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ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe’s reign may be more short-lived than we thought

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We had a feeling that the ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe’s reign on the throne would’t last long — it’s only started to catch on in certain Asian markets this month — but it may be even more short-lived than we thought.

ASUS is already sending out press invites for the next Zennovation event at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas. The event, which will be streamed live on ASUS’ website, will take place on January 4th, 2017, and it’s highly likely that the Taiwan-based manufacturer will use it as a launch pad to introduce a premium ZenFone handset built around Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon 835 system-on-a-chip, the successor to the Snapdragon 821 found in today’s heavy hitters.

The Snapdragon branding already appears on the invite, so we would be foolish to assume otherwise. ASUS has somewhat been a pioneer when it comes to using the best components available anywhere; the ZenFone 3 Deluxe — however late (and controversial) it may be — is among the first handsets to launch with the Snapdragon 821 in tow.

ASUS Zennovation invite

Next year, ASUS could once again find itself in the same exclusive club as the likes of Google and OnePlus when all is said and done at CES 2017. Hopefully, if it does announce a Snapdragon 835-based phone, pricing will be competitive with industry disruptors from the Far East. That, or CEO Jerry Shen will take the stage rocking a transcendental product that’s more than just the sum of its glass, metal, and bleeding-edge silicon parts.

The ZenFone 3 Deluxe, though likable, lacks a headline-grabbing feature that truly distinguishes it from other flagships. Obviously, arriving late and being sold at roughly the same price as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Apple iPhone 7 Plus doesn’t help its cause, either.

So now the waiting game begins, and we’ll be waiting with bated breath for news of updates. We’re pretty sure you will, too. In any case, we’ll be on the ground at CES 2017 on January 4 to find out all of ASUS’ intentions.

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Samsung owes Apple US$ 539M for patent infringement

For infringing iPhone patents

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Six years after Samsung was first found liable for infringing on five iPhone patents in its own smartphone designs, they are now ordered by a California jury to pay US$ 539 million in damages to Apple.

The ordered payment is split into two: US$ 533.3 million for infringing on three Apple design patents and US$ 5.3 million for infringing on two utility patents. CNET reports that the infringements in question occurred on Samsung phones sold in 2010 and 2011.

The jury’s ruling is a middle ground for both tech giants, but they are far from what both want. Apple originally sought for more than US$ 1 billion for the damages and Samsung is willing to pay just US$ 28 million.

“This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone, and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple.” — Apple

It’s still unclear if Samsung will make an appeal about the ruling, but the recent deliberation is already a long-due result since the South Korean company was sued for patent infringement in 2011 and found liable the following year.

Reuters reported that Samsung has already paid US$ 399 million of the total, so if the jury’s decision gets upheld on appeal, they will have to pay for the balance.

SEE ALSO: Samsung attacks Apple once again in latest video ad

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Vivo Y85 lands in the Philippines, battles the OPPO F7 Youth

It’s basically a cheaper V9

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Vivo’s budget midrange phone finally made its way to the Philippines. If the Vivo V9 is not within your budget but you still want the same set of features, then the Vivo Y85 is your best bet.

The Vivo Y85 is practically a baby sibling of the V9. They share the same design but with minor differences in specifications. The Y85 is powered by a MediaTek Helio P22 processor (MTK 6762) instead of Snapdragon 636, has an 8-megapixel front camera instead of 24-megapixels, and lower 32GB of storage.

It still has dual rear cameras, although the main sensor is downgraded to 13-megapixel and the secondary is now just 2-megapixel.

The rest remains the same with all the AI features, Face Beauty, bokeh effect for portrait photography, and Funtouch OS 4.0 based on Android 8.1 Oreo.

The Y85 is now available in Vivo authorized stores in the Philippines for PhP 13,999 in Ruby Red and black. It’s priced the same as the OPPO F7 Youth which is also a toned-down version of OPPO’s main offering, the F7.

SEE ALSO: Vivo V9 Hands-on: A handsome-looking midrange phone

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Essential cancels Essential Phone 2, puts company up for sale

Another casualty for Android supremacy

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During its announcement last year, the Essential Phone quickly positioned itself as the mythical iPhone killer. Sadly, the hyped-up smartphone spent its considerable amount of resources just for a drop of blood. Now, all its past efforts are causing the company to go under.

Despite all the hype surrounding it, the Essential Phone debuted to tepid applause. While the phone did have its fair share of loyal fans, several complaints criticized its software issues and lackluster cameras. Additionally, it performed terribly in sales, losing handily to its rivals.

Regardless, Essential promised a successor. Unfortunately, they spoke too soon. The company has reportedly canceled all development on the Essential Phone 2.

According to reports, Essential is now focusing its efforts on an undisclosed home tech product. In a recent tweet, Essential founder Andy Rubin subtly confirmed that the company has dropped the sequel and started development on other products in its stead.

To add to the confusion, Essential has also enlisted the help of the Credit Suisse Group. Supposedly, the hiring aims to find potential buyers for the company. Essential’s offers reportedly include selling the whole company, its entire library of patents (which houses the Essential Phone), and the company’s engineering team.

Currently, Essential has not finalized any deals yet. However, the mere existence of talks indicates that the company is already flirting with the idea of throwing in the towel.

At the very least, Essential’s statements confirm that we are not getting an Essential Phone 2 from the company. However, if talks go as planned, Essential might still find its way back into the phone business in the future, particularly under a new manufacturer.

As of now, the Essential Phone 2 remains a dream for its steadfast fan base. Pretty soon, the company might fall as another defeated combatant in the fight against Apple’s supremacy.

SEE ALSO: Essential Phone gets official Android 8.1 Oreo update

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