News

Qualcomm announces the updated Snapdragon 855 Plus

Will debut in the ASUS ROG Phone 2

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Are you ready for the next evolution in processor technology? Every year, Qualcomm launches substantial updates for its processors. Following the usual release schedule, 2019 should see the upcoming Snapdragon 865 chipset. Right on schedule, Qualcomm has launched a new processor for future smartphones. Unfortunately, the latest release isn’t the much-awaited sequel to the current Snapdragon 855. Instead, it’s only a minor update — the Snapdragon 855 Plus.

The Snapdragon 855 Plus will not introduce the next generation of flagship processors. Instead, it will cap off this year’s remaining slew of flagships. Notably, the new chipset will likely appear on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, the Google Pixel 4, the OnePlus 7T, and the ASUS ROG Phone 2. Of this privileged lineup, ASUS’ gaming-centric smartphone will debut the chipset to the world.

 

The chipset will share the same architecture as the Snapdragon 855 chip. However, it will squeeze out more performance than its predecessor. The octa-core Kryo 485 CPU can now run up to 2.96GHz — a notch above its predecessor’s 2.84GHz performance. Further, the chip promises a 15 percent improvement in overall graphic performance. Supposedly, the marginal boost can make for a good gaming smartphone — hence, the ROG Phone 2 debut.

Additionally, the chipset will improve functionality for AR, VR, and AI features. Unfortunately, the upgrades don’t include a 5G modem, requiring smartphone manufacturers to implement their own modem.

Regardless, the Snapdragon 855 Plus should be enough to eke out an amazing second half for 2019. Hopefully, the 15 percent boost will translate into tangible real-world results. If not, expect a grander Snapdragon 855 sequel within the year.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm announces 5G variant of the Snapdragon 8cx

News

Google Pixel 4 XL fails a bend test

Apparently, made of plastic inside

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Image source: JerryRigEverything

Prior to its official announcement, Google’s Pixel 4 was one of the most leaked phones in recent history. Even before Google could say a word, the world has seen the latest flagship from all possible angles. Unfortunately, the Pixel 4’s buzz died down immediately after the official launch. Even sadder, the smartphone’s latest appearance in the news is about a failed bend test.

As you’ve likely read from the headline, the Google Pixel 4 XL has failed a crucial bend test. Administered as always by the infamous JerryRigEverything, the test ended in a hopelessly broken flagship. Like most bend tests, the vlogger applied hand pressure twice — on a front bend and a back bend.

The first front bend concluded without a hitch. However, the second bend test cracked the phone’s upper and lower portions. Notably, the upper crack ran below the device’s camera, alluding to a clear divide between inside sections.

After the first video dropped, the vlog went deeper, hollowing out the Pixel 4 XL’s insides to discover the cracks’ true cause. Apparently, despite the glass and aluminum covering the outside of the phone, a huge chunk of the inside is molded in plastic. The design decision makes the phone lighter than other phones of similar caliber. However, it also reduces the phone’s internal integrity.

The Google Pixel 4 XL starts at US$ 899. If you’re planning on making this smartphone your daily driver, keep it out of your back pocket.

SEE ALSO: Google Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL still great for photos, now with 90Hz panel

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Accessories

This case turns your AirPods into an iPod Classic

It screams retro

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The iPod was a revolutionary gadget when it was launched. Back then the market was filled with bulky music boomboxes ranging from a Walkman to a simple MP3 player. Apple changed the course of portable media forever thanks to close integration between the iPod and iTunes.

Today, the iPhone combines all legacy music requirements along with streaming via Apple Music. Further, AirPods have been a huge success due to the closed ecosystem and near-native support.

Case manufacturer Elago wants to take things further. Their AW6 case mimics the look of the iPod, complete with the iconic click wheel —  the circular touch-sensitive navigation ring.

The case is made entirely from high-grade silicone. It’s flexible and impact-resistant, and thick enough to ensure that all accidental drops have some level of protection. For AirPods 2 owners, there’s a special cut-out to show the charging indicator.

The case has been deemed an Amazon Choice product and have received some pretty high praise online. Not only does it look funky, but they also deliver a retro-feel to the now-defunct iPod Classic.

Last month, Elago also launched an ‌AirPods‌ case that was looks like the original Macintosh, followed by an Apple Watch inspired case.

Elago’s AW6 Case (iPod Classic) for ‌AirPods‌ is available on the company’s website and on Amazon for US$ 11.99. It also comes in black with a red click wheel.

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Apps

Airbnb partners with the Olympics in 9-year deal

Just in time for Tokyo 2020

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Airbnb and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has signed a new deal to support five Olympics and Paralympics for the next nine years, making the platform a Worldwide Olympic Partner. Apart from the 2020 Games in Tokyo, the partnership covers Beijing 2022, Paris 2024, Milan 2026, and Los Angeles 2028.

According to the IOC, the joint effort will be “in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to provide travel options that are economically empowering, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable.”

The partnership hopes to minimize construction of new infrastructure for host cities to accommodate not just athletes, staff, and workers, but the surge of tourists as well. This also means generating extra income for new and existing hosts in the local communities during the Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach said that the partnership underpins their strategy to ensure that staging the Olympic Games leaves a legacy for the host community.

Airbnb is also launching a new category of Experiences to be hosted by Olympians themselves. These activities can help provide financial support for athletes while they train, as well as career opportunities even after competing.

Airbnb as a more sustainable option

Airbnb has previously supported Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 as a domestic sponsor. A recent World Economic Forum study found that in Rio, the additional capacity provided through Airbnb was equivalent to 257 hotels. This saved the city unnecessary construction and carbon emissions, while also providing approximately US$ 30 million in direct revenue for hosts. It also generated an estimated total economic activity of US$ 100 million in three weeks.

Similarly, during the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang last year, Airbnb hosts earned approximately US$ 2.3 million collectively by providing accommodation to 15,000 visitors who would have required 46 hotels.

Most recently, Airbnb hosts across Japan welcomed more than 650,000 travellers during the Rugby World Cup, and earned more than US$ 70 million collectively.

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