New Samsung patent shows off a phone that unfolds into a tablet (with bonus Apple cameo)

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has just published an application from Samsung (via 9to5Mac) that attempts to patent a foldable electronic device. It’s likely that one of the examples depicted in the application represents the company’s upcoming foldable smartphone, dubbed Project Valley.

First revealed by SamMobile, the so-called Project V (thus named to reflect the shape of the handset in mid-fold) goes by model number SM-G929F, just one digit higher than the SM-G928F Galaxy S6 edge+. While several foldable and rollable configurations are shown in the patent application, the one most frequently depicted is a horizontal clamshell whose single fold opens in the same manner as a book or magazine.

It’s not clear, however, how the screens will be oriented on the handset itself; either the device will fold in such a manner that the two halves of the screen are touching when closed, or in the opposite configuration, where the screens both face outward at all times. A 2014 concept video created for Samsung utilizes the former configuration, wherein the display is completely protected when folded over itself.

Also of note in the patent application, due mostly to irony, is the inclusion of an iPod icon, of all things, on one of the diagrams. While Samsung and Apple maintain a business relationship with respect to component production, Cupertino also famously sued its partner in several jurisdictions over alleged patent infringement regarding several proprietary iPhone technologies.

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According to SamMobile, Valley will be sold in several European countries (the U.K., Germany, Italy, France, Poland) and Nordic nations, as well as its homeland of South Korea. A U.S. release, however, does not seem to be in the cards. The last experimental handset launched by Samsung, 2013’s curved Galaxy Round, never made it outside of the Korean market.

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Oculus VR will have a ‘special announcement’ at ‘The Game Awards’

Oculus doesn't need to convince GamesBeat's Dean Takahashi that VR works. He's seen it!


We may learn a little bit more about the Oculus Rift later this week.

Oculus VR is going to make a “special announcement” this Thursday during The Game Awards, which is an annual livestreaming show that attempts to recognize excellence in game development. Imaging the MTV Video Music Awards but with more polygons and digital punching. In addition to highlighting some of the best games from 2015, The Game Awards will also have musical performances from Chvrches and promos for next year’s big games. But, at some point between all that, the company that is ushering in our virtual future will take the stage to talk about … something. The Rift virtual-reality head-mounted display, which makes you feel like you’re really in a video game world, is coming in the first quarter of next year. Fans are expecting to hear specific details about price and a release date for that device soon. But we’ll have to tune into the show to see if that’s what Oculus is going to reveal.

The Game Awards goes live on Twitch and YouTube this Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific. Gaming personality Geoff Keighley hosts the event, and he has lined up some new “World Exclusives” for your thirsty eyeballs.


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Check out the trailer for the trailers (and awards):

We don’t really know what to expect from Oculus. The company has enough money — thanks to its parent company Facebook — to throw its own event to announce a date and price. But it could still talk about those details on Thursday. The Game Awards will reach a specific audience of early adopters in the gaming space that could represent the first wave of customers to embrace the Rift headset.

If Oculus does announce a pricing and a release date, that’ll make it the first of the big three VR companies to do so. HTC and Valve have their Vive headset that is still supposed to come out in some way before the end of the year — although, as we wrote recently, that is looking less and less likely. And Sony is making the PlayStation VR. That PS4 peripheral is due out in the “first half” of 2016, and we will probably learn a little bit more about it during the PlayStation Experience this Saturday.

Of course, the Oculus announcement could have nothing to do with any of this. Maybe company founder Palmer Luckey will take the stage to reveal he has seen a future where virtual reality has destroyed civilization so he is retiring early to raise goats on a farm in the countryside. It could happen!

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This is what a National Security Letter looks like

The National Security Letter sent to Calyx's Nicholas Merrill, in different degrees of redaction.


In 2004, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a National Security Letter (NSL) to a New York Internet service provider called Calyx. It’s a type of governmental information request became much more common as a result of the passing of the USA Patriot Act in 2001, just after September 11.

All this time, this specific NSL — and hundreds of thousands of others — has been under wraps thanks to a gag order. But today this document is publicly available for the first time, following U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero’s decision to lift the gag order in September.

The document, which was sent to obtain information about a specific Calyx subscriber, is impressive in its scope. It shows the FBI searching for the subscriber’s name, account opening date, web service screen names, purchase records for the past 180 days, physical addresses, email addresses, a “radius log,” and “any other information which you consider to be an electronic communication transactional record.” (See the image above for more types of information the FBI sought.)

Many contemporary technology companies have received NSLs. Last year Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo went to court to try to get the federal government to allow them to disclose the number of NSLs they receive. LinkedIn and Twitter, among others, have also received NSLs.

Hat tip to Ars Technica for reporting on the document. The Yale Law School and the American Civil Liberties Union have more on the case.

50% of adults shop on smartphones while browsing a store

shopping mobile marketing


Half of all adult shoppers conduct product research on mobile devices while shopping in physical stores, according to the results of a new study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The practice is called “showrooming,” and its especially popular among younger consumers. The IAB defines showrooming as “comparing prices on a mobile device while in a retail store before purchasing.”

The study found that shoppers usually end up buying a product in a physical store after researching it on mobile while in store, but it is often not the same physical store where the mobile research began. The next most likely scenario is to buy the product from another store’s website after leaving the store, using either a mobile phone or a personal computer.

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The 18-34 crowd, or Millennials, behave differently than other shoppers, however. More than two thirds of shoppers in that age range engage in showrooming, and they’re more likely to buy the product at a competing store than other shoppers, the study found. Older shoppers are more likely to buy at the same store after checking prices on a mobile device.

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The IAB study also confirmed some more general behavior patterns among mobile shoppers.

Millennials, the report says, are more likely to make purchases on smartphones than any other group. Forty-three percent said they do so. Consumers in other age groups are still more likely to make purchases on a tablet (35%) than on a smartphone (28%).


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“With the holiday shopping season in full swing, consumers are turning to smartphones and tablets throughout the gift-buying process,” said Anna Bager, VP and general manager of mobile and video at IAB.

“This report spotlights contrasts in how different generations shop on digital – significant differences that need to be considered in brand marketers’ strategies,” Bager said.

The results come from an October 2015 online survey of 7276 respondents, and another annual survey of 16,228 respondents, the IAB says.