Samsung’s Auto Hot-Spot Feature

I own a Samsung Galaxy S9 smart-phone, and have discovered that, in its tethering settings, there is a new setting, which is named “Auto Hotspot”. What this setting aims to do if activated is, on other Samsung devices, which normally only have WiFi, when the user is roaming along with his phone, there should appear an additional access point for them to connect to. The following screen-shots show, where this can be enabled on the phone

Screenshot_20201220-072343_Settings_e

Screenshot_20201220-072354_Settings_e

Screenshot_20201220-072404_Settings_e

Screenshot_20201220-072414_Settings_e

I believe that this explains a fact which I’ve already commented on elsewhere, which is, that when I try to set up Google Instant Tethering, the negotiation between my ‘Asus Flip C213 Chromebook’ and this phone, no longer adds Instant Tethering to the list of features which are enabled. My Samsung S9 phone will now only unlock the Chromebook. What I am guessing is that, because the feature I’m showing in this posting is a Samsung feature, with which Samsung wants to compete with the other companies, Samsung probably removed to offer Instant Tethering from their phone.

Obviously, this is only a feature which I will now be able to use, between my S9 phone, and my Samsung Galaxy TAB S6 tablet.


 

 

The reader may ask what the advantages of this feature might be, over ‘regular WiFi tethering’, or ‘a WiFi hotspot’. The advantage could be, that even though it remains an option compatible with all clients, to have the phone constantly offer a WiFi hot-spot could drain the battery more. Supposedly, if Samsung’s Auto Hotspot is being used, it can be kept enabled on the phone, yet not drain the battery overly, as long as client devices do not connect. The decision could then be made directly from the client device, whether to connect or not… This is similar, to what Google’s system offers.

Also, the Samsung phones with Android 10 have as feature, that their ‘regular hotspots’ will time out, say after 20 minutes of inactivity, again, to save battery drain. Yet, if the user is carrying a tablet with him that has been configured to connect to the mobile hotspot Automatically, the phone which is serving out this hotspot will never detect inactivity.


 

Further, I’ve been able to confirm that, as long as I have Auto Hotspot turned on on my phone, indeed it does not show up as an available WiFi connection, on devices that are not joined to my Samsung account. This is as expected. But it also adds hope that, as long as I don’t connect to the phone’s Auto Hotspot from another device, the battery drain due to my leaving this feature enabled on my phone constantly, may not be very high. I will comment by the end of this day, after having left my phone with its own WiFi Off, which means that my phone will be using its Mobile Data, but, not connecting my Samsung TAB S6, whether doing this seems to incur any unusually high amount of battery drain, on the phone…

 

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Samsung Galaxy S9 Accidental Touch Protection Not Working?

I recently had an experience with my Samsung Galaxy S9 phone, which was recently upgraded to Android 10, and which, in more recent days, received another update to its current Android 10 version. The experience was that, after a day at a sunny beach, while it was very hot, I came home and inspected my phone, and seemed to find that somebody had been having a party on its touch-screen. Normally, I’d say that not very much can go wrong, unless the accidental activation of the touch-screen also managed to enter the password that protects the phone. But, contrarily to that first approximation, even with the lock-screen locked, there are quite a few layers of widgets that a party-goer could go through, and leave the UI in a confused state.

And so, I started to ask myself what might be causing this. Was it me, perspiring under my shirt? Was it the excessive heat, somehow affecting that one chip in the phone that also controls the touch-screen? The conclusion that I came to, was:

  • Excessively bright sunlight, seeping through my lightly coloured shirt’s pocket.

I typically have a feature enabled, that’s called “Accidental Touch Protection”, and this screen-shot shows where it can be found on the S9 (Hint, this screen is reached through ‘Settings -> Display’…)

Screenshot_20200813-140351_Settings_e

The way this feature works, also explains why sometimes, it may not work. Most modern smart-phones have a photo-diode that acts as a light-level sensor. When the light-level is below some threshold, with this feature enabled, the screen is turned off. This low light-level indicates to the phone, that it’s either inside a pocket or a bag, and that capacitive contact with the screen should be ignored. The problem?

  • If the light-level is above this threshold, the phone has no AI to tell it, that the same light-level is due to extremely bright light to begin with, not being filtered below a sufficiently low level, just due to the cloth in a pocket. And thus, such a level is taken to mean, ‘The phone is in the open, and waiting to be used.’
  • With the upgrade to Android 10, for some reason, the threshold required was set to an even-darker threshold, than Android 9 had it set to.

Possible solutions?

  • Put the phone in an additional enclosure that blocks light, Or
  • Disable the Always-On Display during Summer months, Or
  • Wear a darker shirt? Or
  • Stay out of extremely bright sunlight…

I can’t think of much else that helps, on the assumption that indoors, the feature works as it should.

 

Dirk

 

An observation about the new Chrome OS Smart-Lock and Instant Tethering features.

I own a Samsung Galaxy S9 smart-phone, and an Asus Flip C213 Chromebook. And, two relatively new features which Google rolled out are:

  • Smart-Lock: The ability to unlock the Chromebook, using the presence of the phone, and
  • Instant Tethering: It has always been possible to activate the Mobile Hot-Spot feature of the phone, assuming that a user has a plan that includes tethering, and then to connect the Chromebook (or other device) to it, in the form of a mobile, Wi-Fi Access Point. But, with Instant Tethering, the availability of the phone as a tether is supposed to be more quickly visible from the Chromebook, and theoretically, accessible with a single click.

What some people have reported is, that this feature does not always work 100%, even though the procedure was followed, which my readers can find in many other places on the Web, to set up the feature. I recently experienced as well that, on my first try, these two features were not working at all, when the Chrome OS version on my Chromebook was ’80.x’. Yet, even during the interval of my trials, an update to the Chrome OS version had presented itself, to version ’81.y’. And since the update, the features seem to work 50% of the time.

There was an additional step which can be taken, but should not be 100% necessary in this case, and which I took, which is outlined in this article:

https://www.howtogeek.com/fyi/chrome-os-instant-tethering-comes-to-more-android-phones-heres-how-to-do-it/

I will explain below, Why I changed the flag under:

chrome://flags/#instant-tethering

From ‘Default’, to ‘Enabled’. A reboot was required…

One reason these features may still not work 100% for me, could be the possibility of the phone going into ‘Deep Sleep’…

(Updated 12/08/2020, 10h30… )

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About a minor (Home-Screen) nuisance I’ve experienced on Android deviceS.

I have owned several Android-based devices, and some of those were purchased from Samsung, those being:

  • A Galaxy Tab S, First Generation,
  • (An earlier Smart-Phone),
  • A Galaxy S6 Smart-Phone,
  • A Galaxy S9 Smart-Phone.

A feature which all these devices have, is the Touchwiz Home-Screen (program). This is the default of what the devices display, when not displaying a specific app, when not displaying the app drawer, and when not displaying ‘Bixby’ (most recently). An unfortunate behaviour of the devices is, that Touchwiz will sometimes crash. In my experience, when it does, this is no big deal, because it restarts automatically, and after a few minutes, even my Notification-Bar Entries will reappear. If certain apps fail to make their notifications reappear by themselves, then launching those apps from the application groups will make their notifications reappear.

I tend to rate each Android device, according to how rarely its Home-Screen will crash in this way. According to that, my Google Pixel C Tablet fared better because its home-screen has never crashed on me. My S9 Phone fared almost as well, in that Touchwiz seldom crashed. But now I think I’ve identified a situation which will frequently cause Touchwiz to crash on the S9 Phone.

Firstly, as I’m writing this, the firmware on that phone is at its latest version, that being the October 1 patch, of 2019, of Android 9.

I discovered that I can trigger this situation, as I was experimenting with the Super-Slow-Mo camera recording mode, in which the camera can record up to 0.4 seconds of video at 960FPS, at a resolution of 1280×720. When the camera does this, it generates a 20MB video, after that has been compressed via a standard H.264 CODEC into an .MP4 container-file. I have the default set, to record all camera footage to the external Micro SD Card. Having recorded the super-slow-mo video once, triggered this behaviour.

There is a simple way to interpret what has caused this, that does not seem to lay any blame on Samsung: When the camera is recording video that fast, it’s generating data faster than the external SD Card can store it. Therefore, the data takes up RAM, until some later point in time, when the O/S has transferred the data to the SD Card, by writing it out. This moment was reached several seconds later.

Here’s where the news gets a bit worse. I can download This 3rd-party app, that’s designed to test what speed of external SD Card I have. The reason I need to do this is the fact that I never seem to remember exactly what type of SD Card I purchased, for use with one specific device.

According to this app, my external SD Card can be written to sequentially at ~12MBytes/Sec. That makes it a Class 10 card. Yet, 20MB of data are to be stored in 0.4 seconds. In fact, simply running the benchmarking app caused a second Touchwiz crash, which was just as inconsequential as the first, that I was trying to investigate. What this seems to suggest is, that virtually no SD Card that I can buy, can really be fast enough to be written to at the speed with which the camera app can generate its data. The camera app will need to cache its footage in RAM, before that footage has been written to the SD Card.

Further, the footage is certainly being stored in RAM in an uncompressed form of data (384 raw frames), while what’s to be written to the SD Card is finally compressed. (:1)

And yet, either of these two apps will cause the Touchwiz crash. Hmm… I think that for the moment, I’ll just hold my horses, and record a maximum of 0.2 seconds of Super-Slow-Mo. Thankfully, this is a parameter that I can choose, with the little icon in the upper-right-hand corner of the view, before shooting.

(Updated 11/17/2019, 12h10 … )

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