News

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

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CES 2021

Kingston launches new NVMe SSDs, Workflow Station and Readers

Featuring blazing fast speeds and large storage capacities

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For CES 2021, Kingston has launched new SSDs designed for content creators and everyday consumers. There are also brand-new Workflow Station and Readers introduced that should simplify data management and storage.

The biggest change to the upcoming SSDs is the switch to the faster NVMe interface. All of Kingston’s recently-launched SSDs will come with faster read and write speeds as a result of this change, greatly benefiting the users.

Headlining the new SSD portfolio is Kingston’s Ghost Tree SSD. It features a claimed read and write speed of 7GBs made possible by switching to the newer PCIe 4.0. It will come in different capacities ranging from 1TB to 4TB. Professional content creators should benefit greatly from the blazing-fast performance that this SSD affords.

Meanwhile, everyday consumers can also reap the benefits of NVMe with the NV series. Kingston touts it as an entry-level series utilizing PCIe 3.0 with storage capacities reaching up to 2TB.

There’s also a new external storage solution from Kingston — the X200 external drive. Like the newer external SSDs in the market, this one comes with USB Type-C that allows for transfer speeds of up to 2GB. It comes in different capacities ranging from 500GB to 2TB.

Finally, there’s an SSD designed for enterprise. The DC1500M is a substantial update to DC1000M, adding support for multi-namespaces. It also connects via U.2 interface, which is a newer interface designed primarily for the enterprise sector. Geared towards data-intensive workloads, Kingston touts its needs primarily in cloud computing, web hosting, and virtual infrastructures.

New Workflow Station and Readers

Rounding up Kingston’s CES 2021 announcements is the Workflow Station and Readers. One of its highlight features is the ability to customize the file offload setup allowing for greater flexibility in transferring files, audio, images, videos, and more from multiple sources. It can also simultaneously connect to USB hubs, SD, and microSD card readers.

Alternatively, users can use it as a standalone reader by connecting it to their laptops via a USB Type-C cable.

Price and availability

Kingston hasn’t announced the prices for the newly launched SSDs. However, all of these should come later in many markets globally. Interested users should follow Kingston for updates on prices and availability o their markets.

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Laptops

Report says MacBook Pro 2021 won’t have the Touch Bar

But MagSafe will make a comeback!

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Apple could be planning a major revamp of the MacBook Pro lineup, and it’s expected to go official in the third quarter of 2021. Interestingly, the redesign will include removing the Touch Bar and the return of the MagSafe charging port.

According to TF International Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo, this will be the first major redesign of the MacBook Pro since 2016. Furthermore, it’ll have square-off sides like the iPhone 12, flatter top and bottom panels, and brighter screens.

It’ll be available in two sizes — 14-inch and 16-inch. And yes, they’ll feature Apple’s in-house processors that leverage Arm architecture. There will not be an Intel option, and Apple’s next-generation chipsets will power it. They’re expected to feature more cores and enhanced graphics.

At the end of November 2020, a MacBook Pro 16-inch with 12-core Apple M1X processor was tipped to be even more powerful than the M1 processor. Earlier that month, a MacBook Pro 14-ich model with Apple’s M1 processor was also tipped.

A report by TechRadar suggested that the 16-inch MacBook Pro model looks a bit slimmer. This could be due to the processor’s efficiency since it doesn’t need aggressive cooling like Intel-powered options.

Most importantly, though, Apple is going old-school and bringing some of the features we’ve always loved. The pill-shaped MagSafe charging connector could make a comeback, and physical function keys could replace the digital Touch Bar. Kuo has also hinted that Apple could provide ports generously to reduce dependence on dongles.

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Gaming

Bravely Default II preorder final demo now available

A must-play!

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Bravely Default II is a Japanese fantasy RPG with lovely art styles reminiscent of a refined version to early Final Fantasy releases. The series gameplay uses the usual turn-based battle system and job system. But, the series is more notable for integrating options to combine and customize job abilities, battle speed, and enemy encounter rates.

Bravely Default II is the newest addition to the Bravely series. So, what’s new? Bravely Default II lets you step into a brand-new world with four new heroes, new stories, and new job roles.

This iteration features a young sailor, Seth, who washes up the shores of one of the five mighty kingdoms of the continent. He encounters an escaped princess, Gloria of Musa, and they both venture out to meet more travellers seeking the truth to their world.

If you’re into RPGs or a fan of the Bravely series, this is the game release to look forward to. The game keeps its charming mechanics while piling on new features so if you want or need a taste of the game, the final demo is out now. Although, you won’t be waiting much longer for the game’s full release because it looking to be released on February 26 exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

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