Tech News

Samsung Recalls the Galaxy Note 7, Google Kills Project Ara… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 02-09-2016

Samsung recalls the Galaxy Note 7 over faulty batteries, Google shelves Project Ara, Apple is removing dysfunctional apps from iTunes, Instagram adds pinch-to-zoom, and why YouTubers are freaking out right now.


Galaxy Note 7 Batteries Are Exploding

Samsung is recalling every single Galaxy Note 7 it has sold so far, and halting sales of existing stock effective immediately. This is because Galaxy Note 7 handsets have a habit of exploding when their batteries are being charged, with 35 cases having been reported so far.

Samsung estimates that the faulty batteries affect around 24 in a million devices, or one in 42,000. Which means the odds are good that your Galaxy Note 7 will be absolutely fine. However, Samsung cannot take any chances with a fault that could severely injure people or set their house alight, leaving the company with little choice but to issue a worldwide recall.

Samsung is doing its best to tries to assure customers everything is fine, saying:

“We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the replacement experience is as convenient and efficient as possible.”

This is one of the biggest technology recalls there has ever been, and it’s going to cost Samsung a huge sum of money. Over one million Galaxy Note 7 handsets will be recalled, and the pause in sales is going to hit the company hard. Then there is the inevitable loss in consumer confidence that arises from such an epic failure.


Google Shelves Project Ara Plans

Google has reportedly shelved Project Ara, its ambitious effort to create a modular smartphone which swappable components Project Ara: How Your Next Smartphone Will Be Built by You You buy an expensive device and it runs perfectly for eighteen months. Then it gradually starts to get a bit slower, and the storage fills up, and the battery doesn't last as long. Read More . According to Reuters, Google is trying to streamline its hardware business, and Project Ara no longer fits into those plans.

If true, this signifies a speedy about-face for the company. It was only in May, at the 2016 Google I/O developers’ conference, that the company announced a host of Project Ara partners and said it planned to ship a developer edition of the product this fall.

It should be noted that Google has yet to comment on this story, so Project Ara may live on in some form or another. Reuters speculates that Google “may work with partners to bring Project Ara’s technology to market, potentially through licensing agreements”. Which would make a lot of sense both for Google and those partners.

If Project Ara truly is dead, it’s a sad end to what once looked like being the future of smartphones. Still, Google wasn’t the only company working on such technology Google's Project Ara Will Make You Want a Modular Phone Modular smartphones may sound like fiction, but they're closer to reality than you might think. Google is making real progress with Project Ara and it sounds promising. Read More , with LG and Fairphone both dipping their toes in the same water. So, even if Project Ara is no more, modular smartphones may still become a thing.


Apple Hunts Down Crappy Apps

On September 7, the same day Apple is expected to launch the new, probably headphone jack-less Apple Ditches the Headphone Jack, Mark Zuckerberg Tapes Over Webcam... [Tech News Digest] Apple plans to kill the headphone jack, Mark Zuckerberg covers his webcam with tape, Twitter lets verified users Engage, Apple will fund your next eBook spending spree, and Jerry Seinfeld's apartment is Doomed. Read More , iPhone 7, the company is launching a crackdown on App Store apps. All apps will be reviewed, and any that “no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated” will be removed.

Only apps which crash on launch will be removed immediately, with Apple giving developers 30 days to right any other issues. Even then, existing users of those apps will not be affected, just anyone trying to find them anew in the App Store 6 Places To Find Fresh Upcoming iPhone Apps When you are looking for fresh and interesting apps for your iPhone, where do you go? Read More . Developers are advised to read the App Store Review Guidelines to ensure their apps are following the rules prior to the crackdown.

The aim is, of course, to clean up the App Store, removing all of the deadwood which has inevitably piled up over the years. With more than 2 million apps now available in the App Store, there are likely to be thousands which either no longer function properly or which have some other issue in need of fixing.


Instagram Finally Adds Pinch-to-Zoom

Thanks to the evolution of touchscreens The Evolution of Touchscreen Technology In the tech space, time moves quickly; a little more than seven years ago, smartphones as we know them did not exist — now, they’re the most profitable tech industry on Earth. Read More , pinch-to-zoom is a pretty common element across multiple operating systems and apps, ever since Apple introduced the world to this gesture with the original iPhone. However, it has taken Instagram six long years to add pinch-to-zoom to its app, having finally succumbed to pressure this week.

Instagram’s pinch-to-zoom is the same pinch-to-zoom function everyone reading this will be familiar with, and it lets you zoom in on images and videos across Instagram. As soon as you let go, the image or video springs back to its original dimensions. Unfortunately, it’s only initially available on iOS, with Android users being promised an update “in the coming weeks”.

Why YouTubers Are Freaking Out [NSFW]

And finally, you may have noticed some of your favorite YouTubers These YouTubers Are Earning Millions: What's Their Secret? Here is a list of the biggest channels on YouTube and how they got to be so popular. Who know, perhaps you'll learn the secret to making it big on YouTube. Read More freaking out about their videos being demonetized. YouTube is removing ads from videos for a bunch of different reasons, including nudity, swearing, and the discussion of “controversial or sensitive subjects”. So, what’s going on?

H3h3Productions thinks they have it figured out, and explain as much in the video above. It all comes down to titles and tagging, and advertisers not willing to advertise on videos YouTube’s bots deem to be controversial in any way. In other words, it’s much ado about nothing. Carry on. [H/T Reddit]


Your Views on Today’s Tech News

How do you feel about the Galaxy Note 7 recall? Are you sorry to see Google shelving Project Ara? Are you pleased to see Apple cleaning up the App Store? Will you be using Instagram’s pinch-to-zoom feature? Are you for or against YouTube’s crackdown on monetized videos?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

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  1. John
    October 11, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Blame Apple for the Samsung battery failures. The race to the thinnest phone has finally crushed the battery into an unsustainably small space. Apple phones are already notorious for running out of power in the late afternoon or even earlier.
    These fires could just as easily have happened to iPhones. Samsung just went half a millimetre too far. The Note 7 is already water cooled to stop the CPU and GPU from crashing, sadly the thing that really needed the cooling was the battery.

    In seeking an alternative phone after handing back two phones to Samsung I recommend looking at thicker phones. Ultra thin "designer" phones are a triumph of art over function - it's a good job they still look nice with the screen blank after the battery has drained. Apple was lucky that "bendgate" didn't turn into "burngate". It's only a matter of time before other manufacturers super thin offerings start to go bang.