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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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Canalys: vivo rises to 4th in global smartphone shipments

First time since the company was established

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vivo

Market analyst firm Canalys reports that vivo ranked fourth in global smartphone shipments for the first time in history since the company was established in 2009.

With a market share of 10 percent, the Chinese smartphone brand placed fourth behind Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi in the third quarter of 2021.

Previous quarterly numbers from Canalys indicated that vivo remained among the top five in global smartphone shipments in the past four quarters.The company also topped China’s smartphone market in the second quarter of 2021, according to IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, maintaining strong growth momentum.

Championing a “local mindset” and putting value to its understanding of local culture and management, vivo continues to expand to more markets worldwide and accelerate its globalization.

As of now, vivo has branched out its sales network across more than 50 countries and regions, and is loved by more than 400 million users worldwide.

In the Philippines alone, vivo took over as the top smartphone vendor with a 21 percent market share during the second quarter of 2020, an impressive rise of 18 percentage points from the previous year, also per a Canalys report.

It has maintained a strong presence in the country with the introduction of top-of-the-line yet affordable smartphones. As of the second quarter of 2021, vivo holds an 18.2 percent market share.

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OPPO is developing its own chipsets

Following Google’s footsteps

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Are the golden days of Snapdragon ending? A few smartphone makers have dedicated considerable resources to creating their own in-house chips. Doing so will considerably reduce their reliance on the current dominators of the semiconductor industry like Qualcomm and MediaTek. Much like its contemporaries, OPPO is reportedly developing its own flagship processors.

First reported by Nikkei, OPPO is planning to release its first chipsets sometime in 2023 or 2024. The chips will come with the brand’s flagship devices. They will rely on TSMC’s advanced 3nm process.

Naturally, the report doesn’t indicate which smartphones will eventually come with the chipsets. However, a promised flagship does indicate good things to come.

The report coincidentally follows the recent Google Pixel 6 launch. Much like what OPPO is promising, the Pixel 6 sports Google’s first in-house chipset called the Tensor. Apple’s M1 chipset lineup is also an attempt to reduce the brand’s reliance on other component makers.

When Google announced the Tensor, Qualcomm publicly stated that the efforts towards in-house chipsets won’t hamper its dominance in the industry. The company has other clients after all. Then again, with more companies following Google, the top chipset maker might finally feel the crunch. OPPO is still one of the world’s top smartphone brands, especially after the rapid descent of Huawei.

SEE ALSO: OPPO set to launch its first tablet next year

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The Pixel Pass is official, will bundle the Pixel 6 with Google services

As cheap as $45 per month

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A bit before Google officially launched the Pixel 6 series, a leak revealed an upcoming subscription package called the Pixel Pass. The then-unannounced package bundles the new Pixel 6 with a host of Google products. Since the Pixel 6 series is now official, the Pixel Pass is now official, too. Here’s what the subscription plan will offer.

Announced with the Pixel 6 series, the Pixel Pass offers either a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro and Google’s other paid services like 200GB of Google One storage, Google Play Pass, YouTube Premium, and YouTube Music Premium, and Preferred Care coverage.

The regular Pixel 6 will sell for US$ 45 per month, and the Pixel 6 Pro will sell for US$ 55 per month. Google Fi subscribers can also save an additional US$ 5 from the price tag. Subscribers will pay for their chosen phones over two years. Regardless of which phone, the Pixel 6 will be unlocked. If you do the math, the package can actually save you money, compared to paying for the phone directly.

Additionally, the Pixel Pass will offer users the opportunity to upgrade to another Pixel phone after the initial two-year period. However, if subscribers cancel anytime during the subscription, they have to pay for the phone’s remaining non-discounted value.

The new subscription package introduces a new way to get a Pixel phone, similar to how Apple created the iPhone Upgrade Program. Unfortunately for those outside the country, the package is currently exclusive to the United States for now.

SEE ALSO: Here are new Pixel 6 features you should definitely try

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