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Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra is resigning, going back to Silicon Valley [Updated!]

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Hugo Barra

Xiaomi’s highly popular vice president, Hugo Barra, will soon be leaving the company to return to his roots in Silicon Valley. The fate of the Chinese manufacturer and Mr. Barra himself are shrouded in mystery.

Update: He’s joining the Facebook team in Silicon Valley!

No one but Barra and his close friends saw this coming. His last day will be right after next month’s Chinese New Year, after which he’ll “take some much-needed time off before embarking on a new adventure back in Silicon Valley.”

Barra was pivotal in turning Xiaomi into the international tech giant it is today. What began as a simple startup composed of just a few members nearly seven years ago, is now a multi-billion dollar company with revenues coming mostly out of China and India.

Hugo Barra shows off the Xiaomi Mi 5 at MWC 2016

As the Global VP of Xiaomi for more than three years, Barra took control of their international push using his product management experience during his days as vice president of Google’s Android platform. The work he put into the Chinese company definitely paid off; what was once considered to be just an Apple copycat, now produces smartphones as groundbreaking as the Mi Mix and as well-rounded as the Redmi 4 Prime.

Despite his resignation, he believes Xiaomi is in good hands under the leadership of current CEO Lei Jun. It’s uncertain how this will affect the image of the brand, since Barra’s western background helped the company reach non-Chinese regions. It was only earlier this month when he took the stage at CES to show off Xiaomi’s best new products.

As for Barra, describing his next step as a “new adventure back in Silicon Valley” is terribly vague. Chances are we’ll be seeing him join forces with one of the already established tech leaders in San Francisco, California, or another startup altogether.

With rivals OPPO, Vivo, and Huawei leading smartphone sales in China, Xiaomi will have to regroup soon or else lose even more footing in the world’s largest handset market.

Update: As expected, Hugo Barra really is joining forces with an established tech company. In a post shared by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself, it says Barra will lead all of Facebook’s virtual reality efforts, including its Oculus team. Read the entire post below:

Image credit: Hugo Barra

Gaming

Nike, Paul George unveil PlayStation-themed shoes

Features extra goodies for PS4 owners

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Basketball shoes are a way for fans to show their love for the game. However, Nike’s new shoes show appreciation for a different kind of game — the video game.

Sporting a PlayStation logo and a load of other gamer goodies, the PG2 is Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George’s latest collaboration with Nike. His second signature shoe with the sneaker company boasts both his twin loves — basketball and video games.

George, who previously played for the Indiana Pacers, is no stranger to collaborations with the gaming world. Last year, the star was featured on the cover of NBA 2K17, when he was still donning the blue and gold. In the same year, he also launched his first shoe, the PG1, which sported a cameo of his 2K17 render.

The PG2 shares a similar design with the PG1, particularly its traditional look compared to the standard bootie design today.

The shoe exudes a dark blue with black accents look. It shows off the PG brand and PlayStation logos on the right and left tongues, respectively. Mimicking the PS4’s DualShock controllers, both logos light up and pulse when activated by buttons. The lighting mechanism contains a 150-hour non-removable battery.

The shoe’s lace locks are painted red, green, blue, and pink to look like the iconic PlayStation symbols. The actual symbols themselves highlight the patented leather on the shoes’ sides.

Also, Sony lent its PlayStation Galaxy theme to the shoes’ sock liner and midsole. Splotches of red, purple, and blue accompany the Nike swoosh on the midsole. Meanwhile, the sock liner dons the stellar theme.

PlayStation gamers will also enjoy a digital goodie bag after purchasing the shoe. A PlayStation Network barcode on the right shoe unlocks access to a dynamic Paul George theme on the PS4. It will also unlock a surprise that George and designer Tony Hardman are keeping under wraps until its launch.

The PG2 PlayStation shoes will hit stores on February 10 at a modest US$ 110. Paul George himself debuted the shoes at the Thunder’s 24-point blowout win against the Cleveland Cavaliers last January 20.

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Automotive

Ford unveils revived Ranger pickup

A benched player returning back to the game

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Ford has previously announced that it’s once again introducing its Ranger pickup to the US market after its hiatus since 2011. The company has then unveiled the all-new truck at this year’s North American Auto Show (NAIAS) and fans of the vehicle seemed excited enough during the event.

The Ranger has the same body-on-frame construction which is supported by a high-strength steel frame backbone. Ford is also sticking with their standard steel bumpers for this one, folks. Overall, it has that assertive stance that Ranger fans have grown to love.

Under the hood, this midsize pickup truck is equipped with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and is mated to a 10-speed auto transmission. There will be 2WD and 4WD variants with an XL, XLT, and the Lariat trims with a choice of chrome, sport, or the FX Off-Road packages for the Supercab or SuperCrew models.

In-car tech comes standard and features blind spot warning system, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency brakes. Production will start later this year at Michigan with actual units for sale arriving in 2019.

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Cameras

Hasselblad’s new medium-format camera shoots 400MP photos

Each image file is 2.4GB!

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Did you ever feel like the resolution of your smartphone or camera’s pictures weren’t enough? Has the thought of needing 400 megapixels ever crossed your mind?

Unless your phone is from tech’s stone age or you’re a professional photographer (a really serious one), you’re likely to say no to both. Fortunately, Hasselblad doesn’t care what you, I, or other regular folks think, and has released a monstrous 400-megapixel medium-format camera.

You read that correctly: The H6D-400c MS is a real camera with an incredibly high resolution output and equally astounding price tag. This behemoth costs a whopping US$ 47,995 or EUR 39,999 (and that’s only for the body without any lenses).

See it from all angles in this official video:

You’ll notice that the 53.4 x 40mm image sensor (that’s much larger than the full-frame sensors we’re accustomed to) has only 100 megapixels on it, but the 400-megapixel outputs actually come from a technique called multi-shot.

The camera takes four 100-megapixel shots with slight shifts in pixels to produce one 23200 x 17400-pixel photo, which is equal to 400 megapixels. As you can imagine, the file size would be massive — a single TIFF image is 2.4GB! You could easily fill up a 1TB hard disk during a single photo shoot.

This clearly isn’t for regular consumers. Only pros who need to capture every single detail of a subject and post-process on a large monitor would be interested in such a camera.

If you’ve reached this point and are seriously considering one, pre-orders are already being accepted and shipping begins in March.

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