Author: Sam Carter

Say Hello to the New Motorola Razr 2019 – Motorola’s Answer to the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X

The new fold-able Moto Razr 2019 |Source: Self

Who could have anticipated its return after all those years, yet here it is. The New Motorola Razr has made a fabulous comeback as an Android smartphone that can be folded in half (akin to its iconic flip predecessor). The 2019 Razr may look pretty much like the ones still stamped on our minds, but it replaced the old T9 keypad and the small LCD with a 6.2-inch plastic foldable OLED panel. Its camera is a double duty one with 16 megapixels.

Instead of Android 10, it runs on Android 9 Pie. Upon its launch in January 2020, it is expected to cost USD$ 1500 (equivalent to GBP 1170 and AUD$ 2200).

Why is the new Razr fundamentally different from the other foldable phones present at the moment? It turned a typical sized smartphone into something that is compact and easy to carry around. When the Razr is folded in half, it softly snaps shut from top to bottom. One side lays snuggled on top of the other, without a visible gap between both halves of the screen.

Because of this, Motorola has solved the world’s biggest design puzzle which has left other foldable smartphones (including the Samsung Galaxy Fold) in a conundrum. Not only is the phone pocketable, it reeks of nostalgia yet is streamlined to weather the future.

What sets the new Motorola Razr apart from its predecessors and other phones?

The original Razr was one of the world’s bestselling phones which helped it earn an iconic status. Motorola updated it into a newer version which is wider, heavier, and replete with new features. The foldable Razr gives Motorola a unique opportunity to steal the show.

This phone comes at a time when foldable smartphones are teetering precariously on the edge between reality and fantasy. It was only last year when foldable phones were pegged as a revolution in the smartphone design, and made the dream of a large-screen device being portable a reality.

However, what went wrong were the issues with screens and massive delays in launch, especially from major players, including Samsung and Huawei. It is now Motorola’s turn to bask in the spotlight. If Motorola comes out successful, it will herald a new era for the fold-able phone industry.

The new Motorola Razr folded and unfolded | Image Credits: T3 & Yanko Design

What’s it like using the new Motorola Razr?

In terms of the screen, it is a 6.2-inch P-OLED screen that is foldable. Motorola worked together with Lenovo’s laptop team on this design. The screen is like a thin film that curls in the shape of a teardrop when the screen is being folded.

The New Motorola Razr’s patented hinge design has an open cavity covering the looped part of the screen. Most plastic screens do not fold completely flat without a crease appearing in the middle. The thin layer of air gap is hardly conspicuous. When the screen curls like a teardrop, it creates a gap of 0.2mm between the hinge and the display.

The front screen might look tall but it is narrow with a ration of 21:9. It also has a resolution of 2142 x 876 pixels. Most of the apps are located on the bottom side of the screen along with the controls. This makes it easy for users to reach and use them with just their thumb. It also works better than other phones with one hand only.

The New Motorola Razr folded | Source: Self

On the outside, users can see an 2.7-inch OLED external screen. It is a quick view display that shows essentials such as time, notifications, alerts, signals and battery life. Users cannot type on it but can respond through recorded messages or their voices. In fact, users can use it to check what they look like in selfies.

Google Pay and Google Assistant can be used on the quick view display, as well as for controlling music. The useful yet addictive Motorola gestures are present too. Move the phone in a twister pattern to turn on the camera and shake it sideways to turn on the flashlight.

You can hardly feel the hinge tension, when opening and closing the phone because the movement is smooth and gradual. The hinge’s gears are visible, and magnets hold their sides together. This mechanism prevents the creases from forming on the screen.

People have been asking about the presence of a thick plastic chin on the bottom of the New Motorola Razr. Such is because it reminds us all of its original design so hence it gets a good score for nostalgia. It also houses the optical fingerprint reader, the antennas, vibrating motor, GPS & Wi-Fi units. Most importantly, it is like a handle for users to hold on to when they are watching a video.

To make a call, the phone has to be opened but when on a call, the phone can be closed and the conversation can continue as long as you are using the speakerphone, connected via Bluetooth or are on a video call. However, it closes out most apps with the music player being an exception (the quick view screen helps control music tracks).

The 21:9 screen is termed by Motorola as its Cinemavision display. Small black bars will be bordering the sides when videos are being watched.

Beneath the exterior display is a 16-megapixel camera that is used to take photos and selfies. The five-megapixel camera that is visible when the Razr is unfolded is used mainly for video calls. However, telephoto and wide-angle lens won’t be available. But a software aided portrait and night vision mode are available.

The new Motorola Razr completely opened | Source: Self

The phone is available in 4G and not in 5G. It does have quite a decent amount of memory but has no SD card slot. The phone also lacks a SIM slot so there are pretty much quite some tradeoffs for those looking to buy the new Motorola Razr.

Specifications of the New Motorola Razr

Specifications of the phone are as under:

  • Snapdragon 710 processor.
  • 6GB RAM.
  • 128 GB of internal storage.
  • Snapdragon 710 processor.
  • 2.7-inch Quick View display (800×600).
  • 6.2-inch foldable pOLED display (2142×876).
  • 16 megapixels front-facing camera focal point 1.7 with night vision mode).
  • 5 megapixels internal camera.
  • USB-C port present.
  • eSIM.
  • Fingerprint reader.
  • Android 9 pie.

What do users get in the box?

When prospective buyers think of buying and unboxing the Motorola Razr, their experience is most likely to be memorable. Motorola has created a unique and eye-catching box with sharp corners which will have a tinted, transparent top with a speaker grill.

This way, users can play music from their Razr phones through the box when they slot the phone in the box in an upright position.

The phone comes with:

  • Wired USB-C earbuds.
  • An accessory case for sunglasses.
  • 15-watt TurboPower charger.
  • USB-C cable.
  • Headset adaptor.

Conclusion

While the phone comes equipped with some pretty good features but with a hefty price tag of USD$ 1500, we wonder if its worth the buck. It runs on Android 9 instead of 10 (for which Motorola promised timely updates) and the battery power is 2,500 mAh, which is 10 percent less than what Google’s Pixel 4 currently offers.

With the phone being launched in collaboration with its exclusive telecom partner Verizon, users may need to go to competitors with the compatible ECM format if they wish to switch their carriers. Other than that, the processor will be 2 years old at the time of the launch.

Still, the new Motorola Razr is primed to be a hit among customers when it goes into official launch. For its price tag, this phone is truly going to be unique among the many present in the ever competent smartphone market. It is truly a comeback sign from Motorola and its answer to the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X.

After months of waiting, its finally here – The Samsung Galaxy Fold is getting released!

After a long delay due to last moment discovery of embarrassing flaws, Samsung is now releasing its first fold-able phone. The launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold is finally near and is just a few days away.

People began registering for the USD 2000 foldable smartphone recently in China. Samsung is to release the phone on September 6, 2019, which coincides with the opening day of the 2019 IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin.

What a day to launch the new phone!

When was the release date chosen?

Yonhap News Agency reports Samsung and other mobile operators are discussing the launch date to be September 6 in South Korea itself. Samsung will use the event to showcase the revised model at the 2019 IFA electronics fair in Berlin.

At the moment, it seems as Samsung is quite confident to bring the release period earlier than anticipated. Earlier reports indicated the phone’s launch to be later in September.

The initial shipment of the Samsung Galaxy Fold for South Korean consumers numbers between 20,000 to 30,000 units. Its price in South Korea will be 2.3 million equal per unit (equal to USD$ 1902). Samsung is expected to launch the folding smartphone in China & the United States in September 2019 but at later dates.

Any corrections made in the Galaxy Fold?

Samsung has revealed a few corrections it made to the Galaxy Fold, including:

  • tucking in the protective screen layer,
  • addition of further metal layers beneath the screen to reinforce it
  • reduction of space between the body & the hinge.

The corrections to the model were made after reviewers reported major issues with the review units of the Galaxy Fold, such as broken, bulging & flickering screens. The reviewers also peeled off the protective screen layer by mistake, assuming that it was a screen protector. But it later turned out to be a key component of the phone’s display.

This is what caused the phone’s launch to be delayed.

Brief overview of the price and features of the Galaxy Fold

The current handset of the Samsung Galaxy Fold is priced at USD$ 2,000, an amount most consumers are not willing to pay. Currently, it is not available to a larger segment of the population.

Samsung is planning to use an affordable design to reduce its price with an internal storage of just 256 GB. That is half of what the current Galaxy Fold offers (i.e. 512 GB).

Further specifications of the phone are:

  • A 7.3-inch primary flexible AMOLED display.
  • An operating system of Android 9.0 with one UI.
  • Uses a CPU of Snapdragon 855.
  • 12 GB RAM.
  • External display (which is closed) is 4.6 inches with HD+ display.
  • Main display is of 7.3 inches (QXGA +).
  • Rear Camera of 12 megapixel wide-angle (f1.5 to f/2.4), 12-megapixel telephoto (f/2.4) and 16 megapixel ultra-wide (f/2.2).
  • Closed front camera of 12 megapixel (f/2.2).
  • Open front camera of 10-megapixel selfie (f/2.2), with 8-megapixel RGB depth (f/1.9).
  • Fingerprint sensing power button.

It is currently available in the colors: Space Silver, Cosmos Black, Martian Green and Astro Blue.

Smartphones and other gadgets that are rivalling the Samsung Galaxy Fold

At the moment, Huawei’s Foldable smartphone Mate X was also scheduled to arrive in September. But, Huawei reported that it is unlikely to release any earlier than November. The only other competing gadget to the Samsung Galaxy fold is Apple’s foldable iPad.

Will Samsung capitalize on the smartphone market with the new & improved Galaxy Fold?

Samsung has fixed the problems in the hinge and in the screen with reinforcements & extra layers. It will hopefully survive thousands of folds it will endure without showing any signs of wear. It is confident that the Galaxy Fold will have a better life span as compared to the normal smartphone.

If the Galaxy Fold succeeds after the launch, then the phone will definitely be able to succeed and thrive in the market and win billions of hearts too.

First Walmart and now, Amazon! The Story of Tesla Solar Panels Catching Fire

First, it was Walmart whose shops caught fire due to Tesla solar panels and that resulted in Walmart suing the electric car maker. Now, Amazon has also experienced a fire that stems from Tesla’s solar panels, as reported by CNBC.

Amazon also revealed that it has no further plans to install any more solar panel systems following the incident. However, Tesla claims that incident is isolated.

Somehow, Tesla’s claims of Amazon’s incident being isolated are dumbfounded. In the past week, Walmart has filed a lawsuit against Tesla. Walmart alleges that the fires at sever of its stores were due to the solar panel systems, and the company had Tesla install them on more than 200 of its stores across the states.

What Happened at Amazon’s Redland, California Warehouse?

Amazon discloses Tesla solar panels on the roof of one of its warehouses caused a fire last year. Such adds to the scrutiny of Tesla’s solar panel business following Walmart’s lawsuit filed against Tesla last week which has condemned the electric car giant’s solar business to the bottom of the barrel.

Amazon revealed to Bloomberg in an email on Friday that one of Tesla’s installed solar energy systems installed at its Redlands, California warehouse caught fire in June 2018. Representatives from the e-commerce giant declined to comment in public regarding the incident but have somehow confirmed that the company will no longer be working with Tesla anymore.

Following the news of Walmart suing Tesla, both companies released statements that they are in talks to resolve the issue. However, the issue has become serious since Walmart has suffered damages at 7 of its stores which also resulted in these stores getting closed temporarily.

The Amazon warehouse incident somehow looks to be a small-scale incident and the e-commerce behemoth revealed that it has a relatively smaller number of solar panel systems installed in comparison to Walmart.

Walmart installed Tesla’s solar panel systems from its subsidiary SolarCity some time ago and Tesla acquired the solar energy company in 2016, aiming to create a one-stop shop for everything solar.

However, things are not rosy for Tesla as its acquisition of SolarCity back then for USD$ 26 billion is marred by controversy that still goes on today. Elon Musk’s first cousins Peter Rive and Lyndon Rive were the brains behind SolarCity and Musk held 1/5th of the company’s shares valued around USD$ 575 million at the end of the year 2015.

Such does not spare either Tesla or its subsidiary SolarCity. The operations of SolarCity are not going well as its parent Tesla had hoped. It faced issues in production due to technical challenges a year ago. A recent report says that Tesla has been exporting most of the solar cells it has produced made at its Gigafactory in New York, instead of using them for Solar Roof installations.

A representative from Tesla communicates the following to Business Insider:

“All 11 Amazon sites with solar from Tesla are generating energy and are proactively monitored and maintained. Last year, there was an isolated event that occurred in an inverter at one of the Amazon sites. Tesla worked collaboratively with Amazon to root cause the event and remediate. We also performed inspections at other sites, which confirmed the integrity of the systems. As with all our commercial solar installations, we continue to proactively monitor the systems to ensure they operate safely and reliably.”

How Much Does Walmart’s Lawsuit Add to Tesla’s Woes?

Walmart filed a lawsuit against Tesla claiming its solar panels were responsible for fires at seven of its stores. Such has forced the retail giant to take off solar panels from all of its 240 stores where they were installed by Tesla.

Walmart released the following statement in its complaint against Tesla:

“To this day, Tesla has not provided Walmart with the complete set of final ‘root cause’ analyses needed to identify the precise defects in its systems that caused all the fires. The number of defects, however, is overwhelming and plainly indicative of systemic, widespread failures by Tesla to meet the standard of care, as set forth in the governing contracts, as to the solar systems installed at Walmart’s stores.”

Tesla is yet to respond to Walmart’s complaint.

Will Tesla Survive the Onslaught Through Its Latest Tactics?

Last summer, Tesla started ‘Project Titan’ which is known be an attempt in quietly replacing defective solar-panel parts across the United States, as per documents seen by Business Insider.

However, Tesla’s solar business has been hit by a sharp drop in sales. CEO Elon Musk is yet to tweet about the complaints. Instead, he announced a refurbished pricing plan as a way to boost the slowdown in the solar business.

Somehow, no one seems to be convinced by Elon Musk’s statement.

Not Another One! Facebook And Instagram Developing a New App Called ‘Threads’

Who would have thought that Facebook would be developing another new messaging app? And this time, it is doing so to rival Snapchat. This app will be named ‘Threads’.

Facebook is reported to be developing Threads as a new messaging app. It is aimed at helping users share more information more often with their close friends. Those close friends will be picked up from the close friends’ list users have on Instagram and Facebook.

What is the functionality of Threads?

Threads is created to automatically share close details, such as location, internet speed, battery life and the like. The app also shares typical social media posts such as text and pictures. Threads is intended to work with the ‘close friends list’ of users listed on Instagram.

Threads will act as a companion to Instagram. Currently it is in testing at Facebook

Threads is engineered as Instagram’s ‘sister’ app and invites users to share close details with their close friends using Instagram’s creative tools. The app includes an opt-in ‘automatic sharing’ feature allowing people on the app user’s close friends list receiving regular updates, about where the person is, and vice versa.

Threads also allows users to update their respective statuses manually, with those statuses being shown in the main feed along with the messages. The app will show online users with a green dot, allows users to quickly read stories shared by friends and also includes its own camera function.

It is the latest in apps automating status sharing through mobile phone sensors & one-tap status sharing. In 2014, a similar app called ‘Status’ tried doing the same thing as Threads, and in 2015, Danny Trinh’s free app took another yet similar approach.

Why are Facebook & Instagram developing Threads?

After facing years of sustained & rising criticism in its negative role in the promotion of political propaganda, false news, false information, spam content, failure to stop large-scale data breaches & verbatim genocide, Facebook signaled major changes which are currently in progress.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced this year that his company would be improving Facebook’s privacy.

Facebook has also started a project aimed at merging the services of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. Such will allow users to send messages instantly across these apps without the need for switching between the apps. The apps will remain separate, but their messaging functionalities will now be under one umbrella.

Could this be an attempt by Facebook to mask its numerous failures? It is becoming highly probable that Facebook is doing so by making an impression in the general public that it is moving on from being an open public forum to a close one shielding users’ information.

The concluding point – Will Thread survive or face another rollback?

There are doubts among the general populace about the survival of threads after its inception. Such became evident when the social media giant ended its support for Direct, which was a camera-first app that not only resembled but mimicked Snapchat.

Direct was unveiled in 2017 and was tested in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey & Uruguay. However, the launch of direct was canceled before a global release was to occur. There is ambiguity in whether Threads will be launched or not.

There is a likelihood that Facebook might end the development of the app before giving it to the general public (as it did with Direct). However, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg asserted back in March that he sees private messaging as the company’s future.

Threads appears to be part of the efforts of Facebook’s latest vision of making private messaging become a reality.

Will Facebook succeed this time? Or will it falter with just another failed launch?