

Instead of seeking to go head to head with major payments players outside its home market, Alipay targets the fast growing Chinese tourism market, which numbered 117 million travelers in 2014, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, and is forecast to double by 2020.

Through the Verifone deal announced on Monday, Alipay is targeting top-tier merchants across retail, luxury goods, health supplement and department stores.

Alipay and rival WeChat, a unit of Tencent,together make up 90 percent of the Chinese mobile payments market, with gross merchandise value estimated at more than $1 trillion last year, dwarfing other mobile payment systems around the world, according to iResearch China estimates.

Sabrina Peng, the president of Alipay International, said in a recent interview that her company’s ambition is to become a global payments provider over the next decade, with 60 percent of its transaction volume coming from outside China. “We are targeting 2 billion users in the next 10 years,” she said.

French payment terminal supplier Ingenico announced in August an expanded deal with Alipay to allow merchants across Europe to use Ingenico’s payment gateway to accept payments from Alipay users visiting the region.

The Alipay service is also being integrated into terminals from Concardis, a payments provider for merchants in German-speaking Europe.

Alipay has a similar deal with mobile payments start-up Zapper in Britain to allow Chinese tourists to use QR codes in more than 1,000 restaurants there.

Target Becomes Top Solar Energy Customer

October 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

target-stores-150x150Target moved past perennial champion Walmart as the U.S.’s top corporate user of solar power, according to a new report.

Target has installed 147 megawatts (million watts or MW) of solar capacity on 300 stores, according to the 2016 Solar Means Business Report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

“We’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made in improving building efficiencies and reducing environmental impact. Our commitment to installing solar panels on 500 stores and distribution centers by 2020 is evidence of that progress,” John Leisen, vice president of property management at Target, said in the SEIA statement.

Walmart had held the top spot for the previous four years and still claims second place with 145MW of solar power installed on 364 buildings, according to the SEIA, which has been tracking corporate solar deployments for the past five years.

This year, real estate developer Prologis came in third with 107.8MW of solar. Apple, which is in fourth place with 93.9MW of installed solar power, is a likely contender for first place sometime next year.

Last year, Apple announced it was investing $850 million in a solar power plant through a partnership with First Solar, one of the nation’s largest photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers and provider of utility-scale PV plants.

Through a 25-year purchasing agreement, Apple will get 130MW from the new California Flats Solar Project. The project is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Other Top 10 companies recognized in the SEIA’s report include Costco (50.7 MW), Kohl’s (50.2 MW), IKEA (44 MW), Macy’s (38.9 MW), General Growth Properties (30.2 MW) and Hartz Mountain Industries (22.7 MW).

Will Apple Benefit By Leaps And Bounds Off The Note 7 Disaster?

October 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0note7Samsung is going to lose a few customers over its Note 7 fiasco, but not as many as the Apple fanboys have speculated.

The Tame Apple Press has been claiming that almost all the Galaxy Note 7 customers would defect to Apple’s iPhone 7, but a new survey suggests that less than 12 percent  of them are thinking like this, and that number is shrinking by the day.

Branding Brand conducted a second survey of 1,000 Samsung smartphone owners from October 11-12 to compare consumer confidence to its earlier study, conducted on September 23.

It seems that only 40 percent of Note7 users have had enough of Samsung and want to go somewhere else. Given what has happened, this is a rather small figure and of that 40 percent, less than a third are moving to something Applish. This figure is down from an earlier survey which was conducted after the first recall.

As expected most Samsung users  will go with another Android phone (up to 62 percent from 57 percent) and eight percent thought they would buy a Google Pixel. Given that is not really out yet we are not even sure why this option was in the survey. The Pixel is another Android device that means that Apple is going to get only 12 percent of the total Samsung users. More than 88 per cent of Note 7 users will either stay wilt Samsung or Android.

Chris Mason, co-founder and CEO of Branding Brand said:

“As we’ve watched the Galaxy Note7 recall and discontinuation play out, even more people say they will switch their smartphone brand. Consumers want to be confident in their personal safety and will choose a new smartphone accordingly. Only a week after Google’s smartphone launch, many already have their sights set on the Pixel.”

Courtesy-Fud

Amazon To Hire 120,000 Seasonal Workers For Christmas Season

October 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

amazon-logo-1-150x150Amazon.com Inc said it would add more than 120,000 seasonal workers in the United States for the holiday season, an increase of 20 percent more than last year, highlighting the growing threat the e-commerce giant poses to traditional retailers.

U.S. retailers such as Macy’s Inc, Target Corp and Kohl’s Corp have said they plan to hire fewer temporary workers or to keep seasonal employment levels little changed this holiday season.

More than 14,000 seasonal positions were transitioned to regular, full-time roles after the holidays last year, and the company expects to increase that number this year, Amazon said on Thursday.

The U.S. National Retail Federation earlier this month forecast a 3.6 percent rise in holiday sales this year, with online sales expected to climb 7 percent to 10 percent.

U.S. brick-and-mortar retailers’ biggest challenge in recent years has been tackling the growth of online retailers, specially Amazon, which offer the same products at lower prices and have made shopping more convenient.

They are also keeping sales expectations and inventories low – and hiring light – ahead of the holiday season to avoid a repeat of last year, when unusually warm weather hit sales and piled up unsold goods.

Samsung Offers Financial Incentive For Return Of Galaxy Note 7 Phones

October 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-recall-150x150Samsung Electronics has begun offering financial incentives for U.S. and South Korea customers who turn in their Note 7s for other products or refund them, as the tech giant scrambles to shore up its reputation in the wake of a damaging safety crisis.

The consumer electronics company is also expanding a U.S. recall of the fire-prone model to a total 1.9 million Note 7 phones, which includes the 1 million Galaxy Note 7s it recalled on Sept. 15.

The South Korean giant is in damage-control mode as rivals like Apple Inc and LG Electronics try to steal market share from the global smartphone leader after it was forced to scrap its latest high-end device.

Samsung is boosting its marketing and promotional efforts around other Galaxy-series smartphones to cushion the blow from the demise of the premium Note 7, which it finally abandoned this week after failing to resolve overheating problems which caused some of the phones to ignite.

Samsung said on Thursday it is offering up to $100 in bill credit to consumers who exchange their Note 7s for any Samsung smartphone in the U.S.

U.S. customers who exchange their Note 7s for a refund or other branded smartphone will receive $25 in bill credit.

“We appreciate the patience of our consumers, carriers and retail partners for carrying the burden during these challenging times,” said Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer, Samsung Electronics America.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to make this right.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday the Note 7’s “battery can overheat and catch fire, posing serious fire and burn hazard to consumers.”

It added that Samsung has received 96 reports of batteries in Note 7 phones overheating in the U.S., including 23 new reports since the Sept. 15 recall announcement.

In the U.S., Samsung began sending fireproof boxes and protective gloves to customers returning potentially explosive Note 7s, drawing humorous barbs from social media commentators.

The company has commenced offering similar financial incentives in its home market of South Korea, which it says would compensate consumers for their “big inconvenience.”

After days of heavy losses, Samsung’s shares ended 1.4 percent higher on Thursday while the broader market fell 0.9 percent.

On Wednesday, the firm slashed its quarterly profit estimate by $2.3 billion to reflect the impact of the Note 7 withdrawal, giving some investors hope that the financial cost of the debacle had been largely accounted for.

“We are confident the 3Q 16 re-statement puts to bed the direct financial impact of the Note 7 recall and termination,” UBS said in a report.

“In the near-term, we believe investors will re-focus on shareholders returns ahead of full 3Q results Oct 27th.”

Can Google Sell 4 Million Overpriced Pixels By Years End?

October 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-over-pixelAccording to new estimates from Digitimes Research, the recently announced Google Pixel smartphone is expected to reach 3 to 4 million shipments in the second half of this year, giving a 10 percent increase in HTC’s total smartphone shipments from the first half.

Google’s latest Pixel and Pixel XL devices come in 5-inch and 5.2-inch display sizes and feature a quad-core Snapdragon 821 processor, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front camera and look very similar to Apple’s iPhone from an aesthetic perspective. Pricing is also very similar, as the Pixel starts at $649 for 32GB and the Pixel XL starts at $769, while the iPhone 7 is also $649 for 32GB and the iPhone 7 Plus is $769 for 32GB.

Performance similar to Snapdragon 820 devices

Recently, the performance of the latest Snapdragon 821-powered flagship Android devices has become a recent site of investigation, When averaging the top eight Geekbench 4.0.1 scores sorted by multi-core performance, the results show the Pixel and Pixel XL receiving scores of around 1,603 single-core and 4,106 multi-core, still lower on average than the iPhone 6S (2,506 / 4,320). Meanwhile, the A10-powered iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus manage scores of around 3,473 single-core and 5,707 multi-core.

For the most part, the Pixel and Pixel XL seem more in line with the HTC 10 (1,745 / 3,961) and LG G5 (1,699 / 4,108), both of which feature the Snapdragon 820 with 2.15GHz high-performance cores and 1.6GHz power-efficient cores. The Snapdragon 821 features two 2.4GHz high-performance cores and two 2GHz power-efficient cores, meaning Google’s Pixel smartphones should be at least 10 percent faster than these devices, but this does not seem to be the case in this benchmarking utility for now.

Battery life is another story entirely, and this is where the Snapdragon 821 shows improvement over Snapdragon 820 devices including the previous Nexus 5X and 6P. Internet browsing over LTE improves by 60.2 percent over the Nexus 5X and 30 percent over the 6P, while talk time improves about 30 percent over the Nexus 5X and 13 percent over the 6P, according to a list compiled independently by Reddit user TyGamer125.

Pixel, Pixel XL will be 40 to 50 percent of HTC shipments

Meanwhile, Google’s launch of the HTC-manufactured Pixel smartphones is projected to increase HTC’s total handset shipments to around 6.5 and 7 million units by the end of the year, up from between 5.8 and 6.1 million units in the first half.

According to Luke Lin, a senior analyst at Digitimes Research, Pixel shipments should account for around 40 to 50 percent of HTC’s total smartphone shipments in the second half of this year.

Courtesy-Fud

Mobile Carriers Abandoning Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7

October 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-recall-150x150AT&T and T-Mobile have began halting exchanges of Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones that were shipped to solve an issue of overheating batteries in the previous version, following reports that the new phones have also been involved in incidents of overheating and explosions.

 Samsung has said it is investigating the issue and will share findings as soon as possible. The South Korean company has temporarily halted production of the Note7 smartphones in the wake of the new crisis, according to reports. Samsung did not immediately comment.

“Based on recent reports, we’re no longer exchanging new Note7s at this time, pending further investigation of these reported incidents,” AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook wrote in an emailed statement Sunday.

“We still encourage customers with a recalled Note7 to visit an AT&T location to exchange that device for another Samsung smartphone or other smartphone of their choice,” he added.

T-Mobile also said Sunday it is temporarily suspending all sales of the new Note7 and exchanges for replacement Note7 devices. “Customers can still bring their recalled Note7 or the new replacement Note7, along with accessories they purchased from T-Mobile, to a T-Mobile store for a full refund and choose from any device in T-Mobile’s inventory,” the mobile operator said in a statement on Sunday.

Under an official program announced last month by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 1 million Note7 smartphones sold in the U.S. by Samsung before Sept. 15 were recalled following concerns about faulty lithium-ion batteries in the devices, which could overheat and even explode.

As part of the agreement with CPSC, customers could return the phones to Samsung for a refund, or exchange it for a new Note7 device, in which the battery issues had been resolved. The company also announced an exchange of the Note7 with Samsung’s Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge devices, and replacement of any Note7 specific accessories, with a refund of the price difference between devices.

The number of reports of replacement Note7 devices that have overheated or exploded has gone up to seven, and included a Note7 that caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight, Ars Technica reported Sunday.

Amazon Partners With MediaTek

October 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The first-generation Echo device is a voice-activated household digital assistant that can be used to play music, read audiobooks, answer questions about the weather, traffic and latest news, or control IoT-connected light switches and thermostats, among other useful utilities. The device launched in November 2014 and features a Texas Instruments single-core ARM Cortex A8, along with 256MB of LPDDR1 memory and 4GB of storage capacity.

The new Echo Dot will be launching later this month with a MediaTek SoC, while the report suggests shipments of the chip are expected to peak between October and November. The chip is expected to improve the device’s ability to hear a user ask a question from any direction, though this will likely be tested when reviews are posted in a couple weeks. Meanwhile, Amazon will continue sourcing from Texas Instruments to produce Cortex A8 chips for its existing Echo device.

Amazon been purchasing chips from MediaTek since at least 2014 for use in Kindle Fire HD tablets and OTT devices, and now wants them to be part of the smart home device market as well.

In September, the company announced it would release a software update to support Echo Spatial Perception between existing Echo and newer Dot devices, allowing a single device to answer a voice command based on nearest proximity to the user. Of course, Amazon wants its customers to buy at least half a dozen of these assistants to scatter around the house, with bulk discounts available on six and twelve packs at $49 and $99 price reductions, respectively.

The Echo Dot will go on sale October 20th and is currently available for pre-order on the product page for $49.

Courtesy-Fud

Next Page »