Author Archives: JC Torres


Wonder Android gaming phone takes cues from Nintendo Switch

Wonder Android gaming phone takes cues from Nintendo Switch

When word of the Xiaomi-backed Black Shark gaming smartphone went out, it was compared to the Nintendo Switch. When it launched, it ended up only being half a Switch. Nonetheless, it seems that Nintendo's wildly successful hybrid portable console has inspired not a few in the smartphone market to take that same road less traveled. One of those is a startup simply called Wonder whose dreams for an Android-powered gaming-centric smartphone is both like the Switch but also not like it.

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Galaxy Note 9, S10 early launch: Samsung rushes again

Galaxy Note 9, S10 early launch: Samsung rushes again

It seems that Samsung may have not been burned badly enough by the Galaxy Note 7 catastrophe in 2016. Either that or it is slowly transitioning to a new and more permanent release cadence. Since the Galaxy S8 last year, Samsung has been moving its flagship launches earlier and earlier, shifting away from the company's once predictable strategy. Korean media are now reporting that not only will the Galaxy Note 9 be launched earlier this year, so will the Galaxy S10. And Samsung may have a lot of reasons for doing so.

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HTC Exodus blockchain phone: this is what it means

HTC Exodus blockchain phone: this is what it means

HTC hasn't been doing so well lately, at least not in the smartphone market. A large chunk of its mobile team have been shuffled over to Google. The company mostly remains afloat thanks to its VIVE VR platform. Still, there are some in the company that strongly believe that HTC still has something to offer that no one else can, starting with ambition and audacity. The newly revealed HTC Exodus concept phone is being called as the way of the future, just as the blockchain and cryptocurrency on which it revolves around has been called similarly. But just like blockchains and cryptocurrency, it might be a technology too far into the future and too ahead of its time.

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LG V35 ThinQ leak might offer hope for notch haters

LG V35 ThinQ leak might offer hope for notch haters

There were rumors that LG, like HTC, would be cutting down on its flagship devices this year. Apparently that's not entirely true. While LG has yet to actually show any sign of having something for later this year, like an LG V40, it isn't done with modifying last year's V series phone. After the LG V30 and the LG V30S ThinQ comes the LG V35 ThinQ. And if this leaked spec list is true, it's going to be an LG G7 ThinQ in a V30's clothing.

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AI-powered Google News available now on iPhone, iPad

AI-powered Google News available now on iPhone, iPad

If there were still any doubt that Google is head over heels in love with AI and machine learning, one need only look at last week's Google I/O. Everything has a smidgen or truckload of AI tacked on top. That is true for even something that may seem as mundane as news. Retiring its much-ignored Newsstand app and service, Google launched its new News app whose selection of stories are largely driven by two things: AI and what data Google has on you. And now that same Google News is available on iOS, ready to take on Apple News with some artificial smarts.

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Nintendo Labo, Ariana Grande, The Roots, Fallon make a music video

Nintendo Labo, Ariana Grande, The Roots, Fallon make a music video

Nintendo seems to be on a creative roll. After the spectacular success of the Nintendo Switch, the gaming giant decided to take the console beyond just gaming and into educational gaming. The Nintendo Labo system is a treasure trove of activities, both for fun and learning, though its cardboard material belies its possibilities. As if trying to show the world those possibilities, Jimmy Fallon hooked up with Ariana Grande and the Root to play the Grande's new single using nothing but Nintendo Labo musical instruments.

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Galaxy S9, S9+ get Sunrise Gold, Burgundy Red color options

Galaxy S9, S9+ get Sunrise Gold, Burgundy Red color options

Smartphones these days have become so pretty and even durable that there are those who prefer their mobile companions to be naked. Their only hesitation often comes from the drab and common black, white, and gray colors on their smartphone's rear. That is why some manufacturers have taken pains to distinguish their smartphones' backs by design, color, or even both. Take for example the Galaxy S9 ad S9+, whose glossy glass backs now come in gold and the ever so rare red hues.

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Vivo X20 Play UD in-display fingerprint scanner reliability tested

Vivo X20 Play UD in-display fingerprint scanner reliability tested

Despite year after year of delays, it seems that the in-display fingerprint scanner, alternatively called a fingerprint on display (FOD), is still a goal among smartphone makers. Some are just taking a different route. Vivo, for example, used Synaptics' optical fingerprint scanner on its X20 Play UD, the first commercial phone to sport that feature. But being under the phone's screen and, therefore, subject to the same wear and tear as the display might raise some doubts and concerns over its reliability. To answer those questions, YouTube Marques Brownlee, a.k.a. MKBHD, puts that FOD to the test.

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AsteroidOS 1.0 release brings hope to forgotten smartwatches

AsteroidOS 1.0 release brings hope to forgotten smartwatches

Wear OS by Google, the wearable platform formerly known as Android Wear, is based on Android and, therefore, technically and legally open source. But just like Android itself, development doesn't exactly happen in the open completely and there are some parts that are proprietary to Google. That is especially frustrating for smartwatch believers, especially when their wearables get abandoned and outdated. Now they might have a choice with the first stable release of AsteroidOS, a completely open source operating system designed not just to run on Wear OS smartwatches but also to give the community a hand in its development.

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PS Vita GameCard production ending soon

PS Vita GameCard production ending soon

The Nintendo Switch may have revolutionized portable consoles but it wasn't the first in that category. That same promise of "console gaming on the go" was made by the Sony PlayStation Vita around 6 years ago. Unlike the Switch, however, the PS Vita failed to woo gamers and developers alike, particularly in Western markets. Now it seems that the writing on the wall has appeared for the PS Vita with Sony confirming that the production of physical games for the portable console is being laid to rest.

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The future of smartphone cameras is AI

The future of smartphone cameras is AI

Even before Google demonstrated its frighteningly believable and controversial Duplex AI, artificial intelligence and machine learning was already a big topic on smartphones. But with very few exceptions AI on smartphones have so far been limited to one common use case: photography. You might be tired of hearing about it every new phone launch event but, sooner than later, it's going to cease being just a buzzword. Pretty soon, "camera AI" will be something that all but the cheapest entry-level smartphone will have as a basic feature. Just like dual cameras.

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Galaxy Tab S3 Android 8.0 Oreo update now available in UK

Galaxy Tab S3 Android 8.0 Oreo update now available in UK

Samsung is notorious in the Android world for many things and one of the biggest ones, next to bloatware, is its update schedule. Slow and unpredictable, some devices, even new ones, don't always get updates that should be theirs during their covered support period. So when a nearly new device does finally get a new Android version, there's reason to rejoice. Lo and behold, the Galaxy Tab S3, Samsung's not so latest premium tablet, is finally getting Android Oreo and a bit more.

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