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ZTE Nubia Z17 introduces Quick Charge 4+

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If you want your smartphone to stand out, you must deliver on no-nonsense features and the best possible specifications. ZTE’s Nubia Z17 delivers on both, introducing Qualcomm’s latest fast-charging technology and possibly the best set of specs we’ve seen on an Android.

In an unusual move, Qualcomm granted ZTE the right to unveil its Quick Charge 4+ tech, which is a mild upgrade to its predecessor, Quick Charge 4. The newest version lowers the operating temperature, charges 15 percent faster, and is up to 30 percent more efficient — perfect for topping up the Nubia Z17’s 3200mAh battery.

This is made possible by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chipset inside, which originally came with Quick Charge 4 when it launched last year. On top of the Nubia Z17 being the first to bring the new charging standard to the masses, it’s also just the second to have a generous 8GB of memory. (The yet-to-ship ASUS ZenFone AR is the first.)

That’s impressive for a China-branded phone that didn’t have much hype surrounding it. Other than that, this Android handset settles for more common specifications: a 5.5-inch Full HD 1080p display, up to 128GB of internal storage, a dual-camera setup at the back, and oh-so-vital water resistance. Its only real drawback is the exclusion of a 3.5mm audio port.

As expected, only residents in China are fortunate enough to get their hands on this. It has excellent bang for one’s buck, retailing for CNY 2,799 ($410) for the variant owning 6GB of memory and 64GB of storage, and CNY 3,999 ($590) for the more capable version using 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage.

The Nubia Z17’s closest competition for that price and feature set is Xiaomi’s Mi 6, which also hasn’t been internationally available since its launch yet.

SEE ALSO: ZTE’s Blade V7, V7 Lite phones are easy on the eyes and wallet

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Google asks smartphone makers to pay for Play Store

In response to EU’s ruling

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Google Play

Months ago, Google landed in a scalding pool of Europe’s hot water. The European Competition Commission accused the company of anti-competition practices. Among other things, Google forced smartphone makers to bundle Chrome and Google Search as a requirement. According to the commission, the stipulation gives the company an unfair advantage over its rivals.

Eventually, the Commission hammered down a guilty verdict. From this, Google paid a record-breaking fine to the European Union. Besides this, the company had to stop the indicted practice.

Now, Google is finally implementing a resolution for the guilty verdict. Starting this month, the company will change its offered bundles for smartphone makers in the EU.

As opposed to enforcing the bundle, Google will offer Android’s apps for a price. Instead of a strong-arm strategy, Google’s new strategy aims for the best of both worlds. Smartphone companies can opt out of the program. Historically, some companies have already opted out of Android’s app ecosystem. For example, Chinese smartphones often implement their own variants because of China’s prohibitions.

Additionally, Google will loosen its regulations against forked versions of its Android operating system. Some smartphone makers alter Android’s inner workings for their own uses. Most notoriously, Xiaomi uses its own MIUI software. Previously, the bundling scheme swayed the deal towards Google’s favor, despite any proprietary changes. With looser regulations, companies can fork all they want.

Now, companies can sell smartphones running forked Androids. That is, if they also sell a separate smartphone with Google’s untouched software.

Amid all these changes, Android remains as free software for smartphones. Android can maintain its status as the world’s most ubiquitous operating system. However, if this issue elicits any questions, it’s this: How will Google’s new schema affect the casual consumer? Right now, we’ll have to wait and see.

SEE ALSO: You might need to pay Google for Android soon

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Nokia X7 goes official in China with PureDisplay and Zeiss cameras

It could be the Nokia 7.1 Plus for the international market

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Image credit: HMD Global

HMD Global has announced a new smartphone for the Chinese market. It’s called the Nokia X7, which sounds similar to the old Symbian-powered Nokia phone from 2011, and has near-flagship specs with competitive pricing.

The phone has a 6.18-inch Full HD+ display with a notch. The face of the phone has a bit of a chin with the Nokia logo, but HMD Global claims the phone has an 85.6 percent screen-to-body ratio.

Image credit: HMD Global

The display is one of the strengths of the Nokia X7. It’s called the PureDisplay, a marketing term of Nokia for their HDR-enabled screens. The panel also has 500 nits of brightness, 1500:1 contrast, 96 percent NTSC coverage, and DCI-P3 support. Basically, it’s a high-end display similar to flagship phones’.

Another main feature of the Nokia X7 is its cameras. It’s got dual rear shooters: a main 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor with f/1.8 aperture plus optical image stabilization and a secondary 13-megapixel sensor for depth sensing. The rear cameras feature AI recognition, Dual Pixel AF, and Zeiss-branded lenses.

For selfies, there’s a 20-megapixel front-facing camera hiding in the notch that can do pixel binning for better low-light selfies.

Image credit: HMD Global

Inside the phone is the new Snapdragon 710 processor that’s paired with up to 6GB of memory and up to 128GB of expandable storage. It runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, but the update to Android Pie is coming soon.

Sealed inside the Series 6000 aluminum and glass body of the phone is a respectable 3500mAh battery. The phone even comes with an 18W USB-C fast charger that’s claimed to fill half of the battery in just 30 minutes.

Other specs of the phone include a 3.5mm audio port, dual-SIM capabilities, microSD card support, and VoLTE.

The Nokia X7 is now available for pre-order in China. It comes in blue, red, silver, and black color options. Starting price is at CNY 1,700 (US$ 245) for the 4GB+64GB model, CNY 2,000 (US$ 290) for the mid-tier 6GB+64GB, while the most expensive version with a 6GB+128GB combo is priced at CNY 2,500 (US$ 360).

The phone is expected to be the upcoming Nokia 7.1 Plus for the international market.

SEE ALSO: Nokia touts an ‘asset-light’ approach to smartphone success

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Huawei Mate 20 X is company’s ultimate gaming smartphone

It’s absolutely huge!

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Out of nowhere, Huawei introduced yet another member to the Mate 20 family: the Mate 20 X.

It joins the regular Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Porsche Design Mate 20 Pro. While each of those have their own specialties, the Mate 20 X is simply Huawei’s ultimate gaming smartphone.

If you recall, this was the gaming phone Huawei teased earlier this year, alongside the foldable smartphone that everyone is so excited to see.

Even though it has the same Kirin 980 chipset and camera setup as its siblings, the Mate 20 X sets itself apart with a much larger 7.2-inch OLED display and massive 5000mAh battery.

And since this is a gamer-centric device, an optimized cooling system is in place to prevent overheating while pushing pixels at fast frame rates. However, what’s more interesting is the compatibility with Huawei’s new M-Pen, which is a direct answer to Samsung’s Galaxy Note series.

The Mate 20 X will retail for EUR 899 for the 6GB+128GB variant beginning on October 26. Midnight Blue and Phantom Silver are the two available colors.

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