A week before a major product’s unveiling, we normally have a good idea of what to expect from the day of launch. Things are a little different now, with Google keeping its highly anticipated smartphones closely guarded until their official reveal on October 4. Still, this isn’t stopping everyone from following all the rumors and leaks. Here’s what we know so far.
There might be two phones named Pixel and Pixel XL
While Google hasn’t plain said they’re letting go of the long-running Nexus series, tons of rumors are pointing to the company scrapping the name in favor of the Pixel branding. As of now, there are only two Pixel devices under Google, and those are the Android-powered Pixel C tablet and Chrome OS-equipped Chromebook Pixel laptop.
How this unifies Google’s hardware lineups is still a mystery, but this could mean that the Nexus 6P and 5X smartphones are the last of their kind. In their place, we expect a 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL to take over as the search giant’s flagship offerings.
They’re going to be rectangular and made by HTC
Although the line “Made by Google” has been attached to the Pixel handsets, HTC has been tagged to be the manufacturer of both phones. This isn’t the company’s first involvement, however; HTC made the very first Nexus smartphone called the Nexus One, and Google’s latest Nexus tablet, the Nexus 9, was also developed by the Taiwan-based brand.
Google has barely shown us anything so far, but if the leaked photos courtesy of Android Police have anything to say, there’s nothing out of the ordinary in terms of design. We’re looking at an all-metal body with a fingerprint scanner and single camera lens at the back.
Somehow, one of the phones also made its way into a commercial by Nest Netherlands. It matches quite well to the photos above, so there seems to be some legitimacy in the sources. Whether it was accidental or on purpose is the question, but that applies to practically every leak we’ve ever encountered.
Update: We now have what looks like finalized renders of the Pixel and Pixel XL, thanks to leakster Evan Blass. They once again match earlier leaked images, and prove that a new version of Android is coming along. The two phones look exactly the same, though.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) September 26, 2016
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) September 27, 2016
Update #2: OnLeaks uncovered a clear 3D render video of the Pixel XL. Additionally, the source claims that the dimensions are 154.7 x 75.7 x 7.3mm (bottom) and 8.5mm (top). This means the camera hump adds a little more bulk to the frame.
Specs are what you’d expect
We’re nearing the end of the calendar year, and that means flagship phones will more or less have the same chipsets by now. We’ll most likely see Qualcomm’s top processor, the Snapdragon 821, inside both handsets, along with 4GB of memory, Full to Quad HD resolutions for the displays, and USB Type-C ports with fast charging capabilities. The IP rating, which is the gadget’s resistance to dust and water, is still unclear.
The bigger news is the possibility of Android 7.1 being on board. It hasn’t been too long since the original Android 7.0 Nougat version came out, but bug fixes and minor tweaks are always welcome. So far, the only upgrade version 7.1 is noted to have is the option to restart your phone directly from the “Power off” menu. It may sound really basic, but no stock Android phone has had it since the OS was conceived.
In addition, it looks like there’ll be a new launcher to accompany Google’s new phones. Aptly named Pixel Launcher, it’s just like the interface you’re accustomed to in other stock Android handsets, but there’s some much-needed design changes: The app drawer button is gone, the Google search bar has been replaced by a search tab and calendar widget, and the navigation buttons might be redone. You can actually install it now and see some of the features for yourself.
They’ll be priced like rival flagships
The Nexus brand has always been positioned as Google’s way of showing manufacturers how to do Android devices right. With Google having a close eye on the development process of its partners, the hardware maximizes the full potential of the software, and vice versa. To the joy of customers, some Nexus devices were even priced below its competitors despite having flagship-level parts.
Sadly, this might change with the arrival of the Pixel brand. Reports say that the smaller handset’s price will start at $649, and the bigger one at around $750. This would put the duo in direct competition against Samsung and Apple’s best. This rumor seems highly likely, since the two Pixel devices we mentioned earlier, the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel, have eye-popping prices themselves. We don’t like where this is going.
[irp posts=”7034″ name=”Google’s Pixel strategy is doing exceedingly well, at a cost”]
Image credit: Android Police
Xiaomi blacklists “Samsung” and other terms from its phones
But there’s a reason why
Throughout the past few years, Chinese smartphones have received a lot of flak for its ties to geopolitical issues. Both Huawei and ZTE have already suffered through bans from the American government. Naturally, Xiaomi is in a similar boat. Unfortunately, because of a new research report, things might get worse before they get better.
According to a report published by the National Cyber Security Centre in Lithuania, Xiaomi’s smartphones automatically download a list of terms that they blacklist. The list includes sketchy terms like “China,” “Taiwan Solidarity Union,” and other geopolitical terms. Obviously, including China-related terms can cause a bit of alarm for users elsewhere. However, the blacklist might have uses outside of the obvious.
Spotted by XDA Developers, Xiaomi uses the list for advertising purposes. Besides the China-related terms, the list also includes its brand rivals like “Samsung” and “ZTE.” It also includes pornography and piracy terms. Most ironically, the list also blocks its own smartphone models. The publication spotted that the blacklist is used solely by the smartphone’s advertising platform. Which does make sense now.
The list is designed to block out ads from competing companies and its own (which makes sense since someone who owns a Xiaomi phone probably doesn’t need to see a Xiaomi ad anymore). Blocking pornographic and piracy-supporting ads also makes sense. The China-related terms remain problematic, but there is no indication that Xiaomi uses the list for anything other than advertising.
Further, Xiaomi should activate the filter manually. The automatic download doesn’t automatically mean that the phone is censored. That said, there is still a possibility that Xiaomi can use the filter for more geopolitical reasons. At the very least, current reports don’t point toward that for now.
Xiaomi brings the Mi TV P1 to the Philippines
4K UHD Android TV for your viewing pleasure
Xiaomi truly has it all for you. Not only do they have a wide range of smartphones and devices, they also want to take over your living room with the Mi TV P1.
The Mi TV P1 is a 4K Android TV. It has all the bells and whistles that we’ve come to expect from 4K TVs. Other than being 4K UHD, the display has a 60Hz refresh rate with a 178°(H)/178°(V) viewing angle. It also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+.
On their website, it comes in four sizes — 32″, 43″, 50″ and 55″ making it a pretty accessible TV set for any household.
You can’t have a good display with subpar sound. For audio, the Mi TV P1 has a speaker sound output of 10 W + 10 W with support for Dolby Audio and DTS-HD. Looks good on paper but we’ve yet to experience how it actually sounds.
For connectivity, it has the following: Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 2.4GHz/5GHz, three (3) HDMI ports — one of which is eARC for a soundbar connection, two (2) USB ports, Composite In (AV), Ethernet Port, CI Slot, Optical Digital Audio Out, and 3.5mm headphone jack.
Powering the device is a MediaTek 9611 chip with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage for all the TV apps.
The specs are a little different for the 32″ version. It has less ports and a lower resolution but still a good TV nevertheless.
As mentioned earlier, it has the Android TV interface that should be fairly easy to navigate. This means it’s also compatible with Google Assistant and it’ll be receptive to voice commands. It also has a 360 bluetooth remote so you don’t necessarily have to point it to the TV for it to work. There are also dedicated buttons for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Price and availability
The Mi TV P1 will be available starting September 30, 2021. Pricing are as follows:
- 55″ — PhP 24,990
- 50″ — PhP 22,990
- 43″ — PhP 18,990
- 32″ — PhP 10,990
The Mi TV P1 Series can also be availed on a special early bird price with freebies from September 30 until October 1. Those who will purchase the 32” and 43” variants will get a free Redmi soundbar or PhP 8,990 and PhP 16,990 respectively.
A Mi Soundbar for the 50” and 55” variants will serve as freebies with price cuts at PhP 20,990 and PhP 22,990, respectively.
These offers will be available exclusively on Xiaomi Authorized Stores and in Xiaomi official stores on Shopee and Lazada.
Xiaomi Pad 5 now in the Philippines
New tablet to consider
Unfazed by the recent release of the new base iPad and iPad mini, Xiaomi is bringing over a tablet challenger to the Philippines — the Xiaomi Pad 5.
Meant for work, school, and then play, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is an all around tablet. You’re getting an 11-inch WQHD+ 120Hz display so you’ll definitely enjoy tapping on this slate. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor for all your work and play needs.
Taking work even further, you can pair it with the Xiaomi Smart Pen. Its 4096 pressure sensitivity and 240Hz touch sampling rate hopes to emulate a natural writing experience.
Here’s a rundown of the specs:
- Display — 11″ WQHD+ 120Hz
- Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 860, Adreno 640 GPU
- Audio — Quad speakers, Dolby Atmos, Hi-Res Audio
- Configurations — 6GB+128GB, 6GB+256GB
- Battery and Charging — 8720mAh, 22.5W wired charging
- Included accessory — Xiaomi Smart Pen1
- Colors — Cosmic Gray, Pearl White
Pricing and availability
The Xiaomi Pad 5 will be available on Xiaomi Authorized Stores starting October 1. Pricing are as follows:
- 6GB+128GB — PhP 14,990
- 6GB+256GB — PhP 19,990
A limited early bird price of PhP 14,990 and a free Xiaomi Smart Pen for the 6GB+128GB variant will be offered exclusively on Xiaomi Official Global Store via Lazada on September 24 only.
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