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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Gaming

Zelda sequel Tears of the Kingdom has a release date

Priced at $70

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Barely more than a month into the new year, 2023 already looks like a phenomenal year for gamers. A lot of upcoming games are looking like exciting additions to everyone’s to-play list. Though we already knew the title is coming this year, Nintendo officially announced the release date of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

After revealing a flurry of games, Nintendo capped off their recent Direct with the fresh trailer of the upcoming sequel to Breath of the Wild. As was showcased in previous teasers and trailers, Tears of the Kingdom is a much darker vision set in the same world as Breath of the Wild. Ganon (or what looks like a zombified version of the villain) is back to terrorize Hyrule. This time, however, the iconic villain has a voice!

Plus, Tears of the Kingdom adds a lot of verticality by introducing floating terrain and more aerial movement. While the world looks similar to Breath of the Wild, the sequel still has a lot to show players.

Finally, the trailer caps off with the release date. Tears of the Kingdom will launch on May 12. Preorders have already begun for the title. Additionally, dedicated fans can also get a Collector’s Edition which includes a SteelBook, a poster, an art book, and a pin set. The release also coincides with the launch of a new Amiibo to commemorate the launch.

Priced a bit higher, Tears of the Kingdom will sell for US$ 69.99.

SEE ALSO: Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel trailer breakdown

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Gaming

Nintendo adds Game Boy titles to Switch Online

And Game Boy Advance

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Nintendo Switch Online is the gift that keeps on giving. More than giving players the ability to play online, the subscription service also offers subscribers a gallery of classic games from bygone eras. The feature remains one of the most convenient ways to play old titles from the NES and the N64. Now, the service is adding Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles.

Announced during the most recent Direct, Nintendo has announced that several titles from the Game Boy and the Game Boy Advance are now playable through the subscription service. While all subscribers will have access to the Game Boy titles, Game Boy Advance titles will come only with Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscriptions.

The starting lineup of Game Boy titles include Tetris, the original Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX and Kirby’s Dream Land. Meanwhile, Game Boy Advance titles will include Super Mario Bros. 3, Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, and WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$. Games included will come with local and online multiplayer, if applicable.

Nintendo will continue to add more titles to the roster throughout the year. Since the Game Boy generation is one of the company’s biggest, expect a ton of announcements as the roster fills up. (We’re still holding out hope for the classic Pokémon games.)

SEE ALSO: Nintendo Switch is now third-bestselling console in history

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Apps

Twitter expands character limit to 4,000 characters

But not for everyone

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Despite the traditional limitations, the platform’s users have always found a way to express themselves beyond Twitter’s character limits. Whether broken through extensive threads or third-party sites, strict limitations don’t exist anymore. Now, Twitter is essentially getting rid of the character limit by introducing its biggest expansion to date.

Announced today, Twitter will allow users to post tweets with up to 4,000 characters. That’s a gigantic leap from the original 140-character limit and the expanded 280-character limit in 2017. But, of course, some good things come with a price.

Not everyone will have access to the new feature. Currently, only Twitter Blue subscribers in the United States can create tweets of up to 4,000 characters. Besides original tweets, subscribers can also quote tweet with the same expanded limit.

Thankfully, the new feature will not inundate everyone’s feeds with an ocean of text. Any tweets going beyond 280 characters will be cut off with a “show more” prompt.

Through the past few months, the platform has changed a few fundamental elements before Musk took over. Most importantly, Twitter Blue, the platform’s paid subscription service is now much more expansive. Among other things, subscribers now get the coveted blue checkmark attached to their profiles. Now, they also get a massive boost in capabilities when it comes to tweeting.

SEE ALSO: Twitter is teasing an ad-free subscription tier

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