#56 Downgraded Blacks Ops 4 Servers?

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This business card-sized Japanese phone bucks the giant-phone trend

With Apple and most Android OEMs making increasingly larger phones while Apple discontinues the small iPhone SE, it’s pretty clear where the smartphone market is going—at least for the near term. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some companies bucking the trend by going smaller, not bigger. Earlier this week, we heard that Palm’s brand is rebooting with a very small phone that’s not meant to be your main portable computing device. But this phone from Kyocera is even smaller.

YouTube video embeds now include a ‘Subscribe’ button

Up until now, if you saw a YouTube video you liked embedded in a website, you had to click through the video to YouTube’s page in order to subscribe to that channel. Now, YouTube is making it a little easier for viewers to see the videos they want (and for channel operators to grab those subscribers). Going forward, YouTube embeds will feature a “Subscribe” button.

Intel Core i9 9900K review: the fastest gaming CPU money can buy

Intel has been marketing the new Core i9 9900K as the fastest gaming CPU money can buy – and while a massive amount of controversy has surrounded the accuracy of pre-release benchmarks, the logic is sound. After all, the existing Core i7 8700K holds the title, ahead of its Ryzen 7 2700X competition. The new 9900K adds two additional cores and four threads, while boosting frequencies and increasing cache – improving on the 8700K in every way. Going into this review, my only question was this: to what extent do games actually make use of the additional resources? After all, the 8700K was already a performance monster, and arguably under-utilised. Do we actually need more gaming power?

Everything you need to know about the 2018 MacBook

While Apple’s higher-range MacBook Pros received an update earlier this year, the entry-level MacBook options are in desperate need of an overhaul. Rumors have been swirling as to what exactly that device will be, but we know the company has something up its sleeve for a cheaper MacBook in 2018.

HTC Plans to Bring Hand & Finger Tracking to Vive Pro

Today at the the World Conference on VR Industry in China, HTC announced plans to bring hand & finger tracking to Vive Pro via the headset’s front-facing cameras. Back in April HTC launched new tools to help developers take advantage of the Vive Pro’s largely unused front-facing cameras. Now it seems the company plans to double down on that by adding hand and finger tracking that works “natively” on the headset.

Have Black Ops 4’s servers been downgraded?

The Black Ops 4 beta was as smooth as a pre-release game can get, with multiple tests confirming the game was running on dedicated servers with a 60Hz send rate from both client and server sides. Even when the game launched on October 17, Black Ops 4’s multiplayer performance was relatively smooth. However, the following days revealed increased reports of kill-trading, unbalanced corner peeking and poor hit registration. According to a new study by reddit user Smcro, Black Ops 4’s multiplayer is currently running at only 20Hz from the server side, a significant downgrade from the 60Hz the game was using earlier.

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HTC To Debut World’s First Blockchain Phone

Smartphone manufacturer HTC has announced that its first native blockchain smartphone called the HTC Exodus. The unveiling of the HTC Exodus is viewed positively as the company is taking a major leap into the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

 

HTC to release first blockchain phone

 

The Taiwanese firm’s native blockchain phone is powered by Android. HTC said the phone was developed to provide support for decentralized applications (DApps) like CryptoKitties. With this, the HTC Exodus is expected to feature more secure and stable hardware.

 

 

This means that HTC Exodus would provide users with an easy access to a universal cryptocurrency wallet that is native to the device. The company added that the Android-powered phone is also compatible with various protocols. The device further supports interoperability.

 

HTC’s Exodus is being developed under the dynamic leadership of Phil Chen. In case you don’t know, Chen is instrumental in helping to create the HTC’s virtual reality headset Vive. Presently, he now holds the position as “chief decentralized officer.” He is on the company’s radar to head the firm’s cryptocurrency and blockchain-related initiatives.

 

“Through the Exodus, we are also excited to be supporting underlying protocols such as Bitcoin, Lightning Networks, Ethereum, Dfinity, and more,” Chen wrote in a blog post.

 

“We would like to support the entire blockchain ecosystem, and in the next few months we’ll be announcing many more exciting partnerships together. Together, we want to craft the best blockchain & decentralized application experiences to end consumers,” he pointed out.

 

Chen has also expressed hopes that Exodus’ mobile hardware layer would give end consumer the ability to “truly own their data.”

 

“I want to see a world where the end consumers can truly own their data (browsing history, identity, assets, wallets, emails, messaging, etc) without the need for central authorities. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but I believe the mobile hardware layer can contribute significantly to our new decentralized world,” he said.

 

HTC has not yet released a price tag for the Exodus, but the company did hint that it is considering accepting cryptocurrency payments once it becomes available for purchase.

Pre-orders For HTC’s $799 Vive Pro Headset-Only Opens Today

Yes, you read that right.

HTC just started taking pre-orders for the Vive Pro virtual reality (VR) Headset and it starts at a whopping $799. Please take note that yes, it is only for the headset.

The Vive Pro was first announced earlier this year at the CES and is touted to address the problems of their original Vive released two years ago.

Some of the notable improvements made to this headset includes a change in the design of the headstrap. They have made it lighter and easier to adjust by replacing the velcro with a sizing dial installed. HTC has also addressed the problem of users having to plug-in their earphones (and have the annoying cables dangling all over) by adding built-in earphones on the device.

HTC opens pre-orders for the Vive Pro VR Headset (Credit: HTC)

Another improvement done on the virtual reality headset is a higher resolution of the dual-OLED displays from the former 2160 x 1200 pixels to 2880 x 1600 pixels (or 1400x 1600 per eye). This will greatly improve the overall graphics and provides better text rendering.

Lastly, HTC has also added dual microphones and dual front-facing cameras. These new physical additions make the Vive Pro even more distinct to its predecessor.

HTC opens pre-orders for Vive Pro VR Headset (Credit: HTC)

The first headsets will start shipping in April 5th of this year and is designed to be used with the older Vive’s controllers and tracking beacons.

Not interested in upgrading? You’re still in luck. With the release of the Vive Pro, HTC has dropped the price of the current Vive system to $499 – taking off a $100 from its current price. The company confirmed that the Vive will continue to be sold at this price this year providing a cheaper alternative while giving users an option for a better quality headset.

For those who don’t own the current Vive however, your only option is to purchase the Vive system and the Vive Pro headset. Otherwise, you’d might have to wait for HTC to release a Pro bundle, something that they will be hopefully doing soon enough.

HTC Unveils U11 Eyes With Dual Phone Camera

HTC users across the globe would be delighted to hear the news. HTC ‘s new latest iteration is called the HTC U11 Eyes Phone. The phone would feature dual front cameras so that users can take a selfie anyway.

 

HTC’s new phone: U 11

 

But HTC’s U11 front-facing camera with 5 mega pixels that would enhance and feature of HDR boost. The HDR boost, in case you didn’t know, is a bokeh mode which allows the users to tweak the depth-of-field in photographs. By doing so, it would evoke the HTC promises will create “spectacular selfies.”

 

Also, Samsung’s U11 will be powered by Snapdragon 652 processor, a 6-inch screen, 12MP rear camera, face unlock, and edge sense, among others, Richie. The device has also carried the both water and heat resistant.

 

Meanwhile, a tech website Engadget said that HTC claims the U11 eyes of the camera. The same site added that HTC new camera could actually distinguish between a human even if it is shown in a paper.

 

While some news might be good, HTC’s U11 phone has new advantages. These are lack of 3.5mm headphone jack, a fingerprint sensor, among others.

 

Based on the new leak, HTC’s U11 will release in various colors such as in red, silver, and black, and will go on sale in Hong Kong from Wednesday.

Introducing the HTC Bolt

A blaze of lightning across the sky. A world-class sprinter dashing across the finish line. Stunning speed is thrilling, exhilarating and empowering – and like a lightning bolt or sprinter, speed was the inspiration for HTC, a leading innovator in mobile and virtual reality technology, to create HTC Bolt: the fastest Sprint smartphone. Built for the extraordinary Sprint LTE Plus network – with support for 3×20 MHz Carrier Aggregation thanks to the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X10 LTE modem – and available to purchase beginning today, HTC Bolt blazes with data speeds that leave the competition in the dust.

With HTC Bolt web browsing, file downloading, streaming video and music is smooth and vivid. Sharing photos and videos with friends seems to be almost instantaneous and online gaming races like never before.

Forged from glass and metal, HTC Bolt is a dramatic evolution of HTC’s “sculpted by light” design. It features a 5.5-inch Quad HD (2K) display and it is the first water-resistant aluminum unibody Android phone, along with more precise contours and a flatter back for sharper contrast that catches light beautifully. Bold, chamfered edges are carved out of Gunmetal or Glacier Silver metal to make the 3.7mm side cut look and feel slimmer than ever in your hand. HTC Bolt also introduces HTC BoomSound® Adaptive Audio earphones that tailor sound to your ears’ unique structure for a truly personal audio experience.

“The HTC 10 released earlier this year was the most advanced smartphone we’ve ever built, so we knew we had to raise the bar even higher for Sprint’s most advanced ever network,” said André Lönne, president of HTC America. “For HTC Bolt, we took everything that was so great about the HTC 10 and made it even better. We took the award-winning design and made it water-resistant. We took the awesome audio and made it more personal. And, of course, we took the wireless speed and supercharged it with Sprint, turning HTC Bolt into a smartphone unlike any you’ve ever experienced.”

HTC Bolt (PRNewsFoto/HTC)

HTC BoomSound® Adaptive Audio tuned to you

HTC Bolt features HTC BoomSound Adaptive Audio, which scans your ears and the ambient noise around you to adjust audio output to suit your personal hearing capabilities. Just plug in the USB Type C headphones (included) and, almost instantly, you’ll experience music and movies with thundering bass and pitch-perfect treble that sound clearer than you believed possible. In addition, Hi-Res audio delivers 24-bit sounds as you would hear it in the movie theater, nightclub or concert hall.

Sharper shots in a snap

Whether you’re in town or out hiking, incredible moments can happen when you least expect them, so HTC Bolt’s 16MP camera, supported by the Snapdragon processor, has OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) to reduce camera shake and capture sharp photographs and 4K video even in low light. With a quick camera launch time and an ultra-fast autofocus of 0.3s with Phase Detection Auto Focus, you’ll be sure to capture the perfect shot every time.

Selfies are great, too, with HTC Bolt. An 8MP front camera with Auto HDR means vivid details will bring out your smile and the environment behind you. Super-wide panorama mode lets you capture your whole family and an expansive background, and an integrated screen flash ensures shots look great in low light.

Power, convenience and customization

Running the latest Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, HTC Bolt offers all the powerful features you would expect from the latest flagship smartphone, including split-screen view, quicker multitasking, free unlimited photo storage with Google Photos™, and Google Duo™ video calling preloaded.

HTC Bolt’s built-in fingerprint sensor lets you unlock your phone at the touch of your finger – in as little as 0.2 seconds and lets you lock and unlock apps using Boost+. Even better, Boost+ also keeps your phone in top condition by cleaning up junk files and dynamically allocating resources like phone memory as required, ensuring your phone runs smoothly and efficiently.

HTC Freestyle Layout frees you from an on-screen grid and lets you customize your home screen. Drag icons, stickers and widgets anywhere, layer them, overlap them, group them and more. You can even link stickers to apps, or just get rid of on-screen icons entirely.

Power users can rejoice that all these features are supported by a powerful 3,200mAh battery, enough for up to a day or more use on a single charge. If you need to recharge quickly, HTC Bolt features Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 2.0 technology for fast charging. Load up on photos, videos, movies and games with the HTC Bolt’s 3GB RAM and 32GB storage space, expandable with optional SD cards for up to 2TB of space so your storage needs are covered now and far into the future.

HTC One X+ and One VX launched exclusively on AT&T

While Samsung’s strategy is to hit every carrier and every market possible, HTC is quite content with making themselves exclusively desirable for AT&T users in the US. The 2nd largest carrier in the US has once again arrived at an exclusivity deal with HTC’s latest products.

AT&T once held the HTC One X as an exclusive for their network. Now, the HTC One X+ and the HTC One VX join the ranks of the carrier’s exclusive HTC phones.

The HTC One X+ is the upgraded version of the HTC One X. This phone makes use of Quad core technology despite the fact that it will be running on AT&T’s vast LTE network. Much like the HTC One X, the new unit also has a 4.7 inch display, which is just a notch smaller than the rival Galaxy S3. It sports an 8 megapixel camera at the back, with improved low light capabilities from its predecessor.

It also comes with Google’s new Android Jelly Bean, which means the new phone will be able to make use of the Jelly Bean’s exclusive features, such as Project Butter and Google Now. It is one of the very few phones of today to come out of the box with Jelly Bean installed.

The new HTC One X+ is built to last longer thanks to the Tegra 3 processor’s power saving 5th core, and the expansion of the phone’s battery capacity to 2100 mAh. Unfortunately, even though the processor was upgraded, the RAM remains the same at 1 GB. The upside is that the new Jelly Bean powered phone has a whopping 64 GB of internal memory right out of the box for the default package.

HTC is also launching a smaller phone aimed for those on a lower budget. The HTC One VX performs well under pressure with a tried and tested dual core Snapdragon processor. It is basically a shrunk HTC One X, maintaining the top of the line features like Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC technology.

The 4.5 inch display is still very generous, giving you enough space to manage your tasks. The new HTC One VX comes with Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, but a Jelly Bean update is promised for the future.  A smaller display uses less power, so the phone is only built with an 1810 mAh rated battery.

The HTC one VX only has 8 GB of internal storage, but you can expand the memory further with a micro SD card. Both phones come with Beats Audio, so you can be sure of the sound quality for both devices.

AT&T nabbed a couple of good phones for the holiday season. The HTC One X+ is certainly a promising phone, being AT&T’s first quad core LTE device. For those who want something smaller than the HTC One X, yet still be able to perform heavy duty tasks, the HTC One VX fits the bill quite well.

Image sources: htc.com, htcsource.com, att.com

Can the HTC One X+ unseat the Galaxy S III and iPhone 5?

Not wanting to be left behind, HTC has unveiled their latest smartphone, the HTC One X+.

The HTC One X+ boasts of LTE capabilities and a faster quad core processor. This new device is similar to that of its predecessor, the HTC One X except for a number of upgrades.

For one, the One X+ will have longer battery life as it has a 2,100mAh battery against the 1,800mAh battery of the One X. This comes in handy as this new smartphone supports LTE technology which is hard on a device’s battery.

It also comes with the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS as compared to other devices from other tech companies that carry the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

But if pitted against the big boys, the iPhones 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S III, will this HTC device stand out? Although the HTC One X+ could surely shake up the smartphone market, we still have to see whether it can directly impact the bigger players.

HTC has already been producing smartphones for a number of years and have made their name for it. Unfortunately for them, the market is currently being dominated by Apple and Samsung.

We would soon find out if the HTC One X+ can be called a Galaxy S III and iPhone 5 slayer.

What do you think?

Image Source: bgr.com

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X – a bright and colorful battle

I have to say, when I heard about the HTC “What’s next” event, I had that tingling feeling that HTC will go back to its Windows Mobile roots. Sure enough, they did, and now they are officially part of the Windows 8 rise to power.

Much like the current trend of launching a full powered and more expensive device alongside a lower end version for the budget conscious, HTC launched two devices. The higher end HTC 8X makes use of all HTC has to offer, while the HTC 8S is smaller and devoid of some features like the dedicated amplifier in the 8X.

Why am I comparing it to the recently released Lumia 920? Simply because if Nokia was Apple, they would have dragged Judge Lucy Koh to see what HTC cooked up. Quite simply, the HTC 8X looks stunningly similar to a Lumia 920.

The 8X is “dipped in color” similar to how the Nokia Lumia 920 is one of the most colorful bunch of phones we have ever seen. Nokia went for a more edgy design, while HTC made use of rounded corners. Both of them are brightly colored, reflecting the colorful live tiles of the Windows 8 operating system inside these devices.

So they look similar, but will they deliver similarly as well? Let’s take a closer look at these upcoming phones.

Display

One cannot argue that this holiday season has a lot to do with displays. Samsung launched the larger than ever Galaxy Note 2, Apple came out with a taller iPhone 5, while other manufacturers like Nokia took Retina to a whole new level.

Apple, the first to launch a Retina class display still has a 326 ppi pixel density. Nokia took that further to a 332 ppi display, but HTC thought it wasn’t enough, and pushed it further to a 342 pixels per inch. Judging from the numbers, HTC’s phone is set to have the sharpest display of the bunch.

Compared to the Lumia 920’s 4.5 inch display, HTC only has a smaller 4.3 inch display. The smaller display is probably how they afforded the extra sharp resolution. The main difference now is how good the devices will be against the power of the sun. Nokia is pretty confident, while HTC has made no mention of it.

Power

For both devices, you are assured in terms of performance power. They both run on the same Snapdragon processor, both clocked at 1.5 GHz. The only question now is if the sharper display on the 8X with more pixels will hinder the processor’s capabilities or not. Both of them sport a familiar 1 GB of RAM, which is sufficient for Windows 8 apparently.

 Juice

All that power doesn’t do it much good if it runs out of juice quickly. The 8X disappoints with just 1800 mAh, compared to the Nokia Lumia 920 with a good 2000 mAh. Unfortunately, both of them are embedded into the device, so your only solution for longer life on the road is to carry a power bank.

Sound

As expected, Beats Audio makes its debut on the 8X, the first Beats certified device for Windows 8. The Nokia Lumia 920 on the other hand makes use of Dolby’s digital audio. It’s a matter of who you trust in terms of audio. My bet is with Dolby, but Beats Audio is certainly a very competitive feature.

Connectivity

Both devices make use of the standard connectivity options found in today’s smartphones, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC. You may want to know that the HTC 8X backtracks with Bluetooth 2.1 while the Nokia Lumia 920 makes use of Bluetooth 3.1. For the record, the latest would be Bluetooth 4.0.

Camera Quality

This is an area where the Lumia 920 is expected to shine once they get the PureView technology to actually work. HTC makes use of the same camera found on their HTC One X, which was known for being better than the Galaxy S3’s camera. There is not much to say here since both are mostly untested, but in terms of potential, the Lumia 920 certainly has a head start.

One thing I am quite happy about in the 8X is the better front facing camera, rated at 2.1 megapixels. It is capable of recording 1080p videos which is perfect for video blogging and simply taking a good picture of yourself with your friends.

Special Features

From what we gather about the Windows 8 operating system, there is not much you can do in terms of “skinning” the operating system as much as OEMs did on Android. Everything will look pretty much the same save for some add on applications that the manufacturers have at their disposal.

Nokia is certainly on a huge advantage here, with their Nokia Maps, City Lens, Wireless Charging, Free Music streaming, and Nokia Drive. The HTC 8X may have Beats Audio, but that is certainly not enough to make a case against Nokia in this department.

Availability

Let’s give a good round of applause for HTC’s connections. At the very least, they are not as vague in terms of availability and pricing. The device is set to appear in November, to about 150 carriers in 50 different countries. They are certainly ready for a worldwide approach. Nokia has yet to announce their plans regarding the matter.

Conclusion

Since Windows 8 will generally be the same on all devices, added features are really the only way to make a device the “better choice” between OEMs. It doesn’t help that both of them roughly have the same internal specifications, with Nokia being a step up above HTC in many cases. Right now, my bet is on Nokia. They are more desperate, hungrier, and definitely more aggressive at trying to aim for the top. HTC still lacks the core appeal and features that are necessary to enter a market that will soon grow saturated.

Image sources: htc.com, nokia.com, theverge.com

Marissa Mayer offers Yahoo employees smartphones, RIM not included

Research In Motion’s BlackBerry used to be the smartphone of choice when it comes to business minded individuals. Not long ago, the word “crackberry” was often used to define individuals.

Now, BlackBerry seems to be a thing of the past, a pigment of man’s imagination.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has added more insult to an already injured BlackBerry, after she decided to leave the phone out of her company’s smartphone procurement.

Mayer informed the Yahoo employees that they will be getting the smartphone of their choice. Whether it’s a Samsung, HTC, Nokia or Apple, they could have it. The list even includes new models such as the Samsung Galaxy S III, Nokia Lumia 920, iPhone 5 and the HTC Evo 4G LTE.

The best part about it, Yahoo will foot the voice and data bills of their employees. Such a lovely gesture!

But RIM not being a part of the selection is a big slap to the face.

Not only is RIM losing ground in the market share race but companies are turning their backs off of the once king of the smartphone market.

According to a recent study by Chitika, RIM had a 25% market share last September 2011. As of July this year, their numbers continue to dwindle and ended at 1%.

Is Yahoo reflecting the current status of RIM then?

Image Source: knowyourcell.com

HTC and LG try to take the phablet challenge

The phablet, a term coined after the arrival of the original phablet – the Samsung Galaxy Note, now has a market all to itself. It addressed a niche that needed a much larger display, but still retaining smartphone possibilities. Not only that, it was also a device that resurrected the stylus in the form of the S-Pen. This market has grown, and now HTC and LG want a piece of the pie.

The Samsung Galaxy Note is a device that differentiates itself in two aspects. One is the display which is over 5 inches diagonally. The other is the great implementation of the stylus in the overall functionality of the device, boosting productivity and accuracy. These two factors created the ultimate productivity smartphone-tablet hybrid.

LG, a major South Korean brand, could see that the Samsung Galaxy Note was indeed a winner product, and the product line is going somewhere in the future. That is why they created the LG Optimus VU, which Verizon has ironically named the LG Intuition. It was meant to emulate the same success that Samsung had with the Samsung Galaxy Note, but in many people’s eyes, it falls short.

The LG Intuition is soon to hit Verizon. It has been made official, and will be available for $199 in a contract. The LG Intuition also has a 5-inch display, but uses a 4:3 aspect ratio. This makes the device wider at portrait than the usual phones we use, making it harder to fit into the pocket, and harder for smaller hands to use.

Many reviews already find that the LG Optimus VU, now LG Intuition, had a very poor implementation of the Stylus compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note which incorporates the stylus pretty well within the operating system. Otherwise, the specs seem good on paper, rated at 1.5 GHz with its dual core Snapdragon processor, with 1 GB of RAM and LTE capabilities. Then again, usability is always the greatest factor above specs, so even if the device does perform well on paper, it may take a hit in usability with its poor design.

HTC is on the losing side right now, and they are trying to bounce right back into the game. The problem is they have yet to land a clear winner in the market, and remains to be overshadowed by larger OEMs that can afford better marketing. The HTC One X was indeed awesome, but they needed more than that to get back into this race. Maybe a phablet will do?

That might just be the case after we are treated into a few teaser photos from PhoneHK detailing an HTC smartphone which looks like it has a 5-inch display. The leak shots were rather blurry, but it does seem larger than the HTC One X. Some leaked benchmarks also indicate that the display would have a 1794 × 1080p HD display. There seems to be no stylus, or it could have a stylus but no slot for it like the LG Intuition.

Judging from the blurry shot, Beats is still available for the device. The photos were removed from the source, but copies of the images have already been spread around the web. If HTC was planning to keep this secret, they are one step further from that goal. It looks beautiful by the way, and you can bet we will be watching out for this device.

The phablet is indeed on its way from being a community watch-word to a real device category. I wonder which OEM will launch their own phablet in the future. What are your bets?

Image sources: geeky-gadgets.com, computerworld.com, slashgear.com