It’s been nearly two weeks since we installed the final build of Android 7.0 Nougat on our Nexus 6P, and while we’ve been enjoying every new feature, there’s one that really stands out. No, it’s not the upgraded multitasking button or extra set of emojis, but the hidden cat-collecting game called Android Neko.
An obvious reference to the mega-popular Neko Atsume game, the Nougat-only feature doesn’t have all the intricate gimmicks and visuals of its standalone app equivalent. In Google’s implementation, you’re restricted to leaving out food for the cats, being notified when one arrives, and naming the felines that stay in your collection forever.
Surprisingly, since Android Neko doesn’t require as much dedication to feed and pamper playful kitties, the simplicity of letting you casually check on notifications whenever your busy schedule permits actually adds to the addictiveness of the game.
Activating the mini-game isn’t as simple as opening up the hidden Flappy Bird clone of Android 5.0 Lollipop and 6.0 Marshmallow, so we came up with a step-by-step guide to accessing Android Neko on Android Nougat. Here it goes:
- Make sure you have Android 7.0 installed.
- Navigate to the Nougat logo by going to Settings > About Phone, and then rapidly tapping “Android version 7.0” three times.
- Tap the huge letter N a few times, then give it a long press until a cat appears below it.
- Pull down the notifications shade from above twice and tap on “Edit.”
- You’ll find a new icon named “Android Easter Egg.” Drag that to your Quick Settings list.
Now that it’s part of your Quick Settings, tap on the icon to select which food you want to place on the dish. There are a total of four: chicken, treat, bits, and fish. As far as we know, it doesn’t matter which one you choose – cats will come. Once it’s empty, simply refill the dish to lure in another cat.
You’ll be shown a traditional notification whenever a cat appears. Tap it, and you’ll be presented with your hopefully growing collection. You can also hold the icon in Quick Settings (with or without food inside) to check out the cats.
Again, Android Neko is no where near as comprehensive as the already simple Neko Atsume. You’re limited to renaming your new friends by tapping on them, and sharing your pets with actual friends by pressing on a cat a little longer. The great thing is that it could probably go on much longer with hundreds of furry friends to discover.
For the fortunate minority who have Android Nougat: Enjoy!
[irp posts=”10272″ name=”Six months in, Android Nougat distribution still sucks”]
The marriage of engineering, technology, and design
The Mate Xs 2 reminded us of what we used to love about Huawei
Thin. Light. Flat.
These words got me ecstatic, knowing that it’s been years since the first foldable devices came out and these aren’t the words we used to describe them.
Huawei certainly has come a long way, fighting head-to-head with Samsung back in 2019 in bringing a taste of the future.
The company, pressing on after the US-Google-Huawei fiasco, strives to refine its portfolio of foldable smartphones.
Now, in case you’re confused, the first foldable — the Huawei Mate X — was launched in 2019. Huawei introduced the Mate Xs in 2020, and then the Mate X2 in 2021. Later that year, Huawei also brought the P50 Pocket, the direct rival of the Galaxy Z Flip 3.
In 2022, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 undoubtedly succeeds the Mate Xs, continuing its prominent outward-folding design. Let’s take a look at the world’s thinnest and lightest foldable yet.
Elegantly refined in a design that’s imperfectly perfect
One thing I like about Huawei’s smartphones is how they all look classy and elegant. The formula they’ve used to win many hearts over — as seen on the Huawei P and Mate line from a few years ago — is carried vehemently to its foldable lineup.
Up front, when folded, the Mate Xs 2 looks like your regular slate. Tall, boxy yet somehow curvy, and looks and feels sturdy. It has a 6.5-inch OLED display, much like the same slab you see today.
Behind that sleek glass is the folded, extended screen. It makes the device look thick when you check its bottom. But somehow, the cuts and edges fit perfectly, housing the speaker grilles, the SIM Card slot, and the USB-C port.
Flipping the device, you’ll find the extension of the screen. It snugs tightly, locking beside the camera strip together with a button that unfolds the Mate Xs 2.
When you press the button, it releases the lock and the screen rises.
Releasing the lock allows the device to stay in the same position. Yes, it’s still up to you to force it to get that large, square-like screen you expect out of a foldable device.
But let’s forget about that for a moment. Underneath, you can find a diagonal plaid pattern in a leather-like texture. While I loved anything and everything white, Huawei refined the way black smartphones should be. J’adore!
This one has more personality, looks sophisticated, and — beyond the marvelous appearance — has a sense of functionality, too. The texture aids the phone in keeping it durable and scratch-resistant.
A friendly reminder that style without substance is nothing. Don’t be fooled by grand showcases if it only exhibits lavishness without addressing the more important stuff.
Thin but not like ice
Upclose to its back, you can find the hinge gluing the screen together. Huawei attributes its precise and fluid movement to its new-generation Double-rotating Falcon Wing Hinge design.
With this proprietary technology, I’m still gobsmacked by how Huawei packed all the components tightly. This feels like the ASUS Zenfone 8 which shrank its components to achieve a compact form factor, but with a trickier and more intensive process.
Nevertheless, this fusion of engineering and design allowed Huawei to create the thinnest, flattest, and lightest foldable — with no visible crease.
Regardless of the angle and lighting condition, the Mate Xs 2 really doesn’t exhibit any crease on its display.
It makes the smartphone usage pleasant to the eyes — and even your fingers, simply because the crease is barely felt. And frankly, you’re more likely to swipe and scroll on the right side of the phone instead of the part where the hinge is.
While the Mate Xs 2 is pretty thin, weighing only 255g with a thickness of 5.4mm when unfolded, it’s easy to carry and hold.
Even when folded, which comes with a thickness of 11.1mm, the Mate XS 2 is easily gripped and fits your spaces like any slab smartphone.
Gorgeous, “sturdy” display
Besides the huge leap in engineering and design, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is emblazoned with top-of-the-line display technology.
With already a creaseless screen, the unfolded device sports a 7.8-inch high-resolution OLED display. It reportedly packs a billion colors and supports P3 wide color gamut.
With an artistic rendition of Weathering With You through a 4K wallpaper, the Mate Xs 2 exhibited rich and vibrant colors.
Watching a show is quite different though, especially with its strange aspect ratio. It doesn’t provide a full-screen experience even if you rotate the screen.
But fold the phone back… and you can enjoy an immersive viewing experience. It was delightful to watch Encanto and sing along with Isabela and Mirabel Madrigal.
Aside from the beauty and grandeur of the Mate Xs 2’s display, Huawei made sure it’s durable. The Mate Xs 2 adopted a bulletproof Composite Structure screen with a protective film, support layer, and rotating shaft.
I haven’t had a chance to test its resistance to drops, crushing, or impact. I still believe foldables are fragile, even with their claims of being ‘sturdy’ and ‘reliable.’
What I worry about is the folded part of the screen, since, without a case, the surface directly touches the folded rear. While Huawei assures us with an aluminum alloy protective frame around the screen that keeps it scratch-resistant, I can’t help but feel anxious whenever I place it on any rough, hard surface.
Is there power under the hood?
Okay, let’s talk specs. Huawei, for most of its flagship devices, pushes the limits of its hardware. It runs on EMUI 12, comes with an 8GB RAM and 512GB of ROM, a 4600mAh battery capacity capable of 66W SuperCharge, and a 120Hz refresh rate.
The only drawback that got me taken aback is its processor. Sadly, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 houses a Snapdragon 888 4G. While we have the thank the US government for that, the processor is somewhat limiting especially in terms of future-proofing.
Don’t get me wrong, Snapdragon 888 is still powerful. But plenty of chipsets are going above and beyond, and this flagship foldable getting left behind.
As for the user experience and the lack of Google Mobile Services (GMS), this has been addressed multiple times — from ways to augment your experience to the improvements Huawei made, especially for HarmonyOS. But that’s a story for another time because there are plenty of features to talk about.
Are the cameras still flagship-grade?
The Huawei Mate Xs 2 houses a 50-megapixel True Chroma camera system, including a 13-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera. Upfront, it has a 10.7-megapixel selfie camera.
A few tests here and there made me think that the photos are color-accurate, detailed, and flagship-worthy. But that wouldn’t be fair to be this subjective when I hardly have any photos to showcase. Hang tight! As of this writing, we’re brewing something cool about its cameras.
Anyhoo, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 — like its previous iterations — comes with a Mirror Shooting mode where the photographer can take a photo while the subject can see how they look on the rear screen.
This is similar to most foldables nowadays. Frankly, it’s a handy feature that might come in handy when you travel or want to capture an iconic moment.
Remembering the love for Huawei
The Huawei Mate Xs 2 reminds me of everything we’ve loved about Huawei. Elegantly-designed smartphones. Sleek and vibrant display technology. Impressive hardware. Huge leaps in engineering and design. Actual innovation.
The only barriers that propel it from taking back its crown are the people who can’t adapt to a new user experience, and the geopolitical issues surrounding the company. Nevertheless, the Mate Xs 2 is Huawei’s proof that they can still be a trailblazer, and they’ll probably keep on doing so.
Price and availability
The Huawei Mate Xs 2 is available for pre-order for PhP 99,999. It comes with a free Huawei Watch 3 (worth PhP 18,999) and free App Benefits (worth PhP 1,195). More importantly, the Mate Xs 2 will come with its own screen protector film, along with these service offerings:
- 1-year warranty
- Free one-time screen protector film within the warranty period
- One-stop support
- 1-to-1 VIP Hotline service
- Free pick-up and delivery
- Free repair under warranty
Apple iPhone 14 + iPhone 15 Rumor Roundup: Goodbye notch, hello punch-hole Face ID
Is it time for you to upgrade or to wait longer?
Just a few months after the iPhone 13 announcement from Apple, several leakers have already announced what the iPhone 14 will look like. Not only is it a bold move, it’s also creating more chaos among fans whether they’ll buy the iPhone 13 or wait for the iPhone 14 this 2022 (or just patiently wait for the iPhone 15 in 2023).
Like with any other rumors, take these with a grain of salt. Everything you see here are just leaks and rumors and nothing has been confirmed yet.
iPhone 14 series
Out with the mini, in with the Max
Instead, Apple is taking a different route and will instead create a bigger version of the iPhone 14 base model and will call it “iPhone 14 Max”. This is also coherent with its “Pro” sibling. There’s even a tweet by Ross Young, the CEO of a display supply chain company, about the key specs of the whole iPhone 14 lineup.
Regarding iPhone 14 leaks, great to see. We showed under panel Face ID in the 2022 Pro models in June…Also showed the 2023 lineup as well. pic.twitter.com/dGcm5n0bEO
— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) September 8, 2021
The regular iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro share the same 6.1-inch screen size. Meanwhile, the iPhone 14 Max and Pro Max will have a gigantic 6.7-inch display with slimmer bezels based on the dimensions of these leaked CAD drawings. When it comes to refresh rate, the 120Hz ProMotion displays might still be limited to the Pro models. Meanwhile, the base variants will stick to the usual 60Hz panel.
Punch-hole Face ID
Punch-hole displays are far from being a fresh feature. It first made its debut through the Samsung Galaxy A8s and the Huawei Nova 4 from merely three years ago. Still, Apple users will mostly like be fascinated to see a notch-less screen after years of sticking to it since the iPhone X.
With the notch staying for another year on the newer iPhone 13 series, rumors suggest that Apple has finally reached the peak of implementing a Face ID system with punch-hole cutout. Albeit an unusual one with one pill-shaped cutout for the TrueDepth camera system sensors, and the other for the front camera.
This rumor came all the way from a March 2021 report by Ming-chi Kuo stating that the 2022 iPhone 14 will likely ditch the notch for a punch-hole camera layout. This also debunks the rumor that the iPhone 14 will have an under-display Face ID system as the technology is still far from happening.
If you’re getting your hopes up for Apple to get rid of that notch completely, well it will still stay at least in the non-Pro models.
After years of being rumored, Apple might finally bring the Always-On Display feature to the iPhone.
Ever since the announcement of the new lockscreen style in iOS 16, a lot of people have noticed how the widgets bar coincidentally looks better with Always-On Display. While it was suggested that AOD has been tested for the iPhone 13 Pro series, the display technology isn’t enough to make the battery last longer.
But as rumor claims that the next-gen iPhone 14 Pro will feature an LTPO display that can go down as low as 1Hz instead of 10Hz on the latest iPhone 13 Pro series, iPhone users will finally become a reality! I guess we won’t need to jailbreak iPhones just to make Always-On accessible.
Way bigger (and better) cameras
Every year, phone manufacturers tend to invest on rear cameras that are bigger both in size and performance. Of course, Apple is also taking a leap forward by implementing larger camera sensors. Rumored as early as April 2021, the iPhone 14 might have a 48MP camera sensor with support for 8K video recording.
In the Android universe, it’s nothing grand. But in the Apple world, it’s a huge feat of engineering considering the current iPhones still rock a 12MP sensor. But as we all say in this site, numbers are not everything. In photography, having a better camera sensor still is the fruit in every pudding. Google’s Pixel line from the Pixel 3 until the Pixel 5 with the same ol’ Sony IMX363 proves that.
Better internals… for the Pro models
According to a Nikkei Asia report dated back in July 2021, the 2022 iPhone 14 could come with an even more efficient 3-4nm (nanometer) A16 Bionic chipset from TSMC — a Taiwan-based semiconductor company in Taiwan that provides chips for Apple.
Not only is it efficient, it also brings way faster performance more than one could ever imagine in a smartphone. Aside from the newly-announced Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the A15 Bionic Chip is one of the smallest chips in the market with a 4nm process.
Due to a chip shortage, it is also reported that only the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max models would come with the newer A16 Bionic chipset. Meanwhile, the base iPhone 14 and 14 Max variants will still ship with A15 Bionic Chip from the iPhone 13 series.
While the Pro series of the iPhone 13 doesn’t come with 1TB internal storage options, both iPhone 14 Pro models might have it all along. Even support for 6GB RAM is said to come — which is a blessing for super power users.
iPhone 15 series
A blast from the past
If you haven’t noticed lately, Apple has been slowly bringing back their past designs. From the inspiration of the iPhone 12’s flat-edge design with the likes of the iPhone 5/5s and the first-gen iPhone SE, all the way to the 2021 iMac M1 that’s reminiscent of the iMac G3 from 2003. Like it or not, the upcoming iPhone 15 won’t be any different.
As Jon Prosser stated in his latest report, the iPhone 15 will most likely borrow the design of the iPhone 4 from a decade ago. Instead of that protruding camera bump, Apple might actually make the phone thicker for the cameras to get flushed.
Titanium frame, thicker chassis
As early as August 2021, it was already rumored that the 2022 iPhone 14 will have a titanium chassis instead of the usual stainless steel ones. However it may not make its debut in the iPhone 14. Instead, it will be at least in the iPhone 15 Pro series.
The lack of camera cutout might look like it was inspired by Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra but the iPhone 15 will still be different.
Unlike those protruding camera lenses, its thicker chassis makes it possible to remove the camera bump and protruding lenses. The cameras, LiDAR scanner, and LED flash are flushed beneath the iPhone’s glass layer. It’s just like the good ol’ iPhone 4. This makes it look cleaner and uniformed.
There’s little to no word about what colors we will get for the iPhone 15. My guesses are graphite, silver, and gold will still stay. I’ve also included a matte black option a la iPhone 7 and 7 Plus together with a rose gold (or pink) variant since Apple never brought it back after the iPhone 6s series and the first-gen iPhone SE from 2016.
Still in the waitlist
While the 2020 iPhone rumors suggested a “portless iPhone” is coming very soon, it might not be as soon as this year. Apple is in the hot seat as the European Union (EU) wants Apple to comply with the new port standard and equip upcoming iPhones with USB-C instead of Lightning port. If that pushes through, it’s a win for people who use USB-Cs for most (if not all) of their devices.
The introduction of MagSafe on iPhones just started last year, but it doesn’t mean it’s a tech feature we all need. And we all know Apple isn’t ready to fully-adapt the technology on the newer iPhones just yet. Not only is it slower than the iPhone’s regular Lightning-based wired charging, it’s also unconventional (at least for now).
If portless iPhones are not in Apple’s priorities now, what more with foldable iPhones?
Even with early Apple patents submitted such as the folding iPad with Apple Pencil support, dual screen with hinge system, or even a clamshell iPhone such as the Galaxy Z Flip3 and motorola razr, it’s still a blurry sight if Apple will really pursue foldables in the near future. For now, we can only look at patent illustrations.
iPhone SE 3
Mac Otakara and Ming-Chi Kuo’s reports about it being launched in April 2021 together with the new AirPods Pro were scrapped. Instead, Ross Young said it will be delayed until Q1 2022. But is it really the time for Apple to update the second-gen iPhone SE?
The design of the upcoming iPhone SE 3 is quite uncertain. Some say it will take cues from the ‘Plus’ versions of the iPhone 6/6s/7/8 with a 5.5-inch Retina Display. Others say it’s a direct copy of the iPhone 11 and XR with a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina Display. A minority even stated that it’ll have a punch-hole camera instead of a notch with iPhone 12 mini’s minuscule 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR display.
But disproving all those what-ifs, the latest leak says that Apple will still use the design of the old iPhone 8 / SE 2 and will just equip the budget iPhone with a 5G-supported A15 Bionic Chip.
Currently, the iPhone 12 is currently the best-selling smartphone in the world. And with the iPhone 13 in the roster, it’s more likely that the iPhone SE 3 will be sold at a cheaper retail value — and might even cheaper than the launch prices of the 1st and 2nd generation iPhone SEs.
This article will be updated regularly. Updates will include new leaks and/or rumors on the Apple iPhone 14 and 15 series.
Samsung rumored to launch an affordable Galaxy Fold
For all the hype surrounding them, foldable smartphones are still one of the most expensive devices you can own in today’s market. Years after Samsung launched its first foldable phone, still only a handful of people can realistically afford the series. Fortunately, the lineup’s reputation for inaccessibility might soon change. According to a new report, Samsung is preparing a more affordable Galaxy Fold in the next few years.
As reported by Korean publication ETNews, Samsung is working on an “entry-level foldable smartphone.” Unlike most foldable phones that go over US$ 1,000, the reported devices will likely cost US$ 800 or below. That’s around or less than the cost of a flagship smartphone today.
According to the report’s estimates, it won’t be that long of a wait either. Samsung will reportedly release the affordable foldable phone within the next two years. Fans might need to wait through only two generations of the lineup before getting a better device for their wallets.
Currently, Samsung still has a set of foldable phones to launch sometime this year. If the rumors are true, this won’t be the affordable phone yet. Besides, the company still has a few more kinks to work out before perfecting the foldable form factor for a mass audience.
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