Inking a deal with T-Mobile shouldn’t be overlooked. Though OnePlus seems to have had no problems selling its phones directly to customers as unlocked devices that work on GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile, carrier partnerships have eluded it.
In the U.S., securing a carrier is crucial to gaining marketshare. As much as 90 percent of smartphones sold in the U.S. are purchased through carrier channels.
Partnering up with T-Mobile would not only give the company more channels (both online and retail) to sell its phones, but it’d also open the door for competing carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon to also want to sell OnePlus phones if customers demand it. Furthermore, it’d also help boost the OnePlus brand with Americans who are unfamiliar with it.
To date, one of the only weaknesses for OnePlus phones is that they only operate on GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile and not on CDMA-based networks like Verizon and Sprint in the U.S.
However, if the response to OnePlus on T-Mobile is unignorable, CDMA carriers will have to at least consider working with the phone startup to get their devices certified for their networks just to remain competitive.
The partnership sounds like a good sign of things to come for OnePlus, but as CNET notes, the deal could still fall apart. OnePlus still needs to get the necessary network certification for its phone and until it does, it’s not a done deal.
Recent history has not been kind to Chinese phone makers. As Huawei learned earlier this year when AT&T pulled out of carrier deal, the rug can be pulled out from under at the last minute.
If you’ve ever wanted to build an app after thinking up a brilliant idea, you’re in the right place.
Sure, the fear of coding can push you to not act on building your own app or to put off looking for the best app building software. Well, the good news is that it’s easier than ever to enter the mobile app market — no coding knowledge or experience required.
Whether it’s for your business, blog, product, service, or just something totally random, app creation software options are both plentiful and easy to find, if you know where to look.
With a small investment of time and a willingness to learn, you can create and manage your mobile site or application using one of the app building platforms listed below.
Appery is a cloud-based mobile app builder that you can use to create apps for Android or iOS, and it includes Apache Cordova (Phone Gap), Ionic, and jQuery Mobile with access to its built-in components.
Since the builder runs in the cloud, there’s nothing to install or download, and it’s easy to get started quickly. The Appery app builder includes a visual editor using drag and drop components to build the UI. Appery auto-generates the code for any components you drop in. You can connect to any REST API and use it in your app, and instantly add a cloud database and backend to your app if you need to store data.
You can add powerful functionality with the Appery plugin catalog, or create your own custom private plugins to use in your apps. If you’re working with a team, you can easily share your project with them and collaborate in real time for an extra fee.
Price: Plans start at $60/month for Pro, $135/month for Team, and custom pricing for enterprise solutions.
Mobile Roadie is an app creator that allows anyone to create and manage their own iOS or Android app. Even better, the building happens in a very visual way. The platform supports all media types, with automatic importing of RSS, Twitter, or Google News keywords, and an auto-refreshing fan wall for real-time communication with users.
You can preview your app accurately via Mobile Roadie’s back end, just as your users would on their devices. They will also guide you through the App Store submission process, with Mobile Roadie checking the quality and appropriateness of your content.
This app builder also gives you the option to send out push notifications. This can be content from your own site or via the platform itself. The platform as a whole is language agnostic, so you can pull data in a variety of formats, including XML, JSON, PHP, CSV and HTML. When you start, you are presented with several layout options, but you can also customize any of them to your liking. I will say that Mobile Roadie seems better fit for a brand or service, rather than product.
Price: Plans start at $145/month for the base plan.
TheAppBuilder provides a suite of apps to suit employees, clients, events, and brochures, with two different approaches available. This might be the platform to go with if you are designing an app as an intranet for a company. You can build the app using the online toolkit, and either the training provided or TheAppBuilder itself will work with you to define and build the structure of the app and populate it with initial content.
Using the dedicated AppLibrary, you can provide your users with a window into multiple apps and even customize it with your own branding. You can protect both public and private apps with usernames and passwords, and distribute them via the app store, making use of TheAppBuilder’s Active Directory integration to enable login with existing credentials and user groups.
Updating the structure and content of your apps is easy, even after you go live, because you can make unlimited updates and publish on multiple mobile platforms in one click. The platform supports native iPhone, iPad, and Android, with updates going live within 60 seconds of submitting a change. The update timing appears to be unmatched from other services.
Price: Pricing available upon request
Good Barber provides a platform to build iPhone and Android apps, along with optimized web applications. For any of the platforms, you can control every detail of the app without writing out a single line of code. Several highly customizable design templates are available to get started, with plenty of beautiful icons and access to Google Fonts.
These progressive web apps could theoretically replace your current website, as they can be optimized for desktop, mobile, and tablets.
You receive immediate visual feedback every time you adjust any parameters in your app. Send unique, actionable push notifications and convert your readers into contributors by letting them submit articles, photos, and videos. You can also organize your app and add sections ranging from videos, photos, sounds, live events, and more.
Price: Plans start at $32/month for Android apps and at $96/month for iOS apps.
Appy Pie is a cloud-based DIY mobile app creation tool that allows users without programming skills to create an app for almost any platform and publish it. There’s nothing to install or download — just drag and drop pages to create your own mobile app online. Once it’s complete, you receive an HTML5-based hybrid app that works with all platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, and even a Progressive app. All revisions are in real time, with the ability to send push notifications, monetize with ads, see live analytics, and track location with GPS. You can also integrate social media feeds, blogs, websites, audio, radio, and more.
When using this platform you’re presented with different themes, ranging from a restaurant to a radio station. They also have an appointment scheduler tool, which is especially useful for businesses such as doctors, salons, or spas with contact features such as one-touch call included. Using the code page you can embed custom code and embed iframes.
Price: Plans start at Free with ads and go up to $50/month for Platinum
AppMachine is an easy-to-use platform to build and design professional native apps for both iOS and Android. Using the drag-and-drop interface, you can combine different building blocks that offer a variety of features, such as information, photos, and video. The building blocks also let you link your app to Facebook, Twitter, or online stores. You can design the app in your own unique style and choose your navigation paths, colors, fonts, and icons, taking complete control of layout and watching your progress using the Previewer.
This platform also allows you to scan a website for key content that could transfer over into an app for iOS or Android.
Test your app as you build it and check its progress on your computer, mobile, or tablet. Once your app is fully tested and ready to go, you can publish and promote the app, and analyze the user data. AppMachine takes care of everything you need to get your app into Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Price: Plans start at $49/month per app on the Plus plan, but go up to $69/month per app.
GameSalad allows you to create and publish games for a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, HTML5, and macOS. Its drag-and-drop interface allows you to get started quickly, without the need for any programming knowledge. It also aims to let you learn computer science through the building process.
The gaming app creator features a scene and actor editor, where you spend most of your game creation time, setting up actors in a scene and creating attributes, images, sounds, and navigating between actors. The active community forum is a huge plus, with access to help and advice from fellow independent game designers.
GameSalad offers two plans, one geared for educators and another for developers. But both of these app builders allows you to create a game without writing a line of code.
Price: Pricing available upon request for developers and educators.
BiznessApps provides a platform to help create mobile apps for a small business with a very simple process. It provides a wealth of features, including ordering, a shopping cart, reviews, messages, dynamic content, third party integrations, push notifications, comprehensive analytics, and more.
The easy-to-use content management system allows you to create an app in minutes, and customize everything using pre-built designs or your own. There are also real-time previews to check your progress as you design and develop your app.
You can instantly update your app online, and modify everything inside, without having to send your app for a lengthy update with Apple or Google. BiznessApps also provides an easy way to create promotional materials. There are weekly webinars on how to build beautiful mobile apps using the BiznessApps platform, along with access to hundreds of tutorials and articles to help make the process even easier.
Price: Plans start at $99/month for a Single App or $250/month for the Reseller Partner Program
AppMakr is a DIY app-creation platform that lets anyone craft iOS, Android, and HTML5 apps, with no coding knowledge required. It was founded in 2009, and recently acquired by Infinite Monkeys, to now form one of the largest DIY app publishing platforms worldwide. They state that they are the “original way to make an app.”
You can make as many apps as you want, with unlimited updates, and utilize a number of features, including push notifications, high-resolution photo galleries, live updates, music and video streaming, chat rooms, Google Maps integration, shared events calendars, in-app shopping, and much more.
You keep track of all your apps through the Dashboard, easily customize your app’s looks and functionality, add content with tabs, preview your app in real time, and publish it to the markets with a single click. A big feature set is the face that all of there plans feature no ads, even the mobile website builder.
Price: Plans start at Free for the mobile website builder and go up to a $99/month for the App Pro plan.
ShoutEm offers an app builder with complete content management, powerful user engagement tools, and monetization options, coupled with a seamless publishing process. All of this comes together to provide a robust solution for almost any app building scenario.
The interface builder offers many customization options, and each app can be tightly integrated with existing content sources such as WordPress, Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, and more. The multiple monetization options mean you can quickly create a revenue stream from your app, providing an e-commerce experience, in-app subscriptions, deals, and coupons, with support for all major ad networks included.
You can publish your apps under your developer account to both iTunes and Google Play, and update your app or content in real time. ShoutEm also offers regular auto-updates, to ensure your app is always ahead of new iOS and Android updates.
Price: Plans start at $59/month for Android, $99/month for iOS and Android, and $179/month for extra social and loyalty add-ons.
Bright • high-res HDR screen • S Pen doubles as remote • Long battery life • Loads of storage • even on the base model • Loud • bassy stereo speakers
Really expensive • Doesn’t ship with Android 9 Pie • Hit-or-miss camera AI features
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 is pricey, but it’s the only flagship Android phone with every feature under the sun.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 is a perfect fit for exactly one type of user: Somebody who wants every smartphone feature under the sun and won’t balk at spending $1,000+ to get them.
If that doesn’t sound like you, the Note 9‘s an easy skip, plain and simple. But, if you’re nodding your head in agreement, Samsung’s latest flagship Android phone offers a lot — more than any other Android phone, even — despite the barely changed exterior.
There are two ways to look at the Note 9. The first is that it’s just another iterative version that looks like the previous Note 8 — whoopty-doo, how boring, it’s like Samsung didn’t even try this year? But this perspective judges the Note 9 merely on its lack of cosmetic changes, not on its actual features.
It’s what’s on the inside that matters the most.
Which brings me to the second way to critique the Note 9 — one that’s realistic and reflective of device usage — and that is non-flashy features such as performance, battery life, and storage capacity are more valuable than a new profile. In other words, it’s what’s inside that counts.
A thousand bucks may seem like an outrageous sum of money to spend on a phone, but Samsung’s actually offering a whole lot more with the Note 9 than, say, the iPhone X, which starts at the same price.
As far as really expensive phones crammed full of features goes, Samsung’s tipped the scale in its favor (for now).
A big, lovable phone
If I could travel back in time and tell my younger self Samsung would still be making Galaxy Note phones and improving the S Pen seven years later, I think I would be dumbfounded.
Not only did Samsung correctly predict “phablets” would become immensely popular, but it has somehow managed to keep innovating the S Pen.
The Note 9 does not hit the reset button on the Galaxy Note’s heritage. Its design is evolutionary, but while it’s yet another iteration on the “glass-and-metal sandwich,” it’s more refined than ever before.
Many of the tweaks made to the Note 9 are subtle. The metal frame has a diamond-cut chamfer that’s reminiscent of a past era of phone design. It’s a really small change, but it makes the slightly wider body a little grippier in the hand.
Weirdly enough, all of the physical buttons on the edge of the phone are all positioned just slightly higher on the body of the Note 9 than they were on the Note 8. I’m not sure why Samsung made this change, but it makes harder to adjust the volume if you don’t have long fingers.
The Note 9’s screen is a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display (0.1 inch bigger than the Note 8’s), and the edges still sport that distinctive curve. However, there’s yet another tiny change that most people won’t notice at first: The curve is even less pronounced so that there’s more flat display area to use the S Pen on.
As you’d expect from Samsung, the Note 9’s display is excellent. Content looks crisp on the 2,960 x 1,440 screen iPhone users may complain about how warm the Note 9’s screen looks, but I don’t mind it at all.
I also don’t mind the Note 9’s top and bottom bezels. Sure, the Note 9 technically doesn’t match screen-to-body ratio like the Oppo Find X, but it’s a pretty trivial complaint.
The Note 9 also borrows a few upgrades from the Galaxy S9. The fingerprint reader on the back is now (thankfully) located below the dual cameras instead of next to them. The improved dual cameras themselves are plucked straight from the S9+ (more on that in a bit). And there’s now AKG-tuned stereo speakers that have better bass than on the Note 8.
These small refinements are on top of Samsung staples such as an iris scanner, IP68 water- and dust-resistance, fast wired and wireless charging, expandable storage, and a headphone jack.
And this isn’t even the end of the list. The Note 9 also has the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip, more RAM (6GB or 8GB), a ridiculous amount of storage (128GB or 512GB), and a souped-up S Pen that’s now a remote.
The only thing I wish it came with is Android 9 Pie. But alas, it ships with Android 8.1 Oreo. The software is still fast and smooth, but I’d love to see Samsung release faster updates for its new phones.
There’s just so much in the Note 9 that I can’t even name another phone that has all of these features. If this was Samsung’s first Note, you’d be right to question its size and its features, but it’s 2018 and large phones are the norm. You already know if you’re a big phone person or not.
I’m personally not — I’ll take an iPhone X or Galaxy S9 over their larger brothers any day — but every single time I use a Galaxy Note, I realize there’s very little stopping me from making the jump, especially when there just are almost no compromises.
Samsung pulled a stunning recovery with the Galaxy S8 and then the Note 8, but did so with smaller batteries that, fine as they were, didn’t thoroughly crush its competitors in the ground.
The Note 9 marks a return to a big battery — the largest on a Note — with a 4,000 mAh cell Samsung says lasts “all day.”
The most demanding of users will indeed be able to get through a full day. On my first day of use after setting up the Note 9, I took it off the charger with 100 percent at 7 a.m. and it didn’t drop to 10 percent until around 9 p.m.
Day one involved a lot of checking email, Instagram, Twitter and reading news with Feedly and Google News throughout the day, texting, streaming Spotify for about four hours, and watching a YouTube video here and there. I used the S Pen as much as possible.
Over the weekend, my usage was significantly lighter, and the battery almost made it from Saturday morning into Sunday morning. I didn’t check email as much, and I avoided looking at Twitter and reading the news. I still texted a whole bunch, listened to about two hours of Spotify, played the 3D racing game Asphalt 9 Legends for an hour or so, and watched in about three hours of YouTube. My S Pen usage also dipped — I only used it for jotting notes with the Screen-off Memo feature and to show my friends the nifty camera remote.
The Note 9’s battery is a stamina champ for my needs, but if you’re glued to your phone every second of the day, you still might want to take a plug-in break at some point. Or judiciously manage your power-consumption settings; for instance, I usually left its brightness at around 50 percent (it’s still plenty bright). I also switched to WiFi whenever it was available.
Bumping up the resolution from the default FHD+ to QHD+ and increasing the brightness will drain the Note 9’s battery quicker so keep that in mind.
If you’re absolutely sucking down power like there’s no tomorrow, there’s always fast wired and fast wireless charging to keep the Note 9 juiced up.
Fun new S Pen tricks
Just when I thought there wasn’t much more Samsung could improve on its S Pen, it goes and adds Bluetooth Low Energy to the stylus and turns it into a wireless remote.
For non-artists like me, the S Pen’s remote features (good from a distance of up to 32 feet) are far more useful than how many levels of pressure the tip can respond to (FYI, it’s 4,096 levels) or that it’s also IP68-rated.
Nothing wrong with a fine-tipped stylus that’s really responsive for writing, drawing, or creating a GIF, but using the S Pen as a remote control for taking selfies, or advancing images in a photo album (good for presentations), or Spotify or YouTube controls? Those are all things I could see myself using more often personally and for work.
My favorite S Pen remote feature is using it to take selfies and group photos — I showed it off to some friends and they all were pretty amazed — but it’s still really early days. Who knows what kind of remote features developers will come up with once they get their hands on the S Pen’s SDK. I can already imagine it being used as a controller (albeit a very limited single-button one) for games. Flappy Bird with an S Pen, anyone?
The color-matching ink in the standby note-taking Screen-off Memo feature for each Note 9’s S Pen (yellow ink for yellow S Pen on the Ocean Blue, lavender ink for the Lavender Purple) is also a nice touch.
AI to help lazy photographers
I’m not going to spend too many words on the Note 9’s cameras. Hardware-wise, they’re the exact same camera modules as on the Galaxy S9+.
On the front is an 8-megapixel camera with f/1.7 aperture. Around back, there’s a pair of 12-megapixel cameras. The main shooter is a wide-angle lens with “variable aperture” that switches between an f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture and the second camera is a 2x telephoto lens with an f/2.4 aperture.
For in-depth comparisons on how the cameras compare to other phones like the Galaxy S8, Note 8, Pixel 2 XL, and iPhone X, you can basically just refer to the sample photos in our Galaxy S9 and S9+ review.
The Note 9’s cameras mainly have software changes. Following LG and Huawei, the Note 9 uses on-device AI to detect a number of different scenes. This “Scene Optimizer” feature can recognize up to 20 different scenes such as food, plants, buildings, nighttime, landscape, pets, etc. and then process them differently.
Scene Optimizer is turned on by default and although the AI does identify scenes very quickly most of the time, it also missed a lot on a cloudy and rainy day. I really wasn’t blown away by many of the results. Certainly, some photos are a little more vibrant and have more contrast than without Scene Optimizer turned on, but they’re so hit-or-miss that you’re better off turning it off and editing the photos yourself.
There are two ways I can think of that Samsung could have made this whole AI camera thing better. Either make the feature something you can quickly turn on from the camera view as opposed to in the camera settings. Or have the camera shoot two photos: one that’s scene-optimized and one that’s not.
Scene Optimizer is good for lazy photographers or casual shooters who may not know how to or don’t want to edit their shots. But this is the Note 9 we’re talking about here. It ain’t a device for amateurs.
The other new camera feature is “Flaw Detection,” which tells you if your shots are blurry, or if somebody’s blinked, or if the lens is dirty right after you’ve taken a photo. It’s useful, but the blurry-shot reminder gets annoying fast. I mean, you have to be a real idiot if you can’t tell your photos are blurry or someone’s blinked.
Neither Scene Optimizer or Flaw Detection are what I’d consider must-have features for the cameras. I turned both off right away and didn’t look back.
All about the basics
I can understand why anyone might look at the Galaxy Note 9 and yawn. It’s not a flashy phone. Every feature upgrade Samsung’s made from the Note 8 is more practical.
I’m starting to feel like Samsung has really changed and has shed the arrogance that led to the disastrous Note 7. The Note 9 is faster, the battery’s bigger and lasts longer, there’s more storage, and the S Pen’s new remote feature function is neat. But the phone’s also a little thicker and a little heavier.
There’s a double standard when it comes to reviewing phones. Companies like Samsung are ripped apart for over-innovating with impractical gimmicks or copying others. At the same time, they’re blamed for not innovating enough if they simply release products with mostly internal upgrades that are too similar to previous ones.
It’s all but impossible for Samsung to win these days. There’s just no pleasing everyone. Samsung’s damned if it does something different and damned if it doesn’t.
At the end of the day, the Note is two things: a really great phone and a really expensive phone. It’s not the best value — that’s the OnePlus 6. It doesn’t necessarily have the best cameras — a lot of people still swear by the iPhone X or the Pixel 2. And if you don’t need the S Pen, you can save a few hundred bucks with the Galaxy S9 or S9+.
However, the Note 9 does have more features than even some of the most premium Android phones or the iPhone X. If having it all is what you want in a phone, the Note 9 is worth the money, especially when other phones are removing features while increasing prices.
The BitFi crypto wallet was supposed to be unhackable and none other than famous weirdo John McAfee claimed that the device – essentially an Android-based mini tablet – would withstand any attack. Spoiler alert: it couldn’t.
First, a bit of background. The $120 device launched at the beginning of this month to much fanfare. It consisted of a device that McAfee claimed contained no software or storage and was instead a standalone wallet similar to the Trezor. The website featured a bold claim by McAfee himself, one that would give a normal security researcher pause:
Further, the company offered a bug bounty that seems to be slowly being eroded by outside forces. They asked hackers to pull coins off of a specially prepared $10 wallet, a move that is uncommon in the world of bug bounties. They wrote:
We deposit coins into a Bitfi wallet If you wish to participate in the bounty program, you will purchase a Bitfi wallet that is preloaded with coins for just an additional $10 (the reason for the charge is because we need to ensure serious inquiries only) If you successfully extract the coins and empty the wallet, this would be considered a successful hack You can then keep the coins and Bitfi will make a payment to you of $250,000 Please note that we grant anyone who participates in this bounty permission to use all possible attack vectors, including our servers, nodes, and our infrastructure
Hackers began attacking the device immediately, eventually hacking it to find the passphrase used to move crypto in and out of the the wallet. In a detailed set of Tweets, security researchers Andrew Tierney and Alan Woodward began finding holes by attacking the operating system itself. However, this did not match the bounty to the letter, claimed BitFi, even though they did not actually ship any bounty-ready devices.
Something that I feel should be getting more attention is the fact that there is zero evidence that a #bitfi bounty device was ever shipped to a researcher. They literally created an impossible task by refusing to send the device required to satisfy the terms of the engagement.
Then, to add insult injury, the company earned a Pwnies award at security conference Defcon. The award was given for worst vendor response. As hackers began dismantling the device, BitFi went on the defensive, consistently claiming that their device was secure. And the hackers had a field day. One hacker, 15-year-old Saleem Rashid, was able to play Doom on the device.
Well, that’s a transaction made with a MitMed Bitfi, with the phrase and seed being sent to a remote machine.
The hacks kept coming. McAfee, for his part, kept refusing to accept the hacks as genuine.
The press claiming the BitFi wallet has been hacked. Utter nonsense. The wallet is hacked when someone gets the coins. No-one got any coins. Gaining root access in an attempt to get the coins is not a hack. It’s a failed attempt. All these alleged “hacks” did not get the coins.
Unfortunately, the latest hack may have just fulfilled all of BitFi’s requirements. Rashid and Tierney have been able to pull cash out of the wallet by hacking the passphrase, a primary requirement for the bounty. “We have sent the seed and phrase from the device to another server, it just gets sent using netcat, nothing fancy.” Tierney said. “We believe all conditions have been met.”
The end state of this crypto mess? BitFi did what most hacked crypto companies do: double down on the threats. In a recently deleted Tweet they made it clear that they were not to be messed with:
The researchers, however, may still have the last laugh.
Claiming your front door has an unpickable lock does not make your house secure. No more does offering a reward only for defeating that front door lock, and repeatedly saying no one has claimed the reward, prove your house is secure, especially when you’ve left the windows open.