News

HTC’s ‘unexpected surprise’ is surprisingly disappointing

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HTC U Ultra announcement

Last week, HTC Taiwan’s Facebook page teased a new phone launch for March 20. The announcement finally came, but it’s actually something we had known about for the past couple of months.

The logical guess was the arrival of a successor to last year’s flagship HTC 10, which was revealed around this time in 2016. Instead, we’re all being treated to a more expensive version of the underwhelming HTC U Ultra that was unveiled last January.

HTC U Ultra Sapphire

The limited edition version adds a sapphire screen to the already premium smartphone. This raises the introductory price from the $750 of the original to — wait for it — $950 after converting from the New Taiwan dollar price of NT$ 28,900. Oh, boy.

Fortunately, the built-in storage has been upped from 64GB to 128GB, but that still isn’t enough to justify the $200 increase. Sure, sapphire displays are a rarity in smartphones, but tests have shown the more ubiquitous Gorilla Glass to be more than sufficient for daily grinds and occasional drops.

This is such a disappointment for long-time HTC fans. The best phone to come from the manufacturer’s factory in recent memory — the Google Pixel — isn’t even branded as an HTC. The U Ultra with its underpowered specs and outrageous price isn’t enough to stand against the flagships we’re seeing this year.

Care to share your strategy with us, HTC?

SEE ALSO: HTC introduces overly expensive U Ultra and smaller U Play

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Gaming

It’s easier to get a PlayStation 5 now, Sony says

More supplies worldwide

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Still struggling to get a new PlayStation 5? If dwindling console stocks are keeping you down, Sony has announced a reprieve for queue waiters. The company promised that supply for the console will greatly increase ahead of the PlayStation VR2’s launch in February.

Since the console’s launch back in 2020, scalpers and bots have persistently plagued the industry, taking supplies away from most gamers. Over the years, the impact of supply problems gradually dissipated. Today, it’s easier to buy a PlayStation 5, but supply can still be an issue in some parts of the world.

During CES 2023, Sony initially hinted that PlayStation 5 stocks should increase even more this year. Now, Sony is making it even more official. Today, the company officially posted that it’s easier to find one in retailers globally.

For users hunting for the console in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, Sony recommends going to the official PlayStation store to buy one.

To promote the increased supply, Sony has also released a new promotional video for the PlayStation 5’s exclusives set to imitate a news show.

Only a month into the year, 2023 is already looking to be a great year for the platform. Later in February, Sony is set to launch the new PlayStation VR2. The console will also host a flurry of notable exclusives including Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and Street Fighter 6.

SEE ALSO: PlayStation launches ‘The Year of Play’ campaign

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Entertainment

Netflix confirms One Piece adaptation coming this year

Plus a new poster

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Netflix continues its huge gamble on anime adaptations. Over the past several years, the platform produced a couple of live-action versions of classic anime shows. To the company’s dismay, neither of the adaptations were received well. Still, the gamble continues to truck on. Netflix has confirmed that the upcoming One Piece adaptation is coming this year.

The live-action adaptation isn’t exactly new. Netflix first announced the title back in 2020 but offered only a few developments concerning the show’s production. Now, we have a release window and a poster.

To be fair, the new poster doesn’t show much except for Luffy’s back. A wider shot shows a bit more including the rears of all the Straw Hat Pirates and a shot of the Thousand Sunny in the distance.

Likewise, Netflix has not shared what the synopsis of the One Piece adaptation will be. Historically, the platform’s live-action adaptations start from the very beginning, taking viewers on a compressed tour through the original anime show’s plot.

That said, the company has a long uphill climb to legitimize its live-action anime adaptations. Despite featuring Willem Dafoe as Ryuk, Netflix’s previous Death Note adaptation quickly receded into a forgettable title. Additionally, Cowboy Bebop was canceled after only one season.

SEE ALSO: Netflix Southeast Asia movies to watch

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Apps

Finally! Grab users may now pay directly using GCash

Much-awaited partnership

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GCash Grab

Grab Philippines and GCash have finally struck a partnership deal that will make payments on the superapp even easier and more convenient.

Starting February, users will be able to add GCash as a direct payment method on the Grab app, making cashless transactions on food and grocery deliveries, car transport, and other services cashless.

Prior to the collaboration, GCash users could only send money from their account to their GrabPay wallet, and vice-versa, causing a bit of hassle switching in between apps on one’s phone screen.

The partnership also means there will be no more transaction fees unlike before when Grab users have to cash in using their credit or debit cards or linked bank accounts.

Grab customers may also avail of GCash exclusive deals, and even get treats when they pay using the e-wallet.

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