Samsung Expected to Begin iPhone X Plus Display Production in May

Samsung will begin manufacturing OLED displays for a new iPhone X and iPhone X Plus next month, according to Taiwan’s Economic Daily News.

Mockup of iPhone X and iPhone X Plus alongside iPhone 7 Plus via Reddit user SpaceKonk


The report claims Samsung will restart its production line in May, with plans to double its production capacity in June. The timeline appears to be slightly ahead of schedule, as it was supposedly believed that Samsung would not begin production until the end of June, or the beginning of the third quarter.

The report is a good sign that Apple’s widely rumored trio of 2018 smartphones will be released simultaneously, including a new iPhone X, a larger iPhone X Plus, and a mid-range LCD model with Face ID. The new smartphone lineup will likely be announced in early September and available to order later in the month.

This would contrast with Apple’s staggered release of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X last year. While all three models were unveiled in September, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus pre-orders began September 15, while iPhone X pre-orders didn’t begin until October 27, nearly a month and a half later.

The delayed launch of the iPhone X was attributed to reported production challenges with the TrueDepth camera system powering Face ID. Those issues have since been resolved, and shouldn’t have any effect on the 2018 launch.

All in all, getting your hands on Apple’s flagship new smartphone may be quicker and easier this fall. But, as with any iPhone launch, pre-order availability will likely be limited, so early adopters will probably still need to act fast.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhones
Tags: Samsung, OLED

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The Skagen Falster is a high fashion Android wearable

Skagen is a well-know maker of thin and uniquely Danish watches. Founded in 1989, the company is now part of the Fossil group and, as such, has begin dabbling in both the analog with the Hagen and now Android Wear with the Falster. The Falster is unique in that it stuffs all of the power of a standard Android Wear device into a watch that mimics the chromed aesthetic of Skagen’s austere design while offering just enough features to make you a fashionable smartwatch wearer.

The Falster, which costs $275 and is available now, has a fully round digital OLED face which means you can read the time at all times. When the watch wakes up you can see an ultra bright white on black time-telling color scheme and then tap the crown to jump into the various features including Android Fit and the always clever Translate feature that lets you record a sentence and then show it the person in front of you.

You can buy it with a leather or metal band and the mesh steel model costs $20 extra.

Sadly, in order stuff the electronics into such a small case, Skagen did away with GPS, LTE connectivity, and even a heart-rate monitor. In other words if you were expecting a workout companion then the Falster isn’t the Android you’re looking for. However, if you’re looking for a bare-bones fashion smartwatch, Skagen ticks all the boxes.

What you get from the Flasterou do get, however, is a low-cost, high-style Android Wear watch with most of the trimmings. I’ve worn this watch off and on few a few weeks now and, although I do definitely miss the heart rate monitor for workouts, the fact that this thing looks and acts like a normal watch 99% of the time makes it quite interesting. If obvious brand recognition nee ostentation are your goal, the Apple Watch or any of the Samsung Gear line are more your style. This watch, made by a company famous for its Danish understatement, offers the opposite of that.

Skagen offers a few very basic watch faces with the Skagen branding at various points on the dial. I particularly like the list face which includes world time or temperature in various spots around the world, offering you an at-a-glance view of timezones. Like most Android Wear systems you can change the display by pressing and holding on the face.

It lasts about a day on one charge although busy days may run down the battery sooner as notifications flood the screen. The notification system – essentially a little icon that appears over the watch face – sometimes fails and instead shows a baffling grey square. This is the single annoyance I noticed, UI-wise, when it came to the Falster. It works with both Android smartphones and iOS.

What this watch boils down to is an improved fitness tracker and notification system. If you’re wearing, say, a Fitbit, something like the Skagen Falster offers a superior experience in a very chic package. Because the watch is fairly compact (at 42mm I won’t say it’s small but it would work on a thinner wrist) it takes away a lot of the bulk of other smartwatches and, more important, doesn’t look like a smartwatch. Those of use who don’t want to look like we’re wearing robotic egg sacs on our wrists will enjoy that aspect of Skagen’s effort, even without all the trimmings we expect from a modern smartwatch.

Skagen, like so many other watch manufacturers, decided if it couldn’t been the digital revolution it would join it. The result is the Falster and, to a lesser degree, their analog collections. Whether or not traditional watchmakers will survive the 21st century is still up in the air but, as evidenced by this handsome and well-made watch, they’re at least giving it the old Danish try.

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Ethereum falls after rumors of a powerful mining chip surface

Rumors of a new ASIC mining rig from Bitmain have driven Ethereum prices well below their one-week high of $585. An ASIC – or Application-specific integrated circuit – in the cryptocurrency world is a chip that designers create for the specific purpose of mining a single currency. Early Bitcoin ASICs, for example, drove adoption up and then, in some eyes, centralized Bitcoin mining in a few hands, thereby thwarting the decentralized ethos of die-hard cryptocurrency fans.

According to a CNBC report, analyst Christopher Rolland visited China where he unearthed rumors of a new ASIC chip dedicated to Ethereum mining.

“During our travels through Asia last week, we confirmed that Bitmain has already developed an ASIC [application-specific integrated circuit] for mining Ethereum, and is readying the supply chain for shipments in 2Q18,” analyst Christopher Rolland wrote in a note to clients Monday. “While Bitmain is likely to be the largest ASIC vendor (currently 70-80% of Bitcoin mining ASICs) and the first to market with this product, we have learned of at least three other companies working on Ethereum ASICs, all at various stages of development.”

Historically users have mined Ethereum using GPUs which, in turn, led to the unavailability of GPUs for gaming and graphics. However, an ASIC would change the mining equation entirely, resulting in a certain amount of centralization as big players – including Bitmain – created higher barrier to entry for casual miners.

“Ethereum is of the most profitable coins available for GPU mining,” said Mikhail Avady, founder of TryMining.com. “It’s going to affect a lot of the market. Without understanding the hash power of these Bitmain machines we can’t tell if it will make GPUs obsolete or not.”

“It can be seen as an attack on the network. It’s a centralization problem,” he said.

Avady points out that there is a constant debate among cryptocurrency aficionados regarding ASICs and their effect on the market. Some are expecting a move to more mineable coins including Monero and Cash.

“What would be bad is if there was only one Ethereum ASIC manufacturer,” he said. “But with Samsung and a couple other players getting into the game it won’t be bad for long.”

There is also concern over ICO launches and actual utility of Ethereum-based smart contract tokens. “The price of ETH is becoming consolidated as people become more realistic about blockchain technology,” said Sky Guo, CEO of Cypherium. “People are looking for higher quality blockchain projects. I believe a rebound in ETH’s price will come soon as panic surrounding regulations begins to fade.”

Samsung is ‘looking into’ Galaxy S9 touchscreen issues

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