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Google acquires part of HTC’s smartphone business

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It has finally happened: Google bought a chunk of HTC’s smartphone team to bolster their hardware efforts. 

In a blog entry posted by Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google, the search giant signed an agreement with the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer to acquire “a team of HTC talent.” Osterloh said that these people were already part of the Pixel production.

In addition, Google has also bought a “non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.” If this rings any bells, that’s because Google had a similar game plan when they bought out Motorola for their patents back in 2011.

According to The Verge, this deal is worth US$ 1.1 billion, which is a fraction of what Google spent on the US$ 12.5 billion Motorola acquisition.

Since this isn’t a full takeover, HTC’s core smartphone business and Vive sub-brand will still live on. The question remains how much genuine manpower HTC will lose in this process, and if their future products will be as competitive as they’ve tried to be this year.

As for Google, this should be seen as a smart move, considering how invested they’ve become with their own hardware since last year when the HTC-made (under Google’s direction) Pixel smartphones were launched. By having a familiar team on board, the search and advertising specialist could finally be taken more seriously for their self-branded products.

Interestingly, this is being announced just two weeks before Google’s big event on October 4, where they’re expected to launch the Pixel 2 and possibly more hardware. At the same time, we wonder how Android-reliant brands like Samsung and LG will react, now that the operating system’s owner is a more direct rival to their smartphone divisions.

SEE ALSO: 5 keys to making the Google Pixel 2 a success

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Vivo V15 Pro is a midrange phone trying to redefine mobile photography

Can it actually replace a DSLR?

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Vivo launched a lot of phones last year, each having a unique feature like a pop-up camera or in-display fingerprint scanner. While the industry usually tried to avoid moving parts in a phone, Vivo turned it around into a feature. With the V15 Pro, the brand wants to establish supremacy in the midrange segment by offering flagship innovation at a competitive price.

The phone has been launched in India today and retails for INR 28,990 or roughly US$ 410. It is available via all major retailers and online sellers starting today.

On the front, the V15 Pro has a 6.4-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display. Thanks to the elimination of a notch, it has a 91.6 percent screen-to-body ratio and smaller bezels. The front camera is located in an elevating module that pops up automatically when required.

The rear gets a gradient design and a massive triple camera array. The array includes a 48-megapixel primary lens, 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The primary sensor can capture an insane amount of detail and to improve performance further, four pixels can be merged into one, creating a 12-megapixel high-quality picture.

The elevating module houses a 32-megapixel selfie camera. Vivo has added a ton of new filters in the camera app and modes like AI Beauty, AI Portrait, and AI Super Night to ensure better output. For authentication, the phone uses a combination of face unlock and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 675 processor coupled with 8GB of memory and 128GB of internal storage. It has a 3700mAh battery which supports Dual Engine fast charging. The V15 Pro also has a dedicated button to summon smart assistants like Google Assistant and Vivo’s Jovi.

Lastly, the phone ships with Android 9 Pie-based Funtouch OS and includes new features like Game Mode 5.0.

SEE ALSO: Vivo now has its own smartphone sub-brand named iQOO

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Qualcomm is testing a new chip series for Android Go phones

Coming soon to budget phones near you!

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Since the birth of the smartphone industry, processors have always fought in an unending arms race. It’s all about power. In this industry, the fastest processor wins.

Recently, the industry properly established market segmentation. Now, processors have leaders in flagship, midrange, and budget segments. However, the industry was still in the arms race, regardless of segmentation.

Despite this trend, Qualcomm has announced a surprising decision. Instead of pursuing the fastest, the chip maker will instead focus on the bottom of the barrel.

Currently, the Snapdragon 200 series populates the company’s entry-level market. However, fiercer competition has edged out the series in this segment. Right now, MediaTek has captured more entry-level phones than Qualcomm.

With this, Qualcomm is testing a new series outside of the iconic Snapdragon lineup. The Qualcomm QM215 will focus on smartphones within the Android Go program. As such, the new chip will offer incredibly budget-friendly options for consumers.

According to a German source, the planned product is a 1.3GHz quad-core chipset, coupled with a 650MHz GPU. Prototype devices are touting LCD screens (1440 x 720 resolution), up to 2GB of LPDDR3 memory, and up to 16GB of internal storage. According to the same source, a “well-known smartphone maker” is already developing a device with the new chip. Likewise, component makers have already created fingerprint readers tailored for the chip. With its currently rumored specs, the chipset matches performance from the Snapdragon 400 series.

Right now, the product is likely in its early stages. The Qualcomm QM215 might even ultimately add to the Snapdragon 200 series after all. If anything, expect a lot more movement from Qualcomm in the entry-level market in the future.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx is first-ever 7nm chip in a PC

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Huawei P30 series will officially be revealed on March 26

In Paris once again

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On March 26, Huawei plans to “rewrite the rules.”

That’s because that’ll be the date for the flagship P30’s launch, which is happening exactly one year after the Huawei P20’s unveiling. Paris, France will once again be the venue.

Here’s the short teaser being spread on social media:

Little is known about the P30 and what it’s going to offer. Early leaks say that the Pro model might have four cameras on the rear as an upgrade to the predecessor’s three.

Other reports suggest that the P30 lineup will sport a notch with a curved display, similar to what the Mate 20 Pro has. All we can say for sure is that the primary P30 variants will utilize the high-end Kirin 980 chipset.

With Mobile World Congress happening soon, it’ll be up to Huawei to sustain the smartphone market’s hype come March.

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