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The future is here: All-display Vivo NEX is official

Bezel-less and notchless!

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After months of teasing and leaks, Vivo’s truly bezel-less phone is finally official. The Vivo NEX features a notch-free 6.59-inch Super AMOLED Ultra FullView display with a 91.24 percent screen-to-body ratio.

The new NEX lineup comes in two variants: the midrange NEX A powered by the new Snapdragon 710, 6GB of memory, and 128GB of storage; and the flagship NEX S that boasts top-of-the-line specifications: Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of internal storage, and 4000mAh battery.

The NEX S adopts Vivo’s in-display fingerprint scanner, initially found inside the Vivo X20 UD and X21, with this generation promising better speed and accuracy, while the NEX A opts for a regular one at the back.

Also hidden underneath the display is Screen SoundCasting Technology that turns the screen of the NEX phones into a speaker. Vivo says this not only allowed them to reduce the top bezel, it also enhances sound quality with more powerful bass and softer, smoother treble.

Unlike Xiaomi’s Mix line whose selfie camera is awkwardly placed at the bottom, Vivo retains the selfie camera position up top. The 8-megapixel camera is retractable, and pops up instantly every time the front camera is activated on the camera app. At the back, there’s a 12MP + 5MP dual-camera setup with 4-axis optical image stabilization.

The NEX runs on Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with Vivo’s FunTouch OS 4.0 on top. The phone also gets AI-based features including AI Scene Recognition, AI HDR, AI Filters, and AI Photo Composition.

Similar to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and LG G7 ThinQ, the Vivo NEX gets a dedicated AI button for Vivo’s own assistant Jovi. With it, users can access apps and features with voice commands, and identify objects using the camera.

The back of the phone is made of 3D glass, inspired by the texture of the mother of pearl that when viewed in certain angles radiates rainbow colors.

The Vivo NEX A and NEX S will be available in two colors, black and red, starting June 23. The NEX A retails for CNY 3,898 (US$ 608), and the 8GB + 128GB version of the NEX S costs CNY 4,498 (US$ 702), while the 8GB + 256GB variant costs CNY 4,998 (US$ 780).

SEE ALSO: Vivo unwraps X21 World Cup Edition

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Xiaomi’s foldable phone spotted in the wild

Is this a prototype?

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Everyone’s getting into foldable smartphones these days. After Samsung’s semi-successful foray into the market, other smartphones are rushing to compete with the South Korean giant. One of the earliest experimenters with the form factor, Xiaomi is apparently making strides in the foldable market. In China, Xiaomi’s foldable phone was spotted out in the wild.

In a now-deleted Weibo post (saved by GSMArena), the leaked phone is a whopper of a device. It’s obviously that Xiaomi’s foldable phone since it runs MIUI 12. It looks a lot larger than Samsung’s Galaxy Z lineup. However, it’s large enough to wield in a subway, as the photo portrays.

Whatever this is, it doesn’t look like it’s doing well. The device has a sizable crease running along its midsection. Back in the Galaxy Fold’s early days, Samsung had the same problem before fixing it in later iterations. Since the technology already exists, it’s likely that the spotted Xiaomi device is an early version of whatever the company is actually working on.

Xiaomi has teased an upcoming foldable phone in the past. However, the company has not outed a consumer-friendly foldable phone outside of prototypes. The last time we heard about a potential Xiaomi foldable phone was an old patent revealed last year.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi patents an upcoming foldable phone

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Samsung will remove the free charger from more phones

Confirmed in an official Q&A

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The cat’s out of the bag. After months of persistent rumors, Samsung has finally ended its free charging adapters and wired earphones starting with the Galaxy S21 series. The controversial decision mimics Apple’s identical ones last October. One question remains, though: Will Samsung remove the free charger in other smartphones? Apparently, yes.

In an official Q&A with Samsung’s officials, the company explained why it chose to remove the free charger from the flagship series. As expected, Samsung is taking the same stance as Apple; that is, everyone already has a bunch of extra chargers lying around anyway. Further, the removal will help in Samsung’s sustainability goals for the future.

However, in explaining their stance, Samsung has revealed its plans for the future. “To support our Galaxy community in this journey, we are transitioning to removal of the charger plug and earphones in our latest line of Galaxy smartphones,” Patrick Chomet, executive vice president of product and innovation, explains.

Besides the Galaxy S21 series, Samsung is likely phasing out the free chargers in future models, too. Thankfully, if you haven’t acclimated to the charger-less future yet, the company is not changing last year’s smartphone packaging; not yet at least, according to online store pages.

If Samsung is truly removing its chargers for future models, we’ll know soon enough. Unlike Apple, who releases smartphones more sporadically, Samsung launches numerous models throughout the year. After starting the year off with a charger-less bang, 2021 is going to be an exciting roller coaster for flagship users.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S21 Series Hands-on

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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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