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ROG Phone 3, Lenovo Legion first to carry Snapdragon 865 Plus

Qualcomm’s new flagship chip is focused on ‘Elite Gaming’

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Qualcomm’s newest flagship System on a Chip (SoC) is heavily focused on 5G and providing a faster gaming experience. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the first two devices that will carry the chip are the upcoming ASUS ROG Phone 3 and the much-rumored Lenovo Legion mobile gaming device.

Snapdragon 865 Plus

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC brought 5G connectivity to the top smartphones for the first half of 2020. Qualcomm is taking it a step further with the Snapdragon 865 Plus by adding what they call the Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming experience.

The new chip is promising to deliver “desktop-quality gaming with first-to-mobile features like updateable GPU drivers and desktop forward rendering, and ultra-smooth 5G gameplay.”

In numbers, the chip will deliver 144 FPS along with true 10-bit HDR for that added cinematic detail when you play. Other enhancements include the following:

  • Kryo 585 CPU Prime core clock speed at up to 3.1 GHz (10% increase)
  • Adreno 650 GPU offers 10% faster graphics rendering
  • FastConnect 6900 compatibility — boasting staggering Wi-Fi speeds for
    up to 3.6 Gbps – the fastest of any mobile Wi-Fi offering in the industry — delivering performance fit for premium devices and experiences

The Snapdragon 865 Plus will also offer improvements in AI engines for camera performance and audio.

ROG Phone 3

Expected to be announced in late July is the ASUS ROG Phone 3. While the rest of the specs and features have yet to be confirmed, having the Snapdragon 865 Plus at the heart of the device is a reassurance of what is another over-the-top mobile gaming experience.

“Full specifications for the ROG Phone 3 will be announced in the coming weeks, but the addition of the Snapdragon 865 Plus ensures that the overall performance will take yet another leap forward.” said Bryan Chang, general manager of smartphone business unit for ASUS.

Lenovo Legion mobile gaming

We’ve had several rumors and tiny details here and there, but this is the absolute confirmation that Lenovo Legion — the company’s gaming sub-brand — is coming up with a mobile gaming device.

“Three years after the launch of the Lenovo Legion PC portfolio, we’re bringing our beloved gaming sub-brand’s core values of speed and powerful performance to 5G mobile gaming — where Lenovo Legion will be amongst the first to offer the new Snapdragon 865 Plus in our expanding family of gaming devices this year,” said Jerry Tsao, vice president of Lenovo’s Mobile Gaming Group Emerging Markets.

“Lenovo has a long history of co-engineering amazing consumer experiences with Qualcomm Technologies and we can’t wait to share more soon,” he added.

Tsao was coy about sharing more details. He didn’t even confirm if it’s indeed a gaming smartphone or not. While that may be the assumption, we’re very much open to surprises.

Commercial devices based on Snapdragon 865 Plus are expected to be announced in the third quarter of 2020.

 

News

OxygenOS 11 will come with major design changes

Eerily similar to OneUI

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OnePlus fans have always sworn by OxygenOS for its stock-like Android experience. However, that may soon change with the release of OxygenOS 11, the latest iteration based on the upcoming Android 11.

OnePlus dropped these changes on the latest developer preview of OxygenOS last August 11.  While these may change before the final release, some of them are already causing a stir among many fans and Android users.

Inspired by OneUI

The biggest takeaway from OxygenOS 11 is its likeness to OneUI. Clearly, OnePlus took some design inspiration from Samsung’s skin. The big headers and large empty spaces are straight out of OneUI’s playbook. Almost all system apps — settings, contacts, messages, and weather app — from OxygenOS 11 have been redesigned with this design principle. Even the drop-down notification shade and Shelf gets the redesign treatment.

Photo by dsmonteiro from OnePlus

To OnePlus’ credit though, this new version of OxygenOS is much more coherent on adhering to its own design language. OnePlus’ brand redesign culminated with a brand-new font, and it is debuting as OnePlus Sans here.

Always-on display makes a debut

Another big thing debuting on OxygenOS 11 is always-on display (AOD). Technically, OnePlus’ phones had an always-on display in the form of ambient display. However, the implementation in the new version of OxygenOS is much closer to how other phone manufacturers implement AOD. The company even threw some slick new AOD styles, including the unique “Insights” style.

Zen Mode, Gallery, dark mode, and RAM optimizations

Some of the apps get new additions and optimizations for OxygenOS 11. Zen Mode gains a new sharing feature that enables users to share their sessions with other users. The gallery app, on one hand, has a revamped explore tab that automatically creates stories based on taken shots.

Users can now set dark mode to toggle automatically too. There are tweaks to the dark mode and more system apps now support it too.

Furthermore, OxygenOS 11 brings RAM optimization that should address aggressive app killing in the background. This is a small but welcome change considering that OnePlus ranks among the worst offender for aggressive RAM optimization.

Developer preview out now

Users who are willing to try out OxygenOS 11 may do so by downloading it directly from OnePlus’ website. As of now, it is only available for technically-inclined users of the OnePlus 8 series. A public beta is not long in the tooth now, considering that stable Android 11 is almost here.

All-in-all, OxygenOS 11 is set to be a major design change that will surely polarize long-time OnePlus fans and users. Perhaps, this change will be another in the long line of controversial decisions that OnePlus did in an effort to catch up with major phone manufacturers.

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Accessories

Sony WH-1000XM4 price and availability in the Philippines

Right around how much we expected it to be

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Sony’s best just got better as the Sony WH-1000XM4 is now official and has come to the Philippines.

New to the headphones in its 4th iteration is Multiple device pairing. This has been one of this headphones’ weaknesses and it has finally been addressed. You can now connect the Sony WH-1000XM4 to two devices simultaneously.

When a call comes in, your headphones will know which device is ringing and connect to it automatically. You’ll also be able to quickly switch your headphones to either of the two devices in a single tap.

Sound of the WH-1000XM-line has always been stellar and the XM4 should be no different. The ever-reliable QN1 is still here for noise-cancellation but it’s now paired with a new Bluetooth Audio SoC. It can sense and adjust to music and noise at over 700 times per second.

It now also has Edge-AI, DSEE Extreme which more accurately rebuilds audio lost during digital compression for a full fidelity experience. The 360 Reality Audio feature is now also making its way to these headphones. It lets listeners enjoy a custom immersive musical field that is perfectly optimized for each individual user.

The WH-1000XM4 also supports Google’s helpful new Fast Pair feature that lets you easily locate where you left your WH-1000XM4 by ringing them.

Lastly, there’s Speak-to-chat. Previously, you had to cover one of the ear cups to disable the noise-cancelling for a short period. Now, you only have to speak and the headphones will recognize your voice, automatically stop your music and let in ambient sound so you can conduct a conversation without removing your headphones.

Pricing and availability 

The Sony WH-1000XM4 will retail for PhP 19,999 and is available in the Philippines starting August 14, 2020 in all Sony Centers and dealers nationwide.

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Enterprise

TikTok has collected user information illegally

They know who you are

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For months now, the US has hounded TikTok for potentially enabling Chinese cyber espionage. ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, is a Chinese company, making it a prime target for data collection. Of course, despite the numerous warnings, TikTok’s transgressions have only started appearing en masse recently. Today, a new conspiracy adds another drop to the overflowing bucket. Unfortunately, it’s a big one. Apparently, TikTok has collected user information illegally for over a year. TikTok knows who you are.

Reported by the Wall Street Journal, TikTok collected and sent valuable MAC addresses and advertising IDs to ByteDance until around November of last year. Of note, Google prohibits this questionable practice, banning apps that practice the method. However, TikTok applied a layer of encryption that hid the practice from the Play Store.

For the unfamiliar, MAC addresses are much more valuable than IP address. While IP addresses constantly change, MAC addresses are more difficult to alter. Most users will usually cycle through the lifespan of a device without giving their MAC addresses a second thought. However, the MAC address is an incredibly unique identifier for your device. Only you should ideally have that address. That said, TikTok’s sketchy collection tactic is much weightier than normal.

According to TikTok’s policies now, the platform does not collect these identifiers anymore. However, it doesn’t bode well for long-time TikTok users since last year. At its most docile, the practice likely facilitated advertising opportunities for the platform. However, it is still highly illegal to collect that data without permission. If anything, the report will give cybersecurity pundits more ammo against the already struggling company.

More than a week ago, Trump had already signed a ban against the app, giving the platform only until September 15 to divest its American assets over to an American corporation.

SEE ALSO: French privacy watchdog is now probing TikTok

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