News

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S retains notch-less design, adds dual cameras and wireless charging

Incremental but not negligible

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It was six months ago when Xiaomi blew people away with the Mi Mix 2 and its excellent combination of a near-borderless design and sweet price tag. It wasn’t without a few drawbacks, however.

The Mi Mix 2 didn’t have some popular features, such as a dual-camera setup and wireless charging. The incremental update we have in the Mi Mix 2S addresses these downsides and adds more features.

Being a minor update means the predecessor’s ceramic design with an aluminum frame is mostly retained. It still has the same 6-inch 1080p LCD panel with an 18:9 aspect ratio and only a thin border at the bottom to house the front camera.

Yes, leaks showing the repositioned selfie shooter turned out to be fake. On the positive side, this is the first entry in the Mi Mix series to own a pair of 12-megapixel cameras on the back — one is for wide-angle shots while the other is for zoomed-in photos. As for wireless charging, this phone uses the standard Qi standard for its 3400mAh battery.

The biggest upgrade, though, is the integration of artificial intelligence in the cameras to adjust exposure and color settings on the fly depending on what’s being pictured. There’s also a portrait mode this time with modifiable background blur for artsy images.

Xiaomi is really taking photography seriously this time. The Mi Mix 2S has an overall score of 97 on imaging authority DxOMark; it’s not a world beater, but it’s on the same level as the Apple iPhone X and Huawei Mate 10 Pro, which have fantastic photo results in our shootouts.

Inside, we have the new high-end Snapdragon 845 processor from Qualcomm, the same one found in the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Sony Xperia XZ2. It’s paired with up to 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage, helping make the Mi Mix 2S one of the most powerful handsets in the market today.

Xiaomi will begin selling the Mi Mix 2S in China for CNY 3,299 (US$ 525) for the 6GB+64GB variant, CNY 3,599 (US$ 575) for the 6GB+128GB version, and CNY 3,999 (US$ 640) for the top-shelf 8GB+256GB model. Available colors are white and black.

News

OnePlus Nord launch date has been leaked

Coming on July 21

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OnePlus has made its next smartphone launch a fun one for fans and followers. Instead of wallowing in secrecy, the company has reveled in tiny teases and enigmatic hints for the upcoming midrange series, the OnePlus Nord. Since the launch of the first teaser Instagram account, the series has been fun to follow.

However, despite carefully controlling the outflow of hints, a few details can slip through the cracks. In particular, Amazon India has mistakenly released a product that explicitly points to a July 21 launch for the OnePlus Nord.

The product is a physical invite for an augmented-reality launch party for the series. Further, the invite includes an “assured gift for everyone” plus an instant entry into a lottery for additional prizes including the Nord itself. Shortly after, Amazon India pulled the invite from the official site. However, you can still view it from a cached version.

Though the invite is gone from the store, the phone itself still exists on Amazon India. However, the information there is more controlled, previewing only a few details.

After the leak was pulled, OnePlus CEO Carl Pei revealed another important detail about the series: “Flagship camera incoming.” As we reported previously, the smartphone is expected to come with a 64-megapixel triple rear camera combination. A flagship camera on a midrange phone is a big claim, if ever.

With the OnePlus Nord all but confirming its launch date, we’re set for an eventful end of July and start of August. Samsung is also expected to launch the Galaxy Note 20 series shortly after.

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Apps

Instagram actively testing Reels to take on TikTok

Short 15-second videos

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Short videos under 15 seconds have gained massive popularity thanks to platforms like TikTok. Facebook-owned Instagram has been eyeing this space for a while and has reportedly expanded testing its Reels feature in India.

According to Business Insider, the Reels feature is being actively tested in India. This only after just a few days after TikTok was banned in the country.

The app will let the user record 15-second videos, add background soundtrack, as well as include a range of effects.

TikTok has come under immense pressure globally due to its poor data collection policies. The app was recently caught snooping around the user’s clipboard after Apple updated iOS’s privacy features. US lawmakers are worried about user data being collected.

However, Facebook itself is no saint when it comes to handling private user data. The company has a history of mishaps and the platform hasn’t learned anything from its mistakes.

The feature is currently active in Brazil and acts as an extension to Stories. You can find it in Instagram’s camera section, just beside the Boomerang and Super Zoom option.

The company had previously launched a separate app called Lasso. However, it was phased out and Reels was integrated into the Instagram app.

The sudden ban of TikTok has created a vacuum in India and it’s obvious Facebook wants to quickly bridge the gap by providing an alternate service.

Facebook and Instagram recently partnered with Saregama music label in India to provide access to a music library. The Indian government has also launched an app challenge that aims to encourage domestic developers and companies to take advantage of the recent ban.

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India

India launches app innovation challenge after Chinese apps ban

Encouraging local developers and building an ecosystem

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India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has announced a new program to encourage local developers and bridge the gap left behind by banned services like TikTok. It’s officially called “Aatma Nirbhar App Innovation Challenge” and was unveiled by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Atma Nitrbhar means “to be independent” or “self-sufficient” in one of India’s widely used languages, Hindi. A few days ago, the Indian government announced a blanket ban on a few listed Chinese apps. Within no time, they were off the Play Store and many services like TikTok and Mobile Legends voluntarily stopped service after the ban was announced.

The App Innovation Challenge includes the promotion of existing apps as well as the development of new apps. The program is split into two tracks. The first one includes already released apps that have the potential to scale and become world-class in their segment. The second track aims to identify companies as well as individuals who can build next-generation apps for the country.

Tthe government is looking for alternative apps of the ones that remain banned. Companies will have to submit their entries by July 18 and a jury for each of the tracks shall evaluate the entries.

The challenge is available in eight categories, ranging from office productivity or work from home solutions to news and games.

The government has allocated INR 20,00,000 (US$ 26,780), INR 15,00,000 (US$ 20,085), and INR 10,00,000 (US$ 13,390) for the first three winners, respectively. Adding to this, Each sub-category winner will also be rewarded.

India has suffered high casualties amid an ongoing border dispute with China. The Coronavirus pandemic has further fueled the anti-China sentiment and the Indian government is exploring options to reduce its trade deficit with the neighboring country.

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