HTC introduces overly expensive U Ultra and smaller U Play



One of the better yet least talked about flagship smartphones of 2016 was the HTC 10. While there wasn’t anything wrong with it, the all-metal handset was just there. HTC wants to change that with a new series that’ll hopefully get people to talk about it more.

Void of any numbers for now, the U series consists of the 5.7-inch U Ultra and 5.2-inch U Play. Both phones turn away from the usual metal-loving builds of HTC in favor of glass bodies; they’re meant to imitate a liquid feel, at the expense of being excessively slippery and glossy.

HTC U Ultra

HTC U Ultra

Nothing too special, but what the U Ultra has to itself is something only LG has pulled off so far. There’s a 2-inch secondary display above the main Quad HD LCD panel, and like the V20 and V10, it’ll provide you with notifications, app shortcuts, glances at weather reports, or whatever you choose to set.

What both handsets own is an AI assistant called Sense Companion. It’s clearly an attempt to compete with Google Assistant on the Pixel phones, which happen to be manufactured by HTC as well. It can predict your needs and act accordingly — except bring back the 3.5mm audio jack missing from the two phones.

To compensate for the loss, HTC is adding a pair of earphones like it did with the Bolt. It’ll fit into the USB Type-C port and provide sonar-like capabilities that can “adjust your audio to match your ears’ unique architecture.” It may also prevent you from charging at the same time.

HTC U Play

HTC U Play

More disappointing, however, is the U Ultra’s use of Qualcomm’s older flagship processor, the Snapdragon 821, instead of the just-announced Snapdragon 835. That would pit HTC’s newest smartphone against 2016’s flagships, rather than all the upcoming premium offerings.

The rest of the of the specifications are fine: 4GB of memory, 64 or 128GB of expandable storage, the same 12-megapixel camera as the HTC 10’s, a 16-megapixel selfie shooter, and 3000mAh non-removable battery.

The Android Marshmallow-equipped U Play doesn’t do much better, settling for MediaTek’s midrange Helio P10 processor to power its Full HD display and a choice between 3GB/32GB or 4GB/64GB memory and storage configurations. You can find a 16-megapixel camera on the front and back, as well as a meager 2500mAh battery.

HTC U Play

HTC U Play

Now, here’s the bad news: The U Ultra retails for $750 with an even more expensive $910 Sapphire glass-touting variant arriving later on. Shipments for the regular version will begin this quarter. As for the U Play, no pricing or availability has been announced yet, but it’s expected to start at $440.

[irp posts=”7609″ name=”HTC Bolt is all-metal, water-resistant, and outdated”]

Source: The Verge


Qualcomm allegedly ordered a smear campaign against Apple

The two have beef against each other



Image source: Flickr/Masaru Kamikura

Over the past two years, Facebook has been at the forefront of cybersecurity concerns. In 2016, the company allowed Russian intelligence to run rampant on the social media network. Though relatively subdued, the revelation revealed the company’s role in politics. Later, in 2018, the company was accused of mismanaging user data with Cambridge Analytica. Supposedly, the data influenced the US elections in 2016, as well as other political events around the globe.

Amid these controversies, a lone PR firm, Definers Public Affairs, has controversially managed the social media network’s failed redemption arc. Borrowing from Republican political campaigns, the firm infuses public relations with political strategies. This includes smear campaigns against a client’s rivals. Notably, Facebook hired the firm to take on George Soros, among others.

However, a key event in this timeline hints at a third player skulking in the shadows. Recently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg allegedly ordered his executives to ditch Apple’s iPhones for Android. Prior to this, Apple threw shade at Facebook’s sketchy ethics, emphasizing the value of privacy. Later, conservative websites, including the Definers-affiliated NTK Network, lambasted the former for similarly detestable practices. The news reeked of Definers’ involvement.

True enough, Tim Miller, Definers owner, confirmed that his firm did work on Apple. However, Facebook isn’t to blame. According to a New York Times exposé about Facebook, a third tech company is responsible for the firm’s handiwork against Apple.

After the exposé’s release, Business Insider and NBC News have claimed the mysterious tech company’s identity — Qualcomm. The company in question is no stranger to Apple. Apple supposedly owes Qualcomm some US$ 7 billion in royalties, prompting legal action between the two.

According to Business Insider, Miller approached the publication with story ideas that are “damaging to Apple and positive for Qualcomm.” Meanwhile, in NBC News, a former NTK Network employee directly named Qualcomm as the mystery client.

Adding fuel to the fire, Definers and Qualcomm have refused to comment on the issue in both news reports.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 675 chip is based on 11nm process

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These Xiaomi phones have officially received permanent price cuts

In time for the holiday season!



Just this week Xiaomi announced that a few of its products were receiving a price hike, these include the Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, Mi LED TV 4C Pro, Mi LED TV 4A Pro, and the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i. The company said a depreciating rupee had consistently increased acquisition costs and hence was forced to bring in a price hike.

Today, Xiaomi signaled a price cut for a few of its Redmi phones. These include two options of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, two variants of the Mi A2, and the Redmi Y2 4GB.

All the listed phones have received a flat price drop of INR 1,000 (US$ 14). The Redmi Note 5 Pro 4GB is available for INR 13,999 (US$ 195), instead of INR 14,999 (US$ 208). Similarly, the 6GB option is now available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223), instead of INR 16,999 (US$ 236).

The Mi A2 64GB is available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223) while the 128GB option costs INR 18,999 (US$ 264). Lastly, the Redmi Y2 4GB now costs INR 11,999 (US$ 167). These new prices are already effective across all sales platforms.

All the above devices have been launched this year and the Redmi Note 5 Pro has been a best-seller. When combined, these devices have contributed in making Xiaomi the top smartphone brand in India and even widen its lead over Samsung.

The company had long back announced its intention of keeping profits under control. The company never intends to cross more than a five percent profit margin on any hardware product, and in case it does, the sum will be given back to the “Mi Fans.”

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New iPad Pro can’t survive bend test because it’s too thin

Oh, snap!



Image credit: JerryRigEverything (YouTube)

When a device gets released, it’s always nice to know how it holds up through a series of durability test. The new iPad Pro from Apple is beautiful, powerful, and expensive. But, can it survive a simple bend test? Spoiler alert: It can’t.

The iPad Pro (specifically the 11-inch variant) is the latest star on the JerryRigEverything YouTube channel. Zack’s newest video shows that the new iPad Pro can be bent and destroyed using two hands with little to no effort.

Why is that so? Let’s watch the full video first:

As always, the video started with the second-gen Apple Pencil that works well with the iPad Pro. The new Apple Pencil is redesigned to magnetically attach to the tablet and charge wirelessly. When Zack snapped the high-tech stylus in half, we could see the wireless charging component, the strong magnets, and batteries.

Now onto the main star of the video. The 11-inch iPad Pro, like with other iPads before, has an aluminum body which feels premium and cold to the touch.

The screen’s glass scratched at a level 6, which is normal but he pointed out that the glass is thinner than the usual. The sides, buttons, and overall body of the iPad Pro are made of metal. Although, there’s is a section of plastic where the Apple Pencil attaches and charges. There are also tiny holes for the microphones.

When it was time for Zack’s signature bend test, the iPad Pro cracked in the middle. The weak points of the tablet appeared to be the microphone hole on the tablet’s left side and the Apple Pencil’s charging dock on the right.

Based on initial observation, the tablet doesn’t have any sturdy structure inside its aluminum body. The new iPad Pro is indeed very thin, but Apple didn’t have to sacrifice the tablet’s durability.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPad Pro (2018) Unboxing

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