TIME Smartphones

This Is the Best Look Yet at Samsung’s Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung says it has "six appeal"

Samsung has been teasing its new Galaxy S6 smartphone in bits and chunks ahead of its official reveal next month. But the best look yet just came by way of T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

Sunday night, Legere tweeted a link to a T-Mobile page to sign up for more info about the new Samsung flagship phone’s availability on the carrier. At the top of the page sits a side view of what’s presumably the new phone, along with the caption “Six Appeal.”

The T-Mobile photo gives a pretty good view of the Galaxy S6’s curved display, a feature Samsung first introduced on the Galaxy Note Edge phablet. Unlike the Note Edge, however, the Galaxy S6 is rumored to have curved displays on both sides of the device, not just one.

We’ll know more about the Samsung Galaxy S6 when the company finally unveils it on March 1.

Read next: This Is Microsoft’s New Plan to Invade Your Smartphone

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TIME Companies

Apple Is Aiming to Produce Its Own Electric Car by 2020

The tech giant has been accused of poaching employees from competitors to work in an expanding battery division

Apple wants to start producing its own cars, Bloomberg reports, citing unnamed sources privy to the company’s plans, who say the tech giant is pressuring its teams to work towards the production of an electric vehicle within the next five years.

Bloomberg also cites a recent lawsuit filed against Apple that alleges it has also begun poaching workers from battery-manufacturing firms like Massachusetts-based A123 Systems as well as companies like Samsung, Panasonic and Toshiba.

Meanwhile, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, whose company is attempting to release its own affordable electric car by 2017 and serves as Apple’s main competitor in the automotive sphere, told Bloomberg this month that Apple is offering his workers $250,000 signing bonuses and a 60 percent salary increase to jump ship.

[Bloomberg]

TIME Apple

Samsung Just Bought a Company to Help It Compete With Apple Pay

Samsung Presents New Divice at Mobile World Congress 2014
David Ramos—Getty Images CEO and President of Samsung JK Shin walks on the stage to present the new Samsung Gear Fit and the new Samsung Galaxy S5 during the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2013 at Forum Complex on February 24, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.

The company just acquired a mobile payments startup

Apple has already seen tons of consumer interest in Apple Pay, the mobile payments platform it rolled out with the iPhone 6 and iOS 8. Now, it looks like Apple rival Samsung wants a bigger slice of the mobile payments pie.

Samsung is acquiring mobile payments startup LoopPay, the company announced Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

LoopPay is similar to Apple Pay in that it lets you pay for stuff with your mobile phone. However, Apple Pay only works with registers that can accept payment from Near Field Communication (NFC) devices. LoopPay says its technology is compatible with a far wider range of registers, claiming it works at 90% of retailers that accept credit cards.

“With our earliest supporters at our side, we have been at the forefront of contactless payments to create a platform that brings together issuers, merchants and consumers that facilitate a seamless and rewarding digital wallet experience,” LoopPay CEO Will Graylin said in a statement Wednesday.

It isn’t immediately clear if Samsung will put LoopPay’s technology in any of its upcoming phones, but that would be a clear next step. Samsung is expected to introduce a new flagship phone, the Galaxy A6, at an upcoming event in March. Samsung and LoopPay were said to be working together before the acquisition, so there’s a chance Samsung has put some kind of new mobile payment technology in the A6 to compete with the Apple Pay-equipped iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Samsung’s devices have already been compatible with Google Wallet, Google’s NFC-based mobile wallet.

MONEY Tech

Samsung TV Arouses ‘Big Brother’ Fears

Samsung's Smart TV could potentially record what you are saying in your living room and send it to third parties.

TIME Smartphones

The Surprising Reason Apple Still Relies on Samsung

Inside A Samsung Electronics Co. Digital Store Ahead Of Fourth-Quarter Results
SeongJoon Cho—Bloomberg via Getty Images A visitor walks past the Samsung Electronics Co. logo displayed at the Semiconductor Rider experience at the company's d'light showroom in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.

Try as it might, Apple just can't quit Samsung

Apple will reportedly turn back to Samsung to supply component parts for its next generation of iPhones, reversing previous attempts to reduce its commercial contracts with the rival smartphone maker.

Unnamed sources familiar with the deal told Re/code that Samsung will manufacture the lion’s share of components for Apple’s next generation “A9″ chip. Apple turned to another chipmaker for most of the A8 chips used in the iPhone 6, but industry insiders expect Samsung’s share of Apple’s chips to rise after the South Korean company managed to makes its offerings more compact.

Apple and Samsung have declined to commented on the deal, though Samsung’s president of the semiconductor business predicted a windfall for the company once it begins begins supplying next generation chips to Apple, ZDNet reported last October.

Read more at Re/code.

TIME Smartphones

This Could Be Our First Look at Samsung’s New Galaxy Phone

Samsung Teases Curved Screen Phone
Samsung

The next Samsung Galaxy might have a wraparound screen

Samsung might be bringing a wraparound screen design to its main line of smartphones.

In the smartphone maker’s invite to its next media event, Samsung teased an image that appears to be a new device with a wraparound screen, similar to its Galaxy Note Edge. The Edge’s secondary side screen lets users navigate app menus and control media.

The invite is for Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event on March 1 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where the company is widely expected to reveal its next flagship Galaxy phone.

Samsung is under pressure to deliver a popular new flagship phone. Samsung reported last week its first drop in quarterly profits in three years. The company had already teased in its earnings statement “innovative design and differentiated features” to boost flagging smartphone sales, which have come under threat by Apple’s record-breaking iPhone sales.

TIME Smartphones

Apple Might Finally Be Beating Samsung in Smartphone Sales

But some analysts say it's a tie

Apple and Samsung have long been bitter rivals in the smartphone market, with each able to claim an advantage over the other: The higher cost of Apple’s iPhones have helped the company enjoy wider profit margins, while Samsung has historically clobbered Apple in terms of the number of devices shipped.

However, that may no longer be the case.

Apple sold a record 74.5 million iPhones last quarter, it said as part of its earnings report Tuesday. A day later, Samsung said it sold somewhere between 71 and 76 million smartphones. That means there’s a decent chance Apple is now beating Samsung not only in profit margins, but also in number of devices shipped.

Still, some analysts are sowing doubt over whether that’s actually the case. One research firm, Counterpoint Research, says Apple is now on top: It says Samsung only shipped 73.8 million devices last quarter. Ben Barjarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies and TIME columnist, also gave the nod to Apple.

But another analyst, Strategy Analytics, has taken the middle road and called it a tie, saying Apple and Samsung both shipped 74.5 million devices, giving both companies an equal 19.6% share of the global smartphone market.

A tie game means we’re headed to overtime. Whether Apple can hold on to its maybe-possibly-kind-of lead over Samsung depends on how its newest iPhone models perform as their shine wears off. Apple’s sales numbers last quarter got a big boost from the introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, particularly in China, where the bigger devices were an equally big hit. If history is any indication, Apple won’t refresh its phone lineup for several months at the earliest, while Samsung is reportedly set to drop a new flagship model early this year to replace the Galaxy S5. If that as-yet-unannounced phone is a winner, it could put Samsung right back on top.

TIME Tablets

Here’s How to Pick the Best Tablet For You

Apple Unveils New Versions Of Popular iPad
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images An attendee looks at the new iPad Air during an Apple announcement at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

What to look for—and what to avoid

Five years ago, no one knew quite what to make of the tablet. Was it the future of the laptop? Was it made for creation or consumption? And in the end, was it just a bigger version of the smartphone? For the next several years, we saw almost every device you could imagine, from a 2.8-inch micro-tablet (the Archos 28) to a 27-inch beast (the Planar Helium). A few new ideas stuck. Most flopped.

Jump ahead to 2015, and the market has largely settled. Customers seem to want one of three kinds of tablets, and the best devices almost all fit neatly into one of these categories.

In that spirit, we’ve broken down these three tablet groups, then picked a handful of products we would recommend for each. We’ll let you know what to look for—and what to avoid—depending on your preferences. Finally, we’ll highlight a few trailblazing tablets that don’t belong in any of these categories.

1. The General-Purpose Tablet

Pros: Can do a little of everything
Cons: No obvious strengths
Typical screen size: 9-11”
Typical starting price: $400-500

The most popular category for tablets, these models are jack-of-all-trade devices, designed to do a little bit of everything. Want to snap family photos? Each of these models comes with a decent camera. Need to give an off-site presentation to a client? You’re getting a nice mix of lightness and screen size. Just want to share status updates and YouTube comments? Post away.

The only problem: none of these tablets truly excel at any one thing. Products in this category tend to be just a bit too big for a purse or coat pocket, but a little too small for completing serious work.

So grab a general-purpose tablet if you plan to use it for all sorts of tasks, but consider another category if you have one or two particular uses in mind.

(Read more: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review)

2. The Mini Tablet

Pros: Extremely portable, great for reading
Cons: Underpowered and bad at productivity
Typical screen size: 7-8.5”
Typical starting price: $200-400

The mini tablet is the ultimate travel and leisure device. Pop it in your backpack, slide it out for some poolside browsing, or place it on your nightstand for some bedtime reading. They’re so light you’ll forget you’re holding a tablet, and thin enough to squeeze in almost any nook, pocket, closet or cranny.

Better yet, they’re the cheapest tablets on the market. The iPad Mini 3 is Apple’s least expensive new tablet, while Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD 7 has a price tag under $150.

But you also get what you pay for. Miniature tablets tend to be the least powerful models, less capable of running high-end mobile games with a smooth, consistent experience. And forget about productivity. Trying to update a spreadsheet or compose a presentation on a mini tablet is frustrating and time-consuming.

Finally, consider that smartphones are getting bigger every year. Do you really need a 7-inch tablet if you plan to buy a 6-inch phone next year? The biggest phones and smallest tablets are practically becoming the same device, and you certainly don’t need both.

So consider a mini tablet if you want something leisurely and affordable, but make sure that’s all you want — or else you’ll wish you purchased something bigger and more capable.

(Read more: Hands-on with Apple’s new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3)

3. The Productivity Tablet

Pros: Gets work done
Cons: Expensive and bulky
Typical screen size: More than 11”
Typical starting price: $600-1,000

The answer to the mini tablet is the productivity tablet—a device built for getting work done. Typically equipped with massive screens and sold with optional accessories (ex: keyboard and stylus), tablets in this category are designed to replace your laptop.

The best customer for these tablets is the on-the-go professional. You can work up a client presentation at your desk, slide the tablet into your briefcase, then travel to an off-site presentation, all with just a couple pounds of technology in tow.

On the flip side, are these devices really good enough to replace a laptop? Sure, they might be the most productive tablets available, but most laptops still do the same tasks just a bit better, making the productivity tablet a hard sell for seasoned business people.

And then consider leisure activities. Even if you don’t plan to use your tablet for fun very often, those few moments will quickly become obnoxious as you attempt to hold up a 900-gram device through all 58 minutes of Game of Thrones.

So buy a productivity tablet if you’re serious about getting work done (and don’t need or want a laptop), but save the fun and games for another device.

Bonus: The Trail Blazers

Pros: Creative, outside-the-box
Cons: Unproven

Microsoft Surface Hub
Nvidia Shield Tablet

You might say the tablet market has matured, but Microsoft and Nvidia aren’t convinced. Microsoft’s freshly announced Surface Hub comes in two massive sizes—55- and 84-inches—an office touchscreen designed to reinvent brainstorms, conference calls and collaborative meetings. We’ve never seen anything quite like it, complete with Skype integration and stylus compatibility. The device is set for release sometime later this year.

Meanwhile, Nvidia isn’t satisfied with angry birds and crushed candy: the company’s Shield Tablet wants to bring the power of expensive, modern gaming to a tablet device. As such, the tablet comes packed with a 2.2 GHz, quad core processor—the sort of internals you’d normally expect only on a laptop. While it’ll be tough to lure PC and console gamers from their keyboards and Dualshock controllers, Nvidia is committed to the cause.

It’s entirely possible that both Microsoft’s and Nvidia’s pioneering devices will flop. But if either hits, we’ll be looking not at three, but four tablet categories in 2016.

This article originally appeared on FindTheBest.

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TIME Smartphones

Samsung’s New Ultra-Slim Galaxy A7 Is Totally Metal

Samsung Galaxy A7
Samsung Samsung's Galaxy A7 smartphone.

It's thinner than the iPhone 6

Samsung unveiled Monday its thinnest smartphone to date: The Galaxy A7.

The Galaxy A7 clocks in at a 6.3mm thickness with a full aluminum unibody. It also expands on social capabilities with a new ‘Auto Selfie’ mode, noise reduction for voice control and LTE Category 4 4G for faster data speeds, Samsung said in a statement.

Additional features on the A7, which runs on Android 4.4 KitKat, include an extra security layer for important files and documents and multi-screen capability for convenient multitasking. Samsung will also offer a dual SIM model in some countries to let users have two phone numbers, which is common in South and Southeast Asia where it’s cheaper to make calls between customers of the same wireless company.

With a 5.5 inch screen, the A7 is also the biggest screen phone in the Samsung’s Alpha series, which include the Galaxy A5 and the Galaxy A3. The A7’s size puts it in competition with Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, whose screen is also 5.5 inches across. But the A7 wins on thinness — the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are 6.9 mm and 7.1 mm, respectively.

The A7’s exact prices and release date have not yet been announced.

TIME Gadgets

Samsung Unveils Crazy-Small Drive That Gives You 1TB of Storage

Samsung

And reportedly can rip a movie in 8 seconds flat

Samsung unveiled the mighty mouse of storage devices at its Consumer Electronics Show presentation on Monday.

The company says its Portable SSD T1 storage device, which is roughly the size of a business card and can store up to a terabyte of data, can transfer content from any device at roughly four times the rate of the average external drive. A 3MB movie, for instance, can rip to the drive in 8 seconds.

It also comes at a whopping price: a full terabyte of storage will set you back $599, but you can spend a more budget-friendly $179 for 250 GB.

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