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Galaxy S20 range goes large(r)

Everything is larger in the Twenties, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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As we approach a new decade, it looks like the ‘20s are all the rage. In Samsung’s case, make that the S20.

In launching its new flagship phone, Samsung joined Huawei in skipping the numbering convention that is still being followed by Apple. While the iPhone moved from the X to the 11, Huawei had jumped from its “P10” edition to the P20 two years ago, followed by the P30 last year, with the P40 expected next month. Similarly, Samsung is moving from the S10 to the S20, avoiding the impression of following in the wake of the iPhone 11.

The S20 flagships were codenamed “Picasso”. This emphasised the fact that the camera and screen would, once again, be the headline feature across the range, led by three devices.

The Galaxy S10e has been succeeded by the Galaxy S20, the Galaxy S10 by the Galaxy S20+, and the Galaxy S10+ by the Galaxy S20 Ultra. This may cause some confusion between the Plus devices, but does move the S20 away from the “e” positioning as a cheap phone.

The devices have screens of 6.2″, 6.7″ and 6.9″, respectively – a big leap over the S10 range. That makes the smallest and largest versions only marginally smaller than Note10 and Note10+, emphasising the fact that the smartphone market has now transitioned entirely towards large display formats.

All feature a three-camera set-up on the back, with an additional “time-of-flight” distance sensor that give it the look of a 4-lens array. The handsets all feature 8K recording on the back and 4K recording from the selfie camera on the front.

The cameras on the S20 and S20+ are 12MP main wide + 64MP telephoto + 12MP Ultra-wide sensors, with a time-of-flight sensor. This translates to 3X optical zoom, with 8K 30FPS video recording.

The Ultra features an absurdly powerful sensor: a 108-megapixel monster that is augmented by artificial intelligence, combining 9 pixels into 1. That means dramatically more detail, and better low-light photography.

It also features 48MP telephoto + 12MP ultra-wide sensors, with a time-of-flight sensor. The 108MP camera uses pixel binning to create one large 2.4μm pixel, with a 12-megapixel final image size. It features 10X optical zoom with 100X digital zoom.

The Galaxy Unpacked event, held in San Francisco and live-streamed globally, was streamed entirely with Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra devices, showing Samsung walking their talk about the devices being ready for professional use.

Leaving off the headphone jack – which is becoming superfluous in the age of wireless earpods – gives the devices more space for bigger batteries. The S20 features a 4000mAh battery, the S20+ a 4500mAh unit, and the S20 Ultra a whopping 5000mAh. The better to keep that 8K video recording going. Luckily, the baseline storage on these devices will be 128GB, probably going up to 1 Terabyte – a cool thousand gigs.

The Galaxy S20 will be available for R18999, the Galaxy S20+ for R20999, and the S20 Ultra for R26999. Preorders of the S20+ and S20 Ultra will include the Galaxy Buds+.

In short, everything is bigger in the twenties.

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee
  • The original version of this story was written prior to the launch of the Galaxy S20 range. It is being updated as details are confirmed and added.

Read the announcement from Samsung on the next page.

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Alexa can now read all messages

For the first time, an Alexa skill is available that makes it possible to listen to any kind of message while driving

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For the first time, Alexa users can now hear all their messages and email read aloud.

Amazon’s Alexa has become a household name. The world’s most popular virtual assistant is getting smarter every day and now, with Amazon Echo Auto, it’s in cars too. 

“In today’s highly connected world, messaging in the form of emails, texts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and work channels like Slack, are integral to our daily routine,” says Barrie Arnold, chief revenue officer at ping. “However, distracted driving is responsible for more than 25% of car crashes and thousands of preventable fatalities every year.” 

ping, a specialist in voice technology founded by Arnold and South African Garin Toren, has developed a new Alexa skill as a companion to its patented smartphone app, that enables any message type to be read aloud. Designed for safety, productivity and convenience, “pingloud” is the first skill of its kind for keeping users connected when they need a hand or an extra pair of eyes.

“The ping Alexa skill is specifically designed to help drivers stay off their phones while giving them exactly what they want – access to their messages.” says Toren, ping CEO. 

Opening up Alexa to developers has resulted in an explosion of new skills available either for free or for a fee that unlocks premium services or features. These tools magnify the usefulness of Alexa devices beyond common tasks like asking for the weather, playing music or requesting help on a homework assignment. According to App Annie, the most downloaded apps in 2019 were Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s main app and WhatsApp, highlighting the importance of messaging. 

“The ping Android app is available worldwide from the Google Pay Store, reading all messages out loud in 30 languages,” says Toren. “The iOS version is in global beta testing with the US launch coming very soon.” 

Once you’ve signed up for ping, it takes a few seconds to link with Alexa, enabling all messages and emails to be read aloud by a smart speaker or Echo Auto device. Simply say, “Hey Alexa, open pingloud.” ping links an account to a voice profile so unauthorised users with access to the same Alexa cannot ask for the authorised user’s messages.

All major message types are supported, including Texts/SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Slack, Telegram, Twitter DM’s, Instagram, and all email types. Promotional and social emails are not read by default.

*For more information, visit www.pingloud.com

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Coronavirus to hit 5G

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Global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 199 million units in 2020, after disruption caused by the coronavirus scare put a cap on sales forecasts, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global 5G smartphone shipments will grow more than tenfold from 19 million units in 2019 to 199 million in 2020. The 5G segment will be the fastest-growing part of the worldwide smartphone industry this year. Consumers want faster 5G smartphones to surf richer content, such as video or games. We forecast 5G penetration to rise from 1 percent of all smartphones shipped globally in 2019 to 15 percent of total in 2020.”

Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “China, United States, South Korea, Japan and Germany are by far the largest 5G smartphone markets this year. The big-five countries together will make up 9 in 10 of all 5G smartphones sold worldwide in 2020. However, other important regions, like India and Indonesia, are lagging way behind and will not be offering mass-market 5G for at least another year or two.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The global 5G smartphone industry is growing quickly, but the ongoing coronavirus scare and subsequent economic slowdown will put a cap on overall 5G demand this year. The COVID-19 outbreak is currently restricting smartphone production in Asia, disrupting supply chains, and deterring consumers from visiting retail stores to buy new 5G devices in some parts of China. The first half of 2020 will be much weaker than expected for the 5G industry, but we expect a strong bounce-back in the second half of the year if the coronavirus spread is brought under control.”

Exhibit 1: Global 5G Smartphone Shipments Forecast in 2020 1

Global Smartphone Shipments (Millions of Units)20192020
5G19199
Rest of Market13941165
Total14131364
 
Global Smartphone Shipments (% of Total)20192020
5G1%15%
Rest of Market99%85%
Total100%100%

Source: Strategy Analytics

The full report, Global Handset Sales for 88 Countries & 19 Technologies, is published by the Strategy Analytics Emerging Device Technologies (EDT) service, details of which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/wep83gc.

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