News

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.

Gaming

God of War Ragnarok is Sony’s best-selling exclusive

Based only on its first week

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November is a great month for gamers. Because of a few major titles coming out, there are a lot of ways to scratch that gaming itch. A lot of players are happy. None more so than Sony right now. Only a few weeks since its release, God of War Ragnarok has broken Sony’s record for fastest-selling first-party title launch.

Officially confirmed by Sony through its Twitter account, God of War Ragnarok has sold 5.1 million copies only through its first week. With such an impressive showing, the title rushes past Sony’s acclaimed gallery of heavy hitters like Marvel’s Spider-Man, The Last of Us Part II, and even the title’s 2018 predecessor. That’s not a list of who’s who to shrug off.

Additionally, the sequel is now the best-selling title in its franchise. The series has come a long way since its roots in Greek mythology. Mere weeks since the release, it is already in the conversation for several Game of the Year awards alongside other heavy hitters like Elden Ring.

Not without reason, of course. From our review of the title, the sequel to 2018’s classic is a narrative masterpiece in its own right, deserving of its spot in the oeuvre of Sony’s greatest hits.

SEE ALSO: God of War Ragnarok Review

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Netflix is working on its first PC game

It’s a AAA title

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Though off to a relatively slow start, Netflix is now a gaming company as well. As of late, the platform included a variety of mobile games in its catalog of content. Every Netflix subscriber can play any of the games. Now, Netflix is working on something else entirely: a game for the PC.

Spotted by Mobilegamer.biz, Netflix has recently posted new job openings for a game director, an art director, and a technical director. All three listings describe a “brand-new AAA PC game” as a project. One listing even describes “one of Netflix’s first generation of internally developed original games.”

Currently, Netflix taps into other game studios to produce titles for them. Aside from a few independent developers, the platform even partnered with Ubisoft for mobile titles. (One of which will be based on the Assassin’s Creed franchise.)

With the listings in place, the company is expanding its efforts to developing its own titles. Right now, the unnamed project doesn’t feature a lot of details. While the project is still looking for a creative director, it’s likely that the plot isn’t finalized either.

Throughout the past year, the company has bled for subscribers. Since then, they have tried various strategies, including potential punishments for account sharing and cheaper subscription tiers.

SEE ALSO: Netflix will now let you kick people from your account

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TikTok is now under investigation by the European Union

For transferring data to China

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TikTok has now found its way under the microscope of the European Union. The collective is now investigating the platform for allegedly shipping off its citizens’ data to Chinese servers.

In a letter shared by FCC commissioner Brendan Carr (via Engadget), the current president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has confirmed ongoing investigations concerning TikTok in several countries in the European Union.

For one, Ireland is currently investigating how the platform transfers data to China and how it processes the data of minors. The Netherlands is also investigating the same data transfers and TikTok’s advertising towards minors.

For a while now, the European Union has persistently investigated various tech companies to review their compliance with the continent’s General Data Protection Regulation, which presents a stricter view on data privacy. Various companies have already found themselves on the receiving end of penalties brought down by EU courts.

An investigation on TikTok has been a long time coming. For years, the United States has doggedly hounded TikTok for the same violation of shipping user data to Chinese servers. The company continues to face threats of a ban on foreign soil.

Though an investigation in Europe is just another fight the company must face, it’s nothing to shrug off. Lately, the European Union’s ruling on charging standards is forcing Apple to finally ship their devices with USB-C, instead of the proprietary Lightning cable. The Union, especially when completely united across all the included countries, can very well make an impact on the tech industry.

SEE ALSO: TikTok, Tencent linked to sexually violent ads on Facebook

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