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Tools of the Trade: April 2019

By Michael Castelluccio
April 1, 2019
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1. SAMSUNG GALAXY FOLD

 

All of the devices this month were featured at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain. More than 100,000 attendees were expecting major announcements about 5G, but wide-scale rollout is still on hold, and a handful of quirky foldable smartphones dominated the show, with Samsung and Huawei grabbing most of the headlines (see Tech Forum). A smartphone that can open to the larger pages of a tablet and fold to a narrow configuration for calls and your pocket has been promised for years. Samsung will now release its new Galaxy Fold for sale on April 26, 2019. The unfolded screen size is 7.3″ with a resolution of 2,152 × 1,536. Folded closed, the screen becomes 4.6″ with a resolution of 1,960 × 840. It has a Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of internal memory, which isn’t expandable. Depending how you fold/unfold the body, there are three rear cameras (two 12MP and one 16MP); one front camera (10MP); and two inside (10MP and 8MP). The Galaxy folds on its hinge like a book with the large 7.3″ screen folding inside, and the smaller 4.6″ screen becoming the front cover of the book. There are still some specifications not yet released, but the price will be $1,980. www.samsung.com

 

 

2. LG V50 THINQ 5G

 

The theme at MWC was Intelligent Connectivity, but for many of the attending analysts and telecom execs, what they wanted was a status report on 5G and a calendar for the worldwide inaugurals. What they got was a half-hearted promise for the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. But that did not deter LG. It planted one foot in each of the most active streams by releasing its first 5G smartphone, the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, along with a dual-screen “companion” for the V50. The ThinQ 5G has a Snapdragon 855 processor with fourth-generation AI acceleration. There’s 6GB of RAM, along with 128GB of internal memory and a microSD slot that will add up to 2TB. It will work on 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G networks. The other new LG dual-screen “companion” opens to two side-by-side hinged screens. You can sign up for updates on the release date of the ThinQ 5G. www.lg.com/us/cell-phones

 

3. F(X)TEC PRO1

 

There was an interesting throwback at MWC brought by a London-based start-up. Remember the T-Mobile Sidekick? Well the F(x)tec Pro1 looks like a normal touchscreen smartphone until you slide out its landscape QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard has five rows accommodating 64 backlit keys. The 5.99″ AMOLED screen is 2,160 × 1,080, the processor is a Snapdragon 835, and it features 6GB RAM and 128GB onboard memory with a microSD slot for up to 2TB additional storage. Two cameras (rear 12MP, front 8MP), a side fingerprint sensor, headphone jack, and Bluetooth 5.0 NFC are all on the 6″ × 2.9″ 5 0.55″ slider phone. You can preorder the phone, which will be available in July 2019, for $649. www.fxtec.com

 

4. MICROSOFT HOLOLENS 2

 

Microsoft unveiled an extraordinary tool for manufacturers and businesses with a new augmented, or mixed reality (AR) headset. The HoloLens 2 superimposes VR images on top of the reality in front of you so that you will be able to actually “feel what it feels like to touch a hologram, to interact with a hologram, and to play with it, almost where you forget that this is a piece of digital content you are looking at.” The applications for the assembly line and education seem endless. Preorders are now being taken in five countries—in the U.S., delivery is contingent on device compliance with FCC requirements, expected soon. www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 24 years. His SF TECHNOTES blog is in its 21st year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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