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5 reasons your next phone should run on Snapdragon 820

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In the tech world, there’s plenty of talk of smartphones, but very little said about the processors that power them. But did you know that many of your phone’s innovative new features wouldn’t be possible without technology that’s built into one tiny chip the size of a Scrabble piece (but way thinner)?

Camera performance, battery life, and the fluidity in which videos are rendered are all partially dependent on what your phone’s system-on-a-chip (SoC) brings to the table. And of the companies that build mobile processors, one of the most prolific, if not most dominant, is San Diego-based Qualcomm.

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Each year hundreds of smartphones, which includes many by the biggest names in the biz, are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Top-of-the-line models run the Snapdragon 800 series, like 2016’s Snapdragon 820, which so far this year, powers at least 7 flagships, including the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, Sony Xperia X Performance, and the Xiaomi Mi5.

Qualcomm says more than a hundred new smartphones are expected to follow suit, and if the 820’s feature set is any indication, your next smartphone could have any or all of the following features:

1. Next-Gen Computer Vision

Your smartphone camera isn’t just for taking photos, it’s also there to give your phone eyes so that it can see and then do smart things based on what it has observed.

For example, when shooting photos of moving objects, processor-based computer vision gives your phone the ability to predict, say, the precise moment a firework explodes. Features like Text Activation can pick up details from a concert poster, prompting you to save the date on your calendar, or providing you with a link to purchase tickets online.

And because Qualcomm aims for its chips to be used beyond smartphones, it also sees a not-too-distant future where computer vision will play a role in cars.

2. Immersive Virtual Reality

Sure, a 4K display on a smartphone may sound overkill, but Qualcomm continues to improve its support for 4K screens, not just because it’s the expected next step forward, but because 4K displays are best suited for virtual-reality applications.

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The Samsung Gear VR headset brings display of the Samsung Galaxy S7 closer to your eyes than normal.

Head-mounted VR goggles like Samsung’s Gear VR bring displays closer to your eyes, and when you have a screen so close, pixels become more obvious than ever before. The Snapdragon 820 can also deliver higher frame rates, meaning smoother video experiences. After all, how can virtual reality be truly immersive if video playback is jittery?

To match the improved visual experiences, audio too has been improved, with support for spatial audio, just like you would hear in a cinema with 3D surround sound.

3. DSLR-like images

You’re right to associate camera performance with factors like lens quality, image sensor size, and maybe even megapixels. But how well your camera performs is also affected by the image signal processor (ISP) in your SoC.

The latest ISP in the Snapdragon 820 supports up to 25-megapixel smartphone cameras and hybrid autofocus (contrast and phase detection) and brings improvements to low-light performance — features you’d find on high-end DSLRs.

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Thanks to Snapdragon 820, LG was able to put two cameras onto its LG G5 smartphone.

You get the same low-light performance when shooting videos, too. The Snapdragon 820 also enables support for up to 3 cameras on a single smartphone like the LG G5, which has two rear cameras, one with an extra wide-angle lens.

4. All Day Battery / Fast Charging

While more powerful than ever, Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 820 consumes 30 percent less power than its predecessor – meaning your phone should not run out of juice faster, even while it works harder.

It also supports Qualcomm’s latest quick-charging technology, Quick Charge 3.0, that can get your phone from 0 to 80 percent in 35 minutes. Ask your smartphone manufacturer if Quick Charge 3.0 is enabled on your new smartphone.

5. Super Fast Internet Speeds

In markets where it is supported, the Snapdragon 820 enables LTE speeds of up to 600Mbps. That’s crazy-fast Internet on your smartphone, nuff said. 

There’s also support for next-generation home WiFi, 802.11ad, and LTE-U that includes LTE in unlicensed spectrum. But hey, who’s keeping track as long as all your applications get what they need from the Internet as quickly as possible.

CES 2018

Episode 001: Getting lost at the world’s largest tech show

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In this first epidose of GadgetMatch Podcast we talk about the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2018) which just wrapped up in Las Vegas. Michael Josh and Isa share behind the scenes challenges of covering the world’s largest tech show. And the team talks about the most attention grabbing tech from the show including an entire range of Artificial Intelligence and Google Assistant gadgets, Vivo’s new phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor, Sony’s new robot dog, and Razer’s Project Linda.

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Apps

How to hide from Instragram’s new Activity Status feature

It’s on by default!

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Instagram silently rolled out a new feature of its app. If you don’t like your friends to know that you’re online (and also protect your privacy), you might want to take action. Why? Because it’s automatically turned on.

If you have the latest app, you probably noticed something new inside the Direct Messages section. This new feature dubbed “Activity Status” lets your Instagram buddies know if you’re online. If you happen to be scrolling through your timeline moments ago, the status will show that you’ve been available earlier.

This is switched on by default but the data is only shared with users that you follow and those you message privately. There’s no need to panic if you think a stalker will know that you’re online — unless you follow them, too.

How to turn it off?

You can easily switch it off inside the app. Just go to your profile page and tap the top-right icon for Options.

Next, scroll down until you see “Show Activity Status” and switch the toggle button beside.

That’s it! Now that it’s off on your end, your status will not show up to your buddies. Although, you won’t be able to see the status of other accounts as well.

Since the new feature was smoothly included in the recent updates from the Play Store or App Store, it’s not clear when Instagram introduced the function. Some might not have it yet, which could mean it’s still an experimental approach with a limited number of users.

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Automotive

The Best Car Tech of CES 2018

Exciting times ahead!

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We recently wrapped up CES 2018 (see our top picks) and even though the trade show originally revolved around consumer electronics, a big chunk of what was introduced was directed towards connected cities with a focus on making driving a lot smarter.

The idea of self-driving cars surely isn’t new and has been around for quite some time now. It’s basically the concept of what the future is like in addition to flying cars. At this year’s CES, brands who participated made us realize that this “future” isn’t too far away.

Here are some of the most promising cars and car technology that we’re excited to see in the near future.

Assistance

Multiple brands showed off their new toys left and right. There’s the announcement of Amazon’s Alexa coming to cars for voice assistance and content consumption. Toyota will be the next to adapt voice assistance in addition to BMW, Ford, and Hyundai. Meanwhile, Waze has also been integrated into select infotainment systems.

Nissan, on the other hand, is taking the user-machine a step further by introducing the brain-to-vehicle (B2V) technology. It basically uses a system that could read your brain patterns and signals to better prepare for what you’re about to do next while driving.

Platforms

In terms of services, Ford is slightly stepping out of the shadow of car-making and plans to be the new platform for autonomous vehicles. It has partnered with Lyft, Domino’s Pizza, and Postmates to create an operating system which small to large businesses can use for their unique services.

Speaking of unique services, Toyota unveiled its e-Palette concept vehicle which has all the potential to go big in the future of mobility. It’s envisioned as a self-driving vehicle running on Toyota’s tech and platform that other brands can use for food deliveries, as a moving boutique, or even a mobile hotel that you can rent.

As far as ride-sharing goes, expect it to join the bandwagon as smart cities are developed. During the trade show, car tech company Aptiv was present and was hand-in-hand with Lyft as they demonstrated their self-driving cars to the participants of CES. The public could just hail a ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center using the app and enjoy the view of the Strip to their destination.

Additionally, NVIDIA has also added Uber and Volkswagen to their growing roster of brands that will run on the company’s self-driving computer platform.

Cars

Apart from the new platforms, there were cars — quite a lot, actually. From concept to actual models on display, we got a peek at these vehicles that probably want to take on Tesla.

Derived from Bytes on Wheels, BYTON wants to blur the line between digital and automotive with their electric intelligent SUV concept. The new-gen smart device communicates with users and pedestrians via lights and patterns on its grille and recognizes the driver and passengers by face.

Kia was also present with its very own Niro electric crossover. This concept is basically an electric version of the Niro Hybrid but gets a new grille design. Like BYTON, it is now an interactive panel with a built-in Active Pedestrian Warning System, but what makes this something to look forward to is its range. It can go as far 383km (238 miles) before needing to charge again — beating what the Tesla Model 3 can offer.

Car designer Henrik Fisker gave another shot at making vehicles; this time in the form of the EMotion luxury sedan. The vehicle is a level 4 autonomous car and is equipped with the world’s first Butterfly Doors. Fisker also wants to set standards for other EVs so they made the vehicle last up to 644km (400 miles) on the road.

Meanwhile, Hyundai is continuing its push to go green and introduced the NEXO fuel cell electric vehicle. It has a more efficient engine, is a lot quieter, and maintenance is kept to a minimum. Although the best thing about it is that it emits nothing but water vapor. Features-wise, it has autonomous driving, self-parking, self-retrieval — the whole shebang.

In-vehicle Networking

Software updates are an important aspect of vehicles relying on digital systems. Tesla has somehow established its system already but for other car brands, updating hundreds, even thousands of vehicles across a country, is still not an easy task.

Hyundai and Cisco addressed this and aims to overhaul the process of in-vehicle networking. With the use of Ethernet connectivity and the Automotive Linux platform, they promise to be able to roll out updates remotely and it’s as simple as pushing a button.

 

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