News

You can download Android 7.1 Nougat beta soon

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As any Android fan can tell you, you don’t need to own Google’s Pixel smartphone to have the latest Android operating system on tap. Though, it has to be said, we’re talking Android 7.1, and not the software the LG V20 will be shipping with, which is based on an earlier version of Nougat.

Google today reiterated its preference for Pixel, Nexus, and Android One devices by announcing plans to release a public beta of Android 7.1, first to the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C and then to the full lineup of supported phones and tablets.

As has been the norm recently, the prerelease software can be downloaded by users who sign up for the Android Beta program, though Google hasn’t specified the exact timing of the roll-out. Willing guinea pigs Beta testers should get the preview update “later this month.”

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It would be fair to say, however, that it could arrive as early as the week of October 20, or days after the Pixel and Pixel XL arrive in hands of U.S. customers.

An incremental update over the current Nougat release, Android 7.1 will bring support for Daydream VR, circular app icons, and app shortcuts, which allows users to jump straight to a certain action or feature of an app from the home screen. The complete list of changes can be found below.

App shortcuts API — lets you surface key actions directly in the launcher and take your users deep into your app instantly. You can create up to 5 shortcuts, either statically or dynamically.

Circular app icons support — lets you provide great-looking rounded icon resources that match the look of Pixel and other launchers.

Enhanced live wallpaper metadata — lets you provide metadata about your live wallpapers to any picker displaying the wallpapers as a preview. You can show existing metadata such as label, description, and author, as well as a new context URL and title to link to more information.

Image keyboard support — expands the types of content that users can enter from their keyboards, letting them express themselves through custom stickers, animated gifs, and more. Apps can tell the keyboard what types of content they accept, and keyboards can deliver all of the images and other content that they offer to the user. For broad compatibility, this API will also be available in the support library.

Storage manager Intent — lets an app take the user directly to a new Settings screen to clear unused files and free up storage space on the device.

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If you’re wondering why Google Assistant, the company’s take on Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, isn’t included in the mix, know that it’s not an oversight, and that it’s intended to encourage buyers to purchase or upgrade to a Pixel handset. Other Pixel-specific features on Android 7.1 Nougat include live customer care and the Pixel Camera and Pixel Launcher.

Source: Google

News

Xiaomi partners up with Alita: Battle Angel for a transparent Mi 9

This used to be the ‘Pro’ variant

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Image credit: Xiaomi

The launch of the Mi 9 from Xiaomi is around the corner, but that doesn’t mean we’ll just wait for the official announcement. We’ve heard rumors about a Mi 9 model with a transparent back like the Mi 8 Pro from last year. Well, the rumors are true and it’s more special than before.

An official teaser for the special edition Mi 9 appeared online today and it brings the blockbuster film Alita: Battle Angel to the picture. Xiaomi partnered up with the film to present the Mi 9: Battle Angel.

Check out the action-packed promotional video below:

The teaser shows the main features of the transparent Mi 9: triple rear cameras, a Snapdragon processor (which is already confirmed), and wireless charging.

Since the Mi 9: Battle Angel will have a transparent back like the Mi 8 Pro’s, it also has a window to its awesome-looking circuit board, but it’s likely not the actual thing. What’s more interesting is the visible wireless charging coil right in the middle of the battery.

The phone will be launched alongside the other Mi 9 variants on February 20. Essentially, the Mi 9: Battle Angel model will be a marketing ploy in China since the movie will hit the theaters in the region two days after the launch.

Price-wise, the phone is rumored to cost CNY 5,999 or roughly US$ 885.

SEE ALSO: What could the new unicorn Xiaomi Mi 9 be called?

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Gaming

TNC Predator, Afreeca Freecs Fatal win Predator League APAC 2019

For Dota 2 and PUBG, respectively

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After three long days of battle in Bangkok, Thailand from February 15 to 17, two champions have emerged from the two featured games of the Predator League in Asia Pacific 2019.

For Dota 2, it’s TNC Predator from the Philippines; and for PUBG, the champ is none other than Afreeca Freecs Fatal from South Korea.

Their winnings come from a prize pool worth US$ 250,000. Each champion receives US$ 75,000 for their efforts, while the runners-up split the remaining pot.

The grand event concluded after over 3,500 competing teams from 16 countries were eventually reduced to only 26 groups in Bangkok for the finals.

This was the Predator League’s second event in the APAC region. In 2018, it was held in Indonesia. Next year’s event will take place in the Philippines.

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Cameras

Fujifilm X-T30 is a lightweight 4K mirrorless camera

Cheaper version of the X-T3

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Image credit: Fujifilm

After Canon‘s announcement of the new EOS RP, it’s now Fujifilm‘s turn to present their latest offering: the X-T30. Fuji’s new mirrorless interchangeable camera is the successor to 2017’s X-T20.

The X-T30 is positioned to be a cheaper variant of the flagship X-T3 camera, but they actually share many common features and specs. It’s got a compact and lightweight body at just 383g which looks similar to the premium model, but with some minor changes at the back. It’s got a focus joystick instead of a d-pad, but retains the touchscreen.

Speaking of, it’s a 2-way tilting LCD panel with 1.04 million dots. The EVF, on the other hand, is a 2.36-million-dot OLED color viewfinder with a near 100 percent coverage area.

Image credit: Fujifilm

Inside the camera is a 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 160 to 12800, which is expandable up to 51200, and backed by an X-Processor 4. With this, the X-T30 can shoot 30fps at 1.25x crop and 20fps without a crop using the electronic shutter. If you wish to use the mechanical shutter, the speed will be reduced to 8fps.

It has a hybrid AF system with 100 percent phase-detect AF, face detection, and eye tracking. Autofocus is also improved even in low-light. Focusing can be selected either through the touchscreen or joystick.

When it comes to video, the camera can shoot 4K at 30fps and up to 120fps when downscaled to 1080p. It’s capable of 10-bit recording and 4:2:2 DCI 4K video through the HDMI port. Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes are also available.

The Fujifilm X-T30 will be available in March starting at US$ 899 for the body only. It’ll go up to US$ 999 when bundled with an XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens, or US$ 1,299 when bundled with an 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens.

SEE ALSO: Fujifilm Instax SQ20 hands-on: How good is it?

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