AT&T Galaxy S8 Oreo update finally released

The AT&T Galaxy S8 Oreo update is finally rolling out today which means that all four major carriers in the United States have now released Oreo for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. We have seen Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint release said update on their networks quite recently so it was only a matter of time before AT&T followed suit and that’s precisely what it has done today.

Samsung actually started rolling out the Android 8.0 Oreo update for the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ about a month ago but as many of you already know there’s always a delay for carrier-branded devices. That’s because carriers tend to make their own tweaks to the software before it’s rolled out.

The wait is finally over for customers of the second largest mobile network in the United States as the AT&T Galaxy S8 Oreo release has now taken place. AT&T is rolling out firmware version G950USQU2CRB9 and G955USQU2CRB9 for the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ respectively. The update comes in at just over 1.5GB and comes with the February 2018 security patch.

It’s unclear if and when the March 2018 security patch will be rolled out for these devices in the United States. AT&T customers can head over to the Software update menu in the Settings app right now to download the update if they have yet to receive the over-the-air update notification on their handsets.

The AT&T Galaxy S8 Oreo update brings several new features such as multitasking support for apps, picture-in-picture mode, Autofill, notification dots, and more. There are some Samsung-specific new features as well such as the Dual Messenger and additional Edge lighting effects.

If you’re curious about all of the new features that are part and parcel of Android 8.0 Oreo then do check out our extensive What’s New With Android 8.0 Oreo series. The series will give you great insight on all of the new features included in this update.

The Roku Channel will be coming to Samsung Smart TVs this summer

In the past year, Samsung has been doing quite a bit to improve their Smart TV experience. We’ve seen various apps being added such as ESPN and Freeform, Amazon Prime Music, YouTube TV, and Starz to name a few. We’ve also seen the addition of Bixby into select 2018 Smart TV models. The buck does not stop here as Samsung is continuing to enhance the overall experience one receives when purchasing a smart television from them. We are now receiving word that the Roku Channel will join the growing list of apps making their way to Samsung Smart TVs.

The Roku Channel will be added to Samsung Smart TVs at some point this summer. If you aren’t familiar, the Roku Channel features numerous films and TV shows from its content partners. It is supported by ads, but it will feature half the ads per programming hour as seen on traditional television. This should be a great addition to the increasing number of apps being added to Samsung’s Smart Hub.

2018 has already seen some hefty improvements from Samsung’s TV business as we saw the announcement of their 2018 TV lineup. The lineup includes new QLED TVs, UHD TVs, Premium UHD TVs and TVs with extra-large screen sizes of 75-inches and up. In addition, there are a few technological advancements to improve your experience.

Roku will confirm in the coming weeks which Samsung Smart TVs will receive its ad-supported Roku Channel.

Samsung installs world’s first 3D Cinema LED Screen in Switzerland

Samsung launched the first Cinema LED screen back in July 2017. Since then, the company has installed these screens in theatres in Seoul, Busan, Shanghai, etc. So far, Samsung has been offering only the 2D variants of the Cinema LED screens to the theatres. All that changed when Samsung formally launched the 3D variant of the Cinema LED Screen at ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) 2018. The company is now making the next logical move by bringing the screen to an actual theatre.

With the help of Imaculix AG, Samsung has unveiled the world’s first 3D Cinema LED screen at Arena Cinemas’ Sihlcity theater in Switzerland. The 3D-ready variant offers all the benefits of the standard Samsung Cinema LED screen along with adding 3D capabilities to the mix. The high contrast screen can be used to showcase both 2D and 3D movies in high quality.

Samsung says the screen will maintain consistent brightness enabling ‘immaculate delivery’ of subtitles, images, and other visual details in 3D. Compared to standard 3D cinema screens, Samsung’s 3D Cinema LED offers consistent picture quality across the theatre irrespective of where the viewer is seated.

The High Dynamic Range (HDR)-enabled screen features close to 9 million pixels and is nearly 10.3m (33.8ft) wide and 5.4m (17.7ft) in height, making for a great viewing experience. The ultra-sharp 4K resolution (4,096 x 2,160) and nearly ten times greater peak brightness levels than the common cinema standard results in better than ever visuals. To offer an even more immersive experience, Samsung has paired its 3D Cinema LED screen with cutting-edge audio technologies from JBL.

Camera comparison: Galaxy S9 vs the Galaxy S7

The primary rear camera on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ is as important as that found on the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge. Samsung introduced Dual Pixel autofocus to its phones with the Galaxy S7, bringing an important upgrade to the already excellent cameras found on Samsung flagships back then. With the Galaxy S9 comes another big upgrade, and that’s the dual-aperture camera lens that lets the phone switch between a narrow and wide aperture (f/2.4 and f/1.5 respectively) to take better photos under bright light and in low-light conditions respectively.

We have already compared the Galaxy S9 camera to the Galaxy S8’s, and our conclusion then was that the Galaxy S9 captures more accurate colors (which can seem dull when compared to the S8 side-by-side) and creates photos with less noise in low-light conditions. Outdoors and in brightly lit scenes, the difference between the S9 and S8 isn’t noticeable, and the f/2.4 aperture mostly just helps with better (or less blown-out, to be precise) exposure of a scene.

But how does the Galaxy S9 camera compare to the Galaxy S7’s, which is now two years old but remains an excellent phone for photography? We took a few pictures with the Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy S7 edge to find out.

First, let’s talk about daylight photos. While the Galaxy S8’s photos weren’t much different from the S9’s in bright outdoor conditions, it’s not the case with the photos taken by the S7. As you can see in many of the images below, the Galaxy S7 seems to better expose the far-out portions of the scene, such as the sky behind a building. This results in better contrast between the foreground and background, especially in those where HDR comes into play, but the foreground can be a tad too dark at times. See the image below to see what we mean (slide right for the S9 image, left for the S7’s).

The Galaxy S9, meanwhile, better exposes the entire scene. In tandem with the narrower aperture of f/2.4 (remember, the Galaxy S7’s aperture is fixed at f/1.7, like the Galaxy S8), the foreground is kept better lit, and the background doesn’t get overexposed. This can, however, sometimes be a disadvantage, as you can see in the photo with the red flowers below. The flowers are rather blown out compared to the Galaxy S7, and you could say that’s a general theme throughout the daylight photos, with the S9 taking photos that look quite pale. The same goes for the colors. The Galaxy S9 keeps things natural in most cases, and that’s saying something considering the Galaxy S7 usually reproduces less vivid colors than the Galaxy S8.

In low-light scenes, the differences become apparent. There’s less overall noise in the Galaxy S9 images, even though it might not be immediately noticeable in all photos. The detail in far-off objects is slightly higher, just like it was in images compared to the Galaxy S8. The wider aperture of f/1.5 helps here, as the camera can keep the ISO slightly lower and, in turn, keep noise in check (for those unaware, the ISO values decide the brightness of the image sensor, and increasing ISO results in more noise creeping in after a point). In fact, at f/2.4, the Galaxy S9 uses a slightly higher ISO setting than the S7, which is why you don’t find its photos as dark as they would be with a wider aperture of f/1.7 or more. A balancing game, in short, something that is made possible by the physically adjusting aperture.

Well, take a look at all the pictures from the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S7 side-by-side below and decide for yourself how the two compare (slide right in each image to look at the Galaxy S9 photo and slide left for the picture from the Galaxy S7). Before you go ahead, we should mention that the framing in the Galaxy S7 shots may not always match the Galaxy S9, as the S7 is a smaller device and hence captures a smaller scene when kept at the same distance as the S9. We’ve tried to compensate where possible, but the disparity does exist in a few photos.

Note: Our website doesn’t currently allow bigger images for comparison, so we’ve uploaded all the photos in full quality in this Google Photos album. It’s also available at this Google Drive link as a compressed ZIP package, so you can download and extract it on your PC or phone and check things out in more detail (the photo with the A suffix is from the S9 and the one with B is the S7 image). Furthermore, while the devices used in this comparison were the Plus/Edge models of the two phones, the regular models will offer the same camera performance.

Ruggedized Galaxy Tab Active 2 launched in the US

Consumer and enterprise requirements from mobile devices are often very different. While customers may prefer sleek looking mobiles and tablets made from slabs of glass, many businesses require devices which can withstand a healthy dose of abuse from harsh working conditions. Samsung makes ‘Active’ line of devices to specifically target such businesses operating in physically challenging business environments.

In October last year, Samsung launched its ruggedized Galaxy Tab Active 2 in select markets. Today, the company is launching the same in the US. The device is built to be durable and can handle extreme temperatures and wet environments without compromising on functionality.

The Galaxy Tab Active 2 is MIL-STD 810 certified signifying its ability to withstand excessive pressure, temperatures, vibrations, and drops. It is also IP68-rated for water and dust resistance. The tablet comes with physical buttons to enable easy operation when wearing gloves.

The tablet comes with worker-friendly features such as ruggedized S Pen, LTE connectivity, replaceable battery, pogo pins for convenient charging, high-resolution camera, enhanced touch sensitivity, and facial recognition, etc. Since the tablet is targeted at businesses, it also comes with all the Samsung Knox features to enable IT administrators to customize the device for their work requirements. The tablet supports many applications specifically designed for fleet management in the trucking industry, asset management, factory automation, retail scanning, etc.

As far as the specifications are concerned, The Galaxy Tab Active 2 features an 8-inch display of 1200×800 pixels, 3GB RAM, 16GB internal storage with a microSD card slot, Exynos 7880 processor clocked at 1.6 GHz, 8-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera, and Android 7.1 Nougat.


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