TIME Security

Samsung Says It’s Fixing a Nasty Security Flaw

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Security update will be available in the coming days

Samsung is planning a security update after researchers uncovered a vulnerability that could threaten as many as 600 million Galaxy phones. The company said in a statement Thursday that it will roll out an update in the coming days to address the issue, which makes phones vulnerable when downloading updates for the SwiftKey keyboard.

The vulnerability was discovered by the security company NowSecure last fall and made public this week. The SwiftKey keyboard searches for language pack updates over unencrypted lines, making it vulnerable to attack. In a statement, Samsung noted that the probability of a hacker actually exploiting the vulnerability was low.

Owners of the Galaxy S4 and more recent models will have the security update automatically pushed to their phones. To ensure your phone receives automatic updates, go to Settings > Lock Screen and Security > Other Security Settings > Security policy updates, and make sure the Automatic Updates option is activated. Users of older Galaxy models will have a firmware update made available to them that they can download.

TIME Gadgets

5 Great Cameras For Capturing Your Summer Fun

Canon PowerShot G7 X
Canon Canon PowerShot G7 X

Get better results than your smartphone

Smartphone cameras are getting better with every generation of new phone, but they still aren’t necessarily the best solution for every shot. For instance, while you can get a waterproof case to bring your handset on a dive, most people aren’t comfortable with taking their entire digital life into the deep. Likewise on shots that require ample zoom — of course you can pinch at the touchscreen to get in closer, but that sacrifices image quality.

Luckily there’s an old fashioned solution for these modern problems: cameras. Dedicated to making the best of light and color, these single-tasking devices may have been around forever, but they’re still getting better every year. These five standalone shooters will capture this summer’s memories in much richer detail than anything that you can also play Trivia Crack on.

Canon PowerShot G7 X

Point-and-shoot cameras like this little big shot won’t weigh you down while on a hike or a sightseeing trek. With better lenses and image sensors than your smartphone, you’ll collect sharper looking memories. With a one-inch, 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, the $699 Powershot G7 X already has enough tech to blow your smartphone away in a shootout. But with Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, the 9.8 ounce camera has the same connectivity as your iPhone, though it weighs 5 ounces more.

With that extra heft you also get a 4.2-time zoom lens that, when multiplied by the 4-time digital zoom, actually provides nearly 17 times the magnification. But you’re probably wondering about the most important facet of photography today: selfies. Thankfully the G7 X’s 3-inch touchscreen display flips around perfectly so you can document yourself, your friends, and all your hot summer fun.

HTC Re Camera

Too often, rather than capturing the moment, cameras just get in the way. Resembling a periscope, HTC’s $149 Re Camera eschews full-color display screens for a simple record button, making it a true point-and-shoot. Packing a 16 megapixel sensor and a wide-angle, 146-degree lens, Re shoots 30-frame-per-second 1080p video and photos that it stores on microSD cards with up to 128 gigabytes of storage.

Able to operate one meter under water for 30 minutes, it can take 1,000 photos on a single charge. Hopefully your thumb can keep up, because to take pictures, all you need to do is tap the button (or press it down to shoot a video). Re also has a line of mounting accessories so photographers can attach it to everything from a handlebar to a backpack. And when it’s time to relive your memories, the Bluetooth-equipped camera can connect to your Android or iOS phone, sending images to an accompanying app.

Leica Q

If you’re as much about the tool as you are the artwork, Leica’s latest compact is going to make you feel like a painter playing with Vincent van Gogh’s brushes — and for $4,250, it ought to. A full-frame, fixed lens digital camera, the Leica Q was designed with speed in mind, with a fastest-in-class Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens and 24 megapixel CMOS sensor. An integrated 3.68 megapixel viewfinder pops up as soon as you bring the camera to your eye, snapping in the autofocus and shooting up to 10 full-resolution frames per second, with JPEGs instantly ready for reviewing.

With full manual controls, seasoned shutterbugs can make the most of their shots and even get some assistance from “focus peaking” and “live view zoom” features. And with modern networking chops through Wi-Fi, the images can be streamed over to the Leica app for viewing, saving and sharing.

Olympus OM-D E-M1

Into each summer, some rain must fall. And on those days, you’ll want to have the weatherproof Olympus OM-D E-M1 in your camera bag. A lightning-fast mirrorless camera with a 1/8000 shutter speed, the $1,099 micro four third fits into an interchangeable system that currently has more than 70 different lenses. And with a magnesium alloy body, the E-M1 is able to brave the dirt, water, and freezing temperatures to snap up hard-to-capture images.

While this all makes it sound like a physical specimen, the pro-level shooter is only 1.1 pounds. And it’s packing a range of creative options on its internal software, including a dozen filters and a multi-exposure mode. That means you can spend more time on your photos and less on your computer — which is a much better way to enjoy a summer day.

Samsung NX500

The next big thing in imagery is 4K resolution, and the best way to add it to your arsenal minus a couple of Gs might be the Samsung NX500. A lower-cost, interchangeable lens, mirrorless camera with an easy-to-handle form-factor, the $599 (current price) rig features a comfortable, ergonomic grip and an easy-to-access control dial, giving it a throwback manual feel that will keep you from having to dive into the touchscreen all the time. Another similar perk is its “mobile” button that instantly activates the NX500’s Bluetooth, NCF, and Wi-Fi connectivity features.

And while these physical benefits are great, the imaging smarts inside are excellent too, like the camera’s 28 megapixel image sensor, the highest resolution APS/C size sensor on the market. The NX500’s DRIMe Vs photo processor drives software like Auto Shot, a predictive algorithm that locks on to moving targets to anticipate the perfect picture. These chops also lend themselves to the camera’s 4K video mode, which shoots in 24 frames per second. That’s not as fast as the 60 frame per second 1080p mode, but it’s plenty good for capturing an endless summer.

MONEY stocks

How Facebook Is Taking Over the World

Social Media Illustrations
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nearly 1 billion people use the service each day.

Facebook is the undisputed leader among social networks. The company has a massive user base of more than 1.4 billion average monthly users, and it continues growing at an impressive speed considering the size of the platform. In addition to this leadership position in well established markets, Facebook is now even gaining ground in corners of the world where most consumers don’t even have access to good enough Internet connections.

The incredibly expanding social network
As of the first quarter of 2015, Facebook has 1.44 billion monthly active accounts, a year-over-year increase of 13% versus the same quarter in 2014. Daily active users stand at 936 million, growing 17% year over year during the last quarter. The fact that daily users are growing at a faster rate than monthly ones is a big positive for Facebook, as it reflects increasing engagement.

The company is also doing great in mobile, a crucial growth segment in the industry. Facebook has 1.25 billion mobile monthly users as of the last quarter, growing 24% year over year. Daily mobile users are 798 million, expanding by 31% from the first quarter in 2014.

Not only that, Facebook is also consolidating its presence across different platforms. WhatsApp has over 700 million users, and Instagram has more than 300 million active members. Services such as Facebook Groups and Messenger are also important when it comes to cementing Facebook’s relationship with users and keeping those users actively engaged. As of March, Facebook Groups has 700 million users, and Messenger is above 600 million accounts.

Going where no one has gone before
Growth rates tend to naturally slow down as a company gains size over the years. In Facebook’s particular case, the social network has arguably collected most of the low hanging fruit, meaning that Facebook is already quite ubiquitous among its target demographic group in markets where consumers have fluid Internet connections.

But this is not stopping Facebook at all, the company aims to expand its presence even in underdeveloped markets where many consumers have poor access to online connectivity. The company has launched Internet.org, a collaborative effort between Facebook and other six companies — Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia, and Qualcomm — to bring affordable Internet access to economically disadvantaged regions.

The Internet.org app provides free basic services in markets where Internet access can be unaffordable to many consumers. In addition to accessing Facebook, the app allows users to browse selected health, employment, and local information websites without data charges.

In another effort in the same direction, Facebook has recently launched Facebook Lite, a simplified version of its Android mobile app that uses much less data than the original app. Facebook Lite is 1% of the size of Facebook’s main app. It includes main features such as news feed, status updates, and photos, but it does not support video or other functionalities that require big amounts of data.

Facebook Lite is intended for users without access to reliable Internet connections. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a press release, “We built Facebook Lite to be faster, more reliable and very data efficient even when Internet bandwidth is at a minimum.”

How this fits into the big puzzle
Humanitarian reasons can be important to Facebook, but it’s also worth noting that these initiatives are good for business, too. Facebook is a textbook example of a business operating under the network effect, meaning that the network becomes more valuable as it grows in size over time.

If nobody interesting is using Facebook, then the social network has no value to you. However, when many of your friends, family, love interests, or work connections are on the platform, you just can´t stay away from it for too long at the risk of missing out something important.

A bigger Facebook means a more valuable Facebook — this attracts more users and keeps them more engaged, so size is a crucial competitive strength for the company.

Many of the users Facebook is gaining with initiatives such as Internet.org and Facebook Lite will have little direct economic impact for the company in the short term, as these are generally low-income consumers which are not particularly attractive to online advertisers.

However, these projects are allowing Facebook to continue consolidating its position as the most dominant social network in the planet, and this could mean major benefits from a strategic point of view over years and even decades to come.

Read next: Twitter’s Strategy Remains Unclear Even After CEO Resigns

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TIME Smartphones

Samsung Announced a New Phone on Apple’s Big Day

It's meant for more active lifestyles

Samsung revealed its Galaxy S6 Active smartphone on Monday, just hours ahead of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

The new Galaxy S6 Active, which was the subject of numerous information leaks in recent weeks, “is designed with the active lifestyle in mind,” according to Samsung. “It gives you the durability you want while boasting a sleek, lightweight design and all of the innovation the Galaxy S6 has to offer.”

The Galaxy S6 Active is mostly similar to the default Galaxy S6 with added features more suited to an adventurous lifestyle (or a clumsy owner), like water resistance and dust protection. The phone will be available exclusively from AT&T on June 12 through a variety of payment options.

“As we’ve shown over the past three years as the exclusive provider of Samsung’s Galaxy S active family, we feel that our customers shouldn’t have to trade durability for best-in-class specs,” said Jeff Bradley, the senior vice president of device marketing and develop services for AT&T, in a statement. “The Galaxy S6 active is the best Galaxy S6 in the market.”

Read next: 3 Staggering Figures About Apple That Tell You Everything

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TIME Samsung

Samsung Accidentally Posted Everything About Its Newest S6 Phone

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2015 International CES
David Becker—Getty Images A general view of the Samsung booth at the 2015 International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 6, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It isn't even the first time information has leaked about the device

Information about Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S6 “Active,” a more rugged version of its flagship Galaxy S6, has leaked online, 9to5Google reports.

Samsung US appears to have posted the entirety of the S6 Active’s user manual online, although the new Galaxy smartphone has yet to be officially announced. The manual has since been taken down.

9to5Google reports that the phone’s manual is 108 pages long and includes detailed information about the phone’s features. This isn’t the first time that information has leaked about the Galaxy S6 Active — there have been past image leaks of press renders as far back as last month.

According to the leaked manual, the S6 Active will have a 5.1 inch display, 32GB of storage and 16MP and 5MP rear- and front-facing cameras, respectively.

Investment bank Oppenheimer released a research note last month arguing Samsung is “placing a wrong bet” on its Galaxy S6 flagship as sales have been dipping in recent months.

TIME Smartphones

Samsung Could Be Doing Something Huge With the Galaxy S6

'Samsung Presents New Device at Mobile World Congress 2015'
David Ramos—Getty Images CEO and President of Samsung JK Shin presents the new Samsung Galaxy S6 during the Mobile World Congress on March 1, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

It would be a big move

Samsung may launch a jumbo version of its leading smartphone in the next few weeks.

The bigger version of the Galaxy S6 Edge would be called the Galaxy S6 Plus, say the fonti attendibili—translation: “reliable sources”—that spoke with the Italian technology blog HDBlog.

Originally expected to debut in early September at the European consumer electronics trade show IFA Berlin 2015, the device is now anticipated to arrive sooner this summer.

The Galaxy S6 Plus is suspected to be model number SM-G928S, which appeared on the device-identifying IMEI database in April, as reported by the Samsung blog SamMobile. The project has apparently been renamed “project zero 2″ from “project zen” internally, according to HDBlog—a nod to “project zero,” Samsung’s code name for the Galaxy S6 phone.

The new device does not appear to differ greatly from its predecessor aside from the boosted screen size, which puts it on par with the iPhone 6 Plus at about 5.5 inches. It’s expected to have the same camera and screen resolution (5-megapixel front and a 16-megapixel rear camera) and screen resolution as well as 32 gigabytes of memory, says SamMobile. (Still no “s pen” stylus, either.)

Samsung has released bigger phone models before. Last year, the company launched the Galaxy S5 Plus, a bigger version of its Galaxy S5, eight months after unveiling the first model.

Despite the initial assurances that the anticipated phone would be announced at IFA 2015, HDBlog says it has received new intel indicating an earlier release. The site cautions, however, that its reporting should be considered semplici “rumors” suscettibili ad imprecisioni, or “simply ‘rumors’ susceptible to inaccuracies.”

TIME Smartphones

Samsung’s Iron Man Phone Will Make You Want to Go Fight Bad Guys

Samsung Iron Man Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung

This is what happens when you cross an electronics brand with a box office juggernaut

Samsung unveiled a limited edition ‘Iron Man’ smartphone on Tuesday to coincide with the Marvel comic book hero’s latest big screen appearance in the box office smash Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The Iron-Man-themed Galaxy S6 Edge is part of an ongoing partnership that Samsung launched with Marvel last June, in an attempt to find cross-promotional opportunities between movies and electronic devices.

The latest hybrid product comes in a matching red and gold case that Iron Man fans will immediately recognize as their superhero’s preferred color scheme. A decal of Iron Man’s face is also printed on the back of the phone.

Unfortunately for fans stateside, the phone will only go on sale in South Korea, Samsung’s home country, beginning May 27, followed by limited releases in China and Hong Kong in June.

Read next: 15 Tricks For Getting Way Better Smartphone Battery Life

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TIME Apple

No, Apple Isn’t Working on a TV

Tim Cook
Eric Risberg—AP Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in San Francisco on March 9, 2015

The tech giant is said to have shelved plans to build a television.

Apple still isn’t ready to sell a television.

The consumer electronics giant quietly put aside its plans to build a TV after years of research, according to a Wall Street Journal report Monday. The company tried to develop a unique high-end television with sci-fi features, but executives ultimately didn’t believe they could take on TV market leader Samsung and shelved the efforts.

Instead, Apple has reportedly refocused on its Apple TV set-top-box for streaming video, which it debuted in 2007. It is expected to unveil a new version at its World Wide Developer Conference next month, which may include various bundles of TV channels that customers can access over the Internet. Apple was the exclusive launch partner for Time Warner streaming service, HBO Now, which launched last month.

Investor Carl Icahn, however, believes the company will introduce a television set in 2016, and will enter the electric car market in 2020, according to the an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook. He publicized the letter Monday in which he argued that Apple’s shares are significantly undervalued.

Specifically, Icahn said that expected Apple to sell 55-inch and 65-inch ultra-high-definition sets. He predicted it would sell 10 million units and generate $15 billion in the 2016 fiscal year.

“We view television’s role in the living room as a strategically compelling bolt-on to the Apple ecosystem,” Icahn said in his letter.

In the last few months, there have been rumors that Apple is working on a car. But other than some listings for intriguing job openings, there has been nothing conclusive.

TIME Smartphones

The 5 Best Smartphones Right Now

Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy S6 And Galaxy S6 Edge Smartphones Go On Sale In Hong Kong
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images An attendee tries out a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone during a launch event at a Samsung Partnershop in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, April 10, 2015.

The iPhone 6 isn't your only option

Thanks to some intense competition in the smartphone space, upgrading your handset isn’t as easy as it used to be. Not too long ago it was iPhone, Samsung or bust. But with compelling hardware efforts from Google, LG, and others, there are a ton more great options when it comes time to choose a new smartphone.

And while overall there’s a dizzying amount of smartphones on the market, when it comes to investing in the latest and greatest, these five stand out from the rest. But since they’re mostly comparable to each other, the best way to choose is by basing your decision on the most important characteristic to you.

Best Android: Nexus 6

Google’s latest Android operating system, Lollipop, is so colorful and smooth it’s practically lickable. To get the most out of its edge-to-edge interface, you’ll want to upgrade to a Nexus 6, a monster of a smartphone with a nearly 6-inch AMOLED display. Packing an eye-popping 493 pixels per inch, the Nexus’s display is driven by a quad-core 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805 processor that crunches through apps and background processes with ease. Translation: Google Now is always in the moment.

But in addition, from video streaming to video slinging, the Nexus 6 has the processing power and multimedia chops to make any Android game or movie pop off the screen. (And starting with 32 gigabytes of onboard storage, it has plenty of room to hold all that content, too.) That speed translates into every corner of the operating system as well: photos snap faster, NFC connects more reliably, and the web unfurls without a hiccup.

If Android is your world, this Nexus 6 should be your window to it. Starting at $649, or $36.11 per month with an 18 month loan.

Best Apps: iPhone 6

I’ll probably get half a dozen tweets and emails for saying this, but if having access to the hottest new apps is the most important aspect of smartphone ownership for you, cozy up to iOS before considering any Android handset. While Google says its operating system has more apps than iOS, there are plenty of free, junkier apps on Android. Apple’s iOS tends to get exclusive apps first because studies have shown iPhone owners actually pay for more apps. Put bluntly, iPhone developers get more money, which encourages them to publish with Apple first. And there’s no better way to experience iOS’s riches than with Apple’s iPhone 6.

Its 4.7-inch, 326 pixel-per-inch Retina display is big enough to be beautiful but small enough to still fit in a pocket. A new processor melds high performance with motion detection, perfect for workout apps. And an 8-megapixel camera able to snap everything from action shots to 43 megapixel panoramas makes its various camera apps shoot beautifully. In addition, a bigger overall body made room for a longer-lasting battery, which is necessary for all the apps you’ll be enjoying. The one downside is the 16 gigabyte base model — who can squeeze all their favorite games and programs into something that small? Starting at $649, or $199 with a 2-year contract.

Best Camera: LG G4

Some Android afficionados might disagree with putting the LG G4 in the top five, but that’s because they haven’t had a hands-on yet. Admittedly, running a hex-core 1.8 Ghz Snapdragon 808 chip, it’s not the fastest phone in the list. But with Lollipop as an operating system, it’s as up-to-date as they come, especially when you take it in through the G4’s amazingly dense 538 pixel-per-inch 5.5-inch display. Bright, vivid, and even good in direct sunlight, this is the kind of screen you need if you want to take in all the details captured by the phone’s 16-megapixel rear-facing camera. With laser-assisted autofocus and the ability to shoot in RAW, this camera is practically DSLR quality.

Smartly, LG gave the G4 a powerful default camera app to match, with all sorts of manual controls from shutter speed to white balance, making it a great shot in all sorts of light. Throw in a couple of old-school perks like a removable battery and microSD card support (in addition to 32 GB of internal storage) — both of which seem to be favorite specs that are going the way of the dinosaur — and the G4 has what it takes to hardcore shutterbugs to shoot for the stars. Starting at $649.

Best Design: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

One challenge in picking the best phones is how they all eventually seem to ape each other — in fact, there was a volley of Samsung/Apple lawsuits about this very issue. But Samsung is breaking the mold with its new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, boasting a curved glass design that’s no gimmick. The handset’s 5.1-inch AMOLED display is a feast for the eyes, with 577 pixels per inch making its version of Android Lollipop practically leap off the screen.

But it’s the display’s rounded edges that make a big difference here, not just in the phone’s physical feel, but in how users interact with its software. Flick in a tab on the right, and you get access to your contacts at a swipe. Another clever use for the sidebars is the phone’s “information stream,” which shows texts and other alerts without powering on the entire display. The S6 Edge is particularly great as a bedside clock, because it doesn’t light up the whole room just showing the time. And with a wireless charger, the phone makes a full transition from being just another great gadget to becoming a touching part of your life. Starting at $815, or $299 with a 2-year contract.

Best Value: Moto X

With a business model that revolves around as many free services as it can afford, Google would be expected to deliver on the best value in smartphones, and with the Moto X, the search giant delivered (Motorola Mobility is now owned by Lenovo). Though technically not free (it starts at 99 cents with a two-year contract), the supremely customizable handset has some impressive base specs, like its 5.2-inch, 424 pixel-per-inch AMOLED screen, Android Lollipop compatibility, and removable battery which can charge more than halfway in just 30 minutes.

The Moto X’s camera shoots with the best of them, and a range of storage options (from 16 to 64 gigabytes) will satisfy digital packrats and cloud-consuming users, alike. And with an astounding amount of customization options, from dozens of rear casing covers to personalized boot-up messages, this smartphone may be the smartest thing on your person, matching your individual style down to the handset’s trim. Starting at $399, or $.99 with a 2-year contract.

Note to reader: All prices are off contract, unless otherwise noted.

TIME Smartphones

This 1 Chart Shows How Intense the Apple-Samsung Rivalry Really Is

When one does well, the other one doesn't

The battle between Apple and Samsung hasn’t been this fierce in a long time.

Strong sales of Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones are helping the company reclaim its position as the top smartphone maker by sales, after Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus models put the two firms neck-and-neck late last year.

But not everything is rosy for Samsung. The company’s profits from mobile devices dropped 57% year-over-year in the first quarter of the year, the company said Wednesday. Meanwhile, sales of Apple’s iPhone are up 40% and accounted for nearly 70% of the Cupertino, Calif. company’s profits in the last quarter. It’s no secret that rival smartphone maker Apple’s mega-successful iPhone 6 sales last quarter is adding to the pressure on the South Korean Samsung.

The smartphone competition between the two companies is especially intense because of the annual back-to-back releases of each company’s flagship handsets. Apple typically releases new iPhone models in the fall, leading to an increase in Apple’s smartphone market share and then a boost in Q4 revenue. Samsung’s new Galaxy S phones drop in the spring, with an immediate gain in market share before the sales show up in Q2 revenue.

See how the dueling flagship smartphones play tug-of-war with global market share above, as estimated by Strategy Analytics.

Who’s winning, Apple or Samsung? It’s hard to say for sure, given that neither of the companies break down their earnings by product. But one thing is clear: the gap is definitely closing between Apple and Samsung, the latter of which has long been in its own league when it comes to global smartphone shipments. As shown in the chart above, Samsung’s market share has consistently taken sharp hits with each of Apple’s new iPhones (about a 5% drop each Q4 for the past the years), while Apple’s market share is hurting less and less with each of Samsung’s new Galaxy S phones (only a 2% drop in Q1 2015).

Still, Samsung executives say they’re faithful in their newest smartphones. “Galaxy S6 sales have been going as well as expected, while demand for the Galaxy S6 Edge have been better than anticipated,” Samsung Vice President Park Jin-young said Wednesday on an earnings call. Park also said he expects the S6 to become Samsung’s best-selling handset ever. If that prediction holds true, it could help Samsung keep its crown as king of market share a little bit longer, at least.

 

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