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Essential fires 30 percent of workers, announces new mobile device

No, it’s not a smartphone

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Despite enjoying a year in smartphone royalty, Essential just isn’t that essential anymore. Preceding the Essential Phone’s launch, the startup gained substantial hype owing to its ownership. Headed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, it promised an unrivaled Android experience wrapped inside a beautiful package.

Truly, the first Essential Phone garnered positive reviews across the board. Among others, it was one of the more beautiful phones in 2017. Unfortunately, the phone’s price deterred most users from switching. Naturally, the startup’s first outing failed to meet expectations.

Drawing from this initial disappointment, Essential hinted at an eventual buyout a few months ago. Moreover, Rubin cancelled the Essential Phone 2’s development. However, months later, the startup (and everyone else) clearly exaggerated its demise. The company and its plans for a second phone still exist.

Sadly, its continued existence is still in dire jeopardy. The company has recently announced major layoffs in its workforce. As of today, Essential Products has fired 30 percent of its employees.

Despite the astonishing number, the startup has maintained its silence on possible reasons for the pink slips. One can only assume that this stems from its failed sales targets. Regardless, Essential remains hopeful for the future. “We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game-changing consumer product,” according to a spokesperson for the startup.

Reportedly, Essential is already working on a second mobile device for the future. Unfortunately, the planned device will not succeed the Essential Phone. Instead, it will leverage artificial intelligence to deliver an autonomous mobile experience.

Notably, the startup hesitates to use the word “smartphone.” While the device can make calls and send messages, it hopes to do more. For one, it can call, message, and plan events on its own without user input. Essentially, the device will replace humans as the primary digital communicators.

By the end of this year, Essential will out a prototype for this device. By then, the startup will finally reveal a possible roadmap for the future. Presently, the future-less startup’s survival is anything but assured.

SEE ALSO: Essential Phone is now a true Pixel-like flagship Android phone for only $399

Gaming

Final Fantasy VII Remake final trailer

Get hyped!

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From the time it made a huge splash in E3 2015, we’ve been glued and have been waiting anxiously for this game to come out. And now, it’s finally upon us. The Final Fantasy VII Remake is coming and this is the final trailer with just days away from the April 10, 2020 release.

If you pre-ordered the game, you already pre-load it now so you can play right away on April 10. Square Enix also shipped the game early to some areas earlier than scheduled considering the Coronavirus situation that has everyone on lockdown.

With the game coming, it’s highly likely PlayStation gamers will now have more incentive to stay home.

Watch the final trailer.

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Apps

Zoom’s security is tied to China

Opening access to Chinese authorities

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Days ago, Zoom’s status as an indisputable teleconferencing solution today blew out of proportion. Though its userbase is still on the rise, Zoom is constantly finding more and more flaws in its infrastructure. For example, a report has recently revealed the platform’s lack of true end-to-end encryption.

Today, The Citizen Lab, a research laboratory in Toronto, revealed another concerning flaw with the popular app. Apparently, the mostly American company employs “at least 700 employees in China. Though the company is still primarily American, Zoom’s Chinese presence can open it up to “pressure from Chinese authorities.” Even if a meeting’s participants are in the US, for example, Chinese parties can still access the meeting.

As we already know, Zoom’s encryption is lackluster, allowing Zoom employees to access private information if they need to. Of course, despite the revelation, Zoom has still claimed its respect over its users’ information.

However, with potential Chinese interference, who can really tell? In the report’s conclusion, The Citizen Lab does not recommend the platform for secrecy. Though a good chunk of users come from university settings, government officials, like UK’s Boris Johnson, have also started using the platform for official state meetings.

Additionally, the report goes into a potential flaw with Zoom’s “waiting room” feature. Before a meeting starts, a host can keep participants in a virtual waiting room before starting. Apparently, the feature can allow malicious parties to infiltrate the call. However, The Citizen Lab chose not to disclose the flaw to the public. Instead, they forwarded the flaw to Zoom; the company quickly turned the feature off for now.

Regardless, even without the feature, Zoom-bombing is quickly turning into a trend. All over the world, students have found ways to access meetings from other classes even without official access. Though disruptive, Zoom-bombing is still within the realm of jokes and pranks. Of course, the infiltrative method is easily exploitable by more malicious entities.

Despite its ease of access, Zoom is quickly losing its potential as a secure online platform for the quarantine era.

SEE ALSO: Zoom, Skype now used for virtual drinking parties

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News

OnePlus 8 Pro breaks 13 records in display tests

Display “visually indistinguishable from perfect,” according to DisplayMate

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Image source: Roland Quandt / Twitter

To be clear, the OnePlus 8 series hasn’t officially launched yet. Currently, the company has the online launch event set on April 14th. However, some organizations have already received early review units of the anticipated flagship series. As you might have surmised from the title, a prominent display testing company has received one of these early units, granting its top prizes to the OnePlus 8 series.

Confirmed by DisplayMate through a tweet, the OnePlus 8 series has earned an A+ display rating, the highest possible score for the test. Further, the series has broken “10+ display performance records.” Apparently, the series’ color accuracy is “visually indistinguishable from perfect.”

Complementing this report, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau retweeted the accomplishment with his own clarifying comment. “Actually, the OnePlus 8 Pro hasn’t broken a single record. It’s broken 13,” he said.

Lau’s clarification confirms something we already know: that the OnePlus 8 Pro is way better than its lesser sibling, the OnePlus 8. Ironically, the CEO took down a more PR-friendly post about his company’s upcoming flagship series. DisplayMate likely referred to the more general “OnePlus 8 series” to draw attention to both phones. In contrast, Lau clearly attributes most of the accolades to just one phone of the two.

Regardless, we should also note that this isn’t the first groundbreaking phone for the display test. Last year, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 similarly broke 13 records as well. It’s easy enough to assume that the OnePlus 8 Pro has successfully grabbed the crown from Samsung’s premium model from yesteryear.

According to previous leaks, the OnePlus 8 Pro will sport a 6.78-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, among other specs.

SEE ALSO: New OnePlus 8 leak reveals purple-orange gradient

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