Features

LG might lose its ‘Friends’

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LG V20 and LG G5 side by side

If the latest reports are to be trusted, LG isn’t going to push the modular design of the G5 on its flagship smartphone next year. That’s bad news for anyone invested in the system, and the company itself, of course. Actually, the whole plan may have failed as soon as it was drawn up.

The Electronic Times broke the news that the Korean company is cancelling its plans of a modularized design on its next flagship device, presumably called the LG G6, after a string of misfortunes following the release of the G5.

Let’s list down what we know: It met with disappointing sales just when LG badly needed an instant money maker; executives in charge of the G5’s development were removed a few months later; and users who bought into the idea of the phone’s modularity didn’t even bother to purchase any “Friends.”

[irp posts=”1305″ name=”The LG G5 is here, and it’s awesome”]

The third fact is the biggest hit on the G5. According to the report, LG didn’t see the expected results because add-on components weren’t really wanted. For users, there was never any compelling reason to add expensive accessories to a smartphone that already matched every other top-end handset spec-for-spec.

And that’s the thing about smartphones these days; consumers want a gadget that works to its full potential out of the box, with the latest operating system and without any added complications.

Modular ecosystems have always been a tricky affair. Doing too much flushes it down the drain before even launching, and executing a smart yet untested plan yields poor long-term gains, like in the case of the LG G5.

The irony with the G5’s Friends is that they aren’t exactly friendly to interact with. Popping the phone’s chin and snapping out a part involves turning the entire device off and wearing out the metal frame over time. We demonstrated the process in our unboxing video:

Modularity done right goes all the way back to 1998. It’s easy to forget, but the Nokia 5110 had a removable battery that acted as the rear cover, and could be exchanged for units that provided vibration functionality or additional energy capacity. The feature phone sold exceedingly well, which eventually led to the release of the even more successful Nokia 3210 and 3310.

Lenovo-owned Moto did its homework before launching the semi-modular Z series. The Moto Z, Z Force, and Z Play have a similar concept to the old Nokia, wherein the attachments could be inserted on the back without removing something first or powering the phone off.

While the modules are still quite expensive, they’re very user-friendly and work on up to three handsets at the moment, which is three times what LG is offering. In addition, Moto promises a long-term commitment to the platform, and that’s what early adopters want to hear.

LG V20 and LG G5 with removable batteries

LG V20 and LG G5 with their removable batteries

Despite the rumors, LG’s decision to ditch its ambitious plans isn’t much of a surprise, especially if you followed the progress of the V20.

As soon as the follow-up to last year’s surprise hit, the V10, was announced without any modularity to speak of, LG’s Friends were already assumed to be dead.

What’s strange is how the V20’s slogan mimics that of the G5’s marketing campaign: “Life’s good when you play more.” It makes a lot of sense when you think about the G5’s ability to play more with its Friends, but it’s strange to see the same line attached to the V20.

With only a removable battery to toy around with, it feels like someone forgot to update the marketing materials — or maybe, Friends compatibility was originally planned for the V20, before all the bad news came in.

We talked about how this development is a big blow for the tech giant’s image, and that backtracking on features has never ended well for smartphone brands. Commitment to a proven program resonates with consumers, even more than delivering next-level innovation, as shown by the incredible fortitude of Apple’s iPhone brand.

[irp posts=”4401″ name=”V20 both improves and harms LG’s image”]

It’s clear that LG is still worried about losing trust from both its fans and hardware partners. By giving up on a big-time strategy less than a year in, not only will the company sacrifice a lot of hype for its next major announcement, but also scrap lots of useless components designed for the G5’s system and its future iterations, leading to tons of electronic waste.

To LG’s fortunes, the V20’s primary rival is out of the running for phone of the year. So while Samsung’s smaller flagship is carrying the brand until early 2017, the larger and far newer LG phablet is a top pick for anyone looking for a smartphone beyond 5.5 inches in display size. It helps that fellow competitors HTC and Sony aren’t bringing their A-games this year.

Looking back, you have to applaud LG for trying something new for each of its flagship. From the high-powered Optimus G and series-defining G2, to the bendable G Flex and rugged V10, no other smartphone manufacturer has ever taken more risks than the Korean brand.

ET’s report ends with the possibility of the upcoming G6 coming with features “not seen before in previous LG smartphones.” Banking on recent history, we have no reason to doubt LG’s ability to materialize its imagination.

[irp posts=”7000″ name=”LG V34 is what the V20 should have been”]

Accessories

Trip to the Big O: Getting off with the OPPO Enco X

Senses, overwhelmed

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OPPO Enco X

The following is intended for readers 18+

Touch and hearing — two things that I consider the most important when it comes to our sensual wellness. During my journey to taking better care of myself, I took some time exploring how to turn myself on. I learned how to master the art of self-pleasure for six years — and I got really creative about it.

With the pandemic raging on for more than a year now, I have served gospel towards self-care and pleasure to friends and colleagues alike. I helped keep their sex lives alive and combat their urges to go out and respond to their cravings for human flesh.

Vibrators, massagers, fleshlights, VR headsets — those were common toys I recommend to people starting to explore and own their sexuality. But a year of drought made things more boring and it’s time to spice it up.

In the quest to elevating the art of self-pleasure and self-care, the OPPO Enco X surprisingly turned the tables around.

A time to kick the beam

I was scrolling on Twitter and I stumbled upon one of my favorite creators, Le James, who was formerly half of the popular couple-slash-adult-creators called Okko.

Aroused at the sight of a French man with a glimmering tan and toned body, I went to his OnlyFans account — where I was subscribed — to get my La Petite Mort. Little death in French, IYKWIM.

My companion has always been Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live. However, I forgot to charge it when the opportunity to hop on a trip to the Big O arose. What lies next to it on my desk was the unsightly OPPO Enco X.

Frankly, I was averse to the idea of trying AirPods knock-offs because it lacks originality. And as a Leo with Libra placements, aesthetics matter to me.

OPPO Enco X

But the occasion called for it. So I reached and took out the pair of TWS earphones and plugged it into my ears. That’s when I knew I liked it. The way it sat comfortably in my ears, plugged in securely — I knew right then, it was going to be my companion as I kick the beam.

Senses overwhelmed

I didn’t realize how much sound matters in the art of self-pleasure until I used the Enco X. Since it was developed in partnership with Danish speaker manufacturer Dynaudio, the Enco X comes with Hi-Fi audio that’s well-around with some natural depth — it’s perfect for conquering your arousals.

In addition to that, having a decent active-noise cancellation (ANC) is a game-changer during your sensual sessions. Noise is blocked, senses are overwhelmed, and grumbles and rattles are delivered deep, textured, and immersive AF.

Whatever your preferred sensual interests are, the Enco X will definitely help turn you and your senses on.

OPPO Enco X

Also, its ANC comes with different options: max noise cancellation where you totally hear nothing aside from what you’re listening to, and noise cancellation that softens noise in certain environments (like cars driving past you).

There’s also a transparency mode so you can hear if someone is knocking on your door (or about to enter your room), or you can simply turn off ANC altogether.

Quick as a lightning bolt

One grungy afternoon, I was setting the mood to blow off some steam with my ex-paramour for the night — whom I reconnected with when I was sad, feeling isolated, and a bit of a wanton. I was alternating between my stash of erotic stories and lascivious audio clips that help me get ready to take off.

I was in the zone, seemingly unable to keep my hands to myself (thanks, ANC) until I heard a barrage of knocking on my door that I immediately pulled the earbuds out and put on my clothes.

OPPO Enco X

After dealing with the interruption while I was huffing and puffing, I put the earbuds back on. To my amazement, the device connected instantaneously, even if one of the pairs is still inside the case.

The flash-like connection is surely a plus in my book since time is of the essence when it comes to carnal urges. Even a split second of distraction can cancel out the build-up of heat you’ve worked hard on.

Though it has the ability to connect swiftly, both the earbuds and its charging case come with long-lasting battery life. And believe me, no one likes it when you drain quickly. You have to last as long as you can.

All the Dionysiac adventures you can do

The charging case lasted for more than a day, while the pair of earbuds lasted nearly four hours even with max noise cancellation on.

Of course, I didn’t spend the whole time pleasuring myself. I got a bunch of amorous affairs that I went on together with the Enco X.

OPPO Enco X

Some of them are doing workouts that help me improve my form in bed and in outdoor sports I enjoy. Other activities include sessions that made me focus on my breathwork and senses like yoga and meditation.

Sometimes, I play songs from my favorite musicians such as The Weeknd, Alina Baraz, and SZA to get my sultry body moving to its slow, voluptuous beat.

The perfect accompaniment when you want to feel sexy while doing deeds that make you want to churn the butter. For instance, reminding yourself that you are ~hot~ in front of the mirror or dancing alone in your room, naked.

And when things are getting steamy, the Enco X has intelligent controls that you can navigate with a single touch. Just like when you wank or flick the beans.

The new BFF in your bedroom

Above all, the Enco X has been exceptional for all kinds of adult entertainment. Whether it’s the sexiest shows on Netflix, or watching your favorite adult creators on OnlyFans perform and play with themselves.

Or even re-watching interviews of your favorite celebrities and listening to them speak *ahem* Chris Evans *ahem* Manny Jacinto *ahem* while you feel the bolt and shiver rush into your garden of delight or gospel pipe.

The OPPO Enco X undoubtedly helped me elevate the art of self-pleasure through bawdy experiences. It has everything you’ll need out of a pair of TWS earbuds — customizable active-noise cancellation, crisp and clean sound, instantaneous connection, long battery life, and responsive touch controls.

Not to mention, it has an IP54 rating so you can bring it to your bathtub should you decide to get intimate in your alone time. Just don’t get it all wet.

The OPPO Enco X retails for PhP 6,999. It comes in Black and White, and it’s available for purchase at OPPO Concept Stores, OPPO’s Shopee and Lazada Flagship Stores, and authorized retailers.

There’s also the OPPO Band which retails for PhP 1,699. When you’re in the OPPO ecosystem, it’s best to maintain it and stay connected. The OPPO Band can be adjusted depending on your comfort levels, and lets you receive messages and call notifications, or even navigate your music playback while you’re engulfed by your sensual sessions.

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Accessories

How I Upgraded My Smart Home with SwitchBot

Out of the ordinary smart home solutions

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Ever since moving into my new place at the start of this year, I’ve been on the look out for more ways to make my apartment smart. Watch this video as I walk you through these out of the ordinary solutions from SwitchBot.

These products might not seem like a big deal individually but watch them come together. Let’s start with a HUB Mini. You’ll need this so the devices can talk to each other and so that you can use voice controls. The SwitchBot Meter is for measuring both room temperature and humidity. The SwitchBot Bot is a handy dandy button presser. The SwitchBot Humidifier  does as its name implies. The Switch Bot Remote is a programmable button. Finally, the SwitchBot Curtain is for automatically opening and closing your curtains.

Try SwitchBot on Prime Day! Get 30% off http://my.gadgetmat.ch/SwitchBotPD (excluding SwitchBot Motion Sensor, SwitchBot Contact Sensor and SwitchBot Indoor Cam) on June 21, 00:00 PT to June 22, 23:59 PT

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Entertainment

Trese: The story behind the dubbing

What the process was like

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Trese
All images courtesy of Netflix

Much has been said about the dubbing work of the Netflix Animé series Trese. Everyone from showrunner Jay Oliva, Filipino voice talent Inka Magnaye, and that random Facebook friend you don’t really talk to anymore has weighed in.

We’re not going to get into details of what people have said. We’re sure there’s no shortage of that on social media. Rather, we’re here to explore what transpired in how the show came to be. Netflix arranged a media conference with the following key figures in the series:

  • Tanya Yuson — Series writer and co-producer
  • Wes Gleason — English cast and voice director
  • Rudolf Baldonado Jr. — Filipino voice director

English first 

Trese

The observation we made from our ‘What to expect’ article proved to be true. The whole series was indeed first dubbed in English and was then translated to Filipino and other languages later.

This was one of the many challenges that Baldonado Jr. had to deal with in translating the material to Filipino.

“What we got was already finished work. So the casting process for us is a little different because we had to consider who did the original first — what were the characters that they molded through their voices. And then, how the animators matched it with the visuals,” said the Filipino voice director.

“The Filipino dub had to be cast according to how they (English cast) started it.” 

There were also a few terms that didn’t exactly have a direct Tagalog translation. Baldonado Jr. cites the word “Underworld” which loosely translates to “Impyerno.” In the context of the series, “Impyerno” doesn’t exactly capture how “Underworld” was used as the place where all the monsters and ghouls came from.

This is also the reason why it’s primarily called the Filipino version. Because the team pulled from other languages in the country which fits the context of the words used in English better.

Does the Emissary give you an eerie feeling?

Working with Liza Soberano

Naturally, these same challenges applied to Liza Soberano who played Alexandra Trese in the Filipino version. Soberano was very much aware of her voice quality, tone, and twang according to Baldonado Jr.

“She knows where she’s coming from and she knows what she needs to work on,” said Baldonado Jr. “She was trying to focus on three things (voice, language skills in Filipino, and acting).”

Baldonado Jr., who is a 23-year veteran in the localization and voice dubbing industry, provided exercises for Soberano to address all these. The pair aimed for a voice with a lower register and one that sounded more stiff which, the voice director said, was in contrast with Soberano’s natural tone.

The voice director was very much aware of the criticisms online. But he remained cheerful and positive throughout the media conference. However, he lamented that he wished he had more time to polish the work with Soberano.

What’s up with all the accents? 

Noticeable in the English version is the variety of accents by the characters. Shay Mitchell, who played Alexandra Trese in the English dub, mostly maintained her American accent. But the rest of the cast added more to the mix. Series writer and co-producer Tanya Yuson and English voice director Wes Gleason said this was by design.

“The accents vary, I think, as we found a neutral, what we call ‘Manila accent’, but that’s because our melting pot is from different people with different backgrounds,” said Gleason.

“Some of their relatives or references might have been a little stronger with an accent or a little more in one region than the other. So, I think our show kind of shows that diversity, and hopefully in a good way,” he added.

Yuson backs up the melting pot analogy.

“It’ll be the first time an international audience would hear, on a wide platform, English spoken with that flavor,” said Yuson.

“It would be weirder to me if it’s in English language set in Manila and then you have, either it’s very American or British. The diversity for accents in Manila, anyway, is a lot… we wanted to present that in a way that’s also accessible to an international audience,” she added.

Strength behind a Filipino cast

The influence of the Filipino cast for the English version didn’t stop with just the accents. Everyone from Manny Jacinto (The Good Place) to Lou Diamond Philipps (La Bamba) pulled from stories from their relatives and loved ones about Philippine folklore involved to bring the characters to life.

Authenticity was the primary driving force in the casting decisions. That’s on top of the voices fitting the characters according to Gleason.

“A lot of the actors had familiarity with the folklore in the Philippines. They were coming in with tales of their mothers scaring them. The mananngals, the tiyanaks, the duwende, all these things. Everyone had their own little tale to tell.”

Gleason, who naturally had to do his research on the folklore, leaned on the casts’ experiences to help shape the voice direction.

“Anyone who had that background but was also giving us great options for the read, we gravitated towards them.”

A few more fun nuggets from the conference

Manny Jacinto, who plays Maliksi, may have initially read for Crispin and Basilio as hinted by Gleason.

“He (Jacinto) read for a different role that he was cast for. We heard his approach on one character, or characters — that’s not a spoiler — and hearing that just felt like this role was a better fit.”

Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Glee) was very excited to be part of the cast even telling Gleason, “How can I not be a part of this? My mother would kill me if I’m not a part of this!”

Tanya Yuson said working with just six (6) episodes was pretty challenging. The ideal number of episodes could have gone anywhere from eight (8) to 22. However, they made sure that even with just six episodes, they could set-up the world and still have a satisfying ending.

Watch Trese on Netflix.

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