HP goes up against the iPad Pro with its $599 Chromebook x2

HP goes up against the iPad Pro with its $599 Chromebook x2

Image: HP

Two weeks ago, Acer announced the first tablet running Chrome OS. And today, HP is announcing the second — and it’s a lot higher end.

It’s called the Chromebook x2, and it’s very much designed to go after the iPad Pro. It has a 12.3-inch screen (the larger iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch screen), docks with a keyboard cover, and supports stylus input.

The big benefit here is that the full package is available for much, much cheaper: the Chromebook x2 costs $599 in its base configuration and comes bundled with the keyboard cover and stylus. The iPad starts at $649 for the (smaller) tablet on its own, and you’ll have to spend $1,067 if you want the 12.9-inch model with a keyboard and pen. So if you’re thinking about using a tablet (with a non-traditional operating system) as a portable computer, HP will get you there for way cheaper.

In a briefing, HP also emphasized that the keyboard was designed to hold firmly enough to the tablet that it should feel like a clamshell laptop when the two are connected. I haven’t seen the Chromebook x2 in person, but HP’s images make it look relatively nice — like a combination of Google’s Pixelbook, with its metal and glossy white top, and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, with its soft and colorful keyboard.

The Chromebook x2 seems to have a lot of potential, but there are some big questions — and not just around whether the hardware is as good as it looks. The real open question is whether Chrome OS is cut out to work on a tablet. Google has been overhauling the operating system to work better with touchscreens for a couple years now, but it’s still very much a desktop system (it’s based around the Chrome desktop browser and its display of desktop websites, after all). That’s likely to limit how useful it is, especially in comparison to an iPad, which was designed for touch from the ground up.

And while the Chromebook x2 looks like a bargain compared to the iPad, it’s expensive for a Chromebook, which people often buy for around $300. At $600, you enter into the world of lower-cost Windows computers, which this product will have to compete with, too.

HP plans to launch the Chromebook x2 sometime in June. And from the looks of it, we could see a few more Chrome OS tablets before then.

5 Reasons To Buy Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Over The Apple iPhone X

Galaxy-s9-and-galaxy-s9+

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. Photo credit: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

The launch of Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S9 means it’s time to ask the only question that matters – is it worth your money?

Or, more specifically, is it worth your money instead of the iPhone X? Don’t forget to check out my breakdowns and comparisons for most recent flagship smartphones.

It’s jacked

Who knew something as simple as the headphone jack would become such a contentious battleground for smartphone makers? With the other major Android phone – Google’s Pixel 2 – following Apple’s lead by removing the headphone jack, Samsung has smartly kept the 3.5mm connection.

Of the three big smartphone makers – Apple, Google and Samsung, only the latter has kept this technology, which is good marketing for the Korean company. Also, as someone who has tested various devices and lived with no headphone jack for the last year – this is a good consumer move.

Forget arguments about audio quality and design principles, having the headphone jack is better than not having it in purely practical terms – especially if you don’t want to venture into the murky world of wireless headphones yet.

Fingerprint scanner

Another feature that has disappeared – or is at least disappearing – from the Apple line of smartphones. Whilst Apple paves a new biometric path, Samsung revisits familiar ground by keeping its fingerprint scanner with a small location improvement.

Perhaps “location improvement” is a bit unfair, the much-maligned slightly-off-center reader was always an odd choice. It almost perfectly reflected the Galaxy’s image as a left-of-center choice of smartphone against the ever-popular iPhone.

But with a lower, central position, it’s easier to reach for small hands, more intuitive and gives users a familiar option to log-in to their device or authorize mobile payments. And, whilst Samsung is pushing its own biometric security tech “Intelligent Scan”, the Galaxy maker is smart enough not to force it upon its users as the only unlocking option….yet.

Super, super slow motion

Samsung’s new snapper has some impressive specs and features, more on that below – but one feature that stands out is the 960 fps slow motion. Check out my colleague Ian Morris’ hands-on below to see how good it is in action.

This isn’t exactly breaking new ground, Sony had similar slow-motion tech at a higher resolution (1080p) in the XZ Premium, but it’s still excellent on the S9 and obviously, it’s better than the iPhone X’s 240fps slow motion.

Always listening, desperate to be liked

This is less of a phone specific reason and more of a reason to buy Samsung devices over Apple devices in general. Simply, Samsung listens. Let’s take the S9 for example, Samsung took the criticism of the fingerprint sensor and moved it, it also kept the headphone jack – which is a debate that’s yet to be settled.

Samsung has form here, too. It kept the removable battery in the Galaxy S5 when others were heading over to a locked design, it also brought back expandable storage after removing it in the Galaxy S6. Where Apple forges ahead with new concepts – that may or may not work – and forces it upon iPhone fans, Samsung is so eager to please its entire strategy and roadmap is completely malleable. For consumers, that’s a good trait.

Price

Both the S9 and S9+ are cheaper than the cheapest iPhone X ($719 and $839 Vs. $999). That’s a big saving for an arguably on-par device.

 Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Jay McGregor is the editor-in-chief of a new documentary publication called Point. He also reports for The Guardian, TechRadar, BBC Radio and others. Follow on YouTube: youtube.com/pointreport

So you think you’re careful? It can happen to you.

Scam artist hacker using laptop. Hacking the Internet - high resolution.

Someone on Reddit described how he was the victim of a very sophisticated social engineering attack. Wow, this is crafty. This is the story:

“I have different passwords for every website I log into, 2-factor authentication when possible; I thought I knew all the scams and could spot them a mile away. This one still got me.

I was meeting a friend at a bar. Two drinks in I got a call from someone identified by my phone as Wells Fargo. I’m fully aware this could be spoofed, but it did not raise alarm bells yet. I was at a bar I did not frequent and have gotten calls from my bank before on suspicious charges that were legit, so I answered expecting this to be the case.

The person I spoke with said they were with Wells Fargo and they’ve identified fraudulent charges on my account but they need to verify my identity before they can discuss details. They said they sent me a text message (via the cell number they just called, which is my first clue this is phishing). They asked me to read back to them the 6-digit number just texted me to verify my ID.

Being two drinks in, slightly expecting what this was about, I had zero alarm bells going off. My bad, this was stupid of me. I read the number to them. They suggested it timed out and I needed to read another number they texted to me. Minimal time had passed, a mild spidy sense was tingling, but I still was not concerned enough to ask questions and read them a second 6-digit code.

This person then read off 5 recent charges on my account, 4 of which I recognized as legit and a 5th that was a $1000 charge to a credit card I did not own. I immediately identified this as a fraudulent charge and they said: “no prob dude, we’ll freeze your card and send you a new one”. They even gave me the last 4 on the card it was coming from. I was appeased enough to continue (sadly).

Finally, they said they sent me one final 6-digit code to confirm that they were crediting my account back with the $1000 fraudulent charge. I just needed to read off the final code they texted to me. At this point, things seem weird to me but they got me at a good time. I was 2 drinks in, was interrupted from hanging with a close friend I hadn’t seen in months and was outside trying desperately to avoid the loud noise inside the bar but still dealing with traffic noise outside. I just wanted to be done with this. I read them the final code and they thanked me and hung up.

At this point, I see why my phone had been vibrating constantly through this call. I had 4 emails from Wells Fargo. 1) Your username has been reset, 2) your password has been reset, 3) Welcome to Zelle! an awesome $$$ forwarding service, 4) You’ve just forwarded $1000!!!!!

I called Wells Fargo via the number on the back of my card. After being on hold for 45 min trying to get the fraud department, I start to tell my story only to have the call drop (I’m pretty sure they hung up on me). I called back and was on hold for 1 hour 20 min (my account has been compromised >2 hours by this time) to get a second person. He told me this was a scam they’ve been dealing with for 3 months and I needed to go into a branch with 2 forms of ID to deal with it. There was nothing he could do tonight.

TL;DR: Dude spoofed Wells Fargo when calling me on my cell, requested a reset of my username, password, and approval for $1000 transfer. I stupidly read off the confirmation numbers I received via text to him, he entered them into Wells Fargo website to approve all these requests. Wells Fargo has known their customers have been getting scammed for 3 months and didn’t bother to warn anyone. I now have to go into a branch, hang my head and tell my shameful story to a person and beg for access to my account because someone else has control of it all night tonight.”

Good lesson to be learned: Never, ever give any kind of confidential data to someone WHO CALLS YOU. Always call back to the number on the back of your card.

Samsung Galaxy S9: Everything you need to know

Samsung will announce the Galaxy S9 in just a few days. Here’s everything we currently know about the upcoming smartphone.

 

In a few days, Samsung will announce its latest smartphone. It will be the first announcement from the company in 2018 and since Apple unveiled the iPhone X.

In previous years, Samsung has opted to announce its flagship smartphone during Mobile World Congress, or it would host a separate event shortly after. This year, it looks like we will get at least a glimpse of Samsung’s new phone in February, with the potential to have the phone in our hands a few weeks later.

Right now, most of what we know about the upcoming smartphones is from leaks, rumors, and speculation. However, the sources of the various leaks have shown to paint a general picture of what we should expect when Samsung announces a new device.

Here’s everything we currently know about Samsung’s latest smartphone, which will be updated as we continue to learn more — and eventually see — the announced product.

 

WHEN WILL GALAXY S9 BE ANNOUNCED?

At a special Unpacked event in Barcelona, Spain, Samsung will announce the Galaxy S9. The event will be held on Feb. 25 (the day before Mobile World Congress 2018 is set to start) and will be live-streamed on Samsung.com starting at 12pm EST.

The back looks to be the most dramatic change to the overall design, according to images posted by Evan Blass on Twitter (more on that in a minute)

One of the loudest complaints about the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 was the placement of the fingerprint reader. In order to make room for the bigger display Samsung now uses, the sensor was moved to the back of the phone. Only, instead of putting the sensor in the middle of the phone, as most of its competitors do, the sensor was placed up high, next to the camera.

With Galaxy S9, however, it appears Samsung is moving the sensor closer to the middle of the back — just underneath the camera.

We first saw a glimpse of the new fingerprint sensor location when the company announced the Galaxy A8 (2018), which was later seemingly confirmed in render leaks from Evan Blass on Twitter.

Facial recognition

Samsung has featured both facial recognition and iris-scanning technology in its phones for a while now, but the technology has been nowhere near as complex as Apple’s Face ID feature on the iPhone X.

With Galaxy S9, rumors suggest the phone will combine facial recognition with iris scanning to improve the feature and add an extra layer of security to the phone.

Cameras

In early January, a photo leaked of what’s reportedly the Galaxy S9’s box on RedditSamMobile saw the photo and was the first to report on it. On the box, of course, are the phone’s specifications.

According to the leak and the report, Galaxy S9 will boast a super slow-mo mode and a super-speed, dual-pixel, 12-megapixel camera with apertures of f1.5 and f2.4.

Currently, there’s some confusion about which model will feature a dual camera, or if both models will have the same exact lens setup. One thing all rumors currently agree on is that the Galaxy S9 Plus will have two rear-facing cameras.

Stereo speakers

That same photo posted on Reddit, as well as a more recent report from ETNews, have each claimed both Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will finally gain stereo speakers.

Apple’s iPhone line has had stereo speakers for a few years now, and the additional output makes a huge difference when listening to music or talking over speakerphone.

Predicted specifications

According to The Inquirer, the spec sheet of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus appears to add up to one impressive phone.

  • Display: 5.8-inch or 6.2-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the US
  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 9810 everywhere else
  • Memory: 4GB RAM, 6GB RAM
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB (likely region specific)
  • Connectivity: Cat 18 LTE support (1.2Gbps download speeds), wireless charging, FM radio
  • Fingerprint: Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • S9 Rear Camera: 12-megapixel dual pixel camera with OIS (f/1.5, f/2.4)
  • S9 Plus Rear Camera: Vertical dual rear-facing camera
  • Front Camera: 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • AI: Bixby assistant with a dedicated button
  • Ports: USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Sound: Stereo speakers
  • Waterproof: IP68 rating

Business features

Last year’s crop of flagship smartphones from Samsung worked with DeX, a dock that turns the phone into a full-fledged computer. This year, rumor has it the company will release a revamped dock, called DeX Pad, that uses the phone’s display as a trackpad.

Software improvements

A more recent report from ETNews claims that Samsung will copy the iPhone X’s Animoji feature and offer “3D Emoji” with the Galaxy S9 duo.

Apple’s Animoji feature uses the front-facing cameras on the iPhone X to animate various emoji characters, such as a dog and a cat.

Also included in the report is the release of Bixby 2.0 on a mobile phone, which jives with what Samsung had previously announced in regards to Bixby 2.0 at CES in January 2018.

Read also: Samsung Gear Sport review: Smartwatch and activity tracker with enterprise-focused functionality

Teaser videos

On Wednesday, PhoneArena spotted a few teaser videos posted on Samsung Mobile Korea’s YouTube channel. The brief videos seem to confirm a super slow-mo camera, an improved low-light camera, and, yes, 3D emoji are indeed ready for the Galaxy S9.

You can watch all three videos herehere, and here.

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