HTC’s upcoming U11 might make brand relevant again



There isn’t going to be an HTC 11 as a follow-up to last year’s flagship HTC 10. Instead, the HTC U11, which is like a smaller and more advanced U Ultra, will be the brand’s torchbearer in 2017, and it’s shaping up to be an innovative one at that if the latest leak turns out to be real.

Actually, the leaked hands-on video seems very real. It shows off every angle of the device and even confirms some of the specifications we were expecting, such as the Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB of memory. This would make the handset as powerful as the higher-end Samsung Galaxy S8+ that’s gradually launching across Asia.

More importantly, however, is the demonstration of a feature HTC already teased. By squeezing the edges of the phone, you could execute additional commands at any point. In the video, the user was shown snapping a photo while the camera app was on.

How intuitive this will turn out to be is still up in the air. Fortunately, another demo showed how you could calibrate the pressure needed to activate the squeeze, which would favor those with more feeble hands.

And for those wondering, there’ll be a bunch of shiny colors available, including blue, light blue, red, black, and plain white. Sadly, like the U Ultra, there doesn’t seem to be a 3.5mm audio jack on board.

The official launch is already tomorrow, so we won’t have to wait long to find out the remaining pieces of information, specifically about pricing and regional availability. If we’re lucky, we may see it while in Taiwan later this month.

SEE ALSO: HTC’s ‘unexpected surprise’ is surprisingly disappointing


Google Lens is now available on iOS

Scan all of the things!



A master at recognizing images, Google is the go-to guy when you want to find out more about a photo. Last year’s launch of Google Lens packed the tech into a convenient app. Now, the former Android exclusive finds a home in iOS.

Launched late last year, the image recognition software followed in the footsteps of the Google Goggles from years ago. Back then, Google Goggles was just a playful way to see if Google knew what something is when you took a photo of it. Its novelty quickly ran out.

Of course, now we know that Google can really tell what objects in a photo are. Sorting images by subject is already a feature on Google Photos.

Google Lens promises similar features to its predecessor, powered by AI technology. It differs from the former by integrating Google Assistant when it recognizes an object. Did you just a take a photo of a Crowne Plaza? Well, Google Lens can reserve you a night’s stay with a few clicks.

When it launched, Google Lens was still an Android exclusive. Now, following an announcement on Twitter, Google will launch the tech on iOS over the course of the next few weeks. Some devices already have the app fully integrated into the iOS version of Google Photos.

Google only warns that users who want the feature should have the latest version of Google Photos (v3.15).

AI-powered image recognition is still an imperfect tool. It has its fair share of mistakes. However, at least, the move to iOS makes the tech available for a wider public.

SEE ALSO: Google announces three new photography apps

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Spotify might be testing its own voice assistant

‘Hello, Spotify’



For all our obsession with voice assistant like Siri and Alexa, you might think that we already have choices of which we want. However, popular apps have other plans up their sleeves.

Following recent news of a planned smart speaker, Spotify is reportedly testing a voice assistant feature for its app. Spotted by Twitter user Hunter Owens, the feature allows searches for songs, artists, albums, playlists, and genres. The feature opened through a microphone icon on the bottom right portion of the screen. Sneak peeks of the new feature are limited to only iOS apps.

Image source: Twitter

As reported before, job listings reveal that the music streaming company might be looking into its own smart speaker.

Currently, Spotify still plays second fiddle to other smart speakers and voice assistants. They play at the mercy of third-party software from Apple and Google.

Plus, these brands are coming up with their own music streaming services. Even if Apple Music and Amazon Music share only a tiny share of the music streaming pie, their more rotund ecosystem takes away from the convenience formerly ruled by Spotify.

With a smart speaker and voice assistant, Spotify can go head to head directly with these giants. If not, these new products will separate them from others at the very least.

SEE ALSO: 5 steps to making the perfect Spotify playlist

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Flagship Mi Store opens in the Philippines with Redmi 5 Plus in tow

Bigger and better than the first one



Last month, Xiaomi officially came back to the Philippines with the opening of its first authorized store in TriNoma, Quezon City. That store was not the most spacious site, so there’s a need for a bigger store to accommodate all the Xiaomi fans.

A bigger and better Authorized Mi Store opened today in SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City. Xiaomi labels the newly opened store as its Philippine flagship. The opening was even attended by Xiaomi representatives, marking how truly official this new flagship is.

Spotted in the new Mi Store is the Redmi 5 Plus (or the Redmi Note 5 in India) priced at just PhP 9,990. The locally available variant has 4GB of memory and 64GB storage, the same one we recently reviewed.

Here are some pictures from inside the store:

From small gadgets to huge smart TVs, there are a lot of Xiaomi items available at the flagship Mi Store. It’s located at the fourth floor of SM Megamall, near Cyberzone.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus (Redmi 5 Note) Review

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