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Xiaomi Mi Note 2 has curved display, high-end specs

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Xiaomi MI Note 2 glacier silver

Just as you thought Xiaomi couldn’t do any better than the Mi 5s and 5s Plus, the Chinese manufacturer decided to outdo itself and launch its Mi Note 2 flagship phablet before the holidays. We may have our Galaxy Note 7 replacement.

We can’t call the Mi Note 2 a perfect clone of Sammy’s discontinued engineering marvel, but it comes close in several ways. The most obvious similarity is the 5.7-inch dual-curved OLED display; it’s so comparable to the Note 7’s, we wonder if Samsung provided the panel itself.

[irp posts=”4798″ name=”Xiaomi Mi 5s and 5s Plus set to challenge iPhone 7 and 7 Plus”]

The downside is the limited Full HD 1080p resolution, lower than the Quad HD 1440p normally found on handsets sized 5.5 inches and up. While it isn’t something you’d normally fuss over, the lack of pixels is noticeable if you’re thinking of hooking it up to a virtual reality headset.

Contrary to the leaks we witnessed last week, the Mi Note 2 does not have a dual-camera setup. It’s a surprising omission, considering this being Xiaomi’s supposed best, but the unique imaging capabilities are probably best left on the recently launched Mi 5s to keep it relevant.

Instead, there’s a single 22.5-megapixel camera at the back with a basic set of autofocusing and LED flash features, and no optical image stabilization. The front-facing shooter isn’t anything exciting either, only having an 8-megapixel sensor and autofocusing to its credit.

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 silver and black

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 in glacier silver and piano black

Aside from the sexy display, nothing really shouts “buy me” when looking at the Mi Note 2. You do get a collection of the finest chipset specifications, although they aren’t anything we haven’t seen before.

For one, there’s Qualcomm’s top-performing Snapdragon 821 processor, along with a choice of either 4GB of memory and 64GB of internal storage, or 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage. Picking the latter configuration nets you a future-proofed smartphone for at least the next six months… hopefully.

Go a little bit deeper, and you’ll a find high-quality audio chip capable of 24-bit/192kHz music playback, as well as a satisfactory 4070mAh battery with the ability to charge at a rapid pace thanks to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology.

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 specs and pricing

Xiaomi Mi Note 2’s highlighted specs and pricing

To be honest, we were expecting a lot more from the Mi Note 2. Yes, the hardware is all there, yet we can’t help but feel underwhelmed after all we’ve seen from recent competitors and the leaks themselves. Call us spoiled, or hungry for some innovation — or just wanting the simultaneously unveiled Mi Mix more.

Spending CNY 3,299 ($487) rewards you with the top variant in Xiaomi’s home country, while CNY 3,499 ($517) is needed if you purchase one outside of China. Make sure to get the latter, global model for the additional 4G LTE frequency bands and English settings out of the box. You also have the option of going for the cheaper CNY 2,799 ($412) version that has 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage.

The only colors available are piano black and glacier silver, and shipping of units will begin in early November.

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Android 9 Pie update now available for Xiaomi Mi A1

The perks of Android One

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After the Mi A2, it’s now Mi A1’s turn to get a taste of Google’s latest software. Being under the Android One program, the Mi A1 will finally get a clean version of Android 9 Pie.

The Android Pie update for the Mi A1 may have come a bit late, but it’s still sooner compared to most Android phones out there. The new firmware weighs more than 1GB to download, so be sure to have a solid connection when updating.

It brings all the benefits of Android Pie plus support for FM radio which wasn’t available before. The change log also mentions new navigation options, but the Mi A1 already has capacitive keys.

The update is already confirmed to be available in South Asia and it’ll soon roll out to all markets. The Mi A1 was launched with Android Nougat and it received the Oreo update. Android Pie is the second major update for the phone.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Mi A1, you may watch our review below. It’s still available at a discounted price in select stores, making it a great budget-friendly phone.

SEE ALSO: 24 Hours in Busan with the Xiaomi Mi A1

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Apple will not change its design next year, report says

Will keep the notch until 2019

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For the longest time, the smartphone market has been defined by technology’s ten-year old rule. Typified by Apple and Samsung, companies initially launch revolutionary phone designs, followed by incremental upgrades for the next year. For example, the Galaxy S8 and S9 have similar designs; the iPhone X, XR, XS, and XS Max have near-identical looks. Both Samsung and Apple have two-year cycles. It’s a time-honored tradition.

Now, the rule is finally winding down. According to Nomura Securities Analyst Anne Lee, Apple will not follow that trend next year. Instead, the 2019 iPhones will “likely have the same form factors… as the 2H18 iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max, with some added AR-related features.”

Last year, Apple introduced the polarizing iPhone X form factor. Among others, the design standard popularized the camera notch. Since then, Android-reliant companies have also adopted the design, resulting in a lot of wacky iterations. If Lee’s report is true, the notch still has one year left in its tank. “We think 2019 could be the last year the iPhone uses the iPhone X design architecture,” she said.

Potentially, the move coincides with the company’s strides to adopt 5G technology, which will make its Apple debut in 2020. With that, Apple will likely debut a new design after a working 5G prototype.

Of course, Apple’s defensive approach also hints at the company’s struggles this past year. Notably, the company has been consistently disappointed by its sales columns this year. Apple has even decided to withhold its sales figures for upcoming quarters. On global distribution charts, Huawei has already overtaken Apple for the number two spot.

With the new report, Apple is noticeably doubling down on riskier strategies for the upcoming year. The company already expects to sell fewer units in 2019. On paper, Apple looks like it’s on a downward spiral.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPad Pro (2018) Review: Not just a laptop replacement

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Huawei pledges $2 billion to secure cybersecurity of hardware

It starts in Britain for now

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Throughout the past few weeks, Sinophobia has reached an all-time high. Various countries have started banning Chinese telecommunications companies from taking over their technology market. Huawei and ZTE have faced tremendous adversity while expanding their 5G operations. Of note, the US, the UK, and Australia have stopped Huawei’s 5G plans before they could start.

It was only a matter of time before Huawei responds. Now, the company has finally promised to solve these crucial cybersecurity issues. In Britain, Huawei has met with government officials regarding their ban. Like the rest of the Western world, Britain criticized Huawei’s technology as potential backdoors for Chinese espionage.

Both parties have agreed to a compromise. To alleviate Britain’s fears, Huawei will pledge US$ 2 billion for cybersecurity. The company will then attempt to solve whatever Britain found in cybersecurity investigations.

While the United Kingdom is more forgiving, other countries are still very wary. After the initial lineup of banning countries, Japan has joined the conversation. The country is working to ban both Huawei and ZTE from 5G development as well. With that, Japan will be the first Asian country to ban both companies. Western fears are now invading the East.

At the other end of the world, Huawei is also facing another crisis. The company’s chief finance officer, Meng Wanzhou, was recently arrested for allegedly violating embargo regulations. According to Huawei, their retaliation plans in Britain were made before the arrest. Thus, the arrest is another separate battle that awaits the company after issues of cybersecurity.

Huawei is in a world of pain. Despite offering amazing products, the company can’t find any traction in hardware development. Geopolitical fears have and will continue to bog down the company throughout the rise of 5G networking.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: When beauty meets technology

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