Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunrise Gold Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ goes on sale in the US today

Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9+ were released back in March. They are undoubtedly considered some of the best smartphones of 2018. They offer top of the line specifications, spectacular design, and stellar build quality. At launch, the devices were available in Coral Blue, Lilac Purple, and Midnight Black variants. Later Samsung announced two new color options—Burgundy Red and Sunrise Gold. The first one launched for South Korea and China, while the second one became available for several international markets including most recently India. Samsung promised that "additional market availability" was coming soon and they're following through on that promise by selling the Sunrise Gold Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ in the United States starting today.

Samsung offers 64GB, 128GB and 256GB versions for the Galaxy S9 and S9+. You can now purchase the Sunrise Gold Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ at the following prices from Best Buy and Samsung's official website:

  • Sunrise Gold Samsung Galaxy S9
    • 64GB – $719.99
    • 128GB – $769.99
    • 256GB – $839.99
  • Sunrise Gold Samsung Galaxy S9+
    • 64GB – $839.99
    • 128GB – $889.99
    • 256GB – $959.99

Here are the specifications of the phones. As the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are somewhat similar devices, I put them into one table but highlighted the differences with italics.

Specification Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+
Display Size 5.8" QHD+ (2960×1440) sAMOLED 18.5:9

6.2" QHD+ (2960×1440) sAMOLED 18.5:9

Glass Type Gorilla Glass 5
Display Color Palette HDR10
System-on-chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 845/Exynos 9810
RAM Capacity 6GB
Storage Capacity 64GB/128GB/256GB + Micro SD Card slot (up to 400GB)
Speaker System AKG Tuned stereo speakers
Headphone Jack Yes, 3.5mm
Front Camera 8MP front camera with auto focus
Rear Camera 12MP with f/1.5 and f/2.4 variable aperture

12MP with f/1.5 and f/2.4 variable aperture + 12MP zoom lens f/2.4

Battery Capacity 3,000 mAh battery

3,500 mAh battery

Wireless Charging Yes
Fast Charging Yes, Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
Biometrics Iris, Facial, and fingerprint recognition
Water and Dust Resistance IP68
Software Android 8.0 Oreo with Samsung Experience 9.0
Join the Samsung Galaxy S9 Forum Join the Samsung Galaxy S9+ Forum

Will you be getting the new Sunrise Gold color, or do you already own the Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+? Let us know in the comments.


Source: Samsung Newsroom



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Improve the FPS in PUBG and Other Games with GFX Tool for Android [Root]

pubg gfx tools

Mobile gaming is all the rage recently and smartphones such as the Razer Phone, ASUS ROG Phone, and Xiaomi Black Shark are being released to capitalize off of that market. However, not all of us can afford (or want) these gaming phones just to play the latest mobile games. If you aren't on the latest flagship device like the Samsung Galaxy S9, OnePlus 6, or Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S with the latest flagship chip like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, then games like PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds (PUBG) can have trouble running. But thanks to GFX Tool by XDA Member tsoml, you can drastically improve the performance of games like PUBG. If you're interested on improving the FPS in PUBG, you can follow our tutorial below! Note that you will need root access for version 0.7. We recommend rooting your smartphone with Magisk.

If you're wondering what kind of performance gains you can expect to see, it just about doubled the frame rates on the OnePlus 3 powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and Adreno 530 GPU. We confirmed that our frame rate before making the changes was, on average, 26 at medium graphics. Afterwards, the frame rates hovered around 40-50 FPS on average. You should definitely see an improvement.

Improving your FPS in PUBG using GFX Tool

Step 1 – Installing GFX Tool

You'll need to install and set up GFX Tool. Simply follow the Google Play Store link below and install it.

GFX Tool (Free+, Google Play) →

Step 2 – Configuring GFX Tool

Use the image below and set each parameter as shown. We'll be explaining what these do down below.

Version

This is the most important part about setting the application up. If you choose version 0.7, the application will request root access as it's impossible to access the targeted FPS without it. Across the world and in Korea, though, version 0.6 is still the latest version released. You must check what version your game is before trying to run it through GFX Tool.

Resolution

This part is pretty self-explanatory. The game on the OnePlus 3 runs at 1920×1080, so halving the resolution to 960×540 means a smoother downscale while also greatly reducing the number of pixels needing to be rendered.

Graphics

PUBG has a number of graphics options available to users, but there are even more not shown to the user. You can enable super high fidelity graphics here that aren't normally accessible, so you can give that a try if you want. Smooth is lower than usual graphics, so it helps to squeeze out some more FPS.

FPS

This is the maximum FPS that we want. You'll want to set this to 60 unless you're trying to avoid thermal throttling. The higher the value the better the fluidity, but the more power is needed.

Anti-aliasing

Anti-aliasing often removes "jaggedness" of textures, but at the cost of performance. Disabling this will net you higher FPS.

Style

Style refers to the crosshair style in-game. You don't need to worry about this setting as it's purely cosmetic.

Shadows

While disabling shadows may net you a higher performance, it's often a poor idea to disable them in games like PUBG. They can be advantageous, so it's better to leave it on "Skip" and let the game decide.

Vulkan

Vulkan refers to the usage of the Vulkan Graphics API which can improve performance but requires a supported device. The latest devices should support Vulkan, but if the game fails to start you'll want to make sure this option is off. Attempting to use it on unsupported devices will make the game crash at launch.

Step 3 – Launch PUBG!

Now, this is the simple—and fun—part. All you have to do is hit "accept." The accept button will switch to a run game button, so then all you have to do is launch the game and you're good to go. Once the game launches, you should see that your settings have applied as the resolution will be lower. Queue up a game and give it a test drive, you should notice it's much smoother than before.

Conclusion

That's about it! PUBG or whatever other game you selected should run a whole lot better now. As we've already said, we managed to about double our FPS in our testing. Note that if it fails to work at first, you may need to reboot your device to get it working.



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Saturday, June 23, 2018

MIUI 10 now available for Xiaomi Mi 5, Redmi 6, and Redmi 6A

xiaomi redmi note 4 miui 10

The Chinese version of MIUI 10 was announced alongside the Xiaomi Mi 8, Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition, and the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE at an event in China in May. This was followed by the announcement of MIUI 10 Global at the Redmi Y2 event in India. Many Xiaomi phones have already received MIUI 10 China beta ROMs and even MIUI 10 Global Beta ROMs. Xiaomi has kept releasing developer, alpha, and even global beta ROMs for additional devices in quick succession, and now, MIUI 10 is now available for the Xiaomi Mi 5, Xiaomi Redmi 6, and Xiaomi Redmi 6A as well.

To be precise, MIUI 10 Global Alpha ROM is now available for the Xiaomi Mi 5, while MIUI 10 China Developer ROMs are available for the newly launched Redmi 6 and Redmi 6A respectively.

The Xiaomi Redmi 6 and the Redmi 6A are the successors to the budget Xiaomi Redmi 5 and the entry-level Redmi 5A respectively. The Mi 5, on the other hand, is a 2016 Xiaomi flagship. Instructions on how to flash a MIUI 10 China Developer ROM are available here.

The unofficial Xiaomi EU project has also released MIUI 10 ROMs for all three devices. Xiaomi EU is based on MIUI China Developer ROM, and includes Google Play apps and services by default. It also includes more languages than the official version of the China Developer ROM. The Xiaomi EU unofficial MIUI 10 ROMs for the Mi 5, Redmi 6, and Redmi 6A can be downloaded here. Instructions to flash the ROM can be viewed here.

Xiaomi has stated that more of the company's devices will start to receive MIUI 10 China Beta and MIUI 10 Global Beta ROMs starting this month. MIUI 10 adds portrait mode for single-camera devices, a redesigned user interface with a new Recents menu, and other "AI" features, which means that it's a significant update for Xiaomi devices.


Download MIUI 10 Global Alpha ROM for Xiaomi Mi 5Download MIUI 10 China Developer ROM for Xiaomi Redmi 6Download MIUI 10 China Developer ROM for Xiaomi Redmi 6A



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Flashtool now supports Sony Xperia XZ2 and Sony Xperia XA2

flashtool sony xperia xz2 sony xperia xa2

Users who have tried modifying their Sony device in the past will have heard of XDA Recognized Developer Androxyde's Flashtool. It's an open source S1 flashing tool which supports many Sony Xperia devices. It's often used for rooting, bootloader unlocking and, of course, firmware flashing. Back in the day before recoveries were commonplace, it was also a great way to flash a custom ROM. It's often a tool users on our forums still recommend as it fulfills a number of functions that are still useful once you unlock the bootloader. Flashtool supports devices from as far back as 2009 and it's expanding to support more every year. Version 0.9.25.0 has just been released and it now supports 2018 Sony Xperia devices such as the Sony Xperia XZ2 series and the Sony Xperia XA2 series.

flashtool sony xperia xz2 sony xperia xa2

There's a number of reasons you may still want to use Flashtool. For starters, once you unlock your device's bootloader then official Sony tools no longer work. Official Sony tools only allow upgrading, whereas with Flashtool you can downgrade. Finally, Flashtool doesn't have as many restrictions on what you can and cannot flash.

The full list of features is as follows:

  • Root your phone
  • Install recovery, busybox, custom kernels
  • Clean your ROM (remove /system/apps apps of your choice) (Be careful, unless you really know what you do, do not modify the default list. This can make your phone stuck at the SE Logo)
  • Clear Dalvik cache
  • Optimize (install of JIT v2) (plugin for 2.1 phones only from 2010 line)
  • Customize (installs apps found in the custom/apps folder of the flashtool)
  • Edit any text file on the device
  • Rebrand your device

If you'd like to download the latest version of Flashtool, you can head over to their website. All of the features listed above will now work on the Sony Xperia XZ2 and the Sony Xperia XA2 along with dozens of other Xperia smartphones and tablets.


Via: XperiaBlog



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CarStream (YouTube for Android Auto) updated to bypass restrictions [Root]

carstream android auto youtube

CarStream allows you to watch YouTube videos in your Android Auto-enabled car. It, along with every other custom application, was blocked from installation back in April 2018. Thus, the only way to keep using this app was to keep an older version of Google Play Services and Android Auto installed. This is not only impractical but also insecure. Fortunately, there's a workaround. The workaround was posted by the developer of the app themselves but since the steps were pretty long, a member on our forum decided to figure out if they could be simplified. XDA Senior Member noidea24 did just that and has written a tutorial that shows you how to get CarStream back up and running so long as you have a rooted Android device.

Warning: This app is not to be used by drivers for watching YouTube videos in their car. This application should only be used to entertain passengers in the car such as small kids.

Video of CarStream in action.

If you really need to get the app working again to keep your passengers occupied, then check out the guide in the thread linked below from our Google Pixel XL forum. You'll need the latest versions of Google Play Services, Android Auto app, and version 2.0 of CarStream from GitHub.

How to get CarStream (YouTube for Android Auto)



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Tasker v5.2 Brings Custom Setting Support, Immersive Mode, Runtime Permissions and More!

tasker

When one talks about device automation on Android, it is difficult to mention Tasker in that conversation. Tasker is one of the most well-known automation apps on Android, allowing determined users to achieve almost anything that they have set their minds on. Tasker recently underwent a change in ownership, coming into the hands of the very capable João Dias. Since then, Tasker has had a few Beta releases, but the developer is finally rolling out his first public Tasker release.

A few of the notable changes are highlighted below:

Custom Settings

With Custom Settings, Tasker can now control and toggle a whole bunch of settings with one simple action. The list of settings on your device varies. We've posted multiple tutorials ourselves on tweaking hidden settings values (from the Settings.System, Settings.Global, and Settings.Secure tables). So long as you grant Tasker the WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS permission and you know what Setting you're trying to toggle, you can automate almost any setting on your device! Finding the setting to toggle within Tasker is very easy, as demonstrated in the video above. From there on, you can change that setting using any combination of triggers and scenarios as you can imagine. Check out the full tutorial on how you can utilize this new feature to change any supported setting from anywhere.

Runtime Permissions

Considering the extent of changes Tasker could make to your system, it required a whole host of permissions to run. This new release of Tasker switches over to Runtime Permissions, making it possible to only grant those permissions that are relevant to your particular use case. Tasker, like every other app, will need to target API level 26 by August so this is one step towards meeting that requirement.

Location Mode and Immersive Mode

You can now set which location mode you wish to toggle to and from (Settings.Secure.location_mode, one of HIGH_ACCURACY, BATTERY_SAVING, SENSORS_ONLY, or OFF). You can also toggle immersive mode in this new version (Settings.Global.policy_control, one of immersive.navigation, immersive.status, or immersive.all with the option to set up a list of apps that this is applied to.)

Magisk Root Detection

Root detection with Magisk is also fixed in this version.


The full changelog for the release is as follows:

Changelog

Added

  • Custom Setting action: change/read any Global, Secure or System setting via a simple UI
  • Location Mode action: set the type of location tracking on your phone (turn GPS on and off, etc)
  • Immersive Mode action: hide status bar, navigation bar or both.
  • manifest permission WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS: enable via adb command – adb shell pm grant net.dinglisch.android.taskerm android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS
  • Authentication Dialog action: ask for authentication (pin, password, pattern, fingerprint or biometric).
  • action Input/Lock Screen (Android P+)
  • action Input/System Screenshot (Android P+)
  • action Sound Mode (for Samsung-like devices which have a separate sound toggle from Do Not Disturb)
  • Actions that are new or have significant changes are now highlighted until you select them or a new version of Tasker comes out
  • icon color is now respected in the various Notify actions
  • Power Mode can now be toggled
  • Stay On action now supports wireless charging
  • Toast reminding to try "New Cell API" if scanning is not working for Cell Near

Changes

  • Moved to runtime permissions (Android 6+). Will now ask for needed permissions when your Tasker data is saved (main app tick or backing out of Tasker).
  • Call Plugins via Services if possible. Will make compatible plugins faster and more reliable.
  • Ask for root when trying to add an action that requires root and cancel if it's not granted.
  • Made Torch action available for all devices running Android Marshmallow or above.
  • Made Take Call action available for all devices running Android Oreo or above.
  • Made Power Mode action work with Secure Settings permission.
  • Changed how Kill App with root works to make it more reliable
  • Notifies user when an action without the needed permissions is ran
  • Made user notifications not show in a group so they don't bundle with the persistent Tasker notification
  • Removed unnecessary log when plugin adds a replace key for unexisting key
  • Changed help pages to tasker.joaoapps.com
  • Changed warning toast to have black text
  • App now built by João Dias for the first time so I want to check if everything's working with my build script 🙂

Bugfixes

  • Fixed root detection with Magisk
  • Fixed Wifi Tether action
  • Fixed %TETHER variable
  • Now asks for permissions as soon as you start editing a state, event or action that requires special permissions
  • Fixed Tasker notification text not changing when setting the foreground option via Tasker action
  • Fixed crashes associated with missing permissions
  • Fixed Tasker crashing if changing volume with Do Not Disturb enabled and no notification access
  • Fixed crash: menu > more > developer options > save data definitions
  • Fixed launching app as a new copy
  • Fixed kill app with root
  • Fix issue with Google Play licensing

Have you tried out the new Tasker release? Let us know your use cases in the comments below!

Tasker ($2.99, Google Play) →



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Samsung Good Lock addon brings new Always on Display/Lock Screen clock designs

Samsung released a revamped version of Good Lock last week with a new addon system for UI customization. It was first released to just South Korea, but then it was expanded into the United States on Monday. Today, Samsung Good Lock has been updated with a new app called ClockFace. It works on any Samsung Galaxy smartphone running Samsung Experience 9.0 (Android 8.0 Oreo) such as the Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, or Samsung Galaxy S9.

In Samsung Experience 9.0, Samsung's version of Android 8.0, Samsung added lock screen customization. It allows you to switch the design of the Always on Display and the clock on the Lock Screen. This Samsung Good Lock addon adds 29 extra clock designs.

Samsung Good Lock for Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Good Lock for Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and Samsung Galaxy S9
  1. To use ClockFace, sideload this APK. You will also need the latest version of the Always On Display installed which can be found here.
  2. Go to Settings then select Lock screen and security.
  3. Tap the Clock and FaceWidgets option, then select Clock style.
  4. In the options, Clock style will show all of the default options. At the end of the list, you will see a new icon (pictured below).
  5. When you select that, you will be able to select one of the 29 new designs for the clock and Always on Display.
  6. Once you select an option, you have to make sure you click Apply in the top right corner, then Done to make sure it's applied.

The clock styles also allow you to change the color of the clock. The colors can be set to adaptive, which is the default and the color will change depending on the wallpaper. It also has options for static and rainbow colors.

ClockFace is a great addition to the Samsung Good Lock family. You can follow this guide for how to install the other plugins or download Good Lock 2018 from the Galaxy Apps store. ClockFace can only be accessed through the clock style settings for now, but it should be available in the Good Lock app soon. Good Lock is available for any Galaxy smartphone running Android Oreo which as we've mentioned before includes the Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Samsung Galaxy S8, and more.



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Friday, June 22, 2018

Samsung is reportedly testing an Android Go phone in several countries

FM

Android Go is Google's answer to the ultra low-end segment of the smartphone market and so far it has produced an interesting collection of devices. This lightweight, optimized OS is ideal for emerging markets where customers are highly sensitive to how much a product like this costs. There has been a new Android Go device from a number of different OEMs, but the most popular one has yet to release such a product. That seems to have changed as Samsung is currently testing an Android Go smartphone in a number of select markets.

Details of the device are pretty scarce right now but we do know it carries the model number SM-J260G. With this information, there have been benchmarks with this model number that could give us a clue as to what type of hardware we should expect from Samsung's first Android Go smartphone. If these benchmarks are indeed true, then the phone comes with a processor codenamed Universal7570_Go, 1GB of RAM, and Android 8.1 Oreo. SamMobile ended up digging through some trademark documents which names the SM-J260G device as the Samsung Galaxy J2 Core.

As mentioned, these Android Go devices are ideal for emerging markets and Samsung knows that quite well. Samsung began testing the Galaxy J2 Core in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, but reports now say that the company has brought it to "dozens of new markets across the globe." There are variants of this device with the SM-J260F model being tested in the United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Caucasus Countries, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, France, and Poland.

Then a second device with the model number SM-J260M is currently being tested in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, Panada, and Paraguay. Lastly, Samsung has brought the original SM-J260G variant to Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam.


Source: SamMobile



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Samsung Galaxy S10 Could Replace the Iris Scanner with a 3D Sensor and an In-Display Fingerprint Sensor

samsung galaxy s9 scanner, Samsung Galaxy S10 Iris Scanner

Product development takes a lot of time, especially for devices that get as complex as the smartphones in our hand. So while the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 might still be a few weeks away, Samsung is already planning forward for the Samsung Galaxy S10. And the latest reports mention the possibility of Samsung doing away with the Iris Scanner that has been present on the line since the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

The Galaxy S10 will be the tenth iteration in the Galaxy lineup, making it an important piece of history in the making. Samsung will definitely try to make the device as special as possible by including features like triple rear cameras, a 3D sensor, a notch-less display thanks to sound emitting OLED panels, and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

The latest report from Korean site The Bell mentions that the device, however, will ditch the iris scanner because of feature redundancy. Samsung has not ordered a sample iris scanner for the Galaxy S10 prototype that is under development, and may choose to omit this part altogether in the final product. Biometric security options on the device will include the new in-display fingerprint scanner and the 3D sensor for facial recognition, so having an often-unreliable iris scanner is an extra cost which can be avoided.

The Bell also reaffirms that the S10 lineup is codenamed "Beyond." The display size of the Galaxy S10 is expected to be 5.8-inches, while the S10 Plus is expected to be 6.3-inch. It is still early days in the development cycle of the S10, so if testing of the prototype reveals issues with the in-display fingerprint scanner or the 3D sensor, Samsung could very well reverse its decisions and make changes accordingly.

What are your thoughts on Samsung choosing to skip the iris scanner on the Galaxy S10? Will this change affect your usage? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: The Bell Story Via: Android Authority



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Upgraded Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 with LTE and more powerful CPU coming

Samsung Chromebook Plus V2

A recent change in Coreboot repository suggests that Samsung is joining the race to release an always-connected ChromebookThe commit shows the introduction of a new SKU of Nautilus (the codename for the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2). This variant has configuration changes that specifically mention LTE support.

Commit proving that a second Samsung device will come with LTE support

To add a bit of context – LTE-enabled Chromebooks petered out of existence over the years. Now, no Chromebooks are released with SIM card or LTE support.

Recently, the developers started working on eSIM support for Chromebooks, signaling the return of LTE Chromebooks. We expected the Snapdragon 845-powered Chromebook codename Cheza to be the first with LTE onboard, but Samsung may be looking to beat it to market.

The Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is pretty lackluster under the hood with 4GB RAM and a low-power processor. Along with the revelation of an LTE model, there are recent code reviews mentioning a two core, four thread model (rather than the two core/two thread Celeron 3965Y announced in the Plus V2).

We can't glean any further details, or even confirm if the LTE variant is the same as the 2C/4T device. But you want a better Samsung Plus V2 (perhaps this could even be the Pro V2), keep your wallet tucked away for now.



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Honor Launches a Global Theme Design Contest

Honor is giving themers a chance to win some serious prizes with a global theme design contest. While the EMUI themes have always been the least impressive part of their phones, they're going the extra mile now to ensure that you'll have access to some quality themes.

Designers who submit winning themes will win these massive prizes. The top winner will get $20,000, with cash prizes available for the runner-ups as well.

"This is a world-class design contest where you will compete with design talent both locally and abroad. You will pit your talents against the popular, cutting-edge mobile Internet design concepts from around the world. If your design is selected, it will be added to one of the world's largest smartphone gallery, a gallery used by phone enthusiasts of 23 different languages, with your name listed as an original designer in over 10 million smartphones! Are you excited yet? "

Honor

Honor provides a design template to get you started which can be found in the link below. You'll also fine the contest timeline and rules. The XDA Community has some of the most talented themeing communities out there. Now is your chance to use your talents to win a lot of cash. Visit the link for more information.

Global Theme Design Contest Info
We thank Honor for sponsoring this post. Our sponsors help us pay for the many costs associated with running XDA, including server costs, full time developers, news writers, and much more. While you might see sponsored content (which will always be labeled as such) alongside Portal content, the Portal team is in no way responsible for these posts. Sponsored content, advertising and XDA Depot are managed by a separate team entirely. XDA will never compromise its journalistic integrity by accepting money to write favorably about a company, or alter our opinions or views in any way. Our opinion cannot be bought.



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Test the VR Performance of Your Smartphone Using VRMark for Android

Virtual Reality Benchmark vrmark

The slew of new device releases with their fancy new processors and ever-changing and ever-improving specifications can often confuse consumers on how well a device is expected to perform. With the recent push in VR and AR, these changing factors can have a significant impact on the user's mobile experience because of the intensive nature of their demands. Benchmarks can help provide some semblance in this scenario, as popular benchmarks test various aspects of a device and provide feedback on where the device is placed against its competitors.

If you would like to test how well your device can run Virtual Reality applications, you can try out VRMark. VRMark has just been released for Android, providing end users as well as industry professionals a convenient way to test the VR capabilities of a device using a comprehensive set of tools. VRMark can work with or without a headset. The VRMark Professional Edition contains the full suite of tools and is designed for industrial use. The free version of the app is for VR enthusiasts and provides a smaller set of tests for testing VR performance on an individual level.

The benchmark is designed around performance levels, which are called Rooms. A Room is a piece of VR content carefully created to require a specific level of VR performance, and the Android version of the benchmark comes with three Rooms.

  • The Indigo Room represents the majority of mobile VR content available today. It is a lightweight test that is designed to run comfortably for long periods on first-generation Daydream devices.
  • The Purple Room is designed to run well for at least one loop on first-generation Daydream devices, but some phones will get hot when looping this test, and their performance may fall as the test runs.
  • The Amber Room is a forward-looking test that represents next-generation mobile VR content. It is very demanding, making it an ideal benchmark for comparing devices that already perform well in the other Rooms.

VR performance can be tested in Peak Mode (for peak performance testing), Sustained Mode (for testing extended performance, including thermal and stability) and Experience Mode (for judging the quality of the VR experience manually using a headset). Experience mode works with Daydream View and Google Cardboard compatible headsets.

VRMark is compatible with ARM-based devices running Android 7.0 or later with at least 1 GB of RAM that supports OpenGL ES 3.1 or OpenGL ES 3.0 with MSAA. The app also features performance monitoring charts and an in-app list for quickly comparing performance across devices.

VRMark - The VR Benchmark (Free, Google Play) →



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Microsoft adds Visual Search to Bing to compete with Google Lens

Microsoft Bing

While Microsoft is leading the pack when it comes to its Azure cloud platform, there are many areas where they seem to be stepping on the heels of Google. We recently highlighted the redesigned Microsoft News application with its overhauled UI and AI suggestions. This came shortly after Google launched the redesign of their news application. This week the company has announced another application that aims to take marketshare away from the Mountain View tech giant. This time, though, it's the addition of Visual Search to the Bing application so they can compete with Google Lens.

microsoft bing visual search

via The Verge

The new feature is embedded into many of the company's applications including Bing (Android and iOS), Microsoft Launcher on Android, and Microsoft Edge on Android. Once you initiate the feature in any of these applications you are then instructed to take a picture of something. Microsoft will try to identify the object in the scene. As you can see in the image above (and just like most people's experience with Google Lens right now) the results are hit and miss but it can be quite impressive and informative when it does get things right.

You're even able to isolate certain objects in the image so you can help the application to know what you want to search for. The demo video embedded below shows this in action with the user selecting only the jacket in an image. This is then demonstrated again with a scenery picture that first identified the tree in the background, but then the user isolated the dog in the photo and the software detected its breed. If what you're identifying is an actual product then, just like Google Lens, Microsoft's Visual Search feature will suggest similar items that it found from various retailers online.

Microsoft Bing Search (Free, Google Play) →


Source: Microsoft



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ASUS Chromebook C223 is an Ultra-Slim 11.6-inch Chromebook Coming to Europe

ASUS Chromebook C223

Chromebooks are slowly but surely becoming the popular choice when it comes to daily computing needs as more people have come to rely on cloud services. The rise in popularity is also fuelled by Google's decision to provide Google Play access to Chromebooks, as well as the new-found ability to run Linux apps through Project Crostini. Higher end Chromebooks with Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs are also in the works, so we absolutely expect this space to perform well in the future.

Banking on this expected rise in popularity, ASUS is launching a new entry-level Chromebook with a compact design to attract new customers in Europe. Meet the ASUS Chromebook C223:

The ASUS Chromebook C223 comes with an 11.6-inch non-touchscreen display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. While the device has not been released yet, leaked renders of the upcoming Chromebook show a thin and flat profile, which appears to be made out of plastic primarily, with an expected weight of around 1.23 kg.

Powering the Chromebook C223 is an Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core SoC with a base clock speed of 1.1 GHz and a burst performance mode with a clock speed of up to 2.4 GHz. The SoC is based on the Apollo Lake platform and the chip is manufactured on a 14nm FinFET process. There are no active cooling elements in the laptop, and keeping in mind the OS and its needs, passive cooling should be sufficient for the most part. The Chromebook C223 also comes with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, expandable through the microSD card slot. Rest of the port setup on this device includes two USB Type-C ports, one USB Type-A port, and a headphone jack. There is no SIM card slot, nor an Ethernet port available on the device, so you will have to primarily rely on WiFi for your internet needs.

ASUS Chromebook C223
Display Size 11.6″
Display Resolution 1366 x 768
Touchscreen No
SoC Intel Celeron N3350;
Dual Core;
Base clock speed @ 1.1GHz,
TurboBoost up to 2.4GHz
RAM 4GB
Storage 32GB
Ports 2x USB Type-C;
1x USB Type-A;
1x microSD card slot;
1x 3.5mm Headphone Jack

The ASUS Chromebook C223 will soon be released in Europe with an expected price of €320 (~$375) for the base variant. The laptop will of course come with Google's Chrome OS, and will include support for installing Android apps.


Source: WinFuture.de



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First Snapdragon 845 Chromebook could be detachable like the HP Chromebook X2

chromebook qualcomm snapdragon 845

Soon after the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 was made official, we discovered some commits which suggested that a Chromebook powered by that system-on-chip was in the works. Codenamed "cheza," we knew nothing about the device other than the SoC powering it, but now we may know more thanks to a report from AboutChromebooks. A lot more work has taken place since those initial commits, which provides us with even more information about the device.

First and foremost, some of the newest code commits suggest what kind of display the first Snapdragon 845-based Chromebook will have. It appears it will have a 2560×1440 display, which is the same resolution as many other Snapdragon 845 smartphones. The Adreno 630 is more than capable of handling that resolution. As pointed out by /u/VictoryGoth on Reddit, however, that resolution could just be being used for testing.

Now, even more interesting, this commit suggests that the screen will be detachable from the keyboard base just like on the recently-launched HP Chromebook X2. That means as well that the screen should actually be a touchscreen, as if it's detachable then it will need to enter tablet mode to be used. That's pretty cool as it can be great for multimedia usage as a tablet if you're not doing work or are just looking for an entertainment device. There are also USB-C, USB 3.0, and DisplayPort references in the code too.

This final commit was spotted by our own Kieran Miyamoto and relates to the fact that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 also has an X20 modem built-in. A code commit references supporting an eSIM, something that currently only Google Pixel devices support. Because of that, it may be possible that cheza will support Project Fi (the only eSIM provider currently). It's an interesting thought, and if so, it may make it one of the very few Chromebooks that actually supports mobile networks.


Via: AboutChromebooks



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Stable Linux app support expected to roll out in Chrome OS version 69

Chrome OS, Linux apps, Chromebooks, Crostini

The ability to run Linux apps on Chromebooks is going to be available on the Stable and Beta channels with Chrome OS version 69, but this doesn't spell the end of development for Project Crostini. A recent commit confirms the timetable update for both Beta and Stable channels. The release has been pushed back from version 68 to 69, which is expected to land mid-September (for Stable). Until then, Linux apps will only be available for Chromebooks on the Developer or Canary channels.

While this brings the long-anticipated Linux app functionality to the big leagues, expect feature updates and streamlining for months post-69.

What to expect on release

The stable launch on release 69 will bring a whole host of bugfixes and functional improvements, but the three biggest changes for the Crostini experience on Chrome (in our opinion) are:

Files app and Linux integration – A key piece of functionality that will make the Linux experience on Chrome OS seamless. Along with simply making it easier to manage files, improvements in Files app integration will mean smoother workflows for those that use the Linux environment heavily. For example, you'll be able to load an app you've written in Android Studio easily into your local Android environment on your Chromebook.

USB access – Want to connect USB peripherals to your Linux container? Perhaps you prefer ADB within the Linux environment rather than enabling it through Developer Mode. The Chrome OS developers are working on implementing USB access, which you can track by starring this issue in the Chromium bugtracker.

Audio and sound support – Linux app users are currently deprived of this sensory experience. No release could be called Stable without this key piece of functionality. The issue is targeted for resolution with release 69 but you can track the developers' progress.

What to wait for

There are dozens of bugs in the Chromium bugtracker for the Crostini project ranging from small to large. We've picked three highly anticipated features that we don't expect will be ready in time for Stable.

GPU acceleration – Hardware acceleration for graphics and GPU workloads will be useful for a range of applications like gaming, software development, and video playback. This is a complex issue that will probably be slow-going for the multitude of architectures and Kernel versions that Chrome OS has in its device family. You can keep track of this particular issue on the bugtracker.

Cloud sync and backup – It makes sense for a development environment to support automated snapshots and backups of the VMs you have. Imagine an enterprise environment where you could sign in to any Chrome device and pull your VM from a Google Drive. The Chrome developers are aware of this potential but no bug has been created yet to track.

Support for FUSE filesystems – The developers have recognized the benefits of native FUSE support, but no movement has been made just yet. Supporting FUSE would allow users to mount and manipulate remote and local filesystems in a user-friendly way and would be a massive boon to the developer community. Bugtracker here.



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Measure the length of objects using augmented reality on any ARCore device

Google's augmented reality-based app "Measure" was released in September of 2016 for Project Tango devices. As the name suggests, it's an application that lets you measure the length and height of objects. Today, Google has made the app available for all ARCore supported devices. You can also save the measured object's photo and switch between imperial and metrical units. This video shows how Measure works. You just place two markers and the magic happens.

The application also comes with the updated user interface. You'll see a shortcut to photo gallery in the updated Settings. There's also a Precision Display toggle and the units switch. Here is the screenshot:

As I already mentioned, the application uses the ARCore platform on supported devices. Currently, ARCore is supported on these devices:

List of devices that support ARCore as of June 19th, 2018

This is an official list of supported devices provided by Google, but recently we found out that ARCore works quite well on the OnePlus 6, too. Though, to use ARCore on OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 6, you have to sideload the ARCore 1.3 APK file manually. We have recently found that sideloading the APK file may also make ARCore available for these devices, too. You can test ARCore for them and let us know the result in the comments.

List of possible supported devices

  • BQ Aquaris X2 (zangya_sprout)
  • Honor 10 (HWCOL)
  • LG Q6 (mh/mhn)
  • Nokia 6 (PL2)
  • Nokia 7 Plus (B2N)
  • OnePlus 5T
  • Sony Xperia XZ (F8331/F8332/SO-01J/SOV34)
  • Sony Xperia XZs (602SO/G8231/G8232/SO-03J/SOV35)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact (H8314/SO-05K)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium (H8116/H8166/SO-04K)
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 (dipper)
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition (ursa)

You can download Measure from the link below. Let us know in the comments how you're liking it.

Measure - quick, everyday measurements (Free, Google Play) →



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Hands-on with the HP 10.1 WiFi Photo Frame

iDea Electronics sent us the HP 10.1 WiFi Photo Frame to check out. This 10.1″ digital photo frame has a 1280x800p resolution display. Built-in WiFi allows you to connect to your home connection so you can sync your photos from your phone.

Display Size 10.1 inch TFT LDC Screen
Screen Resolution 1280 x 800px
Aspect Ratio 16:10
Internal Memory 8GB
Storage Media SD (SDHC) Card up to 32GB (Class 10), USB Memory Stick
Touchscreen Yes
Speakers 2x 2W
Sensors Light
Photo Format JPG, BMP, PNG
Music Format MP3
Power AC 110~240V 50/60Hz, DC 5V/2A
Color Black, Rose Gold, White

Buy it on Amazon
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