How to be a human being in the comments: A refresher

So it has been a long time since we last posted comments guidelines and standards. To put it in perspective, the last time we talked comments with y’all, the iPhone 5 hadn’t been released, Android fans were using Jelly Bean and Facebook had just gone public. A lot can change in the course of nearly five years, but one thing that’s remained constant is our dedication to our readers. To that end, we wanted to take a minute to answer some questions, explain some features and, frankly, lay down the law when it comes to the comments section and our social channels. Pull up a chair and read on to find out what you need to know about Engadget’s comments and community.

Why do we have a comments section?

Comments sections get a bad rap: Everyone is familiar with the adage “Don’t read the comments,” and that didn’t become a common refrain because comments sections are full of hugs and puppies. Even so, there are some genuinely interesting conversations happening in our comments section, from personal experiences with gadgets to incredibly technical explanations of hardware, and we’re often impressed by what you have to say.

We have a comments section because we sincerely enjoy having a place for our readers to discuss the articles we write — and our readers often provide us with insights that add to the story, shed light on new angles or help us update the facts in the post. Many of rely on the comments for additional information and alternative opinions, all while many other publications have opted to shutter their comments sections (or just use Facebook). We’ve kept ours open because it’s valuable to you as readers, which makes it important for us too.

While the rules of internet interactions naturally vary from one website to another (and in some cases are unclear), we took the time to rethink our guidelines and have laid out a detailed policy on what does and doesn’t fly here.

Commenting basics: features and functions

First, a few technical details. While the basics of logging in and posting a comment are largely the same as they’ve always been, there are a few handy features in our current system that are worth highlighting.

Editing and deleting. The options to edit or delete your comment can be found in a drop-down menu; the arrow for the drop-down menu appears when you mouse over the upper-right area of your comment. (Mousing over the upper-right of someone else’s comment will allow you to report that comment; more on that below.)

All links require approval. This means that any comment containing a URL will be held in “pending” until it has been approved by a moderator. Moderators will refuse comments with links that are broken or that direct to spammy or inappropriate content. We know the delay in approving comments with links isn’t ideal, but it helps keep a large amount of spam from getting through. Also, please don’t resubmit a link over and over again; each one will still wind up in pending.

Banned words. We have a list of banned words that will automatically remove a comment. No, you cannot see this list — but we will tell you that it largely consists of insults, swears and name-calling-type stuff. Any comment with an f-bomb is going to get pulled (no matter how you spell it), but we’re pretty lax about the other “blue” words as long as you’re not swearing at somebody.

Notifications. If you do not want to get an email notification when other commenters like your comment, reply to your comments or mention (@) you, you can disable all of that in your profile settings. (You can access settings by clicking your username next to the alert bell.)

Commenting basics: behavior

There is pretty much one golden rule here, and it’s “don’t be a jerk.” Please, don’t be rude or mean or nasty. We appreciate that you care about these topics and our stories (hey, we care too). But no matter how fired up the discussion, please be civil.

Don’t jump down people’s throat because they made a mistake or disagree with you. Don’t be insulting. Don’t call people names. Don’t make personal attacks. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Try not to jump to conclusions or make assumptions. Have some patience and compassion; everyone comes here to be a part of the community. No one comes here to be ridiculed or belittled. Treat your fellow community members and the Engadget staff with respect. Be nice, and if you can’t be nice, then at least be tolerant.

There’s a comment that is offensive. What can I do?

Please report it! The “report” button can be found on any comment by mousing over the upper-right corner of that comment; a drop-down arrow will appear, and from there you can select the “report” button to alert our staff. (We don’t currently have tools for community moderators, but we haven’t ruled out the idea.)

Every comment that’s reported to us is vetted by moderators; we delete those that we deem inappropriate or feel are in violation of our guidelines. Rest assured, we will not delete comments just because they’re argumentative or because someone has a different opinion than you. For more details on why comments get deleted, see the list below.

There’s a problem with the article

Every single writer and editor for Engadget does their best to produce stories that are clearly written, concise and informative, not to mention error free. However, every writer and editor at Engadget is also a fallible human being capable of making the occasional misstep. If you see a mistake in an article, be it a typo, an imprecise technical detail or a broken link, please do us a solid and let us know (because we’d obviously like to fix it!). You can holler at us by adding #articleerror to your comment, which will flag your comment for our moderators.

There’s a problem with the comments section

If, however, you are experiencing a problem with the comments system or functionality itself, then please let us know by emailing us with as much detail as possible at commentsupport@engadget.com, so we can alert the developers.

Comment deletion

We prefer to keep a light hand when moderating, but there are still several reasons we might remove your comment. Here are some of the most common reasons for deletion.

  • Spam of any kind (human or robot) is always deleted. Trying to sell something in the comments, pitching us about your product or repeatedly posting discount links and referral codes all count as spam. Posting the same comment over and over again also constitutes spamming.
  • We don’t currently ban all swearing by default, but all f-bombs are going to get caught automatically by the banned-words filter. Profanity directed at another person — be it a commenter or staff member — will pretty much always be deleted.
  • Comments that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic or otherwise hateful will be removed. Suggestions that someone is mentally ill, disturbed or should “take their meds” will be removed. (Let’s just assume everyone’s already taken their meds, OK?)
  • Any comment that contains a threat, that threatens violence or that encourages self-harm or violence toward someone will be deleted. Comments that threaten other commenters or staff members will result in that member being banned from the community.
  • Name-calling. Perhaps unsurprisingly, name-calling in a comments thread does not encourage a positive response. You should be able to have a conversation without resorting to name-calling — and that includes Engadget’s writers and staff members. Our banned-words filter will automatically pull comments with a variety of ruder terms, so keep it classy.
  • You’re just slagging on us. If all you have to contribute to the conversation is how much we suck, are biased, don’t deserve our jobs, can’t perform our jobs, are shills and/or have been bought out by Apple/Samsung/Microsoft/Google, then don’t be shocked if your comment disappears (or, in extreme cases, if you are banned altogether). We’re perfectly willing to hear constructive criticism, but we are also under no obligation to let you insult us without merit.
  • Comments that are unnecessarily political, polarizing or incendiary are at risk for removal. Please don’t jump into a thread just to say things to incite other people or tick them off; that’s pretty trolly (and boring). Please don’t make generalizations or stereotypes to draw conclusions about another commenter (i.e., “all you millennials/liberals/Trump voters”).
  • We reserve the right to delete comments that are off topic. This includes comments that complain about comments being closed on another story; hijacking the thread to a different article only reinforces the feeling that we were right to keep comments closed on the initial article.

In short, we want the comments section to be like an interesting conversation happening in a college classroom: thoughtful, respectful, insightful, funny and interesting. What we don’t want is a comments section that’s like a fight on a kindergarten playground: pushy, mean, spiteful and requiring adult intervention.

We want our comments section to be a place where our readers and staff can interact civilly, learn from one another and participate in an awesome community. And as much as we know some of you like to break out the popcorn and watch the fanboy fights, that’s not really the kind of community we’re looking to host.

Articles without comments

Here’s the real deal, straight up: We are not required to have a comments section on Engadget. Likewise, we’re not obligated to have comments open on every article. While we strongly prefer to give the benefit of the doubt and leave comments open on all stories, there are going to be some instances where it makes more sense to leave comments closed.

Our desire to leave comments open comes down to a number of factors, including the proportion of comments that have violated our rules or guidelines, how many moderators are available and how contentious the comments section has gotten on articles on similar topics. A closed comments section is not an invitation to call us names, hijack other threads or otherwise pout about it. We don’t want to close comments and will only do so when absolutely necessary. Please respect that and know that the best way to make sure comments sections stay open is to treat one another respectfully and follow our guidelines.

“This is just censorship and you’re afraid of hearing feedback”

This is a common complaint we hear when we delete comments or close comments sections. And to this we have to say: Nah, man. Let’s be clear about this: Commenting on our site is not a right of law passed down to you in the Constitution, and Engadget’s comments section is not an open forum where you can say whatever you please. Engadget is a news site and a business, which along with its parent company, AOL, allows commenting in order to further the discussion, engage our readers and let interested parties have a good time. Commenting here is a privilege, not a right, and if you must be nasty, well, then … it’s a big internet and you can do that on your own website. And to be frank, if we really didn’t want to hear feedback from our readers, we wouldn’t have a comments section at all.

Banning

If you create a user history of trolling, harassment or offensive behavior, or if you only visit our comments section to act like a total jerk, congratulations! You will get banned. That means your user name, email and potentially IP address will all be barred from our system and you will no longer be able to comment.

What do we mean by “trolling, harassment or offensive behavior”? Hate speech of any kind is always unacceptable. If you just dropped by to say something nasty concerning someone’s race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability or age, don’t be surprised when you find your privileges revoked. If your only purpose in life is to comment on all of our articles to tell us how much we suck and deserve to be fired, then bye, Felicia. If you can’t seem to have a discussion without attacking another commenter, using insults, calling people names or cursing at someone, then you’re outta here. If at any point you threaten another user or an editor with any form of physical violence or encourage them to commit acts of self-harm, you are no longer welcome here.

In conclusion

We know that the comments section has been through a lot of bumps and bruises over the past few years, and we’re dedicated to making upgrades and changes that will improve the experience for all of our users. You can help make the comments a better place by observing our guidelines and reporting comments that show disregard for our community. We don’t want Engadget to be just another site where people “don’t read the comments” — we want the comments to be a reason to come to Engadget.
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Merriam-Webster’s idea of ‘sheeple’ are Apple fanboys

I’ll admit it: I’m an unabashed Apple fanboy. I spent far too much on a Macbook Pro with specs that would cost half as much in the Windows world, I love my pair of ridiculous-looking and easily misplaced AirPods and I may or may not have a box full of old Newtons and Mac 512K parts. There’s a term for folks like me, and Merriam-Webster just made it official: “Sheeple.” The dictionary’s editors just added the term, calling out its sick burn to Apple fans in a tweet.


The new entry says that sheeple are those “people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced: People likened to sheep.” Which sounds fine until you read the final contextual sentence. “Apple’s debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone — an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $ 99 for.” This lovely quote comes from CNN’s Doug Criss back in 2015 as part of his “5 Things” column. Thanks, Doug. The word sheeple itself, though, has been in use since 1945, according to the dictionary page.

Merriam-Webster’s Twitter account has become a surprise hit with the shade it keeps throwing at Trump and his administration. It’s subtweeted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ use of the word “historical,” confronted Kellyanne Conway’s use of “alternative facts” and schooled Sean Spicer with an explanation tweet defining “claquer,” or a group of people paid to applaud a speaker.

Being a fan of Apple’s well-designed consumer devices isn’t too tough a row to hoe, of course, but it is a little grating to know that even the dictionary thinks you’re too easily influenced by Apple’s shiny gadgets. I’ll just have to console myself by grabbing one of those neat Smart Battery Cases.

Via: MacRumors

Source: Mirriam-Webster/Twitter

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Apple and Qualcomm’s license dispute is getting nasty

Qualcomm’s ongoing legal dispute with Apple today took a new turn after the chipmaker accused its device-making partner of further withholding patent royalties. According to a statement, Apple recently stopped paying licensing revenue to manufacturers of the iPhone because it believes it’s been overpaying for important 3G and 4G patents.

The legal battle started back in January when Apple sued Qualcomm for $ 1 billion for “abusing its clout” in the industry. Because the semiconductor giant enjoys a monopoly over important modem chips that connect devices to cellular or WiFi networks, it’s required to licence them under “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” terms. Apple argues it hasn’t done that, going as far as to claim that Qualcomm charges five times more than all of its other licensors combined.

Qualcomm hasn’t taken the issue lightly. Earlier this month, it responded to Apple’s lawsuits with one of its own, accusing the iPhone-maker of underutilizing its modem chips in the iPhone 7 and misrepresenting the performance disparity between Qualcomm basebands and those of its rivals.

Now, Apple is holding back money it owes to manufacturers of the iPhone. Qualcomm, for the most part, directly licenses its patents with partners, but Apple does things a little differently and pays partners like Foxconn that have their own agreements. It now expects to get no royalties during its current quarter.

“Apple is improperly interfering with Qualcomm’s long-standing agreements with Qualcomm’s licensees,” said Don Rosenberg, EVP and general counsel of Qualcomm. “These license agreements remain valid and enforceable. While Apple has acknowledged that payment is owed for the use of Qualcomm’s valuable intellectual property, it nevertheless continues to interfere with our contracts. Apple has now unilaterally declared the contract terms unacceptable; the same terms that have applied to iPhones and cellular-enabled iPads for a decade.”

The move has forced Qualcomm to amend financial estimates it published only last week. The company now sees third quarter revenue reaching between $ 4.8 billion and $ 5.6 billion, instead of $ 5.3 billion to $ 6.1 billion.

Source: Qualcomm (PDF)

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Google iOS search now finds streaming movies, music and TV

Finding streaming content on your iPhone is getting easier. Google announced on Wednesday that the newest update to its search app on iOS devices will enable users to find TV shows, movies and songs on streaming services. That includes iTunes, Hulu, Amazon Video, Google Play, YouTube and Spotify.

The feature, which is already available on Android and the desktop, displays the icons of streaming services that currently offer the content you’re searching for. So, for example, if you look for Zootopia, the app will pop the “Knowledge Box” at the top of the search results. Below the screenshots, movie ratings and synopsis, you’ll now find links to Netflix, Hulu and wherever else it’s streaming. The same goes for music, though you’ll find links to Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora instead. The app will also show how much you’ll have to pay to rent or buy the content.

It’s not a huge addition, but a helpful one. As mobile culture moves from surfing the web to working within apps, this new feature will help users find what they’re looking for more efficiently, regardless of which service the content resides on.

Source: TechCrunch

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It looks like Apple is resurrecting its Venmo competitor

Apple began considering its own peer-to-peer payment system back in 2015. Since then, however, nothing seems to have come of it. Today, however, Recode reports that Apple is again in negotiations to launch its own money-transfer system to rival competing services like PayPal’s wildly popular Venmo. Apple’s new service, likely a feature for Apple Pay, could enable you to send money to a friend’s iPhone from your own.

Apple Pay is doing well for the tech giant, but extending its influence into the peer-to-peer space could encourage more consumers to actually use it. Mobile payments between peers are hot right now, with companies like PayPal, Square, and even Facebook getting into the act. While businesses like Square aren’t making much from peer-to-peer payment systems, the ease of sending money to friends and local service providers is bound to become more ubiquitous as more people try it out. Venmo itself continues to grow rapidly, with a reported $ 6.8 billion in transactions through its app. US banks have also launched their own competing service, Zelle, thereby cutting out third-party middlemen.

While one source told Recode that Apple may announce its new payment service this year, another noted that the launch date and announcement may not be set as of yet. Whatever the timeline for the new Apple service, having the ability to pay rent or split a dinner bill with just your iPhone could be just the thing to convince many of us to use it.

Source: Recode

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Samsung’s chip business kept things looking up to start 2017

Samsung’s Q1 2017 earnings are in, showing the company’s highest quarterly profit since Q3 2013. That’s despite the Galaxy Note 7 recall, and a markdown in the price of its Galaxy Note 7, apparently because the company’s chip business (making memory, processors and camera sensors for phones) is booming. As a company, it brought home the $ 8.75 billion in operating profit expected, and looks forward to better results next quarter, since it will include sales of the new Galaxy S8 phones.

On a call with reporters, execs reaffirmed that reports of a reddish tint on some S8s are a “natural difference” in the OLED technology that it will let users tweak after a software update. Samsung also mentioned “the launch of a new flagship smartphone in the second half,” but didn’t tag the Galaxy Note name to whatever that presumably large-screened device will be. It also did not play into any expectations for an OLED iPhone that it could supply screens for, simply saying that “YoY revenue growth in the OLED business is forecast on the back of increased flexible panel shipments in the second half.”

Source: Samsung

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Apple sees its redesigned retail stores as community spaces

Apple’s retail stores have long had a social side. You might not visit just to hang out, but the combination of free workshops and an abundance of connected devices gives you a reason to stay besides gawking at the latest products… if just to check up on Facebook. And now, Apple is banking on that social aspect as a selling point. The company is both redesigning its 100 largest stores and launching new “Today at Apple” workshops to turn its stores into community spaces of sorts. The shops are still very much geared toward sales, but you’ll have more reasons to swing by on a frequent basis.

The bigger stores are now changing their Genius Bars into “Genius Groves,” complete with lines of trees. We doubt the flora will help you feel better when your iPhone is broken, but they’re at least more inviting. You’ll also see new conference and meeting spaces alongside new video screens.

The workshops, meanwhile, revolve around new in-store Creative Pros who host free sessions based around Apple tools and Apple-friendly devices. There are 90-minute Studio Hours that let you bring in your own project for advice (or simply work outside of your usual space), music and photography labs, a Kids’ Hour with programmable Sphero robots and pro-specific sessions. You’ll even see photo and sketch walks that take you outside of the store. All stores are getting new mobile screens to help present “Today at Apple” sessions, as well as the seating and sound systems to match.

The new workshops will be available by the end of May. As for the larger stores’ upgrades? That’s likely to vary by location, but it’ll likely be impossible to miss.

Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts tells CBS that this isn’t so much a reinvention as a logical extension of what the tech giant has already been doing in its stores. And yes, she imagines that people might soon decide to meet at Apple instead of the nearby coffee shop. That may be a tad optimistic when the workshops are clearly tailored to rookies and niche pros. However, the shift is still important — it suggests that Apple will fight retail competition from Microsoft and even Amazon by turning stores into regular destinations rather than strictly functional shopping hubs. If you keep coming back, after all, it increases the odds that you’ll buy an iPhone or Mac for your next tech upgrade.

Via: The Verge

Source: Apple, CBS

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Samsung’s Galaxy S8 hits sales records despite the Note 7’s flameout

As Samsung was readying the Galaxy S8, everyone wondered if the company would be able to recover from the disastrous, exploding Note 7. From a pure quality of hardware perspective, the S8 appears to be a home run — as long as nothing unexpected happens. The other question is whether customers would reject Samsung after the hit it took last year, but it sounds like that hasn’t happened: Samsung says that pre-orders for the S8 and S8+ were the best it has ever seen.

Specifically, the company says that pre-sales for the two devices were up 30 percent compared to the Galaxy S7 pre-orders from 2016. Samsung said the S7 was the previous best launch it had, but now that title is held by the company’s latest smartphone. Of course, Samsung isn’t giving us any hard numbers so it’s hard to say just how well this launch went compared to how the iPhone 7 went last fall, for example. But in July, Samsung will report its quarterly financials — and we’ll get a better idea of how the S8’s launch affected the company’s bottom line then.

In the meantime, Galaxy S8 owners will have a software update to keep an eye out for. It’s a fix for the first little bug to plague the phone: a screen that looks to be more red-tinted than most would like. Samsung confirmed there’s nothing wrong with the phone’s screen and said that a software update adjusting the screen’s color calibration will be coming this week.

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Apple threatened to drop Uber’s app over iPhone tracking (updated)

Uber is no stranger to trouble, but it may have landed in some especially hot water two years ago. New York Times sources claim that Apple CEO Tim Cook held a face-to-face meeting in early 2015 to call out Uber’s Travis Kalanick (and threaten to remove his app from the App Store) after learning that Uber was not only violating iOS app privacy guidelines, but was trying to cover it up. Reportedly, the ridesharing outfit had been “fingerprinting” iPhones with permanent identities so that it could prevent drivers from cheating by creating fake accounts and accepting rides from these bogus customers. The IDs would last even after the app was deleted or the entire phone was wiped. While this helped keep drivers honest, it was clearly a privacy violation — and it was made worse by Uber’s bid to hide the tracking from App Store reviewers.

Reportedly, Kalanick told staff to “obfuscate” the Uber app’s fingerprinting code for anyone operating from Apple’s current headquarters in Cupertino. As far as the people at Infinite Loop could see, it was business as usual. However, the trick didn’t work for long. Apple workers outside of the headquarters eventually spotted the shady behavior, leading to the meeting with Kalanick. The approach isn’t that uncommon for Uber (it recently admitted that it used location-based techniques to fool regulators), but it’s particularly brazen given the risk of being dropped from the App Store and losing millions of customers.

Apple isn’t commenting on the meeting with Cook, and we’ve reached out to Uber for its take on the allegations. However, it’s safe to say that Uber would like to leave an issue like this in the past. The company is trying to turn a corner, and Kalanick himself is looking for a second-in-command to keep his boundary-pushing tendencies in check. This revelation certainly won’t help matters, though. It reinforces the notion that Uber is all too willing to break rules in the name of money, even if it’s motivated by honest concerns like fraud.

Update: Uber has responded to Engadget, and maintains that its staff “absolutely do not” track individual users after they’ve deleted the app. The company adds that fingerprinting is a “typical way” of preventing people from using stolen phones for joyrides, and otherwise thwarting “known bad actors.” You can read the full statement below. It’s good to hear that the company isn’t tracking people, but the heart of the story revolves around hardware fingerprints — those still violated Apple’s privacy guidelines, even if Uber couldn’t definitively associate phones with specific customers.

“We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they’ve deleted the app. As the New York Times story notes towards the very end, this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone—over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users’ accounts. Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users.”

Source: New York Times

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With the Galaxy S8, Samsung grabs the smartphone design crown

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit my bias right up front: I have never liked Samsung’s smartphones. The Galaxy and Note series have both been wildly successful — so much so that they basically cemented Samsung’s status as Apple’s equal in the smartphone war, at least here in the US. But the cheap plastic design and overwrought software found in early Galaxy devices turned me off, to the point that I thought I’d never take their phones seriously.

When a few colleagues started talking up the Galaxy S8 after an early preview, I remained skeptical. Yes, the company had been taking big steps forward in industrial design over the past two years, but I just couldn’t imagine how something with screens this large could be comfortable. (We all remember the tragedy that was the massive Nexus 6.)

How wrong I was.

Ever since Samsung first unveiled the Galaxy S8 late in March, I’ve had to eat my words. At first, a phone with a tall, 18.5:9 aspect ratio seemed to be a strange design decision, but it was the right one. Despite its massive screen size, the S8 is basically the same width as phones with much smaller displays. Keeping the S8 relatively narrow was probably the most important design decision Samsung made. The S8 measures 68.1mm wide, a scant 1mm wider than the iPhone 7. This size makes using the S8 with one hand absolutely a reasonable prospect, something I didn’t imagine when hearing about a device with a 5.8-inch screen. It’s something you really need to hold to appreciate.

I can’t overstate how that completely changed my view on the S8. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a Large Phone and not everyone will be able to use it comfortably in one hand. The tall aspect ratio also makes reaching UI elements at the top of the display challenging, for sure — getting to the notification pane is trickier than I’d like. But all told, it’s far more useable than I ever expected. (The S8 Plus manages a similar trick, packing a larger screen into a frame that’s basically the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus. It’s not a one-hand device, but it’s still much smaller than it has any right to be.)

Indeed, it’s not just useable — it’s downright enjoyable, more so than any other phone I’ve tried with such a massive screen. There will be some growing pains as app developers adjust to this odd new screen size, but the S8 is both immersive and beautiful. Holding and using the first iPhone was a magical and futuristic experience compared to every other phone that was on the market in 2007. Using the S8 feels the same — it’s the closest we’ve gotten to that sci-fi dream of having a glowing glass slate device to guide us through the universe.

Designing and then manufacturing such a device at scale was likely quite difficult, but it paid off. I’m far from the only one out there who now looks at Samsung as the undisputed hardware design master in the field. Quite a trick, considering most of the media coverage around the company in the last six months has focused on exploding phones. Assuming nothing goes wrong with the S8, I think we can safely say that the company has put its huge misstep behind it.

Even better for Samsung, it now has a good five or six months to bask in the glory. Apple will almost certainly unveil a new iPhone with an overhauled design, and it’s hard to imagine that Google’s next Pixel will keep its surprisingly large bezels, but neither of those phones are expected until the fall. That’s a long time for Samsung to crow about its revolutionary new phone design, and it wouldn’t be surprising if sales ended up reflecting that. Yes, LG’s G6 has a similar bezel-less design, but the fit and finish isn’t quite as excellent, and Samsung has been handily beating LG in terms of smartphone marketshare for a long time now. The S8 will only grow that lead.

Still, the Galaxy S8 isn’t a perfect phone. I’d still vastly prefer the stock Android experience that Google offers on the Pixel, even though the skin formerly known as TouchWiz is now polished and totally usable. Bloatware remains a problem, and Bixby is not at all ready for prime time. Also, what’s up with that fingerprint sensor?

But then again, no smartphone is perfect. And the good news with software issues is that they’re often fixable — particularly when you consider how relatively open and flexible Android has proven to be over the years. Software evolves and changes — but when you buy a phone, you’re usually committing to that hardware for a good two years. For the first time, I’d be willing to make that commitment with a Samsung phone.

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