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Huawei Mate 20 series launches with Kirin 980, new Leica cameras, wireless charging

Absolutely jam-packed inside and out

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Huawei, like most brands, try their best to cram as many features as they can into a single smartphone. Having done the best they could with the P20 Pro earlier this year, Huawei’s next attempt lies in the newly launched Mate 20 series, which is feature-packed to the brim.

Before anything else, there are two models again: a regular Mate 20 and a Mate 20 Pro. They look and feel quite different, despite owning mostly the same internals.

Let’s begin with the higher-end Mate 20 Pro. Yes, it has wide notch containing a 3D depth-sensing array to go with the 24-megapixel selfie shooter for better face scanning, but that’s on top of a 6.39-inch 1440p curved HDR OLED display — allowing the phone to come equipped with an in-display fingerprint reader.

Mate 20 Pro

More fascinating, however, are the Leica cameras on the rear. Like the P20 Pro, there are three in place, but they’re arranged in a square format. One is a 40-megapixel main camera, another has 20 megapixels and an ultra-wide lens, and the final module offers 8 megapixels with 3x optical zoom — no monochrome sensor this time.

Another headline feature is wireless reverse charging, which allows you to charge any other smartphone wirelessly by simply placing it on top of the Mate 20 Pro’s 4200mAh battery. Getting the large capacity to full is pretty quick too, thanks to the bundled 40W SuperCharge adapter.

Memory and storage combo is standard at 6GB and 128GB, respectively. The latter is expandable up to 256GB, but only through Huawei’s new Nano Memory Card standard, which has the same size as a nano-SIM card.

The regular Mate 20 is less amazing on paper, but doesn’t stop short of being a premium smartphone. While the 24-megapixel selfie camera is still there, there are no additional sensors for 3D face recognition in the smaller notch, and even though the 6.53-inch 1080p RGBW HDR LCD is larger, it isn’t curved on the edges and doesn’t offer an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Left: Mate 20, Right: Mate 20 Pro

You’ll also notice a similar square camera setup, but there are a few differences: the main camera has only 12 megapixels, the ultra-wide shooter settles for 16 megapixels, and the 8-megapixel telephoto camera goes up to only 2x optical zoom. Below this is a standard fingerprint sensor.

Other compromises include a marginally lighter 4000mAh battery (with no wireless reverse charging), slower 22.5W bundled SuperCharger, lack of IP68-rated water and dust resistance, and 4GB+128GB base memory and storage (although a 6GB+128GB option is still available, plus Nano Memory Card expansion).

Left: Mate 20, Right: Mate 20 Pro

As for similarities, there are quite a few. The most prominent one is the shared use of Huawei’s brand-new Kirin 980 chipset, which we first saw at IFA Berlin 2018. Next is the color options: Emerald Green, Midnight Blue, Twilight, Pink Gold, and Black.

And since we’re nearing the end of 2018, it’s only right for these flagships to sport Android 9 Pie topped with Huawei’s home-baked EMUI 9 skin. They are both dual-SIM as well, as long as you don’t use the second slot for the aforementioned Nano Memory Card.

Pricing goes like this: The Mate 20’s 4GB+128GB configuration retails for EUR 799 and its 6GB+128GB model goes for EUR 849. The Mate 20 Pro’s sole 6GB+128GB variant costs EUR 1,049. Availability begins on October 16.

News

A new iMessage feature alerts you of any government spies

Anyone can use it

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Do you have an irrational fear of government hackers spying on your text messages? If you do, Apple has a new feature to help alleviate your phobia. Starting today, users can opt into the new iMessage Contact Key Verification feature, a security measure designed to prevent any unwanted snooping on your messages.

If it sounds too specific, it’s because Apple designed the feature for those who face “extraordinary digital threats,” like journalists and politicians. Naturally, this subset of the population can benefit from keeping their conversations away from snoopers (which includes, according to Apple, state-sponsored attackers). However, there’s no denying that the feature is also a boon to users who want an extra layer of protection for their messaging needs.

To use the feature, both the sender and the receiver need to have the option turned on while using their device. On a more basic level, the device will alert both users if an unexpected party suddenly crashes and enters the encrypted conversation. A more advanced level even allows iMessage users to compare verification codes, ensuring that both parties are indeed talking to whomever they intend to talk to.

While most users might not find a lot of use for an exorbitant amount of protection against hackers, it’s a step in the right direction for total message encryption. Despite some significant hiccups, Apple remains focused on bringing encryption to its users.

SEE ALSO: Apple is tracking users even with settings turned off

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Gaming

Microsoft is being prevented from buying Activision Blizzard

Sued by the FTC

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The year started off with a bang. Microsoft, already a respectable name in the gaming industry by itself, announced the impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard for US$ 68.7 billion. Perhaps it’s fitting that the year will end right back where it started. The FTC is officially suing Microsoft to block the monumental purchase from going through.

Announced today, the United States’ FTC (or Federal Trade Commission) has filed a legal claim against Microsoft, stating that the acquisition will allow the company to suppress competition between its rivals in the gaming industry. The commission believes that it has enough to effectively block the purchase. Allowing Microsoft to go through with the purchase will supposedly enable the company to prevent Activision Blizzard’s titles — including the Call of Duty franchise — from coming out easily on other platforms.

Since the announcement of the acquisition, Activision Blizzard has gone through a rocky year. The company had its dirty laundry aired out: a plethora of disagreeable practices from within the company. Exacerbated by the rocky launches of Diablo Immortal and Overwatch 2, it’s not exactly a stellar year for the company.

In fact, it’s not a good year for monopolistic practices either. Recently, Ticketmaster found itself under the microscope after a massive kerfuffle preventing Taylor Swift fans from purchasing tickets to the star’s upcoming concert.

While the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard is still up in the air, it seems company acquisitions aren’t as easy as this year has made them out to be.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft announces a modular Adaptive Mouse

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Apps

Google is merging Waze with Google Maps

Apps will remain separate

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It’s not a secret. Google owns both Google Maps and Waze. Though both certainly come with their own pros and cons, using either app can boil down to a matter of preference, especially in driving cities. Starting soon, the two might even look more alike. Google is merging the teams of Google Maps and Waze together.

Since acquiring Waze in 2013, Google has kept the app’s development separate from Google Maps. Even knowing this face, it’s hard to draw comparisons between the two. They felt like separate products, and they were.

Now, as announced today (via Wall Street Journal), Google will merge Waze’s team (which consists of over 500 employees) with the larger team that oversees Maps, Earth, and Street View. While there are no plans to lay off any employees, incumbent Waze CEO Neha Parikh is expected to leave the company after the merger.

Though a merger might spell the end for Waze, Google remains committed to keeping its own services separate from each other. However, by merging the teams, the company can reduce a lot of redundant work that the two teams have in common.

From a more generalized standpoint, Google Maps and Waze are incredibly distinct apps. While the latter focuses more of directions for drivers, Google Maps offers a grander sweep of directions for all travelers including those who prefer to walk or take public transportation.

SEE ALSO: Google Maps introduces a new way to be a tourist

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