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Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked Event Unveils Galaxy Ring, Z Fold 6, and More

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Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

 

From the latest Galaxy phones to Galaxy Buds 3 with stems, here’s a rundown of Samsung’s latest product announcements.

At today’s Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event, the tech giant revealed an array of new products, headlined by the debut of the Galaxy Ring, alongside the new Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 smartphones, Galaxy Watch 7 and Watch 7 Ultra, and revamped Galaxy Buds 3 and Buds 3 Pro. The event also featured updates to Samsung’s software and Galaxy AI features.

New Galaxy Ring: Lightweight but Pricey

Samsung officially introduced the highly anticipated Galaxy Ring, which was previously teased at Mobile World Congress. Priced at $400, the Android-compatible ring does not require a subscription, unlike its cheaper competitor, the Oura Ring Gen 3. However, it does need a Galaxy phone for more personalized AI health analysis. Preorders start July 24.

The Galaxy Ring boasts a battery life of six to seven days, depending on size, and comes with a transparent case that can hold 1.5 charges. It offers extensive health tracking, including sleep tools, and supports a finger-tap gesture for use with Galaxy phones or watches. The ring is also compatible with the Find My app.

Galaxy Z Fold 6: Bigger, Brighter Screen

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 comes with several upgrades, including a larger front screen, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, improved cooling for gaming, a brighter screen (2,600 nits), and a new 12-megapixel ultrawide camera sensor with better low-light sensitivity. The device also features a stronger hinge and a refined screen crease for enhanced durability. It supports ray tracing, Vulkan optimization, and has a smaller bezel for an improved gaming experience. The starting price is $1,900, with preorders available today and shipping beginning July 24.

New software capabilities include Galaxy AI features like Portrait Studio, which restyles images, a generative AI tool for adding sketched objects to photos, autosuggestion for writing, and a Conversation mode that shows translations on dual screens.

Galaxy Z Flip 6: Enhanced Camera and Battery

The Galaxy Z Flip 6 has received a design update to make the crease less visible, alongside a new 50-megapixel main camera, the same upgraded 12-megapixel ultrawide camera as the Z Fold 6, and a larger 4,000 mAh battery. It shares the same processor and vapor chamber upgrades for better cooling as its counterpart. The starting price is $1,100, with preorders open today.

The Flip 6 also introduces auto zoom for Flex mode shooting, multiple widgets on the cover screen, and AI-suggested responses for texts. Additionally, it features wallpapers that change based on time or weather.

Galaxy Watch Ultra and Watch 7: Sleep Apnea Detection and More

The Galaxy Watch Ultra is Samsung’s rugged answer to the Apple Watch Ultra 2, priced at $650. It features a squircle design, faster processor, FDA-authorized sleep apnea detection, and is built for durability with a titanium body. It’s available in gray, white, or silver.

The Watch Ultra includes a redesigned bioactive sensor, enhanced heart rate, and body composition measurements, expanded workout capabilities, and a dual-frequency GPS. Battery life ranges from 48 to 100 hours, depending on usage. However, its new band-attachment mechanism is not compatible with older models.

The Galaxy Watch 7, priced at $300, offers up to 32GB of storage, doubling that of the Watch 6. Both watches feature ECG, irregular heart rate notifications, Samsung’s bioimpedance sensor, sleep apnea detection, and the new bioactive sensor.

Galaxy Buds 3 and Buds 3 Pro: Now with Stems

Samsung introduced two new Galaxy Buds models featuring stems, akin to Apple’s AirPods. The Galaxy Buds 3, replacing the Buds Live, have an open design with pinch and swipe controls, ear detection, and voice commands for playback. They offer up to six hours of battery life, support shareable Bluetooth audio, and have basic splash resistance and transparency mode.

For those seeking noise isolation, customizable ear tips, higher quality ANC, and enhanced sound quality with an independent tweeter and dual amps, the Buds 3 Pro are the better choice.

Both models come with three mics and pretrained voice models for AI-boosted call quality, and integrate seamlessly with Galaxy devices for automatic pairing and switching. They also feature an AI-driven interpreter function.

The Galaxy Buds 3 are priced at $180, while the Buds 3 Pro are $250. Preorders are available now, with shipping starting July 24.

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Spotify’s Evolution: From Music Streaming to Social Networking

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Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

Spotify is no longer just a streaming app; it’s becoming a social network. The recent launch of comments on podcasts marks another step in Spotify’s transformation into a social platform. This new feature allows podcasters to directly engage with their listeners within the app, complementing other interactive elements like polls and Q&As. Alongside the app’s 2023 revamp—which introduced a TikTok-like discovery feed, artist profiles for selling merchandise and concert tickets, and the ability to post stories—Spotify is evolving into a comprehensive social network centered around audio.

With the addition of comments on podcast episodes, the possibility of extending this feature to music artists seems likely. Such an expansion could enhance fan engagement, considering the typically larger and more active fanbases around musicians compared to podcasts.

When asked about the potential for comments on artists’ pages, Spotify’s VP of Podcast Product, Maya Prohovnik, hinted at the possibility. While she didn’t confirm any plans, she acknowledged the idea, stating, “I can see a world where we extend [support for comments] to other formats on Spotify, but we always want to do whatever is right for the format, and those types of creators and artists.”

The concept of integrating social networking into a music app isn’t new. Apple’s attempt with iTunes’ social network Ping in 2010, and later with Connect, failed to gain traction. Despite these setbacks, Apple continues to incorporate social features in Apple Music, such as recommending friends based on device contacts.

Spotify, on the other hand, has subtly and progressively introduced features that enhance social interaction for creators and fans alike. The app’s redesign last year added in-app video feeds across its Home pages for Music, Podcasts, and Audiobooks. This move was influenced by Gen Z’s favorite social network, TikTok, reflecting Spotify’s commitment to improving user experience by learning from industry trends.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek acknowledged TikTok’s impact during the company’s Q1 2024 earnings call. He noted that TikTok and similar platforms had “improved the user experience” and emphasized that Spotify is learning from these trends to enhance its products.

Over the past year, Spotify has introduced new ways for artists to connect with fans, including Spotify Clips, which allows artists to add 30-second videos to their profiles and album pages. The Countdown Pages feature lets artists build anticipation for new releases, while the annual Spotify Wrapped campaign includes video messages from artists. Users can follow creators and friends, collaborate on playlists, and stay updated on the latest music and events. Spotify has also tested a Community feature to show real-time streaming activity.

With the addition of comments, Spotify aims to create an app where users are actively engaged, sharing their thoughts and opinions as they would on traditional social networks. These features are transforming Spotify from a simple music streaming service into a competitive social network, vying for users’ time and, eventually, advertising dollars.

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ChatGPT is down

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Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Fellow Press

ChatGPT had seemingly recovered from what OpenAI described as a “major outage” earlier today, which hit millions of users of worldwide. But now it seems the chatbot has run into issues again, with OpenAI again stating that it’s “unavailable for some users”.

Reports of today’s ChatGPT issues first started at around 2.30am ET / 7.30am BDT / 4.30pm AEST on June 4. OpenAI acknowledged that there was a big issue, with the company’s status page reporting for several hours that its AI sidekick was unavailable.

OpenAI then pushed out a fix at around 7.30am ET / 12.30pm BST / 4.30pm AEST, with the service’s status returning to a healthier “all systems operational”. But it seems the fix hasn’t completely done the job, with many users on social media complaining that they can’t access the service – and OpenAI confirming that there again issues.

OpenAI hasn’t yet commented on exactly what’s causing ChatGPT’s biggest outage of 2024.

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