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Apple HomePod competes against Google Home

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Of all the announcements at Apple’s just-concluded WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), the only truly new product is HomePod, which is a smart speaker similar to Google Home.

Like Google’s version, HomePod makes use of Apple’s voice assistant Siri to listen to your commands and play the music you request. A seven beam-forming tweeter array and Apple-designed woofer create a full sound that can easily cover an entire room.

At its heart is an Apple A8 chipset, which was first introduced on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Combined with the highly aware microphones, the HomePod makes Apple Music access — as well as all the possible Siri commands on iPhones — a cinch.

There’s just one problem: The HomePod costs $349. That’s more than double the price of Google Home, which has just as many features, if not more. It’ll also take a while before it begins shipping; the US, UK, and Australia are getting it first in December 2017. Available colors are white and gray.

SEE ALSO: Apple iWork is now free for anyone to download

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Qualcomm leaks when the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will launch

Or did they?

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Amid the hype surrounding every major release, Qualcomm usually launches the next Snapdragon generation relatively around the same time — during the annual Snapdragon Summit. However, the dates for each summit aren’t always the same. Luckily, Snapdragon might have eradicated much of the guessing game for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 this year by accidentally leaking when the summit is.

As spotted by GSMArena, Qualcomm’s official website posted a schedule for this year’s upcoming Snapdragon Summit. The posted schedule pegs the event from November 14 to 17. Unless the company has dramatically different plans this year, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will likely launch during the event.

Unfortunately, Qualcomm already noticed the mistake and deleted the schedule from the site. Deleting the post can mean anything, though. One can easily assume that Qualcomm is truly holding the event during those dates. However, one can also assume that Qualcomm’s dates were wrong, and the company will issue a revision later on.

That said, the November dates are surprising. Qualcomm usually launches the next Snapdragons in December. The leaked dates are early, to say the least. If they are happening early, smartphones with the upcoming chipset might come out earlier than next year, too.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1

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Arm has unveiled its first GPU to have ray tracing

Introducing the Immortalis-G715

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It was only a matter of time before smartphones caught up with the latest in gaming technology. However, smartphone chips have really put pedal to the metal, catching up to modern consoles at an unprecedented clip. Arm has unveiled a new GPU that can deliver ray tracing to Android phones.

Introduced a few years ago, ray tracing revitalized how lighting is presented. Whenever you see shining light react to an object or a person in a game, that’s ray tracing at work. However, it’s still such a technology-intensive feature limited to capable devices. Regardless, a lot of AAA games already have ray tracing available in in-game settings.

Mobile games are about to get the same treatment. Revealed recently, Arm’s Immortalis-G715 GPU chip can deliver the same capabilities using up to 16 cores. It also promises up to 15 percent better performance from the previous generation.

Of note, Arm already introduced software-based ray tracing in the past. However, with the new Immortalis-G715, the company can now focus on hardware-based tracing, pushing the feature to more users. Likewise, Samsung has also announced the same capabilities in the Exynos 2200 series.

Smartphones are slowly moving towards games capable of the same feats as console games. Now, it’s only a matter of waiting for developers to create mobile games with the feature.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm plans to buy Arm with its rivals

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Pokémon Go creator is launching an NBA game

Hoop all over the world

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When it first released, Pokémon Go got everyone to go out and take walks. Naturally, the pandemic halted outdoor walks in the interest of safety. As the world slowly moves back into normalcy, Niantic, the game’s developer, wants to take players outdoors once again. This time, the developer is trading the Pokémon franchise for another equally popular one, the NBA.

Niantic has officially announced that it is developing a new AR game based on the basketball lifestyle. NBA All World is exactly how you’d imagine a basketball game would play if you took it out on the streets.

Players will duke it out against other players and real-world NBA players (controlled by the AI). The game will essentially turn the entire world into a basketball-themed playground where everyone can collect new gear, power-ups, and players. Imagine a larger version of the in-game lobby in 2K’s MyCareer mode.

Much like Niantic’s other games, players can dominate and own courts all over the world — like Pokémon Go’s gyms. Mechanics will also use the studio’s swiping gameplay. Further, in terms of location-based gameplay, players can access an NBA player’s story in their hometowns.

Unfortunately, Niantic did not show a lot of the upcoming game yet. However, we’re not in for a long wait. The developer expects that the new game will come out in time for the next NBA season.

SEE ALSO: NBA 2K22 co-op review: Changing for the better

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