Samsung eyes young buyers with gaming, music-friendly Galaxy Note 9

DJ Koh, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics, introduces the new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone at the Barclays Center on August 9, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.(AFP)
Updated 10 August 2018
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Samsung eyes young buyers with gaming, music-friendly Galaxy Note 9

SEOUL: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. unveiled the Galaxy Note 9 “phablet” in New York on Thursday in a key product launch that it hopes will attract younger customers with stepped-up features and services for gamers and music-lovers.
Launching the Note 9 at 11 a.m. in New York, or Friday midnight in Seoul, Samsung also announced partnerships with global hit game Fortnite and music-streaming service Spotify Technology SA in a stepped-up challenge to Apple Inc. in the premium-phone race.
Samsung’s new focus marks a shift away from its previous positioning of the Note as a multi-tasking device popular with graphic designers and artists.
But the hefty price tag — at $999.99 for the base 128 gigabyte model, according to US carrier Verizon Communications Inc. — has raised questions as to whether features such as a longer battery life and quick cooling would be enough to attract customers.
“I couldn’t find anything that was eye-catching enough to prompt customers to ignore the high price tag,” said Greg Roh, an analyst at Hyundai Motor Securities.
Shares of Samsung were down 3.5 percent in Seoul, mirroring weakness in other chip-related stocks.
Samsung is under pressure to jump-start faltering smartphone sales after posting its slowest quarterly profit growth in more than a year, as rivals such as China’s Huawei Technologies nipped at its heels with cheaper, feature-packed models.
The Note 9 will support up to 1 terabyte of memory — a 512GB version that can take another 512GB through a memory card — making Samsung the first major smartphone maker to sell a 1TB phone.
The phablet — a cross between a smartphone and a tablet — will hit stores on Aug. 24, Samsung said.
Verizon said the Note 9 will be available for pre-order from Aug. 10, with the 512GB model priced at $1,249.99. Sprint Corp. will introduce the device on Aug. 24 at a 50 percent discount as part of a promotional scheme.

Music and Games 

The Note 9 is the first Android phone to support Fortnite, a hugely popular video-and-smartphone survival game that was only playable on computers, consoles and Apple products until now.
It also comes with a Bluetooth-enabled stylus designed to act as a remote for snapping photos and controlling YouTube video playback.
The New York event also featured a Samsung Galaxy watch and Galaxy Home speaker, a device that will use its Bixby voice assistant and compete with similar products from Amazon.com Inc. , Apple and Alphabet Inc’s Google.
Spotify will be supported on the speakers, along with all other Samsung devices — news that sent shares in the music-streaming service provider up nearly 5 percent.
Samsung is counting on the Note 9 to outsell the Note 8 to stem a sales slump. It said last month its flagship Galaxy S9 phone missed sales targets, sending profits in the mobile division down by a third in the April-June quarter.
Samsung does not break out shipments of its smartphone models, but analysts reckon it has shipped around 10 million Note 8 models so far.
“The jury is still out if the device can boost sales of Samsung’s premium category,” mobile phone market tracker Counterpoint Research said in a blog, pointing to stiff competition from the iPhone X, Huawei’s P20 Pro and the Find X from China’s Oppo Electronics.
“The price is a big factor.”
Huawei predicted last week it would become the world’s top smartphone seller by volume — displacing Samsung — in the final quarter of next year, while Apple sold more of its $1,000 iPhone Xs in the June quarter.


Scientists amazed as Canadian permafrost thaws 70 years early

General view of a landscape of partially thawed Arctic permafrost near Mould Bay, Canada, in this handout photo released June 18, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 19 June 2019
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Scientists amazed as Canadian permafrost thaws 70 years early

  • “This premature thawing is another clear signal that we must decarbonize our economies, and immediately”

LONDON: Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared.
A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilized the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia.
“What we saw was amazing,” Vladimir E. Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the university, told Reuters by telephone. “It’s an indication that the climate is now warmer than at any time in the last 5,000 or more years.”
With governments meeting in Bonn this week to try to ratchet up ambitions in United Nations climate negotiations, the team’s findings, published on June 10 in Geophysical Research Letters, offered a further sign of a growing climate emergency.
The paper was based on data Romanovsky and his colleagues had been analizing since their last expedition to the area in 2016. The team used a modified propeller plane to visit exceptionally remote sites, including an abandoned Cold War-era radar base more than 300 km from the nearest human settlement.
Diving through a lucky break in the clouds, Romanovsky and his colleagues said they were confronted with a landscape that was unrecognizable from the pristine Arctic terrain they had encountered during initial visits a decade or so earlier.
The vista had dissolved into an undulating sea of hummocks — waist-high depressions and ponds known as thermokarst. Vegetation, once sparse, had begun to flourish in the shelter provided from the constant wind.
Torn between professional excitement and foreboding, Romanovsky said the scene had reminded him of the aftermath of a bombardment.
“It’s a canary in the coalmine,” said Louise Farquharson, a post-doctoral researcher and co-author of the study. “It’s very likely that this phenomenon is affecting a much more extensive region and that’s what we’re going to look at next.”
Scientists are concerned about the stability of permafrost because of the risk that rapid thawing could release vast quantities of heat-trapping gases, unleashing a feedback loop that would in turn fuel even faster temperature rises.
Even if current commitments to cut emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement are implemented, the world is still far from averting the risk that these kinds of feedback loops will trigger runaway warming, according to models used by the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
With scientists warning that sharply higher temperatures would devastate the global south and threaten the viability of industrial civilization in the northern hemisphere, campaigners said the new paper reinforced the imperative to cut emissions.
“Thawing permafrost is one of the tipping points for climate breakdown and it’s happening before our very eyes,” said Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International. “This premature thawing is another clear signal that we must decarbonize our economies, and immediately.”