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Motorola debuts G Stylus and G Power budget smartphones

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Michael Josh test drives the new Moto G Stylus. Image by Enobong Etteh / @BooredAtWork

For many years Motorola has offered some of the best budget phones in the US and it hopes to continue the trend with the launch of two new devices today, the Moto G Power and the Moto G Stylus.

The company says both phones are meant to punch above their weight in terms of battery life, image quality, and overall entertainment experience while maintaining a sub $300 price tag.

I got to spend some time with both phones at Motorola’s Headquarters in Chicago earlier this week. Both phones offer more than what you pay for them – are well built, with better displays than on the previous models, have better cameras, and come with enough features to keep those who don’t want to break the bank on an Android smartphone happy.

Moto G Stylus

The Moto G Stylus is Motorola’s first smartphone to come with a bundled stylus for taking notes, a unique offering in its price range. The only other smartphone with a stylus is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 which retails for $700 more. At CES 2020, Samsung also unveiled the mid-range Galaxy Note 10 Light but that phone is currently not available in the US). 

The pen on the G Stylus is tucked away on the bottom right hand side of the phone. You pry it out with your fingernail instead of pushing down to eject. The stylus feels sturdy, not plasticky, with a metallic finish. Touch response felt good.   

Pulling out the stylus while the display is off automatically launches the phone’s built-in Moto Note app. When on, a customizable toolbar pops up instead.

The phone comes 3 cameras, a 48MP main camera, a Macro Vision Camera, and a 117 degree ultra wide angle action camera dedicated for shooting video. The GoPro-esque ultrawide video camera is the same one we saw on the Moto One Action from last year. One very practical features of this action camera is being able to record horizontal videos while holding the phone vertically. 

The cameras come with a host of camera features seen on higher end phones like portrait lighting, spot color, and night mode.   

The Moto G Stylus is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 665 processor and comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Motorola is promising 2 days of battery life thanks to its 4000 mAh battery. 

It will retail for $299.99 and is available in Mystic Indigo.

Moto G Power

The Moto G Power, replacing last year’s G7 Power, gets its name from a massive 5000 mAh battery that supposedly should last you up to 3 days on a single charge. 

It’s also intended to bring flagship camera smartphone features to midrange price points. The phone has 3 cameras –  a 16MP wide angle, an 8MP 118 degree ultra wide angle, and a Macro Vision camera with 5th X zoom. 

The G Power run’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, and comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. 

It will retail for $249.99 and will be available in Smoke Black.

Both phones share a similar 6.4” Full HD+ display with a 19:9 aspect ratio. 

And come with a close to vanilla implementation of Android based the latest version Android 10. There are a few custom features built in, Moto Experiences they are called, like being able to launch the camera with the flick of a wrist.  

New to these models is a feature called Moto Gametime which lets you block notifications whenever you’re engaged in your favorite game, that a call or message doesn’t get in the way of a PUBG victory.

Both phones will be available in spring this year.

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realme India’s official Twitter was compromised, ran a crypto scam

Elon Musk is the new Nigerian Prince

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Crypto Scam

realme India’s official Twitter account was compromised for a short period on May 6, 2021. Scammers were able to control the verified brand account and change its name to Tesla, trying to mislead gullible users via a crypto scam.

After the Twitter account was taken over, the scammers replied to Elon Musk’s tweets and said they’re organizing an “airdrop” of 5000 bitcoins. The tweets pretended to be an official Tesla undertaking and suggested users sign up on obscure websites.

The account’s handle remained unchanged, but the Tesla name manipulated users to believe it’s true. The vulnerability was short-lived as realme India’s team soon took back control of the account, but they haven’t issued any clarifications or apology.

 

The modus operandi of these scams is quite simple — take over a verified account and rename it, share malicious or misleading links that claim to be a cryptocurrency giveaway, ask users to enter a raffle, or contribute a small token sum, and vanish with the monies.

Unsurprisingly, one of the mention domains contains a message from the Nigerian Prince-like Elon Musk, saying, “Our marketing department here at Tesla HQ came up with an idea: to hold a special giveaway event for all crypto fans out there.”

The scam asks users to contribute 1 BTC (bitcoin) to win back 10 BTC. It’s not supposed to make logical sense because it’s an outright scam. Twitter is filled to the brim with verified accounts that are compromised and used to cheat unsuspecting users. It isn’t known yet whether anyone fell for the crypto scam.

The boom in cryptocurrency as a decentralized and unregulated system is controversial. Lack of regulation and law enforcement makes it impossible to trace transactions, creating a haven for scam artists and the black market. While the growth of cryptocurrency is consistent, many experts still question its reliability and redressal mechanism in the real-world scenario.

Read Also: Basics of cryptocurrency: Risks and benefits

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PUBG Mobile is making a comeback as Battlegrounds Mobile India

Will be exclusive to India

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Battlegrounds Mobile

After an excruciating wait, it’s official — PUBG Mobile is coming back to India. But this time, it’ll have a new name: Battlegrounds Mobile India with some added features, and an India-centric focus.

Krafton, the game’s developer, has announced it’ll be launching the Battlegrounds Mobile India soon. The game will bring an AAA-rated multiplayer experience alongside exclusive in-game events, tournaments, and leagues. While a launch date isn’t available, Krafton did confirm that pre-registration will be opened up soon.

The game will be free-to-play and incorporate the same battle royale concept that made it popular. Although, little detail is available about maps, guns, vehicles, and the plot (if there is any) of the game.

Furthermore, the game’s developer said that it would comply with all local laws and compliances. This includes data localization — storage of data within Indian borders. The announcement has cheered millions of players in the country who’ve been waiting for an alternative ever since the primary game was barred.

Why PUBG had to go

In mid-2020, India and China were involved in a fatal border skirmish that left many casualties on both sides. Following the conflict, India took a stringent anti-China stance and banned a host of apps that were developed or backed by Chinese companies. TikTok, owned by ByteDance, was among the first to come under the hammer.

PUBG Mobile was also included in the ban because Chinese giant Tencent was a distribution partner of the game. Following the ban, Krafton quickly removed Tencent from the agreement and announced plans to launch a new game independent of any Chinese influence.

Indian developers rode the hype wave, and many TikTok clones were touted as the next big thing. On the same lines, nCore Studios tried to bridge the gap by launching FAU-G, but it was a colossal failure. In fact, it still doesn’t have a battle royale mode, so it’s safe to assume Call of Duty: Mobile is the only practical alternative left for users right now.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE leaks, will enter production in July

And could launch in August

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Galaxy S21 FE

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is reported to be in the works, and its production may start sometime in July. It will be an upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, which was launched last year.

According to @DSCCRoss on Twitter, the Galaxy S21 FE will enter production in July, just a month before its expected launch. The Galaxy S21 FE will likely be part of Samsung’s Unpacked event in August, where it usually also launches foldable phones. A noted analyst of DisplaySearch backs his claim.

 

The phone is said to come in four color options: gray, light green, light violet, and white. The predecessor also had colorful options, so it’s not surprising to see the palette selection here.

In terms of design, it will look like the Galaxy S21 based on leaked renders. It will feature a punch-hole display and three rear cameras. Rumors have also suggested that it’ll have a “glastic” construction. It consists of a polycarbonate construction that feels like glass. The Note 10 Lite sported a similar design too.

In terms of specs, Galaxy S21 FE is said to feature a 6.4-inch AMOLED display, and it will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 processor. In line with all Galaxy-branded phones, it’ll run on OneUI out-of-the-box.

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