News

Samsung commits to three years of updates on its flagships

2019 flagships are also covered with the new change

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There’s one big change that Samsung is doing with the release of its latest flagships. From now on, Samsung is committing to three years of software updates. It’s a big change for the company.

All Samsung flagships starting with the Note 20 series will receive three major OS updates. This also applies to the recently-launched Galaxy Fold Z Fold2 5G. As such, buyers can expect the flagship to sport Android 13 since this recently-released flagship has Android 10 onboard.

In a surprising move, the company is also doing the same for the Galaxy S10 series released last year. The 2019 flagship has Android 9 on board, so users of that device can upgrade up to Android 12 in the future. As a matter of fact, Samsung confirmed to The Verge that all S, Note, and Z-series phones from 2019 will receive up to three years of updates.

See also: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra — what the leaks didn’t tell you

As for the Galaxy A-series phones, Samsung said that support will vary depending on the hardware. Perhaps, budget-oriented A-series phones will stick to two years of updates. Still, it’s better to wait for Samsung’s official announcement regarding the per-device update roadmap.

Still, the change is a welcome move for everyone. In the past, the company only committed to two years of updates for most of its smartphones. For example, Samsung’s 2017 S flagship — Galaxy S8 — came with Android 7 Nougat and can be upgraded to Android 9 Pie. Moving to three years of updates allow users to keep the device for longer, which has a tremendous impact on the environment as well as the economy.

A looming domino effect?

With Samsung’s move, it is not far-fetched to think that other companies will follow suit. A major Android manufacturer pushing the needle for software updates is enough to compel others to provide a year or more of software updates.

Perhaps, this shall start a trend of supporting phones for longer. As more companies begin supporting their devices for longer, two years of updates will soon be not enough. In the future, Android users may expect three years to become the norm for updates. This is not just a pipe dream anymore, as Google and OnePlus are already doing it.

While it may seem like a big thing in the Android world, three years of updates are still measly compared to Apple’s support for its iPhones. Still, Samsung’s move is a step in the right direction, and it sure is a welcome one for those who keep their devices for longer.

Accessories

realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro is coming to the Philippines

Buy it first during the Shopee 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale

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realme is launching two new products in the Philippines — the realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro. Both products will spearhead the realme Tech Life, which is the brand’s growing portfolio of smart devices.

The exact launch of these products will happen on March 2 via live stream on realme’s Facebook page and YouTube channels. The realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro will then go on sale at Shopee’s 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale. Both will also have a special introductory price during the sale event.

Launched last year, the realme Smart TV comes in two sizes: a 32-inch and 42-inch model. The lower-end model has an HD resolution while the other has full HD, but both have LED panels for their displays. Both models also come with a MediaTek processor, a 24W speaker, and Android TV out of the box. It has a retail price of INR 14,999 for the 32-inch and INR 23,999 for the 42-inch. Converted, these prices translate to approximately PhP 10,000 and PhP 16,000, respectively.

Meanwhile, the realme Watch S Pro has a 1.39 AMOLED round display and a 450mAh battery rated for 14 days. It can track up to 15 different workout modes, and measures steps, heart rate, sleep, and even blood oxygen levels. In India, it retails at INR 9,990 so its price in the Philippines could hover at PhP 7,000.

Discounts for Shopee 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale

It’s not only the realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro that will see a special price during the Shopee 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale. The popular mid-range devices — realme 7 Pro and 7 — snag a special one-time price of PhP 13,990 and PhP 11,990, respectively. Discounts are also up for grabs with the realme 7i: PhP 10,990 for the 8GB/128GB and PhP 6,990 for the 4GB/64GB.

realme Buds Q true wireless earbuds will also be discounted to a price of PhP 855. Finally, the first-generation realme Watch will be available to buy at PhP 2,790.

Buyers can get first dibs on these devices along with the new products starting March 3 exclusively at realme’s official Shopee store page. For more updates, follow realme Philippines’ official Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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Gaming

FF7 series launches new PS5 update, mobile battle royale

Featuring a new mission with Yuffie

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Today, PlayStation held a State of Play showcase for its upcoming games for both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5. Though the showcase was filled with new sneak peeks from all sorts of games, the now-iconic Final Fantasy VII took center stage and blew everyone away. Not content with last year’s remake, Square Enix will once again improve the original FF7 game for the PlayStation 5 and add a new DLC to go with it.

It’s a remake’s remake

Saving the best for last, 2021’s first State of Play unveiled a (literally) new look at the PlayStation 5’s version of the Final Fantasy VII Remake — titled Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade.

Most importantly, the version will add in massive technical and graphical upgrades for the remade game. Intergrade will have better lighting, for example, to take advantage of the new console’s new hardware. While the remake is already graphically stunning, the new version will make the game practically cinematic in feel.

Besides the graphics upgrade, Intergrade will also add new difficulty settings. Players can now access the classic turn-based controls even on normal mode. The version will also add in a photo mode, which will naturally flex the PlayStation 5’s hardware capabilities along with it.

Finally, Intergrade will launch a new story featuring the oft-overlooked character Yuffie Kisaragi. Her story will take her on her own adventure with a new male character Sonon Kusakabe. Yuffie and Sonon are on a plan to infiltrate Shinra.

For current PlayStation 4 owners of Final Fantasy VII Remake, a free upgrade will bring the update’s technical improvements to the PlayStation 5. However, Intergrade itself (meaning, the additional content) will come with a separate price. Intergrade will cost US$ 70 as a whole.

A prequel battle royale

If Intergrade isn’t enough to satiate your FF7 needs, Square Enix is also launching a mobile battle royale game set thirty years before the events of Final Fantasy VII. More than a simple mobile shooter, Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier will feature the series’ popular tray of magic spells and summons (including Chocobos). According to the teaser video, players will participate in the Shinra Electric Company’s Soldier program, explaining the need for a battle royale.

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is coming to Android and iOS sometime this year.

A FF7 compilation

Finally, Square Enix also announced a massive mobile compilation — Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis — featuring all the smaller games and stories set in the game’s timeline including Advent Children, Before Crisis, Crisis Core, and Dirge of Cerebrus.

Though the developer describes it as a “chapter-structured single player game,” the teaser trailer doesn’t reveal how the compilation will weave through the entire series seamlessly. The game will reportedly feature all the stories from the series, while introducing new, unexplored elements.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis is coming to Android and iOS sometime in 2022.

SEE ALSO: Final Fantasy VII Remake review: A fresh experience of a timeless tale

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Enterprise

Sophos and Qualcomm are teaming up to secure 5G PCs

AI-enabled protection against cyberattacks

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Sophos, a British cybersecurity company, has announced that it will provide its Intercept X software for 5G PCs powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon compute platforms. Called the Intercept X, it’s an endpoint protection suite that helps prevent malicious code deployment such as ransomware.

“The combination of Sophos Intercept X with Snapdragon compute platforms will provide users next-generation security through an always-on, always-connected PC environment,” the companies said in a statement.

The sophisticated software is capable of protecting advanced systems and endpoints via deep learning AI capabilities. The system can inspect and scrutinize files from hundreds of millions of samples to identify and neutralize threats that haven’t been seen before.

In case of a ransomware attack, Intercept X can detect and block foreign encryption processes to protect the device and data. It’ll also use Connected Standby technology to constantly communicate with other Snapdragon-powered devices so that unknown processes are limited and data won’t be compromised when the PC goes offline.

Since Qualcomm’s platform is designed for portable computing, Intercept X shall use AI acceleration through the Qualcomm AI Engine to optimize the device’s performance and ensure minimal battery loss.

Lastly, it’ll be able to harness hardware-level root of trust to ascertain device and cryptographic integrity. According to the firm, the Snapdragon processor series — used to power light, 5G PCs — will come in useful in combating security blackspots as the software will leverage connected standby functions.

“Now, in addition to enabling always on, always connected PC experiences, our 5G-enabled Snapdragon compute platforms bring next-generation security innovation rooted in our advanced AI and 5G connectivity capabilities,” said Miguel Nunes, senior director Product Management, Qualcomm.

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