utg samsung

Samsung confirms Z Flip’s display uses 30 microns thin glass

A foldable glass screen is both something new and somewhat controversial for Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip smartphone. The Z Flip display has been praised for its uniqueness but has also been questioned for its durability.

Many have been wondering what company made the glass or if it’s even glass at all.

It turns out the display business of Samsung has “commercialized” the ultra-thin glass (UTG) for the “cover window” of the smartphone. But Samsung does not make the glass layer itself. Schott, a German company, said it manufactures the glass and Samsung embeds with other layers of the display.

Samsung Display spokesman said that Schott only supplies unprocessed raw materials to them. Samsung Display produces the display for the Galaxy Z Flip, the spokesman added.

Samsung Display announced on late Tuesday that the glass, which is 0.03mm (30 microns) thick, underwent an intensifying process to enhance its durability and flexibility. The company also claimed that the UTG was injected with a “special material up to an undisclosed depth to achieve a consistent hardness.”

samsung z flip on hand

It did not provide additional information about the “special material” or the process. It only said that the glass is “tough, yet tender.” Samsung stated the glass is designed with a highly flexible surface “a supple hardness, sleek texture, and uniform shape.”

On Wednesday, Schott confirmed it delivered ultra-thin glass to Samsung but could not comment on the display technology or any processing details of the raw glass material.

Samsung is very popular for its TVs and smartphones, but it also has massive operations making components, such as processors and displays. It uses the technologies in its devices and also sells them to customers. The flip or foldable screens in smartphones tend to show up first in Samsung products.

Samsung started selling the Galaxy Z Flip on Friday for $1380. Most companies don’t have a foldable phone, but Samsung now has two. More interestingly, the two Samsung’s foldable phones are very different from each other. The Flip is designed to be more like a smartphone that’s more pocketable when closed, while the Galaxy Fold, released last year, is a phone that becomes a bigger tablet when opened. The hope for the South Korean electronics giant is that the Flip avoids the many issues faced by its predecessors, including the lack of apps and high pricing.

Delicate Foldables?

The foldable glass in the Flip is the first on the market and is something that could give a boost to the sector. Glass is generally more durable than plastic because the former doesn’t scratch easily as the latter.  Moreover, the glass provides the Flip a more premium feel than other foldables on the market today.

However, the glass screen of the Flip already has seen some controversy. Tinkerer Zack Nelson of YouTube channel JerryRigEverything found that even his fingernail could leave scratches on the screen of the phone where a real glass would have usually resisted markings. While Samsung has maintained that the Z Flip’s screen is real glass, Nelson now questioned if it is indeed a glass.

It can be remembered that the Galaxy Fold also had screen problems. Samsung stood behind its device but warned buyers about the fragility of the foldable screens.

On Tuesday, Samsung Display said it has worked with France-based Bureau Veritas, an international certification agency, to test UTG’s durability. Samsung said the glass has lasted through 200,000 fold tests, “simulated extreme lifetime use reliability.”

Samsung Display noted that other foldable electronic devices are expected to adopt its UTG when the demand arises.

google maps 2020

Google Maps Gets New Updates For 15th Birthday: Here are 15 tips to get the most out of its features

Google Maps and many of the over a billion people who turn to Google’s app globally each month to do more than navigation guidance turn 15.

Chances are, you’re among the users, even if most of your time in Maps is spent working out how to get from point A to point B.

Google changed its icon to emphasize the evolution of the Maps. More than 220 countries have been mapped over 15 years, and Google says it has surfaced information approximately over 200 million places and information.

Google has refreshed the look of the Android and iOS versions of its Maps app as part of the birthday milestone. Most notably, the three tabs that appear on the bottom of the screen now become five.

The Explore tab provides information and ratings, and the Commute tab offers traffic and travel times.

google maps 15 years

Another new feature is the Saved button, where users can review all the places they have been at or may want to go in one place. Google says that users have saved more than 6.5 billion places on Google Maps.

The Contribute tab allows users to share what they know with others: reviews of photos, businesses, details about addresses and roads. According to Google, hundreds of millions of people each year contribute information that aids keep Maps fresh.

A new Update tab is where users can learn about trending spots from supposed publishers and experts.

Over the next few days, Google is rolling out the new Google Maps.

Here are 15 other Google tips on things users can or will be able to do within Google Maps.

  1. Translate addresses and place names


When you tap the speaker icon located next to an address or place name, Google Maps will speak out loud in the local language.


  1. Go private

google maps car built-in

Don’t want to save your Maps searches? Choose Incognito Mode, and Google won’t save them. However, you’ll lose out on some personalization. You may also want to choose auto-delete controls within your Location History to keep 3 or 18 months of data. According to Google, they will automatically delete anything older than that.


  1. Avoid ferries, tolls, highways


Tap the three dots at the top right corner in the navigation mode of the app and look for “Route options” to choose the route types you want to avoid.


  1. Share your live location and ETA


Tap the ^ button and then “Share trip progress” once you’ve started on your journey to do so with designated contacts.

  1. Find a scooter or bike


In the search bar, you can enter a bike-share or find available bikes in real-time. Google Maps can tell if a Lime scooter is available along with an estimate of the cost in more than 80 cities around the world.


  1. Charge your electric vehicle


You can also see the location and availability of charging stations for electric vehicles in some places.


  1. Know which way to walk


When you use Google’s Live View augmented reality feature, arrows direct you which way to walk. Choose a destination, tap the Directions button, and the walking tab.


  1. Travel through time


You can take a peek of the past. In Google Maps on the desktop, select a place, and drag the yellow “pegman” figure into the picture. In the top left-hand corner, click on the clock to choose the frame.

Google Maps 2020 updates

  1. Know flight information


Tap the 3 gray lines at the top left corner of the app and choose Your Places. Then select the “Reservations” tab to know if your plane is leaving on time. You can also use Maps in the terminal to figure out the location of nearby gates, restaurants, lounges, and stores.


  1. Remember where you parked


Tap the blue dot on the map and then “Save your parking“. For your convenience, look for parking difficulty icons available for more than 50 cities before you even drive.


  1. Save time


Get a sense of how crowded a restaurant or other place you want to go with the Popular Times and Wait times.


  1. Is my train colder or hotter?


Google added crowdsourced data in 2019 to help predict how crowded your train or subway or bus is likely to be at a particular time. Now the company is adding new insights via Maps that may impact your commute. These include letting you know whether specific transit systems have special sections or carriages for women, whether your train or bus is on the warmer or cooler side, and whether passengers with special needs can board with staff ready to help.

  1. Order food


You can choose pickup or delivery through certain eateries when you tap an “Order Online” button. Last year, pizza, Chinese, and breakfast food were the most search for cuisines in the U.S. using Google Maps.


  1. Add multiple stops


Tap the three dots and choose “Route options” and then “Add stop.” Google Maps will provide the fastest route between those stops.


  1. Plan group activities


Long-press anywhere on a map to add that place to a shortlist, which you can share with friends on any messaging platform.

49ers and Chiefs

No cable subscription needed to watch Super Bowl LIV in 4K: SF 49ers vs. KC Chiefs

Super Bowl LIV on Fox airs on Sunday, and if you want to watch it live on your device but no cable or satellite, don’t worry. You still have a variety of options for watching the most viewed event on TV.

The Super Bowl garnered nearly 100 million people tuning in to the 2019 edition. This 2020 game features San Francisco 49ers from Miami taking on the Kansas City Chiefs.

The big football showdown on Fox starts at 6:30 p.m. ET.

However, if you don’t have a cable or satellite for some reason, there are other ways to view it as well.

How to watch 2020 Super Bowl LIV for free

Fox Sports is live streaming the game for free across a wide variety of platforms, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and streaming devices. You can watch on mobile devices using the Fox Sports or Fox Now and Fox Deportes apps, as well as Yahoo Sports and NFL Mobile apps. If you want to watch on your computer, you can go to NFL.com to stream the game.

Miami Super Bowl team

You may also want to stream the game on TV with the Fox Sports and Fox Now apps via streaming players, such as Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. Usually, you need the TV provider authentication to watch, but Fox says this will not be necessary on Sunday.

To watch the game on Fox Sports apps, you need to register and create a profile beforehand.

Stream the Super Bowl by subscribing to free trials

Cable alternative services will offer the game and have free trial offers for new subscribers. These include Hulu with Live TV, Fubo, and YouTube TV. You could sign up on Sunday morning, get the programming, and watch the game. Come Monday, you then cancel. Sling is another alternative service as it offers Fox programming, but in only 17 markets, so see your local listings.

An almost-free alternative to watch Super Bowl

If you are in an urban environment, buy a powerful antenna with built-in tuners to boost the signal. You can buy one around $30, which is far more potent than the rabbit ears of yesteryear.

football showdown

With an antenna, plug it into the electrical outlet, connect the device to your TV with digital tuners, and ask the set to begin scanning for channels.

Apps for watching the Chiefs and 49ers

If you want additional behind the scenes footage, you can see it at the Fox Now and Fox Sports smart TV apps. You can also go to the Chiefs and 49s apps to watch the Super Bowl game.

Super Bowl 2020 in 4K Ultra HDR

For more pixels, better contrast, and improved color, you can watch the Super Bowl in 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) and High Dynamic Range (HDR). Fox says that this is the first Super Bowl available in the highest resolution ever. Most cable and satellite sports broadcast usually come in high definition only. The broadcast is produced in 1080p but “up-converted” for more top quality and higher resolution.

The 4K resolution is offered in pay-TV services, including Verizon FIOS, Optimum, Altice, Comcast Xfinity X1, Dish Network, and DirecTV. It is essential to check the site of your system for compatibility as you may need specific equipment to get 4K.

You will need a 4K TV with HDR10 support, a compatible HDMI cable, and broadband with at least 25Mbps.

Fox is also broadcasting the kickoff show and pregame show at 1-2 p.m ET and 2-6 p.m. ET, respectively, in 4K too.

Apple redesigned Maps

Apple unveils revamped map app with privacy at its core

Apple hopes the newly improved version of its app will woo users away from their rivals, such as Google Maps and Waze.

The tech giant redesigned Maps app has arrived.

The company said US users can now use its revamped app and Europe users will have access in the coming months as well. Apple Maps’ redesign offers faster and more accurate navigation and provides users comprehensive views of roads, buildings, parks and more. Apple outfitted hundreds of planes and cars with custom sensors and lidar, covering over 4 million miles.

Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue said in a press release that they set out to make the best and most private maps app in the world that’s reflective of the way people explore the planet today. He noted that they rebuilt the map from the ground to reimagine how Maps enhances the life of a person with privacy at its core.

In Miami, real-time transit will be made available along with the new Maps apps, in time for the upcoming Super Bowl.

Tensions between Tech Giants

In September 2012, Apple released its homegrown mapping program together with its iOS 6 mobile software. Google Maps was previously preloaded on Apple devices, but tensions between the two giants in technology led apple to make its software. Unfortunately for Apple, its Maps did not really work. Several iOS users immediately reported problems with everything from simply searching for an address to navigation.

new apple maps

Apple apologized for the issues, fired its head of software and started its work to improve its mapping app.

Since then, Apple has continually rolled out updates and new features to its Maps, such as a flyover feature to provide 3D views of certain cities, real-time transit information, indoor maps for airports and malls, and flight status updates. The revamped version of Apple Maps started rolling out in 2018, giving more detailed information and more accurate navigation. The revamped version started in Northern California and expanded to the East Coast and eventually to other areas.

Apple unveiled the more-detailed Maps app at its developer conference in June and revealed that it would be available to US users by the end of 2019 and to other countries by 2020.

Apple maps new updates

Released in September, the iOS 13 brought many other new features, including the Look Around feature that is very useful for users who want to explore major cities. It gives interactive, street-level imagery of areas like New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, the San Francisco Bay Area, Houston, and Oahu. It is quite similar to Google Street View.

Users can build shareable lists of favorite locations to visit in a city. Apple also added capabilities that make it easier for users to navigate to places they frequently visit, such as work and home.

Apple assured the users that it is focused on keeping personal information safe. Users don’t need to sign in to use Maps and the Maps is not connected to the user’s Apple ID in any way. Maps can suggest a departure time to make your appointment and other similar things using on-device intelligence.  Maps’ collected data such as search terms, navigation routing and traffic information are associated with random identifiers, which continually reset to offer the best possible experience and to improve Maps.

Apple utilizes a “fuzzing” process to obscure the user’s location on Apple servers when searching for a place. Maps converts the exact location where the search originated to a less precise one after 24 hours and doesn’t retain the history of where a user has been or what has been searched.

clinical trial technology

Drug testing could drastically accelerate with ‘Body-on-Chip’ technology

Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Karolinska Institutet, and Harvard University have developed a multiple organ-on-chip platform that could drastically accelerate drug testing. Nature Biomedical Engineering described the technology as a provider of accurate predictions of drug effects before the clinical trial.

The body-on-a-chip device simulates eight organs of the human body. An “interrogator” instrument enables the device to mimic normal human blood flow between the organs of the body. It can culture at a maximum of 10 different organ chips and sequentially transfer fluids between their endothelium-lined vascular channels.

Co-lead authors Anna Herland and Richard Novak reported the advance in two articles. Herland is an engineered in-vitro system researcher at KTH and Karolinska Institutet while Richard Novak is a senior staff engineer at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

A Clear Flexible Polymer

Organ chips are microfluidic culture devices made of a clear, flexible polymer that’s the same size as a computer memory stick. The polymer contains two parallel hollow channels that are separated by a porous membrane. Cultured on one side of the membrane in one channel are the organ-specific cells. Vascular endothelial cells recapitulate a blood vessel line in the other channel. Independently perfused in each channel are medium specific to cell types of individual organs. The porous membrane enables the two compartments to communicate with each other and to exchange molecules such as cytokines, growth factors and drugs, and drug breakdown products generated through organ-specific metabolic activities.

human vital organs

The team developed a computational scaling method in translating data, which is obtained from drug experiments involving three types of fluidically-linked organ chips to the respective organ dimensions in the real human body to predict changes in drug levels over time and organ-specific toxicity. The approach allows accurate predictions of changes in drug levels overtime for the first time as well as organ-specific toxicities that have been previously measured in humans.

Minimize the need for animal testing

Clinical trials that test new drugs for their safety and efficacy in humans continue to experience high failure rates. Current estimates say only 13.8 percent of all tested drugs show ultimate clinical success and got the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. The new technology aims to overcome major pain-points in the challenging and costly process of drug development. It is also expected to reduce the need for laboratory testing on animals.

Cancer drug

Herland says the researchers looked into the exchange of lifelike blood and drugs between individual organs, while also giving a way to carry out blood sampling that would mimic blood drawing from a peripheral vein. They also studied the pharmacological effects of cisplatin, a chemotherapeutic drug widely used in cancer treatments, which is administered intravenously and displays unacceptable toxicity in the bone marrow and kidney.

body on chip technology for human drug testing for
Illustration of the human gut chip, liver chip, and kidney chip whose vascular channels are linked via a central arterio-venous (AV) fluid mixing reservoir, and whose organ-specific channels are independently perfused. Image credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University.


She says the analysis nearly reproduced the cisplatin pharmacodynamics effects in patients, including a decreased number of different blood cell types and increased markets of kidney injury.

Herland says quantitative information on how cisplatin is metabolized and cleared by the liver and kidney is produced by the in vitro-to-in vivo translation capabilities of the system. The result makes it possible for more refined predictions of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity, according to Herland.

amp dac hifi

iFi Zen DAC comprehensive review

If you’re planning to get into hi-fi, one of the first things you’ll need to buy is a headphone amp and digital-to-analog converter (DAC) because audiophile headphones can be challenging to drive, needing more power than your phone or laptop can supply. A good headphone amp and a good DAC will drastically improve the sound quality of your connected device, whether it’s your phone, PC, laptop or even TV.

You don’t need to shell out much money to experience hi-fi sound on your first headphone setup. The iFi Zen DAC is the perfect starting point, which is a DAC and amp combo with enough power to drive power-hungry headphones while working with sensitive in-ear monitors, making the product extremely versatile. iFi Zen DAC offers more features than anybody would think at its price point. It supports for MQA, DSD256, PCM384, DXD384 with balanced inputs, and outputs. You can bypass the amp if you want to use it solely as a DAC. Starting in the hi-fi hobby may not need all of these features, but it’s a good future-proofing as you mature during your audio enthusiasm.

If you only look at the specs on paper, you would think the iFi Zen DAC to cost at least $500, but it only retails for $129, making it one of the best audio bargains on the market today. The iFi Zen DAC is perfect for users who either just dabbling in headphone audio or wanting a portable DAC/amp to take on the go.


The iFi Zen DAC is entirely a metal in a trapezoidal layout. It looks like it can stand up to the abuse of being tossed into a backpack repeatedly as it is built like a tank. The unit may not be the most compact DAC/amp but it is undoubtedly still portable, measuring 117mm long, 100mm wide, and 30mm tall.

A beautiful, smooth-operating volume knob is located on the front of the unit.  The volume knob is backlighted with multiple color LEDs, depending on the sampling rate of the played file. It’s an awesome visual indicator without needing a screen. Also present are the buttons for Power Match (gain), TrueBass (bass boost), a 6.35mm single-ended output, and a 4.4mm balanced output.

digital to analog converter

At the back are a 4.4mm balanced input, variable and fixed options’ switch, single-ended RCA outputs, USB-A port and a DC 5V input for the optional power supply. The unit runs off of USB power only out of the box and if you want to help improve the sound, you need to purchase a wall-wart power supply. While the headphones sound good without the use of a wall-wart power supply, it’s a bit disappointing that it is not included out of the box.

One important thing to note is that no power switch to turn on or off the iFi Zen DAC. The unit powers up as soon as it is connected to a PC and remains on. The volume LED will always stay on, even if the computer is turned off, which is a bit annoying if you’re in your bedroom with the unit.


The unit handles all digital platforms from steaming to DSD256 to PCM without issue. The iFi’s driver and the control panel is needed on Windows but no need on Macs.

The sound from the unit is excellent, giving sufficient power for power-hungry headphones like the Beyerdynamic DT1990 Pro and Sennheiser HD600. The DAC/amp is also good with low impedance headphones, such as Grado’s RS2i and different in-ear monitors. The unit supports headphones up to 300 ohms, providing enough volume without issues.

When it comes to tonal balance, the Zen DAC is neutral most of the time with a little warmth that helps tame the harsh highs of the headphones like the DT1990 Pro. While bass response is a bit insufficient, dynamics are generally good. Fortunately, the TrueBass option can add some mid to low-end punch without intruding on the mids. TrueBass comes handy when hopping between different genres of music.

The optional iFi power supply is worth purchasing to squeeze out a few extra drops of audio performance. There’s slightly more detail with the optional power supply at high volumes, though playing via USB still sounds excellent.


The iFi Zen DAC is a superb DAC and amp for the price. The unit has features that are rare for entry-level audio products. The Zen DAC has support for most major hi-fi audio formats and it has balanced connections. It elevates the music listening experience of someone new to hi-fi hobby.

UK huawei 5g rollout

Huawei Gets Approval in UK, with some serious restrictions

UK’s National’s Security Council and Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally decide on the role of the Chinese tech giant Huawei can play in the country.


On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed Huawei to make noncore parts of the 5G network of the country. It is a decision that includes some significant restrictions. One of the severe limitations is that the Chinese tech behemoth will be excluded from sensitive geographic locations and will only have as much as 35% of the UK market share.

Huawei equipment won’t be allowed at nuclear sites or military bases, as well as all safety-critical and safety-related networks in the Critical National Infrastructure. The Chinese company will not be permitted to create core parts of the country’s 5G network. Instead, it will only be limited to build periphery access network, which connects equipment and devices to mobile phone masts.

In a statement to Parliament, Nicky Morgan, who is secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, said the country wants world-class connectivity the soonest possible time but not at the expense of the UK’s national security. He assured the people that high-risk vendors never have been and never will be in the country’s most sensitive networks. Morgan added that the government concluded today it’s important to have tight restrictions on the presence of high-risk vendors after it has reviewed the supply chain for telecoms networks.

uk prime minister approves huawei 5g
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Huawei lauded the decision, noting that it has supplied equipment to the nation’s telecom operators for over 15 years.

Huawei vice president Victor Zhang said in a statement that the company is reassured by the confirmation of the UK government that they can continue working with their customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track. Zhang added that they agree fair competition and diverse vendor markets are necessary for network innovation and reliability.

However, the US appears less enthusiastic as Republican Sen. Tom Cotton from Arkansas, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, compared Huawei to the KGB and suggested the U.S. review its intelligence sharing with the UK.

Perpetuated by elections and Brexit discussions, the UK’s decision on the future of Huawei comes more than a year of delays. Prime ministers Theresa May and Johnson put off deciding on the subject during that time.

UK networks have long relied on Huawei equipment, but the country has come under considerable pressure from the US over the past year. The US has issued its own ban on the Chinese company due to security concerns, including a spying risk, something Huawei has always vehemently denied.

Earlier in January, a delegation of US officials visited London in an attempt to discourage Johnson from allowing Huawei to continue having a role in the UK. US President Donald Trump has not yet reacted to the news on Johnson’s decision, but he has threatened before that they would put existing intelligence-sharing agreements at risk if any allies continue to use Huawei.

Huawei, Nokia, and Ericsson provide the UK’s telecoms infrastructure. UK carriers have been lobbying the government not to ban Huawei, explaining that removing its equipment out of their networks would be time-consuming and costly, significantly setting back the 5G rollout.