Author Archives: JC Torres

An open source contributor and holds doubly lethal degrees in Philosophy and Computer Science. When not working, he spends his time lurking and helping out in KDE Project.

nubia Z20 is bringing its dual-screen to the US

nubia Z20 is bringing its dual-screen to the US

We've seen all sorts of solutions to the problem of relocating the front camera to make room for more screen. There are popups and flips and even holes in the screen. But while we await that fabled camera-in-display tech, there is one solution that is both the simplest but the oddest one of all: removing the front camera entirely. That is what the nubia Z20 proposes by having screens both front and back. And, fortunately, it's one of the most affordable solutions as well.

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Galaxy Fold Premier Service is now available for US owners

Galaxy Fold Premier Service is now available for US owners

The Galaxy Fold is arguably one of the most expensive non-gold, non-luxury smartphones targeted at the consumer market. It is also arguably one of the oddest and most unconventional out there. That was the bitter truth that Samsung realized after just a day of the first batch out in the wild. Expecting that buyers of the $2,000 phone will need special guidance, it has created its so-called Premier Service that is now finally available to US owners of the foldable phone.

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Google Pixel 4 availability details leak out just in time

Google Pixel 4 availability details leak out just in time

In a little over a day, Google will be holding its second-biggest event of the year after I/O. It is the event that lovers of Pixel devices in all shapes and sizes have been waiting for all year long to see if Google can indeed keep the Pixel flame burning, not to mention selling. Truth be told, there might not be much to wait for since the Pixel 4 has been leaked to ridiculous extents. All that's really left is for retail details to drop and, of course, there are now leaks for those, too.

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Pokemon GO Niantic Wayfarer will let selected players review interesting spots

Pokemon GO Niantic Wayfarer will let selected players review interesting spots

Location-based AR games like Ingress, Pokemon GO, and the more recent Harry Potter: Wizards Unite are, by nature, dependent on, well, locations. The way Niantic has implemented these games require an abundant supply of location points that will make players want to go to that place. Unlike in a purely virtual world where expansion is nearly infinite, there are only a few physical places on earth that might prove interesting. That is why Niantic is launching its Wayfarer program to practically crowdsource those spots from Pokemon GO players.

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DxOMark adds audio performance to smartphone benchmark protocol

DxOMark adds audio performance to smartphone benchmark protocol

For a long time, DxOMark's mobile benchmarks focused on the basics of smartphone cameras but, at long last, it started modifying its testing protocol last year to accommodate unmistakable trends in the market. First to come were tests for bokeh and zoom followed by selfies. Last month it added tests and scores for wide-angle cameras and night mode and now it is adding yet another new protocol that is only indirectly related to cameras: audio recording and output quality.

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Google Stadia cloud gaming to be faster than local systems with this trick

Google Stadia cloud gaming to be faster than local systems with this trick

For all the benefits that cloud-based game streaming may promise, it will live and fall by one word: latency. Beholden to Internet connections and distance from Google's data servers, Stadia may end up becoming something only a few will be able to enjoy. Like with any problem, however, Google is solving this problem with some machine learning and AI which it dubs as "negative latency". And if that works well, Google Stadia may indeed be faster than any local PC or console until those reach Star Trek-like FTL speeds.

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OnePlus 5 will also get Android 10 but not soon

OnePlus 5 will also get Android 10 but not soon

OnePlus started out as the rebel that refused to settle for the status quo. Initially, that applied to the combination of hardware and prices but the once small startup wants to make sure everyone knows that "Never Settle" also applies to the entire Android experience, including updates. It has worked to provide the latest Android version to its faithful fans, even to the slightly old models like the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T. Unfortunately, owners of those phones will have to wait for their turn at Android 10.

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Galaxy Fold is difficult to repair as it is easy to break

Galaxy Fold is difficult to repair as it is easy to break

The media frenzy around the Galaxy Fold has seemingly died out a bit. The jury is already out with the verdict and while Samsung's redesigned foldable phone is indeed stronger than the first, it's still a fragile expensive piece of technology. Which is also why Samsung has come up with a new "customer experience" which is basically just an amped-up customer and repair service. But spin it any which way, the Galaxy Fold will still be extremely difficult to repair, which also explains how much Samsung will be charging for such services in the long run.

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macOS Catalina is less buggy than iOS 13 but has a different problem

macOS Catalina is less buggy than iOS 13 but has a different problem

This year might end up being unkind to Apple's software if the past few days continue their trend. iOS 13, one of Apple's most monumental releases for its mobile platform, has had three emergency releases in just a week to quickly patch up critical security bugs. macOS Catalina, an equally big release, was pushed back later than initially promised. The latest macOS update has finally rolled out and, fortunately, it isn't as bug-ridden as iOS 13. Unfortunately, it has its own share of controversy that is leaving some users and developers out in the cold.

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Google Assistant can sound more fly with Issa Rae voice

Google Assistant can sound more fly with Issa Rae voice

Smart assistants have arguably become the centerpiece, figuratively and literally, of some people's modern lives but the way we've approached them causally belies the complexity of behind the voice technology they employ. That goes not only for voice and speech recognition but even for the voices that talk back to us in different tones and genders. Those voices have come a long from the robotic tones of their ancestors but some users would probably still prefer if these voices had some personality. And when it comes to personality, few are probably more qualified than celebrities like actress and writer Issa Rae who, surprise surprise, is making a cameo as a Google Assistant voice.

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Motorola One Macro is one Motorola you won’t mind not being able to buy

Motorola One Macro is one Motorola you won’t mind not being able to buy

Motorola is a name that stirs up memories of good old times but it seems that nostalgia is all that the company is worth these days. In the smartphone market especially, Motorola has failed to come up with new models that will enrapture consumers beyond certain one-hit wonders. Instead, it seems to have resorted to what other OEMs are doing and flooding the market with multiple variants of the same theme. The latest in that lineup is the Motorola One Macro and while it might never see a wider release outside of India, very few might mind that at all.

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Instagram Direct Messages may still be coming to the desktop after all

Instagram Direct Messages may still be coming to the desktop after all

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks on the planet but, for all its fame, it remains oddly tied to phones. Never mind the fact that its web-based desktop experience is a few steps from being deplorable, the mobile app seems frozen in a world where people use smartphones in just one and only one way. The Facebook-owned network is very slowly changing, like the standalone Windows desktop app that finally lets you fully upload photos barely two years ago. Its next trick, it seems, is to finally let IG users chat with each other not on their phone but on their desktop web browser.

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