News

Xiaomi unveils Mi A1 with Android One and dual cameras

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Xiaomi has just unveiled its new smartphone, and it looks strangely familiar. Remember the Mi 5X from China? Its international version finally arrived as the Mi A1.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is not just a repackaged phone for the international market with a global version of MIUI, but rather a new entry for the revival of Google’s Android One program. As much as we love MIUI, having pure Android on board a Xiaomi phone is the best thing that could happen for fans.

It comes with Android Nougat out of the box with no skin whatsoever, complete with Google services and monthly security updates. Xiaomi is proud to promote Google Photos for the Mi A1, because it offers unlimited high-quality photo backup for free.

It’ll receive Andriod Oreo before the end of the year, and be one of the first devices to get Android P when it launches in 2018. That’s the Android One promise it’s set to deliver.

Another main feature of the Mi A1 is its dual rear cameras. The phone has 12-megapixel 26mm wide-angle and 12-megapixel 50mm telephoto cameras. As with other dual-camera phones, the setup allows users to take amazing portrait shots with nice bokeh effects.

Specs-wise, the Mi A1 is the same Mi 5X we saw before. It has a 5.5-inch 1080p display topped with Gorilla Glass and encased in a metal unibody. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 625 processor with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage.

Other hardware features include a 10V smart power amplifier for audio, dual graphite sheet for better thermal management, and a fingerprint reader on the back. Juice comes from the 3080mAh battery, which has support for fast charging.

The Mi A1 is priced at INR 14,999 (US$ 235) in India and will go on sale on September 12. Other markets will get the Mi A1 in the coming months. There are three different colors: black, rose gold, and gold.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi announces Mi 5X with the latest MIUI 9

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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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Enterprise

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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