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Apple, Samsung sold fewer smartphones in 2018 — report

Huawei won the game, though

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2018 wasn’t a great year for smartphones in terms of sales, but not every company took a hit last year. According to the latest report by Gartner, the total number of devices sold in 2018 was 408.358 million, a 0.1 percent growth from 407.845 million. The biggest losers are Apple and Samsung, both in Q4 and the whole year.

Apple sold 11.8 percent fewer units during the holiday season compared to the same quarter in 2017. Samsung also sold fewer phones during the last quarter, but the South Korean company still managed to maintain a big gap from competitors.

According to the report, Apple is mostly affected in Greater China since buyers are now delaying their upgrades as they wait for bigger innovations. Alternatives are gaining popularity due to their cheaper prices as well.

While two of the biggest names in the industry suffered losses, Huawei, on the other hand, increased their sales and is now close in taking Apple’s coveted second spot. The Chinese tech giant managed to sell an additional 52 million phones in 2018.

Xiaomi and OPPO also gained a few extra millions of sales during the last quarter of 2018. Interestingly, Xiaomi was able to overtake OPPO for the whole year with a 7.9 percent market share versus 7.6 percent.

SEE ALSO: Apple users take longer to upgrade than before

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LinkedIn has its own Stories feature

Including a refreshed design

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There is nothing more surprising than the mysterious longevity of LinkedIn. Despite the overwhelming dominance of Facebook and its ilk, Microsoft’s workplace-oriented social media platform is still chugging along joyously for some reason. Now, the world’s biggest virtual water cooler is trying to catch up with the times. Starting today, LinkedIn has its own Stories feature.

Much like what you can find on other platforms, LinkedIn’s Stories will allow users to share images and short videos (overlaid with very SFW GIFs) for 24 hours. Likewise, LinkedIn is also placing the feature right on top of your feed.

Why? Why, indeed. According to LinkedIn, users will likely share more content on the platform if the said content will last only for a short period of time. Currently, with its buttoned-up demeanor, LinkedIn presents itself as a no-monkey-business, no-frills platform for professionals. You won’t see content that you normally see in, for example, TikTok.

That said, LinkedIn’s latest feature aims to reel in more professionals apart from recruitment experts and hopeful applicants. Besides the Stories feature, the update also comes with a refreshed design complete with better filters and layouts. (It looks a lot like Facebook now.)

Currently, the update is available for all users in the United States and in Canada. LinkedIn hopes to roll out the update for everyone else in the coming weeks.

SEE ALSO: LinkedIn launches its digital skills initiative

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Amazon is launching its own cloud gaming service

Introducing the Luna

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Most gamers today are looking forward to the fast-approaching release dates for the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X. However, a dedicated niche of the industry hopes to come in from behind and take some of the spotlight — cloud gaming. Since the Google Stadia, cloud gaming has developed into its own comfortable niche for device-agnostic gamers. Now, Amazon is launching its own cloud gaming service, Luna.

During an expansive hardware event today, Amazon officially announced the cloud gaming platform coming sometime in the future. On launch, the Luna will offer gaming service for PC, Mac, Fire TV, iPhone, and iPad. Further, an Android version will also launch after the initial offering.

Right off the bat, the Luna will launch with over a hundred titles including Abzu, Control, and Resident Evil 7. Of course, the service will expand beyond the initial list over time. For example, Ubisoft is separately developing its own Luna-compatible channel dedicated for its own titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Far Cry 6.

Since Amazon owns the streaming platform, Luna will stream seamlessly with Twitch. Users can watch Twitch directly from Luna. Likewise, Twitch viewers can link directly to play from Luna while watching a game’s stream.

While on early access at the moment, Luna users can purchase a Luna controller separately for US$ 49.99. Alternatively, players can still use a mouse-and-keyboard or their own controllers.

Amazon has not announced official launch dates for the Luna just yet. At the moment, Luna will launch first in the United States for US$ 5.99 per month. Users can play on two screens simultaneously and at 4K resolution for some titles.

SEE ALSO: Google Stadia now works on most Android phones

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vivo Watch with 18-day battery life now official

It’ll be available in two sizes

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vivo Watch

vivo has launched its first smartwatch and it’s simply called the vivo Watch. At first glance, it might look like a generic circular smartwatch but has a ton of firepower under the hood. It looks premium while also being perfect for rough usage.

The body consists of stainless steel and brushed ceramic bezel. It’s available in two sizes — 42mm and 46mm. The 42mm one gets two rounded buttons on the side while the 46mm has flat ones. This is the only visual difference between the two.

The 42mm gets a 1.2-inch AMOLED display while the 46mm comes in at 1.4-inches. Powering the watch is an ST miniature main control processor along with the Apollo ultra-low power co-processor for heavy-duty tasks and background activities.

Coming to features, it’ll automatically track all your movement in the background and automatically recognize exercises like outdoor running, indoor running, outdoor walking, swimming, cycling, indoor cycling, mountain climbing, trail running, elliptical machine, and more.

Obviously, in-line with the competition, it gets a heart rate scanner, sleep tracking, and blood oxygen monitoring. Other functions include notifications, music controls, alarms, and vivo’s voice assistant Jovi. It also has NFC support for enabling contactless payments.

The complicated sensor array includes a 5-core optical heart rate monitor, blood oxygen sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, altimeter, ambient light sensor, and a geomagnetic sensor.

Lastly, the 42mm vivo Watch can chug along for nine days on a single charge. On the other hand, the 46mm watch can last a whopping 18 days in one go.

Sales are currently limited to China and both watches cost CNY 1,299 (US$ 190).

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