Tag Archives: Phone
OnePlus is an odd duck in the smartphone business. It tends to make one phone at a time with a simple and clear goal: to pack all the latest trends and tech into an Android phone that costs about $ 500. It doesn’t waste time developing a ton of custom features, like LG’s crazy AI-powered camera, nor does it make any effort to woo U.S. wireless carriers. If you want a OnePlus phone, you have to buy it unlocked, directly from OnePlus. For as offbeat as it seems, the strategy appears to be working.
The 2017 OnePlus 5T sold out faster than anticipated and now OnePlus is back a mere six months later with its successor. If you obsessively follow smartphone trends, you can probably guess the OnePlus 6’s new features: A longer screen with a notch cutout up top, glass on the back, Android 8 Oreo, and a top-shelf Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.
The OnePlus 6 holds no major surprises, and that’s exactly how OnePlus likes it.
Gestures and Glass
Metal frame. Gorilla Glass back with curved edges. If you’ve held a top-tier smartphone in the last year, you can imagine exactly what the OnePlus 6 feels like.
The 6 is roughly the same size as the 5T, with a taller 6.28-inch 1080p AMOLED screen (spoiler warning: it looks great in spite of its HD resolution) that stretches from the bottom (almost) all the way up to the tippy top. Unlike LG’s G7, OnePlus makes no major effort to hide its notch. It’s only 3/4 of an inch across, which makes it less distracting than Apple’s iconic (or, depending on how you feel, infamous) iPhone X notch, which is so wide that there’s little room for anything else along the top edge.
The fingerprint sensor sits a bit lower on the back of the phone, but I noticed that it seemed less capable than before. It’s still speedy at unlocking, but one of my favorite features on the 5T was the ability to swipe the fingerprint sensor to pull down the notification tray. The 6 cannot do that. Luckily you can still swipe down from anywhere on the home screen to open notifications, or swipe up to pull out the app drawer. These are simple features that make life with a large-screened phone way more enjoyable. I can only hope that OnePlus adds this functionality with a software update.
OnePlus’s mute switch is now on the right side of the phone, letting you easily switch to vibrate and silent modes, much like the toggle on the side of every iPhone. The built-in audio jack is also a godsend if you love music. You get the versatility of USB-C and a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can jam out while you charge the device.
The slick glass back may give you trouble, though. It’s more slippery than some Android phones, which has led to a few slip-ups where I had to catch the phone before it hit the ground. It also attracts fingerprints and converts them into a gross, gunky patina at an alarming rate. To my surprise, OnePlus includes a semi-transparent plastic case with each OnePlus 6, which makes it a bit easier to grip, and should offer some protection. If you’re paranoid, this Dretal case should buy you even more peace of mind.
The screen protector that comes preinstalled on the OnePlus 6 should also help the phone stay protected. That is, as long as you don’t accidentally tear it off like I did. Oops.
Snappy and Speedy
OnePlus doesn’t mess with Android Oreo much with its variant it calls OxygenOS. My unit got the latest security patch (hopefully the first of many), and the experience is nearly identical to a Google Pixel 2—currently our favorite Android phone because of its camera and thanks to feature and security updates direct from Google.
The OnePlus 6 is particularly snappy. Apps and menus seem to open even faster than the LG G7, another 2018 phone with a Snapdragon 845 chip. OnePlus explained that this added quickness is because it prioritizes what parts of an app it needs to load, increasing speeds by about 10 percent. It also made small efforts to increase performance in games and can boost network speed of those games by slowing down any apps sucking up data in the background.
Battery life is about 1.5 days—nothing dramatic but also no worse than most high-end phones. There’s no wireless charging, but the custom USB-C charger does juice up the phone very quickly by offloading some charging management to the included fast charger.
A Capable Cam
Photo quality continues to slowly improve with each new OnePlus. The 16-megapixel main rear camera has a bigger sensor this time around, and does an adequate job under most conditions, even if it still struggles in low light sometimes. The background-blurring portrait mode seems to be more reliable, but it’s still not uncommon for the phone to accidentally blur part of a foreground object.
There’s a super slow-mo mode now (netting you 480 fps at 720p), and added optical image stabilization for video, which can record in 4K at 60 frames per second.
The 16-megapixel selfie cam takes a sufficient selfie that’s noticeably less washed out in bright light, but I’m still bothered by the odd way it saves them mirrored (backward) by default. You can fix this by swiping up from the bottom of the camera app and hitting the settings button that’s hiding in the corner.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the convenient Face Unlock feature. It’s quick and works well enough that I hardly notice it, though I worry about security since it’s not nearly as robust as a Galaxy S9 or an iPhone X in that regard. Hopefully there aren’t a lot of phone thieves out there with 3D-printed copies of my face. If there are, I might be in trouble. Then again, maybe not.
On the whole, the camera is good relative to the cost of the phone, but it’s nowhere near the quality of the Pixel 2.
A Bargain Without the Bin
I might not love its fragile glass construction or its middle-of-the-road camera, but let me make it abundantly clear: the OnePlus 6 is a kickass Android phone and the best unlocked device you can buy for around $ 500. The only big caveat worth highlighting is carrier compatibility. The OnePlus 6 still only works on AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and others that use similar networks. Even though it technically has the right bands, it won’t run on CDMA carriers like Sprint or Verizon.
OnePlus sells two unlocked versions of the 6: a $ 529 model with 6GB RAM and 64GB of file and photo storage and a $ 579 upgrade with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage. If you have a lot of photos or apps, get the 128GB version. There is no way to expand the phone’s memory, so once you’re out of storage space, you’ll have to start micromanaging your memory, which isn’t fun. For most folks, 64GB should be enough, but check the capacity of your current device just to be sure.
If you want the best of the best, you can purchase Android phones that edge out the OnePlus 6 in one regard or another, but it’s hard to beat a phone that’s as powerful as a Galaxy S9, yet nearly $ 200 cheaper. OnePlus continues to offer stellar value here, making the OnePlus 6 a true bargain.
(Reuters) – Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd said on Friday it was in talks about selling its mobile phone business to investment fund Polaris Capital Group, becoming the latest Japanese electronics maker to withdraw from the sector.
The sale, if realized, would leave just three Japanese electronics makers – Sony Corp, Sharp Corp and Kyocera Corp – in a global market dominated by Apple Inc, Samsung Electronic Co Ltd and cheaper Chinese rivals.
The potential deal calls for Tokyo-based Polaris Capital to take a majority stake in Fujitsu’s mobile phone unit, which is valued at around 40 billion yen to 50 billion yen ($ 365 million to $ 456 million), a source familiar with the situation said.
The size of the stake is still under negotiation, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the discussions were confidential.
An official agreement is expected by the end of the month, the Nikkei newspaper said.
Polaris will aim to list the business in several years, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.
Fujitsu said in a statement that no decision has been made and a representative declined to comment on how large a stake is being negotiated.
Around the year 2000, there were more than 10 major Japanese handset firms producing traditional flip phones, including NEC Corp and Toshiba Corp.
But most have since withdrawn from the business, caught out by the meteoric rise of Apple and Samsung.
Domestic makers failed to gain a global presence by being overly reliant on the lucrative domestic market, which gave them little incentive to change their Japan-specific mobile phone formats and expand overseas.
The rise of low-cost component producers such as Taiwan’s MediaTek Inc also have made it easier for price-competitive Chinese rivals to enter the market.
Fujitsu, whose shares were up 1.0 percent in a flat broader market, has been unloading other non-core businesses as well.
Last year, Lenovo Group agreed to buy a majority stake in Fujitsu’s personal computer unit for up to $ 269 million in a bid to capture a larger share of a market that is battling weak sales as more people switch to mobile devices.
The Nikkei added that retaining the mobile division’s staff and factories will likely be a condition of the deal. Fujitsu, which wants to focus on its core information technology services business, is also expected to continue operating its Arrows brand under Polaris, the source said.
Fujitsu, which spun off its mobile phone operations into a separate company in 2016, had drawn interest from other investment funds such as Britain’s CVC Capital Partners Ltd and Chinese personal computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd, the Nikkei reported last year.
Reporting by Minami Funakoshi and Junko Fujita in Tokyo, writing by Makiko Yamazaki in Tokyo, with additional reporting by Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Malcolm Foster
ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s antitrust has opened a probe into allegations that Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd used software updates deliberately to speed up the ageing process of their products.
The antitrust body said in a statement it would investigate whether the two firms made their products obsolete to stimulate new purchases.
Apple acknowledged last month that iPhone software had the effect of slowing down some phones with battery problems, but denied that it had ever done anything to intentionally shorten the life of a product. [nL1N1OK282]
Reporting by Crispian Balmer
On Wednesday, Apple confirmed what many customers have long suspected: The company has been slowing the performance of older iPhones. Apple says it started the practice a year ago, to compensate for battery degradation, rather than push people to upgrade their smartphones faster. But even giving that benefit of the doubt, there are plenty of better ways Apple could have accomplished the same goal without betraying customer trust.
Earlier this week, John Poole, a developer at Geekbench, published a blog post indicating that a change in iOS is slowing down performance on older devices. According to Apple, factors like low charge, cold climates, and natural battery degradation can all affect the performance of its mobile devices, and the company confirmed that this policy was implemented last year to counteract these effects.
As much sense as that explanation may make, Apple could have made plenty of choices that would have benefited consumers instead of penalizing them. These same choices could have also saved the company from the public shaming it suffered this week.
In a statement to WIRED, Apple confirmed Poole’s findings, saying it was purposely slowing down older iPhones to compensate for the effects of age on their batteries. “Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components,” the company says.
While many have speculated that the company has been doing this for years, Apple says the feature was implemented last year for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone SE. Now, with iOS 11.2, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are getting the same treatment, and the company intends to bring other devices into the fold down the road.
Rather than secretly hamstring the iPhone’s CPU, though, Apple could have simply educated users about the limitations of lithium-ion batteries, says Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, a company that sells repair kits and posts repair guides for consumer electronics. While Apple does say in the iPhone user manual that batteries degrade over time and should be replaced, you’d have to dig through a few links outside of the manual to learn that by 500 charge cycles, your phone’s battery will hold a charge of about 80 percent.
Another tactic Apple could employ is selling battery replacement kits to consumers, letting them pop a fresh battery into their aging iPhone. It would be an easily understandable solution to an easily understandable problem, rather than software manipulation that feeds into a long-running, planned obsolescence conspiracy theory. But Apple has actively fought against laws that would require it to provide a way for users to repair their devices. According to a report from HuffPost, Apple argues that allowing consumers to replace the battery could make the iPhone more vulnerable to hacks, and that letting people peek inside would make the iPhone easier to counterfeit.
“Apple won’t sell batteries to consumers, people should be furious about that,” Wiens says. “Your battery is a maintenance item, and everyone should expect to replace their battery fairly frequently.”
Apple does cover one battery replacement under its one-year warranty program, but only for “defective batteries,” a term that isn’t clearly defined on the company’s site. If your phone is out of warranty and you don’t have an AppleCare+ plan, the company offers a battery replacement for $ 79 plus a $ 6.95 shipping charge. The problem, Wiens says, is that Apple doesn’t advertise this policy to consumers, leaving iPhone users to believe that the only solution is to buy a costly iPhone.
Direct battery fixes certainly would have made the most sense. But even allowing that a software tweak was the only way Apple could have proceeded—untrue, but just for argument’s sake—it had a much better option than making its software solution covert.
Rather than quietly push out an update that crimped older iPhones, it should have made that throttling opt-in. As it stands, there’s no way to avoid having your phone slowed down once the battery reaches its limits. By giving users the choice, and giving them the information necessary to make their own decision, Apple could avoid the frustrations many have expressed over the policy.
While making the throttling opt-in could cause performance issues for users who opt-out, it would give users a sense of control over the situation and avoid making them feel like they’re being tricked into buying a new phone. As it stands, Apple’s move comes off as deceptive.
Instead of leaving users confused about why their phones are suddenly slowing to a crawl, Apple could take user education a step further by providing a battery health monitor in the Settings app. That way, an iPhone owner could figure out if the battery is the issue, or if something else is going on.
Lay Down the Law
The damage, unfortunately, is already done. But it’s also unlikely that Apple will behave differently going forward. At the very least, the company almost certainly won’t shift gears and start selling battery replacement kits to consumers. For starters, the iPhone’s casing uses proprietary Pentalobe screws, which make it hard for average users to get inside to swap the battery.
Apple has also lobbied against right-to-repair legislation, which would allow third-party repair shops and typical consumers to more easily fix their broken phones. Proposed right-to-repair laws typically require companies to publish their repair manuals, as well as make the necessary repair tools available for purchase rather than requiring a specialist to make these repairs.
Wiens says that, ideally, right-to-repair legislation would pass and ensure consumers have the ability to fix their devices on their own terms without having to deal with warranties or acquire difficult-to-find tools.
Apple’s throttling is misleading, and it’s far from the best way the company could have handled the situation. Still, lithium-ion batteries are riddled with problems users should be aware of. The company isn’t likely to change its stance on the matter, but if you’ve noticed your iPhone getting slower over the last year, at least you know it wasn’t all in your head—and that a battery fix might bring your iPhone back up to speed.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Swiss-Israeli technology firm Sirin Labs said on Thursday it had raised $ 118 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) to support the development of an open source blockchain smartphone.
ICOs allow startups founded on cryptocurrency technologies such as blockchain to quickly raise capital by issuing virtual tokens to investors.
Such offerings have become more common in the past year, but Europe’s top markets regulator warned last month they were “extremely risky and highly speculative investments.”
Sirin, which has recruited soccer superstar Lionel Messi to be its brand ambassador, said it had raised the money from 5,600 people globally within the first 24 hours and would continue the offering for another 12 days.
“These are our potential clients. We think they will be the first to buy the phones,” Moshe Hogeg, CEO and founder of Sirin, told reporters.
The ICO will help fund its secure blockchain phone, as well as a blockchain personal computer. The company said the phone, which should be on the market near the end of next year, benefits from enhanced security and the ability to carry out fee-less transactions.
Hogeg said his target had been to raise $ 75 million – the amount needed to develop the phone. The additional funds will enable the company to increase its production and invest more in sales and marketing.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Tova Cohen; Editing by Mark Potter
People are creatures of habit. This applies to daily routines, but also to small details like how they use their phones.
The angle they usually hold their phones as well as how they use the screen to scroll and swipe is often predictable enough to create individual profiles of users’ behavior. And in this data-driven age, it’s no surprise that companies are doing just that by compiling dozens of signals related to consumers’ phone habits in order to create so-called behavioral biometrics that prevent fraud.
The latest example came on Monday when a company called BioCatch announced that it has partnered with Samsung SDS to integrate behavioral biometrics to detect fraud on popular mobile apps.
Frances Zelazny, the vice president of BioCatch, said her company doesn’t only look at swiping or scrolling patterns to verify that someone logging in to, say, a banking app is who they are supposed to be. She says the company also relies on “subconscious decisions” such as the way someone toggles between menu options. BioCatch even introduces “invisible tests”—briefly freezing a phone screen, for instance, to see how someone reacts—as part of its project to map phone users’ behavior.
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Part of what makes this all work is the power of smartphones to act as data-collection devices. For instance, technology like the gyroscope (a component found in every phone) can measure the angle users hold their phones. This in turn provides an additional data point that firms like BioCatch can add to hundreds of other attributes that, when taken together, make up a distinct behavioral profile.
On a practical level, these profiles deter fraud because a crook trying to impersonate a real user will display aberrant behavior—say by swiping in an unfamiliar pattern or by tilting the phone in an unusual way. When such red flags are detected, says Zelazny, the app will respond by implementing additional security measures.
According to BioCatch and Samsung SDS, the combination of behavioral biometrics and other new forms of phone-based ID verification (such as fingerprint and, in Apple’s new iPhone X, facial recognition) will eventually replace the password as a form of security.
The introduction of behavioral biometrics is also part of a larger initiative backed by the FIDO Alliance—a group of companies that include Samsung, Google and RSA, which are working to create strong authentication protocols across different devices.
BioCatch did not state exactly when its behavioral biometrics tools will deployed in the apps consumers use every day. Here are a few additional details from the company’s press release:
Though we got out first peek at Android O back in March, Google finally revealed more details this week at its I/O developers conference about the soon-to-drop version of Android.
Though we’re still quite a ways away from the official release, we now a lot more about the update. At first glance, many of the new changes are subtle, building on updates Google introduced last year with Nougat. (Yes, it’s another boring year for Android.)
Still, there are quite a few features to look forward to, here’s what’s caught our eye so far. Read more…
LG seems to have found a way to expand smartphone screen real estate by adding a small, additional screen on top of the regular one
The company sort of confirmed this with a short teaser video that shows us a glimpse of the unnamed device, scheduled to be unveiled at LG’s event on Oct. 1
The additional ticker screen, which was first seen in a September leak, is positioned next to the phone’s front dual cameras and above the regular screen. Though pretty hard to notice when the phone is turned off, it gives it an asymmetrical look. The unconventional design is hinted at in LG’s teaser video, which features a woman with a haircut that covers one eye Read more…
Microsoft today launched a new standalone app for scheduling meetings called Invite. Available only for iPhone users in the U.S. and Canada for now, you can download Invite now directly from Apple’s App Store.
Here is how it works. First you suggest times that work for you, and then invite attendees to vote. You can send invites to anyone with an email address — even if they are outside your organization. The recipients select all the times they can attend from the app itself or from a browser, once votes are in, you pick the time that works best.
The best part is that anyone invited can see what options work best for other attendees, and suggest their own times as well. The sender chooses a final date and time whenever they’re ready, hitting Send Calendar Invites to get it on everyone’s calendars.
Here is how Microsoft explains its thinking behind the app:
Invite is designed to overcome the biggest obstacle when scheduling meetings — not being able to see the calendars of attendees outside your organization. As a result, your proposed meeting can be repeatedly declined until you find a time that works.
Certain events and meetings can be moved if something more important comes up, but only each person knows best where they are flexible. By letting attendees pick times that work for them, even when it means moving one of their own meetings, can stop that meeting from being scheduled on a Friday evening.
Invite is mainly designed for users with Office 365 business and school accounts. That said, the app also works with any email account, including Outlook.com, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail.
The app’s launch and limitations are very similar to Microsoft’s Send, a lightweight email app that debuted in July. Like Send, Invite is starting out as iPhone-only, available only in two countries, and with the promise of “coming soon” to Android and Windows Phone.
Invite is the latest in a long line of apps to emerge from Microsoft Garage, the software giant’s lab for experimental tinkering. At this rate, Microsoft will soon have more experimental apps than “final” apps.
And that’s okay, as long as some of them are eventually released or integrated into existing products.
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