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Sony’s newly unveiled Xperia XA Ultra is a selfie lover’s dream

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Sony’s mobile division may be going through rough times as of late, but that hasn’t stopped them from pushing more headline-making smartphones. Their latest offering is the Xperia XA Ultra, and as its name suggests, it’s a handful.

The obvious highlight is the 6-inch display with near borderless sides and 1080p resolution, but if you look more closely, you’ll notice the fully loaded front camera.

The selfie camera’s features include a 16-megapixel sensor, LED flash, and optical image stabilization. That last bit happens to be the most important aspect, as the Xperia XA Ultra is only the second smartphone to sport one on the front. (The HTC 10 pioneered this feature not too long ago.)

This leads to stable shots in dimly lit environments despite shaky hands. And if all else fails, the front-facing flash is always available to literally brighten your smile.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra black

Not to be outdone, the rear camera has a 21.5-megapixel sensor, hybrid autofocus, and an LED flash. If it’s anything like the Xperia X we played around with last month, the subject tracking abilities should be top-notch.

With all these high-end features, it’s easy to forget that the Xperia XA Ultra is still just a midrange handset. Expect to find a non-flagship MediaTek Helio P10 processor inside once the phone officially enters the market. Fortunately, users will enjoy an ample amount of RAM at 3GB and a microSD slot that accepts cards up to 200GB.

It’s obvious that the Xperia XA Ultra is the direct successor to Xperia C5 Ultra, which was Sony’s previous selfie king. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that the midrange Xperia C series is totally out of commission.

There’s no word yet on pricing and availability, especially in this part of the world, but let’s all assume that it’ll cost more than the smaller, less capable Xperia XA.

[irp posts=”8989″ name=”7 reasons why the Sony Xperia XZ succeeds”]

Apps

TikTok, Tencent linked to sexually violent ads on Facebook

Ads continue to run on platform

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Facebook has an ad problem. After spending years on the platform, you might have noticed a plethora of misplaced ads occasionally peppered on your feed. Though most users cringe at how the algorithm can uncannily show appropriate ads right after talking about a certain topic, a series of more off-putting, offensive, and disturbing ads is making the rounds on the social media platform. Now, following a deep dive, a report has found that ByteDance and Tencent are affiliated with the phenomenon.

What are these Facebook ads? In a report from Forbes’s Emily Baker-White, several web novel companies are advertising erotic content on the platform. However, more than just erotica, these ads promote sexual, violence, rape, and self-harm. Some are even using images of popular personalities without their permission.

A particularly egregious example involves a photo of a crying woman in the shower with the caption: “his personal cum bucket.” A few others are more up front about harming women to get sex.

Others depict scenes from Twilight and Star Wars, despite not being affiliated at all with the titles. Several companies and personalities contacted by Forbes confirmed that they did not give these novel apps any permission to use their likeness.

As for the deep dive, a good number of these companies were previously backed by either ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, or Tencent, one of the biggest Chinese companies in the world. While ByteDance has claimed that the apps don’t reflect their values, these ads continue to proliferate around the platform. Tencent has likewise denied any involvement with the campaigns.

It’s also worth nothing that the apps aren’t limited to just China. One app, called Pinky Novel, operates from the Philippines and is spreading similarly troubling ads everywhere, including one that says, “Raped by Mr. CEO.”

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Apple has been raided in South Korea

For alleged anti-market practices

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The troubles for Apple will continue. After spending a length of time fighting investigations all over the world for alleged anti-competition practices, the company’s offices in South Korea have been raided by authorities to further the investigation in the country.

Covered by Foss Patents (via MacRumors), the Korea Fair Trade Commission conducted a raid on the offices at the break of dawn. Authorities reportedly staged the raid after a developer complained of an unfair commission rate. According to the complaint, developers are paying more than 30 percent commission for having their apps on the App Store.

For a rougher breakdown, Apple still charges 30 percent. However, the commission includes VAT, which spikes the total fees paid above 30 percent. In contrast, Google’s 30 percent commission policy does not include VAT, which makes for a lower fee for developers.

With the number of apps on the App Store, Apple is making significant bank by skimming a bit more on commissions. That is, if the allegations prove true, of course. Right now, the company is still under investigation. But, if anything, a dawn raid isn’t a good sign for the iPhone maker.

Apple isn’t the only one in hot water, though. Google is also facing a similar controversy in South Korea. However, instead of the Korea Fair Trade Commission, the Kora Communications Commission is pushing for more parity between Google and Apple.

SEE ALSO: South Korea investigating Apple and Google for app payments

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Android users can react to SMS messages from iPhones soon

While simultaneously annoying iPhone users

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One of the most unexpected small developments this year is the war of the green bubble. For a while now, Apple has kept Android users inside a green text bubble. If an Android user texts an iOS user, an iPhone conveniently lets its user know that someone is texting them from — gasp — an Android phone. Now, Google, in the next step of its crusade against the green bubble, is running a similar experiment of its own.

Recently, as spotted by Reddit user u/Jabjab345 (via GSMArena), Google is testing a new feature for Android users. In a beta version, users can start reacting to SMS messages from an iPhone. Of course, much like how it is from the other way around, there is a little hiccup.

In most web-based messaging services, reactions are often tiny bubbles attached to one corner of the message. However, since iOS and Android use different systems, it doesn’t work that way between the two platforms. Instead, if an iOS user reacts to an Android user’s message, users get a separate message with the emoji reaction. Now (or after the beta, at least), Android will treat iOS in the same way, sending iOS users a separate message for reactions.

Right now, the feature is still in beta. However, an implementation is par for the course. Previously, Google threw some shade at Apple for not adopting the system that the former uses. In retaliation, Tim Cook recently told a user to just buy their mom an iPhone if texting was such an issue.

SEE ALSO: Apple on adopting Android’s features: Just ‘buy your mom an iPhone’

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