Author: Sam Carter

The Coronavirus strikes again! Facebook joins Twitter is pulling out of the SXSW 2020

A glimpse of SXSW 2019
A glimpse of last year’s SXSW |Sources: The Hollywood Reporter & Getty Images

The coronavirus has struck again! Facebook has joined Twitter in withdrawing from the 2020 South by Southwest festival (SXSW). Their withdrawal from the event is due to the corona virus pandemic.

Though SXSW is declaring that the event will go on as planned, many notable attendees have decided to withdraw from the event. Among them are Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter and Facebook confirmed their withdrawals yesterday. Here is how it went.

How and when Twitter withdrew from SXSW 2020?

It was this Sunday that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey postponed his plans to be at the event. This was mainly due to the company’s stance and curbs on travel due to the coronavirus outbreak and crisis.

A Twitter spokesperson, in fact, stated: “Twitter is implementing a mandatory global business travel restriction for our employees, effective immediately. This, unfortunately, includes SXSW.”

Apart from Jack Dorsey, the company canceled employee travel to that event and further announced yesterday that it was stopping all business travel and events that were not crucial in nature.

The policy took place with immediate effect at the time of announcement. It would remain in effect due to two reasons:

  • Until and unless a vaccine for the corona virus has been discovered.
  • The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control declare it is safe to step back from precautionary measures regarding the pandemic.

Twitter spokesperson Siobhan Murphy stated in an email to an undisclosed media firm that the company travel restriction on employees included SXSW unfortunately.

Even the organization’s #TwitterHouse at SXSW which was to have an array of events and programs has been canceled as well.

Why did Facebook withdraw from SXSW 2020?

Facebook revealed that it withdrew from SXSW 2020 because of concerns regarding the corona virus. This move came shortly after Twitter’s withdrawal from the event.

According to a statement released by Facebook’s spokesperson: “Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year.”

The company spokesperson also stated that the company did not have any additional details upon being asked about the number of employees expected to attend the event.

The 2020 SXSW is scheduled to start on March 13 and end on March 22 in Austin, Texas.

The massive drop in the rate of participation from large tech organizations is raising concerns about whether the SXSW will be postponed days before it’s scheduled to start or not.

Recently a petition has been signed by more than 25,000 individuals on Change.org which calls for the cancellation of SXSW 2020.

According to reports in different media outlets, SXSW organizers said that the event would still go on as planned. Several Facebook employees were scheduled to speak at the conference.

Last year’s SXSW brought in more than 400,000 attendees from around 105 countries.

Is Facebook’s decision to avert SXSW 2020 a surprising decision?

The social media giant’s decision to avoid the event is not a surprise. Facebook recently canceled its F8 developer conference, which could have taken place on May 5 & 6 in San Jose, California, due to coronavirus concerns.

A global marketing conference planned on February 14 was also canceled by the company.

However, Facebook intends to host local events and stream videos online. It has also restricted social in-person visits to its physical offices.

The social media giant has decided to conduct job interviews through video conferencing tools and methods.

Any other events that have been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak?

This move was followed by the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress which was to be held this year in Barcelona, Spain, twelve days before the event could start at the end of February.

The same led to the postponement of the Game Developers Conference, which will be rescheduled somewhere in Summer this year.

On Monday, Google also stated that its event Cloud Next, to be held in April, will take place virtually this year with streamed keynotes and sessions live.

Microsoft has also canceled one of its conferences due to the coronavirus pandemic. The same goes for the Geneva Motor Show.

How bad is the Coronavirus outbreak now?

The Corona virus outbreak has worsened. It causes a disease known as COVID-19.

The pandemic was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year. It has spread rapidly across the planet (except Antarctica) in a span of two months.

It has killed more 3000 people (mostly in the People’s Republic of China). It has also infected more than 89,000 people around the globe.

More cases of it have emerged in South Korea, Thailand, Japan, and Italy. In the past few days, 6 people have died due to the corona virus in the U.S State of Washington.

Though the World Health Organization has stopped short of calling it a pandemic, it has declared it a public health emergency of international concern at the end of January.

The outbreak of the corona virus has caused the following occurences:

  • It has negatively impacted public health.
  • The stock market is experience turbulence.
  • There are imminent fears of an economic meltdown.
  • It has caused a monumental slowdown in manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain networks in the People’s Republic of China.

Social media networks like Twitter and Facebook are currently wrestling the spread of false information. They are taking needed steps to prevent the spread of conspiracy theories and other false things that can cause panic.

Conclusion

The withdrawal of Facebook and Twitter from the 2020 SXSW indicates how bad the coronavirus outbreak has become. The spread of COVID-19 has progressed at a blazing pace and the situation is worsening.

Though the World Health Organization, leading healthcare bodies and State Governments around the globe are scrambling to control the outbreak, many are yet unsure of what is coming next.

We advise everyone to stay safe and take the necessary measures to protect themselves against COVID-19 and the Corona Virus.

The Xperia 1 II – Say Hello to Sony’s first-ever 5G phone

resenting the Sony Xperia 1 II, Sony's flagship 5G phone.
Presenting the Sony Xperia 1 II, Sony’s flagship 5G phone |Source: Sony

At a time when companies are moving towards folding smartphones and 5G supported phones, Sony finally has come up with a successor that will not only tilt the company ahead of Chinese competitors but also adding a new dimension to the Xperia brand.

It has now been confirmed after early leaks that Sony’s flagship 5G phone is the Xperia 1 II (pronounced Xperia 1 Mark II). As the naming scheme suggests, this phone is the Xperia 1’s successor, and the company recently announced the launch of its flagship 5G smartphone.

From the looks of it, The Sony Xperia 1 II looks like an improvement over its predecessor, the Xperia 1. It packs a lot of meaningful improvements over its predecessor.

According to Mitsuya Kishida, Sony’s President of Mobile Communications, No one understands the experience of entertainment better than Sony. The company is in a unique position in today’s time of 5G cellular technology to give the target users an ‘enriched’ experience thanks to Sony’s extensive content portfolio.

He further stated: “Whether you are a broadcast professional who requires dynamic speed or an everyday user who desires enhanced entertainment, Xperia with 5G takes your mobile experience to the next level.”

What sets the Sony Xperia 1 II apart from the rest?

Sony Xperia 1 II has specifications like the 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED display with a tall 21:9 aspect ratio.

It is powered by a Snapdragon 865 chipset, 8GB RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery with a fast-wired charging of 21 Watts (equivalent to 21 Volts and 1 Ampere).

Among the other specifications are :

  • The IP65 and IP68 certifications for resistance to dust and water.
  • Stereo speakers.
  • A 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Wireless charging.
  • A dedicated shutter key.
  • A fingerprint scanner mounted sideways.

Sounds cool, doesn’t it? 😊 It’s now about to sound even cooler.

Thanks to the presence of the Snapdragon X55 modem, the Sony Xperia 1 II will support sub-6GHz 5G.

However, it will support 5G networks in Europe for now. The device will support 4G networks in other parts of the world.

The flagship 1 II handset will be 4G only in the United States, but US fans should not be heartbroken. Sony recently teased a separate 5G device known as the Xperia Pro.

The company also announced a new mid-range handset known as the Xperia 10 II.

The Sony Xperia 1 II’s camera and the new things coming with it

In terms of the phone’s photography capabilities, Sony has added some neat hardware features such as the 3.5mm headphone jack and wireless charging support.

Surprisingly, both these features were not present on the Xperia 1.

Today’s era is that of the 108-megapixel smartphone cameras, the 12-megapixel triple-camera array found on the back of the Sony Xperia 1 II risks it is getting labeled as a low spec phone on paper. However, the company thinks otherwise.

Sony is of the belief that it has raised the bar up by bringing in features from its Alpha lineup of cameras. 

The phone supports up to 20fps shooting in burst mode (the company believes it to be a first for a smartphone) and has the ability to calculate AF/AE at up to 60 times per second.

What’s more, is that the eye-tracking auto-focus has returned from last year. This system works quite well with animals.

According to Sony, the camera auto-focus covers 70% of the frame.

What else has Sony brought with it?

The Japanese electronics giant has a new Photo Pro app, which joins last year’s Cinema Pro app. The goal here is to give users more manual control over their photography.

According to Sony, this will be done with a similar interface to an interchangeable lens camera. If users wish taking pictures using a normal smartphone camera interface, they can do easily.

Sony Xperia 1 II Real-time Eye AF for both humans and animals in photography.
Real-time Eye AF for humans & animals in photography in the Sony Xperia 1 II | Source: Sony

What is the Camera’s hardware?

The Sony Xperia 1 II has three rear cameras and a 3D iToF sensor to help with focusing. All the three rear cameras feature 12-megapixel sensors, like the iPhone 11 Pro.

On the phone, the main 24mm f/1.7 camera has a large 1/1.7-inch sensor which is almost the same Samsung is using for the Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus’s main cameras but not as large as the one found in the Galaxy S20 ultra.

Another thing the phone has is a 16mm f/2.2 ultrawide camera and a 70mm f/2.4 telephoto camera. On the front, an 8-megapixel selfie camera with a dedicated camera button on the right side of the phone.

The video aspect

The Sony Xperia 1 II can record videos of 4K quality at 60 fps and 2K videos at 120 fps. The company promises superior audio quality whilst recording videos as the phone separates out disturbance caused by wind noise.

The phone also comes in with 360 reality audio decoding which is known to be another first in a smartphone.

The good part of the Sony Xperia 1 II’s screen

Just like its predecessor, the Sony Xperia 1 II has a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED display with a tall 21:9 aspect ratio. The company is somehow keen to emphasize the benefits of such as a screen for media consumption, there is plenty of daily usage people will have on the phone. Among them is the ability to see more emails in an instant and explore more content in an instance on social media.

Pricing and release date

Sony has not announced any price for the Xperia 1 II. However, it will launch the device in Europe in late spring. The U.S release date for the device is unknown.

Currently, the company is working on the Xperia Pro, which is a professional variant of the Sony Xperia 1 II. It is designed specifically for the US market and for use by professionals specializing in broadcast video production.

This will feature 5G mmWave connectivity and an HDMI port which allows it to be hooked directly on professional cameras.

What mid-range handset does Sony have?

Sony currently has a new mid-range handset known as the Xperia 10 II. It has a slightly smaller screen 6 inches in size and 21:9 1080p OLED display. The processor is the Snapdragon 665 which is less powerful than what Xperia 1 II has and a smaller 3,600mAh battery.

Although it has an array of 3 cameras with the same combination of coal length as the Xperia 1 II with two cameras having 8-megapixel sensors. It has the 3.5mm headphone jack but no areas for wireless charging. The company aims to ship it in select markets this coming spring.

Conclusion

The market for smartphones today is obsessed with 108-megapixel cameras and ultra-thin bodies. Renown manufacturers such as Samsung and Motorola went ahead with foldable phones such as the Razr and Galaxy Z Flip to add a twist to the smartphone market today.

Sony Xperia 1 II is not just any smartphone. It has introduced 360-degree spatial audio and front-facing speakers. The welcoming return of the 3.5mm headphone jack adds more to the good over the bad. The handset will hardware-decode streams from Tidal for optimal high-resolution sound quality.

The audio aspect coupled with its compatibility with Sony’s Alpha cameras is set to make this phone a hit with consumers. The arrival of the Xperia 1 II adds more flavor to the 5G phone lineup which was dominated by Apple and Samsung.

The Sony Xperia 1 II will start getting shipped in spring and in a choice of either black, purple or white. The company has revealed that it will launch it on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, and Cricket.

Galaxy Z Flip

Teased a day early at this year’s Oscars – Presenting the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

The Samsung Galaxy Fold was released in September last year. It was able to impress the Smartphone universe greatly with its unusual and creative concepts, but its hardware lacked teeth. The hardware failed to match up to expectations as it had encountered several embarrassing issues.

This did not frighten Samsung, as it still expects to sell around 6 million foldable devices this year and 20 million of such by next year’s end.

Since last year, we all have been hearing news, leaks and details about Samsung’s upcoming foldable phone. It was initially assumed to be known as Galaxy Fold 2, but as it turns out; it is the Galaxy Z Flip. Thanks to an ad for this year’s Oscars, we got to find out when the device will be released as the ad teased Samsung’s new folding phone.

With the new Moto Razr available as the first foldable smartphone, it will be quite interesting to see how much Samsung can add to the line of folding phones.

Previous folding phones have not been able to impress consumers. With the Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung has proved to all how it can also improve the folding phone model to stay ahead of competitors.

Here are some details of the Galaxy Z Flip, based on rumors about it and on what Samsung has showcased at the Oscars.

What do we know about the Galaxy Z Flip so far?

The Galaxy Z Flip is known to have a 6.7-inch folding display, two 12-megapixel cameras on the back (one is regular while the other is ultrawide), two batteries and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 plus processor.

A close up of a flower

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip | Sources: Tom’s Guide and Winfuture.de

The specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Here are its specifications detailed completely:

  • Price: $1,400 – $1,500.
  • Screen size, when unfolded, is an Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) screen of 6.7 inches with a resolution of 2636 x 1080 pixels.
  • The outer screen is a 1.1 inches OLED screen with a resolution of 300 x 116 pixels.
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ CPU.
  • 8GB of RAM.
  • 256GB of Storage.
  • Rear cameras of 12 megapixels, with the main one having a focus of f/1.8 and the ultra-wide-angle one having a focus of f/2.2.
  • A 10-megapixel front camera having a focus of f/2.0.
  • The battery has a power of 3,300 mAh.
  • When folded, the phone has a size of 3.4 x 2.9 x. 0.61 – 0.68 inches.
  • When open, the phone has a size of 6.6 x 2.9 x 0.27 – 0.28 inches.
  • The phone has a weight of 6.5 ounces.

The ad that teased the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip ad that was aired during the Oscars | Source: YouTube

Tuesday’s event won’t just see the Galaxy Z Flip’s full unveiling as Samsung is also expected to launch a trio of Galaxy S20 phones (formerly known as the Galaxy S11).

Based on the latest rumors, the biggest addition to these new phones is compatibility and support for 5G and a 120 Hz refresh rate OLED screen (which matches the ASUS ROG Phone 2) and a new 108-megapixel camera.

Snap from Samsung Galaxy Z Flip's TV ad
Snap from Samsung Galaxy Flip’s TV Ad | Sources: Samsung, YouTube and Tom’s Guide

After seeing only three significant folding devices last year, folding smartphones are still hanging on the edge of the mountain of futuristic reality and fancy ideas.

The Galaxy Z Flip competes directly with the Motorola Razr (which went on sale recently and even failed folding tests last week). Recent news about squeaks in the new Moto Razr when folding raises concerns. Such concerns can be allayed by the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.

The Motorola Razr failing the fold test | Sources: YouTube

Samsung leads the pack of phone makers in terms of output and the Galaxy Z Flip is the company’s second folding smartphone after the Galaxy Fold. The Galaxy fold was a super-luxury item, priced around $ 1,980 (around £2,000 and AU$ 2,950).

The Price

If Samsung sells the Galaxy Z Flip for $1,400 (£1,086 and AU$ 2,090), then the Korean electronics giant will effectively dent Moto Razr’s price of $1,500. Also, the company will be doing it with a phone having a more comprehensive set of specifications and much more durability.

Experts views on the shape and price of Galaxy Z Flip

Experts in the industry concur with the view that Samsung’s adaption of a Clamshell body for the phone is one of the best ways of making these folding smartphones affordable and portable. It is also likely that regular people will be purchasing it with ease, apart from the pricey ones lying around.

However, the price $1,400 price tag is somehow a long way from an earlier report in Singaporean News ‘The Independent’. It revealed that the Galaxy Z Flip could be priced at $850.

The phone is also known to be using quite an extra-thin layer of glass instead of plastic for the screen.

Consumers are hopeful that the phone’s vertical hinge will be easier to use than that of the Galaxy Fold. A lot of people are surprised that the phone was unveiled at last night’s Oscars.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold special edition from Russian jeweler Caviar | Source: Caviar

Yet, it is still affordable than the Galaxy Z Fold. For those who are looking to spend a bit more than that, Russian jeweler Caviar announced that it will release a special edition case for the phone costing $5,000.

Will the Galaxy Z Flip avert the fatal screen issues of the Galaxy Fold?

One thing is clear regarding the phone; Samsung has enhanced the design in order to set aside the design flaws in the Galaxy Fold.

This is the Korean giant’s second attempt at making a folding smartphone. Also, the company used plastic end caps in shrinking a gap preventing entry of dust and debris.

Internal support for the delicate display has also been reinforced.

Android 10 and One UI 2 software are included in the Galaxy Z Flip

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip will have a USB-C charger port and is guaranteed to work with Android 10 and Samsung’s One UI 2 software layer riding on the top of Android OS.

Conclusion

The tease of Samsung Galaxy Z Flip at the Oscars comes in as a surprise. It will be released on February 11 this year alongside the Galaxy S20.

The Galaxy Z Flip comes in as an upgrade to its predecessor Galaxy Fold. The phone is much affordable than the new Moto Razr and is rumored to be much more durable as well.

How will the phone fare practically? Dear readers, please stay tuned to find out more about the Galaxy Z Flip.

A new era begins: A look into the new design of Apple iMac

For quite some time the Apple iMac had been on a stagnant run, to the extent that it has fallen way behind when it comes to an all-in-one design for a personal computer (PC). However, in the recent few days a patent has been spotted which can change all that.

Patently Apple was the first to spot the patent application, which was filed in May 2019. It shows the new Apple iMac comprising curved glass having the keyboard, track-pads and display in the same body.

It does seem weird, but this is the new era where devices are not only odd but innovative, given the case of Lenovo’s new foldable laptop and the new Moto Razr.

Let us now have a good look at the new Apple iMac because there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Apple’s new mysterious computer.

Is the new Apple iMac’s design genius or what?

The design is truly genius and it is unthinkable. But Apple is surely the master in doing the unthinkable.

The American technology giant recently applied for a patent. This patent is itself quite ambitious for a design showcasing a new all-in-one computer integrating both the track-pad, monitor and keyboard into one single curved sheet of glass.

The patent describes the way the supposedly new iMac model’s input and display areas can be built and integrated into a single unit having a unified continuous surface.

A support structure will be behind the display unit which can contain the computer’s central processing unit and provide the space for all the machine’s ports.

The new Apple iMac patent registered by Apple Inc. with the United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO).
Patent design of Apple’s supposedly new iMac | Sources: United States Patent Trademark Office & The Verge

Some parts of the patent suggested that the actual computing component of the iMac might be removable which allows users to slide in their MacBook in that dock.

In case of absence of a MacBook, an iPad can be stuck in on top of the iMac. Since it will be behind the screen, no one is sure how this will be useful.

More diagrams of the patent |Source: Apple & TechRadar

We are also unsure of whether this new radically overhauled iMac will come out in the market in this design or with an improved one. But consumers always find it fun to try and determine what Apple will try to do in the future.

The patent itself is bizarre yet fascinating that even if it does not become real, it excites everyone (including the die-hard fans of Apple) for Apple’s future products in many ways.

Should we think about the patent design of the new Apple iMac again?

Let’s analyze this design, again? Some believe it might not become a final product, but no one should feel disheartened. They also should never feel guilty about fantasizing about an Apple product, especially what this patent design might turn out to be.

As we know it and as it exists today, the iMac is a space-saving wonder machine. It is packed with desktop-class components and is much faster than a MacBook Pro, with an adorable display that can help people perform heavy-duty computing tasks (especially true with the iMac Pro).

One of the best things about the iMac as of right now, is its versatility. It is VESA compatible, meaning that its users can mount it on their own stand as well as on the wall.

Also, the wireless peripherals can let users’ interface with their computer in any way they want.

However, the versatility becomes questionable with the curved glass design.

Evolution of the Macintosh leading to the new Apple iMac

If the new Apple iMac ever makes it to the Apple Store at any point in time in the current decade, then it will be revolutionary.

The Current Apple iMac | Source: 9to5 Mac

Apple adopted the current form of iMac in 2004 of a panel with a screen and CPU with an aluminum case holding it. This form factor was refined through all these years with thinner screens and chins.

Apart from that and changing materials (from plastic and glass to a combo of aluminum and glass), it has remained the same throughout the course of time.

The Apple Macintosh of 1998 | Source: The Telegraph

Before that, the significant changes observed were in the Mac of 1998 when Apple changed the first iconic design into the real iMac. 2002 brought another radical reform with a semi spherical base having a floating flat panel holding the display alone through a balanced, stainless steel arm. 2004 brought the iMac as we know it today.

The Apple iMac of 2002 | Source: The Telegraph

A MacBook docking port in the iMac would be truly revolutionary. The last time anyone saw such was in the amazing and beloved Powerbook Duo, which was a line of sub-notebooks made from 1992 until 1997.

The Powerbook Duo had a mechanized docking station, allowing users to insert their computers into a slot to turn it into a desktop computer instantly. It was complete with expanded slots, a standalone display and added hard drive storage.

The Apple Powerbook Duo |Source: Pinterest

Conclusion

The idea of Apple making something like a revolutionary new iMac is something which is irresistible for both the old and new generation users.

Like Apple made radical changes in 1984, 1998 and 2004, it is not impossible nor is it surprising for consumers and users alike to think about Apple doing something great. Any revolution in Apple’s gadgets will surely start with the iMac for sure.

The Moto Razr’s Facing Competition! All Eyes Now on TCL’s New Foldable Smartphone

A screen shot of a computer

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TCL’s new prototype folding phone | Source: T3

The 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is quite fascinating and this time, we all are getting to see some unique gadgets. Among them is TCL’s new foldable smartphone, a prototype the Chinese electronics giant showcased at the event hoping to give Moto Razr a tough time.

The company recently showcased its prototype for a folding phone. Not only is the scenario for folding phones illuminated further but also TCL is poised to do really well.

The Chinese electronics giant is known to play second fiddle to giants such as Huawei, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Lenovo; but this gadget is set to bring its status to the stop. It has recently showcased the TCL 10 5G smartphone at CES 2020 priced at less than $500, which is affordable than the ones offered by its competitors.

The company has also not only raised eyebrows but also sounded the alarms off with its prototype for a quite workable folding phone. It is being heard that it will be quite affordable in comparison to the upcoming folding Moto Razr (priced at $1,500). Therefore, it is quite a big deal for phone enthusiasts.

How TCL’s new foldable smartphone helps it move a step ahead in folding phone technology?

The company is known for giving consumers top-notch gadgets running on the latest tech and available at the best affordable price. TCL’s new foldable smartphone is set to give the $1,500 Motorola Razr folding flip phone a tough time.

Its shape is an absolute square and when opened in the center, it shows a 7.2-inch plastic display surrounded by thick black plastic bezel like casing. It has no selfie camera inside but behind the screen, it has four cameras in diamond pattern. The color used is eye-catching deep emerald, which is a pleasant sight.

The best part about it is that it has enough strength to stand on its own and that too on any stage of the fold. In comparison, other phones tend to snap either completely open or closed at certain points. Its absolute square shape helps it sit up and be used like a laptop without any hindrance.

TCL’s new foldable smartphone in sit-up position.
TCL’s folding phone prototype in the sit-up position | Source: CNET

The features and functionality of TCL’s new foldable smartphone

TCL’s new foldable smartphone’s prototype does look and feel a bit bulky. Its software responded slowly when the device was rotated, and in some instances it froze. When opened and closed, an audible squeak was heard.

The Chinese electronics giant is renown for its affordable, top quality TVs and is transparent regarding the product prototype. Knowing its reputation, there is no doubt that TCL will add improvements to the phone’s prototype. In fact, it will also be making other products in the future that can bend as well.

TCL’s prototype features a square shaped 7.2-inch display, a quad-camera system and a middle level Snapdragon 660 processor. The operating system in use is Android 9.0 Pie. It is not much of a technical masterpiece, but it does deliver a true folding phone’s experience.

When the refinements will be added, it would be undoubtedly attractive who need folding smartphones at a reasonable price tag. The company sees folding devices as one way of establishing TCL as a leading brand name. That too at a time when competing firms are trying to add spark to a slowing industry through innovative product design. It also hopes to stay ahead in the race of adopting 5G technology.

Release and price date

Right now, no official price, release date or the official product name has been released by TCL. However, there are rumors that it can be released late this year.

The final word

It is true that TCL’s foldable phone prototype is not ready for release yet. Why? Because the phone’s hinge and foldable screen are far from perfect, the software it runs on is sluggish and there are no front facing cameras.

The phone’s specs were mid level but it is only a prototype. The designs and features change with time. Thus, we can be assured that the company will upgrade them before its release.

Should we be thrilled with TCL entering the foldable smartphone market? Yes, we should be!

Why? Because the Samsung Galaxy Fold costs $1980. In contrast, TCL’s phone will be cost less than that.

The company also aims to bring in a folding phone that is not only durable but also without glitches.

Unusual yet Innovative Highlights From CES 2020: Unveiling the World’s First Ever Folding Laptop, Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Fold

Lenovo’s foldable Laptop, the ThinkPad X1 Fold | Source: CNET

Last year, Lenovo showed the world in what looked like to be the first ever folding PC. This year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the computing giant recently unveiled its latest creation and truly the first ever folding laptop to the public; The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold.

That’s right! This is world’s first ever truly folding laptop. It also has spent four years in development and went through six major designs until now.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold can be best described as the perfect blend of a folding smartphone and a top-notch laptop. Renowned companies like Apple, Huawei, Samsung and Motorola have been experimenting with folding smartphones and failed many times before they came up with a durable final design and outcome.

But what Lenovo has shown proves the company’s worth in making top class futuristic gadgets, not for luxury but for everyone. What’s even more interesting is that the Chinese computing giant is more than happy to be experimenting with unusual yet interesting concepts, to bring to the world devices that were once perceived as impossible to produce.

Let us now have a deeper look at how Lenovo braved the odds in producing a technological masterpiece.

Challenges faced by Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold in its development

President of Lenovo’s Commercial PC and Smart Device Business Unit, Christian Teismann, said that the company has been looking for new product types and associated factors for years since the Yoga franchise began.

He further explained: “A PC is only usable for full productivity at a certain size, about 12 to 13 inches. We ultimately came back to something fundamental like a book form factor in business.”

One of the big challenges the company faced in developing a foldable PC was to ensure it lasted up to 5 years at least in its lifecycle as well as having the usability of a PC. Mr. Teismann said the first working sample was released around a year ago and further revealed the ThinkPad brand will evolve to a new level.

He further stated that the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold would be available for order early in this year’s second half with shipments commencing in the middle of the second half.

If such a release time is true, then Lenovo will be shipping the X1 Fold at almost the same time Microsoft debuts its Duo and Neo devices.

Another view of Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold | Source: Lenovo

Features & Specifications of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold

The Lenovo ThinkPad Fold X1 is the latest in a long line of foldable phones and computers. Numerous convertible dimensions attempted to bring the best of laptops and tablets together to create a device on a single overall dimension. It can also be safe to assume that Lenovo’s new Motorola Razr is the inspiration for its creation.

When unfolded, the ThinkPad Fold X1 has a 13.3-inch display which makes it quite compact. A magnetic Bluetooth keyboard (featured with it) that can sit on the device’s bottom half, creating a complete laptop effect. It can also be detached to be used with the unfolded screen.

A separate easel like stand can be used to hoist the device on it which then gives a sort of a desktop effect (it costs $24 & is not included with the product). When the laptop’s system is not in use, the keyboard sits in the middle and gets charged by wireless means. The best part is that it sits nicely when the laptop is folded.

The screen is pOLED (Plastic Organic Light-Emitting Diode) made in collaboration with LG. Lenovo revealed the extent of the screen’s durability tests to be quite extensive.

A carbon fiber plate reinforces the folding mechanism. The hinges used are quite powerful as they are not easily bent by human fingers.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold runs on Windows 10 Pro, and Lenovo brought its own solutions regarding its operability on the folding screen. The laptop is likely to have Windows 10X upon its launch.

The customizations it has are a taskbar icon bringing up a pop-up menu where users can switch between a single full-screen view or a dual-screen mode with an app displayed to each half of the screen. It is expected to be priced around $2,499.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold with wireless Bluetooth keyboard.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold with the wireless keyboard | Source: CNET

The key points of the Lenovo ThinkPad Fold X1 are as under:

  • It has multiple modes and can be opened as a completely flat 13.3-inch display.
  • The product was co-engineered with Intel. It uses its Core series processors & Windows 10.
  • An option for Windows 10X is coming later this year.
  • 5G connectivity for the device is now an option.
  • Lenovo said that it had developed a mode-switching software for Windows 10 which can accommodate multiple use cases & modes on ThinkPad X1 Fold (Windows 10 is known to be slow).
  • The device weighs less than 2.2 pounds.
  • A Bluetooth Mini Fold Keyboard and a leather case are available with the device.
  • When the product is closed by folding, the keyboard can be stored and charged in it (wireless charging) and secured with magnets.
  • A full-sized keyboard, mouse and a second display can connect with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold via a USB Type-C cable and port.
  • A ThinkPad X1 Fold Stand is also available. It can be used in either portrait or landscape mode. This helps the ThinkPad X1 Fold to be used as a desktop.

What makes the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold stand out?

Flexibility is the main advantage of the laptop’s design. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is something that is better than most small laptops; users can open the screen to its full size & prop it up with the built-in kickstand.

They can even use the wireless keyboard with ease which gives the experience of using both a desktop and a laptop. The easel like stand elevates it, making it look like the world’s smallest desktop.

Regarding its performance, the company stated that it runs on a new Intel platform using ‘hybrid technology.’ Battery life is stated to be up to 11 hours. Though skeptics see it as a machine having slow processing power, it would be wise to wait for its launch to see if it proves them wrong.

Conclusion

It is pricey when it comes to a laptop or tablet, but the ThinkPad X1 Fold is set to be the most innovative gadget made by Lenovo. The company has clearly put a lot of thinking in creating it.

This encourages experimental devices to hit the markets this year.

Hence, consumers will be looking forward to buying it and spending a lot of time on it as well.

Reviewing the Apple Watch Series 5 – Always on & always perfect, the best one can have

Apple’s watch has often gained top-class features each year, but it still remains overshadowed by the iPhone. The iPhone 11 may have dominated this year’s current news cycle (following leaks of its specifications) but Apple’s Watch Series 5 is something that has taken us all by surprise.

In fact, its release was announced when the iPhone 11 was launched on September 10, 2019.

In comparison to the Apple Watch Series 4, the Apple Watch Series 5 showcases three new key features:

  • The display is always on.
  • An in-built compass.
  • International emergency calling feature.
  • A faster processor.
  • An app measuring ambient noise (also present in Series 4).
  • 32GB of in-built storage (the previous series had 16GB).

The Apple Watch Series 5 has been launched at the same price as the Series 4. Let’s have a look at how well it fares.

The design aspect of Apple Watch Series 5

The Apple Watch Series 5 does not look different in comparison to the Series 4 one. It comes in a 40 mm case size for people with slimmer wrists and a 44 mm case size. It weighs only 36 grams which makes it barely noticeable on anyone’s wrist.

Even better, it never gets tangled under a shirt’s cuff and its curvy base is ergonomic in delightful terms.

Well, it does look like it was designed by an expert on watches (and it really was!). Its design proves it.

Gone are the days when consumers were upset over the Apple Watch not having a round shape. Its current shape has become an icon, and Apple further refined the features without enlarging the body which not only gave it a further visible screen area but also made it quite attractive as well.

The Apple Watch Series 5 in the iconic white strap | Source: 9to5MAC

Do we need a circular-shaped Apple Watch? I think not because the current design is truly iconic in its own sense.

What is more heartening about the Apple Watch Series 5 is the way it has been presented. It comes in an elongated box (giving customers an occasion to open it). It is wrapped in a protective bag that is soft and tiny.

Packaging of the Apple Watch Series 5 | Source: 9to5MAC

The watch’s straps are kept separately in the box. They come in an elegant leather version, high-performance fluoroelastomer strap, flexible nylon weaves or a metal band one (customers can choose from any one of them). They all come in multiple colors.

The finish? Customers can choose from stainless steel, aluminum, ceramic  and titanium.

The best part of the watch’s materials? They all are recycled hence its environment-friendly.

There is no change in the watch’s design because there simply wasn’t a need for such. In the future, the watch might become not just thinner, but the bezels could be shrunk too. But, at the moment, the Apple Watch Series 5 is exceptionally marvelous.

The Apple Watch Series 5’s display – ‘Always-On’ is a big deal!

Almost all smartwatches in the market have had displays that were always on. In case of Apple’s Watch Series 5, it’s a little more than that.

The Series 5 has a screen which is always on indeed and shows more than just the time. When inactive, the display shows information on the screen but in a dimmer mode. When you raise your wrist to see the time, the screen turns on.

Another positive point the watch has is a fitness tracking display. If you are jogging and want to see the number of meters run without the need for stopping, the display will show it to you (which alleviates a previous complaint on the series 4).

The series 5’s always-on display is more than just anything. Users get to choose the correct watch face. Apple overcame considerations for battery life, to make it function properly.

There is a whole new collection of watch faces to select from; ranging from the California watch face to the simple numerals’ duo. Apple made it easy for users to match the numbers’ color with that of the watch’s strap for a real matching look.

Is there a noise app in it?

The Noise app is interesting, as it signifies Apple’s continuing commitment to users’ health. It notifies users when they are entering a noisy environment and even warns them about the consequences of excessive noise.

For instance, if you are in a disco and the sound levels reach 90 decibels (dB) then it will warn you about the noise level. It may not be instantly helpful, but it does provide users a step above in level of awareness of our surroundings.

Which OS does it run on?

Apple Watch Series 5 runs on WatchOS 6 (which is also available for previous generations too) has new additional features that are fun to have.

After each hour passed, the watch makes a ‘beeping’ sound which is reminiscent of watches the current generation had in their childhood; minus the annoyance it would cause today.

How well do the Apple Watch Series 5 and WatchOS 6 work together?

They both work together quite well, with exceptional performance and an easy to learn user experience. It has beaten all other platforms.

The usability is fun, and the feedback is tactile in nature. Users can also use the digital crown to zoom in and out of the screen, which looks great due to its cohesiveness & smartness.

Battery and performance of Apple Watch Series 5

Previous models have fared better in comparison to the current series 5 in this regard. The Apple Watch Series 5 lasts 16 hours in a day and the older models lasted longer. Hence, a nighttime charging is needed.

The good news is that Series 5’s always-on display does not suck much battery life. The battery only drains when it is intensive use: such as installing apps, testing the compass and maps, tracking fitness cycles, using Siri and the like. It would then leave it with 10% with such robust use.

Depending on the user’s usage of the watch, the Apple Watch Series 5 requires almost daily charging (provided the usage is strong)

Smartwatches offered from competitors such as Fitbit, Garmin, Moto and Samsung offer a longer battery life, but they lack the features Apple Watch Series 5 has. At the moment, it is still pretty much a trade-off.

Compass and Maps made better

The Apple Watch Series 5 has a built-in compass, a feature most consumers would have yawned at.

In fact, consumers and die-hard Apple fans need to realize how useful the compass feature really is. Imagine taking a hike in the forests of Colorado, or a hike on the shores of Manhattan beach.

The compass is not only synced well with the maps but also gives users an idea of where they were heading. It is essential when users are either hiking, camping or traveling in a distant area.

The compass does take advantage of the watch’s built-in magnetometer and Apple is opening its API to third-party apps.

However, it should be noted that certain watch bands can interfere with the built-in magnetometer present in Series 5. In fact, a band with a magnet will put the compass’s performance out of loop. Hence, when going out on an adventure, leave the Milanese loop strap (or the modern buckle) at home.

Price and Availability of the Apple Watch Series 5

The Apple Watch Series 5 is available on Apple’s online store, it’s retail outlets and its partner locations. The pricing options are as under.

For Aluminum body:

  • 42 mm costs USD$ 400.
  • 44 mm costs USD$ 430.
  • 42 mm with GPS & Cellular connectivity costs USD$ 500.
  • 44 mm with GPS & Cellular connectivity costs USD$ 530.

The stainless steel one starts at USD$ 700, the titanium one costs USD$ 800, Ceramic one costs USD$ 1300 and the Hermes version starts from USD$ 1250.

Conclusion

When compared to older models; such as Series 2 (GPS & water-resistant), Series 3 (cellular connectivity) and series 4 (medical-grade health measuring features), Series 5 is a serious upgrade. Apple has set the bar for smartwatches quite high which is impossible to match.

Rival smartwatch makers lag behind the series 5 in other features despite matching it with the screen part.

Series 4 owners can have new features if they install WatchOS 6. Whereas, Series 3 owners can get heart health watch and the always-on display with the WatchOS 6 upgrade. But Series 5 is best in its own style, sense, and uniqueness. It is simply un-matchable.

It looks like a cyberpunk’s dream, but Elon Musk did the unthinkable – presenting the new Tesla Cybertruck!

A side image of the Tesla Cybertruck | Source: Tesla

The American pickup truck market is something that is a hard nut to crack. It’s a lucrative market that relies solely on the strength, sturdiness, toughness and dependability of the pickup truck, capable of surviving al weather conditions imaginable. In short, Americans prefer them to be like the good old pickup trucks.

Image result for Good ol' pickup truck
A 5th Generation Ford F-Series pickup truck |Source: 9GAG

Entering this tough segment through all electric pickup trucks was impossible some time ago. This time however, Tesla may have made the difference.

Throughout these years, we have all seen what Tesla has been doing; it makes a repetitious update on an existing design and makes it look exciting through a flashy press event. But this time, Tesla did it differently than others.

It was just 2 days ago that Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed a pickup truck which is futuristic in design. But that very design is absurd and brutalist in sense. This is one of the best electric pickup trucks that have ever been released.

https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/a5ETkFZTRzpGyu9iS5mvMlvcnik=/2019/11/22/c23427d3-039d-4bc8-aee6-da80c7712826/cybertruck-front.jpg
The Tesla Cybertruck at its launch event | Source: CNET

Presenting to the world, the new Tesla Cybertruck!

Tesla revealed the new Cybertruck at a press event, hosted at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The truck’s price starts from $40,000 and is poised to make it big in the already existing, tough and robust pickup truck market in the United States.

Having a look at Tesla Cybertruck’s design evokes some serious thoughts about funkiness, outer space and the future. Yet, the pickup’s design is also polarizing. If customers accept the fact that there is more than what meets the eye, they should know that it will go into production late in the year 2021.

This is one of the first all-electric pickup trucks ever launched in the United States. It also comes in with some remarkable features.

  • It can seat six people with relative ease.
  • The company claims it is bulletproof (both the body and the glass).
  • It has an adjustable ride height.
  • The loading bed is known as the vault (due to its retractable cover). It is 6.5 feet long.
  • An on-board air compressor is present.
  • An outlet allowing users in running power tools & charging their gadgets. It draws power from an in-built battery pack.

Measurements and Performance of the Tesla Cybertruck

The Tesla Cybertruck promises to bring a new class of speed, adaptability, versatility and of course, strength. This is the only truck of its kind making all of these possible on an all-electric design and specifications.

The powerful drivetrain and low center of gravity gives exceptional traction control & torque, which helps the truck obtain acceleration from 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in just 2.9 seconds and up to 500 miles of range.

tesla cybertruck features price specs release date photos 3
The interior of Tesla Cybertruck | Source: Digital Trends

The Tesla Cybertruck is 231.7 inches (19.31 feet) long, 79.8 inches (6.65 feet) wide and 75 inches (6.25 feet) tall. It has a seating for a total of six individuals. That’s right, six individuals so talk about the truck being roomy.

Comparing these measurements to that of the Ford F-150, it measures between 209 and 250 inches (17.43 and 20.83 feet) long, 80 and 86 inches (6.67 and 7.16 feet) wide, and between 75 & 78.5 inches (6.25 and 6.54 feet) tall. This does make them both pretty much the same in size.

When it comes to performance, they sound too good to be true because Elon Musk claims that the Tesla Cybertruck will be able to reach 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds. That will be before it continues through the quarter-mile marker in just under 11 seconds.

Its off-road statistics are praiseworthy. It offers an approach angle of 35 degrees, a departure angle of 28 degrees and a ground clearance of up to 16 inches (1.3 feet). At the moment, three ranges (models) will be offered, with 250 plus miles at the low end and the top end having an amazing 500 plus miles.

When it came to the towing aspect, the Tesla Cybertruck will be capable of towing around 14,000 pounds (6,350 Kilograms). On the launch event, a video was played and according to it; the Cybertruck beat the Ford F-150 in a tug of war.

Tesla ATV
An ATV loaded on the load bed of Tesla Cybertruck | Source: CNET and Tesla

It should be noted that all of the tech industry’s big names and minds have tried pulling off a ‘Steve Jobs’ thing by means of so-called innovations which have often flopped badly.

But here, Elon Musk has pretty much delivered what he said. At the launch event, Elon Musk revealed that an ATV can fit in the truck and even charge in its loading bed. It may sit in awkwardly, but it is also worth noting that it charges there too.

The Tesla Cybertruck’s body and Looks – Where did it come from?

When General Motors launched Saturn in 1985, it had faced a lot of laughter because innovative designs back then were fantasy.

The design of the Tesla Cybertruck brings to mind something from the funky universe of cyberpunks. Instead of fitting aluminum panels over an existing skeletal frame, Tesla used an exoskeleton made of cold rolled stainless steel. That is a pretty strong material and a pretty strong body frame.

At the launch event, the body was tested with blows from a sledgehammer. All it did was just slightly dent the Cybertruck’s finish. Musk claims the stainless-steel alloy used on the Tesla Cybertruck is strong and this is the case.

Apart from the sledgehammer, he claims it can also withstand firing from certain types of small arms. It does prove that the stainless-steel exterior body of the truck is something huge when it comes to engineering pickup trucks.

If all of this is real without any doubt, then the Tesla Cybertruck is a vehicle no one would want to crash into.

The Cybertruck is quite big and roomy. The outside may look polarizing, but the inside is quite spacious. For such a design, it seemed impossible to have a spacious interior and it does look like Tesla pulled off a magic trick in this regard.

Somehow, the pickup’s look is quite hideous. The Blade Runner inspired design on the pickup is currently a prototype at the moment. Customers will now be hoping that when it is formally launched, it will look better than its architype version.

Bulletproof glass – Is it really bulletproof?

tesla-cybertruck-unveil-retouched-1
Shattered glass of the Tesla Cybertruck during its launch event | Source: CNET

Tesla claims that the Cybertruck is fitted with Ultra-strong glass and polymer-layered composite. It can absorb and redirect impactful force which not only tolerates damage but also helps deliver improved performance as well.

On the launch event, Tesla’s employees tested Tesla’s armored glass by having a giant steel ball thrown at it from various heights. It was done separately which wooed the audience. It did seem to be bulletproof at first when the special demonstration was carried out.

Instead of Tesla moving on to another demonstration, Elon Musk urged Tesla’s design head Franz von Holzhausen to throw a heavy steel ball at the driver’s window of the truck. Surprisingly, the so-called bulletproof armored glass shattered.

Elon Musk remarked: “Well, maybe that was a little too hard. It didn’t go through, that’s a plus sign.”

When Franz von Holzhausen threw the steel ball on the rear side window, it shattered too. Consequently, Musk Remarked: “Room for improvement.”

The audience did have chuckles and laughs at this one. This made the Tesla Cybertruck look like an old prop from the movie Blade Runner that spent a night parked on a street in San Francisco.

This certainly raises eyebrows because having Tesla’s CEO and design head appear at ease after defacing their new vehicle at a launch even makes it look like something that has seriously gone off the hook and off the track too.

Tesla Cybertruck’s specifications

Now let’s get down to its specifications.

Single motor real wheel drive (RWD) Dual motor all-wheel drive (AWD) Tri-motor all-wheel drive (AWD)
0-60 Mph in less than 6.5 seconds. 0-60 Mph in less than 4.5 seconds. 0-60 Mph in less than 2.9 seconds.
Range of 250+ miles. Range of 300+ miles. Range of 500+ miles.
Drivetrain is rear-wheel drive. Drivetrain is Dual motor all-wheel drive Drivetrain is Tri-motor all-wheel drive.
Storage is of 100 cubic feet. Storage is of 100 cubic feet Storage is of 100 cubic feet.
Vault length is 6.5 feet. Vault length is 6.5 feet. Vault length is 6.5 feet.
Towing capacity is 7500 pounds and more. Towing capacity is 10,000 pounds and more. Towing capacity is 14,000 pounds and more.
Standard autopilot feature. Standard autopilot feature. Standard autopilot feature.
Standard Adaptive Air Suspension. Standard Adaptive Air Suspension. Standard Adaptive Air Suspension.
Up to 16 inches of Ground clearance. Up to 16 inches of Ground clearance. Up to 16 inches of Ground clearance.
35-degree approach angle. 35-degree approach angle. 35-degree approach angle.
28-degree departure angle. 28-degree departure angle. 28-degree departure angle.

How many orders of the Tesla Cybertruck have been booked so far? and what are the prices for its 3 models?

Regardless of its different looks, the potential Tesla Cybertruck has is something which is phenomenal. Tesla revealed that it has around 200,000 orders for it already, with 17% of customers paying for the entry model, 42% paying for dual motor one and 41% want the speedy tri-motor model.

Also, the prices for each version are as under:

  • Single motor rear wheel drive costs $39,900.
  • Dual motor all-wheel drive costs $49,900.
  • Tri motor all-wheel drives costs $69,900.

It should be kept in mind that these are just reservations and not absolute commitments in the purchase of the Cybertruck.

Conclusion

The American pickup truck market is a $100 billion market comprising of 89% male owners, a robust brand loyalty in comparison to other segments and does not care about sales pitches of environment friendly engines.

In short, they prefer a metal beast that runs on fossil fuels and capable of lasting longer than others.

Tesla is already reeling from the nightmare of its solar panels catching fire and the consequent lawsuits. This matter is further compounded by another lawsuit related to a fatal autopilot crash.

The Cybertruck does have innovative features. It does look powerful and futuristic but in the end, it is a prototype.

So, the question remains; Could this be the golden feather in Tesla’s cap? Or will it flop like another tech product? Dearest readers, Stay tuned to find out.

Say Hello to the New Motorola Razr 2019 – Motorola’s Answer to the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X

The new fold-able Moto Razr 2019 |Source: Self

Who could have anticipated its return after all those years, yet here it is. The New Motorola Razr has made a fabulous comeback as an Android smartphone that can be folded in half (akin to its iconic flip predecessor). The 2019 Razr may look pretty much like the ones still stamped on our minds, but it replaced the old T9 keypad and the small LCD with a 6.2-inch plastic foldable OLED panel. Its camera is a double duty one with 16 megapixels.

Instead of Android 10, it runs on Android 9 Pie. Upon its launch in January 2020, it is expected to cost USD$ 1500 (equivalent to GBP 1170 and AUD$ 2200).

Why is the new Razr fundamentally different from the other foldable phones present at the moment? It turned a typical sized smartphone into something that is compact and easy to carry around. When the Razr is folded in half, it softly snaps shut from top to bottom. One side lays snuggled on top of the other, without a visible gap between both halves of the screen.

Because of this, Motorola has solved the world’s biggest design puzzle which has left other foldable smartphones (including the Samsung Galaxy Fold) in a conundrum. Not only is the phone pocketable, it reeks of nostalgia yet is streamlined to weather the future.

What sets the new Motorola Razr apart from its predecessors and other phones?

The original Razr was one of the world’s bestselling phones which helped it earn an iconic status. Motorola updated it into a newer version which is wider, heavier, and replete with new features. The foldable Razr gives Motorola a unique opportunity to steal the show.

This phone comes at a time when foldable smartphones are teetering precariously on the edge between reality and fantasy. It was only last year when foldable phones were pegged as a revolution in the smartphone design, and made the dream of a large-screen device being portable a reality.

However, what went wrong were the issues with screens and massive delays in launch, especially from major players, including Samsung and Huawei. It is now Motorola’s turn to bask in the spotlight. If Motorola comes out successful, it will herald a new era for the fold-able phone industry.

The new Motorola Razr folded and unfolded | Image Credits: T3 & Yanko Design

What’s it like using the new Motorola Razr?

In terms of the screen, it is a 6.2-inch P-OLED screen that is foldable. Motorola worked together with Lenovo’s laptop team on this design. The screen is like a thin film that curls in the shape of a teardrop when the screen is being folded.

The New Motorola Razr’s patented hinge design has an open cavity covering the looped part of the screen. Most plastic screens do not fold completely flat without a crease appearing in the middle. The thin layer of air gap is hardly conspicuous. When the screen curls like a teardrop, it creates a gap of 0.2mm between the hinge and the display.

The front screen might look tall but it is narrow with a ration of 21:9. It also has a resolution of 2142 x 876 pixels. Most of the apps are located on the bottom side of the screen along with the controls. This makes it easy for users to reach and use them with just their thumb. It also works better than other phones with one hand only.

The New Motorola Razr folded | Source: Self

On the outside, users can see an 2.7-inch OLED external screen. It is a quick view display that shows essentials such as time, notifications, alerts, signals and battery life. Users cannot type on it but can respond through recorded messages or their voices. In fact, users can use it to check what they look like in selfies.

Google Pay and Google Assistant can be used on the quick view display, as well as for controlling music. The useful yet addictive Motorola gestures are present too. Move the phone in a twister pattern to turn on the camera and shake it sideways to turn on the flashlight.

You can hardly feel the hinge tension, when opening and closing the phone because the movement is smooth and gradual. The hinge’s gears are visible, and magnets hold their sides together. This mechanism prevents the creases from forming on the screen.

People have been asking about the presence of a thick plastic chin on the bottom of the New Motorola Razr. Such is because it reminds us all of its original design so hence it gets a good score for nostalgia. It also houses the optical fingerprint reader, the antennas, vibrating motor, GPS & Wi-Fi units. Most importantly, it is like a handle for users to hold on to when they are watching a video.

To make a call, the phone has to be opened but when on a call, the phone can be closed and the conversation can continue as long as you are using the speakerphone, connected via Bluetooth or are on a video call. However, it closes out most apps with the music player being an exception (the quick view screen helps control music tracks).

The 21:9 screen is termed by Motorola as its Cinemavision display. Small black bars will be bordering the sides when videos are being watched.

Beneath the exterior display is a 16-megapixel camera that is used to take photos and selfies. The five-megapixel camera that is visible when the Razr is unfolded is used mainly for video calls. However, telephoto and wide-angle lens won’t be available. But a software aided portrait and night vision mode are available.

The new Motorola Razr completely opened | Source: Self

The phone is available in 4G and not in 5G. It does have quite a decent amount of memory but has no SD card slot. The phone also lacks a SIM slot so there are pretty much quite some tradeoffs for those looking to buy the new Motorola Razr.

Specifications of the New Motorola Razr

Specifications of the phone are as under:

  • Snapdragon 710 processor.
  • 6GB RAM.
  • 128 GB of internal storage.
  • Snapdragon 710 processor.
  • 2.7-inch Quick View display (800×600).
  • 6.2-inch foldable pOLED display (2142×876).
  • 16 megapixels front-facing camera focal point 1.7 with night vision mode).
  • 5 megapixels internal camera.
  • USB-C port present.
  • eSIM.
  • Fingerprint reader.
  • Android 9 pie.

What do users get in the box?

When prospective buyers think of buying and unboxing the Motorola Razr, their experience is most likely to be memorable. Motorola has created a unique and eye-catching box with sharp corners which will have a tinted, transparent top with a speaker grill.

This way, users can play music from their Razr phones through the box when they slot the phone in the box in an upright position.

The phone comes with:

  • Wired USB-C earbuds.
  • An accessory case for sunglasses.
  • 15-watt TurboPower charger.
  • USB-C cable.
  • Headset adaptor.

Conclusion

While the phone comes equipped with some pretty good features but with a hefty price tag of USD$ 1500, we wonder if its worth the buck. It runs on Android 9 instead of 10 (for which Motorola promised timely updates) and the battery power is 2,500 mAh, which is 10 percent less than what Google’s Pixel 4 currently offers.

With the phone being launched in collaboration with its exclusive telecom partner Verizon, users may need to go to competitors with the compatible ECM format if they wish to switch their carriers. Other than that, the processor will be 2 years old at the time of the launch.

Still, the new Motorola Razr is primed to be a hit among customers when it goes into official launch. For its price tag, this phone is truly going to be unique among the many present in the ever competent smartphone market. It is truly a comeback sign from Motorola and its answer to the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X.

After months of waiting, its finally here – The Samsung Galaxy Fold is getting released!

After a long delay due to last moment discovery of embarrassing flaws, Samsung is now releasing its first fold-able phone. The launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold is finally near and is just a few days away.

People began registering for the USD 2000 foldable smartphone recently in China. Samsung is to release the phone on September 6, 2019, which coincides with the opening day of the 2019 IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin.

What a day to launch the new phone!

When was the release date chosen?

Yonhap News Agency reports Samsung and other mobile operators are discussing the launch date to be September 6 in South Korea itself. Samsung will use the event to showcase the revised model at the 2019 IFA electronics fair in Berlin.

At the moment, it seems as Samsung is quite confident to bring the release period earlier than anticipated. Earlier reports indicated the phone’s launch to be later in September.

The initial shipment of the Samsung Galaxy Fold for South Korean consumers numbers between 20,000 to 30,000 units. Its price in South Korea will be 2.3 million equal per unit (equal to USD$ 1902). Samsung is expected to launch the folding smartphone in China & the United States in September 2019 but at later dates.

Any corrections made in the Galaxy Fold?

Samsung has revealed a few corrections it made to the Galaxy Fold, including:

  • tucking in the protective screen layer,
  • addition of further metal layers beneath the screen to reinforce it
  • reduction of space between the body & the hinge.

The corrections to the model were made after reviewers reported major issues with the review units of the Galaxy Fold, such as broken, bulging & flickering screens. The reviewers also peeled off the protective screen layer by mistake, assuming that it was a screen protector. But it later turned out to be a key component of the phone’s display.

This is what caused the phone’s launch to be delayed.

Brief overview of the price and features of the Galaxy Fold

The current handset of the Samsung Galaxy Fold is priced at USD$ 2,000, an amount most consumers are not willing to pay. Currently, it is not available to a larger segment of the population.

Samsung is planning to use an affordable design to reduce its price with an internal storage of just 256 GB. That is half of what the current Galaxy Fold offers (i.e. 512 GB).

Further specifications of the phone are:

  • A 7.3-inch primary flexible AMOLED display.
  • An operating system of Android 9.0 with one UI.
  • Uses a CPU of Snapdragon 855.
  • 12 GB RAM.
  • External display (which is closed) is 4.6 inches with HD+ display.
  • Main display is of 7.3 inches (QXGA +).
  • Rear Camera of 12 megapixel wide-angle (f1.5 to f/2.4), 12-megapixel telephoto (f/2.4) and 16 megapixel ultra-wide (f/2.2).
  • Closed front camera of 12 megapixel (f/2.2).
  • Open front camera of 10-megapixel selfie (f/2.2), with 8-megapixel RGB depth (f/1.9).
  • Fingerprint sensing power button.

It is currently available in the colors: Space Silver, Cosmos Black, Martian Green and Astro Blue.

Smartphones and other gadgets that are rivalling the Samsung Galaxy Fold

At the moment, Huawei’s Foldable smartphone Mate X was also scheduled to arrive in September. But, Huawei reported that it is unlikely to release any earlier than November. The only other competing gadget to the Samsung Galaxy fold is Apple’s foldable iPad.

Will Samsung capitalize on the smartphone market with the new & improved Galaxy Fold?

Samsung has fixed the problems in the hinge and in the screen with reinforcements & extra layers. It will hopefully survive thousands of folds it will endure without showing any signs of wear. It is confident that the Galaxy Fold will have a better life span as compared to the normal smartphone.

If the Galaxy Fold succeeds after the launch, then the phone will definitely be able to succeed and thrive in the market and win billions of hearts too.

First Walmart and now, Amazon! The Story of Tesla Solar Panels Catching Fire

First, it was Walmart whose shops caught fire due to Tesla solar panels and that resulted in Walmart suing the electric car maker. Now, Amazon has also experienced a fire that stems from Tesla’s solar panels, as reported by CNBC.

Amazon also revealed that it has no further plans to install any more solar panel systems following the incident. However, Tesla claims that incident is isolated.

Somehow, Tesla’s claims of Amazon’s incident being isolated are dumbfounded. In the past week, Walmart has filed a lawsuit against Tesla. Walmart alleges that the fires at sever of its stores were due to the solar panel systems, and the company had Tesla install them on more than 200 of its stores across the states.

What Happened at Amazon’s Redland, California Warehouse?

Amazon discloses Tesla solar panels on the roof of one of its warehouses caused a fire last year. Such adds to the scrutiny of Tesla’s solar panel business following Walmart’s lawsuit filed against Tesla last week which has condemned the electric car giant’s solar business to the bottom of the barrel.

Amazon revealed to Bloomberg in an email on Friday that one of Tesla’s installed solar energy systems installed at its Redlands, California warehouse caught fire in June 2018. Representatives from the e-commerce giant declined to comment in public regarding the incident but have somehow confirmed that the company will no longer be working with Tesla anymore.

Following the news of Walmart suing Tesla, both companies released statements that they are in talks to resolve the issue. However, the issue has become serious since Walmart has suffered damages at 7 of its stores which also resulted in these stores getting closed temporarily.

The Amazon warehouse incident somehow looks to be a small-scale incident and the e-commerce behemoth revealed that it has a relatively smaller number of solar panel systems installed in comparison to Walmart.

Walmart installed Tesla’s solar panel systems from its subsidiary SolarCity some time ago and Tesla acquired the solar energy company in 2016, aiming to create a one-stop shop for everything solar.

However, things are not rosy for Tesla as its acquisition of SolarCity back then for USD$ 26 billion is marred by controversy that still goes on today. Elon Musk’s first cousins Peter Rive and Lyndon Rive were the brains behind SolarCity and Musk held 1/5th of the company’s shares valued around USD$ 575 million at the end of the year 2015.

Such does not spare either Tesla or its subsidiary SolarCity. The operations of SolarCity are not going well as its parent Tesla had hoped. It faced issues in production due to technical challenges a year ago. A recent report says that Tesla has been exporting most of the solar cells it has produced made at its Gigafactory in New York, instead of using them for Solar Roof installations.

A representative from Tesla communicates the following to Business Insider:

“All 11 Amazon sites with solar from Tesla are generating energy and are proactively monitored and maintained. Last year, there was an isolated event that occurred in an inverter at one of the Amazon sites. Tesla worked collaboratively with Amazon to root cause the event and remediate. We also performed inspections at other sites, which confirmed the integrity of the systems. As with all our commercial solar installations, we continue to proactively monitor the systems to ensure they operate safely and reliably.”

How Much Does Walmart’s Lawsuit Add to Tesla’s Woes?

Walmart filed a lawsuit against Tesla claiming its solar panels were responsible for fires at seven of its stores. Such has forced the retail giant to take off solar panels from all of its 240 stores where they were installed by Tesla.

Walmart released the following statement in its complaint against Tesla:

“To this day, Tesla has not provided Walmart with the complete set of final ‘root cause’ analyses needed to identify the precise defects in its systems that caused all the fires. The number of defects, however, is overwhelming and plainly indicative of systemic, widespread failures by Tesla to meet the standard of care, as set forth in the governing contracts, as to the solar systems installed at Walmart’s stores.”

Tesla is yet to respond to Walmart’s complaint.

Will Tesla Survive the Onslaught Through Its Latest Tactics?

Last summer, Tesla started ‘Project Titan’ which is known be an attempt in quietly replacing defective solar-panel parts across the United States, as per documents seen by Business Insider.

However, Tesla’s solar business has been hit by a sharp drop in sales. CEO Elon Musk is yet to tweet about the complaints. Instead, he announced a refurbished pricing plan as a way to boost the slowdown in the solar business.

Somehow, no one seems to be convinced by Elon Musk’s statement.

Not Another One! Facebook And Instagram Developing a New App Called ‘Threads’

Who would have thought that Facebook would be developing another new messaging app? And this time, it is doing so to rival Snapchat. This app will be named ‘Threads’.

Facebook is reported to be developing Threads as a new messaging app. It is aimed at helping users share more information more often with their close friends. Those close friends will be picked up from the close friends’ list users have on Instagram and Facebook.

What is the functionality of Threads?

Threads is created to automatically share close details, such as location, internet speed, battery life and the like. The app also shares typical social media posts such as text and pictures. Threads is intended to work with the ‘close friends list’ of users listed on Instagram.

Threads will act as a companion to Instagram. Currently it is in testing at Facebook

Threads is engineered as Instagram’s ‘sister’ app and invites users to share close details with their close friends using Instagram’s creative tools. The app includes an opt-in ‘automatic sharing’ feature allowing people on the app user’s close friends list receiving regular updates, about where the person is, and vice versa.

Threads also allows users to update their respective statuses manually, with those statuses being shown in the main feed along with the messages. The app will show online users with a green dot, allows users to quickly read stories shared by friends and also includes its own camera function.

It is the latest in apps automating status sharing through mobile phone sensors & one-tap status sharing. In 2014, a similar app called ‘Status’ tried doing the same thing as Threads, and in 2015, Danny Trinh’s free app took another yet similar approach.

Why are Facebook & Instagram developing Threads?

After facing years of sustained & rising criticism in its negative role in the promotion of political propaganda, false news, false information, spam content, failure to stop large-scale data breaches & verbatim genocide, Facebook signaled major changes which are currently in progress.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced this year that his company would be improving Facebook’s privacy.

Facebook has also started a project aimed at merging the services of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. Such will allow users to send messages instantly across these apps without the need for switching between the apps. The apps will remain separate, but their messaging functionalities will now be under one umbrella.

Could this be an attempt by Facebook to mask its numerous failures? It is becoming highly probable that Facebook is doing so by making an impression in the general public that it is moving on from being an open public forum to a close one shielding users’ information.

The concluding point – Will Thread survive or face another rollback?

There are doubts among the general populace about the survival of threads after its inception. Such became evident when the social media giant ended its support for Direct, which was a camera-first app that not only resembled but mimicked Snapchat.

Direct was unveiled in 2017 and was tested in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey & Uruguay. However, the launch of direct was canceled before a global release was to occur. There is ambiguity in whether Threads will be launched or not.

There is a likelihood that Facebook might end the development of the app before giving it to the general public (as it did with Direct). However, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg asserted back in March that he sees private messaging as the company’s future.

Threads appears to be part of the efforts of Facebook’s latest vision of making private messaging become a reality.

Will Facebook succeed this time? Or will it falter with just another failed launch?