Samsung Accepting Preorders for New Galaxy S8, S8+ Android Handsets

Today’s topics Samsung announcing preorders available for Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones; Microsoft adding a spreadsheet co-authoring feature in Excel on Windows desktops; Samsung making a deal with IBM to bring a Weather Channel app to smartphones; and Xerox debuting 29 new printers and multifunction devices.

Now that Samsung has unveiled its latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and S8+, consumers and business users can immediately start preordering the devices for delivery beginning April 21.

Prices for the handsets, which made a splashy debut on March 29, vary by carrier, but range from about $720 for a Galaxy S8 to about $850 for a Galaxy S8+, according to announcements from the four major U.S. carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

All four carriers are also offering a special deal from Samsung that includes a free Gear VR headset and controller valued at $179 and Oculus Bonus Content for preorder buyers, while supplies last.

Co-authoring, a feature that first appeared in the web-based Microsoft Office applications, is finally available in Excel on Windows desktops. As its name implies, co-authoring allows multiple users to work on the same spreadsheet file at the same time.

"This allows you to know who else is working with you in a spreadsheet, see where they’re working and view changes automatically within seconds," wrote Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team, in a blog post last week.

Microsoft is giving members of the Office Insiders early-access program who are enrolled in the Fast Ring first crack at co-authoring before a broader rollout. In addition to Excel Online, the feature is present in Excel on Android, Windows Mobile and iOS.

IBM and Samsung have joined up to make the world's most common conversation topic, the weather, native on Android smartphones.

The two companies revealed last week that IBM's The Weather Company and the giant South Korean device maker have agreed on a deal that will make The Weather Company the native weather data provider on Samsung devices.

This starts with Samsung's upcoming flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone, and will include powering Samsung's weather widget and weather executions on Samsung Android and Tizen products.

The Weather Company delivers about 37 billion forecasts daily and has a weather app that runs on all major mobile platforms globally.

Xerox introduced at a New York event last week 29 ConnectKey enabled printers and multifunction devices featuring mobile and cloud connectivity. The goal, said Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson, is to "set the page free" by "helping the world communicate and connect."

The new products, he said, were designed to enable workers to "move easily between the physical and digital worlds," allowing companies to use cloud services to connect their employees' mobile devices to ConnectKey multifunction printers.

"These new printers and multifunction products give users access to all their information at all times from all devices," said Mike Feldman, corporate executive vice president and president of North America Operations at Xerox, adding that "users can securely view or print their documents right from their mobile devices."  Users can even print to facilities outside their company, such as hotels and Staples stores.