Samsung Convoy 4 Flip Phone Built Rugged for Extreme Work Sites

Today's topics include Verizon adding the Samsung rugged 3G flip phone to its handset lineup, Microsoft Office 365’s dashboard displays new usage metrics, Huawei’s new P9 and P9 Plus smartphones and the Virtual Reality headset market hits a revenue milestone.

Samsung's latest Convoy 4 rugged flip phone, which the company built for users who work in challenging environments, is available immediately through Verizon Wireless.

The $192 handset is the latest entry in the rugged mobile device marketplace. Such phones are designed for users working at construction sites, warehouses, factories and other extreme environments where water, dirt and dust could damage unprotected mobile devices.

The handset, which is not a smartphone, also includes a 1,300mAh Li-Ion battery that promises up to 8 hours of talk time, dual microphones and noise-canceling technology that blocks out background noise around users.

Microsoft has added new reporting features to the Office 365 Admin Center that displays usage statistics such as glanceable charts and graphs. The first batch of reports included Exchange email activity, active Office 365 users and Office activations.

Now, the software giant is offering customers the bigger picture. The company is currently rolling out reports for OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Skype for Business and Yammer in the United States, Canada and Australia. Customers in Asia, Europe and Latin America are slated to get the new reports in May.

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei is launching its latest flagship phones, the P9 and its larger stable mate the P9 Plus, in markets around the globe starting April 16.

The handsets feature new dual-lens cameras, long battery life and biometric fingerprint readers for security and privacy.

The new phones, which will help the company compete globally with the latest smartphone models from Apple, LG, Samsung and others, debuted April 6 in a glitzy launch event in London. The P9 and P9 Plus handsets are built using aerospace-quality aluminum bodies with rounded, diamond-cut edges for high style.

According to a study conducted by Strategy Analytics, the global virtual reality headset market will bring in about $895 million in revenue in 2016.

But while 77 percent of that revenue will come from premium-priced products from Oculus, HTC and Sony, the actual per-device sales totals will be dominated by lower-priced headsets from a broad range of vendors.

Most of the growth in VR headsets will come from smartphone-based products, while VR systems that work with PCs and game consoles "will barely exceed 1.7 million devices shipped globally in 2016 due to prohibitively high pricing," the report declared.

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