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Android One was never really dead

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Earlier today, Xiaomi launched the Mi A1, which is the international version of the Mi 5X. Doesn’t sound so exciting at first, but the real story here is the reintroduction of Android One to the world.

As it turns out, Android One was never really dead. We questioned its existence a year ago after noticing a lack of smartphones with the pure operating system installed, and having witnessed only a few signs of life since then.

In a blog entry posted right after Xiaomi’s announcement, Google makes it seem like Android One was active all along, although they could barely name more than one manufacturer that has supported the platform in the past year. The search giant then mentioned its plans to work with “more partners” — notice the plural form there.

From our own database, the two most prominent backers of Android One have been General Mobile and Sharp, which aren’t exactly household names in the smartphone business, but were vital in keeping the ship afloat.

Android One is an excellent platform to build on, and shouldn’t have lost the momentum started by its initial launch in 2014. The first generations of smartphones under the program had the purest form of the operating system, as well as access to the latest Android updates and security patches.

Buying an Android One phone was like going for a Nexus (still remember those?) minus the added premium. The platform made a name for itself with affordable handsets without any bloatware from manufacturers or telcos, which is the true essence of open-sourced Android in the first place.

If Google’s partnership with Xiaomi is a sign of things to come, we’re in for a smooth ride. Xiaomi’s presence is well established in the two most populated consumer markets in the world: China and India. The two nations also have a strong preference toward products that are easy on the pockets — something that Google and Xiaomi can capitalize on with offerings like the Mi A1.

The questions that remain are: Is Xiaomi’s worldwide recognition enough to bring Android One back to prominence? And will this partnership lead to more opportunities for Android purists to get the latest updates without spending for a Pixel?

Google is well known for leaving projects in the dust — look no further than Project Ara and Google Glass as examples — but Android One is neither just a project or another operating system; it’s still the company’s gateway to the next five billion.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi unveils Mi A1 with Android One and dual cameras

Gaming

Nike, Paul George unveil PlayStation-themed shoes

Features extra goodies for PS4 owners

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Basketball shoes are a way for fans to show their love for the game. However, Nike’s new shoes show appreciation for a different kind of game — the video game.

Sporting a PlayStation logo and a load of other gamer goodies, the PG2 is Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George’s latest collaboration with Nike. His second signature shoe with the sneaker company boasts both his twin loves — basketball and video games.

George, who previously played for the Indiana Pacers, is no stranger to collaborations with the gaming world. Last year, the star was featured on the cover of NBA 2K17, when he was still donning the blue and gold. In the same year, he also launched his first shoe, the PG1, which sported a cameo of his 2K17 render.

The PG2 shares a similar design with the PG1, particularly its traditional look compared to the standard bootie design today.

The shoe exudes a dark blue with black accents look. It shows off the PG brand and PlayStation logos on the right and left tongues, respectively. Mimicking the PS4’s DualShock controllers, both logos light up and pulse when activated by buttons. The lighting mechanism contains a 150-hour non-removable battery.

The shoe’s lace locks are painted red, green, blue, and pink to look like the iconic PlayStation symbols. The actual symbols themselves highlight the patented leather on the shoes’ sides.

Also, Sony lent its PlayStation Galaxy theme to the shoes’ sock liner and midsole. Splotches of red, purple, and blue accompany the Nike swoosh on the midsole. Meanwhile, the sock liner dons the stellar theme.

PlayStation gamers will also enjoy a digital goodie bag after purchasing the shoe. A PlayStation Network barcode on the right shoe unlocks access to a dynamic Paul George theme on the PS4. It will also unlock a surprise that George and designer Tony Hardman are keeping under wraps until its launch.

The PG2 PlayStation shoes will hit stores on February 10 at a modest US$ 110. Paul George himself debuted the shoes at the Thunder’s 24-point blowout win against the Cleveland Cavaliers last January 20.

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Automotive

Ford unveils revived Ranger pickup

A benched player returning back to the game

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Ford has previously announced that it’s once again introducing its Ranger pickup to the US market after its hiatus since 2011. The company has then unveiled the all-new truck at this year’s North American Auto Show (NAIAS) and fans of the vehicle seemed excited enough during the event.

The Ranger has the same body-on-frame construction which is supported by a high-strength steel frame backbone. Ford is also sticking with their standard steel bumpers for this one, folks. Overall, it has that assertive stance that Ranger fans have grown to love.

Under the hood, this midsize pickup truck is equipped with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and is mated to a 10-speed auto transmission. There will be 2WD and 4WD variants with an XL, XLT, and the Lariat trims with a choice of chrome, sport, or the FX Off-Road packages for the Supercab or SuperCrew models.

In-car tech comes standard and features blind spot warning system, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency brakes. Production will start later this year at Michigan with actual units for sale arriving in 2019.

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Cameras

Hasselblad’s new medium-format camera shoots 400MP photos

Each image file is 2.4GB!

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Did you ever feel like the resolution of your smartphone or camera’s pictures weren’t enough? Has the thought of needing 400 megapixels ever crossed your mind?

Unless your phone is from tech’s stone age or you’re a professional photographer (a really serious one), you’re likely to say no to both. Fortunately, Hasselblad doesn’t care what you, I, or other regular folks think, and has released a monstrous 400-megapixel medium-format camera.

You read that correctly: The H6D-400c MS is a real camera with an incredibly high resolution output and equally astounding price tag. This behemoth costs a whopping US$ 47,995 or EUR 39,999 (and that’s only for the body without any lenses).

See it from all angles in this official video:

You’ll notice that the 53.4 x 40mm image sensor (that’s much larger than the full-frame sensors we’re accustomed to) has only 100 megapixels on it, but the 400-megapixel outputs actually come from a technique called multi-shot.

The camera takes four 100-megapixel shots with slight shifts in pixels to produce one 23200 x 17400-pixel photo, which is equal to 400 megapixels. As you can imagine, the file size would be massive — a single TIFF image is 2.4GB! You could easily fill up a 1TB hard disk during a single photo shoot.

This clearly isn’t for regular consumers. Only pros who need to capture every single detail of a subject and post-process on a large monitor would be interested in such a camera.

If you’ve reached this point and are seriously considering one, pre-orders are already being accepted and shipping begins in March.

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