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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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Instagram possibly letting users pay for a blue badge

Copied from Twitter’s playbook

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Twitter got the internet into an uproar after implementing a way to pay for a coveted blue checkmark. Despite the controversy, other social media platforms are potentially introducing similar systems soon. As spotted in new code, Instagram has started referencing paid badges, hinting at a similar feature in the future.

First noticed by developer Alessandro Paluzzi (who spotted other unannounced developments in the past), Instagram’s coding includes mentions of an “IG_NME_PAID_BLUE_BADGE_IDV,” via TechCrunch. Additionally, Paluzzi found references to a Facebook version of the same code. To cap things off, he also discovered a few references to an upcoming subscription product from the current code.

A word of caution, though: Small references inside code might not mean much for the platform’s future plans. Paluzzi himself says that the feature is essentially unconfirmed for now, especially without a prototype.

Given the controversy surrounding the paid blue checkmark, it’s likely that Facebook and Instagram are waiting if Twitter’s experiment translates to better revenue in the long run. Though the initial Twitter Blue brouhaha simmered down for now, the new feature — along with Musk’s other changes to Twitter — are still experiments to test the new ownership’s vision for the platform.

For their part, both Facebook and Instagram have experimented with additional features to expand their offerings to their users. It’s not unheard of for either platform to draw inspiration from the winning features of other social media platforms.

SEE ALSO: Twitter reverses Facebook, Instagram ban

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vivo X90 series launches internationally

Advanced set of camera features

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vivo X90

vivo has announced the international launch of its latest X90 series flagship smartphones which aim the raise the limit of smartphone photography.

They will be available in two variants: the standard X90 and the X90 Pro which both feature vivo’s exclusive V2 chip, advanced cameras co-engineered with ZEISS, and ZEISS Optics with T* Coating.

While we all await official local price and availability, here’s a rundown of its specs and features.

Camera

Obviously, what stands out about the X90 series is how it delivers on an advanced repertoire of camera features and powerful lenses.

The X90 Pro has an integrated “eye” camera setup in the rear, composed of the following:

  • 50MP ZEISS IMX989 1-inch sensor main camera (f/1.75)
  • 50MP IMX758 ultra-sensing portrait camera (f/1.6)
  • 12MP wide-angle camera

The main camera’s 3.2 μm large pixel (4-in-1) size allows more light in and produce brighter and more scintillating images even at night. The portrait camera has stabilization support and an exclusive large aperture lens.

The X90 Pro also introduces independent optical image stabilization (OIS) technology developed by vivo itself to allow for more intelligent and precise stabilization and correction.

The premium phone also supports Active Centering OIS System, significantly reducing smears between frames and motion blur. 

On the other hand, the standard X90 has the following setup:

  • 50MP VCS True Color main camera
  • 12MP professional portrait camera
  • 12MP wide-angle camera

More camera features

The VCS True Collor main camera optimizes the sensor spectrum to achieve the target RGB colors better, improve native image colors, and ensure color consistency.

Both phones will have Corning Gorilla Glass and anti-reflective coating on their cameras.

As mentioned, the X90 series has a ton of interesting camera-related features, so here’s an overview of all:

  • 4K Ultra-Sensing Night Video – made easier by vivo’s Super Night Video 3.0 algorithm for more sensitivity in extremely dark environments
  • Handheld Astro mode – to capture night skies with greater clarity, without the need for tripods or stabilizers
  • Super Moon mode – perfect for “blue hour” right after sunset with vivo’s sky-segmentation technology optimizing blue-tone colors, this mode uses Double Exposure algorithm to integrate both the landscape and moon into one
  • AI Night View – shoots up to 10 frames in RAW while maintaining HDR to recognize elements such as the sky and human faces in night scenes; segmentation is also carried out to further fine tune image
  • Zero-Shutter-Lag-Motion Snapshot – allows users to capture motion easier with zero-second delay, even in low light; utilized by Sports and Night modes
  • ZEISS Cine-flare Portrait style – simulates the flare effect in classic films

For the first time, a new ZEISS Natural Color Display has also been added to screen color style settings to ensure captured colors are not affected by the display. This means the colors in shots captured are close to perfect.

Power specs

Ensuring that all camera-related features work to a T, the X90 series phones are powered by Dimensity 9200 processors along with the V2 chip.

Both devices will also come with enhanced DDR5 RAM and up to 8GB of extended memory via Extended RAM 3.0, so users may use more active apps without sacrificing smoothness.

The X90 Pro in particular has an Ultra Large Vapor Chamber Liquid Cooling System. Its design reduces the heat transfer from CPU to the frame. This allows for key areas to remain relatively cooler even when heavy tasks are being processed.

Battery-wise, the phones have 4,810mAh and 4,870mAh batteries that support 120W Dual-Cell FlashCharge and 50W Wireless FlashCharge.

Charging modes include fast charging for up to 50% in just over 8 minutes, or balanced mode for a full charge in only 29 minutes.

Audio and visual

Lastly, both phones have a 6.78-inch HDR10+ Ultra Vision Eye protection screen, bringing cinema-like display effects to one’s fingertips.

The displays have a refresh rate of 120Hz. This makes the phone also ideal for gaming. vivo also developed a Smart Eye Protection mode in collaboration with MediaTek. This is to intelligently monitor blue light proportion in real-time.

Audio-wise, the X90 series also boasts of a Dual Stereo Speaker and an X-Axis Linear Motor. For the Pro model, SpeakerBoost 4.0 algorithm expands the sound field, while 4D Game Vibration is also supported.

WATCH: vivo X80 vs X80 Pro: Buyer’s Guide

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Controversial Netflix policy might ban users for sharing passwords

Company says plans are still unconfirmed

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Likely eclipsed only by Twitter, Netflix has gone through a ton of changes since last year. Underlying most of the new changes is a desire to curb password sharing. Now that 2023 is alive and kicking, the platform is readying its grand strategy to eliminate the phenomenon once and for all. Before the company can reveal their plans, a new report has leaked what’s coming for subscribers.

According to The Streamable, Netflix has changed its Netflix Help Center to reflect the new strategy. Based on the changes, the platform will require all profiles using a single account to be from the same primary location. If the platform detects that someone is using the account in another location, Netflix can reportedly block that user automatically.

To remain in the fold of an account, devices must sign into their home Wi-Fi every 31 days to check in. Any device who can’t do so might get blocked. Incorrect blockings can only be resolved with a call to Netflix’s support.

Now, the biggest controversy revolves around those who travel regularly. Users can reportedly request for a temporary code from Netflix to use the service in another location for seven consecutive days.

Though the changes were spotted on Netflix’s official pages, none of them have been officially announced yet. The page has been reverted to a vaguer version which only asks users in other households to have their own account. In a separate statement issued to The Verge, the company has stated that plans for subscribers (in the United States, at least) are still unconfirmed.

Still, the changed website is viewable via archiving sites like Way Back Machine. A change in the official support page might have come from a premature announcement, rejected plans, or an error.

SEE ALSO: Netflix confirms One Piece adaptation coming this year

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