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Mobile users in China have to undergo mandatory face scan

Black Mirror no longer feels like fiction

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A new rule requiring face scans of customers signing up for new mobile plans in China came into effect. The guidelines, first issued in September, require telecom companies to deploy “artificial intelligence and other technical methods” to check the identities of people registering SIM cards.

Under existing norms, consumers applying for new phone numbers need to show their national identification card and have their photos taken. The government says it wants to “protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace”.

China has heavily invested in facial recognition technology and it’s being widely deployed in schools, colleges, airports, and other public places. While it makes life convenient, critics are concerned that the government is further trying to establish a surveillance state.

In mobile phones, Apple introduced the notch in 2017 with the iPhone X. A notch let them install a sophisticated infrared array that scanned users face to unlock the phone. Officially called Face ID, a similar setup has been seen on Android offerings as well.

In addition to mobile users, Chinese social media site Weibo was forced to roll out real-name registration in 2012. There are reports that a wide range of third-party apps are also collecting face scans and the country lacks legislation to ensure top-notch security standards. In fact, a lot of these apps are gathering data without a user agreement.

China already extensively censors and polices the web, removing and blocking content it does not want its citizens to see and talk about.

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Huawei’s Nova 6 5G apparently has the best selfie camera

Thanks to the dual-camera setup

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Benchmarks are often skewed because they fail to judge real-life experience. However, they do help us understand the nitty-gritty of a gadget and establish results in an empirical manner.

DxOMark has published its camera test results for the Huawei Nova 6 5G, and it turns out this phone tops the selfie charts. Huawei introduced the Nova 6 5G in China today with dual shooters on the front in a punch-hole design, similar to the Honor V30.

The phone achieved a score of 100 while the Galaxy Note 10 5G comes second as it managed to score 99 points. This has officially given it the top spot for selfies amongst its competitors.

The phone sports a 32-megapixel primary selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture. In addition, you’ll also find an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture. DxOMark tested phone’s front cameras with over 1,500 test images and more than 2 hours of video footage.

According to the test results, this setup can provide good exposure in pretty much all conditions. It also managed to capture wide dynamic range, and white balance was also spot on.

The tests were carried out in a controlled environment and also in natural settings outdoors. DxOMark maintains that all default settings were used.

All in all, the test proves that the Nova 6 5G has a capable selfie camera setup, as marketed by Huawei as well. For now, the phone is restricted to the Chinese market and we should be seeing a global roll-out in the coming months.

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Motorola One Hyper is a midranger with pop-up cameras

And 45W fast charging!

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Motorola was focused on the affordable segment throughout the year but plans to slowly climb up the ladder. It has unveiled the One Hyper, a midrange phone that brings all the quirky features of 2019 at a pocket-friendly price.

The brand has been exploring the market with its One-series and they’ve launched phones that aim to excel like no other at least in one feature. The One Power had a massive battery while the One Macro housed multiple cameras. With the One Hyper, it’s about being on the extreme edge.

On the front, the phone sports a 6.5-inch Full HD+ LCD display with a screen-to-body ratio of 90 percent. A fingerprint scanner is located on the rear and it’s surrounded by an LED ring.

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 675 processor with 4GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. It also gets a 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD card slot for expandable storage. Thankfully, it ships with Android 10 pre-installed.

On the rear is a dual-camera setup that consists of a 64-megapixel primary sensor and an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens. The camera app supports a proprietary night mode for low-light pictures along with an AI-enabled portrait mode. For selfies, a 16-megapixel sensor has been incorporated in a moving pop-up module.

Backing these internals is a 4000mAh battery. Interestingly, it gets a new 45W charging system that Motorola calls Hyper Charging. Charging times haven’t been revealed but the brand claims you can get up to 12 hours of battery life by charging the phone for just 10 minutes.

The One Hyper is being sold in the U.S. right now for a price of US$ 400. It’s unclear whether the company will bring it to other markets in the near future.

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2021 iPhones won’t have any holes, report says

Goodbye, Lightning!

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For the past few years, the smartphone market has continually stripped phones of its former essentials. Now, we have smartphones without bezels, notches, or home buttons. After packing every single feature into smartphones, the market is now taking them all out again. In fact, the latest war is now against ports.

According to renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is developing an entirely new iPhone for 2021. The upcoming year’s top models will cut off the Lightning port entirely. The decision will likely usher in a new era of wireless experiences. Fortunately, the removal will start with the company’s top phones, rather than a complete revamp all at once. (The strategy mimics today’s current trend of limiting headphone jacks to lower-tier models.)

This isn’t the first time that Apple planned a removal of I/O ports. Last year, the company also deliberated on entirely wireless iPhones in anticipation of the AirPower, Apple’s planned wireless charger. However, as we know now, the AirPower never worked out, ending up in the dustbin of failed developments. With the AirPower’s cancellation, Apple also cancelled the wireless iPhone.

Of course, three years after the very first reports, wireless technology will likely improve to a more consumer-friendly caliber. Kuo’s latest report is much more believable.

However, when Apple’s wireless iPhone finally comes around, it won’t likely be the first one. Vivo already released a hole-less smartphone prototype earlier this year. By the time of the hole-less iPhone, non-Apple smartphones will likely have the technology as well.

But that’s a race for the future.

SEE ALSO: Apple Philippines Smartphone Price List

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