9 Takeaways You Need To Know About Education And Tuesday’s Election

Education issues in the elections.

With the midterms on Tuesday, we’ve devoted our weekly roundup to focus on education’s role in the election. Here are our nine takeaways of key issues and trends to watch:

1. Teachers are flexing their (political) muscles

With just days to go, both of the major teachers’ unions have devoted their considerable resources to the election.

The American Federation of Teachers has its members on the ground, making calls and knocking on doors, for more than 100 key Senate, House and gubernatorial races.

While the AFT is focused more on national races, the National Education Association (the largest U.S. teachers’ union with nearly 3 million members) is primarily targeting state and local races.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. This has been a year packed with teacher activism. There were walkouts and demonstrations in five states. What did they want? Their main concerns were better pay and working conditions. Arizona, West Virginia, Colorado, Kentucky and Oklahoma are also states with some of the lowest education funding rates in the nation, as well as very low rates of teacher pay.

For education advocates, conversations on funding education are long overdue.

In a report, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities called the last 10 years, “A Punishing Decade for School Funding.” Twenty-five states are still providing less total school funding per student than they were in 2008, according to this report by the AFT.

2. Keep an eye on the governor’s races

Education is the No. 2 issue in campaign ads for governors, according to the Wesleyan Media Project. It falls to 15th when you look at federal races, says Travis N. Ridout, the project’s co-director. This, he explains, is reflective of the importance of states vs. the federal government in setting education policy.

There are 36 gubernatorial races on Tuesday. Seventeen of those, because of retirements and term limits, will see a new governor in office. And 12 states will elect governors who appoint the state school chief (often called a superintendent).

New Mexico and Maryland are two states where the governor will have to make tough choices right away: rewriting the formula used to determine how funds are distributed to schools.

3. Follow the money

Voters in Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Colorado, Missouri and Utah will see education funding measures on the ballot. All told, these could add $2.6 billion for early childhood, K-12 and higher education. That’s according to the Center for American Progress.

“We’re seeing voters are looking to find ways to increase state funding for public education,” says Jessica Yin of CAP. (You can read the full report here.)

Colorado is considering the biggest increase in education funding: $1.6 billion. Amendment 73 proposes to create a Quality Public Education Fund through tax hikes for corporations and individuals who earn more than $150,000 a year.

4. ‘Non-traditional’ funding sources

Three states are looking at new sources of education revenue.

Michigan is mulling whether to legalize recreational marijuana. If approved, 35 percent of excise taxes on weed in the state would go towards K-12 education, with the rest of the revenue devoted to local governments and road repairs. Voters in Missouri are considering a similar measure. If passed, the proposal would legalize medical marijuana and funnel tax revenue towards veteran healthcare and early childhood education.

(The idea to fund education by taxing marijuana sales has appeared on state ballots before. Voters in Nevada, Oregon and Colorado approved similar measures, since as early as 2012.)

Maryland, meanwhile, is looking at casino revenue to support early education, career and technical education, dual enrollment programs and more. The measure is anticipated to generate at least $750 million in supplemental funding from 2020 to 2022.

5. A “blue wave?”

Many Democrats are predicting an anti-Trump blue wave that will lead their party to take the House. Democrats only need 23 seats to take control. The numbers, however, seem less favorable to Democrats when it comes to taking over the Senate.

So what does that mean for education policy?

Democratic control of the House could bring a new push to update the Higher Education Act. This is the main federal law governing approximately $120 billion in annual federal financial aid spending through grants, loans and work-study. It also covers anti-sex discrimination rules found under Title IX. The legislation was first passed in 1965 and last updated in 2008.

In the past year, both parties submitted their own bills with — wait for it — major differences. The two sides are currently are at an impasse, particularly on guidelines for federal student aid and regulations of for-profit colleges. A Democratic majority in the House could allow for enough bipartisan cooperation to pass a renewal, says Bethany Little, a principal of the Education Counsel, an educational consulting firm.

6. The DeVos factor

The controversial U.S. Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, has been mentioned in $3 million worth of political TV ads and dozens of Facebook ads, overwhelmingly Democratic, according to a new analysis by Politico.

In races and states where public education is a big issue, her work advocating for vouchers and charter schools, scaling back civil rights protections for students, and siding with loan servicing companies over student borrowers could motivate many voters, even though DeVos’ name isn’t on the ballot.

7. Key Race: Arizona governor

David Garcia, a professor at Arizona State University, is running on the Democratic ticket against incumbent Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.

Ducey is campaigning on how he ended the teacher walkouts this spring: by signing a bill that promised a 20 percent raise to teacher salaries. NPR has reported that the legislation does not require that every teacher get a 20 percent raise.

The race could be a nailbiter. Garcia has attacked Ducey’s record on education but has faced a “crush of spending from incumbent Ducey and his allies,” reports Bret Jaspers of member station KJZZ.

Arizona will also be voting on the future of school vouchers. Proposition 305 will try to expand the state’s voucher program from special-needs students to all students in the state.

Republican Ducey is a firm supporter of charter schools in the state, saying he’s skeptical of the “profit motive” of charter institutions.

8. Key Race: Wisconsin governor

Democrat Tony Evers, the current superintendent of public instruction, is up against Republican incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, with education as the spotlight issue of the race.

About 40 percent of voters there put K-12 education as one of their top two issues, according to polling by Marquette University Law School.

Public education has experienced a bumpy road in Wisconsin since Walker took office in 2011. Funding for K-12 schools saw a $749 million cut during Walker’s first two years in office. Last year, the state boosted funding by $649 million, a figure Walker has frequently cited in his campaign ads.

Although Wisconsin wasn’t a part of the 2018 wave of teacher walkouts, teachers there did express their brooding discontent in 2011. Teacher unions in the state lost collective bargaining rights when Walker passed an anti-union act.

(Following its passage, median salaries dropped by 2.6 percent and median benefits by 18.6 percent, and many teachers left their jobs, according to the left-leaning Center for American Progress.)

Evers is proposing increased investment in all levels of education, from early childhood through higher ed. Polling suggests Evers has an edge with independents, but according to Shawn Johnson of Wisconsin Public Radio, “Wisconsin’s Republican Party has a proven record of getting its voters to turn out.”

9. One key congressional race

Keep an eye on this one: West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional district. It’s an open seat in an impressively red district that’s currently held by a Republican, and yet Democrats see a chance to flip it blue.

Polls suggest a competitive race between two state lawmakers: Democrat Richard Ojeda and Republican Carol Miller.

Ojeda is a state senator, army veteran and former high school teacher. Miller is a member of the state House of Delegates and a small business owner.

As state senator, Ojeda has been a fierce advocate for education, including better pay for teachers. He became the face of teacher walkouts in the state earlier this year, to the point where some protesters chanted his name, reported Politico.

For her part, Miller has focused her campaign on economic growth, particularly for the coal industry, gun rights and combating the opioid epidemic.

Miller is a pro-Trump candidate, riding on the tailcoat of the president’s success in the region. Ojeda, on the other hand, has vocalized regret for voting for Trump in 2016. (In 2016, 73 percent of voters in the district voted for President Trump.)

[“source=ndtv”]

Xiaomi Mi A2 in India, Galaxy Note 9 Launched, Amazon and Flipkart Sales, Fortnite on Android, and More News This Week

Xiaomi Mi A2 in India, Galaxy Note 9 Launched, Amazon and Flipkart Sales, Fortnite on Android, and More News This Week

Xiaomi Mi A2 price in India starts from Rs. 16,999

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Xiaomi price in India starts at Rs. 16,999
  • The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 features a Bluetooth-powered S Pen stylus
  • Amazon and Flipkart both held their Independence Day sales this week

Xiaomi Mi A2 (Review) arrived in India this week, while Samsung unveiled its much-anticipated new phablet flagship – the Galaxy Note 9. Online marketplaces Amazon India and Flipkart had their ‘Freedom’ sales ahead of India’s Independence Day, while Google launched the stable version of Android 9.0 – and called it Pie. Huaweisub-brand Honor brought its gaming focused Play smartphone to Indian shores, and Epic Games finally revealed when and how the Android version of its popular Fortnite game will first become available. Microsoft also brought the Surface Book 2 and Surface Laptop to India. These were just some of the tech news highlights of the week past, so stick around, we’ve got more for you in this weekly roundup.

As we mentioned, Chinese electronics firm Xiaomi launched its second generation Android One smartphone – the Mi A2 – in India on Wednesday. The Xiaomi Mi A2 is the successor to the Mi A1, which as a part of Google’s Android One initiative was certified to feature an optimised stock Android experience and to receive timely updates. It is a variant of the Mi 6X, which launched with MIUI 9 earlier this year. Xiaomi has launched both the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage and 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variants in the country, however, the latter doesn’t yet have a price or exact release date yet. The Mi A2 price in India starts at Rs. 16,999 for the aforementioned base model in the country.

To recall, Gadgets 360 had reported ahead of the launch that for India, Xiaomi would be skipping the 4GB/ 32GB base model it had launched in Europe. The India variant also features a 3000mAh battery that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+, rather than the 3010mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support that the EU model came with. The Xiaomi Mi A2 is currently up for pre-orders in the country on Amazon India and Mi.com, and will go on sale on August 16 via the above-mentioned online sale channels, apart from Mi Home and Mi Preferred Partner Stores.

 

The dual-SIM (Nano) Mi A2 runs stock Android 8.1 Oreo and sports a 5.99-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) display with an 18:9 aspect ratio – protected by 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 5. It is powered by a Snapdragon 660 SoC, and sports a dual rear camera setup, with a 12-megapixel primary sensor and a 20-megapixel secondary sensor. On the front, the Xiaomi Mi A2 has a 20-megapixel camera and a soft-light flash module. Notably, the smartphone sports a USB Type-C (v2.0) port, and Xiaomi has decided not to include a 3.5mm headphone jack. It features a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel.

On Thursday, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 9 at an event in Brooklyn, New York City. The latest phablet flagship from the company, the Galaxy Note 9 comes with an improved S Pen, a bigger 4,000mAh battery, and a massive 6.4-inch bezel-less display. The company has decided to go with a horizontal dual camera setup, and offers some top-end specifications – up to 8GB of RAM and 512GB of inbuilt storage. This is further expandable up to 1TB, with a 512GB microSD card.

Samsung has also revealed the Galaxy Note 9’s price in India, which starts at Rs. 67,900 for the 6GB RAM/ 128GB inbuilt storage variant, and goes up to Rs. 84,900 for the 8GB RAM/ 512GB inbuilt storage variant. The smartphone is up for pre-orders in the country via Amazon, Flipkart, and Samsung’s online store, with pre-booking offers including a discount on the Gear Sport, cashbacks, and exchange discounts. Pre-orders last till August 21, which indicates that regular sales will begin the next day. Airtelhas also announced a contract plan for the smartphone, with a downpayment of Rs. 7,900.

ALSO SEESamsung Galaxy Note 9 First Impressions

The dual-SIM (Nano, hybrid) Samsung Galaxy Note 9 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with the Samsung Experience UX – it bears a 6.4-inch Quad HD+ (1440×2960 pixels) Super AMOLED Infinity Display, and in India, it runs on the Samsung Exynos 9810 SoC instead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC that’s available in regions like the US. The rear dual camera setup is identical to the Galaxy S9+, apart from a change in orientation, featuring with a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. On the front too, the Galaxy Note 9’s identical to the Galaxy S9+, with a 8-megapixel autofocus camera. The company is touting features like a scene optimiser, flaw detection, HDR and live focus modes, and an AR Emoji feature. A fingerprint sensor sits below the rear cameras, and the smartphone supports wireless charging. The Galaxy Note 9 also has an AKG-tuned embedded street speaker, and features a Bluetooth-powered S Pen stylus with new features like remote control camera shutter and presentation control, amongst others.

 

At the New York event, Samsung also launched the Galaxy Watch smartwatch, which runs its Tizen-based Wearable OS 4.0. It will be available in both Bluetooth and LTE variants, and two sizes – 42mm and 46mm. The company is touting up to 80 hours of battery life, MIL-STD-810 rating for durability, and an IP68-rating for dust and water resistance. The Galaxy Home – a smart speaker competitor to the Apple HomePod, Google Home, and Amazon Echo was also shown off.

This week also saw several sales thanks to the occasion of India’s Independence Day next week. Apart from the usual suspects, Amazon and Flipkart, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo also held its own sale, offering the Vivo Nex and the Vivo V9 for as little as Rs. 1,947 during a flash sale. The sale was from August 7 to August 9, and also offered discounts on its more affordable handsets, as well as offers on its accessories.

The Amazon Freedom Sale lasts from August 9 to August 12. Top deals on the site included discounts on Huawei P20 Pro, Huawei P20 Lite, Honor 7X, Honor View 10, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, 10.or G, Sennheiser HD 4.50 SE wireless headphones, TCL 55-inch 4K smart LED TV, Sony 55-inch Bravia KD-55A1 4K OLED smart TV, Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi, Amazon Fire TV Stick, GoPro Hero action camera, GoPro Hero 5 action camera, JBL Cinema SB250 soundbar, Samsung 27-inch curved LED monitor, and the Acer Nitro AN515-51 gaming laptop.

The Flipkart Big Freedom Sale, which is from August 10 to August 12, had several deals, including discounts on the Honor 7A, Google Pixel 2 (64GB), Honor 9 Lite, Honor 10, Honor 9i, Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1, ZenFone 5Z, Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy On6, Lenovo K8 Plus (3GB/32GB), Vivo V9, Oppo A83, LG G7+ ThinQ 128GB, Apple iPad (sixth-generation) 32GB with Wi-Fi, Lenovo Legion K200 gaming keyboard, Kodak XSMART 55-inch 4K smart LED TV, VU Iconium 55-inch 4K smart LED TV, Acer Predator Helios 300 15.6-inch gaming laptop, MSI GF Series 15.6-inch gaming laptop, Apple Watch Series 3 42mm with an aluminium case, Google Home Mini, Google Home, and Chromecast 2. Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 Pro, Mi TV 4, and Mi TV 4A had also gone up for sale on Flipkart, without flash sales.

Things were unusually quiet on the telecom front this week, with only two major plans being launched. Airtel]( unveiled its new Rs. 399 postpaid plan that offers 20GB of additional data for a year. The plan features 20GB 3G/ 4G data per month, with data rollover support up to 200GB. It also offers unlimited local, STD, and roaming calls as well as 100 SMS messages per day for the entire billing cycle. Subscribers can avail the plan by visiting the official Airtel website or through the My Airtel app.

State-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) launched two new ‘Freedom Offer’ recharges ahead of Independence Day . The first is the Rs. 29 BSNL recharge for a week, which offers unlimited voice calls to any network (except Delhi and Mumbai), unlimited data, 100 SMS messages per day, and free PRBT (Personalised Ringback Tone). There is a data FUP to 2GB data per day, post which, speeds will drop to 80Kbps. The BSNL Rs. 9 recharge is a daily pack, with a validity of 1 day, and offers the same benefits as the BSNL Rs. 29 recharge.

Apart from these two offers, it was learnt that DoT had sought views from telecom operators, Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), and others about blocking apps under Section 69A of the IT Act. COAI later in the week reacted to the plan, and said the government should look for “more effective” steps to curb fake news and maintain public order, saying blocking apps is very difficult and may hamper the routine of regular people. Later in the week, TRAI Chairman RS Sharma received a 2-year extension to his post, a day before his term was due to end. His tenure has been extended to September 30, 2020.

Let’s get back to major mobile phone launches and announcements this week. HMD Global launched the Nokia 2.1 Android Go smartphone, and the Nokia 5.1 Android One smartphone in India this week. Alongside, it also launched the 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant of the Nokia 3.1 – to recall, the 2GB/ 16GB storage was launched last month. The Nokia 2.1 is priced at Rs. 6,999 in India for its lone 1GB RAM/ 8GB storage variant, while the Nokia 3.1’s 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant is priced at Rs. 11,999, and the Nokia 5.1’s lone 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage.

Separately, HMD Global sent India launch invites on August 21. The company is expected to launch the Nokia 6.1 Plus, which is the global variant of the Nokia X6 that had been launched in China in May.

The Honor Play was launched in China in June, and has now been launched in India. The smartphone’s 4GB RAM variant is priced at Rs. 19,999, while the 6GB RAM dxdvariant is priced at Rs. 23,999. Both went on sale in India on Monday itself, via Amazon India and the HiHonorStore.

Xiaomi also teased the launch of a new Poco brand, which it claims will concentrate on innovation. The first model, expected to be called the Pocophone F1 as per previous leaks, in the new brand will be focused on speed.

Samsung Galaxy On8, which was launched earlier this month, went on sale for the first time this week. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 16,990, and is available via Flipkart and Samsung’s own online store.

In Samsung related news, the company this week cut the price of its Galaxy J7 Duo handset in the country for the second time since its launch. It is now priced at Rs. 12,990, down from its Rs. 16,990 launch price from April. To recall, the smartphone first saw a price cut to Rs. 13,990 earlier this month.

The Huawei Nova 3i went on sale for the first time in India this week. The smartphone was launched in India last month alongside the Nova 3, and is now available to purchase via Amazon India. The Huawei Nova 3i price in India has been set at Rs. 20,990.

Google this week release the stable version of Android P, called Android 9.0 Pie. The Mountain View firm released the latest version of Android for its Pixel devices, while Essential Phone also got its stable Android 9 Pie update on the same day. Separately, HMD Global announced the final build of Android P Developer Preview 5 (Beta 4) for the Nokia 7 Plus, its smartphone in the Android P Beta programme. HTC announced its list of smartphones that will be receiving the Android P update, as did Sony, and Vivo.

Related to the launch of Android 9.0 Pie was news that Google will use its gesture based navigation feature as its default navigation method, and offer no onscreen navigation controls – though they will remain an option.

Meizu this week launched its new flagship smartphones, the Meizu 16 and the Meizu 16 Plus. The Meizu 16 price starts at CNY 2,698 (roughly Rs. 27,100), while the Meizu 16 Plus price starts at CNY 3,198. Both smartphones run Flyme OS based on Android 8.0 Oreo, and feature 6-inch and a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED panels respectively. They are both powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, with up to 8GB of RAM, a dual rear camera setup with a 12-megapixel primary camera and a 20-megapixel secondary camera, apart from a 20-megapixel front camera. The smartphones also sport 3010mAh and 3640mAh batteries respectively, supports mCharge fast charge technology.

OnePlus this week announced that it will fix a display flickering issue faced by OnePlus 6 users after updating to OxygenOS 5.1.8, with the next update for the smartphone. The issue was seen when adaptive brightness was turned on.

Qualcomm this week launched the Snapdragon 670 SoC that comes as the successor to the Snapdragon 660 SoC. It bears two high performance Kryo 360 CPUs clocked at 2GHz and six efficiency cores of up to 1.7GHz. The SoC also has Adreno 615 GPU and the Spectra 250 ISP that supports up to 25-megapixel resolution for single camera sensors and 16-megapixel for dual camera sensors.

There were several major leaks this week, including the Oppo F9 Pro specifications leak. The Oppo F9 Pro is set to launch in India on August 21, and it is said to a variant of the Oppo F9 – which this week got listed on the company’s official Vietnam site.

The Nokia 5.1 Plus received its Bluetooth SIG certification, which implies an imminent launch. The smartphone expected to be the global variant of the Nokia X5, similar to how the Nokia 6.1 Plus is the global variant of the Nokia X6.

The Google Pixel 3 XL also made its way into the leaks this week, with multiple little reveals that showed the smartphone from all sides, and tipped a 6.7-inch QHD+ display, Snapdragon 845 SoC, 4GB of RAM, a 3,430mAh battery, a 12.2-megapixel rear camera, and an 8.1-megapixel front camera. Wireless charging capabilities were also tipped.

 

The much-anticipated iPhone trio that is due to launch this September was this week leaked into hands-on videos, as well as what appears to be an advertorial leak, tipping that they will be called the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus, and iPhone 9. Both the ‘X’ models are said to sport dual rear camera setups, while the iPhone 9 is said to sport a single camera setup. All three smartphones feature display notches, though of course, the cheaper iPhone 9 is expected to come with a 6.1-inch LCD display instead of the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED displays that the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Pus are expected to sport respectively.

This week, Xiaomi launched the Mi Sports Bluetooth Headset Youth Edition in China, priced at just CNY 99 (roughly Rs. 1,000). Available in both Black and White colour variants, the headset has a 120mAh battery and weighs in at 13.6 grams.

Microsoft this week launched the Surface Book 2 and Surface Laptop in India. Both models were originally unveiled globally in 2017, and run the Windows 10 in S Mode. The price of the Surface Book 2 in India starts at Rs. 1,37,999, and that of the Surface Laptop begins at Rs. 86,999.

Asus launched new variants of its TUF Gaming FX504 gaming laptop in India, featuring up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics. The price in India of the new Asus TUG Gaming FX504 model with is set at Rs. 84,990 for the 8th gen Intel Core i5 variant and Rs. 95,990 for the 8th gen Intel Core i7 model. There is a new model that comes with GTX 1050 that is priced at Rs. 63,990.

 

Samsung this week also launched the Galaxy Tab A 10.5 in its LTE variant, priced a Rs. 29,990. It features a 10.5-inch display, quad speakers powered by Dolby Atmos, and a 7,300mAh battery that promises up to 14.5 hours of video playback.

In other news this week, WhatsApp officially completed the rollout of its newly instated forward messaging limits in India, in a bid to curb fake news – something the company has been battling in country, with the messaging service seen to be used as a conduit to propagate mass violence. The limit earlier this week made it to iPhone users.

The Facebook-owned messaging service also began testing a revamped reporting layout for Android beta users, giving users more options to deal with unwanted messages. The company’s new Report dialogue now contains the option to directly block the reported party, and delete all messages from the contact. The same feature extends to when users are reporting groups. The feature is being tested in Android beta v2.18.246, and can be expected to make its way to stable Android and iPhone versions after testing is complete.

Separately, Israel-based security research firm CheckPoint this week said it had found a vulnerability in WhatsApp that would allow hackers to modify and send fake messages, in both groups and private conversations. WhatsApp however played down the concern, saying, “We carefully reviewed this issue and it’s the equivalent of altering an email to make it look like something a person never wrote.”

Fortnite – the outrageously popular game from Epic Games that is available on iPhone, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC – this week finally made its way to Android. After revealing last week that the game would not be made available via Google Play, Epic Games this week made the closed Android beta of the app available, starting exclusively for Samsung Galaxy users – something it announced at the Galaxy Note 9 launch event. The exclusivity has expired already, and users of other eligible smartphones can now install the game – though they still need the invite to play it.

 

Popular football simulator franchise, Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), released the demo of its latest instalment – PES 2019. We reviewed the demo, and found it showed the franchise was leaning back towards realism, lacked all the right tools as it makes those steps. We do however look forward to seeing how the other aspects of the game – those not available in the demo – stack up.

Flipkart’s acquisition by Walmart received the approval of Competition Commission of India (CCI) this week. The move was opposed by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which said the acquisition would create unfair competition and drive local convenience stores out of business. CAIT said it would move the court against CCI’s decision.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 First Impressions

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 First Impressions

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was officially unveiled in New York on Thursday. The newest member of the Galaxy Note series packs a massive 4,000mAh battery and the series’ biggest display yet. The Galaxy Note 9 launch comes at a time when Samsung desperately needs a hit. By the company’s own admissions, sales of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ have been less than flattering, and all eyes will now be on how the Galaxy Note 9 is received by fans.

While the “reasonable price” promise that was made by the company just days before the launch event wasn’t fulfilled when the US price of the smartphone was revealed on Thursday, the Galaxy Note 9 price in India is good news. The smartphone will launch in India at a starting price of Rs. 67,900, which is the same as its predecessor at launch, as Samsung looks to reclaim some of the market share it has lost in the country’s premium smartphone segment.

The big differentiator of the Galaxy Note series has always been its support for the S Pen stylus. Over the years, Samsung has added more capabilities to the S Pen, and with the Galaxy Note 9 the biggest changes are the direct result of adding Bluetooth support. Yes, the S Pen now comes with an embedded Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module, which makes it more than just a stylus; it has been turned into a remote that can be used to control your smartphone.

So, for example, you can use the S Pen to control video playback in the YouTube app, or move between images in the Gallery app. You can even use it to control a presentation, moving back and forth between slides. But the feature that will perhaps find the widest appeal is the ability to use the S Pen as a trigger to click pictures, or switch between the front and rear cameras. We tested this feature on the Galaxy Note 9 during some hands-on time ahead of the launch, and it worked as advertised.

Apart from the S Pen, the other big draw of the Galaxy Note series has been the big screen. At 6.4 inches, the Galaxy Note 9 packs the biggest display we’ve seen on a member of this family. As has been the case with recent Samsung flagships, the ‘Infinity Display’ on the Galaxy Note 9 is gorgeous, and is definitely one of the highlights of the smartphone.

With that said, as the average display size of all smartphones has increased in recent years, the Galaxy Note devices no longer hold the same exclusive appeal. Not many smartphone manufacturers used to venture into Galaxy Note territory as far as size is concerned, but that hasn’t been true for a long time.

This is one of the reasons for which many have questioned the future of the Galaxy Note series, but by giving the S Pen additional features, Samsung seems to be doubling down on its commitment to the device, at least for now. To further enhance its appeal, Samsung has packed a host of other features and improvements into the Galaxy Note 9, most notably a 4,000mAh battery, which is 21 percent bigger than one of its predecessor.

As far as other specifications are concerned, the Galaxy Note 9 will be powered by the Snapdragon 845 SoC (2.8GHz + 1.7GHz) in markets like the US, while countries like India will receive the Exynos 9810 (2.7GHz + 1.7GHz) version. Samsung has announced two variants of the smartphone – one with 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 128GB of storage, and the other with 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 512GB of storage. The built-in storage can be supplemented with a microSD card of up to 512GB capacity.

At the back, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a dual-camera setup with OIS on both sensors similar to what we saw on the Galaxy Note 8. The wide-angle super-speed dual-pixel 12-megapixel (f/1.5-f/2.4) autofocus primary rear camera is paired with a telephoto 12-megapixel (f/2.4) autofocus secondary camera that gives you 2x optical zoom and up to 10x digital zoom. On the front, you get an 8-megapixel (f/1.7) autofocus sensor.

Samsung has packed in a host of new software features. The Camera app’s new scene optimiser can automatically detect 20 different types of scenes and apply settings that are optimal to the conditions. Samsung is also claiming improved HDR and live focus in low light conditions.

samsung galaxy note 9 flaw detection gadgets 360 full Galaxy Note 9
Perhaps most interestingly, the Galaxy Note 9 now has enhanced “flaw detection” that is capable of detecting typical conditions that ‘ruin’ an image, such as someone blinking at the wrong time, image blurs, lens smudges, and even strong light behind the subject. We saw Samsung demo a scenario where the Camera app highlighted that “someone may have blinked” after an image was clicked, letting you carry on regardless or take a fresh image.

Samsung is also touting a bunch of Bixby improvements with the Galaxy Note 9, but it will be interesting to see how many of these will actually be available in India.

In terms of design, the Galaxy Note 9 looks a lot like its predecessor, though it’s marginally wider, thicker, and heavier than the Galaxy Note 8. We look forward to seeing how that impacts us in day-to-day usage, especially considering we highlighted the weight of the Galaxy Note 8 as a problem in our review.

Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for a full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 AI Camera Features Leaked, S Pen to Come in Colour Options

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 AI Camera Features Leaked, S Pen to Come in Colour Options

S Pen will come in different colour options and Samsung will sell them separately

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Camera app in Galaxy Note 9 to get some AI features
  • Samsung to sell S Pen separately
  • S Pen comes with a finer tip and supports 4,096 levels of pressure

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will get unveiled this week, but with all the rumours that have been surfacing on the Web, we probably know what to expect from the smartphone. Besides all the leaks, the Galaxy Note 9 has also been showcased in several teasers released by Samsung itself. However, leaks are still pouring in tipping the expected specifications and features of the upcoming handset. A recent leak has suggested that the Galaxy Note 9 will have AI-based features. Samsung will also reportedly give early Galaxy Note 9 buyers a choice between the AKG Y50 Bluetooth wireless headphones and 15000 Fortnite V-Bucks. Additionally, a leak has also suggested the features of the S Pen stylus that will reportedly also be sold standalone by Samsung.

As per a post by a tipster on Reddit, citing an unnamed Samsung trainer, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will come with AI-based features that will be able to optimise the camera based on the subject detected, such as landscape, portrait, food, and more. The new camera is also said to have speech bubbles that pop out if it detects an image having any imperfections such as “blurriness, eyes blinking, and hand shaking too much.”

According to the Reddit user, pre-order offers on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 include wireless noise-cancelling headphones from AKG worth $299 or the Fortnite package. Also, buyers would be given the option to get both if they pay $100, the user added. This piece of information has been reaffirmed by an image of Galaxy Note 9 Value Pack retail box shared by Dutch site Techtastic. The retail box includes the AKG headphones along with a car mount.

The leaks suggest that the S Pen stylus in Galaxy Note 9 will let users double tap a button to flip camera mode via by doubling as a remote shutter. Also, the S Pen will be able to deliver up to 30 minutes of use by charging for just 40 seconds. Also, the leak suggests that S Pen will come in different colour options and Samsung will separately sell different colour styli. However, there is no information on the pricing. The colour of the stylus is also said to determine the colour of the on-screen memo font.

Also, when it comes to Samsung Dex, the Galaxy Note 9 will reportedly be able to enter Dex mode without a dock, just by using a USB Type-C to HDMI cable. The display of the Galaxy Note 9 will be 6.4-inch but the footprint of the smartphone will remain the same as the Galaxy Note 8, the Reddit user added.

Meanwhile, a new report has hinted at the features of the S Pen stylus that will arrive with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. As per a WinFuture report, the S Pen will get Bluetooth support, a feature that has been suggested in leaks multiple times. The report says that the button at the top of the stylus can now be used for the first time as a remote control for the smartphone. The report claims that the S Pen can be used to trigger images, remotely control presentations, or even operate other apps without having to touch the handset itself. The images leaked in the report suggest that the stylus comes with a finer tip and now supports 4,096 levels of pressure for a very precise control over your drawings or hand-written messages.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
Display6.40-inch
Processor1.8GHz octa-core
Front CameraYes
Resolution1440x2960 pixels
RAM6GB
OSAndroid 8.1
Rear CameraYes
Battery Capacity4000mAh
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