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.

 

TIME Companies

This Video About Samsung’s Crazy History Will Blow Your Mind

It even makes tanks

Samsung may be known as one of the world’s largest producers of computer chips, smartphones and television sets — but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of this ever-expanding conglomerate.

Samsung’s operation is so massive it even includes a defense department that manufactures tanks, according to a YouTube series that tries to get a handle on the what the world’s largest companies actually make.

The South Korean conglomerate proved to be one of the hardest companies to classify, given its sprawl across a variety of industries, including hotels, petrochemicals and life insurance.

 

TIME Gadgets

4 Cheaper Alternatives to the Apple Watch

apple-watch
Apple

Just after midnight on Friday, April 10, Apple officially started taking pre-orders for the Apple Watch (to be released April 24). The device has garnered a lot of interest from shoppers and the media alike. But let’s be honest – the new Apple Watch isn’t for everyone. You need an Apple iPhone to use it, so Android smartphone owners are out of luck. The device is brand new and hasn’t been battle tested. And with a price range that starts at $349 and runs all the way up to $17,000, it’s certainly not a bargain, either.

Good news, however: There are plenty of worthy Android and iPhone-compatible smart watches that don’t share these very specific Apple Watch weaknesses. To prove the point, we’ve compiled this list of great Apple Watch alternatives below that are definitely worth a look.

Pebble Time Steel

If you haven’t taken a look at the Pebble smart watch since its black-and-white e-paper formative days, you owe the company a second look. It’s latest watch, the Pebble Time Steel, has an upgraded 1.25” color e-paper display, a 3D accelerometer, compass and a mic for voice commands. The Steel connects to your iOS or Android smartphone via Bluetooth to control music and receive emails, messages and texts. Plenty of third-party apps are available for the watch, as well (RunKeeper, Weather Channel). The best feature of the Pebble Time Steel may be its battery life, however – it can go a full 10 days without a full charge.

The main downside to the Pebble Time Steel is that it’s running neither an Apple-based nor an Android-based operating system. That’s not a huge problem – there are plenty of solid third-party apps available for the Steel, from RunKeeper, Misfit, The Weather Channel and more big names. But it simply won’t have the same kind of intense third-party support that giants like Apple and Google can command.

The Pebble Time Steel is coming this July with a price of $299 in brushed stainless, matte black and gold finishes.


Samsung Gear Fit

At first glance, you might not immediately recognize the Samsung Gear Fit as a fully featured smart watch – its long, 1.84” AMOLED digital screen looks like it belongs on an activity monitor. But really, that’s what the waterproof Gear Fit is – it’s an activity monitor for fitness fanatics that doubles as a smart watch. It features an accelerometer, gyroscope and heart rate sensor to accurately track all your exercise. But it also has the smart watch features most buyers are looking for, like receiving emails and SMS messages, displaying call notifications and more. And it does it all at a killer price point.

The lightweight Samsung Gear Fit works with most Samsung Galaxy branded Android smartphones and tablets. You can find the Gear Fit at Amazon.com for just $133.37.

LG G Watch R

Looking for a smart watch with a more classic analog watch look? Check out the LG G Watch R. Like the Apple Watch, the water-resistant G Watch R tracks calories burned, sleep quality and other important health and fitness metrics. It runs Android Wear wearable operating system, so it runs a multitude of apps, including Google Maps, Edmondo Running and Facebook Messenger.

The sporty LG G Watch R is compatible with the Android phones running Android 4.3 and higher. It is available on Amazon.com for $299.


Moto 360

The Motorola Moto 360 is a beautiful smart watch that pairs with Android 4.3 smartphones and higher. It features a scratch-resistant, 1.5” circular touch screen, plenty of fitness tracking functions and face customization options, 512MB of RAM and the Android Wear wearable operating system. It can receive call alerts, text messages, social media updates, GPS directions and more. You can even send short messages via voice command.

The Moto 360 charges at night, though be forewarned – its battery life is less than stellar, especially if you use it often. Many owners complain that their Moto 360 dies before the end of the day (10 to 12 hours). Still, if you can handle this notable shortcoming, you can get this great smartwatch for just $179.00 on Amazon.

This article originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Smartphones

Samsung’s New Galaxy S6 Went On Sale Today

AUSTRALIA-SKOREA-SAMSUNG-PHONE-S6
Peter Parks—AFP/Getty Images The new Samsung Galaxy S6 is seen on display in a Samsung store in Sydney on April 10, 2015.

The company is predicting record-breaking sales

Samsung launched its latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, in the U.S. on Friday, marking the South Korean device maker’s latest attempt to revive smartphone sales after a year of tumbling profits.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge were widely praised by reviewers as Samsung’s best looking smartphone to date, replacing the plastic chassis of the previous model with a smooth metal frame. Samsung also included eye-catching design flourishes, such as a touchscreen on the S6 Edge that gently curves around one side of the phone.

Samsung executives predict record-breaking sales for the latest Galaxy smartphones, which, at a starting cost of $600, will compete in the same price bracket as the iPhone 6.

TIME Smartphones

The 13 Best Free Smartphones You Can Buy

Motorola Mobility Portfolio Launch Event
Daniel Boczarski—2014 Getty Images Motorola announced the new Moto X and G, Moto Hint and Moto 360 by opening its headquarters for media to meet the engineers and designers committed to offering people more choice, control and accessibility in their personal technology.

$0 down can actually go a long way

Walk into any AT&T or Verizon store, and you’ll see a shelf full of $0 phones, complete with cheap knock-offs, devices that can’t connect to the Internet, and old handsets from 2012. Make no mistake: when it comes to free phones, you usually get what you pay for.

Here and there, however, you can find a great phone for $0 down. Some companies will offer discounts on devices in a less popular size, while others will drop prices significantly a year after release. Even some of the best flagship models from top brands—like Apple, Samsung, HTC and LG—will eventually drop their prices to $0, as long as you know where and when to look.

With this in mind, we set out to find the best free phones on the market today. Each of the devices on this list will cost you $0 from at least one carrier, as long as you’re starting a new contract.

How did we pick and rank the list? We started with a list of phones that can be purchased for $0 with a new contract. We then looked at specs, features and expert reviews to calculate a Smart Rating for each device. Finally, we ranked our list by the overall ratings, using release date to break ties (the newer the device, the better).

We’ll start with number 13 and work our way to the best free phone of all.

LG Enact

Smart Rating: 79/100
Release: August 2013

For customers who miss physical keyboards, the LG Enact hides a full QWERTY set-up right underneath its full 4-inch display. It’s the sort of design you’d have to pay half a grand for in 2007. Today? You can snap one up for $0 with a contract.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Smart Rating: 84/100
Release: May 2013

Samsung fans hoping to save should give a hard look at the $0 Galaxy S4 Mini, a phone with signature Samsung quality, but costing hundreds of dollars less than the newest models.

Motorola Moto G

Smart Rating: 84/100
Release: November 2013

Praised for its pure Android experience (no needless frills or odd augmentations), the 2013 Moto G remains a smart, sensible buy for people who live on Google services like Gmail, YouTube and Maps.

BlackBerry Z10

Smart Rating: 88/100
Release: January 2013

The Z10 was BlackBerry’s best attempt to produce a modern-style smartphone—complete with the familiar grid of app icons and no physical keyboard. To this day, it’s still a great option for BlackBerry fans who like the way iOS looks but don’t care for Apple’s ecosystem. And best yet, it doesn’t cost a penny.

Motorola DROID Mini

Smart Rating: 89/100
Release: August 2013

Generally speaking, bigger phones tend to have larger—and thus longer lasting—batteries. Take the iPhone 6 versus the 6 Plus: the 5.5-inch Plus boasts over 70% more battery than its smaller cousin. The $0 DROID Mini defies this trend—a 4.3-inch phone with a whopping 28 hours of battery. It’s a rare combination at an unbeatable price.

LG Lucid 3

Smart Rating: 89/100
Release: April 2014

The LG Lucid 3 was made specifically for the tasteful budget phone shopper—someone who wants smooth operation and clean hardware design for next to no cost. The device is also a nice, compact alternative to LG’s parade of big-screen, 5.2- to 6-inch phones.

Motorola DROID MAXX

Smart Rating: 90/100
Release: August 2013

The Motorola DROID MAXX still offers one of the best batteries on the market, capable of going two full days on a single charge. Sure, the performance doesn’t match the latest flagship phones, but if you simply need something reliable, cheap and long-lasting, this is your handset.

iPhone 5C

Smart Rating: 90/100
Release: September 2013

Apple’s pricing structure is steady and predictable: the newest models start at $200, the year-old model at $100, the two-year-old model at $0. This time around, however, the free model (the iPhone 5C) is noticeably different than its more expensive cousins. The newer models feature bigger screens and metal bodies; the 5C sports a plastic shell and compact screen. For some customers, the 5C will be exactly what they want anyway—and they won’t be able to beat the $0 price tag.

LG G Flex

Smart Rating: 90
Release: January 2014

The LG G Flex has a novel, curved display—the sort of unique hardware design you’d normally have to pay extra to enjoy. By now, however, enough time has passed—and a new model has surfaced—to make the original G Flex free with a 2-year contract. The curved display isn’t for everyone, but if you’re intrigued, you can try it for free.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Smart Rating: 90/100
Release: September 2014

Samsung’s small-screen Galaxy Alpha has a premium feel and solid performance. It’s the ideal phone for Samsung fans who never joined the big-screen revolution. With the impending Galaxy S6 launch, Samsung has slashed the price on the Alpha, making this an excellent time to buy.

Amazon Fire Phone

Smart Rating: 93/100
Release: July 2014

Yes, the Amazon Fire Phone flopped hard. Sure, the 3D effects were nothing more than a gimmick, and the internals weren’t anything special. A year later, however, the Amazon Fire Phone might actually be underrated. For the Prime subscriber and Amazon shopping addict, there’s still no better phone for optimizing your retail experience. And you can get the whole experience for $0 on day one—a happy consequence of all the bad press.

LG G2

Smart Rating: 94/100
Release: September 2013

You might worry that the LG G2 is a little too old to warrant a purchase, as it was first released in fall 2013. Consider, however, that the LG G2’s performance was at least six months ahead of its time, and that the phone served as the prequel to our Editors’ Choice for Best Smartphone of 2014 (the LG G3). A $0 price tag? On that device? Crazy.

And it’s the best Android phone on this list.

HTC One (M8) for Windows

Smart Rating: 95/100
Release: August 2014

Normally, you have to sacrifice quality to get a free phone, but the HTC One M8 for Windows is both free and one of the best handsets on the market. Why? It all stems from popularity. Most people are on either iOS or Android, so HTC sells the Windows version at a discount. What’s more, HTC still isn’t as popular as Apple or Samsung, so the company is willing to cut costs to compete. Add it up, and the HTC One M8 is the best free phone you can get. If you haven’t tried Windows on a phone before, this is the perfect place to start.

TIME Smartphones

Watch the Samsung Galaxy S Evolve Before Your Very Eyes

The Android-powered iPhone rival has come a long way

The Samsung Galaxy S has come a long way since it first launched in 2010. With its latest versions — the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge — set to go on sale on April 10, take a look at how the Android-powered iPhone rival has changed over the years:

Evolution of the  Galaxy S
gadgetlove.comEvolution of the Samsung Galaxy S

For a larger, interactive version of the GIF, head over to gadgetlove.com.

TIME Vietnam

Scaffolding Collapse Claims 14 Lives at a Vietnamese Port

Vietnam Scaffolding Collapse
Cong Tuong—AP Rescuers work through the rubble trying to find survivors after scaffolding collapsed in an economic zone in Ha Tinh province in central Vietnam on March 25, 2015

The workers were reportedly employed by a sub-contractor of Samsung

At least 14 workers were killed and 30 wounded in Vietnam Wednesday night when scaffolding collapsed at a seaport project in the Vung Ang economic zone of Ha Tinh province.

Provincial People’s Committee Deputy Chairman Dang Quoc Khanh announced on national television that many of the injured had been hospitalized. Authorities were working to uncover two bodies still buried within the debris, Reuters reports.

Phan Tran De, deputy chief of the zone’s managing authority, told local media that thousands of workers were on the construction site and casualty numbers may rise.

The seaport was being built on the grounds of a complex owned by the Formosa Group, a Taiwanese company. The government-owned Thanh Nien newspaper reported that the hurt workers, all of whom were Vietnamese, were sub-contracted from a branch of South Korea’s Samsung Group.

Vung Ang hit the headlines last year when riots erupted targeting Chinese workers.

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