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

News

Apple ready to launch a lot of devices in next 12 months

Including iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Watches

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Apple is obviously releasing new devices later this year. As is tradition, the company is readying for the launch of the next flagship series, the iPhone 14. However, it looks like the iPhone 14 series isn’t the only thing Apple is preparing for. According to a new report, the company is set to launch a plethora of products between now and early 2023.

As reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple has a lot of surprises for its fans. Besides the four upcoming models of the iPhone 14 series, the company will also launch “three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, the company’s first mixed-reality headset, low-end and high-end iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod and an upgraded Apple TV.”

Previously, Apple was rumored to upgrade its iPad lineup, starting with a base iPad compatible with USB-C. With geopolitical pressure potentially forcing the company to completely shift to USB-C, a good number of new devices makes sense — that is, if USB-C is truly coming soon.

Besides that, the company has also teased an absurd number of changes and new features coming to iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, and macOS Ventura. It looks like an intensive refresh of software. A good set of software will naturally complement a similarly impressive set of hardware coming soon.

SEE ALSO: iOS 16: Best New Features

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Accessories

Samsung has Starbucks-themed cases for coffee lovers

Exclusive to South Korea

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Since the company is from the country, Samsung offers a lot of exclusives in South Korea. Previously, the company sold a Pokémon-themed exclusive edition of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 in — you guessed it — South Korea. Now, it has another set of exclusives. This time, it’s for coffee lovers. Samsung is now selling a Starbucks-themed cases for the Galaxy S22 series and the Galaxy Buds 2.

The smartphone cases are pretty straightforward. Sporting the coffee company’s iconic green, the Galaxy S22 and S22+ cases have either a patch with the Starbucks logo or a tagline that says, “Count Stars in Your Galaxy.”

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S22 Ultra features a more iconic case with a strap at the back. One variant has the iconic green-and-white color combination with a patch of a bear wearing a Starbucks apron. The other one has the strap designed as a Starbucks receipt.

While the smartphone cases are nifty on their own, the charging case for the Galaxy Buds 2 are on a league of their own. One model is a minimalist green with the Starbucks patch. The other, however, looks like a coffee mug with aesthetic latte art inside and a Starbucks logo at its side.

As with the previously mentioned Pokémon-themed products, the Starbucks-themed set is exclusive to South Korea and will be limited while supplies last.

SEE ALSO: Samsung unveils a Pokémon Edition of Galaxy Z Flip 3

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Entertainment

Netflix confirms ads are coming later this year

In a cheaper subscription tier

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vivo T1x

Netflix is currently in a bind. As the platform’s rivals grow, Netflix has started shrinking and losing subscribers. The company has also started pondering on alternative strategies to maintain its grip on the streaming world. One of the most recent ideas involves the introduction of a cheaper, ad-supported subscription tier. Now, after much strategizing, Netflix has all but confirmed its addition later this year.

During the recent Cannes Lion advertising festival (via The Hollywood Reporter), Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos confirmed that the platform is indeed adding a cheaper option for subscribers by the end of the year. While the platform was initially averse to including ads, Sarandos has stated that some subscribers actually don’t mind ads in return for a cheaper price per month.

Prior to an official announcement, Netflix has not announced how much the new subscription will cost on launch. Likewise, they haven’t confirmed whether the tier will come to all countries and territories where Netflix is present.

If anything, Netflix isn’t alone or the first in adding an ad-supported subscription tier. Hulu, for example, already offers such a tier. Hulu’s partner streaming platform, Disney+, is also considering adding a similar tier later this year.

Besides adding the ad-supported tier, Netflix is also pumping up its presence in the gaming world. They are also considering another payment system meant for users who share their passwords to non-subscribers.

SEE ALSO: Netflix is losing a lot of long-term subscribers

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