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Samsung says Galaxy Fold preorders fully booked in U.S.



SEOUL: Samsung Electronics Co. started preorders for the Galaxy Fold in the United States but closed it due to limited supplies and high demand for the new device, the South Korean electronics maker said Monday.

Samsung said it started accepting reservations for advance orders of its first foldable device for American consumers Friday but stopped a day later when the list filled up.

“The Galaxy Fold reservation list is full,” Samsung said on its U.S. website, without elaborating on how many phones were available. “Due to high demand, we are unable to accept any more preorder reservations. We will alert you when Galaxy Fold is available.”

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold goes on sale in the U.S. at the hefty price tag of US$1,980 on April 26. The phone will be available through U.S. carriers, such as AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as electronics stores Best Buy and Samsung Store.

The company will also open preorder reservations for the foldable phone in Europe on April 26, with an official release date set for May 3.

Galaxy Fold will be launched in a 5G-only model in South Korea in mid-May, and it is expected to cost around 2.4 million won ($2,100), according to industry officials.

The tech giant has expressed hope that the foldable device and its new smartphone strategy will boost sales in the high-end segment in the face of toughening global competition and the saturated smartphone demand.

Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker by market share, changed its strategy this year to launch a wider range of flagship phones to cater to various consumer needs.

Unlike the previous lineup composed of two variants, Samsung’s latest flagship, the Galaxy S10 series, consists of three phones — S10, S10 Plus and S10e — which performed better than its predecessors upon their debut in the U.S.

The new S10 series sold 16 percent more in the first week of its U.S. sales compared with last year’s sales of the S9 series, according to Counterpoint, which tracks new weekly smartphone models in the U.S. market.


Tesla unveils ambitious full self-driving chip for next-generation vehicles



SAN FRANCISCO: U.S. electric car manufacturer Tesla unveiled a new full self-driving (FSD) chip for its next-generation autonomous vehicles.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors during the company’s Autonomy Day that FSD-powered computers will turn its electric cars into self-driving vehicles without human intervention.

He said all new models of Tesla cars including Model 3, X and S have been equipped with the chips featuring full self-driving capabilities, but the next-generation chip, which is currently under development, would be “three times better” than the existing system.

Musk said Tesla will probably have more than 1 million cars with full driving capabilities running on the road by 2020.

“Probably two years from now, we’ll make a car with no steering wheels or pedals,” he said. He predicted the new powerful FSD chip will come out in two years.

Musk touted his company’s FSD technology while mocking the LIDAR technology by calling it a “fool’s errand.”








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Facebook hires high-ranking US State Department lawyer



SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook said Monday it has hired a high-ranking US State Department lawyer credited with helping craft the controversial Patriot Act as the social network’s new general counsel.

Jennifer Newstead will replace Colin Stretch, who announced in July that he planned to leave Facebook.

Newstead will oversee global legal functions at the California-based social network as it faces continued pressure from regulators regarding how well it safeguards user privacy and protects against the spread of misinformation or abuse on its platform.

“Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission,” Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement.

“We are also truly grateful to Colin for his dedicated leadership and wise counsel over the past nine years.”

Newstead was the first woman to lead the Office of the Legal Adviser at the State Department, a post she took in January 2018.







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Samsung delays launch of folding Galaxy smartphone



SAN FRANCISCO: Samsung said Monday it was delaying the launch of its folding smartphone after trouble with handsets sent to reviewers.

Some reviewers who got their hands on the Galaxy Fold early reported problems with screens breaking.

Samsung said it decided to put off this week’s planned release of the Fold after some reviews “showed us how the device needs further improvements.”

The South Korean consumer electronics giant planned to announce a new release date for the Galaxy Fold in the coming weeks.

Initial analysis of reported problems with Galaxy Fold screens showed they could be “associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge,” Samsung said.

There was also an instance where unspecified “substances” were found inside a Galaxy Fold smartphone with a troubled display, according to the company.

“We will take measures to strengthen the display protection,” Samsung said.

“We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer.”

A handful of US-based reporters were given the flagship Galaxy Fold phones, priced at $1,980, ahead of the model’s official release, and they reported screen issues within days of using the devices.

Samsung spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, which is part of the leading smartphone maker’s strategy to propel growth with groundbreaking gadgets.

The company essentially gave reviewers a “beta product” without enough information, such as not to peel off a protective coating meant to be permanent, according to independent technology analyst Rob Enderle.

“It was all avoidable for a company the size of Samsung,” Enderle said.

The failure of a “halo product” meant to showcase innovation and quality could tarnish the brand and send buyers to rivals.

“If a halo product fails, people don’t trust that you build quality stuff,” Enderle said.

“It can do incredible damage. And Huawei is moving up like a rocket, so this could be good for Huawei.”







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