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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL retain single rear camera, add wireless charging

No surprises here

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Google’s worst-kept secret has made its official appearance, and it brings features both new and old.

The Pixel 3 series directly succeeds last year’s Pixel 2 and 2 XL, and you can immediately tell that it’s an incremental upgrade. For one, both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL retain the single rear 12.2-megapixel camera, believing that one is enough to beat the multi-cam setups of competitors. Of course, like the Pixel 2, the Pixel 3’s improvements are software-based.

One new feature is Top Shot, which uses machine learning to choose the best shot in a burst for you; Photobooth does something similar but for the front cameras; Super Res Zoom provides AI-powered zooming; and Night Sight improves nighttime shooting like no other.

On the front, however, are two 8-megapixel selfie shooters that enable wider group shots when needed. For the Pixel 3, they’re found within the top bezel as usual, but the Pixel 3 XL introduces a tall notch to accommodate the two modules while adding more screen real estate.

The screens themselves are the primary difference between the two models, as well as the battery capacities. The smaller Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch 1080p P-OLED display and 2915mAh battery, while the larger variant goes for a 6.3-inch P-OLED display with higher 1440p resolution and 3430mAh battery.

Naturally, Android 9 Pie comes straight out of the box, but Google made sure to add some Pixel flavor here and there. For example, the camera app has a similar navigation system to the OS itself, so moving from one mode to another is faster and includes some haptic feedback.

Perhaps what’s more polarizing about the Pixel 3 pair is the use of glass for the entire back. It’s utilized here instead of metal to allow wireless charging. Don’t worry, the matte feel is still there, so it isn’t as slippery as traditional all-glass phones.

Interestingly, despite having a flagship-grade Snapdragon 845 processor and 64GB/128GB of non-expandable storage, the Pixel 3 pair come with only 4GB of memory. Not that it isn’t enough, but it’s half the amount of other premium phones in the market.

Other noteworthy features are the 40 percent louder front-facing stereo speakers, Active Edge to activate Google Assistant with a squeeze of the phone, IP67-rated water and dust resistance, and Titan Security for more secure data protection.

The Pixel 3 will retail starting at US$ 799, which is more than the Pixel 2’s US$ 649 from last year. As for the Pixel 3 XL, it’ll go for US$ 899. Those are for the 64GB storage variant; adding US$ 100 to either one delivers 128GB of storage.

Both will come in Clearly White, Just Black, and Not Pink.

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Xiaomi Mi 11: Price and availability in the Philippines

The flagship for everyone?

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One of the first smartphones to sport the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset officially arrives in the Philippines as Xiaomi launches the Mi 11.

Teased and leaked almost incessantly, the device was first launched in China in late December and released globally early in February 2021.

What are you getting with the Mi 11? First off, it has a sizable 6.81-inch AMOLED screen, outputting images in 1440p and 120Hz. The screen is reportedly a new 10-bit panel with up to 8192 brightness levels and 480Hz touch input rate.

Much like most flagships released so far, this phone has support for 5G — a feature that will likely be norm this year and beyond.

It comes with a triple rear camera setup: 108-megapixel main + 13-megapixel ultra-wide + 5-megapixel telemacro. Xiaomi put a bunch of AI video features for you to play with like Parallel World, Freeze Frame video, and more. The front panel has a top-left punch-hole camera, Xiaomi did not explicitly showcase the front-facing selfie camera’s specs.

It will come with MiUI12 out of the box —  possibly the least bloatware-infested version of the said Android skin.

Xiaomi isn’t including an 18W charger. Instead, it comes with a 55W charger which can juice up the 4,600mAh battery from 0 to 100 percent in 45 minutes.

Pricing and availability

The Xiaomi Mi 11 comes in 8GB+256GB variant with enhanced LPDDR5 3200MHz RAM + UFS 3.1 storage. It will retail at PhP 36,990 starting from March 13, and will be available at Xiaomi official stores on Lazada and Shopee, and offline at Authorized Mi Stores and other official retailers in Philippines.

Mi 11 will come in two color options: Midnight Gray and Horizon Blue. Mi Fans who order during the pre-order period starting March 5 will get additional Xiaomi freebies.

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Future MacBook Pro models will have an HDMI port again

One less dongle to carry

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Just a few weeks ago, rumors started spreading that future MacBook Pro models will likely have an SD card reader. It seems like Apple is not  stopping there, as famed tipster Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that future models will feature an HDMI port once again.

The change will be a significant one for Apple. All MacBook Pro models today only feature the USB-C port, so a dongle is necessary for connecting to other devices and peripherals. The inclusion of an HDMI port will also eliminate the need for dongles and will appease power users who require the port for their workflow. HDMI ports are still present on many devices especially on displays, which in some cases only have one or two of these ports.

Aside from the inclusion of an HDMI port, Kuo also predicts that the new MacBook Pro models will be a major redesign, featuring flat edges like those found in the latest iPhone and iPad models. The divisive Touch Bar is also going away on the new models, as per Kuo’s predictions.

Other rumors point to Apple resurrecting the MagSafe connector which is present on older models. However, it is unclear how the company plans to reintroduce the connector. Others are speculating a novel mechanism for wireless charging on the new models should Apple reintroduce MagSafe.

These new MacBook Pro models will come with either a 14-inch or 16-inch display. Both models will also likely sport a much beefier processor than the M1. Apple is expected to launch the new MacBook Pro in the second half of 2021.

h/t: MacRumors

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LG opens up webOS, third-party makers can now use the platform

Android TV has competition

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LG has announced that its proprietary operating system, webOS, will now be available for third parties. TV’s manufactured by other brands such as RCA, Ayonz, and Konka will soon ship with WebOS pre-installed.

The South Korean tech giant has announced that the webOS TV platform ecosystem will be licensed to other brands. More than 20 TV manufacturers from around the world have “committed to the webOS partnership, including brands such as RCA, Ayonz and Konka with more partners expected to join in the future”.

Speaking more over the development, Park Hyoung-sei, president of the LG said the platform is one of the easiest ways to access millions of hours of movies and TV shows.

The announcement is considered a milestone because Google’s Android TV has dominated this segment for the longest time. Sony is among the most popular ones to leverage Android TV via its Bravia lineup. In fact, Xiaomi and a plethora of TV makers actually use Android TV underneath their own skin like PatchWall.

LG had kept the OS exclusive for its smart TVs, but the comparatively smaller ecosystem limits it from reaching its full potential. With more partners, the number of TVs with WebOS shall increase, in turn, attracting developers to the platform.

Unfortunately, LG isn’t offering webOS 6.0 to other TV brands, and the licensing is based on the older webOS 5.0 release. Hopefully, this shall change in the coming future with rising interest from more companies.

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