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By Abhay V
Samsung moves Galaxy S8 and S8+ security patches to a quarterly schedule
by Abhay Venkatesh
Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices back in March 2017. The phones were the first to sport the new narrow-bezel ‘Infinity Display’. As with most of the company’s flagships, devices receive two major OS updates and up to three years of monthly security updates. The firm then moves devices older than three years to a quarterly update schedule for security patches. The S8 and S8+ are now being moved to a quarterly update schedule.
The devices launched first with Android 7 Nougat and received the Android 9-based One UI last year. The devices were unsurprisingly excluded from the list of phones that received the Android 10-based One UI 2 update. However, Samsung has been regular with security patches for its flagships, sometimes even releasing the updates before the patches are documented by Google.
The South Korean giant is known to support its flagships with around four years of updates, of which one year of these security updates is released on a quarterly cadence. The S6 and S7, too, received updates for up to four years. It won’t be surprising to see the S8 line of devices reach the end of support early next year.
As for the patches themselves, the company will roll the updates for the three months into one patch each quarter. The other Galaxy S-series flagships that are currently being offered quarterly patches include the Galaxy S7 Active and the Galaxy S8 Lite. It must be noted, however, that these updates might vary depending on region and carriers.
Source: Samsung Security Updates via XDA Developers
Developer gets Windows 10 on ARM to boot on the Samsung Galaxy S8
by Rajesh Pandey
A developer has managed to get Windows 10 on ARM to boot on his Snapdragon 835-powered Galaxy S8 and published a proof-of-concept for the same. Developer Evsio0n managed to build a barebone UEFI firmware for the Galaxy S8 using the TianoCore project to boot Windows 10 on ARM on it. Other developers are also working on bringing Windows 10 on ARM to other Snapdragon 835-powered devices like the Mi 6.
The firmware can currently boot Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE). Since there is no ACPI implementation whatsoever, the device cannot run a full-blown version of Windows 10.
This goes without saying but this is still a proof of concept from the developer as there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to make Windows 10 on ARM get to a daily driver level on the Galaxy S8. The source code for the UEFI firmware has been made available by the developer, so if you wish to tinker around on getting Windows 10 on ARM running on your Galaxy S8, head over to this link for instructions on how to compile the firmware. The process does require your Galaxy S8 to be rooted with TWRP recovery installed on it.
Source: XDA Developers
Sprint will fix the broken display of your Galaxy smartphone for $49
by Rajesh Pandey
If you live in the U.S. and own an eligible flagship Samsung Galaxy smartphone with a broken screen, Sprint is running an offer that you can't miss. The carrier will fix the broken screen of your device for only $49.
The offer is applicable only on selected Samsung flagship devices that were released between 2016 and 2018. Below is a list of all the eligible devices:
Galaxy S7 Galaxy S8 Galaxy S8+ Galaxy S9 Galaxy S9+ Galaxy Note8 The good thing is that even non-Sprint subscribers can take advantage of this offer. You just need to take your smartphone to one of the repair locations listed by the carrier. This is a limited time offer though and runs through February 9, 2020.
This is a great offer from Sprint as Samsung charges anywhere between $200 to $250 for screen replacement for any of the devices mentioned above. Sprint's price is in line with what third-party repair shops would usually charge for such a screen replacement job.
In case, you do not have an eligible device, you can trade it in for a $150 credit towards a new device. The credit will be applied within two bills and can also be used towards the purchase of accessories. Your device must be in working condition though and at the very minimum, it should be an iPhone 6s.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft removes some older phones from its online store
by Rich Woods
If you've looked at Microsoft's page for the phones it sells lately, you've probably noticed that some of the devices are getting a bit long in the tooth. And unless there's a sale going on, these handsets are sold for their original retail prices.
Today though, the company finally took down some listings. You'll no longer find devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, Note8, or the original Razer Phone on Microsoft's online retail outlet. The page now shows seven phones, three of which are the different variants of the Galaxy S10. There's also the ASUS ROG Phone, the Razer Phone 2, the Samsung Galaxy Note9and the Samsung Galaxy A6.
Today's news comes as no surprise, since the devices that are gone were long overdue for departure. There were Snapdragon 835-powered handsets that were being sold at flagship prices. Now, the selection is a bit more modern.
There aren't any deals on Android phones right now in the Microsoft Store, although they do show up frequently. The most inexpensive device sold is the Galaxy A6 for $359.99, while the Galaxy Note9 and Galaxy S10+ are the most expensive at $999.99.
By Abhay V
Bixby button re-map now available on older Samsung flagships, but with a catch
by Abhay Venkatesh
Samsung debuted Bixby and the dedicated Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 flagships. The infamous decision to not let users officially disable the button was reversed, as the option was later added with an update. That was only until the Galaxy Note 9 debuted, which again made it impossible to disable the button, with the option to launch Bixby with a double tap of the button added later. This option helped reduce accidental launches, brining respite to the users and negating the need for third-party apps to tweak the button’s functions.
With this year’s Galaxy S10 range of flagships, however, the company went one step further and offered an option to re-map the Bixby button to launch any other app of your choice or a quick command. The company promised to bring this feature to older Galaxy flagships running Android 9 Pie, such as the S8, S9, Note8, and Note9 devices. The latest update to Bixby is doing just that.
On launching Bixby on supported devices, a small prompt in the vertical ellipsis menu prompts of an update. Once updated, the option to re-map the key is listed under the “Bixby key” option. The feature lets you either launch an app with a single or a double press of the key. However, depending on what you choose, the key will be mapped to launch Bixby through the other available option. This means that if you choose to open a third-party app through a single press of the button, the double press will be mapped to Bixby. Unsurprisingly, the catch is that you cannot map the key to open any other digital assistant such as Google Assistant or Cortana, and long pressing the button defaults to Bixby’s voice command.
The update also introduces the ability to map custom ‘Quick commands’ to the key press in place of app launches. Quick commands can be used to instruct the phone to perform a set of actions based on a single word or phrase. Quick commands can now also be shared with friends or can be added to the Home screen as a shortcut.
In addition to the Bixby key re-map, updates to Bixby also bring with it the ability to unlock the phone via Voice unlock. As also mentioned in my review of Samsung’s One UI, Samsung’s assistant’s constant prompt to unlock the phone for seemingly simple tasks took away from its functionality. This new feature should enhance the assistant’s usability. However, this way of unlocking the phone might not be the safest.
The update to Bixby should be rolling out to all Galaxy S8, S9, Note8, and Note9 devices. However, if your device hasn’t received the update yet, fret not, since updates are usually rolled out gradually and should make it to all handsets with time.