ZTE Could Beat Samsung With Its Own Foldable Phone

Samsung isn’t the only company working on a folding phone apparently. While rumors about Samsung’s folding phone that you hold like a book are heating up, another phone maker may be about to unveil a folding design, with the device arriving as soon as next month.

ZTE's Blade Z Max is pretty big, but ZTE could be working on a phone with a foldable display. (Credit: Tom's Guide)ZTE’s Blade Z Max is pretty big, but ZTE could be working on a phone with a foldable display. (Credit: Tom’s Guide)That’s the word via VentureBeat, which is reporting that ZTE is working on an dual-screen phone with AT&T that would fold out to form a 6.8-inch phablet. An anonymous source knowledgeable of its design told VentureBeat that the Axon Multy — the phone’s apparent name — will feature two 1080p panels on both the the front and the rear. When folded together on a vertical axis, they’ll form a 2160 x 1920 display.

MORE: Unlocked or Carrier? How You Should Buy Your Next Phone

Because the device can be used in multiple orientations, there’s only one camera, supposedly rated at 20 megapixels.

The hardware underpinning the unique form factor sounds a little more dated. The Axon Multy could feature the Snapdragon 820, the leading mobile processor from Qualcomm in 2016. The phone will also reportedly feature 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. A 3,120 mAh battery will power the two displays, but the phone still measures less than 10 millimeters thick when folded, according to the report.

ZTE’s reported partnership with AT&T could be one of the more interesting tidbits about the Axon Multy’s development. AT&T could tout the foldable phone as a companion to its DirecTV entertainment bundles.

We could find out very soon if this folding phone is for real. ZTE is holding an October 17 press event, and phone leaker Evan Blass, who wrote the VentureBeat report, thinks the ZTE Multy could be on the agenda. He expects the phone to cost around $650.

ZTE’s timing is key, as a number of companies are experimenting with flexible displays. Last year, Lenovo offered us a glimpse of one such concept designed to be worn like a bracelet. The United States Patent and Trademark Office published an application for a book-like iPhone several months later. In January, the Korea Herald reported LG was even further along toward production than Samsung. This year marked the arrival of bezel-less devices, but at this rate, 2018 could be the year of the foldable smartphone.

Samsung is working on a AI chips dedicated to making your gadgets smarter

Samsung is working on creating chips with dedicated processor cores for powering artificial intelligence (AI) tech, with the South Korean electronics giant reportedly looking at having them ready for use in a few years.  

Industry sources familiar with Samsung’s chip plans tipped-off The Korea Herald about the R&D work Samsung has started, noting its the company’s goal to have the chips handle the data crunching and processing needed to power AI systems and apps on a device rather than relying on a internet connection to an external server or cloud platform.

“[Samsung] is in the middle of developing several types of chips that will be capable of processing massive data from AI applications on devices, eliminating the need to communicate with cloud servers,” a source from one of Samsung’s partners told The Korea Herald.

As the current leading chip maker, having recently overtaken Intel, Samsung will want to make the AI capabilities of its next-generation chips widely available for use in all manner of devices and systems, once it commercialises them. But we can also expect to see future Galaxy smartphones and tablets, alongside Samsung’s TVs and smart home tech to also sport dedicated AI processor cores as the company has been keen to push its Bixby virtual assistant, which makes use of machine learning and AI techniques.

Given the amount of data various connected device we have in our homes such up from everyday use, having a dedicated AI processing in them could not only make them smart and more useful, but also help accelerate the over all development of AI.

“In the next three years or so, smartphones will have designated chips that will improve the processing of AI features by 50 percent from today,” the industry source explained. “A kind of an accelerator can be applied to empower AI devices.”

In the next few years, such developments could mean a boost in the abilities of Alexa in the Amazon Echo and a much smarter Google Assistant running in more than just the latest Android smartphones and the Google Home.

But Samsung is not alone in delving into AI-powering chips; Microsoft’s next-generation HoloLens mixed reality headset is going to have a separate co-processor designed for running AI and machine learning code within the headset itself.

Related: What is Bixby? A complete guide to Samsung’s smart AI assistant

Do you want smarter devices or is the development of AI getting a little too much like the rise of the machines? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook. 

Samsung zips past Toyota to become Asia’s top brand- Nikkei Asian Review

TOKYO — Samsung has overtaken Toyota as Asia’s most valuable brand for the first time, according to a global ranking released on Monday by U.S. consultancy Interbrand.

Its Best Global Brands 2017 list features 11 from Asia — the same number as last year. But a stronger showing by South Korean brands over their Japanese rivals illustrates an ongoing shift in the marketplace, where more dynamic Asian companies are nudging aside the once-dominant Japan Inc.

The survey also underscores the limited brand power of Chinese companies, despite their massive scale and market capitalization. For the most part, their reach is still confined to their home market.

Samsung improved to sixth place, from seventh — no small feat considering recent setbacks, including the bribery conviction of the group’s heir, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong. The company was also forced to scrap its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone last October after just two months on the market, due to fire-prone batteries.

“Samsung has made it a policy of strengthening its brand in the past 10 years,” Interbrand Japan’s chief executive Masahito Namiki said in an interview. “The policy remains unchanged, despite the turmoil at the top, helping to limit the fallout from the scandals on its brand image.”

Samsung has two powerful lines of business — flash memory and smartphones — but still has a ways to go to catch up with archrival Apple, the world’s No. 1 brand. “Everyone knows what Apple is,” Namiki said. “That’s not always the case with Samsung.”

Toyota saw its ranking drop to seventh, just one year after it became the first Asian company to crack the top five. The Japanese automaker suffered a sales decline in the key U.S. market. At the same time, it faces rising costs for the development of self-driving cars — a field in which U.S. technology companies like Google and Tesla have the lead.  

“The question facing the auto industry is whether it will be able to maintain growth in the face of new competition from other industries,” Namiki said.

Apple, Google, everyone else

Brand power, Interbrand contends, is crucial for success in business. It helps recruit and retain talent, while allowing companies to charge premium prices. The extra money earned, in turn, can be invested in new products to further strengthen brands.

Google came second to Apple — just as it did the last four years. Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Amazon rounded out the top five.

Of the 11 Asian brands, six are Japanese. Like Toyota, however, most dropped down the rungs: Canon fell to 52nd from 42nd, Sony to 61st from 58th, and Panasonic to 75th from 68th.

Honda managed to climb to 20th, from 21st. It received a boost from the bankruptcy filing of air bag maker Takata — a close business partner — which is expected to help relieve the automaker’s burden from recalls of millions of defective Takata air bags.

Nissan also improved to 39th place, from 43rd, thanks to the release of a new Leaf electric car and its adoption of self-parking and self-braking technologies. These innovations are cementing the company’s position as a leader in electric vehicles and automated driving.

Outside looking in

Interbrand’s list covers only companies with a global presence, and focuses on listed entities with transparent finances. These criteria exclude many of China’s biggest state-owned enterprises.

Only two Chinese brands made the top 100: Smartphone maker Huawei placed 70th, up from 72nd, while PC company Lenovo ranked 100th.

That these companies held their positions suggests they are gaining recognition as reliable suppliers even outside Asia, albeit slowly, according to Interbrand researchers.

However, like Chinese brands, the results show most Asian companies are still regional players, with limited name recognition further afield. The researchers said Asian brands enjoy strong domestic positions but have yet to reach the vanguard of innovation and technology. 

At the same time, Western incumbents are fighting hard to fend off new competitors. As a result, the researchers said, a further ascent by Asian companies is by no means a foregone conclusion.


Samsung Certifies Synopsys Design Platform for 28nm FD-SOI Process Technology

  • Samsung Foundry’s 28FDS process is ideal for IoT, mobile and automotive applications
  • Comprehensive certification includes digital, custom and SPICE tools of the Synopsys Design Platform

Synopsys, Inc. (NASDAQ: SNPS) today announced that the Synopsys Design Platform has been fully certified for use on Samsung Foundry’s 28FDS (FD-SOI) process technology. A Process Design Kit (PDK) and a comprehensive reference flow, compatible with Synopsys’ Lynx Design System, containing scripts, design methodologies and best practices is now available. For Samsung Foundry’s latest differentiated process offering, support for bias throughout the Design Platform flow has been thoroughly verified and certified to achieve optimal power and performance tradeoffs.

“FD-SOI technology offers one of the best power, performance, and cost tradeoffs,” said Jaehong Park, senior vice president of the Foundry Solutions Team at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung Foundry’s 28FD-SOI technology allows designs to operate both at high and low voltage making it ideal for IoT and mobile applications. Moreover, the FD-SOI technology exhibits the best soft error immunity, and, therefore, is well suited for applications that require high reliability such as automotive. Availability of certified Synopsys Design Platform, PDK and reference flow will allow our mutual customers to accelerate adoption of our 28FDS technology.”

“Our long standing, close collaboration with Samsung Foundry starts very early, allowing Synopsys to refine tools and flows enabling customers to achieve desired performance and power targets,” said Michael Jackson, corporate vice president of marketing and business development for the Design Group at Synopsys. “Certification of the Synopsys Design Platform, complete with PDK and reference flow helps our mutual customers to rapidly design with confidence for Samsung Foundry’s 28-nm FD-SOI process.”

Key Synopsys tools certified by Samsung Foundry include:

  • IC CompilerII place and route: Multibit register optimization, low-power placement and advanced design planning for optimized module placement and timing
  • Design Compiler® Graphical RTL synthesis: Correlation, congestion reduction, and physical guidance for IC Compiler II
  • DFTMAX and TetraMAX® test solutions: Simultaneously meet design and test goals while addressing ISO 26262 automotive test requirements, achieving accurate silicon diagnosis and quickly ramping yield
  • PrimeTime® timing signoff: Ultra-low voltage timing signoff with Advanced Waveform Propagation (AWP) and placement rule-aware Engineering Change Order (ECO) guidance
  • IC Validator signoff physical verification: Automated DRC repair, DFM pattern matching and metal fill In-Design with IC Compiler II; DRC and LVS with Custom Compilerfull-custom solution
  • StarRCextraction: Multi-rail signoff with support for multi-valued standard parasitic exchange format (SPEF)
  • Custom Compiler full-custom solution: Features the pioneering visually-assisted automation flow to speed up common design tasks, reduce iterations and enable reuse.
  • HSPICE® simulation: Gold standard for accurate circuit simulation


  • Reference flow is available now through Samsung Foundry

About Synopsys

Synopsys, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS) is the Silicon to Software partner for innovative companies developing the electronic products and software applications we rely on every day. As the world’s 15th largest software company, Synopsys has a long history of being a global leader in electronic design automation (EDA) and semiconductor IP, and is also growing its leadership in software security and quality solutions. Whether you’re a system-on-chip (SoC) designer creating advanced semiconductors, or a software developer writing applications that require the highest security and quality, Synopsys has the solutions needed to deliver innovative, high-quality, secure products. Learn more at www.synopsys.com.

Editorial Contact:
Carole Murchison
Synopsys, Inc.

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SOURCE Synopsys, Inc.

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Cadence DFM Signoff Solutions Achieve Qualification for Samsung 28nm FD-SOI/14nm/10nm Process

The Samsung Foundry’s process design kits (PDKs) for the 28nm FD-SOI/14nm/10nm process technologies are available for download now and incorporate the Cadence Litho Physical Analyzer (LPA), Physical Verification System (PVS) and Cadence CMP Predictor (CCP). In addition to signoff quality, the Cadence DFM tools offer an integration with the Virtuoso® platform and the Innovus Implementation System, providing designers with automated fixing capabilities and overall ease of use. To learn more about the Cadence® DFM tools, please visit www.cadence.com/go/samsung28nm14nm10nm.

The Cadence DFM solutions provide the following capabilities that satisfy Samsung Foundry’s 28nm FD-SOI/14nm/10nm mandatory DFM requirements:

  • LPA: The Cadence LPA provides Process Hotspot Repair (PHR) for signoff and in-design hotspot detection and fixing. The LPA fixing guidelines enable optimal fixing rates, faster runtimes, and less design perturbation.
  • PVS: The Cadence PVS’s Manufacturability Analysis and Scoring (MAS) assesses the manufacturability of the design, reducing yield challenges with complex designs.
  • CCP: Using a siliconcalibrated model, the Cadence CCP simulates the CMP planarity variations, detecting foundry-specific CMP hotpots and providing fixing guidelines to reduce the systematic and parametric yield loss due to CMP variations.

“We have worked closely with Cadence to deliver a qualified DFM flow so that our joint customers can meet the mandatory foundry DFM requirements, improving manufacturability of 28nm FD-SOI, 14nm and 10nm designs,” said SD Kwon, VP of Logic Process Architecture at Samsung Electronics. “The signoff flow and methodology complement our foundry capabilities, enabling customers to create the highest value by winning the time-to-market race.” 

“The qualification of our set of DFM tools ensures that customer designs can meet the Samsung Foundry’s DFM standards from design implementation to signoff,” said KT Moore, vice president, product management in the Digital & Signoff Group at Cadence. “Through our collaboration with Samsung Foundry, customers using the Cadence flow can achieve optimal results with advanced-node designs, improving overall product quality.”

About Cadence
Cadence enables electronic systems and semiconductor companies to create the innovative end products that are transforming the way people live, work and play. Cadence software, hardware and semiconductor IP are used by customers to deliver products to market faster. The company’s System Design Enablement strategy helps customers develop differentiated products—from chips to boards to systems—in mobile, consumer, cloud datacenter, automotive, aerospace, IoT, industrial and other market segments. Cadence is listed as one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. Learn more at cadence.com.

© 2017 Cadence Design Systems, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Cadence, the Cadence logo and the other Cadence marks found at www.cadence.com/go/trademarks are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cadence Design Systems, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

For more information, please contact:
Cadence Newsroom

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SOURCE Cadence Design Systems, Inc.

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Samsung Expands FD-SOI Process Technology Leadership and its Design Ecosystem Readiness

SEOUL, South Korea–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced
semiconductor technology, today announced it has expanded its
differentiated FD-SOI process technology leadership by offering
derivatives that include RF and eMRAM. Samsung already established a
full set of FD-SOI design enablement solutions with key ecosystem
partners for the 28-nanometer (nm) FD-SOI (28FDS) process technology. By
accomplishing industry first eMRAM testchip tape-out milestone on 28FDS
process technology, Samsung Foundry has demonstrated its 28FDS readiness
with eMRAM technology leadership with the long commitment and expertise
of Samsung’s semiconductor technology R&D capability.

“Samsung has started mass production of its 28FDS process technology
last year and has already reached the desired process maturity earlier
than originally scheduled,” said Ryan Lee, Vice President of Foundry
Marketing at Samsung Electronics. “So far we have taped out more than 40
products based on FD-SOI process for various customers. With the
addition of RF and eMRAM on 28FDS and 18FDS technologies, we expect
increasing number of product engagements.”

Samsung eMRAM is the newest addition to the family of embedded
non-volatile memories and it offers unprecedented speed, power and
endurance advantages.

“By adding only three layers in the back-end of the process, we can
simply integrate the new eMRAM cells into the existing baseline FD-SOI
process,” said Gitae Jeong, Senior Vice President of the Advanced
Technology Development Team at Samsung Electronics. “Combined with
Samsung’s memory technology leadership and its differentiated FD-SOI
technology, we finally succeeded in incorporating eMRAM into various
commercial applications.”

“Samsung is working with NXP on a test chip to deliver eMRAM macro
capability which is optimized for embedded processor integration and
manufacturing.” said Ron Martino, VP and GM for NXP’s iMX Applications
Processor product line. “This test chip is complete and will produce
results in the 4th quarter. This work will further enable the
vision of integrating diverse SOC components on a single SOC in a cost
effective manner.”

Samsung has completed its full set of 28FDS technology eco-system
solutions with various eco- system partners including Cadence and
Synopsys. Customers can access Samsung certified 28FDS reference flows
from Cadence and Synopsys along with application-specific IP offerings.

“Through our collaboration with Samsung, our mutual customers can access
the 28FDS certified, comprehensive Cadence RTL-to-GDS reference flow,”
said KT Moore, vice president, product management in the Digital &
Signoff Group at Cadence. “The Cadence tools integrate the back-biasing
and multi-bit flip-flop design optimization features included with the
Samsung 28FDS process technology, enabling designers to quickly and
easily develop high-quality SoCs with optimal power and performance.”

“Early joint collaboration on PDKs, reference flows and IP is a hallmark
of the Samsung/Synopsys relationship,” said Michael Jackson, corporate
vice president of marketing and business development for the Design
Group business unit at Synopsys. “For Samsung’s 28FDS, our mutual
customers can design with confidence, knowing that it has been fully
certified for Synopsys’ Design Platform and Design Ware® IP.”

Details on the recent updates to Samsung Foundry’s cutting-edge process
technology including FD-SOI technology roadmap and readiness will be
presented at the Shanghai FD-SOI Forum on September 26th,
2017, by ES Jung, Executive Vice President and General Manager of
Foundry Business at Samsung Electronics.

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Samsung inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative
ideas and technologies. The company is redefining the worlds of TVs,
smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, digital appliances, network
systems, and memory, system LSI, foundry and LED solutions. For the
latest news, please visit the Samsung Newsroom at http://news.samsung.com.

Dad’s horror after Samsung mobile phone bursts into flames as he drove along a dual carriageway burning his hands and filling car with thick smoke

A DRIVER narrowly avoided a horror road smash when his mobile phone caught alight and filled his car with choking, acrid smoke.

Ciaron Jackson said his Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which was placed in a central console, reached searing temperatures as he drove along the dual carriageway.

 Ciaron Jackson said his Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge burst into flames while he was driving

News Group Newspapers Ltd

Ciaron Jackson said his Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge burst into flames while he was driving
 The burnt phone was picked up by Samsung to investigate

News Group Newspapers Ltd

The burnt phone was picked up by Samsung to investigate

Terrified Ciaron said he was forced to toss the smoking handset out of the window as thick, eye-watering fumes engulfed the inside of his motor.

The phone left painful burns on his hand, but the 28-year-old said he counted himself lucky as he usually keeps his mobile in his pocket while driving.

He said: “I was driving on my way to work on the dual carriageway, doing 50mph, when my car filled with thick, white chemical smelling smoke.

“It was my Samsung Galaxy that was smoking – to the point where it’s melted my bank cards.

“I had to throw the phone out of the window.

“It’s lucky my wife and child were not in the car.”

 Ciaron burnt his hand tossing the phone out of the car window

News Group Newspapers Ltd

Ciaron burnt his hand tossing the phone out of the car window

Amazingly, Ciaron, from Bridgend, South Wales, only suffered excruciating scorch marks to his fingers in the terrifying brush with death on September 7.

He was travelling along the A473 in rush hour traffic on his way to work at a loans firm in Cardiff.

The married father, who has a five-year-old son, said he had only owned the handset for about nine months.

When he returned to the spot where he threw it out of his car, chillingly, all that was left of the smartphone was a melted, black plastic mess.

He added: “If that was in my pocket – I normally carry the phone in my pocket – it could have been a different story.”

Ciaron said he complained to Samsung and the Korean electronics firm arranged for a courier to collect the destroyed gadget.

A spokesperson for Samsung said: “There are no known issues with the Galaxy S7 edge. Samsung stands behind the quality and safety of the millions of Galaxy S7 family phones in the market.

“Until Samsung is able to examine any device, it is impossible to determine the true cause of any incident.

“Customer safety remains our highest priority and we will work with any customer who has experienced an issue with a Samsung product in order to investigate the matter.

“We have provided a replacement device as a gesture of goodwill and we are examining the customer’s device that we have now obtained.”

Samsung files patent for a mobile phone with a foldable SCREEN

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Sony CEO Wants More Virtual Reality Competition Amid PlayStation VR Success

The PlayStation VR leads the home virtual reality market, but an unlikely source isn’t entirely comfortable about its lead: Sony. In an interview with Reuters, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Andrew House said he thinks the virtual reality market needs to be more competitive.

“I‘m not entirely comfortable being the market leader in VR by such a margin that seems to be happening right now,” House said. “With such a brand new category, you want a variety of platforms all doing well to create that rising tide and create the audience.”

On the numbers alone, Sony is beating its competitors by a significant margin. According to IDC, Sony is only behind Samsung in worldwide headset sales. As of the second quarter of 2017, the PlayStation VR moved 519,400 units alongside a 24.4 percent total market share.

Excluding Samsung’s mobile Gear VR headset, Sony’s margin increases even more when you put it head-to-head with comparable higher-powered headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. For the same quarter, Oculus moved 246,900 units for an 11.6 total market share, while HTC dropped 94,500 headsets for a shrinking 4.4 percent share. Both headsets were initially priced for enthusiast gamers, but HTC and Oculus dropped their headsets’ prices to $599 and $499 respectively in a bid to make them more affordable for gamers.

While the PlayStation VR isn’t necessarily as powerful as the Rift or Vive — both headsets can be paired with and take advantage of higher-end gaming PC hardware — Sony’s success with the headset has come from ease of use and price. The headset only needs a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro in order to work and only costs $349. Thanks in part to Sony’s sizable PlayStation 4 install base, the headset has seen steady support from gamers and developers. Since its launch last fall, the PlayStation VR has already broken the one million mark in sales and it’s also gotten exclusives in games like Resident Evil 7 and Farpoint .

In the past, Sony has readily admitted that the Playstation VR is an early exploration into VR for the company. In June, Sony executive Jim Ryan said PlayStation VR’s use in Resident Evil 7 was “a big surprise” to the company.

House’s remarks also come amid significant growing pains for the virtual reality field. While mobile VR headsets like the Samsung Gear VR have been strong drivers for adoption rates, developers are still figuring ways to transition the technology beyond its early adopters. Upcoming headsets from Google and Microsoft have made updates like wireless environmental awareness a big part of their featureset. Plus, VR also faces additional competition from augmented reality applications, which don’t require a headset or additional hardware. With its ARKit developer toolset, augmented reality has been a particular focus for Apple and the company has made it a central part of its recent iOS 11 update.

iPhone 8 Vs. Galaxy Note 8 Drop Test Shows Samsung Flagship Triumphant

iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8

The ongoing debate between Apple and Samsung might never be settled—some people prefer iPhone handsets and iOS, others are big time fans of Galaxy devices and Android. Each side has their pros and cons, though if you purchased a Galaxy Note 8 and are looking for bragging rights over the iPhone 8, you can point to durability. After putting both hands through a series of drop tests, the folks at PhoneBuff found Samsung’s handset to be the tougher of the two…barely.

What makes this face off interesting is that both the iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8 are using an all-glass back design. Samsung has actually been using glass backs for quite some time now, while Apple introduced it as a highly touted feature of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (and iPhone X)—it is the first time since 2011 that Apple has gone with an all-glass design, and this current implementation is supposedly the bees-knees. Or in Apple-speak, it is using “the most durable glass ever in a smartphone, front and back.”

That is a bold claim, but how does it hold up to the competition? The iPhone 8 is a tough cookie. However, it is not quite as tough as the Galaxy Note 8.

Both devices survived a drop test onto a slab of concrete, with the backside landing first. The phones functioned just fine afterward, though the glass back on both handsets was noticeably cracked—the Galaxy Note 8’s damage looked a little more severe, particularly in the upper corner, while the iPhone 8 had more cracks overall.

This was followed up by a corner-drop test, which in previous generations might have resulted in the entire phone being cracked. In this case, both handsets performed surprisingly well, with minimal damage on the corners that took the brunt of the drop test. And other than some minor scuffing, both phones still functioned properly.

iPhone 8 Cracked

Where the Galaxy Note 8 started to distance itself from the iPhone 8 was when dropping the handsets face-first. Both phones sustained damage, but it was far less prominent on the Galaxy Note 8, which was able to contain the damage to the corners. On the iPhone 8, more of the main display was cracked. While both phones were still functional, the iPhone 8 presented the higher risk of injury to finger cuts.

Drop Test Score

The final drop test consisted of raising the height and letting the phones plummet onto a piece of steel, and then repeating the test through 10 rounds. This is where the Galaxy Note 8 was really able to claim victory. As you might imagine, both phones took a beating here. However, chunks of the iPhone 8 actually flew off the device after a few drop tests. And after eight drops, the iPhone 8 no longer functioned properly, whereas the Galaxy Note 8 survived all 10 drops.

So what’s the takeaway here? Well, buy yourself a case for your handset. Beyond that, Galaxy Note 8 owners can enjoy a small amount of bragging rights over iPhone 8 owners in terms of durability. In all fairness to Apple (and iPhone fans), the iPhone 8 actually performed fairly well overall. However, the device’s glass is certainly not immune from cracking, hence why a display replacement will still run customers $29 and glass back $99 on Apple’s AppleCare+ program.

Thumbnail and Article Images Source: YouTube via PhoneBuff

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Analysis: Can Google and HTC crack the Apple-Samsung smartphone duopoly?

Google late Wednesday announced that it would pay $1.1 billion for employees from HTC’s smartphone unit, prompting waves upon waves of speculation about what might come next from this hookup.

But I have one hope: that Google’s clout and HTC’s design can give us something to challenge Apple and Samsung.

Now, let me be clear. I’m not against either Apple or Samsung — they both make nice phones. I’m also not saying there aren’t other smartphone companies out there, because there obviously are. But while there are firms doing interesting things — Essential, LG, even Google’s former acquisition Motorola — it definitely feels like this is Apple and Samsung’s market and we’re all just living in it.

Having more players is also good for innovation. “Two is better than one. But three is better than two,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights.

Yes, it’s true that both Apple and Samsung face pressure globally from smartphone makers, particularly in China, where cheaper smartphones from companies such as Huawei are getting better. But it’s still hard not to say Apple and Samsung are at the top when, combined, they make up 74 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, according to comScore, as well as 94 percent of the global industry’s profits, according to Strategy Analytics.

Many have tried and failed to at least become a viable third player for the smartphone world. Microsoft and Nokia hooked up and, for a time, put out interesting phones that ultimately didn’t capture consumers’ hearts. Google’s acquisition of Motorola was a clear attempt to take on the iPhone and Samsung. And even HTC looked like it had a shot at becoming a viable third player, with unique phone designs and high quality that actually made its phones stand out from a fairly boring pack of black (or silver) slabs.

But, of course, it was not meant to be. HTC was just not big enough, and after trying to shore up sales by moving into the growing market of low-end smartphones, it lost some of its sheen on the high-end.

Google has also failed to make a major dent in the market for hardware in general. It does well enough with its own phones — first the Nexus, now the Pixel — but they aren’t a main focus for the company and haven’t broken beyond a more limited market of Android enthusiasts. Google’s move into hardware with its Nest acquisition has been successful in some ways, but also fraught with insider drama. There have been more recent successes, such as the Chromecast and the Google Home, but they are still more the exception than the rule.

An optimist could look at this partnership, which puts thousands of HTC’s engineers under the supervision of Google’s hardware heavyweight Rick Osterloh, and say that bringing these firms together will allow them to focus on a product and iterate quickly. With Google’s checkbook and the keys to the Android operating system, there is potential for an Apple-like unification of hardware and software design.

A pessimist could say that there’s no reason to think that these companies, which have already been working together on Pixel, will be able to pull off a goal neither have accomplished individually.

To succeed at cracking Apple and Samsung’s grip would require a shift in Google’s priorities as a company — and we’ve had some signs of this, but we’ve also been down this road before. As Richard Windsor of Edison Investment Research said in a Thursday note to investors, Google’s “hardware acquisitions feel like unwanted orphans that have no business being part of Google. Google has yet to show any sign that it has learned from the mistakes, but better late than never.”