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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Entertainment

Netflix set to release five new originals from India

One of them is backed by Shahrukh Khan!

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Content is the next big thing in India, with a population of 1.3 billion people and dirt cheap internet, there are unlimited possibilities. Companies have been flooding the internet with original content and this includes multi-national streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, as well as YouTube.

Netflix has been active in the country for a couple of years now and the streaming market has been extremely competitive. Thanks to homegrown players like Hotstar, Sony LIV, and more, the audience has a huge appetite for local as well as international content. We already know Netflix’s international game is on point, but how does it plan to lure the average Indian user?


Originals are the answer, and the service has tied up with local studios to bring onboard A-list stars for new shows and movies. It has already released a host of new series and intends to take a step further with five more.

The five series will be developed in collaboration with companies such as Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment and Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate Films. The shows will cover genres such as young adult, drama, thriller, horror, and comedy.

Bombay Begums will follow the varied journeys of five women who bond in contemporary urban India. Mai will see a 40-plus docile wife and mother who finds herself sucked into a vortex of violence and politics following a personal tragedy.

One of the most popular actors in the country, Shahrukh Khan is backing Betaal, a horror series based in a remote village that serves as the battleground between British Indian Army officer Betaal, his battalion of zombie redcoats, and the Indian police.

Messy follows an emerging standup comic who struggles to balance a career in comedy with a day job and a demanding family. Masaba Masaba is a scripted series based on the real lives of fashion designer Masaba Gupta and her actress mother Neena Gupta (“Badhaai Ho”), will feature the duo playing themselves.

Netflix’s previous stint with the Sacred Games has been an instant hit in the country and the second season of the show is slated for release on August 15, celebrating India’s Independence Day.

Globalization by localization

Other streaming sites are stepping up their game but the one in particular that Netflix is preparing for is by media giant Disney. The company is set to launch their own streaming service called Disney Plus on November 2019. They’re a real threat considering the content catalogue at their disposal which include Marvel, Star Wars, and many others.

Netflix’s answer is a host of original content. The company already started this year with titles like Kingdom gaining notoriety from audiences worldwide despite it being a mostly South Korean production. Netflix got the idea from the popularity of another series ported from Japan — Terrace House.

Another strategy users of the service noticed is the influx of animé on Netflix. They recently added the classic Neon Genesis Evangelion to their catalogue and it was also announced that a Philippine-made comic book called Trese will be adapted into animé by the company.

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Enterprise

Apple might bring back the old-school rainbow logo this year

Set to come with select iPhones and iPads

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Image source: MacRumors

Apple’s logo is one of the most ubiquitous icons of this generation. Both Apple and non-Apple users alike can recognize the half-bitten apple from a mile away. However, before its meteoric rise, Apple’s logo had more colorful beginnings.

In the past, Apple used a rainbow-colored variant for its products. However, Steve Jobs’ iPhone era traded this colorful logo for a minimalist grey apple. The new evolution brought Apple’s branding to a sleeker level. Apple was ready for the new world.


Lately, the siren’s call of nostalgia has resurrected the old world for today. A lot of brands today are calling back to their former roots. Old products and branding return for a breath of new life. Considering this, Apple might bring its old properties back from the grave.

According a leaker from MacRumors, Apple will likely bring the rainbow-colored logo later this year. The old logo will likely come with a flurry of products in the future. Unfortunately, the rumor does not reveal which products will come with the resurrection. Most likely, the logo will adorn a few iPhones and iPads soon.

Of course, a rumor is still just a rumor. MacRumors credits only the tipster’s previous reputation as the rumor’s credibility. Apple has not made an official announcement yet. However, if anything, a few signs have already pointed towards the potential resurrection. For one, Apple has recently renewed the logo’s trademark, ensuring the company’s continued usage over the property. Additionally, a resurrection might even go beyond mere nostalgia. Apple has notably supported gender equality, releasing rainbow-themed merchandise previously.

If anything, signs point to yes. Do you want to bring back old school? Where do you want to see the old logo in?

SEE ALSO: Second Apple store in Singapore opens at the Jewel Changi Airport

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Cameras

Sony’s A7R IV has a massive 61MP sensor

Still king of full-frame mirrorless cameras

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After hearing of a Sony Alpha event, we at GadgetMatch crossed our fingers hoping for the A7S III. That’s a much-awaited update on their S-series full-frame mirrorless cameras specifically made for taking videos. The event though, was for the Sony A7R IV. And while it’s not what we were waiting for, it still has so much going for it.

For one, it’s world’s first 61-megapixel 35mm full-frame sensor. That’s a huge step-up from its predecessor’s 42.4-megapixel sensor. Sony’s samples during the presentation showcases how you don’t lose detail even when you zoom in on the images thanks to its massive sensor.


You don’t lose detail even after zooming in

It also has a 15-stop dynamic range, five-axis optical in-body image stabilization, as well as 10FPS shooting with continuous autofocus as well as real-time eye-tracking for every shot. Something new that video-makers might find really useful is the addition of the real-time eye AF to video recording.

Speaking of video, the A7R IV is capable of 4K recording with S-Log 2/3, HDR for professional editing. Still with video-makers in mind, the A7R IV comes with a new system that captures digital audio signal. With this, Sony introduced two accessories to take advantage of this new tech — a digital audio shotgun mic and an XLR mic adapter kit. The accessories cost US$ 350 and $600 respectively.

As for the camera itself, the A7R IV will retail for US$ 3,500 body-only and will be available in September 2019.

With Canon and Nikon launching their own full-frame mirrorless cameras namely the EOS R and the E6 and E7, this was a serious flex on Sony’s part. The company is letting the world know that they continue to hold the crown as king of full-frame mirrorless shooters.

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