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TCL is working on an ‘expanding’ phone

Should have been unveiled at the cancelled MWC 2020

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Image source: CNET

The coronavirus epidemic has robbed the world of the latest smartphone technologies out this year. Instead of a deservingly grand reveal at MWC 2020, we’ll see the more innovative prototypes and launches through quieter events. Of course, a few companies, like Samsung, have already held their exclusive launches outside of the canceled smartphone extravaganza.

Likewise, TCL had likely kept a trick up its sleeve for MWC 2020. With the event’s cancellation, the company is now scrambling for a better reveal for their prototypes. But, first: what exactly is the device?

CNET has leaked one of these devices. Released recently, the leaked phone depicts an extendable display, hidden through a slide-out mechanism.

Unfortunately, the leak is scant with technical details. However, pulling open the device has the same motions as unfurling a scroll. Given the motion, the extra screen will likely fold underneath a compartment on the device’s rear panel. At this point, who knows?

However, TCL’s device has a clear motive: upending the current foldable trend. Today, foldable smartphones use only one type of mechanism: bending the flexible screen through a hinge. Unfortunately, the hinge’s reputation is less than stellar, causing damage to the device way too easily. In contrast, TCL’s extendable phone likely won’t incur the same type of damage.

Of course, everything still depends on the device’s actual mechanism and materials. Additionally, it will depend on whether TCL is developing the device for real. A prototype is still just a prototype.

We wouldn’t be surprised at an actual device, though. Previously, TCL dropped BlackBerry as a subsidiary brand. The decision likely marked TCL’s renewed focus on its devices, rather than through other brands.

SEE ALSO: TCL introduces wireless earphones, tracks heart rate

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Trump administration blacklists Xiaomi, 10 other Chinese companies

Xiaomi headed the Huawei way?

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The US has added Xiaomi and 10 other Chinese companies to a blacklist amid national security concerns. The current blacklist is only focused on companies that have military ties and strategic importance in China.

The Defense Department released names of additional “Communist Chinese military companies” operating directly or indirectly in the United States.

Although adding Xiaomi to the list is surprising, the company has largely remained apolitical and focuses on making affordable smartphones. Considered to be China’s answer to Apple, Xiaomi plays a crucial role in progressing China’s telecommunication industry. It surpassed Apple in global smartphone sales in the third quarter, according to IDC.

Xiaomi is China’s second-largest smartphone maker and dominates multiple developing markets like India. Xiaomi’s stock plunged more than 10 percent following the announcement, although it’s considered to be a knee-jerk reaction at the moment.

The ban means that Xiaomi risks getting delisted from global benchmarks like MSCI and American stock exchanges. Just last week, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom were removed from MSCI indexes. This largely affects their ability to raise capital from the open market in the future due to global compliance complications.

In response, a Xiaomi spokesperson told GadgetMatch, “The Company has been in compliance with the law and operating in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations of jurisdictions where it conducts its businesses. The Company reiterates that it provides products and services for civilian and commercial use. The Company confirms that it is not owned, controlled, or affiliated with the Chinese military, and is not a “Communist Chinese Military Company” defined under the NDAA. The Company will take an appropriate course of actions to protect the interests of the Company and its shareholders.”

Other companies banned

Apart from Xiami, the additional companies blacklisted include Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment, Luokong Technology Corporation, Beijing Zhongguancun Development Investment Center, GOWIN Semiconductor, Grand China Air Company, Global Tone Communication Technology, China National Aviation Holding, and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).

Furthermore, the ban is a stepping stone for US authorities to curb Chinese companies’ growth in the international market. The US took a similar step with Huawei and gradually pushed it out of every possible industry. Today, Huawei can’t use Google Mobile Services, cannot ship phones to the US, and has lost significant ground in supplying 5G equipment to telcos worldwide.

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Western Digital launches new portable SSDs with 4TB capacity

Also comes with an NVMe interface

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Western Digital has launched new portable SSDs with a capacity of 4TB. These portable SSDs are geared for consumers and professionals alike with up to four distinct models to choose from.

The first up in this portfolio is the SanDisk Extreme Pro. The SSD offers blazing NVMe performance with 2GB read and write speed. Professionals who regularly deal with large files will benefit the most from those speeds. Thanks to its forged aluminum chassis, it can even sustain those speeds for longer without generating too much heat.

Then, there’s the SanDisk Extreme. Unlike its Pro counterpart, it only offers up to 1.5GB read and 1GB write speed. It also has IP55 water and dust resistance along with two-meter drop protection.

Both aforementioned SSDs are perfect for professionals, but there are also models for everyday consumers looking for high-capacity storage.

First up is the WD Black P50 Game Drive targeted specifically for gamers. The SSD is compatible with any PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One game library. As a bonus, it even comes with a read speed of up to 2GB to decrease loading times for games.

Last but not least is the WD My Passport SSD. This popular line of portable storage now comes in a range of gray, blue, red, gold, and silver colors.  Plus, it is shock, vibration, and drop resistant up to 1.98 meters. Built on the NVMe interface, it features a fast performance of 1.5GB read and 1GB write speed.

Price and availability

Western Digital’s portable SSDs will arrive later in Singapore by March 2021 on key retailers and distributors. The SanDisk Extreme Pro will cost SG$ 1,499; SanDisk Extreme at SG$ 1,099; and the WD MyPassport SSD at SG$ 1,099. Meanwhile, the price and availability for WD Black P50 Game Drive are yet to be determined.

Consumers may visit the Western Digital website for SSDs to know more about the complete portfolio.

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Samsung teases laptop with under-display camera debut

Comes first before smartphone debut

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Though most of the spotlight today is on the Galaxy S21 series, Samsung has also teased another upcoming innovation: the under-display camera. In a surprise video from Samsung Display, Samsung is developing an under-display camera debut for an upcoming laptop, rather than a smartphone.

In the Weibo video, Samsung Display teased a notebook called the Blade Bezel. As mentioned, the device will have a hidden camera in the middle.

However, besides the new feature, the Blade Bezel looks like a marvel for the display engineering industry. The laptop in only a single millimeter thick. Plus, it has a 93 percent screen-to-body ratio, redefining what it means to be all-screen. Whatever the Blade Bezel will look like on release, it’s a beauty.

Despite the huge promise, Samsung Display’s confirmation is a big surprise given what we were expecting in the past. Years ago, Samsung was one of the earliest teasers for under-display camera technology. Now, the company has lagged far behind more aggressive adopters of the technology. To date, the company still doesn’t have a smartphone with such a camera.

Hopefully, Samsung is just testing the technology for quality’s sake. However, since laptop cameras are usually lackluster compared to smartphone ones, it might take a while before we get a workable smartphone camera from the company. If anything, past rumors have speculated on the technology’s smartphone debut with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 later this year.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S21 Series Hands-on

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