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Nokia acquires Unium, a mesh WiFi startup that works with Google Fiber, as part of big home WiFi push

  •  While Nokia’s former handset business forges ahead with its new device strategy under licensee HMD, Nokia itself has taken one more step to build out its business with carriers in a new wave of services. To coincide with MWC in Barcelona and a bigger step into the WiFi business, the company today announced that it has acquired Unium, a startup out of Seattle that builds technology for… Read More

    7 hours 19 min ago

The rise and rise of supergiant rounds

  •  With more money flowing into a shrinking number of deals, the average startup funding round is getting bigger. And it’s not by a small margin, either. Supergiant funding rounds are coming to dominate the funding landscape at all stages. Here we take a look at this growing phenomenon, what it means and what might be happening “under the hood” in supergiant seed rounds. Read More

    8 hours 5 min ago

It's too easy to say the Samsung Galaxy S9 is boring

  • I've just live-blogged my way through the Samsung Galaxy S9 launch, and the one thing that struck me was... well, how little struck me.

    Admittedly, that's a lot to do with the fact that the Galaxy S9 was leaked so often, and so comprehensively, that I failed to see anything new on stage today.

    But even if this had been entirely new to me, I'd still have struggled to talk about the headline features of the phone straight away.

    "Well, yes, the screen is... okay, the same. But the camera is new... yes, it's still 12MP and still a single sensor. No, the design is the same. Yes, entirely the same. And yeah, sorry, the Bixby button is still there."

    We've berated brands like Apple and Sony for not updating their phones in years gone by, and Samsung should get the same treatment: this is the most minor upgrade we've ever seen from the brand, and yet we're seeing the highest costs yet for a Galaxy S-series handset.

    What lies beneath

    But here's the thing: where is there left for phone brands to go? Apple made waves with the iPhone X because it had stuck with the same design for so long that any upgrade was going to be innovative; but Samsung made the jump to all-screen last year, and has been leading technical innovation for years in the flagship smartphone space.

    What does come across with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9 is that it's focused on more things you can do with the phone. Yes, we saw super-slow-motion video on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium last year, but Samsung has improved on this with a camera that can intelligently tell when you'll want to capture footage in slo-mo.

    Will AR Emoji actually catch on?

    The main camera may only be a single sensor, and stick at the same resolution, but the new dual-aperture feature is something that really will resonate with consumers, as it looks like the camera will take simply incredible low-light photos, doing something nobody else in the industry is.

    This is also the most powerful phone Samsung has ever put out, and the enterprise message has been upgraded to enable more businesses to use the S9 with confidence that it's going to be incredibly secure; it's not headline-grabbing stuff, but it's the kind of thing that smoothes the Samsung story out for those thinking of making the switch.

    Do it with style

    What leaves a unpleasant taste in the mouth are the constant jabs at Apple. Yes, it's key to point out how your phone is the best on the market, but the amount of times we heard how Samsung doesn't do that thing Apple does (the notch, the remaining fingerprint scanner) wasn't edifying.

    Although there is one element we're glad Samsung highlighted: the remaining headphone jack. So many brands are losing the port in order to save space inside the chassis, but this is still something that really irks.

    Yes, the headphone port is old – really old – but so are lots of things I don't want to see replaced. The wheel. Bread. Open fires. There are better options, but losing them doesn't always make life better, and it's good that Samsung is remaining the standard-bearer here.

    I'm yet to be convinced by AR Emoji, but even if they don't work you can use this feature as the identifier of what Samsung is trying to do with the Galaxy S9: make a phone that's accessible and which packs more features that delight the user.

    I don't think it's necessarily done that – the price alone is alienating, just as it is with the iPhone X – but to just say that the phone is boring because of the lack of cosmetic change misses the point.

    That new camera needs to absolutely shine though – if it doesn't, it's going to be a tough sell for anyone to buy the Galaxy S9 at its higher price when so many of its features are also found on the still-powerful and much cheaper Galaxy S8.

    We'll be bringing you our full review of the phone soon, so let's see what shakes out as we spend more time with the Galaxy S9 – we can all reserve judgement until then.

    MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

    8 hours 16 min ago

Samsung Galaxy S9 release date, price, news and features

  • It's finally here – the Samsung Galaxy S9 has been officially unveiled on stage at the brand's MWC 2018 press conference, alongside the Galaxy S9 Plus.

    To celebrate, we've put together a guide to everything you need to know about the brand new flagship phone. That includes the spec, design, release date, the latest on pricing and much, much more.

    We've got photos of the handset so you can see what it looks like, and we break down the key new features, including the new and improved rear camera, AR Emoji on the front camera and improvements to Samsung's Bixby virtual assistant.

    Scroll down to get a full picture of what the phone looks like, split across various categories.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 release date
    • Samsung Galaxy S9 was announced on stage at MWC 2018
    • Galaxy S9 pre-orders open now in Europe, March 1 in the US
    • Galaxy S9 release date set for March 16

    The Samsung Galaxy S9 was officially unveiled on stage at MWC 2018, but it won't be on shop shelves just yet.

    If you want to buy the Galaxy S9, you'll be able to pre-order it from 7PM GMT on February 25 in the UK – that's right after the launch event. Those in the US have to wait until March 1 for pre-orders to open, and we've yet to learn about the timing for the rest of the world.

    As for when you'll actually get the phone, the Galaxy S9 release date is set for March 16 globally. You may want to pre-order to ensure you get your device on that date, but everyone will be able to buy it from March 16 2018. But how much is it going to set you back?

    Samsung Galaxy S9 price
    • Official SIM free price set at £739 / $719.99 if you buy from Samsung
    • Those in Australia will likely find it for around AU$1300
    • Further pricing is set to follow, and we'll update when we know more

    Samsung has confirmed the price of the Galaxy S9 in the UK at £739 and $719.99 in the US (about AU$1310). Right now we don't know pricing for Australia, but we'll update this piece once we hear more.

    In the UK, we've only currently heard of contract pricing from EE. Deals there start at £53 a month with an upfront cost of £150. That gets you 4GB of data every month as well as unlimited minutes and texts.

    In the UK, it's a 7% price increase over last year, but a massive 25% bump from the price of the Galaxy S7.

    We also don't know any specific US or UK contract pricing yet, but we'll be sure to update here when we hear from the major networks and carriers on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 screen
    • Smaller upper and lower bezels than the Galaxy S8
    • A 5.8-inch QHD+ screen with 567 pixels per inch
    • Same Infinity Display design we've seen on Galaxy S8 and Note 8

    The Samsung Galaxy S9 doesn't offer any major improvements over the display on the Galaxy S8 – there's sadly no in-screen fingerprint scanner here, like on the Vivo X20 Plus UD – but it still offers some high-end specs.

    It's a 5.8-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2960. That equals 567 pixels per inch, which should allow for a super-crisp and clear picture for the high-end flagship device.

    Again it has a screen ratio of 18.5:9, with slightly slimmer bezels at the top and bottom of the screen to allow for the same size screen in a smaller body than the Galaxy S8.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 design
    • Largely similar design to the Galaxy S8
    • A repositioned fingerprint scanner below the rear camera
    • The headphone jack remains

    If you know the Infinity Display design of the Galaxy S8, you'll recognize a lot of what the Galaxy S9 is trying to do. There aren't any major differences, but instead Samsung has opted to try and improve things with a few slight tweaks.

    There's still a glass back, a rounded display on the front and slim bezels, with the aim of merging the screen almost seamlessly with the body of the handset.

    Samsung claims the design improvements for the phone include the iris scanner hole being hidden, as well as less bezel at the top and bottom of the display.

    The screen is now also a touch darker when off, with Samsung presumably thinking this will obscure the lines that bit more between the body and the display, to make the S9 look even more futuristic than past devices.

    One of our biggest criticisms of the Galaxy S8 was the strange placement of the fingerprint scanner on the rear of the phone right next to the camera, and Samsung has moved the sensor on this phone.

    Now it sits below the camera, and there's quite a distance between the two, so you won't mistakenly put your fingers all over the shooter.

    Unlike on some rival products, there's still a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Samsung Galaxy S9, on the bottom edge of the phone on the left-hand side. Next to that sits the USB-C slot for charging and data transfer, and one of the phone's two speakers.

    The other speaker is on the top of the phone, and Samsung says these new speakers will allow the S9 to be 1.5 times louder than the Galaxy S8. If audio is a big deal for you, you'll be pleased to hear the phone also features Dolby ATMOS surround sound technology.

    If you get this phone wet, don't panic, as Samsung has opted for IP68 waterproofing, so the Galaxy S9 can handle the odd drop in a puddle without immediately flooding the internals.

    As for color options, you'll be able to buy the phone in Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple in most territories. Those in the US or UK won't get the Titanium Gray version, but some other countries will.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 camera
    • Samsung claims this phone will 'reimagine' the camera
    • A single-lens camera with variable aperture, unlike Galaxy S9 Plus
    • Super-slow-motion video as well as added animated emoji features

    The Galaxy S9 only features a single lens on the rear of the phone, but Samsung has packed in lots of improvements in its effort to 'reimagine' the phone camera.

    There's a 12MP rear sensor with optical image stabilization, and a lot of the other features we've come to expect from high-end Samsung devices.

    One of the biggest upgrades is new dual-aperture technology, with the camera automatically adjusting the aperture depending on the scene you're shooting, much like the human eye adapts to changing light.

    So if you're shooting something brighter than 100 lux (which is usually daylight) it'll automatically adjust to f/2.4 aperture, and if it's darker than that the camera will opt for the f/1.5 aperture.

    F/1.5 is the widest ever aperture in a smartphone, and Samsung claims it should enable you to capture images with more color and detail, and much less noise in low light conditions.

    The slow-mo features of the rear shooter have also been improved so you can now shoot at 960 frames per second, which is four times slower than the Galaxy S8 and meets the industry standard set by Sony phones.

    This mode also uses something called automatic motion detect, which will automatically begin to record when the camera detects movement, so it should make it easier to only record the relevant moments in slow motion.

    On the front of the phone there's an 8MP shooter with an f/1.7 aperture. This camera also plays into the facial recognition technology you can read about in the other features section at the bottom of this page.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 battery
    • A 3,000mAh battery
    • Improved power efficiency

    Much like the Galaxy S8, there's a 3,000mAh cell inside the Galaxy S9 to power it along on a daily basis. Exactly how long this will last is currently unclear, but it's expected that the new processing tech inside both versions of the phone will make it a touch more efficient than the Galaxy S8 was.

    There's wireless charging technology here again too, so you'll be able to use a variety of different pads to charge up your phone without plugging it in. Plus there's fast charging on offer here as well, but you'll need to use the official charger to get the full power into your phone in the minimum amount of time.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 specs and power
    • Some markets get one with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
    • Others will have Samsung's own Exynos 9810 chipset inside
    • Just 4GB of RAM in all versions of the Galaxy S9

    This is the chance for Samsung to show off its top processing power inside the Galaxy S9. For that opportunity the company has opted to follow a similar scheme to recent years where different countries get different chipsets.

    If you live in the US, you'll get a version of the phone packing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, and the S9 is set to be one of the first phones to get this technology from Qualcomm.

    Those in the UK (and a lot of other markets) are set to get a version of the phone packing the Exynos 9810 chipset, which is created in-house at Samsung.

    Exactly which version of the phone will be more powerful remains to be seen, but if it's like recent years both versions of the phones will be a similar level when it comes to raw processing power.

    There's also only 4GB of RAM in each version of the phone, for 6GB you'll have to opt for the Galaxy S9 Plus. As for storage, the Galaxy S9 only comes with 64GB of onboard space, but you can add in microSD cards for up to 256GB of extra space.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 other features
    • AR on the front camera for Animoji-like features
    • Bixby Vision improvements to the personal assistant

    Samsung says it believes people are communicating more with images than ever before, so it has made its own feature called AR emoji. AR stands for augmented reality and this feature uses the front camera to take a selfie and make an emoji based on your looks.

    It works in a similar way to The Sims, where you make an image that represents you and can be customized. It uses facial recognition and can recognize over 18 different expressions.

    It's a similar idea to the Animoji feature available on the iPhone X, but this allows you to make your own character and give it different hair colors, dress senses, 12 different clothing options and choose from 7 pairs of glasses.

    You can move your face to make silly videos, but you can also choose one of 18 different emotions pre-built into the app so you don't always need to pull a stupid face into your phone to be able to send one.

    Samsung is also bringing big improvements to its Bixby Vision project too. When you're in the camera app you can tap the Bixby option to access a variety of different new features, including tracking the place you're in (it provides the name and details of where you are) or pointing it at food, at which point it will try to work out what it is and even estimate the calories.

    There's another feature called Live Translation that allows you to put the camera over a menu or text and auto translate it. You'll need an internet connection and to wait a few moments for this to work, but it's an interesting addition that may come in useful when you're traveling.

    Plus, Bixby Vision offers an enhanced beauty mode, so you can change the look of your selfies too.

    MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

    8 hours 57 min ago

Advertising in the digital age: why online-first is the future

  • While internet video continues to grow its coverage, television advertising is losing ground. Young people no longer watch TV as they turn to YouTube, Netflix, and other sources. As such, advertisers are actively transferring budgets from TV to digital sectors. We are going to look into the questions: “Why is native video advertising likely to replace TV?” and “who is driving the change?”. More importantly, how can companies adapt to the changing face of advertisement in this increasingly digital age? The stats are obvious: TV advertising is failing What the “old world” had always feared is happening right before our…

    This story continues at The Next Web

    9 hours 11 min ago

Samsung’s AR Emoji taps creepy avatars and Disney characters to compete with Animoji

  •  We’ve known for a while that Samsung’s been planning an Animoji competitor for its latest handset. Now that we’ve actually seen (the admittedly clunkily named) AR Emoji in action, we can testify to the fact that it’s some combination of compelling and creepy. That last part first. Like the iPhone X, the Galaxy S9 takes advantage of its on-board face scanning technology… Read More

    9 hours 22 min ago

Samsung Galaxy S9 focuses on the camera

Of course robots will do our cryptocurrency investing

  • There’s nothing that we as a society get more excited about and panicked by than technological progress. On one hand, we understand that innovations like artificial intelligence and Bitcoin are autonomous, powerful entities that many of us will never truly know — and what we don’t know, we don’t always trust. On the other hand, we recognize that these technological advancements were created to make our lives easier. You might ask yourself how it’s possible to be grateful for something when you are also so skeptical of it. But think about this on a smaller scale: how many times have…

    This story continues at The Next Web

    9 hours 35 min ago