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I’ve spent the last 24 hours with Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 9 — here are my first impressions

Saturday August 11 th 2018

Tony Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The latest $1,000 smartphone has arrived in the form of the Galaxy Note 9.

Unveiled at Samsung’s Unpacked event on Thursday in Brooklyn, New York, the Galaxy Note 9 is Samsung’s biggest, heftiest device yet: It has a 6.4-inch screen, a gigantic 4,000 mAh battery, and up to 1 terabyte of storage.

Samsung wants you to live your life on the Galaxy Note 9 – to take all your photos on the phone’s advanced camera, to write important notes and sign important documents using the phone’s S Pen, and to hook it up to a screen and turn it into a desktop computer using to Samsung’s DeX technology.

In short, this phone is a beast – or at least Samsung wants it to be.

Over the past 24 hours or so, I’ve been playing around with the new Galaxy Note 9. I’m not a Samsung user – and my own iPhone 6s feels puny and incompetent next to this thing – so I’m looking at the Galaxy Note 9 with fresh eyes. It’s important to note that I haven’t run the Galaxy Note 9 through all its paces, and I can’t give a full review of the phone after just 24 hours of usage. After we have a few more days to try the device, we’ll post a comprehensive breakdown.

But until then, here are a few initial impressions of the new Galaxy Note 9:

The design feels stale, but there are a few things I love about the look and feel of the Galaxy Note 9.

Tony Villas-Boas/Business Insider

At first glance, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the Galaxy Note 9 and its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 8. The design is a near-duplicate of last year’s phone, which is disappointing for anyone looking for an iPhone X-like innovation from Samsung.

That being said, there are two subtle changes that I appreciate, and that I think will make a difference for users.

For starters, Samsung moved the fingerprint scanner, so it’s underneath the camera instead of next to it. One of the flaws of the Galaxy Note 8 (in my opinion) was that the fingerprint scanner lived next door to the dual lenses on the back of the phone. For a left-handed user, this was no big deal; it was right next to where your index finger would naturally lie. But for a right-handed user, this was obnoxious, since anytime you went to scan your finger, you’d most likely smudge your camera lenses.

Samsung also improved the outer color of the phone: This year’s blue finish is much better-looking than last year’s model. There isn’t a major difference between the Galaxy Note 8′s “deep sea blue” and the Galaxy Note 9′s “ocean blue,” but I prefer the 2018 version; the color is simply prettier and looks more high-end.

Other than that, Samsung didn’t change a whole lot when it came to the design. One thing that didn’t change that I actually really appreciate is the headphone jack – you’ll find one on the Galaxy Note 9 and for that, I’m grateful.

The Galaxy Note 9′s display didn’t change much, but I’m blown away nonetheless.

Tony Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Anyone who currently uses a recent Samsung smartphone probably won’t be impressed by the AMOLED display. It’s the same resolution as last year’s Galaxy Note 8, and only a hair bigger – 6.4 inches compared to 6.3 inches.

That being said, there’s no denying it’s gorgeous. Of course, any OLED display would look incredible compared to my iPhone 6s, but the Galaxy Note 9 is particularly impressive because of the size. This comes into play when you switch to full-screen mode when taking a photo, or when you’re scrolling through Instagram during downtime. Watching videos feels like a whole new experience – I like to watch makeup tutorials on YouTube, and I could see way more detail and much more vibrant colors than I’ve ever seen on my own device.

Samsung may not be doing anything wildly innovative with the Galaxy Note 9 display, but just because it’s not new and exciting doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive.

The S Pen is innovative and incredibly useful.

Tony Villas-Boas/Business Insider

I’ve never owned a phone with a stylus before, so trying the S Pen for 24 hours opened up a whole new world. Taking notes, drawing, and tapping around the device using the S Pen is surprisingly fun, and gave me this automatic feeling, real or not, of increased productivity.

But the new S Pen that comes with the Galaxy Note 9 has a new, key feature that differentiates it from previous versions: Bluetooth Low Energy.

BLE lets you use the S Pen in a variety of ways. It works as a photo remote, so you can take selfies or group photos without having to be near your phone (the S Pen works with your phone from up to 30 feet away). It can also become a remote for a presentation, although I haven’t needed to try that feature yet.

Beyond that new functionality, the S Pen just looks great. The Galaxy Note 9 I’m using is blue, an the S Pen that comes with it is bright yellow. The only strange thing about that is that all the other colors of the phone – lavender, black, and copper – have S Pens that match the device. I found myself wishing Samsung had made the contrasting S Pen standard across the board.

Adding more artificial intelligence to the Galaxy Note 9′s camera was a smart move.

Tony Villas-Boas/Business Insider

My favorite smartphone camera on the market is on the Google Pixel 2, and for a simple reason: It relies on technology rather than hardware to take great photos.

With the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung is starting to head in that direction as well. While Samsung phones have long had excellent cameras, I don’t think they’re the best you can buy. With the last few Samsung phones I’ve tried – the Galaxy S9, Galaxy Note 8, and Galaxy S8 – the photos tend to look overly sharpened and too bright, and the automatic face smoothing on selfies is often so extreme, it looks cartoonish.

But the Galaxy Note 9 is different. It still has some of the same tendencies – unnaturally bright and sharp photos – but it now has an added layer of technology that gives the phone an edge in the smartphone camera wars.

A new camera feature called scene optimizer will recognize what kind of object you’re photographing and automatically adjust the settings so you can take the best shot. The camera also has flaw detection, which will alert you if the image is blurry, or if the subject blinked.

With these features, Samsung is taking an already-great camera, and adding a layer of artificial intelligence on top. This alone isn’t enough to choose the Galaxy Note 9 for its camera – and we’ll have to test it more to know if it’s effective or just a gimmick – but it’s an encouraging sign of where Samsung is heading.

Overall, I’m impressed by the Galaxy Note 9 so far, but the features that Samsung says make it worth the $1,000 price tag can’t be tested in just one day.

Tony Villas-Boas/Business Insider

There are a few key features that Samsung says set the Galaxy Note 9 apart from its predecessors and from other high-end smartphones: battery life, storage, speed, and versatility. Those are features that are hard to test in just one day.

What I can tell after just one day is that this phone has a unique place in the smartphone world. It’s a phone for people who are hyper-connected and have jobs that require a super-powerful smartphone. But it’s also a phone for people who don’t want to shell out for a phone and a laptop, and want a device that can do it all. As someone who falls in the middle of that spectrum, I don’t think it’s the right phone for anyone who’s like me.

Beyond those reasons, it’s also difficult to get excited about a device that, on a surface level, is so similar to the phone that came before it. It’s a beautiful, luxurious device, but it also doesn’t feel particularly new.

So until we know whether what’s under the hood outweighs what’s on the surface, to me, the Galaxy Note 9 remains something of a question mark.

Mattress startup CEO explains why the company is opening 200 new stores as its competitors close them


  • Casper, the online mattress startup, announced this week that it is opening 200 stores in the United States.
  • Meanwhile,  Mattress Firm is considering filing for bankruptcy as it seeks a way to close some of its 3,000 locations that are losing money. 
  • Casper CEO Philip Krim said that store closures and bankruptcies do not signal the death of retail but rather the death of “poor retail,” as stores that fail to provide an exciting shopping experience will suffer in the future.
  • A commercial real estate crisis is enabling Casper to win cheaper rents and favorable leases. 

When Casper launched in 2014, it had one simple objective: to take the hassle out of shopping for a mattress at a store. To do so, it enabled customers to buy a mattress online, have it shipped to their home, test it for 100 days, and then return it if they didn’t like it. A store played no part in the service. 

Fast forward four years, and after testing the waters in brick-and-mortar retail with a collection of pop-ups around the United States, it opened its first store in New York City in February. Now, 200 more will join it. 

“It’s definitely counter-intuitive, but I think it almost puts as a bit of a contrarian, which we are happy to be,” Casper CEO Philip Krim told Business Insider in an interview on Thursday. 

The announcement of its new stores, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, came several days after Reuters reported that Mattress Firm, the largest specialty mattress retailer in the US, was considering filing for bankruptcy. 

While the timing of these two announcements is likely coincidental, it’s symbolic of where retail is headed. 

“We do not think there is anything near the death of retail, but we do think that there is a death of poor retail,” Krim said.

He added: “The traditional mattress store where you are met with a commission salesperson, you’re lying on products you know nothing about under fluorescent lights, where there is a sale every day because they are able to play games and use tricks to deceive consumers, is not going to survive.” 

Casper’s stores aim to be the antithesis of that experience: fun and engaging spaces for all things sleep-related. 

Krim said that the success of Casper’s temporary stores hadn’t come at the expense of its e-commerce sales. In the markets where they have these stores, they have seen far more growth online, he said. This is because they can serve as marketing tools and a way to educate people about the brand. 

Casper’s New York location is a blueprint for the stores that will follow. Krim pointed to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago, Boston, and Miami as some of the likely store locations. 

While Casper might believe it has cracked the code to brick-and-mortar retail success, its admittedly “aggressive” rollout of stores is also being made possible by store closures that are driving commercial real estate rents down.

In New York, where Casper’s first store opened, commercial rents have been hit particularly hard by retail store closings. The average asking rent for available retail space has dropped to $653 per square foot from $811 per square foot a year, according to a report released by CBRE in April.

“The overall distress in real estate allows us to get very favorable terms. The landlords are being pretty progressive and giving us great options for locations and flexible lease terms,” Krim said.

He added: “That would not have been possible years ago when real estate and traditional commercial landlords were in a different position.” 

Two photos of Tiger Woods taken 16 years apart show how much smartphones have changed the world (AAPL, GOOG, GOOGL)

  • Tiger Woods is playing the PGA Championship this weekend, and there are sure to be a lot of photos taken of the legendary golfer.
  • You can see people snapping pictures with their phones every time he tees off. 
  • Tiger’s career has been so long that there was actually a time where there wasn’t a sea of smartphones every time he took a shot.

The shocking difference between 2002 and 2018 was pointed out by Ryder Cup and European Tour content director Jamie Kennedy in a viral tweet:

Tweet Embed:
2002 🆚 2018

How watching Tiger has changed post-smartphone.

While Business Insider couldn’t identify the specific events in the photos above, even pics from Friday show Tiger playing in front of a wall of smartphones. 

Tiger Woods smartphonesGetty

If there is one place where you can watch Tiger play golf without smartphones, it’s at the Masters, which has a strict no-cell-phone policy

Here’s a shot of the crowds from this year’s Masters:

Tiger MastersGetty

Riverview Financial Corporation Announces Listing On The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Riverview Financial Corporation, (the, “Company”) announced today that it has received approval from The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC to list its voting common shares for trading on the Nasdaq Global Market. The Company’s common stock will begin trading on Nasdaq under the symbol “RIVE” effective with the market opening on August 14, 2018. 

(PRNewsfoto/Riverview Financial Corporation)

Kirk D. Fox, Chief Executive Officer stated, “We are excited to be afforded the opportunity to list on the Nasdaq Global Market as it will provide many advantages including increased liquidity for existing shareholders, potential broadening of our shareholder base by attracting new retail investors and increasing the appeal of our Company stock to institutional investors. As a result of the significant inorganic and organic growth achieved from the beginning of the first quarter of 2017, we felt the need to provide a higher level of exposure for our common stock by listing on the exchange with the most number of companies represented and highest daily trading volume of all stock exchanges worldwide.”

Riverview Financial Corporation is the parent company of Riverview Bank and its operating divisions Citizens Neighborhood Bank, CBT Bank, Riverview Wealth Management and CBT Financial and Trust Management. An independent community bank, Riverview Bank serves the Pennsylvania market areas of Berks, Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Dauphin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Lycoming, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill and Somerset Counties through 30 community banking offices and three limited purpose offices. Each office, interdependent with the community, offers a comprehensive array of financial products and services to individuals, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and government entities. The Wealth Management and Trust divisions, with assets under management exceeding $350 million, provide trust and investment advisory services to the general public. Riverview’s business philosophy includes offering direct access to senior management and other officers and providing friendly, informed and courteous service, local and timely decision making, flexible and reasonable operating procedures and consistently applied credit policies. The Investor Relations site can be accessed at

Certain statements contained herein are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements may be identified by reference to a future period or periods, or by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as “may,” “will,” “believe,” “expect,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “continue,” or similar terms or variations on those terms, or the negative of those terms. Forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those related to the economic environment, particularly in the market areas in which the Company operates, competitive products and pricing, fiscal and monetary policies of the U.S. Government, changes in government regulations affecting financial institutions, including compliance costs and capital requirements, changes in prevailing interest rates, acquisitions and the integration of acquired businesses, credit risk management, asset-liability management, the financial and securities markets and the availability of and costs associated with sources of liquidity.

The Company wishes to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. The Company wishes to advise readers that the factors listed above could affect the Company’s financial performance and could cause the Company’s actual results for future periods to differ materially from any opinions or statements expressed with respect to future periods in any current statements. The Company does not undertake and specifically declines any obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions that may be made to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events.

SOURCE Riverview Financial Corporation

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sold $35.9 million worth of his shares in the company — his biggest stock sale yet (MSFT)


  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sold $35.9 million worth of stock, according to regulatory filings.
  • It’s his largest stock sale since he took over in 2014. In 2016, Nadella sold $8.3 million worth of stock. 
  • The sale represented about 30% of his common Microsoft stock. Plus, he still holds 2.2 million of different types of shares in the company.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sold $35.9 million worth of his shares in the company, according to a filing with the SEC on Friday. 

The filing shows that Nadella sold 328,000 shares, accounting for about a third of his common stock in the company. After the sale, he still owns 778,596 common shares in Microsoft — plus another 2.2 million or so of different types of shares in the company. 

This move represents Nadella’s biggest stock sale since taking the reigns at Microsoft in 2014. Previously, Nadella had sold about $8.3 million worth of stock in 2016. 

In a statement, Microsoft says that Nadella made the move “for personal financial planning and diversification reasons.” Indeed, this move marks the beginning of a trading plan, whereby Nadella will regularly sell portions of his Microsoft equity on a fixed schedule.

“Satya is committed to the continued success of the company and his holdings significantly exceed the holding requirements set by the Microsoft Board of Directors,” Microsoft said in the statement. 

Still, it just adds to Nadella’s considerable personal fortune: Nadella took home about $20 million in cash and stock in Microsoft’s 2017 fiscal year alone.  And under Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft stock continues to set all-time highs, as the $835 billion company marches steadily towards a $1 trillion valuation, making his stock even more valuable.