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HTC launches the notch-less, translucent U12+

Sports an 18:9 display

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Finally, HTC has lifted the veil off its much-anticipated flagship. After weeks of leaks and rumors, the HTC U12+ has arrived on the scene. In a global launch event, the Taiwanese company has completely unveiled both the specs and price of their new flagship.

Unlike most smartphones today, the U12+ will not carry the controversial camera notch. Instead, it sports a 6-inch Quad HD+ screen. The sizable display packs in an 18:9 resolution of 2880 x 1440.

The screen features HTC’s upgraded Edge Sense 2. Besides the usual complement of gesture controls, the feature can now detect which hand is being used. The extra detection allows for convenient one-hand phone handling with gestures.

Under the hood, the U12+ touts the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 845 processor, and comes with 6GB of memory and up to 128GB of internal storage (expandable up to 2TB with a microSD).

Camera-wise, the U12+ snaps photos with a dual 12-megapixel wide-angle (1.4µm, f/1.75) and 16-megapixel telephoto (1.0µm, f/2.6) rear shooter. Additionally, the dual-flash camera supports speedy phase detection and laser autofocus. It also supports up to 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom.

On the other hand, the dual 8-megapixel (1.12µm, f/2.0) front shooter touts wide-angle capabilities of up to a 84-degree field of view.

Further, the U12+ can churn out crystal-clear sound with support for active noise cancellation, hi-fi playback, and wireless audio.

For connectivity, the dual SIM phone supports up to dual 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, USB 3.1 Type-C, and HTC Connect for wireless streaming.

Finally, the U12+ owns a 3500mAh battery. According to HTC, it can power through up to 23.8 hours of talk time on 4G. It also supports fast charging with an included Quick Charge 3.0 charger.

It comes in Ceramic Black, Flame Red, and Translucent Blue. Notably, the Translucent Blue variant’s unique design (called Liquid Surface) allows users to see the inner workings of the phone through the back panel.

Online pre-orders are now available. The HTC U12+’s 64GB variant retails for NT$ 23,900 (around US$ 800). Meanwhile, the 128GB variant sells for NT$ 24,900 (around US$ 830).

SEE ALSO: HTC will launch a blockchain-powered phone in October

Apps

TikTok and WeChat will be banned from app stores in the US

So, did the Oracle deal go through?

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After months of escalating, the US Commerce Department has announced it’ll ban business transactions with TikTok and WeChat. The two apps are owned by Chinese giants ByteDance and Tencent, respectively.

Practically, you won’t be able to directly download the app via stores like Play Store and App Store. Furthermore, companies are also barred from hosting these apps in the US. Essentially, the user won’t be able to download the app from third-party websites that are hosted in the US.

It also blocks US companies from providing services through WeChat “for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.”

However, it remains unclear whether the announcement means the Oracle-TikTok deal won’t be going through. The Trump administration wanted ByteDance to sell its local TikTok operations to an American company.

In the last few months, multiple American giants like Walmart, Twitter, and Microsoft were interested in getting their piece of TikTok. But things haven’t moved smoothly and the Chinese government isn’t keen on handing over TikTok’s algorithm to an American company.

While Oracle has been chosen for a deal with ByteDance, the latter continues to maintain that the ongoing process isn’t an acquisition and Oracle shall be a technology partner. This is in stark contrast to what President Trump envisions as a business takeover.

The app ban could be a tactic to pressure the Chinese, but we can’t be certain of that right now. Going by the latest statements, it’s clear that the administration wants to completely block user’s access to these apps and is willing to go the extra mile.

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Apps

Google removes one of India’s top payments app for violating policy

But there’s nothing to worry about

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Google removed one of India’s top payments app Paytm from the Play Store for allegedly violating guidelines. To be more precise, the app violated the app store’s policy by promoting gambling. The app is still available on Apple’s App Store though.

In response, Google said, “The app was blocked for violation of play policies – a clarification of our policy was released earlier today ahead of the IPL tournament.” It further clarified that users aren’t affected and only the app’s availability from the Play Store has changed.

Google strictly prohibits digital casinos or ungoverned gambling apps on its Play Store in India and Paytm’s app was found in violation of this policy. Recently, it launched a fantasy sports service called Paytm First Games and embedded links to this service within the Paytm app.

The standalone Paytm First Games app has also been removed. However, other apps like Paytm Mall, Paytm Money, and Paytm Business are still available and remain untouched. Google said the developer is always notified and the app shall remain unavailable till it complies with the norms.

Paytm has also assured all users that their accounts, wallets, and bank accounts are safe and there’s nothing to worry about. When the news broke, there was some initial panic because the memories of India’s app ban are still fresh and people are worried about their favorite apps going off the shelf instantaneously.

Fantasy sports games and other gambling apps have radically risen in India. The country loves cricket and the Indian Premier League is scheduled to start from tomorrow. Making the coming weeks a very lucrative period for these apps.

All these apps do not depend on Google’s Play Store for distribution and have to be downloaded externally via the developer’s website.

Paytm is hugely credited for encouraging India’s digital economy and has transformed itself into a super app. Besides bill payments and peer-to-peer fund transfer, the app can also be used for tickets, shopping, and entertainment.

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Gaming

Honor launches Hunter V700 gaming laptop with a kickass design

Honor’s first gaming laptop

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Honor’s first gaming laptop has arrived and the brand is confident it can make a mark in the market. Starting with the Hunter V700, the brand says it packs best-in-class performance, excellent heat dissipation, as well as portability.

To start off, the laptop has a very aggressive design that focuses on RGB lighting, ergonomics, and sustained performance. Honor has managed to fill a high-end configuration despite the thin chassis.

It has a 16.1-inch display with a 144Hz refresh rate that’s accompanied by 4.7mm thick bezels, 100% sRGB color, and a maximum brightness of 300 nits. Unlike Apple’s laptops, Honor has managed to pack a USB-A port, HDMI, and an RG45 ethernet jack.

Honor has also included a new hinge that it likes to call Wind Valley design. According to the brand, the design facilitates up to 40 percent more volume of air for cooling.

“Traditional gaming notebooks tend to be thick and heavy to meet the high-performance and heat dissipation requirements expected in this category. Honor believes the pursuit of performance can co-exist with a lightweight and portable design,” Honor said in a statement.

The Honor Hunter V700 starts at CNY 7,499 (US$ 1,105) for the Core i5-10300H,  GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of storage.

It’s followed by a Core i7-10750H with an RTX 2060, along with the same volume of RAM and storage, costing CNY 8,499 (US$ 1,250).

Lastly, you can get a Core i7-10750H, RTX 2060, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD storage for CNY 9,999 (US$ 1,475). The sale is currently limited to China via VMall.

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