Review Category : Business

Mobile World Congress Highlights

David Ramos/Getty Images(BARCELONA, Spain) — Mobile World Congress, an annual event where some of the world’s most innovative companies unveil new gadgets and discuss the future of connectivity, officially kicked off Monday in Barcelona.

While the festivities are just getting underway, a number of companies including Samsung and LG hoped to set the tone for the show by unveiling their new products one day early on Sunday, showing off powerful flagship phones and mobile-friendly virtual reality cameras.

There was even a surprise appearance by Mark Zuckerberg. Here’s a look at some of the most buzz-worthy products and moments from the Mobile World Congress so far.

Mark Zuckerberg Drops By Samsung’s Event

The Facebook CEO, who over the weekend posted a photo of himself running (living up to one of his New Year’s resolutions) later stopped by Samsung’s Unpacked event, where he discussed Facebook’s long-term efforts to help shape the future of virtual reality.

“Going back about 10 years, most of what we shared and experienced was text. And then it was photos. And now we’re entering into a world where that’s video. But pretty soon we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re right there in person,” Zuckerberg said.

He announced Facebook has created a social VR team to explore how people can connect using VR technology. He also said Facebook’s streaming technology for 360 video would be coming to Samsung Gear VR, increasing the video resolution and requiring less bandwidth, allowing the videos to be even clearer and play faster.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality cameras keep getting smaller. Samsung unveiled the Gear 360 camera, a pocket-sized camera, complete with two lenses that capture 195-degrees each of video, ensuring nothing is missed when the footage is seamlessly stitched together to create an immersive 360-degree experience. Samsung has yet to announce pricing or a release date for the camera. A representative from Samsung also said it’s expected the camera will eventually be compatible with some older Samsung devices — not just the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge

Bigger is once again better in Samsung’s world. The Galaxy S7 has a 5.1-inch screen. The Galaxy S7 Edge has a 5.5-inch screen — the same size as the iPhone 6 Plus. Both devices have a curved back, while the he Galaxy S7 Edge also has a curved front.

The new devices are water resistant and can handle being submerged in up to 5 feet of water for 30 minutes, according to Samsung, though it’s not recommended you try it with your device. Pre-orders are set to begin this week with the phones being available from U.S. carriers sometime in mid-March, according to Samsung.

LG Goes Modular With G5 Smartphone

The phone has a sleek, curvy metal body and comes with a 5.3-inch display. What sets it apart are the components that can be added or swapped. LG is keeping its slide-out battery, a feature allowing users to easily swap out batteries when they don’t have time to plug in the phone. A collection of add-on smart devices can turn the phone into a powerful digital camera, a high definition audio player and more.

Adding the LG CAM Plus gives the user physical buttons for power, shutter, record, zoom and a better grip, among other features, letting them take even better photos. The camera add-on also boosts the phone’s battery capacity, allowing users to snap away without worrying about draining their battery.

Another module turns the phone into a high-fidelity speaker, perfect for audiophiles. LG also unveiled a VR camera accessory, letting users shoot their own 360-degree videos and images.

“Always On” Display

One big trend with both Samsung and LG is an “always on” display that saves users a tap of their phone to check the time. People check their phones as much as 150 times a day, according to Samsung. A Samsung representative told ABC News the “Always On” feature has a negligible effect on battery life. If you don’t like it, the feature is optional.

The highly anticipated virtual reality headset will cost $799 — $200 more than Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the company announced at Mobile World Congress. The headset, controllers and sensors will be available for pre-order beginning Feb. 29.

Early adopters will get a bonus of two games, including “Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives” where robots have taken human jobs and a second, “Fantastic Contraption” that challenges to build contraptions as they float on a grassy island in the sky.

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Mobile World Congress 2016: LG Unveils Modular G5 Smartphone

LG(BARCELONA, Spain) — LG unveiled its G5 smartphone Sunday ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, finally revealing to the world the mobile device that has been one of the most anticipated and worst-kept secrets.

The South Korean company even went so far as to release a “touch-enabled quick cover for yet-to-be-announced LG G5” earlier this month, poking fun at the release by saying: “Known as a company ahead of the times, LG took this characterization to heart by revealing the existence of the accessory before the actual product.”

Here’s a look at some of the key features of the G5:

All Metal Body

The phone has a sleek, curvy metal body and comes with a 5.3-inch display.

Always-On Display

We check our smartphones a lot — and LG noticed. A new always-on display will keep the time on the screen so users don’t have to press a button to get the information.

Slide-Out Battery

LG is keeping its slide-out battery, a feature allowing users to easily swap out batteries when they don’t have time to plug in the phone.

Companion Devices

A collection of add-on smart devices can turn the phone into a powerful digital camera, a high definition audio player and more.

Adding the LG CAM Plus gives the user physical buttons for power, shutter, record, zoom and a better grip, among other features, letting them take even better photos. The camera add-on also boosts the phone’s battery capacity, allowing users to snap away without worrying about draining their battery.

Another module turns the phone into a high fidelity speaker, perfect for audiophiles. LG also unveiled a VR camera accessory, letting users shoot their own 360-degree videos and images.

Processing Power

The G5 packs a Snapdragon 820 processor, making it incredibly speedy. The G5 has a 16-megapixel camera and an additional 8-megapixel sensor, along with a 135-degree lens for wide-angled shots.

Colors and Availability

The G5 will come in gold, silver, pink and gray. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced, however it’s likely the phones will keep with flagship device pricing, putting them around $550+.

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Samsung Gear 360 is a Pocket-Sized Virtual Reality Camera

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The home movies of the future will undoubtedly be shot in virtual reality.

Home camcorders are being put to rest as smartphones have packed easy-to-use video cameras and more storage. Samsung unveiled the Gear 360 camera on Sunday, which could be the next wave in how people capture the personal moments that matter the most to them.

“Virtual reality cameras are huge and gangly and unmanageable,” Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy told ABC News. “By miniaturizing a camera, with even the ability to put this into a smartphone, removes yet another barrier to adoption for homemade VR.”

The spherical camera has two lenses that capture 195-degrees each of video, ensuring nothing is missed when the footage is seamlessly stitched together to create an immersive 360-degree experience.

The device comes with a tripod, making it easy to position the camera on a flat surface to take a 360-degree selfie or video. The camera is battery powered and is equipped with a Micro SD card for storage. Wi-Fi connectivity also makes it easy to send the footage to a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone, where it can be stitched together and easily shared with friends.

One thing the camera isn’t equipped for is live-streaming. However, ABC News got an advance look at the camera and found the quality of the video it produces is incredibly crisp given its size.

It turns out Sunday’s unveiling is just a tease. Samsung has yet to announce pricing or a release date for the camera. A representative from Samsung also said it’s expected the camera will eventually be compatible with some older Samsung devices — not just the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones.

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Apple ‘Can’t Surrender Our Civil Liberties’ in Fight Over Shooter’s iPhone, Says Former US Solicitor General

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A former U.S. Solicitor General now representing Apple defended the company’s decision to refuse to comply with the FBI’s request to unlock an iPhone left behind by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terror attack.

Apple “can’t surrender our civil liberties,” Ted Olson said in an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” maintaining “the law does not require Apple to do what the FBI is asking so far.”

The iPhone at the center of the legal battle belonged to Syed Farook, who, along with his wife, launched an attack on an office holiday party in December, killing 14 of Farook’s coworkers. The couple was killed hours later in a police shootout.

San Bernardino marked the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11.

The Justice Department has asked Apple to disable the feature that erases an iPhone’s data after 10 failed attempts to unlock the device, so that investigators can run all possible combinations to break the four-digit passcode on Farook’s phone. A federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI, but the company has said it plans to fight the order.

Prosecutors said Farook’s device could be encrypted to the point that its content would be “permanently inaccessible,” and, “Apple has the exclusive technical means which would assist the government in completing its search.”

Apple must draw a line and adhere to the trust of its users, Olson said, adding the company has a responsibility to maintain the faith of its customers who depend it to protect the privacy of everything from their finances to their health records.

“Terrorists wish to change our lives,” Olson said. “We can’t surrender our civil liberties and give the terrorists a victory that they actually seek.”

Olson served as Solicitor General under former President George W. Bush during the September 11th attacks, and his wife, Barbara Olson, was among those killed abroad American Airlines flight 77 when it hit the Pentagon. At a remembrance ceremony making the tenth anniversary of 9/11, he touched on how policies and laws implemented in response to the attacks impact civil liberties.

“We have proven that a free people can combat terrorism and remain a country of laws, liberty and equality,” he said in 2011. “We might not agree with all our nation has done to protect its citizens’ basic civil liberty — the right to life itself — but it has been done with a minimum of sacrifice to our other liberties. All in all, we’ve done pretty well.”

In his closing at the ceremony, Olson said, “One very vital place where the challenge of terrorism and the commitment to liberty must particularly be balanced and maintained is right here, in America, in our nation’s capital, in our government and in the agency that is named for one of our cherished ideals: Justice.”

A magistrate has yet to make a ruling on the Justice Department’s filing. If the battle between the FBI and Apple continues, it’s a matter that could work its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Overview of Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When it comes to releasing new smartphones, Samsung is perhaps the most prolific manufacturer on the market.

The South Korean company’s newest flagship smartphones — the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge — were unveiled Sunday in Barcelona one day before the start of the Mobile World Congress. The new devices look similar to last year’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge but include a number of design tweaks and performance enhancements.

Design

Bigger is once again better in Samsung’s world. The Galaxy S7 has a 5.1-inch screen. The Galaxy S7 Edge has a 5.5-inch screen — the same size as the iPhone 6 Plus. Both devices have a curved back, while the he Galaxy S7 Edge also has a curved front.

The new phones come in Black Onyx, Gold Platinum ans Silver Titanium.

Water Resistant

This is a dream come true for anyone who has ever dropped their phone in a sink, accidentally gone swimming with it or spilled liquid all over it. The new devices are water resistant and can handle being submerged in up to 5 feet of water for 30 minutes, according to Samsung, though it’s not recommended you try it with your device.

‘Always On’ Display

People check their phones as much as 150 times a day, according to Samsung. The new “Always On” display shows a calendar or a clock so you don’t have to go through the task of checking your phone and draining your battery. A Samsung representative told ABC News the “Always On” feature has a negligible effect on battery life. If you don’t like it, the feature is optional.

Camera

Samsung’s goal with its latest built-in camera is to take great photos in any circumstance. The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge have cameras that can take in low light and still produce a vibrant photo when other smartphones may produce a more grainy image, according to the company.

The camera also has super-fast auto-focus and a 25 percent wider aperture than the previous generation, allowing the camera to take in more light. Each pixel is also 56 percent larger, creating a more professional-looking image — or at minimum, one you’d be proud to post on Facebook.

Performance

This year, it’s full speed ahead in improving Samsung’s performance metrics. Expect a fast-charging battery that can gather half a charge in just half an hour. The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is 64 percent better, while the CPU (Central Processing Unit) is 30 percent faster, according to Samsung.

No more deleting photos and apps to make room — there’s an option for expandable storage of up to 200 GB.

The Edge

Samsung introduced the curved edge last year — and this year’s model shows how easy it is to take advantage of the extra piece of real estate on the phone. The curved edge on the Galaxy S7 Edge now has 550 pixels compared to the 260 pixels of the Galaxy S6 Edge and allows users to build the Edge set-ups that matter to them, including adding tasks, contacts, stocks, sports scores and more. Samsung also offers a developer’s kit to entice third-party developers to create new experiences for the Edge.

Pricing and Availability

Pre-orders are set to begin this week with the phones being available from U.S. carriers sometime in mid-March, according to Samsung.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

When it comes to releasing new smartphones, Samsung is perhaps the most prolific manufacturer on the market.

The South Korean company’s newest flagship smartphones — the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge — were unveiled today in Barcelona one day before the start of the Mobile World Congress. The new devices look similar to last year’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge but include a number of design tweaks and performance enhancements.

Design

Bigger is once again better in Samsung’s world. The Galaxy S7 has a 5.1-inch screen. The Galaxy S7 Edge has a 5.5-inch screen — the same size as the iPhone 6 Plus. Both devices have a curved back, while the he Galaxy S7 Edge also has a curved front.

The new phones come in Black Onyx, Gold Platinum ans Silver Titanium.

Water Resistant

This is a dream come true for anyone who has ever dropped their phone in a sink, accidentally gone swimming with it or spilled liquid all over it. The new devices are water resistant and can handle being submerged in up to 5 feet of water for 30 minutes, according to Samsung, though it’s not recommended you try it with your device.

‘Always On’ Display

People check their phones as much as 150 times a day, according to Samsung. The new “Always On” display shows a calendar or a clock so you don’t have to go through the task of checking your phone and draining your battery. A Samsung representative told ABC News the “Always On” feature has a negligible effect on battery life. If you don’t like it, the feature is optional.

Camera

Samsung’s goal with its latest built-in camera is to take great photos in any circumstance. The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge have cameras that can take in low light and still produce a vibrant photo when other smartphones may produce a more grainy image, according to the company.

The camera also has super-fast auto-focus and a 25 percent wider aperture than the previous generation, allowing the camera to take in more light. Each pixel is also 56 percent larger, creating a more professional-looking image — or at minimum, one you’d be proud to post on Facebook.

Performance

This year, it’s full speed ahead in improving Samsung’s performance metrics. Expect a fast-charging battery that can gather half a charge in just half an hour. The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is 64 percent better, while the CPU (Central Processing Unit) is 30 percent faster, according to Samsung.

No more deleting photos and apps to make room — there’s an option for expandable storage of up to 200 GB.

The Edge

Samsung introduced the curved edge last year — and this year’s model shows how easy it is to take advantage of the extra piece of real estate on the phone. The curved edge on the Galaxy S7 Edge now has 550 pixels compared to the 260 pixels of the Galaxy S6 Edge and allows users to build the Edge set-ups that matter to them, including adding tasks, contacts, stocks, sports scores and more. Samsung also offers a developer’s kit to entice third-party developers to create new experiences for the Edge.

Pricing and Availability

Pre-orders are set to begin this week with the phones being available from U.S. carriers sometime in mid-March, according to Samsung.

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Gucci Sales Jump 5% as New Styles are Introduced

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The luxury fashion brand Gucci saw sales rise five percent in the last three months of 2015, according to a statement released by the company.

The BBC reports that this gain comes after two years of falling sales for the Italian brand.

The company said in the statement that the improved performance is because of a newly-appointed designer.

Last year, Gucci acquired Alessandro Michele to take on the role of creative director. In the statement, Gucci said the “brand’s new creative vision” was well-received and provided “fresh impetus.”

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Apple Tops List of Most Admired Companies in the World

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The World’s Most Admired Company is Apple, according to a new survey.

Fortune has released a list of the most admired companies in the world and multiple tech companies made the cut including Apple which took the No. 1 spot.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, was in second with Amazon taking third place.

According to Fortune, the survey was compiled with Korn Ferry Hay Group and started with about 1,500 companies. Korn Ferry Hay Group surveyed 4,000 executives, directors, and analysts to list 10 companies that they admired the most. From those results, Fortune created a list of the top 50 Most Admired Companies.

Here are the top 10 Most Admired Companies in the world.

1. Apple

2. Alphabet

3. Amazon.com

4. Berkshire Hathaway

5. Walt Disney

6. Starbucks

7. Southwest Airlines

8. FedEx

9. Nike

10. General Electric

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Apple Apologizes and Offers Fix for Recent iPhone Problems

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Apple has apologized to iPhone customers whose phones stopped working after third-party repairs, the BBC reports.

According to the BBC, some users reported that their iPhones were disabled after servicing by a technician not associated with Apple. They would also see an “error 53” message on iTunes.

Apple had originally said the error was a “security measure” in order to prevent fraudulent transactions, says the BBC.

The company has released new software to help iPhone customers restore their disabled phones via iTunes on a PC or Mac.

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Xiao Gang, China’s Top Securities Regulator, Steps Down

iStock/Thinkstock(BEIJING) — The head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission has been replaced, according to state media.

China’s state news agency Xinhua reported that current CSRC head Xiao Gang was replaced by Liu Shiyu, who serves as chairman of the Agricultural Bank of China. He was also deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China.

A month ago, the CSRC dismissed reports that Xiao was planning to resign.

The news comes after months of turmoil for the world’s second largest economy. Xiao introduced a circuit breaker system for its stock market at the start of 2016, which investors criticized and led to sell-offs.

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Trump Calls for Apple Boycott Until It Unlocks San Bernardino Shooter’s Phone

iStock/Thinkstock(PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C.) — Donald Trump called for a boycott of Apple on Friday until the company unlocks the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone and turns it over to the FBI.

“First of all, Apple ought to give the security for that phone, OK? What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time as they give the security number. How do you like? I just thought it. Boycott Apple,” Trump said at an event in Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

Trump called his newly proposed boycott a “great idea,” which he seemed to think of right on the spot.

“So, I like the idea, boycott Apple until such time as they give that information,” he said. “I think that’s a great idea.”

Despite his call, Trump was evidently still using his own iPhone, as noted in this tweet.

I use both iPhone & Samsung. If Apple doesn’t give info to authorities on the terrorists I’ll only be using Samsung until they give info.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2016

Trump said not unlocking the phone for the FBI shows how liberal Apple CEO Tim Cook is.

“First of all, the phone’s not even owned by this young thug that killed all these people. The phone is owned by the government. It’s not even his phone. We don’t even have to go that far. But Tim Cook is looking to do a big number, probably to show how liberal he is. But Apple should give up. They should get the security. You’ll find other people,” Trump said.

Trump bashed Apple on Wednesday for refusing to help investigators access the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter.

“To think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cell phone: Who do they think they are?” Trump said Wednesday on Fox and Friends. “No, we have to open it up.”

After a court ordered Apple on Tuesday to assist federal agents, Apple quickly vowed to challenge the decision.

“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers,” Cook said in a statement Tuesday night to customers. “[T]his order … has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”

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