Acer Predator Helios 500 Is Finally Official: Features Intel Core i9, Overclockable GTX 1070 and More

The leak was indeed true: Acer today has finally taken the drape off its latest gaming laptop, the Predator Helio 500 during the Next at Acer media event in New York today. Just like what we have learned two months ago, we are indeed looking at a huge gaming beast.
Equipped with a 17.3-inch display that supports NVIDIA G-SYNC technology, users are able to obtain it with either full HD 144Hz or 4K panel. It can also be equipped with up to 8th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and Intel Optane storage drive accelerator.
Other than that, the gaming beast also comes with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 that can be overclocked via Acer’s own PredatorSense app which also allows users to set the RGB lighting on the laptop’s keyboard as well as hotkeys and fan speed. The app also provides temperature reading which is quite essential especially when users decide to overlock the laptop.
Speaking about temperature, a pair of Acer AeroBlade 3D metal fans together with five heat pipes help the temperature of the Predator Helios 500 in check. The Predator laptop also comes standard with two Thunderbolt 3 ports together with one DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0 port which allows the laptop to support up to three external monitors at the same time.
It is also equipped with a pair of speakers and a subwoofer which have been enhanced with Acer TrueHarmony and Waves MAXXAudio technology. While its availability in Malaysia is not yet known at the moment, the Predator Helios 500 will be released in North America market next month with a starting price of USD 1,999 (about RM 7,960).
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Sony Admits Xperia’s Problems During Investor Relations Day

Sony has acknowledged the failings of its mobile unit during its annual Investor Relations Day. The company reflected on the struggling Xperia brand, and took a candid look at why it has failed to meet expectations.
Sony revealed that its main problem is that it struggled in improving the product line to better compete with competitors. Pointing to problems with adopting the latest market trends – such as thinner bezels and dual cameras – quickly enough.

New CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, is not yet ready to give up on the unit. As the company conglomerate looks to double-down on new technology for its smartphones. The company’s plan for its mobile unit includes the adoption of 5G technology, a heavier focus on European markets, further partnership with mobile carriers, and take better advantage of Sony’s in-house technologies.

It’s a good thing for any company to admit its shortcomings. Whether or not it improves upon the weaknesses is another story. We’ll definitely be watching what Sony has in store for future Xperias under the new regime.
(Source: Xperia Blog)
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TM To Make A Mystery Announcement On 8 June; Claims To Be The First In Malaysia

TM today has revealed that the company will be making what seems to be a significant announcement on 8 June. It is rather hard to tell or even guess the nature of the announcement though since the only hint given by today’s revelation by TM is a picture of an onion that was posted on various social media channels belonged to the company.
Inside the picture, there is also a text in Bahasa Malaysia which translates to “the onion will be peeled on 8 June 2018,”. The only other hint that TM has included alongside the image is the #JanganMembawang hashtag which seems to be inspired or related to its recent anti-fake news #FITNET campaign.

Bawang akan dikupaskan pada 8 Jun ini…. Ada sesuatu yang kami ingin kongsikan dengan anda semua, tapi bukan sekarang. Bertabahlah, masanya akan tiba. Like dan follow page myTMgroup sekarang, sebelum terlambat! #JanganMembawang
— unifi (@unifi) May 23, 2018

There is also a sign within the picture that the announcement will be shown live through TM Group’s Facebook page on the said date. Additionally, it will also involves something that is said to be the first of its kind in Malaysia.
Given the intriguing teaser, guess we have to wait until 8 June to find out what is it all about. Let’s hope it is really something that worth the hype.
(Source: TM, unifi)
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Samsung To Begin Mass Production 7nm Processors In 2018

Samsung has announced that it will begin mass producing 7nm chips this year. To be more specific, the company has said that the manufacturing process will take place sometime in the second half of 2018. For those who may not be aware, current generation mobile chips are based off of the 10nm process technology.
Given the announcement, Samsung’s future Exynos processors along with Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 855 chip will be based on the new 7nm process technology. The company also mentioned that the smaller 7nm chips will be the first to use the “EUV lithography solution.” That said, consumers won’t be seeing 7nm-based processors will only be released sometime in 2019.

Aside from Samsung and Qualcomm processors, Apple too will be employing the 7nm process technology for its A12 SoC, albeit from TSMC instead of Samsung Electronics. This of course, means that the next generation of iPhones will be equipped with 7nm chips; which means they should be more power efficient.
Samsung is also aiming to manufacture 5nm processors in 2019, 4nm chips in 2020, and 3nm chips tentatively in 2021. Either way, “big name” semiconductor manufacturers like Samsung Electronics and TSMC are indeed moving towards smaller process technologies at a rapid pace.
(Source: Android Authority, AppleInsider)
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Nintendo Announces Switch Bundle That Excludes The Dock

Nintendo is set to begin selling a version of the Switch console that ships without the dock. The “Switch Second Unit” is being directly marketed to people who already own a console, seeing that it also lacks the Joy-Con grip, power cord, and HDMI cable.
Interestingly, this bundle still sells for only 5,000 yen (RM180) less than the standard set; which isn’t really much of a saving considering that you still need to buy a good USB Type-C cable for charging. In other words, Nintendo knows precisely who it’s targeting with this bundle.
There is also the matter of this bundle only being available in Japan at the moment. No word has been made about the Switch Second Unit being sold anywhere else, and it could potentially be a country exclusive deal. Which is something that Nintendo has a habit of doing.
[Source: Nintendo]
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Xiaomi Redmi S2 Will Soon Be Available Outside Of China

Xiaomi Global’s spokesperson, Donovan Sung today has revealed that the company will be launching the Redmi S2 smartphone in Indonesia soon. While the well-known executive has hinted that the phone might be heading to markets outside of China in a tweet earlier this month, this is the first time that a specific market was mentioned by Donovan.
The revelation doesn’t really surprise us though as Indonesia is indeed a huge market for Xiaomi especially when it comes to Redmi devices since they are catered for budget conscious users. It is still an interesting decision since the company has just launched Redmi Note 5 in the country last month.

Indonesia Mi Fans, we're excited to launch #RedmiS2 with 16MP AI selfies!
This elegant phone has an amazing hand feel with a beautiful 5.99" full screen display, and is for those users who value self-expression above all.
Where should we launch it next? #Xiaomi
— Donovan Sung (@donovansung) May 23, 2018

Made for selfie lovers, one of the most touted features of Redmi S2 is its 16MP front camera which also comes with AI Portrait Mode and LED flash. There is also a dual camera setup on its back that is equipped with 12MP and 5MP sensors.
Other than that, the Redmi S2 also features 5.99-inch HD+ display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, and 3080mAh battery. The phone can be obtained with up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage.

Meanwhile, we also expect the phone to be released in Malaysia as well since it apparently has passed through certification process by SIRIM recently. For those who can’t wait though, certain parallel importers have already brought the Chinese variant into our market anyway.
(Source: Donovan Sung @ Twitter)
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LG Showcases A 77-inch Flexible OLED Display

LG Display showcased its largest flexible OLED display to date at the recent Society for Information Display (SID) conference in Los Angeles. The 77-inch UHD OLED display is also transparent, potentially allowing it to fill spaces as a regular window.
Thanks to the flexibility of the material, the display can be rolled up to a radius of 80mm without compromising its ability to display visuals. The transparent nature of the display also gives it a heads up in design as it can blend into the room decor with ease.
In CES 2018, LG showed a prototype 65-inch rollable TV that can be stored in a compact box when unneeded. This new display is a progression of prototype.
Consumer deployment for the display may start with wrap-around displays for advertisements. Another option is thanks to its 40% transparency, it can be used as a window while deactivated, and a proper LCD monitor when active.
Despite this demonstration, there is still no word on when the first consumer product will be hitting the market.
(Source: DigitalTrends )
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US Government Close To Lifting Sanctions On ZTE

ZTE may have been thrown a lifeline by the Chinese government. Reports are saying that sanctions on the company may soon be lifted as the US and China continue to ease pressure on a potential trade war.
The Chinese company is currently being punished for selling electronics containing components made in the US to both North Korea and Iran. And then later lying about how it was handling the problem.
As it stands, ZTE cannot deal with any US-based company. Being unable to both buy valuable components nor sell its products in the United States. A devastating blow to its business and could potentially spell its end.

However, it could be that the position of the company is being used as a bargaining chip in trade talks between the US and China. The Chinese government has already agreed to reduce import tariffs on American cars, and couple potentially be asked to remove tarrifs on agricultural products.
Neither government is commenting on the matter at the moment, seeing that the trade talks are still ongoing and confidential.
There is little doubt that ZTE will soon see itself back in business. After all, US president Donald Trump has already announced his intentions to help the company through Twitter; saying that too many Chinese jobs have already been lost as a result of the sanctions.
[Source: Reuters]
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Next Sony PlayStation Might Be Powered By AMD Ryzen Technology

It seems that Sony has been working closely with AMD for its next-generation PlayStation 5 (PS5) console. On that note, it’s also very likely that the future console will be powered by a tweaked version of the AMD Ryzen processor.
Evidence to that fact was discovered when the Linux-focused site Phoronix noticed that Simon Pilgrim, a Principal Programmer at SIE in Europe, had been consistently providing several improvements to the LLVM compiler stacks of AMD’s first generation Zen architecture. For context, the LLVM is a CPU compiler used in the PS4 development kit, and is used by developer to tweak, update, or even change the way certain features in the PS4’s functionality.
To date, Pilgrim has submitted a cleanup for a “Znver1” code – a reference to AMD’s first generation Ryzen processor – as well as several Znver1 LLVM improvements over the last two weeks.

This news comes just as Sony’s PlayStation Chief, John Kodera, tweeted that the PS4 is “entering final stages of its life cycle.” Sony released the PS4 back in 2013, and by today’s hardware standards, its internal components are close to being of “advanced” age. With that in mind, it’s really no surprise that Sony would begin its research and development for its future PS5, as R&D cycles usually last for years before a working unit can be shown to the public.
Having a PlayStation console running on a Ryzen processor would be a major step up from the Jaguar APU that is currently used in the PS4. It’s also possible that we could be looking at a console powered by AMD’s Vega GPU architecture, especially since Ryzen is a primarily CPU architecture.
(Source: GitHub via Phoronix, Forbes)
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PlayStation CEO Says PS4 Heading Into Final Stage Of Life Cycle

The PlayStation 4 is reaching the end phase of its life cycle, at least according to comments from PlayStation CEO, John Kodera. This is not necessarily saying that a next generation console is already on the way, but rather that the company will be shifting its focus from selling hardware to other revenue streams over the next couple of years.
Sony has been doing very well with the PlayStation 4, having closed in on the 80 million units sold mark some three years faster than it did with the PS3. On the other hand, the end phase also means that the company is predicting reduced profits for the next fiscal year; owing to an expected reduction in the number of consoles sold.
Instead, there will be a renewed focus on services like PSN and selling more first party games.
In other words, Sony understands that there are only so many people left that don’t own a PS4; and will instead be shifting marketing efforts to those who already own the console. We’re likely to see an expansion of its own game franchises to meet this target as well.
Considering the rave reviews that PlayStation has been receiving for God of War, The Last of Us, and Horizon Zero Dawn this is probably not a bad thing.
[Source: Polygon]
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