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Xiaomi updates its budget lineup with Redmi 6 and Redmi 6A

Xiaomi embraces new Helio processors from MediaTek

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After serving the Mi 8 flagship line, Xiaomi is back on the show floor with new budget devices. Just six months after the Redmi 5, we now have the Redmi 6 and also the Redmi 6A, the successor to our favorite entry-level phone Redmi 5A.

The Redmi 6 is about the size as its predecessor with a 5.45-inch HD+ IPS display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. As Xiaomi embraces MediaTek more, their new budget phone is powered by the new Helio P22 processor with up to 3GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage.

Unlike its predecessor, the new phone now has dual rear cameras with a main 12-megapixel sensor and a secondary 5-megapixel sensor for depth sensing. For selfies, it has a pretty basic 5-megapixel front shooter. The front camera is used for face unlock, but there’s also a more secure fingerprint reader on the back.

The phone has a smaller 3000mAh battery versus the 3300mAh of the Redmi 5, but the more efficient processor and slightly smaller screen can make up for the longevity. It also runs the latest MIUI 10 based on Android Oreo which brings all the AI-powered features Xiaomi can offer.

The Redmi 6A, on the other hand, looks identical to the Redmi 6 but has slightly downgraded hardware. It has the same display but less processing power with a Helio A22 processor inside. It’s paired with 2GB of memory and 16GB of expandable storage.

At the back, the phone only has a single 13-megapixel camera, while the same 5-megapixel selfie snapper from the Redmi 6 is on board here. But since it runs MIUI 10, the Redmi 6A should also have the same set of features like face unlock and bokeh effects. Unfortunately, it lacks a fingerprint reader.

Pricing-wise, both phones are competitive just like other Xiaomi phones. The standard 3GB/32GB version of the Redmi 6 will sell for CNY 799 (US$ 125) while the beefed-up 4GB/64GB variant is priced at CNY 999 (US$ 155). The Redmi 6A will retail for CNY 599, which is less than US$ 100. The new Xiaomi phones will go on sale in China first (as always) before they become available in other markets.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Redmi S2 goes official with AI selfies and cheap price tag

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Samsung files a patent for a bezel-less, notch-less Galaxy Note

Bad news: no audio port

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This year’s quest for the holy grail hunts for a truly bezel-less and notch-less smartphone. Phone makers frantically push for their own takes on all-screen phones.

With a new patent, Samsung is throwing their hat into the ring with a Galaxy Note-like device that eliminates bezels altogether.

In the patent, the included drawing depicts a phone that takes out the residual bottom chin and reduces the top bezel to a notch-less strip.

Notably, the patent also majorly alters Samsung’s usual design philosophy for the rear panel. Instead of the usual central positioning, Samsung has moved this phone’s rear camera to the upper-left corner, similar to the iPhone X and Huawei P20.

Image source: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Also, despite the lack of a home button, the phone doesn’t add a new button for a fingerprint sensor. This likely implies that Samsung is making significant headway with an under-screen fingerprint sensor. (The feature will likely make an appearance on the upcoming Galaxy Note 9, as well.)

For all its optimism, the patented phone depicts a hugely disappointing non-feature — the lack of a 3.5mm audio port. Currently, Samsung remains one of the last bastions of the celebrated audio port. The patent’s lack of the feature is a stark surprise from the Korean company.

Right now, this specific form factor has found significant traction with the new Vivo NEX. However, Vivo’s take on the design still carries a noticeable bottom chin and a controversial pop-up camera.

Regardless, Samsung’s patent will likely enter production after this year’s slate of Samsung phones. The company has already scheduled the Galaxy Note 9’s launch on August 9.

To add to this, another leak indicates that even the Galaxy S series will feature bezel-less screens next year.

SEE ALSO: Samsung might launch a 512GB Galaxy Note 9 in Korea and China

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Does this confirm the ASUS ROG Phone coming to the US?

Finally leaving Taiwan

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One of the biggest mysteries during the ROG Phone launch — among many — was when and where the ASUS gaming phone was going to be rolled out.

Outside of the obvious homeland of Taiwan and “coming soon,” there wasn’t much else divulged about the availability, or even the price for that matter, but we may have found one major clue.

The US website of ASUS put up a dedicated page for the ROG Phone. While it doesn’t indicate any of the details we want to know, it’s a strong indicator that the gaming handset is in fact on its way to the other side of the world.

ASUS executives themselves promised that the device will become commercially available some time during the second half of 2018, and with that about to begin in a little over a week, more details may soon be known.

For now, the ROG Phone is still the most powerful handset ASUS has released to date, and continues to be the most attractive gaming smartphone this year.

You can learn more about it in our hands-on video here:

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Apple plans to remove the iPhone’s Lightning port soon

In anticipation for the AirPower wireless charger

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A few years ago, Apple eliminated the audio jack from its iPhones, ending years of tangled cords and loose-fitting earbuds. The move rightfully irked audio fans, citing lost AirPods and monopolized accessories.

Sadly, Apple is continuing its war against I/O ports. By September, the company will release their first official wireless charging mat, the AirPower.

Of course, Apple’s AirPower isn’t the first exclusive charging mat in the smartphone industry. Currently, Android smartphones also tout their own Qi wireless charging mats. However, despite wireless prevalence, Android phone makers have not announced plans to remove wired charging altogether.

Shockingly (or perhaps not), Apple already has plans to remove the iPhone’s Lightning port. According to Bloomberg writer Mark Gurman, the company considered removing the port as early as the iPhone X.

At the time, Apple did not have the guns to back up their vision. Since the AirPower hasn’t launched yet, a push for wireless exclusivity is ill advised.

Although, with the AirPower’s nearing release, Apple’s desire to eliminate all wired accessories is slowly coming to reality. Despite last year’s setback, Apple is still adamant to create a completely wireless iPhone.

Notably, the Lightning port’s capabilities extend from just simply charging. The port also supports media and file transfers from larger devices. Eliminating the port also puts a premium on wireless file transfers.

Without a Lightning port, Apple is realizing an iPhone that will look like a slab of glass. As of now, a Lightning-less iPhone will likely spark more controversy for Apple. The company has already earned a lot of ire for removing the 3.5mm audio port.

Regardless, an I/O-less iPhone is coming sooner than we would like.

SEE ALSO: Apple might switch to USB-C, fast charging in the future

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