Samsung expands its production facilities at South Carolina plant

In June last year, Samsung announced an investment of $380 million in South Carolina to manufacture home appliances. It was seen as Samsung’s response to the Trump government’s rhetoric and policy of protectionism. Samsung’s investment was estimated to create around 950 jobs by 2020. The company has hired about 650 employees so far and is on track to reach its target with the new expansion plans.

Samsung plans to expand its production facilities at the 450,000 square-foot plant in Newberry, South Carolina. The company has started a new line for making top-loading washing machines at the facility, in addition to a line for front-loading washing machines it started earlier this year.

Samsung took over the property from Caterpillar when it decided to close its electric generator packaging facility. Samsung modified Caterpillar’s property to make it suitable for its production facility. Since Samsung didn’t build everything from scratch, the company was able to get two production lines up and running in less than a year. 10% of the Samsung’s 650 full-time employees at the facility are former Caterpillar employees.

Samsung has about 100 employees from South Korea on-site to get the new facility up and running. The on-site assistance from South Korean employees is aimed at equipping the South Carolina employees with skills required to run the facility’s high-tech machines. Samsung expects the plant to be running at full capacity by this summer. Most of the work at the production facility is automated with robots which ensure higher productivity and fewer scratches compared to human handling.

Against Samsung’s advice, the Trump administration has imposed tariffs on imported washing machines as part of the strategy to revive domestic manufacturing. So, making washing machines locally in the US may help Samsung overcome some of the cost disadvantages and negative perception emanating from the Trump government’s protectionist measures.

Samsung highlights Galaxy S9 cases in new promotional video

Your brand new, shiny, slippery Galaxy S9 is in. So, what’s the next step one might ask? Slap a case on it, ASAP, or pick up one of the best Galaxy S9 screen protectors available right now. I’m sure everyone from across the globe, iPhone and Samsung users alike can admire the award-winning design of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. I’m also sure what everyone cannot admire is a broken Galaxy S9. These devices have magnificent designs, but at the end of the day we are talking about a glass sandwich, here. Glass is glass. One awkward fall will do the trick with thicker glass and stronger aluminum or not. Check out this drop test, and see with your own eyes.

Samsung has released an ad highlighting the functionality of some their cases for the Galaxy S9 duo. The ad specifically addressed the functionality and usability of the LED View Cover and Hyperknit cases, which are two of the six total official cases from Samsung. The focus was whether you’re out and about or at home, the cases’ abilities improve your lifestyle.

The LED View Cover user experience includes 54 preloaded icons and an additional 60 icons that the user can create. The cases also include a sleeve for one credit card. This year, the LED View Cover case seems to be much more protective with the cover actually conforming to the shape of the screen, whereas in prior years it was just a flat cover.

The Hyperknit case was displayed in multiple environments but first showed up at the gym. That is because the Hyperknit material is something mostly seen in athletic attire or footwear. Nonetheless, this case is extremely lightweight and looks great no matter the environment.

My personal preference is the Silicone case. Let us know whether you picked up the LED View Cover, Hyperknit, Rugged Protective Cover, S-View Flip Cover, Silicone, or Alcantara case for your Galaxy S9!

How to disable Bixby on the Galaxy S9 completely

Look no further than this guide if you want to learn how to disable Bixby on Galaxy S9 and other compatible handsets like the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy Note 8. Samsung’s virtual assistant has its pros but many users simply don’t feel the need to use it particularly if they heavily rely on Google services because in that case, it’s really hard to beat Assistant which is deeply integrated with the company’s services and smart home devices.

Many just want to find out how to disable Bixby on Galaxy S9 because they can’t stand the fact that their new device has a physical button for a feature they don’t want to use. This was particularly frustrating for Galaxy S8 owners soon after the device was released last year because Samsung didn’t allow them to remap the button and didn’t even make it possible for the button to be disabled even though it gets in the way and the accidental presses drive users nuts.

This comprehensive guide will teach you how to disable Bixby on Galaxy S9, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 completely.

Disable the physical Bixby button

After many complaints from Galaxy S8 owners, Samsung finally decided to let users disable the physical Bixby button last year. The process is simple enough. Hit the key to launch Bixby and tap on the gear icon at the top. A toggle will appear. Turn it off and you’re good to go. It’s a shame that this renders a perfectly usable button on the device useless and you can’t use it for any other purpose.

Disable voice wakeup

As you might be aware, the button isn’t the only way you can summon Bixby. The method detailed above merely disables the button but since you’re here to learn how to disable Bixby on Galaxy S9 completely, you’ll also want to know the procedure to disable voice wakeup. To do that, swipe over to the left of your home screen to launch Bixby. Tap on the three-dot hamburger menu at the top and open the settings menu to locate the Bixby Voice toggle. Once you turn it off Bixby will not come up no matter how many times you say the “Hi, Bixby” hotword.

Disable Bixby Home

Since this is a guide about how to disable Bixby on Galaxy S9 completely, we’re not quite done. You’ll also want to do away with Bixby Home, the side of Samsung’s assistant that surfaces contextual information, that you can access by swiping to the left of your home screen. To disable Bixby Home just tap and hold on any empty section of your home screen and then keep swiping to the right to reach the last panel on the left. Here, you’ll find the toggle to turn Bixby Home on and off.

So now you know how to disable Bixby on Galaxy S9, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 but allow me to play the devil’s advocate here for a second. Bixby is still in its infancy when compared to other assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant. Bixby 2.0 is going to bring substantial improvements for Samsung’s assistant and make it a lot easier to give continuous voice commands.

Moreover, Samsung is rapidly expanding Bixby to other devices like TVs and smart home appliances to create a wider ecosystem. Samsung is also working on a Bixby-powered smart speaker that will double as a hub for smart home devices. There’s a lot more to be expected from Bixby down the line so let us not dismiss it entirely just yet.

Buy unlocked Galaxy S9 from Microsoft and get a wireless charging stand free

If you want to buy unlocked Galaxy S9 then you should think about purchasing it from Microsoft. The company has been selling Samsung’s flagship smartphones online and through its retail stores for a couple of years now. It’s offering an incentive to customers decide to buy the unlocked models of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ from it. Customers who purchase the handset from Microsoft will receive a free Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand.

While we’re on the subject of Microsoft selling the Galaxy S9, it has already been clarified that these units are not “Microsoft Edition” models because they simply don’t exist. There is nothing different about the units that you purchase at Microsoft compared to those purchased directly from Samsung or any of its retail and carrier partners

You can buy unlocked Galaxy S9 now from Microsoft and decide whether you want it to be shipped or sent to a Microsoft Store near you for pickup. The handset is readily available now as it has been officially released on March 16.

Microsoft is only offering this incentive to customers for a limited time until March 31. They don’t need to purchase an additional bundle or anything. They just have to buy the unlocked model and add the accessory before checking out.

Bear in mind, though, that this isn’t the latest model of Samsung’s wireless charging accessory that was launched alongside the Galaxy S9 last month. This is last year’s model but will work just as well since the technology is more or less the same. It’s certainly not bad as a free gift that costs $60 otherwise.

Those who are willing to buy unlocked Galaxy S9 from Microsoft should also keep in mind that the company only offers the Midnight Black color option so if you want to purchase the handset in any other color, you can’t avail this offer. Microsoft has priced the unlocked Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ at $719.99 and $839.99 respectively.

Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ receive Android Oreo in Canada

Samsung launched the Android 8.0 Oreo beta program last year. Since then, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ users around the world have been eagerly waiting for the rollout of the Android Oreo update.

In February, Samsung finally started rolling out the update in Turkey, Norway, the UAE, India, Belgium, Germany, France, Poland, etc., but then halted it only to resume a week later after sorting out user-reported update issues. In the last week or so, the update has been pushed out aggressively in more markets and by most top carriers in North America.

After Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint in the US, now telecom carriers in Canada are rolling out the Android Oreo update for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. Currently, Rogers, Videotron, Bell, Telus, Virgin Mobile, Fido, and Freedom Mobile customers in Canada are receiving the update on their devices.

All the eligible devices may not receive the update notification at once as OEMs and carriers tend to adopt staged rollout as a precautionary measure. Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners in Canada can try manually pulling the update by going to the Software update menu in the Settings app if they haven’t received the over-the-air update notification yet.

Since the update is already rolling out in many other markets and no major issues have been reported so far, it shouldn’t be a risky proposition to update your Galaxy S8 and S8+ immediately as and when the update is available. If you would like to know the new features and improvements the Oreo update brings to your Galaxy S8, do read our exhaustive What’s New with Android 8.0 Oreo series.

Do let us know in the comments section about your experience with the new update so far.

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