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Huawei Mate 9 has two rear cameras, gets better the more you use it

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Huawei took the mystery out of the Mate 9 when it officially introduced its latest signature phone at a launch event in Munich, Germany.

The introduction comes at a crucial time for the Chinese OEM, which is said to be losing its step in its native country where sales have declined through the previous quarter. Apple is wrestling with declining interest in the iPhone; Samsung is still picking up the pieces after a series of Note 7 (R.I.P.) explosions.

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And with the Mate 9, Huawei is hoping to seize the unique opportunity that has presented itself. At a glance, the Mate 9 is very much like the Mate 8 before it — not just in terms in design, but also in terms of purpose and positioning. It’s a metal phone fitted with a big, 5.9-inch screen and loads of attractive tech, including Huawei’s homegrown Kirin 960 chip that is said to give the iPhone 7 a run for its processor money.

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Huawei Mate 9

It also has fingerprint hardware on the rear; a 4,000mAh battery with fast charging over a USB Type-C port (almost 60 percent after a 30-minute charge; a full charge after 90 minutes); an IR blaster for controlling TVs, entertainment systems, and the like; and a custom interface that has been tweaked for familiarity on top of Android 7.0 Nougat.

Speaking of software tweaks, Huawei says the phone learns its owner’s behavior over time and optimizes itself to get faster the longer it is used. Which is a bold claim considering that many Android phones suffer from performance issues further down their life cycle, not to mention Huawei stands to gain nothing from making a phone that ages like fine wine. It might even hurt the company’s flagship release cycle down the road.

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The Mate 9’s backside is home to a pair of Leica-branded cameras, similar to the Huawei P9. One camera, a 12-megapixel unit, shoots in color, while the other, 20-megapixel unit shoots in black and white, thus producing rich, detailed, and color-accurate shots. Or, at least, that’s the idea. We can’t say with certainty until we get our hands on a retail unit.

Perhaps the only “meh” choices here are the screen resolution — a 1080p affair (read: non-Quad HD) — and the price. The Mate 9 will retail for 699 euros (nearly $780) apiece when it launches across Europe and in select Asian markets at some point in the next month. It’s coming to the U.S., too, albeit at a much later date.

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Like the P9, the backside is home to a pair of Leica-branded cameras

 

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Mate 9 offers fast charging via a Type-C port

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There’s 64GB of expandable storage

India

Mi Watch Revolve Active is a premium fitness tracker with 14 days battery

Has more than 100 workout modes

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Mi Watch Revolve Active A

The Mi Watch Revolve was launched last year, and it sits in a comfortable spot — not too expensive, but loaded. Now, the brand’s expanding its offering and bringing in a much more fitness-oriented product dubbed the Mi Watch Revolve Active.

As the name suggests, the watch is designed to keep you outdoors as much as possible. Or in the new normal, as active and fit as possible. It has a far more sturdy build and continues the premium design language.

It has a 1.4-inch AMOLED display with an always-on display, eliminating the need to touch the screen just to view the time or other essential details. In addition, the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and weighs just 32 grams.

The fitness front comes equipped with LifeQ Health algorithm, which analyzes more than 30 key data points like blood oxygen, stress, heart rate, sleep quality, energy levels, calories burned, and more. All these data points are leveraged to process your lifestyle, fitness regime, and overall performance.

Together, these data points deliver more accurate blood oxygen levels (SpO2), sleep cycles, real-time heart rate, stress levels, body’s oxygen consumption (Vo2 Max), and calories burned. In addition, more than 117 workout modes are supported, including triathlons, swimming, HIIT, Boxing, Water sports, and Yoga.

GPS tracking features an Airoha GPS chip that supports GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BDS navigation systems.  Simple operations will be far simpler when you summon Alexa, as the watch supports the voice assistant for reminders, alarms, and other instructions.

The Mi Watch Revolve Active is water-resistant up to 50 meters and comes pre-installed with basic apps like alarm, timer, stopwatch, weather, find my phone, flashlight. It connects to the phone via Xiaomi’s Wear App and has a mini-store for watch faces, which has more than 100 options right now.

Lastly, Xiaomi says the watch can deliver up to 14 days of battery life on a single charge. If you toggle the long battery mode, it can stretch up to 22 days. While these numbers may seem inflated, Xiaomi has an irrefutable history of delivering solid numbers in the real world.

Price and availability:

The Mi Watch Revolve Active is priced at INR 9,999, and sales start from June 25. It’ll be up for purchase via Amazon, Mi.com, and other partner stores. It comes in Beige, Black, and Navy Blue watch case options, with six strap color options, including Black, Blue, Green, White, and Purple.

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Mi 11 Lite launches with Snapdragon 732G, triple-rear cameras

The lightest phone to launch in 2021 so far

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The second wave of Coronavirus has eased in India, and the country is gradually opening up. A few brands decided to avoid any new launches amid the raging pandemic, creating a vacuum in an otherwise fast-paced industry. Thankfully, Xiaomi has returned with a new offering, and it’s called the Mi 11 Lite.

The Mi 11 series is designed to offer a more premium experience without making a huge dent in your pocket. It follows the same design language as the Mi 11X but is far more thinner and light. At just 6.8mm thickness and 157g weight, it’s touted to be the lightest phone of 2021 so far.

On the front, its got a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD+ resolution, a 90Hz refresh rate, and Gorilla Glass 5 protection. In addition, to make the phone lighter, Xiaomi incorporated a “flat flexible OLED” and a redesigned circuit board that is 35 percent smaller than conventional ones.

Powering the Mi 11 Lite is a Snapdragon 732G processor with up to 8GB RAM and expandable storage. A side-mounted physical fingerprint scanner is included for authentication, and there are dual speakers with Hi-Res Audio support.

The rear sports a triple camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel telephoto sensor. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera that is housed in a punch-hole cut-out. The software supports AI Beautify, Night mode, Time burst, and much more.

Backing these internals is a 4250mAh battery with 33W fast charging. The brand claims the battery has an endurance rating of more than 100 hours, and the compatible fast charger is bundled along. The Mi 11 Lite is IP53-certified for minor dust and water splashes.

The Mi 11 Lite is priced at INR 21,999 (US$ 300) for the 6GB+128GB option and INR 23,999 (US$ 325) for 8GB+256GB. It’s available in three color options — Jazz Blue, Tuscany Coral, and Vinyl Black. Pre-orders start from June 25, and the sale starts from June 28 via Flipkart, Mi.com, and partner physical stores.

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Facebook is now cloning features from Clubhouse, the audio chat app

Facebook has lost its originality

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Facebook is launching podcasts and live audio streams in the US. It includes Live Audio Rooms, its version of the popular app Clubhouse that allows people to listen and participate in live conversations.

The feature will be launched over the next few months, at first with a small number of creators. It’s currently allowing public figures with verified accounts to start live audio rooms and invite anyone else to speak. Both products will become more broadly available in the weeks and months ahead, as more people, podcasts and Groups are brought on board.

However, all users in the US will be able to access rooms and listen to the conversation. The drop-in audio chat genre has received massive traction in the last few months and it peaked when Clubhouse became available for Android.

Clubhouse Alternative

Twitter has also released a new feature called Spaces. It’s also in beta right now and features a lot of bugs and connectivity issues. Facebook is hoping that it’ll be perfectly positioned for the larger market when the concept becomes mainstream. Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms will allow up to 50 speakers, but there is no limit to the number of listeners.

Facebook started as an original social network that was far better than the competition. Over the years, it has developed a notorious reputation for cloning features from others apps. It started with Snapchat-inspired Stories, and copying has now become an integral part of the company’s philosophy.

Being a huge company, it has the resources to quickly churn out these features and release them for testing. Last year, it created video rooms that competed against a new hype — Houseparty. Even Reels was launched as a direct knock-off of TikTok, which was banned in India and faced uncertainty in the US. Critics argue that Big Tech’s “borrowing” of ideas from smaller companies can stifle competition.

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