Samsung is finding itself in a position of nobody’s envy as it tries to fight a losing battle on many fronts. After reported incidents of the Note 7 phones catching fire, we had another instance in India where in a Note 2 phone caught fire in the middle of a flight. Subsequently, the DGCA or the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued an advisory that forbade anyone from boarding a plane with Note 2 phones. The company had already issued a global recall of the Note 7, as it tried to assuage customer feelings and strong reactions from the investors. The stock had already tanked by the time Samsung began taking action to recover some of the lost ground. On 9th September, Samsung’s stock on the Korean Stock Market went down under $1,500 mark.

Samsung issued a global recall and shipped close to 500,000 replacement handsets to the United States. It also came out with a software update on 20th September. The software code would limit the charging on Samung Note 7 phones to 60 percent of the total battery capacity as the issue with overheating of the phone was found to be a consequence of faulty battery on the phones. The software update also warned users against charging the phone or making use of the phone. While all this was going on, the replacement phones started arriving in the US stores. Previous owners were requested to get their phones to check if the battery was faulty. If the battery was from a defective lot, the phones would be replaced. Quite a few people availaed the replacement scheme. However, the pace of replacements worried Samsung as less than 50 percent people had come forward to get their phones replaced. Due to the slow pace of phone exchange, Samsung put off the resumption of Note 7 phones in Korea by 3 days to 1st October.

In the past couple of days, however, there are reports of the new Note 7 phones reporting the same problems of overheating. Yesterday, a Note 7 phone caught fire in China and the owner mentioned that his phone had a safe battery.  Samsung has sought access to the phone to find out the cause of the device catching fire, but the owner has refused access to them. Samsung has maintained that the issue of battery is limited to phones that had been sold in the US before 15th September, and hence the recent incident of Note 7 catching fire in China needs to be investigated by its technical team to find the actual cause.

The problem for Samsung is that Apple has unveiled the iPhone and iPhone 7s. Both devices are almost on an identical price line with Samsung’s Note 7 and this is making life difficult for Samsung. The company, for sure, is ceding ground to Apple as it is fighting a battle of perception and quality across the world.

Have a look at the following video to keep updated with the current status of recall:

Opera became the first browser in the world when it integrated virtual private networking in the browser’s privacy and security settings. Used by more than 50 million desktop users in the world, Opera browser’s latest version is equipped to run with or without VPN on desktops and phones powered by Android or iOS mobile operating systems. Opera 40 has augmented user security options to offer private networking through the browser.

 

opera

 

The company had been beta testing its version of browser for past 6 months, and the new launch will be a shot in the arm for Internet security hawks, who would take this latest development as a step forward to controlling IP address spoofing and resultant frauds that happen with undue accuracy on a daily basis. The way Opera 40 works is that it will redirect the Internet traffic through one of its servers, and the user will actually surf the Internet using one of the IP addresses that belongs to Opera servers. The company has servers at five different locations to cater to VPN requests of users. Anybody who is trying to listen to the IP traffic originating from your desktop or phone will be unable to use the originating IP address for launching malicious security attacks.

 

Opera users can toggle on or toggle off the browser’s VPN feature. If they choose to use the VPN, they will be able to choose the geographic location that they connect to or they could let Opera choose the most optimal setting for the enhanced performance.

 

Opera is currently supported on Windows 7 through 10 and Mac-OS. All flavours of Linux also work well with Opera. The VPN feature comes for free to Opera 40 users.

Samsung started rolling out the latest software update to try and control the damage arising out of Note 7 battery issues. The Note 7 phone’s battery had exploded in at least 2 different cases in the United States, and fears around user safety had forced Samsung to issue a recall of the Note 7 phones. As part of a temporary fix, Samsung had promised that it would roll out a software update for the Note 7. This update would limit the charging on the phone to 60 percent of the total battery capacity.

As per some analysts’ estimates, upwards of 2.5 million handsets had been sold and of these less than 30% users have participated in the recall program of the company. There is a thinking amongst some analysts that people may be waiting for replacements to arrive, so that they could just get their faulty phones replaced. Some 500,000 phones have been shipped from Korea to be served as replacement phones for those users who exercise not to get a refund. These replacements should start arriving in the stores in a day or two.

The software update that has been developed by Samsung will also warn users whenever they try to charge the battery or whenever they bring on a phone from an off state. The warning message tells the users to visit the store and return the handset. Apart from this, the software update will also check the battery status and if it finds the battery in a good, reliable state then it will show a green battery icon on the screen. This is an indication that the battery of that particular phone is absolutely fine. Samsung has confirmed that not all Note 7 phones have faulty battery. However, if the user wants to return or replace the handset, the company will accept the request. For customers looking to get a refund, the company has already offered a refund of the amount paid to buy Note 7.

For more details about the latest status on the Note 7 recall, please have a look at the following video:

Amazon has launched its voice recognition cum voice activated little home automation device -Echo in the UK. Also called as Alexa, UK becomes the second country in the world to get to receive Echo as Amazon offers its flagship product for the first time in Europe. Germany would be second country that would get the Amazon Echo later in the autumn.

Amazon Echo is available for pre-order in the UK at £150, while Amazon prime customers will get a discount of £50 if they order it within the next 2 days. Amazon Echo is a small 360 degree box that has been programmed to perform a set of tasks upon being activated through a name call. The Echo gets activated whenever a user calls Amazon, Echo or Alexa. Upon being activated, Alexa becomes like a virtual assistant and performs a variety of tasks such as turning off the lights, ordering a pizza, dimming the lights, booking a taxi etc.

The Echo has a speaker and a microphone and its voice processor will process your commands. The UK version comes in two colours. Echo is now offered in white and black colours. You would remember that in the UK, Echo was launched in black. Interestingly, the UK version has been programmed to hear and act upon British accent. It has specifically been coded to recognize and spell out English thesaurus in British English.

For more details about how Alexa works, please have a look at the video below: