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New Redmi 4 lineup completes Xiaomi’s stellar year

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Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime

Xiaomi has been absolutely killing it this year with releases such as the bezel-hating Mi Mix, dual-camera-touting Mi 5s Plus, and visually stunning Mi Note 2. However, these are all premium products, so the China-based company made it a point to launch a trio of budget-friendly offerings before the year ends.

Here’s what we have in order of most to least expensive: the Redmi 4 Prime, Redmi 4, and Redmi 4A. Priced at CNY 899 ($133), CNY 699 ($104), and CNY 499 ($74), you can’t expect anything out of the ordinary, but they sure are affordable.

Redmi 4 Prime

Let’s begin with the top-level Redmi 4 Prime. The all-metal variant feels kind of like a midrange device for what it offers. You get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, which can handle everyday tasks with ease, plus a decent amount of memory and internal storage at 3GB and 32GB, respectively.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime

What it holds back on is screen size; it’s only 5 inches in diameter, but has more than enough pixels packed into it at 1920 x 1080. There’s also a 13-megapixel shooter above the fingerprint scanner at the back, and a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies. A thick 4100mAh battery keeps the lights on.

Xiaomi plastered its iPhone-like MIUI 8 interface over Android 6.0 Marshmallow on the Redmi 4 Prime, as well as on the other two phones. Gold, silver, and gray are the available colors, and they can be purchased beginning today.

Redmi 4

The 5-inch middle model of the pack looks nearly identical to the Prime version, except its LED flash is located to the right of the rear camera and isn’t as fancy as the dual-tone unit of the more-capable variant.

Xiaomi Redmi 4

Xiaomi Redmi 4 (left) and Redmi 4 Prime (right)

As expected, everything is toned down to lower the price. The processor is a less powerful, yet still decent Snapdragon 430, and both the memory and screen resolution have been reduced to 2GB and 1280 x 720 pixels, respectively.

While the battery capacity remains at 4100mAh, the built-in storage is limited to 16GB, so you’d have to rely on a microSD card to squeeze in more files. The three offered colors are the same, and are available as of November 7, as well.

Redmi 4A

Despite being the cheapest of the lot, the Redmi 4A is still a good deal, thanks in part to its full-metal body and similar hardware configuration to the regular Redmi 4 — the same 5-inch 720p display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, and same pair of cameras.

Xiaomi Redmi 4A

Xiaomi Redmi 4A

What it lacks is a fingerprint sensor, and both the processor and battery capacity take a hit; you only get a Snapdragon 425 chipset and 3120mAh battery here. The bonus is you have a choice between more attractive gold and rose gold colors, and the latest MIUI with Marshmallow is still on board.

Availability comes a little later — November 11, to be exact.

Limited shipping, for now

Like most Xiaomi smartphones, these three Redmi 4 handsets are exclusive to China at the moment. But unlike their more expensive siblings, they should experience international shipping like past generations of the Redmi line.

We predict India seeing the next launch, while the rest of Asia will have to rely on gray market shops before Xiaomi decides to expand further.

[irp posts=”7235″ name=”Mi Mix is Xiaomi’s ceramic concept of the future”]

Source: Xiaomi, (2)

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Apple might make a ring you can wear on other parts of your body

Patent granted

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Earlier this year, Samsung reportedly started development on a smart ring, a fitness tracker shaped like a ring you were on your finger. Now, based on a new patent, Apple is doing the same. However, the company’s iteration goes beyond just a ring meant for your finger.

As first reported by Apple Insider, the American government has recently granted Apple a patent for an “electronic system with ring device.” Though the depicted device repeatedly shows a ring worn on a finger, the patent description also describes other uses, such as on a “wrist, arm, leg, neck, head, and/or other body part.”

The patent was written vaguely enough to accommodate a lot of uses. One example that the patent describes is NFC technology activating when in range of certain devices and objects. For example, a user can use a wearable bracelet or anklet to enter a gated area. A user can also receive information through the wearable when near a book or another device.

Naturally, the described device will also have tracking capabilities. It’s possible that the wearable is meant to pair with Apple’s other devices in its ecosystem such as an iPhone or an Apple Watch.

That said, a patent rarely corresponds to a finalized product. While the possibilities of such a device are numerous, it’s also possible that Apple won’t move forward with an actual product. Currently, smart rings are still a relatively niche segment.

SEE ALSO: Samsung is working on a smart ring

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Apps

WhatsApp will let you hide all your secret chats with a password

Passwords can even have an emoji

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Secret chats is a boon to the online community. However, while the feature can protect your conversations from online snoopers, nothing can stop anyone who grabs your phone and goes through all your apps. Now, WhatsApp is finally adding an extra layer of protections for those who use secret chats on the platform — a secret code.

For anyone engaged in secret conversations, a password seems like a no-brainer. While the feature has been a long time coming, its launch is still welcome today. With the new version, users can hide all their secret chats with a passcode.

Plus, the passcodes are more unique than most. Rather than just a short PIN or a traditional password, users can use emojis too. Allowing emojis can add an even more secure lock to those private conversations.

Once secured, the locked chats will no longer pop up by default on WhatsApp’s main feed. While users can still toggle their visibility on and off, users will have to input their secret passcodes into the app’s search bar to see their list of secret chats.

While the feature is still rolling out now, users already have existing options to lock individual chats away from prying eyes. These measures include fingerprint scanning, face recognition, and good ol’ passwords. The new feature is more meant to hide all of them at the same time, especially when a shoulder snooper can just spot locked chats right from the list.

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp might soon let you chat with Telegram, other apps

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Google Messages adds new features similar to iMessage

Photomoji sounds familiar

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It’s been a great month for RCS. Recently, Apple, the messaging standard’s longstanding rival, finally announced support for RCS coming in 2024. Now, it has reached another huge milestone: 1 billion active users, according to Google. To celebrate, Google has announced new features coming to Messages.

RCS has been the standard for Google’s Messages for a while now. However, despite reaching a significant number of users over the years, Messages has often trailed Apple’s iMessage in terms of features. Today, Messages is finally getting a healthy infusion of the latter’s newer developments.

For one, the new Photomoji feature can turn your photos into message reactions. Using the onboard AI, Google can automatically turn the subject of any photo for use in the app. Messages will also save these for future use. Now, while this might sound familiar for iOS users, Google will not require users to turn photos into stickers before using them in iMessage.

Users can also change the color of their bubbles, digging at the ongoing green versus blue debate between iOS and Android.

Additionally, Voice Moods will allow users to add an emoji to sent voice messages. Even before playing them, recipients will already have an idea what the tone of the message will be. And speaking of the format, Google also improved the audio quality for voice messages.

Finally, Messages will have Screen Effects going forward. Like other messaging platforms (like Messenger and Viber), typing certain phrases such as “I love you” will cause the screen to react appropriately. In Viber, for example, typing “happy birthday” will cause balloons to fly up from the bottom.

These updates are slowly rolling out through a beta version coming to select countries and devices.

SEE ALSO: Apple is finally solving its green bubble problem

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