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Feature phones are still alive thanks to Nokia 216

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It feels so nostalgic to witness the release of a brand new Nokia phone, yet still strange to see it done by Microsoft. This is the situation we’re in now, but we can’t complain. It’s a Nokia, after all.

The Nokia 216 is a feature phone we’re not sure we want. It comes in three not-so-exciting colors (mint green, white, and black), a low-resolution 2.4-inch LCD screen (320 x 240 pixels), and an LED flash for each of the front and rear cameras (both 0.3 megapixels). That last bit is actually fascinating, since few smartphones offer a front-facing flash, but that’s as far as the excitement goes.

We really have to applaud Microsoft for selling the features of this non-smartphone so well. Watching the entire introduction video from start to finish, seeing marketing phrases like “Colour matched keys” and “3.5mm headphone jack” certainly amuses us. Don’t get us wrong; there’s certainly a market for this, and we’d buy one as a backup phone in case hackers go all Mr. Robot on us and take over every single Android and iPhone in the world.

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The phone’s specifications page is also surprisingly rich in information. Aside from what we mentioned earlier, it’s nice to know that the Nokia 216 can connect to the internet, albeit through a lowly 236.8kbps data connection. Without Wi-Fi on board, you’ll have to deal with speeds akin to a dial-up connection. There’s a microSD card slot and Bluetooth, though, so you can play your music collection using wireless headphones in case the headphone jack is too analog for you.

Reports say that this is the last Nokia phone Microsoft is going to produce, since Foxconn is expected to purchase the legendary phone brand by the end of the year. Possible collector’s item? No way. But it’ll cost only INR 2,495 ($37) once it’s available on October 24.

We’ll update this page as soon as we find out if Snake or Space Impact is built in to this handset.

Source: Microsoft

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Essential Phone is down to only $250, making it a steal of a deal

Cheaper than most midrange phones

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When we first reviewed the Essential Phone, it cost US$ 700. When we reviewed it again, it retailed for US$ 500. Now, it’s down to a mouthwatering US$ 250 on Amazon’s Prime Day sale!

That’s an unbelievable price for a phone that has flagship-grade specs from last year, along with impeccable build quality thanks to the combination of titanium and ceramic.

This phone receives great software support, too. It’s currently part of the Android P Beta program and it even gets monthly security patches before Google’s own Pixel phones at times.

When we reviewed it as a US$ 500 device, we already called it the best deal you can get at that price point. Bringing it down to US$ 250 is just cheating.

Andy Rubin, Essential’s founder, fully endorses the major discount:

Sure, the Essential Phone isn’t perfect — the cameras are sub-par and it lacks certain essentials — but you really can’t complain for such value. It’s safe to say it’s the best smartphone deal you can snatch today, if you can order fast enough through Amazon, that is.

With no follow-up in sight, it’s a safe bet to go for this without any immediate buyer’s remorse. If anything, you get a premium 2017 flagship for the price of a typical midrange phone.

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Gaming

Singtel introduces PVP eSports Championship

The telco’s next step in the world of gaming

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Singaporean telco giant Singtel has announced its latest eSports initiative, the PVP eSports Championship. It will be a multi-title regional eSports league from October 5 to 7, 2018 with a prize pool of US$ 300,000. For executives, the tournament is part of their efforts towards gaming within the Asia-Pacific region.

The tournament is done in partnership with industry players Razer, MET, Garena, and Blizzard. It will feature the popular PC game Dota 2 and Garena’s popular mobile game Arena of Valor. The Singapore leg of Blizzard’s global tour will also feature their popular game Hearthstone during the tournament.

Teams from Australia, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines will compete in local qualifiers organized by Singtel. The winning teams will then move on to the Grand Finals in Singapore, where they will compete against professional teams from North America, Europe, and China. The tournament also serves as Singtel’s opportunity to scout for Singapore’s own eSports team, which they wish to sponsor for future competitions.

Singtel hopes that the tournament builds upon current gaming initiatives from telcos like Globe in the Philippines and Telkomsel in Indonesia. Singtel CEO Arthur Lang recognizes the power of mobile gaming within the region, with smartphones being the main gaming device. “Telcos have every right to play in the growing gaming ecosystem,” Lang said in a statement.

To know more about the upcoming tournament and how to get there, you can visit its official website or MET’s official post. Singtel will provide details on streaming services for the tournament in the future.

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Samsung will launch three S10 variants, report says

Will have a feature that Apple doesn’t have yet

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If you’ve followed the tech industry closely, you would have noticed a troubling trend. Someone is always copying someone else. Features are almost always shared between brands. Hence, we have ubiquitous notches, dual cameras, and AI features.

As such, it comes as no surprise that Samsung might copy Apple’s lineup next year.

Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that Samsung will adopt Apple’s three-model lineup from this year. (Despite Kuo’s infamy with Apple, he has recently opened his repertoire up to other brands.)

Previously, multiple rumors suggest that Apple’s 2018 lineup consists of three phones for different markets. This includes 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.5-inch models. More succinctly, these three models will fit into traditional market classifications: affordable, regular, and premium.

Likewise, Samsung might launch the same structure next year. Already, rumors have speculated on the features that will grace the Galaxy S10 and S10+.

For example, the premium Galaxy S10+ will likely pack in five cameras, including a rear triple-camera system. This year’s premium iPhone offering may also feature Apple’s take on the triple-camera system introduced by Huawei.

Additionally, Kuo reports that Samsung will introduce a more accurate ultrasonic, under-screen fingerprint reader for next year. Amid rumors that Samsung is copying Apple, this is a new feature that has not graced Apple’s phones yet.

Regardless of the new features, the company has traditionally released two models anyway. Arguably, the more surprising part of Kuo’s report is the lower-end Galaxy model. Samsung has usually relegated their midrange and budget models to other lineups.

If Samsung does copy Apple’s three-models strategy, it adds another page to the “Samsung is copying Apple” saga. Regardless, Samsung will announce their new Galaxy lineup early next year at MWC 2019. Prior to that, the company will launch the highly awaited Galaxy Note 9 at this year’s Unpacked event happening in a few weeks’ time.

SEE ALSO: Galaxy S9 is Samsung’s least popular phone since the Galaxy S3

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