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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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Samsung Galaxy M51 price and availability in the Philippines

Another monster battery phone!

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Samsung’s new beast — the Galaxy M51 — is finally making its way to the Philippines. With an official listed page on the Samsung Philippines website, the arrival of this monster battery phone is imminent.

The Galaxy M51 prides itself with a massive 7000mAh battery that supports 25W fast charging. This new midrange phone sports a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED+ Infinity-O display. On its front, you can find an in-display fingerprint scanner and a punch-hole camera housing a 32-megapixel shooter.

It’s powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 730G processor, equipped with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. For extra storage, it comes with a MicroSD slot up to 512GB.

Meanwhile, its rear features a quad-camera setup: a 64-megapixel primary sensor, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, a 5-megapixel depth sensor, and a 5-megapixel macro camera.

Regarding its ports, the Galaxy M51 uses a USB Type-C port and the well-loved 3.5mm audio jack. In line with all other Galaxy-branded phones, it’ll ship with OneUI out-of-the-box and Samsung Knox, Samsung’s multi-layered security feature.

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy M51 will retail for PhP 19,990 and will come in two colors: Black and White. It will be exclusively available online starting September 25, 2020, at Samsung’s official online store, eCommerce partners such as Lazada, Shopee, Abenson, and MemoXpress, and telecom companies like Globe and Smart. Early birds can score up to PhP 2,098 worth of freebies from September 25-28, 2020.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy M31: How long does a 6000mAh battery last?

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Instagram is being sued for spying on a user’s camera

Accessed a camera without permission

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The world of social media is rapidly sinking into a period of reckoning. Earlier today, the Trump administration has announced a definitive takedown of TikTok and WeChat starting this Sunday. Apparently, American social media platforms can’t catch a break as well. In the United States, Instagram is being sued for spying on a user’s camera.

Reported by Bloomberg, a New Jersey Instagram user, Brittany Conditi, filed the complaint against the company in a San Francisco court. According to the lawsuit, Instagram accesses an iPhone’s camera even when the app isn’t currently active.

Conditi argues that the practice is deliberate and “lucrative” for the company. Instagram allegedly uses the obtained data for “valuable insights and market research.”

According to Facebook (who owns Instagram), the issue is a bug and does not indicate any deliberate attempts to spy on users. The company has also said that the bug is now patched in the latest version.

Regardless, Facebook and Apple have butted heads in the past. Since the introduction of iOS 14, Apple has upped its efforts to curb any untoward privacy violations from apps. Even without the current allegations, Facebook’s concern (or lack thereof) for privacy is well documented.

Currently, Facebook and Instagram are in a race to catch up with TikTok in the short-form video-sharing trend. Instagram, for one, recently launched Instagram Reels, its own take on TikTok.

SEE ALSO: Facebook is paying users to delete their accounts

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TikTok and WeChat will be banned from app stores in the US

So, did the Oracle deal go through?

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After months of escalating, the US Commerce Department has announced it’ll ban business transactions with TikTok and WeChat. The two apps are owned by Chinese giants ByteDance and Tencent, respectively.

Practically, you won’t be able to directly download the app via stores like Play Store and App Store. Furthermore, companies are also barred from hosting these apps in the US. Essentially, the user won’t be able to download the app from third-party websites that are hosted in the US.

It also blocks US companies from providing services through WeChat “for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.”

However, it remains unclear whether the announcement means the Oracle-TikTok deal won’t be going through. The Trump administration wanted ByteDance to sell its local TikTok operations to an American company.

In the last few months, multiple American giants like Walmart, Twitter, and Microsoft were interested in getting their piece of TikTok. But things haven’t moved smoothly and the Chinese government isn’t keen on handing over TikTok’s algorithm to an American company.

While Oracle has been chosen for a deal with ByteDance, the latter continues to maintain that the ongoing process isn’t an acquisition and Oracle shall be a technology partner. This is in stark contrast to what President Trump envisions as a business takeover.

The app ban could be a tactic to pressure the Chinese, but we can’t be certain of that right now. Going by the latest statements, it’s clear that the administration wants to completely block user’s access to these apps and is willing to go the extra mile.

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