News

Cancelled Project Ara prototype shows up, reveals specs

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Project Ara

One of the biggest disappointments of the year — and there have been many — is the cancellation of Google’s modular smartphone, Project Ara. We wrote a lengthy piece about the program’s timeline once we got confirmation of its demise, thinking that we’d never hear of it again. Now, out of nowhere, Phandroid acquired a working prototype, and subsequently answered several lingering questions.

The website didn’t disclose how they acquired a developer version, but we don’t really care; we just want more information on Google’s most ambitious smartphone to date. (Sorry, Pixel.)


Check out some of the photos:

As you can tell by the looks, we can see why Project Ara never got past the beta stages: It’s freakishly thick at 12.5mm, and that’s without the bulging camera module!

Actually, the entire design seems impractical. It’s nowhere near as fluid as the partially modular Moto Z or LG G5. The colorful renders we gandered at before were far more appealing than what we’re looking at now.

Like we mentioned in the past, Project Ara’s downfall was in its overcomplexity; you’re going to end up with a bulky, blocky handset no matter what. Or, we simply aren’t ready for a truly modular handset.

[irp posts=”4335" name=”Project Ara’s story is all about wasted potential”]

While it’s pointless to discuss specs, it’s interesting to note that the working unit has a 5.46-inch Full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 5-megapixel front-facing camera, all of which are integrated and can’t be replaced.

The only removable modules seen in the photos are the 2.1-megapixel rear camera (you read that correctly; it’s lower than the front image sensor’s resolution), 32GB storage, and 3450mAh battery. With everything put together, you’d have a decent smartphone — if this were 2014.

There’s also a video showing off some module-ejecting action:

Whether or not the final product would’ve looked like this developer unit doesn’t matter anymore at this point. Let’s just file this under  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ for the time being.

Source: Phandroid

Computers

Qualcomm announces a 5G variant of the Snapdragon 8cx

In partnership with Lenovo

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5G on smartphones is already established by multiple manufacturers, but how about laptops? Qualcomm and Lenovo collaborated together to push next-generation connectivity on notebooks.

Last year’s Snapdragon 8cx chip has been upgraded this year to have 5G connectivity and it’s aptly called the Snapdragon 8cx 5G. While current laptops can have cellular connectivity, it’s not as efficient as Qualcomm’s solution. Essentially, notebooks running on Snapdragon 8cx 5G chip is always connected to the internet just like a smartphone, but without the compromise in battery life.


5G means super-fast speed which will enable Snapdragon 8cx 5G devices to load online files like it’s from local storage. Also, 8K streaming and AR/VR applications will connect seamlessly.

Since Qualcomm’s new 5G SoC is based on its previous version, it still has the key features including multi-gigabit connectivity and multi-day battery life with support for enterprise applications and security. The 5G modem used here is Qualcomm’s own Snapdragon X55 5G. 5G is not yet widely available, but the chip also sports Category 22 LTE with peak speeds of up to 2.5Gbps.

The chip is yet to come to purchasable consumer devices, but we expect it to become available first with Lenovo. Qualcomm promises to showcase more in early 2020 or when 5G is already accessible globally.

SEE ALSO: Snapdragon 855’s official AnTuTu benchmark score beats the competition

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Gaming

AMD announces faster 12-core Ryzen chips

Coming in July

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The processing war is starting up again. Fresh out of the oven, AMD has announced a variety of new chips for launch this year. In a recent press conference, Dr. Lisa Su, AMD’s chief executive, presented the company’s future — 12 cores and 7 nanometers.

First up, the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X CPU will boast a boost clock of 4.6GHz and a base clock of 3.8GHz. It will also sport 70MB of cache memory. Notably, AMD’s new chip will go up against Intel’s Core i9-9920X. Su demonstrated her chip’s performance against Intel’s driver. In comparison, the Ryzen 9 3900X performs more efficiently and cooler than Intel’s chip. Most impressively, AMD’s chip will retail for only US$ 499, a far cry from Intel’s US$ 1,199 price tag.


Likewise, the 8-core Ryzen 7 3700X touts the same improved efficiency. According to Su, the new chip will have a boost clock of 4.4GHz and a base clock of 3.6GHz. It will churn out 15 percent better efficiency than its predecessors. It will also produce only 65 watts of heat when active. The Ryzen 7 3700X will retail for only US$ 329, compared to its rivalling Intel Core i7-9700K’s US$ 385 price tag.

For more power, the Ryzen 7 3800K boasts more performance. Demonstrated on stage, the chip can play modern games remarkably well: 34 percent higher frame rate on League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive; 22 percent higher on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds; 21 percent faster on Overwatch; 15 percent faster on Dota 2; and, 14 percent faster on GTA V. Similarly, it performs 37 percent faster on multi-threaded tasks. It will retail for US$ 399, compared to the Intel Core i9-990K’s US$ 484 price tag.

Besides the iconic Ryzen series, AMD also teased a new initiative: the Navi architecture. Unlike the company’s other offerings, the Navi team will build chips based on the new 7nm architecture. According to Su, the new architecture will ship with the upcoming Radeon RX 5000 series. Compared to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2070, the upcoming Navi chips will tout higher clock speeds and more efficient power usage. AMD is motivated to do everything better with the Navi architecture.

Unfortunately, AMD has not released a lot of details surrounding the upcoming chip. AMD is delaying a more detailed launch for June’s E3 show. However, the company has confirmed an appropriate July 7 release date for the new 7nm chips.

SEE ALSO: AMD reveals next-generation 7nm graphics card

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News

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 receives global Android Pie update

More features coming up

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The ZenFone Max Pro M1, which had been a mainstay on our Best Smartphones list, is officially seeing its Android 9 Pie update roll out internationally.

This comes a little over a year after the phone’s original launch. According to ASUS’ official online forum, the update is targeting model ZB602KL, which is the international unit. The update’s version number is 16.2017.1905.053.


The update is about 1.5GB in size and can be accessed by checking the System Updates option under System in the main settings menu. ASUS says that the update’s push is happening in batches, so it may take longer for some users to receive it.

The hefty update includes all the features that are bundled with Android Pie, along with the latest security patch from ASUS and some bug fixes.

Last month, only the Indian version of the ZenFone Max Pro M1 could be updated to Android Pie.

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