5 things that could make the Galaxy S9 even better

We are just a month away from the official announcement of the primo Android smartphone(s). the Galaxy S9(+) While we know what to expect from the Samsung with the Galaxy S9, which is basically a refinement of the gorgeous of the Galaxy S8(+) and then there's the leaked retail box which revealed quite a few details about the Samsung Galaxy S9 specs.

If you haven't seen it already, Samsung is keeping the 12MP camera but adding a variable wide aperture, they're also sticking a dual camera system in the Plus version only a la the iPhone. It's also keeping the 4GB RAM, adding a stereo speaker system, IP68, better iris scanner.

While all these are good, I can feel that Samsung could've made it great. So here are a few things that I think Samsung should do with the S9.<

1. In-Display Fingerprint Sensor
With the push for slimmer bezels on the modern day smartphone, having the fingerprint reader under the display as opposed to the back looks like the only way to go. Considering that placement of the fingerprint sensor on last year's Galaxy S8 was downright ridiculous. While Samsung have been rumored to be working on this tech in the run up to the release of the Galaxy S8 and Note 8. The technology never made it to the final product as it wasn't quite ready for prime time. But as we've seen with the new Vivo X20 Plus UD smartphone, the tech is ready.

2. Dual Cameras on Both Smartphones
According to the leaked retail box, Samsung is only putting the dual camera setup on the bigger Galaxy S9+ kinda like what Apple does with the iPhone. Gimping the smaller Galaxy S9 is a bad move to me, it's either going to force people towards the Plus model or elsewhere. Some people might argue that smaller size of the Galaxy S9 makes it difficult to do so but then again, the Galaxy S9 is said to be about the same size with the Galaxy S8, which makes it slightly larger than the iPhone X which happens to have a dual camera setup. If Apple can fit two cameras on the iPhone X then surely Samsung can do the same on the Galaxy S9.

3. More RAM
It's kinda sad to see Samsung still sticking to 4GB RAM on the Galaxy S9 especially when most of its competitors are opting for 6GB to 8GB on theirs even budget Chinese OEMS such as OnePlus, Elephone, Maze, etc. Hell even the Samsung A8 (2018) has got 6GB of RAM.
YouTube is full of videos detailing just how much more memory adds to bettering the performance of these modern day computers. While Samsung has always prided itself as offering the best bang for your buck, they need to step up and do the right thing here

4. Better Iris scanner or Facial recognition tech
The Galaxy S8 has got some form of facial recognition but it's just terrible especially when compared to FaceID on the iPhone X or even OnePlus 5T. Samsung needs to either get it right or just leave it out entirely and just use the the In-Display Fingerprint sensor.

5. IR remote blaster
I still haven't wrapped my head why Samsung and other OEMs decided to get rid of the IR remote blaster. It's a really nifty feature which comes in quite handy for me with my Galaxy Note 3. It's feels great knowing that I don't have to hunt for the remote to quickly turn on/off any appliances. And then IR remote blaster is really inexpensive and takes very little space and with the number of gadgets in homes these days, IR blasters should be pretty much standard in every smartphone.

The arguments against VAR in Football is just ridiculous

Was going to write a piece about this but let's face it, those people who are against have no logical arguments against VAR.

TLDR: VAR is here, deal with it 

How to get rid of Opera Mini full screen ads

Lately Opera Mini force feeding their million full screen ads which is a bit ironic considering there adblocking feature. While I'm not against Opera showing ads in order to pay its bills but with the latest update but they've taken it to a higher level of annoying with popups which appear even when you aren't using the app. The screenshot below shows one of those pop-ups while I was using Chrome.

This popups kinda set me off, and I started tinkering with their settings menu to see how I can turn it off and then it hit me. The issues I have with Opera mini only started recently (in the last few months), so if I switched back to an earlier version of the app i might solve this my little problem.

So I went to APKmirror and downloaded an old version (28.xxxxx) of Opera Mini, installed it and viola my troubles were gone. I no longer see any fullscreen ads that break my workflow, although there are interstitial ads that show up infrequently.

Summing it up, if you're tired of the Opera Mini ads, just download an old version and prosper.

Past Google searches proves that Apple has been making its older iPhones slower

While Apple continues to deny that it hasn't been purposely slowing down older iPhones in order to make people buy newer iPhones, a look at historical Google searches shows otherwise.

A look at a chart compiled by Juan Bagnelli shows that a correlation between searches for the term "iPhone is slow" and the release of a new iPhone. Searches by users who were concerned that their iPhone was getting slower seemed to peak around the time a new iPhone is released.

While Apple might want to explain it away as the result of the improvements in the processors found on newer iPhones but thanks to the recent Batterygate drama, we know that Apple has been making those iPhones slower via software updates.

Apple finally apologizes for making your old iPhone slow, reduces the price of a battery replacement to $29


Much has been been made about how Apple has been making your old iPhones slower in order to save your battery life. With lawsuits flying left,right and center, Apple is finally coming out to address the issue with what could be considered as a non-apology apology reminiscent of the antennagate "you're holding it wrong" statement.

While they deny intentionally degrading the experience on older iPhones.
First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

And blames it on the batteries not performing optimally as they age over time.
All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Time and the number of times a battery has been charged are not the only factors in this chemical aging process.
Device use also affects the performance of a battery over its lifespan. For example, leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment can cause a battery to age faster. These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry.
A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.
While this seems like it makes sense to blame the battery but Apple was a bit too smart in how they handled this battery degradation. Letting the devices shut down would probably make the user take their iPhone to the Apple Store to get it checked out which would more likely result in a battery replacement. While slowing it down and while keeping the battery life the same is more than likely result in the user thinking that their device was dated especially when compared to newer devices and is more likely to result in them buying a new iPhone.

A critical look at this makes it seem like the honchos at Apple looked at these scenarios above and realized that $799 new iPhone would help their bottom line a lot more than a $79 battery replacement.

Going forward Apple promises to make it easier for its users to tell if their battery has aged significantly courtesy an update coming in early 2018, and also it has reduced to cost of replacement batteries from $79 to $29 for users with iPhone 6 or newer.

You can check out the rest of the Apple presser below.
A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance

We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

How batteries age

All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Time and the number of times a battery has been charged are not the only factors in this chemical aging process.

Device use also affects the performance of a battery over its lifespan. For example, leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment can cause a battery to age faster. These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry.

A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.

To help customers learn more about iPhone’s rechargeable battery and the factors affecting its performance, we’ve posted a new support article, iPhone Battery and Performance.

It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable. We don’t want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it.

Preventing unexpected shutdowns About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown. While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.

Customer response to iOS 10.2.1 was positive, as it successfully reduced the occurrence of unexpected shutdowns. We recently extended the same support for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 11.2.

Of course, when a chemically aged battery is replaced with a new one, iPhone performance returns to normal when operated in standard conditions.

Recent user feedback

Over the course of this fall, we began to receive feedback from some users who were seeing slower performance in certain situations. Based on our experience, we initially thought this was due to a combination of two factors: a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor bugs in the initial release which have since been fixed.

We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still running on their original batteries.

Addressing customer concerns

We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We’re proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors’ devices.

To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.
Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age. At Apple, our customers’ trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it. We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted.

Apple finally admits it has been making older iPhones slower when a new iPhone comes out


Apple is an absolute God at getting its ever loyal customer base tripping over themselves in order to get their hands on the latest and greatest iDevice.  Every year when Apple announces that its new iPhone is X times faster than the previous model, it's not always down to the newer processors if the statement by Apple is anything to go by
Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We've now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.

According to the statement above, Apple has been intentionally making older devices such as the iPhone 7 slower in order to make the deprecated battery last longer, while this seems like a well intentioned move if we absolutely trust Apple like a 3 year old. However if you really give it some thought, what better way to convince users that their device is inferior to newer devices than making it run slower.

While it's not entirely news that older iPhones tend to get slower after the release of a new iPhone or a new version of iOS, Apple confirming it would go a long way in easing the minds of those who have long suspected that the newer version of iOS installed on older iPhones were buggy slower on purpose.

Hate them or love them, but you've got to hand it to Apple.... This is a really clever way of making people upgrade their two year old iPhones to a newer model.

However Apple is not alone in this planned obsolescence strategy, where as Samsung, Google, HTC, LG and the rest of the Android OEMs stop updating your device in order to nudge you into buying a new device, Apple uses those updates to slow your iPhone down enough that it's unusable enough to convince you to buy another device.

Apple now owns the music recognition app Shazam


Apparently the rumours of Apple acquiring Shazam are true and today, the lads at Apple have announced their acquisition of Shazam. The details are still sketchy at the moment but the deal is believed to cost Apple something in the region of $300 million. 

Apple's acquisition of the music recognition service kinda makes a lot of sense for Apple and it's Apple Music streaming service. With the acquisition, Apple would make it a lot more easier to steer the 1 billion or so users of Shazam to Apple Music and perhaps help them gain more users across Android and iOS devices.

ICYMI: Cristiano v Neymar, Chelsea v Barca, and the rest of the Champions League second round draws

The draws for the second round of the UEFA Champions League was held earlier today and there were few surprises with old enemies Chelsea and Barcelona rekindling their old rivalry. Neymar has also been handed a chance to face an old foe or a future employer with PSG drawing Real Madrid. English sensation Harry Kane has been handed another chance to prove his mantle as a top player with Spurs facing Juventus in Turin in the first leg.

The other English teams (Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool) and Bayern Munich have been handed an easier route to the quarterfinals.

Juventus 🇮🇹 v Tottenham 🇬🇧
FC Basel 🇧🇪 v Man City 🇬🇧
FC Porto 🇵🇹 vs Liverpool 🇬🇧
Sevilla FC 🇪🇸 v Man Utd 🇬🇧
Real Madrid 🇪🇸 v PSG 🇫🇷
Shakhtar Donetsk 🇺🇦 v Roma 🇮🇹
Chelsea 🇬🇧 v FC Barcelona 🇪🇸
Bayern Munich 🇩🇪 v Besiktas 🇹🇷

I fancy Barça, Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd, Real Madrid, Shaktnar Donestk and Juve progressing to the quarterfinals, who do you fancy?

ICYMI: Here are the Europa League second round draws

With the Champions league second draws out of the way, the Europa league second round draws was next to follow. The second round draws sees the top sides kept well away from each other at this stage. With Arsenal, Atletico Madrid kept well away from each other. Dortmund would be facing Atalanta in what could an upset considering the form in which Dortmund is in Europe while Napoli locks horns with Leipzig after both teams dropped from the Champions League. Celtic the only other British team in the Europa league have been drawn with Zenit in what could be a tricky affair for the Scottish team as they have the long trip to make to Russia.

The rest of the Europa league second draws are as follows:

Dortmund 🇩🇪 v Atalanta🇮🇹
Copenhagen🇩🇰 v Atletico Madrid🇪🇸
AEK Athens🇬🇷 v Dynamo Kiev🇺🇦
Napoli🇮🇹 v RB Leipzig🇩🇪
Lyon🇫🇷 v Villarreal🇪🇸
Partizan🇷🇸 v Viktoria Plzen 🇨🇿
Ludogorets🇧🇬 v AC Milan🇮🇹
Ostersunds🇸🇪 v Arsenal🇬🇧
Nice🇫🇷v Lokomotiv Moscow 🇷🇺
Spartak Moscow🇷🇺 v Athletic Bilbao🇪🇸
Celtic🇬🇧 v Zenit St. Petersburg🇷🇺
Red Star Belgrade🇷🇸 v CSKA Moscow🇷🇺
Real Sociedad🇪🇸 v R.B Salzburg 🇦🇹
Steaua Bucharest🇷🇴 v Lazio🇮🇹
Astana🇰🇿 v Sporting 🇵🇹
Marseille🇫🇷 v Braga🇵🇹

ICYMI: Nigeria draws Argentina for the 5th time, Spain gets Portugal plus other World Cup draws

It all but seems that our dear country is somehow attached to Argentina by some sort of umbilical cord having drawn Argentina in their World Cup group for the 5th time out of the 6 times that she has qualified for the FIFA World Cup and for the third consecutive time.

Nigeria and Argentina have been drawn in Group D along with Croatia and the small island nation of Iceland. The draws would see Iberian neighbours Spain and Portugal duke it out for supremacy in Group B, while hosts Russia would square off with Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the tournament. To see who gets who check out the groups below.

Russia 🇷🇺
Uruguay 🇺🇾
Egypt 🇪🇬
‎Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦
Portugal 🇵🇹
Spain 🇪🇸
Iran 🇮🇷
Morocco 🇲🇦

France 🇫🇷
Peru 🇵🇪
Denmark 🇩🇰
Australia 🇦🇺 
Argentina 🇦🇷
Croatia 🇭🇷
Iceland 🇮🇸
Nigeria 🇳🇬

Brazil 🇧🇷
Switzerland 🇨🇭
Costa Rica 🇨🇷
Germany 🇩🇪
México 🇲🇽
Sweden 🇸🇪
South Korea 🇰🇷

Belgium 🇧🇪
England 🇬🇧
Tunisia 🇹🇳
Panama 🇵🇦 
Poland 🇵🇱
Colombia 🇨🇴
Senegal 🇸🇳
Japan 🇯🇵

Snapchat to start paying its users in 2018


Snap has just announced that it is going to start incentivizing its top creators paying them by allowing them monetize their snaps in the same vein as YouTube by 2018.

The announcement of the decision to let users monetise their videos was contained in the their quarterly remarks, where Snap's CEO Evan Spiegel said
In 2018, we are going to build more distribution and monetization opportunities for these creators in an effort to empower our creative community to express themselves to a larger audience and build a business with their creativity. Developing this ecosystem will allow artists to transition more easily from communicating with friends to creating Stories for a broader audience, monetizing their Stories, and potentially using our professional tools to create premium content.

While this is great news for users, it's unlikely that the monetisation option would be available to everyone, it's likely that it will be a lot similar to the way YouTube does it allowing only those channels with over 10,000 views to monetize their content.

Apple's FaceID fooled by a $150 2D printed mask

"Where there's a will, there's a way" or so the saying goes and that phrase is more than true in the case of Apple's much lauded FaceID security system. The Face ID which Apple says is just as secure as Touch ID, might just not be as secure as Apple wants us to believe if the video posted by the security firm BKAV is anything to go. The video shows the Face ID on the iPhone X being easily unlocked by a 3D printed mask plus an artist sculpted nose in its first and only attempt.

On a not so serious but potentially problematic note, another video circulating on the internet shows how the Face ID can be used to unlock the phone of a sleeping or unconscious person using bottle caps, mushrooms and olives.

While what's done in these videos are not that easy to pull off, it does remind us that no matter how secure we think a system is , it's no match for the sheer willpower of anyone willing to spend a significant amount of time trying to get passed it.

Google Play Store Protect is a joke


Just a few weeks ago, Google made quite a bit of noise about how their new initiative Google Play Protect; they were working on ensuring that malware apps don't make their their way to user's phones. While that seems like it's a good thing, it's done nothing to keep the bad apps out of the Play Store. And a big indictment  of Google's failure came in the form of a fake WhatsApp app that managed to amass over a million downloads before it was taken down.

The fake WhatsApp app named "Update WhatsApp Messenger" managed to fool people into downloading it by using the same developer name and screenshots as the original app.
This epic fail is only the tip of the iceberg that's Google's poor app review process which has seen shady anti-virus and cleaner apps become a mainstay in the Play Store.

The Apple FaceID is totally awesome

Nope, I haven't got an iPhone X (the thing dear) but I have been watching quite a few videos of the iPhone X and it's mostly videos of how well the new FaceID system works.

When the iPhone X was announced, my interest was piqued by FaceID, I was really skeptical that Apple could really pull it off. Android has always had a "Face Unlock" feature but it didn't quite hold up well to reasonable scrutiny, even the one on the recent Samsung flagship devices are easily fooled by photos.

Based on all these and what happened during the iPhone until event, I expected FaceID to crash and burn. But from what I've seen online, FaceID is totally ninja. While one can argue that's it's not more convenient or better than TouchID, it's still a remarkable achievement on Apple's part. The degree of sophistication achieved by Apple is simply amazing. The FaceID works by projecting a series of Infrared dots on the face, and uses a computational model to determine if you are you.

A few Youtubers have even devised many clever ways to fool the FaceID system and failed spectacularly.

So far FaceID is foolproof and the only to beat the system is to use an identical twin.

ICYMI: Check out Samsung's hilarious Apple slander filled ad

Samsung is officially the king of slander as far as the smartphone market is concerned. As much as I would want to describe it, I think it's better watched to be appreciated.