Everything we think we know about the Samsung Galaxy S10

We’re just a few days away from Samsung’s giant 10th anniversary Galaxy S10 event on February 20th, and it’s looking like it’ll be one of the biggest phone announcements Samsung has ever made. Fortunately, given that we live in a world where leaks are plentiful and manufacturers aren’t even trying to keep secrets anymore, we already know a ton about Samsung’s new phones.

So if you can’t wait for the official announcement on February 20th, here’s everything we know so far:

Image: Evan Blass

The S10 and S10 Plus

The core of Samsung’s lineup will stay the same as the last few years: there’s a regular S10 model and a larger S10 Plus, this time with 6.1-inch and 6.3-inch displays, respectively. And thanks to a complete spec sheet from GSMArena, we also know basically all the details on the two phones, too:

Both phones are expected to feature Samsung’s new Infinity O hole-punch display, which eschews the notched design of most 2018 models for a front-facing camera punched directly through the screen. (The cutout on the Plus is a bit wider since it contains two cameras.) The S10 and S10 Plus will both have AMOLED Gorilla Glass 6 panels at 3040 x 1440 QHD+ resolution, with the main difference coming down to screen size and the S10 Plus featuring an additional front-facing camera (and therefore, a larger hole punch).

Leaked pictures from AllAboutSamsung and official renders from WinFuture show that aside from the reworked front-camera system, the overall design of the S10 and S10 Plus should look pretty similar to last year’s S9 — Samsung is keeping the curved top and bottom bezels, as well as the sloping 3D glass sides, along with a dedicated Bixby button, USB-C charging port, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

Things get a little more interesting on the back, though: gone is the fingerprint sensor, which has reportedly been built directly into the front display, and new is a triple-camera system (for both the S10 and S10 Plus, unlike the S9 lineup which offered different camera systems across the S9 and S9 Plus). The three cameras are divided up into a 12-megapixel telephoto lens (at f/2.4), a 12-megapixel wide lens (f/1.5), and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens (f/2.2) — expect Samsung to focus a lot on what these lenses can do at the announcement, too.

Samsung is also expected to bump up the specs on the S10 lineup: the new phones will reportedly be getting Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor or Samsung’s in-house Exynos 9820 chipset, depending on the region. According to WinFuture, the S10 will offer a 128GB model with 6GB of RAM and a 512GB / 8GB version, while the S10 Plus will offer a third, maxed-out version with 1TB of storage and a whopping 12GB of RAM. The other main difference between the two phones is battery size: the S10 has a 3,100mAh battery, while the S10 Plus offers a larger 4,100mAh cell.

Lastly, there are rumors of a new reverse wireless charging feature that will allow you to recharge an accessory (like the already-leaked Galaxy Buds) directly from the S10 or S10 Plus, no wires necessary.

The rumor mill has been oddly quiet as to price, although that’ll largely depend on specific carriers, but we do know the rough release date: Samsung is already letting customers reserve phones to ship by March 8th.

The cheaper S10e might take on the iPhone XR

Along with the standard S10 models, a new, cheaper S10e variant — which will be a little more lackluster than its flashier siblings — has also leaked.

The S10e is less flashy than the regular S10: it’ll have a smaller and lower-resolution 5.8-inch, 2280 x 1080 display (although still with a hole-punch camera) that lacks the curved sides of its upscale counterparts. There’s apparently no ultrasonic fingerprint reader: instead, users will have to access a fingerprint reader on the side of the device. The rear camera is also a downgrade, offering a two-camera system instead of the flashy three-lens setup on the bigger phones.

Image: WinFuture

Samsung is said to be offering the same internals on the smaller S10e — just because you’re getting the cheaper phone, doesn’t mean you’re getting a weaker one. Per WinFuture, expect the same Snapdragon 855 processor, along with a pair of 6GB RAM / 128GB storage and 8GB RAM / 256GB storage models.

The biggest question for the S10e is sadly the one major detail that hasn’t leaked yet: how much it’ll cost compared to the full-fledged S10.

Galaxy S10 X?

There are also rumors that Samsung may be releasing another 5G-equipped variant of the S10, which SamMobile reports will be called the Galaxy S10 X. Details on the S10 X are a lot slimmer, although an early rumor from The Wall Street Journal back in November claimed that Samsung was working on a supersized 5G phone code-named “Beyond X”, which was said to offer a massive 6.7-inch display (for comparison, the Galaxy Note 9 has a 6.4-inch screen), a total of six cameras (two front-facing and four rear), and support for 5G. SamMobile also claims that the S10 X will offer a 5,000mAh battery and a minimum of 256GB of storage by default.

Assuming all these specs are real, the Galaxy S10 X might just steal the show from its more ordinary cousins. That is, of course, if Samsung doesn’t have more surprises in store.

Enter the folding phone

Surprises like a proper reveal for its folding phone, which the company has been building up hype for and teasing for months. There’s even fewer details here floating around than for the S10 X, but given that Samsung already previewed a rough prototype of the device back in November, we do know a little bit.

Photo by Nick Statt / The Vege

Assuming things haven’t drastically changed since then, the folding phone will unfold from a 4.58-inch candy bar form factor into a 7.3-inch tablet screen, which Samsung calls its Infinity Flex Display. The phone — rumored to be called the Galaxy F — probably won’t be cheap, though, with rumors that Samsung was mulling over a nearly $1,800 price tag back in November, although that number wasn’t final yet.

Hopefully, Samsung will decide to shed a little more light on the situation with a proper look at the folding phone at the event.

Accessories (oops)

Samsung is also announcing a bunch of new accessories at the event, something we know since Samsung helpfully leaked all of them through its own Galaxy Wearable app. There’s a new Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch, and a pair of Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e fitness trackers. But the most interesting accessory might be the Galaxy Buds, which look like Samsung’s latest attempts to offer up an answer to Apple’s popular AirPods. We’ll presumably get more concrete details about all these products at the event.

How to turn off Live Photos on an iPhone

With Live Photos turned on, your iPhone records 1.5 seconds of footage before and after you tap to snap a photo. That’s why you may see your photos animate when you scroll through your camera roll, and you can also tap and hold on them to bring them to life. A three second video inevitably takes up more space than a static photo, so you may decide you want to stretch your iPhone storage further or reduce the size of your iCloud backup by switching Live Photos off.

Luckily, it’s easy to do. Here’s how to turn off Live Photos:

  • Open the camera app, make sure you’re in Photo mode, and look at the top of the screen. The Live Photos icon is three concentric rings and it will be highlighted in yellow if it’s turned on.
  • Simply tap on it to turn Live Photos off. You’ll see Live Off pop up on screen and the circles will turn white with a diagonal line through them.
  • If you ever want to turn them on again, simply tap the icon again.
  • Live Photos is on by default and it may turn itself on again automatically, unless you go to Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings.

Once you have turned it off, any photos you take going forward will be standard still shots, but any Live Photos you previously captured will still be Live Photos.

Apple introduced Live Photos with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, then added more camera effects to take advantage of them in iOS 11.

You can change the frame that’s displayed as the photo and add all sorts of effects by opening a Live Photo and tapping Edit. If you want to change the frame that’s used as the still photo, then move the slider at the bottom with your finger, release when you’re on the frame you want, then tap Make Key Photo and Done.

You can share Live Photos with other people, but they’ll only animate if the recipient is using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

Get more from your iPhone camera with our iPhone XS camera guide, or dig into some general iPhone tips and tricks.

Editors’ Recommendations

Golden State updates the dystopian thriller for the #FakeNews era

American speculative fiction can trace its roots back to the country’s puritanical origins, which left its mark on a wide range of authors. Starting with Nathaniel Hawthorne and continuing through Shirley Jackson and Margaret Atwood, these writers focus on the role that their characters play in society at large, and what those societies do to keep their subjects in line. That influence cuts through Ben H. Winters’ latest novel, Golden State, in which a police officer uncovers a troubling conspiracy in an alternate future where truth is absolute, and where lying is swiftly and severely punished.

The country of Golden State sits on what used to be California, and Winters quickly illustrates the state’s response to lying. His main character, Laszlo Ratesic, has an almost supernatural ability to see when someone is lying. While eating in a diner, he overhears a young man named Todd lying to his mother, so Ratesic chases him down and arrests him. Todd’s brother Eddie stole pills from his mother, and will get six months in jail for the crime. Todd, on the other hand, will get upwards of 10 years for “a forceful and purposeful distortion of the truth.”

Some spoilers for the book ahead.

Ratesic is quickly pulled into what at first looks like a mundane case — a construction worker is killed due to a fall from a roof, and the local police want to make sure that there was nothing off about the situation. Ratesic is fuming — he’s been tasked with a young rookie, Aysa Paige, who is joining the service and has abilities that are similar to his own. However, he takes her under his wing as they begin to look into who the worker was, and what led up to his untimely end.

As they investigate, Winters paints a picture of a society obsessed with codifying reality. The government has installed cameras everywhere (in door frames, lights, and even on clothing) in order to document everything that is happening. People greet one another with affirming phrases like “the Earth is in orbit around the sun,” and “six sixes is thirty-six.” Citizens are required to obsessively journal, chronicle, and archive their lives in “daybooks.” Much as in his 2016 book Underground Airlines, Winters has built a wholly believable alternative world, one which feels entirely plausible and familiar to our own.

Image: Mulholland Books

As Ratesic and Paige begin to look into the case, a strange number of anomalies begin to stack up. To start, there are two weeks’ worth of files missing from the dead roofer’s personal files, and the owner of the house, a prominent judge, admits to having had many affairs, leading them to believe that someone might have been trying to blackmail him.

The deeper the two dig into the case, the more it looks as though there’s a greater conspiracy at hand, one designed to undermine the legitimacy of the Golden State’s authority to determine who is permitted to say what is truth and what is not. There’s a Minority Report-like element to this thriller, in that some unknown party is manipulating the system in order to undermine and cast doubt on the established order — something that Ratesic and Paige walk right into.

Golden State plays to a long tradition of dystopian fiction, in which a hero essentially wakes up to the problems that serve to oppress the society’s citizens. Ratesic’s Golden State is certainly an oppressive society; its people are surveilled and policed for any minor infraction or untruth, with harsh punishments for those who step out of line. There are certainly comparisons that one can draw between Winters’ book and classics like Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We or George Orwell’s 1984. He brings in enough detail to allow us to realize how such a truth-obsessive society came to be, and how closely we’re surveilled now. At one point, Ratesic lectures his junior partner on the state of the world when she complains about Todd’s strict punishment.

“Strip away the context and the foundational truth is that he lied. In a public place, purposefully and specifically, he told a purposeful and specific untruth… Imagine if everyone did it. Imagine if each person was allowed the luxury of claiming their own truth, building a reality of their own in which they can live. Imagine the danger that that would pose, how quickly those lies would metastasize, and the extraordinary threat that would pose to the world.”

It’s easy to imagine what Winters is commenting on with a passage like that. He recently told NPR’s Weekend Edition that he began writing the book the day after President Trump was sworn into office and after hearing Kellyanne Conway’s infamous phrase “alternative facts.”

Winters extrapolates what a world might look like where lying isn’t possible, and ultimately lands on a dystopian state where the truth is rigorously policed. It’s a clever satire that flips our current problems on their head to imagine the opposite of a world where “fake news” isn’t a common refrain from politicians. But the book isn’t exactly playing the role of devil’s advocate, as though to say “no look, even if we tell the truth, things won’t be better.” Rather, it’s a novel that shows how one can miss the forest for the trees. The obsessive codification of the truth by anybody means that white lies — like a kid lying to his mother — are treated as if they were equal to flagrant untruths.

Like any good dystopian yarn, Golden State shows just how insidious this line of thinking is, and how any organization or government can warp good intentions into truly harmful ones.

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune will hit theaters in November 2020

We finally know when Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune will come out: November 20th, 2020, according to Variety. The film is the latest adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 science fiction novel, set on a desert planet in a feudal galaxy.

Villeneuve comes to the film with an impressive track record when it comes to science fiction, first with his first contact film Arrival, and with Blade Runner 2049. Last year, the director said in an interview that his goal was to direct two films, which Herbert’s son Brian backed up, saying that the first screenplay roughly covered the first half of the novel. Already, we’ve seen a steady drip of casting news, revealing a spectacular cast for the project.

Villeneuve’s film is the latest take on the novel. David Lynch famously directed an adaptation in 1984 that’s gone on to achieve cult status, and the SCI FI channel produced a miniseries and a sequel in 2000 and 2003.

The story follows a noble house, the Atreides, as they’re given control of the desert planet Arrakis. The planet is the only known source of melange (spice), a drug that enhances human mental abilities, and makes space travel possible. When the family is overthrown by the rival Harkonnen house, Paul Atreides flees and is taken in by nomads known as the Fremen. He becomes their messianic leader, and works to lead a revolution on the planet to overthrow the Harkonnens. Herbert went on to write several sequels, while his son continued the series with a sprawling series that continued to expand and explore the world.

Samsung will stop making 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players

samsung ultra hd blu-ray ces 2016
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Samsung has decided to exit the Ultra HD Blu-ray player market and has abandoned its plans to introduce a new high-end model that it was originally going to release later this year, Forbes reports. A Samsung spokesperson confirmed the news to Digital Trends, though with a bit of a caveat: “Samsung will no longer introduce new Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray player models in the US market.” The statement implies that the company might continue to offer the devices in overseas markets, like Europe, or even in neighboring markets like Canada and Mexico. The move comes shortly after Chinese maker Oppo Digital decided to do the same thing last year. The news is both curious and a little worrying for what it might say about the state of the still-young 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc market.

Normally, seeing a major brand like Samsung abandon an entire product category would be a sure sign that the category was in trouble. After all, if Samsung can’t make money in a consumer tech area like home theater — which it has been dominating along with LG for years — how healthy could that market be? And yet, many of the available stats tell the opposite story: Sales of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs are on the rise and support for the format from major Hollywood studios hasn’t ebbed at all, even though not every new movie is getting released as an Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Sales of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, “soared 68 percent” in the third quarter of 2018, from the same quarter in 2017, according to a report by Variety, which cited these numbers from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. The report goes on to cite other positive-sounding stats, like this one: “4K UHD discs already account for almost one in 10 new release discs sold in the U.S,” according to Eddie Cunningham, president of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and: “[UHD] Product sales are up 87 percent in comparison to the first three quarters of last year,” said Bob Buchi, president, worldwide, Paramount Home Media Distribution.

So why would Oppo and Samsung see this as a market they can’t compete in? Perhaps the answer lies in the sales numbers for 4K UHD Blu-ray players. Despite being the first company to sell a player for the format, Samsung may have encountered an unexpected amount of competition from Sony, LG, and Panasonic. These companies top our list of recommended 4K UHD Blu-ray players. It’s also possible that Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles have put more pressure on the dedicated player market than previously thought. DEG claims that 2.3 million Ultra HD Blu-ray playback devices were sold in the first nine months of 2018, but this number includes both dedicated players and game consoles. Given that NPD video game analyst Mat Piscatella claims that 2018 was phenomenal for the Xbox One X in particular, it could simply be that Samsung got squeezed out.

One can’t help but wonder what this may mean for the larger physical media space as a whole. Predictions of the death of physical media have been almost as common as predictions of the death of email, and so far both have proven wrong. Even the now-ancient DVD format continues to enjoy a large share of disc sales at nearly 58 percent — who says Netflix has killed the DVD?

That stat notwithstanding, it’s hard to ignore the growing amount of streaming media that is not only showing up in 4K, but also in HDR, which we’d argue is fast becoming a bigger draw for people who have bought new TVs in the last three years. Sony has even claimed (perhaps disingenuously) that the reason neither the PS4 or PS4 Pro can play 4K Ultra HD discs, is that streaming media was seen as the preferred way of watching these kinds of movies. Needless to say, that hardly explains the company’s ongoing dedicated player production.

If physical 4K UHD Blu-ray discs did end up on the extinct list, it could be a dark time for A/V enthusiasts. Despite growing support for 4K, HDR, and even advanced surround formats like Dolby Atmos on streaming services, bandwidth will continue to remain an issue, which means both video and audio will remain compressed. Formats like Dolby TrueHD, with their lossless, 24-bit depth and up to 192 KHz sample rates may take years to arrive — if they ever do.

Editors’ Recommendations

Startups Weekly: Is Y Combinator’s latest cohort too big?

Greetings from Chittorgarh, one of my stops on a two-week excursion through Goa and Rajasthan, India. I’ve been a little too busy exploring, photographing cows and monkeys and eating a lot of delicious food to keep up with *all* the tech news, but I’ve still got the highlights.

For starters, if you haven’t heard yet, TechCrunch launched Extra Crunch, a paid premium subscription offering full of amazing content. As part of Extra Crunch, we’ll be doing deep dives on select businesses, beginning with Patreon. Read Patreon’s founding story here and learn how two college roommates built the world’s leading creator platform. Plus, we’ve got insights on Patreon’s product, business strategy, competitors and more.

Sign up for Extra Crunch membership here.

On to other news…

Y Combinator’s latest batch of startups is huge

So huge the Silicon Valley accelerator had to move locations and set up two stages at its upcoming demo days (March 18-19) to accommodate the more than 200 startups ready to pitch investors (who will have to hop between stages at the event). There will also be a virtual demo day live-streamed for some investors to watch “because there are so few seats.” Here’s what I’m wondering… At what point is a YC cohort too big? If investors aren’t even able to view all the companies at Demo Day, what exactly is the point? Send me your thoughts.

Deal of the week

Another week, another SoftBank deal. The Vision Fund’s latest bet is autonomous delivery. The Japanese telecom giant has invested $940 million in Nuro, the developer of a custom unmanned vehicle designed for last-mile delivery of local goods and services. The startup, also backed by Greylock and Gaorong Capital, will use the cash to expand its delivery service, add new partners, hire employees and scale up its fleet of self-driving bots. And while we’re on the subject of autonomous, TuSimple, a self-driving truck startup, has raised a $95 million Series D at a unicorn valuation.

Mamoon Hamid and Ilya Fushman

The future of KPCB

TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos spoke with Mamoon Hamid and Ilya Fushman, who joined Kleiner Perkins from Social Capital and Index Ventures, respectively. The pair talked about Kleiner Perkins, touching on people who’ve left the firm, how its decision-making process now works, why there are no senior women in its ranks and what they make of SoftBank’s Vision Fund.

Here’s your weekly reminder to send me tips, suggestions and more to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or @KateClarkTweets

Facebook almost bought Unity

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg considered a multi-billion-dollar purchase of Unity, a game development platform. This is according to a new book coming out next week, “The History of the Future,” by Blake Harris, which digs deep into the founding story of Oculus and the drama surrounding the Facebook acquisition, subsequent lawsuits and personal politics of founder Palmer Luckey. Here’s more on the acquisition-that-could-have-been from TechCrunch’s Lucas Matney.

Venture capital funds

Indonesia-focused Intudo Ventures raised a new $50 million fund this week to invest in the world’s fourth most populated country; InReach Ventures, the “AI-powered” European VC, closed a new €53 million early-stage vehicle; and btov Partners closed an €80 million fund aimed at industrial tech startups.

Xiaomi-backed electric toothbrush startup Soocas raises $30M

Startup cash

Jobvite raises $200M+ and acquires three recruitment startups to expand its platform play
Opendoor files to raise another $200M
DriveNets emerges from stealth with $110M for its cloud-based alternative to network routers
Figma gets $40M Series C to put design tools in the cloud
Xiaomi-backed electric toothbrush Soocas raises $30 million Series C
Malt raises $28.6 million for its freelancer platform
Elevate Security announces $8M Series A to alter employee security behavior
Massless raises $2M to build an Apple Pencil for virtual reality

Subscription scooters

Just when you thought the scooter boom and the subscription-boom wouldn’t intersect, Grover arrived to prove you wrong. The startup is launching an e-scooter monthly subscription service in Germany. Their big idea is that instead of purchasing an e-scooter outright, GroverGo customers can enjoy unlimited e-scooter rides without the upfront costs or commitment of owning an e-scooter.

If you enjoy this newsletter, be sure to check out TechCrunch’s venture-focused podcast, Equity. In this week’s episode, available here, Crunchbase News editor-in-chief Alex Wilhelm and General Catalyst’s Niko Bonatsos chat startups.

Want more TechCrunch newsletters? Sign up here.

How to save money: A step-by-step guide for millennials

Put down the latte and listen up: If you’re like the millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, saving money needs to be on the top of your to-do list. Like, stat. 

Understanding personal finance can be intimidating. You know how much money you make and you’re trying to save a little bit here and there, but the reality of mounting student loan bills and other living expenses can weigh heavily on millennials — which is why it’s difficult to think of the bigger picture.

Listen: a personal finance app (or two or three) can be your best friend in terms of getting smarter about how you save — and spend — your money. (We recommending starting with YNAB, but more on that later.)

Believe it or not, about 66% of people between the ages of 21 and 32 have nothing saved for retirement, according to a survey by the National Institute on Retirement Security. It’s no wonder that millennials are finding it difficult to buy a house

Although retirement is still a very long way off for this generation, it’s important to be mindful of the future so you can find a clear path towards financial freedom for the end of your career, a vacation, or even an unexpected expense or accident. 

The basics of personal finance and savings might be lost on some people who feel that it’s near-impossible to save when most of their money is gone within days of getting a paycheck. The cycle begins again and you just feel stuck trying to keep your head above water. However, financial freedom is very reachable through careful money management, budgeting, expense tracking, and getting smart about saving, investing, and building credit.

The good news is that it’s never too late — or too early — to get smarter about your finances. After all, the tools you need to help you along your financial journey just might be in your pocket. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to saving money by using smartphone finance apps and other clever hacks:

1. Create a budget

Knowing how much money you make is not the same as spending it wisely. 

Staying organized is key to your financial freedom and budgeting apps like Mint and YNAB can help you create a budget and stay within your means every month. Mint is a free app (that’s a very important word) that you can customize and tweak to fit your income and help you set your financial goals down to the penny.

If you’re still unclear on how much you should save every month, Mint can also set your budget based on your income. It can create limits and categories on your spending habits, which you can override at anytime, while the app can connect you to your bank accounts, credit cards, and lenders to give you a full picture of your finances.

Meanwhile, YNAB, which stands for You Need a Budget, takes your monthly spending and expenses to the next level with an in-depth look at every dollar in your bank account. In fact, one of the rules for YNAB is every dollar needs a purpose, so you know it’s serious about budgets and making sure you stay on track instead of “winging it” from month-to-month. 

With YNAB, you define what’s important to you and how to achieve your goals with good financial spending and saving. The app keeps you on track to use your money on the important things in life like rent, food, medical expenses, and more. It can even account for any unexpected expenses and emergencies without putting a strain on the other things going on in your life.

YNAB has a 34-day free trial available, but afterwards it’s $6.99/a month. 

2. Track your spending and expenses

Now that you have a realistic and workable budget, you have to stick to it. Smartphone apps like Quicken can take your path to financial freedom to the next level. Quicken can track all of your spending habits by just taking a photo of your receipts, which automatically puts your spending into categories, dates everything, and tracks the amounts deducted from your balance with your approval.  

In fact, Quicken is probably the most in-depth of all the financial apps on this list because it’s so feature rich. The app can track and record your expenses and investments, create easy-to-read spending reports, and can pay your bills online. Once you sync the app to your bank account, you can even transfer funds from one account to another with the desktop version of the app. It can even predict and forecast your cashflow for the upcoming month, so you can get a better idea of all of your finances.

One of the best things about the app is that it’s completely searchable. You can search through all of your spending habits, expenses, and reports to get easy access of your personal finances. The Quicken app is also easy to understand and use with a very intuitive interface that even works offline when you don’t have a data connection.

In addition, the app sends you notifications and alerts when your bank balance is getting low and if you’re over-budget for the month, so you don’t over spend. Think of the Quicken app as your personal accountant inside of your pocket that you don’t have to feed or clothe. 

The Quicken app works with Android and iOS mobile devices and it’s free with the purchase of any Quicken product. 

3. Manage your debt

According to ValuePenguin, over 44 million millennials are in crippling debt upwards of $33,000 — mostly from student loans from financial institutions. In fact, most millennials are putting off “life milestones” like starting a family and homeownership because their massive debt is in the way, while some are forced to move back home with their parents just to stay above water. Getting out of debt is not an easy feat, but if you have the right tools and a little bit of optimism, you could be debt-free sooner than you think.

Smartphone apps like Debt Payoff Planner can help ease your burden with a bird’s eye view of how much money you owe, along with reasonable step-by-step methods and techniques to get out of debt faster. The app can track your debt payments and give you a time frame to financial freedom. This means you can track your progress and feel better about your money situation with a real game plan. The best part about this app is that it’s completely free.

Another good idea? Transfer your debt to a credit card with a 0% APR introductory period and get aggressive with those payments. That way, you won’t be paying any interest and you can pay down the debt faster than if you were just making the minimum payment every month. 

The BankAmericard® credit card by Bank of America offers a 0% introductory APR period on both balance transfers and purchases for 18 billing cycles, after which a variable 15.24% to 25.24% APR will apply based on your creditworthiness. The BankAmericard® credit card has a $10 or 3% (whichever is greater) transfer fee and no annual fee. 

4. Get smart about saving money

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” This phrase is commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who is believe to have *coined* it during the 18th century. If Mr. Franklin were around today, he’d probably enjoy using a smartphone app like Qapital (pronounced Capital), a fun way to save money by turning it into a game.

Once you download the app, start an account with Qapital and link a bank card with a checking account and begin to set your financial goals. Why are you saving money? Maybe you’re planning a trip to Paris, or want concert tickets for the summer, or are looking to buy a car. After you set your goals, add the amount you want to save. 

Say you want to save $1,200 for a new laptop. Now that you’re all set, you can set up the “rule” for saving. Qapital sets “round to the nearest dollar” as the default, but you can pick and choose how you want to save. If you picked the default, every time you use your bank card, the app rounds the amount to the nearest dollar and adds it to your account automatically. So if you buy something for $5.62, Qapital will take .38 cents from your bank card and add it to your account. You can then transfer your savings into a bank account to start all over again. So you’re saving money without even realizing it.

The app has other “rules” like the “Spend Less Rule,” where you can save the difference if you spend less on one of your favorite expenses and activities, or the “Guilty Pleasure Rule,” where you save money when you do one of your guilty pleasures. You set the goals and the rules, and Qapital helps you save.

Qapital is available for iOS and Android.

5. Start investing — like right now

Now that you’ve managed to save some money, maybe it’s time to invest it and gain some personal capital. If you know next to nothing about investing, Robinhood is a good place to start. This smartphone app gives anyone free access to the stock market. 

For years, buying and trading stocks were only for the wealthy and people in the know. You had to hire a stockbroker who would have to facilitate any purchases and trades on your behalf, while also taking a slice of the pie as commission.

However, Robinhood is a completely free way to enter and get 24/7 access to the stock market game with zero fees and commissions. In addition, Robinhood supports cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Etherium, Dogecoin, and more. Crypto is supported in 30 states for now, while the app plans to gain support in more locations across the nation. This finance app is a great way to build a solid stock portfolio and net worth, while gaining confidence in investing and using cryptocurrency.

Robinhood is available for iOS and Android.

6. Build your credit

Did you know only 33% of adults ages 18 and 29 have at least one credit card? About two-thirds of millennials don’t have a credit card, according to this survey, and are shy about the proposition of adding more debt on top of their student loan debt.

If you’re afraid of getting deeper into the weeds but you want to build credit, you have to get a credit card to make your credit score soar. (We recommend Credit Cards Explained for more info on this topic.) Once you sign up and are approved, download the Credit Karma app to help you manage your credit. It’s a free app that gives you access to your credit score and credit report, while it can also offer credit monitoring.

Credit Karma can also give you information on how to improve your score, including what factors are contributing to good and bad scores, and what kind of products and services can help you achieve exceptional credit.

Credit Karma is available for iOS and Android.

7. Find a financial coach

Everyone needs some coaching to get them through hard times. Breaking through to financial freedom and happiness could be just an app download away with Joy, a financial coaching and savings app for iPhone. 

Once you create an account, you’re asked to sync your checking account so you can rate your purchases and transactions. If spending money on an item makes you happy, it’s a high value purchase. If it makes you sad, it’s a low value transaction. (It’s basically like the KonMari method of finance.) Joy then tries to make connections between your mood and outlook and how that relates to your spending, which should prompt you to save more money. In fact, Joy is also a bank of sorts because you can open a Joy savings account that’s FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insured.

In addition, Joy offers savings strategies by tracking your spending, as well as money coaching to help you reach your financial goals — along with a steady stream of articles about finance, happiness, and self care. 

Sorry Android users, Joy is only available for iPhone.

Walmart just put this Shark vacuum on sale for $44 off

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
A clean home is a happy home.
A clean home is a happy home.

Image: SHARK

Sometimes you don’t realize how important owning a good vacuum can be until you’ve used a bad one. The frustration of rolling over the same spot 317 times and ending up not cleaning much of anything is infuriating and will usually lead you to rage-quit cleaning your home. 

Stop perpetuating the cycle and check out the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner, which you can get on sale today.

This powerful Shark vacuum is now only $98 on Walmart, while it’s usually $142. The opportunity to pick up one of these things for under $100 is almost unheard of, so jump on it while you can. According to Walmart, this deal should stay live through Feb. 19.

This little sucker (see what we did there?) is lightweight and versatile — plus, just check out that sweet purple finish. Perhaps its most useful feature is the vacuum’s lift-away canister, which pops right off of the main body to help you clean hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. The Shark’s swivel steering helps you effortlessly glide across the floor with grace and avoid banging into your precious furniture. The vacuum also comes with a few helpful attachments, including a wide pet upholstery tool and a dusting brush. 

Grab yourself one right here for only $98 at Walmart and put that $44 toward your next Seamless order or something.

Why the Tesla Model 3 isn’t branded as a Model 3

Look at the back of your car or the next car passing by. Unless it’s an ultraluxury Lamborghini or something similar, you likely just saw which car company made the car (maybe a Honda) as well as which model it is (probably a Civic). 

Now look at the backside of a Tesla Model 3, the electric car company’s newest sedan.

It’s almost entirely bare, save for the Tesla logo above the license plate. (The dual motor version is badged and says “Dual Motor,” so there are exceptions.) Its predecessors, Models X and S, out in 2015 and 2012, respectively, didn’t get this same treatment — their names were prominently displayed on the backs of the car. But when the new Model 3s first started appearing out of factories and on roads in 2017 the only clue a car was the Model 3 was a Model 3 license plate frame from the dealership. Now that the cars are more abundant, the frames are coming off, and there’s little to indicate which car it is.

Model X, clearly labeled

Model X, clearly labeled

Image: sasha lekach / mashable

Model 3, not so much

Model 3, not so much

Image: sasha lekach / mashable

After taking a test ride last week I discovered the model name actually was printed on the car, just in the doorway of the driver seat. A more private identifier to reassure the driver, perhaps?

Badging is what the car industry calls marking the front and back of a vehicle with a brand logo, name, model number, engine specification, and other stickers, pendants, imprints, etchings, and more. Europe and the UK have a long history of both false modesty and intentional “de-badging.” You might have the base Mercedes SL or the V12 engine version, literally double the price. If you as a car owner remove the badges, no one will ever know if you sprung for the higher-end version or scrimped with the base model.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants electric vehicles to be for the masses, not just the elite and wealthy. The Model 3 currently starts at $42,900, but Musk is determined to get it to $35,000. At that price point it’s supposed to feel more accessible, yet maintain its premium features and high-end look and design.

Springing for the badge on the dual motor version

Springing for the badge on the dual motor version

Image: tesla

So maybe the Model 3 de-badging is to achieve that state of ambiguity seen in Europe. It’s neither an expensive, unattainable vehicle nor a basic, low-end ride. 

Karl Brauer, executive publisher at car valuation company Kelley Blue Book, sees the nearly bare Model 3 backside as “purposeful and meaningful.” Tesla decided to not add a bunch of extraneous stuff on its car, but kept a clean, stark appearance, he thinks. Brauer sees this as setting a tone and message of the type of car and level of luxury expected inside and while driving.

Automobile Magazine praised Tesla’s aesthetic: “the studied simplicity of both interior and exterior will let this car age extremely well, that in 10 years it will still look contemporary and beautifully understated, not old and irrelevant.”

With that distinctive design, you could argue that Tesla decided it didn’t need a badge to mark it as the Model 3. The design itself does that, Brauer suggested. 

But there’s a less glamorous/more practical side of this, too: “a minimalist design happens to save you a lot of money,” Brauer said. With fewer badges, chrome, and additional fixtures, it’s easier to scale and produce a lot of the cars, as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

As Brauer pointed out, the past year for Tesla has been about learning about mass production. Musk slowly whittled down variations in the manufacturing process, whether it was paint colors, trims, or battery configurations

“The simpler you make a car … the cheaper it is to produce,” Brauer said. It’s nothing major, but all those M, O, D, E, L, and 3 badges on thousands of cars add up.

TrueCar chief industry analyst Eric Lyman agrees. “Their design is minimalist strategically so it can be more affordable,” he said in a phone call this week.

Lyman also shared a piece of automotive lore about car maker Acura. In its early days in the late ’80s and early 90s, the cars had names like the Integra and Legend. But eventually the company switched over to alpha-numeric names, like the MDX. Why the change? It’s believed that the vehicle names were pushing ahead of the brand, with people more familiar with the models instead of the brand, which was still young and being established.

Lyman sees a similar logic with the Model 3: Tesla wants people to say they drive a Tesla instead of a particular model. It’s easy to forget, but Tesla is still a startup brand. 

Jaguar is a Tesla competitor.

Jaguar is a Tesla competitor.

Image: sasha Lekach / Mashable

So many markings!

So many markings!

Image: Sasha Lekach / Mashable

Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor at Cars.com, said in an email that it’s confusing that Tesla is emulating the highest-end brands with its missing model badge, but simultaneously trying to appeal to a wider audience. “It’s pretty rare for a mass-market vehicle not to have its model identified externally” — except for in some cases of very well-known vehicles, like the Chevy Camaro or Ford Mustang, he said.

“Perhaps these iconic cars are recognizable enough that they don’t need conspicuous model badging?” And perhaps Tesla sees themselves part of these automotive icons, no badges or labels necessary — or at least, that’s what they’re aiming for.

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Hasbro’s new Fortnite Nerf guns launch on March 22nd, with preorders starting today

Hasbro, owner of the Nerf brand, today revealed its full lineup of Fortnite-themed Nerf products, including the previously announced AR-L Elite blaster modeled after the SCAR in Epic Games’ hit battle royale game.

Prior to today, only the AR-L Elite was confirmed back when the line was first announced in October. At the time, that product had a ship date of June 1st, 2019 and a price tag of $49.99. That price tag stays the same, but Hasbro says all of the products will now start shipping on March 22nd. Preorders start today through the Hasbro Pulse website, although the company says you’ll also be able to order them well through Amazon, Target, and Walmart when the full product listings go live at some point in the future.

In addition to the AR-L Elite, Hasbro is also selling a SP-L Elite, modeled after Fortnite’s silence pistol, for $19.99; a TS-R Super Soaker modeled after the tactical shotgun for $19.99; a HC-E Super Soaker modeled after the game’s extra-powerful handgun; and a RL Super Soaker based on the game’s RPG weapon. There’s also some products that are less outright firearm-like and more in the realm of playful toys, including a small, handheld blaster that looks much more cartoonish called a MicroShots and a llama-shaped blaster, modeled after the game’s unofficial mascot animal.

All in all, the prices seem somewhat reasonable for proper Fortnite-themed gear, although The Verge’s Sean Hollister, our resident Nerf expert, notes that pricey AR-L Elite is a semi-auto blaster, not a full-auto one. That means, for about double the price of Nerf’s semi-auto Modulus Stryfe, all you’re really getting is the Fortnite logo and a slightly larger dart magazine, of 10 darts instead of just six. Additionally, these toys seem much more… well, firearm-like than your standard Nerf blasters, especially considering Fortnite models its weapons after real-life guns like the FN-SCAR and IMI Desert Eagle. So that’s something to be aware of before you buy any of these for your kids or give them as gifts.

That said, Fortnite is a relatively family-friendly affair, despite being a game where you’re primarily murdering strangers in a winner-take-all contest set in a deserted landscape, one some cultural critics have likened to a giant metaphor for resource scarcity in the age of climate and impending societal collapse. Nobody bleeds, and there’s almost no animated violence beyond your player’s avatar collapsing and disappearing upon death. So there are certainly more violent games out there that could get more problematic toy lines than Fortnite.