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Flash Plus 2 is an exciting sub-$200 phone from the brand formerly known as Alcatel

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When I hear the word Alcatel, I get flashbacks from the very late nineties, when apart from the likes of Nokia and Motorola, it too made cellphones. I can still remember the first Alcatel One Touch, a larger and rounder Nokia 5110 look-a-like.

Almost 20 years later, Alcatel is staging a comeback. Over the last few years the company has generated a reasonable amount of interest in its Flash line – budget smartphones with reasonably good specs.

But despite its rich past, this week, mother company TCL announced it was dropping the Alcatel branding from Flash phones and creating Flash as an independent brand. Albert Wong, general manager of Flash 3C tells GadgetMatch the moves was inspired by Flash’s younger demographic. “We found actually the people who buy online are much younger. They have a different behavior.”

The first new Flash smartphone is the Flash Plus 2, announced this week. At under $200, its probably one of the most interesting phones this year. Sure, it doesn’t offer anything innovative, but the Flash Plus 2 offers features and specs that not even all midrange smartphones offer.

Alcatel-Flash-Plus-2

A 5.5-inch, 1080p display fronts the user, while an octa-core Helio P10 chipset from MediaTek takes care of everything else from computing to running Android Marshmallow. The Flash Plus 2 is available with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage, or you can get it with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage. It also The Flash Plus 2 is also equipped with a 3,000mAh battery, a 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 5-megapixel front-facer that offers a Beauty mode for photos and video (yes, video!).

Of course, the design choices that led to the Flash Plus 2 are equally noteworthy. The phone goes metal, with chamfered edges and a curved back that gets a brushed finish for a premium look and feel. As far as sub-$200 phones go, it’s also among the few that has a fingerprint sensor for added security and more.

It’s this disruption that Flash hopes will be the key to its success. We’ve been impressed many times this year by manufacturers offering great midrange smartphones, but with its competitive price point, the Flash Plus 2 is in a league of its own in the segment.

Like many up-and-comers, Flash is focused on building its community of users and offering its phones exclusive via online partners. “The most important thing for us is to satisfy our consumers.”

According to Wong, many new features of the Flash Plus 2 came from understanding user pain points, like the phone’s front-facing flash and its dedicated micro SD card slot. The community will also have a say in color options for its upcoming replaceable metallic casings for the Flash Plus 2.

Available in silver and gold paint jobs, the Flash Plus 2 will debut later this month across Southeast Asia, including Malaysian, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Flash executives tell GadgetMatch they believe APAC is one of the biggest open markets for mobile phones, where they can skip operators and resellers and sell directly to consumers. The company also promises to offer higher-end products later this year.

[irp posts=”2875″ name=”Flash Plus 2 review”]

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Jack Dorsey steps down as Twitter CEO

Successors named

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Twitter’s Jack Dorsey has been as much of a staple for the social media network as Mark Zuckerberg has for Facebook. However, as followers of Apple and Microsoft can attest to, long-standing figureheads of tech can change in an instant. Twitter is suddenly undergoing just that sort of shakeup. In a surprise announcement, Dorsey has announced that he is stepping down as Twitter CEO.

On-brand for his eccentric personality, Dorsey tweeted out the internal email detailing his resignation from his post. According to the email, Dorsey now feels that it is time to transition the company from a “founder-led” system to something potentially greater. He, along with other members of the board, has already appointed successors for his position.

First, now-former Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal will serve as the company’s CEO effective immediately. Agarwal was formerly an engineer with Twitter but has since led the company through several key decisions beside Dorsey.

Secondly, Bret Taylor, a member of Twitter’s board, will eventually serve as the new chairman. Dorsey will still serve the rest of this term until around May. Between now and the end of his term, Dorsey will help both new leaders transition into their new positions.

Though Dorsey’s announcement has a sense of intensity, this isn’t the first time that the Twitter founder exited his position. Back in 2008, he left his post for a time before returning to helm the company again in 2015. Only time will tell whether this current resignation will stick and what role he will transition into now. Regardless, it’s a new era for Twitter.

SEE ALSO: Twitter rolls out soft block feature for everyone

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Dimensity 9000 will reportedly cost double its predecessor

Same with Snapdragon, reportedly

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The end of the year often means the latest generation of smartphone chipsets. Qualcomm and MediaTek, two of the world’s top chipset makers, launch the latest flagship series that will power the following year’s slate of smartphones. Qualcomm already teased a rebranding with their upcoming launch. Now, we have a few more details about MediaTek’s recently launched Dimensity 9000.

Recently, MediaTek launched its next flagship chipset series. The Dimensity 9000 promises impressive performance that can allegedly topple its predecessor’s performance, the Dimensity 1200. However, a promise like that can come with its drawbacks.

Via GizChina, the Dimensity 9000 will reportedly cost double of its predecessor. Though the report does not give actual specifics, it is likely that a more expensive price tag for the processor also comes with an increase in price for the flagship smartphones that it will come with. Next year’s smartphones might come a lot costlier because of the chipset.

If anything, the report also states that the upcoming Snapdragon flagship chipset will also have a higher price tag when it launches soon. As such, most flagships might indeed have higher price tags next year.

Both chipsets have not made their ways to an actual smartphone yet. However, the Snapdragon and Dimensity series do have the most ubiquitous brands for a chipset. If the report does come to pass, we might have to bid our wallets adieu next year.

SEE ALSO: MediaTek announces new Dimensity 9000 chipset

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All MediaTek processors found with vulnerabilities

Thankfully patched now

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Technology is imperfect. Though the tech world has a plethora of revolutionary features, it also has a handful of vulnerabilities that malicious parties can exploit with gusto. And, as long as that world keeps advancing, weaknesses will always be found. In a new report, a whopping 37 percent of all smartphones was found with a critical vulnerability.

Reported by Check Point Research, MediaTek’s processors apparently have a vulnerability embedded into their AI and audio components. Currently, MediaTek is one of the most popular processor brands in the world. The company’s lineup, including the Dimensity series, is found in around 37 percent of smartphones and devices around the world.

In their report, Check Point Research tried to reverse-engineer the processor’s audio components. Because of its architecture, a hacker can create a custom message that can access the feature remotely. As such, victimized devices can eavesdrop on their users without them knowing.

By the time that Check Point Research published the report, MediaTek already patched the vulnerability out from its current lineup. It was fixed in October and will be officially reported in the company’s December newsletter.

Of course, it all depends on whether users will keep their devices updated with the latest software releases. If you want to prevent your phones from getting victimized, always keep them updated with security updates pushed by your respective brand.

SEE ALSO: MediaTek Pentonic 2000 will power flagship 8K 120Hz TVs

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