Huawei Operating System Could Be Ready For Consumers Later This Year

Given the sheer amount of Android devices that the company has sold throughout the world, losing the access to the Android ecosystem certainly has a massive impact on Huawei. Even though the company has received a temporary 90-day license to sort things out, Huawei is already preparing for the worst case scenario.
According to CNBC, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, Richard Yu has stated that the company will be launching its own operating system if the company permanently lost its access to Android. The same case will also applies to Windows as well although Microsoft so far has not yet released any official statement regarding the US ban on Huawei.

Richard also revealed that the company’s in-house OS will be ready for consumers in China later this year. He further stated that another version for the international market is also expected to be fit for consumers in the first or second quarter of 2020.
In terms of app ecosystem, Richard pointed out that the OS will feature the company’s App Gallery platform which actually already existed in current Huawei’s devices. That being said, the executive stressed out that the company does not plan to implement this plan but the move by the US government left them with no other choices.
(Source: CNBC.)
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Aladdin Review: Delightful but Does Not Need to Exist

Let me begin by first addressing the big blue elephant in the room: The Genie. When the first trailer of the live action version of Aladdin unveiling Will Smith’s version of the Genie first hit the internet, people lost their minds. There were angry rants on the internet, laptops were smashed and I swear I heard my roommate scream as vehemently as Mel Gibson in Braveheart before punching a hole right through his drywall. While I wasn’t one of the people who felt personally insulted by the animation of Will Smith’s Genie — I was rather indifferent (maybe because the original animated film doesn’t hold a special place in my heart as say The Lion King) — I understood the frustration.
After all, Genie is one of the most iconic Disney animated characters of all time, right up there with Simba, Mulan and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. But unlike the rest of the characters mentioned, Genie is synonymous with a single performer with a singular sense of comedic style and timing. I am of course talking about the late great Robin Williams. “How would Will Smith, as talented as he is, even hold a candle to his predecessor?” “How would he be able to emulate the master?”
Valid questions.

The answer is, he doesn’t and that’s a good thing. In the live-action adaptation of Aladdin Will Smith doesn’t try to imitate or impersonate Williams, but makes Genie his own. Smith introduces his own brand of comedy and charm to the character and by doing so ends up being, just as Williams was, the unrivalled best part of the movie. He’s wholly entertaining — spunky, vibrant and full of life. Whenever he’s on screen, I lit up like New York City on the night of New Year’s Eve.
In fact, the whole movie is pretty damn entertaining. We’re all familiar with the story. A spirited street rat falls in love with a beautiful and strong-minded princess who’s not allowed to leave the castle by her overprotective Sultan father. There’s also an evil Grand Vizier who’s lusting for power and promises to take over the reins of Sultan. Amidst all of that, a magical lamp that unleashes a Genie that will grant you three wishes, a flying carpet with a mind of its own, an angry Parrot, a thieving but friendly monkey and a tiger that will rip your face off at the Princess’ command. It’s a simple fairy tale that packs a powerful message about feminism that is sure to inspire kids. Unlike the original, this isn’t just about Aladdin trying to save the princess from an evil dude, but one that explores (to a degree) Jasmine’s loneliness and her unbending desire to run a Kingdom after her father steps down.

Though it could’ve been 10 minutes shorter (it runs at 2 hours and 8 minutes compared to the tight 90 minutes runtime of the original), Aladdin mostly zooms by in such a kinetic pace that you’ll never feel bored or disinterested in the goings-on. Some of it has to do with the soundtrack which opened a little gate in my brain that allowed memories from my childhood to come crashing in — oh boy, is ‘A Whole New World’ amazing!
I’m not going to lie, there were more than a number of moments where I found myself tearing up. Even some of the new songs felt like welcome editions to the film. There is one performed by Naomi Scott (Princess Jasmine) with such fiery passion and ferocity that it announces her as a star in the making. But it isn’t just the musical numbers, Naomi Scott commands the screen with such confidence, you simply cannot take your eyes off her. She’s brilliant! (Mena Massoud is believable as Aladdin but Marwan Kenzari feels like an out of place caricature as Jafar.)
Aladdin is entertaining. I’ve made that much clear. The problem is, this film does not need to exist. The same way the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast didn’t need to exist. The same way Jungle Book absolutely needed to. I’m not against remakes and reimaginations, but a remake needs to exist for a stronger purpose than just milking the greens from our pockets. Apart from a couple of new songs (which are great) and the beefing up of Princess Jasmine, Aladdin doesn’t offer anything new and enthralling.

Guy Ritchie is a weird choice for a director.
There’s no denying the man’s talent. Action-thrillers like Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Sherlock Holmes are brilliant works of art that showcase Ritchie’s overt sense of style and vision that’s unlike any other director working today. But it isn’t a style that gels well in a film that’s desperately trying to be magical and wondrous. As the film progresses, it becomes painfully obvious that Ritchie is at times wrestling with himself as he tries to capture the awe of the original while also injecting his own flavour. Sometimes — well, one time — it works. There is a scene where Aladdin gets flung out of a tower into the sea; Ritchie uses a pause-fast-forward technique that makes the sequence more interesting than it had any right to be.
Other times, it feels jarring. This is especially true of the final moments of the film, in which the stylistic helmer incorporates his brand of hyperactive editing into… a Bollywood-style dance number. It’s a baffling choice that does nothing but highlight Ritchie’s inability to bring to its fullest life an expansive, fantastical world. Agrabah doesn’t feel alive and lived in. It looks like a soundstage and feels like a set.

When Guy Ritchie was first announced as the director of Aladdin, I was excited; hopeful that Disney was planning on putting a different spin on the 1992 classic. I wondered if we were going to get an Aladdin film that’s completely unique to Guy Ritchie, much like Sherlock Holmes was. Would this version of Aladdin be dirty and bare-knuckled? Would its titular character punch people in slow motion? That arguably could’ve been a far superior film to this.
As critical that I am being though, there’s no denying the (purely nostalgic) tears I shed or the smile I had plastered across my face for the majority of its runtime. Genie is great! Naomi Scott is a star! The soundtrack (and some of the choreography) is great! I had a lot of fun at the movies. This is a thoroughly enjoyable family film and if you’re a 90s kid like me, it’s also a lovely film to go on a date. But you can have the same amount of fun and have the same experience watching the 1992 animated film on a big screen TV at home. The 2019 version of Aladdin is a fine film. It’s just one that doesn’t need to exist.
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HONOR 20 Launches In Malaysia; Retails For RM1699

Less than 24 hours after the grand unveiling of the HONOR 20 and HONOR 20 Pro in London, HONOR Malaysia has officially launched the HONOR 20 here in Malaysia.
Despite not being the Pro version of HONOR’s new flagship series, the HONOR 20 still sports near identical flagship features as its bigger brother. For starters, it houses Huawei’s high-end Kirin 980 SoC, 6GB RAM, and a 6.26-inch Full HD+ punch hole display. On that note, that punch hole houses a 32MP front-facing camera; the same camera sensor as the one used by the HONOR 20 Pro.
In terms storage, the HONOR 20 comes with a hefty 128GB, but alas, there is no microSD card slot to expand the storage. Of course, powering it all is a pretty hefty 3750mAh non-removable battery.

Of course, the main attraction of the HONOR 20 is none other than the quad-camera main array that sits at the back of the phone. The camera comprises a 48MP Sony IMX586 main sensor, a 16MP super wide-angle sensor, a 2MP macro lens that is also present in the HONOR 20 PRO. But instead of an 8MP telephone camera, you get a 2MP depth sensor instead.
Price-wise, the HONOR 20 will cost RM1699, but availability of the device has yet to be determined. Initially, pre-orders for the phone were supposed to have commenced from 24 May till 28 May. With the launch of the phone set to take place on 29 May.

HONOR cites logistical issues with the phone’s shipments, though we suspect that the actual reason could be due to both the brand and the phone being affected by the recent ban put in place by the US’ Trump administration.
To that end, HONOR will also be giving out free gifts worth RM500 with every purchase of the HONOR 20 upon availability. Do note that this offer will be limited and that terms and conditions will apply.

In the mean time, you can check out our hands-on of the phones to learn our thoughts about it. On that note, expect a full review of the HONOR 20 over the coming weeks.
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ASUS Launches ROG Zephyrus G, VivoBook Ultra, And ZenBook Flip 14; Powered by AMD Ryzen Processor

Besides officially announcing its AMD and NVIDIA-powered TUF Gaming FX505D gaming notebook, ASUS also lifted the veil off several other AMD Ryzen-driven notebooks. Those notebooks are the ROG Zephyrus G gaming notebook, the VivoBook Ultra A412, and ZenBook Flip 14.
First announced back in April this year, the ROG Zephyrus G is the latest addition to the brand’s Zephyrus lineup. It differs from its siblings, both simply because – and obviously – it is the first notebook under the Zephyrus lineup to be ship out with a AMD’s 12mn Ryzen 7-3750H CPU, as well as NVIDIA’s Turing-powered GeForce GTX 1660 Ti notebook GPU.
Other hardware specifications include 8GB DDR4 RAM (expandable up to 32GB), an NVME PCIe SSD with a capacity of up to 512GB. Plus a thin bezel, 15.6-inch Full HD display with a refresh rate of 120Hz. Ports-wise, the Zephyrus G hosts an HDMI 2.0b port, an RJ45 LAN port, a USB-C port with support for DisplayPort 1.4, and three USB 3.1 Type-A ports.
The ASUS TUF Gaming FX505D (left) and ROG Zephyrus G (right).
The ASUS Zephyrus G will retail at an SRP of RM4999. The notebook will be available at all authorised resellers sometime in July, although ASUS did not provide an exact date.
Moving on, ASUS also introduced its refreshed VivoBook Ultra A412 notebook. Specs-wise, the notebook is fitted with a Ryzen 5-3500U processor, complete with a Radeon Vega 8 integrated GPU, and 4GB DDR4 RAM. For storage, the VivoBook Ultra A412 is handled by a 256GB SSD. The display is a 14-inch Full HD featuring a thin bezel design.

The ASUS VivoBook Ultra A412 will retail for RM2199, and is available starting today.
Last on ASUS’ list is the ZenBook Flip 14, it’s 2-in-1 convertible notebook. As with all notebooks announced today, the ZenBook Flip 14 comes fitted with an AMD Ryzen CPU. Specifically, a Ryzen 7-3700U.
Additionally, the notebook also comes with a 14-inch Full HD touch display that is also rotatable. For memory, the ZenBook Flip 14 can be fitted with up to 16GB DDR4 RAM, while the maximum storage capacity is a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. The ZenBook Flip 14 also features a touchpad that also doubles as the numeral pad, as well as a built-in IR camera for fast and secure facial log-in.
At this point, we were expecting a local price and availability date. Unfortunately, ASUS had informed us that the ZenBook has yet to receive a launch date, and therefore was unable to provide us with a local price for the machine.
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ASUS TUF Gaming FX505D Lands In Malaysia; Retails From RM2899

ASUS has officially launched its TUF Gaming FX505D gaming notebook line-up in Malaysia. The new TUF Gaming lineup this year is unique, as it is one of the brand’s notebook sub-brand to ship out with and AMD Ryzen CPU and NVIDIA GeForce GPU packed in one machine.
Getting into the hardware, the bare bones variant of the FX505D start with a meagre Ryzen 5-3550H, 4GB DDR4-2666MHz RAM, and a GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. Moving up the ladder, the FX505D is also available in a configuration featuring a Ryzen 7-3750H CPU and a choice between a Turing-powered GTX 1650 or GTX 1660 Ti GPU.
For its display, the FX505D comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD display with a 25ms response time. By default, the display’s refresh rate is capped at 60Hz, but the top-of-the-line SKU does come with a 120Hz refresh rate.

Speaking of top-of-the-line, the top-tier variant of the FX505D comes fitted with the same Ryzen 7-3750H CPU and a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. There’s also a standard 8GB DDR4-2666MHz RAM that goes with it, but as it is with all SKUs under the line-up, you can expand the amount of memory inside it.
Regardless of the configuration, it should be noted that all configurations come with a 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD.

Pricing for the TUF Gaming FX505D begins at RM2899 for the basic configuration, while its top-tier configuration will retail at an SRP of RM5199. All configurations of the FX505D will be available starting early June, while the variant with the RTX 2060 GPU will ship out sometime during the middle of June.
We did a hands on with the notebook early on, so you find out our initial impressions about it. Also, look forward to our review over the coming weeks.
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The Fastest MacBook Pro Ever Now Available For Malaysia

Apple recently has revealed a set of updated specifications for its 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Among such update includes the 9th generation Intel Core i9 8-core processors for the 15-inch model which the company has claimed as “the fastest Mac notebook ever”.
Priced at RM 12,199, the base model comes with Intel Core i9-9880H CPU, 16GB DDR-2400 RAM, 512GB solid state drive, and AMD Radeon Pro 560X 4GB GDDR5 graphics. Of course, you can also opt for the maximum specifications which includes Intel Core i9-9980HK CPU, 32GB DDR4-2400 RAM, 4TB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 4GB HB2 graphics, and a RM 28,699 price tag.
Apple has also added the 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H option in the list which is accompanied by 16GB DDR4-2400 RAM, 256GB SSD, and AMD Radeon Pro 555X 4GB GDDR5 graphics for RM 10,499. Switch to the max specs with 32GB DDR4-2400 RAM, 4TB SSD, and AMD Radeon Pro 560X 4GB GDDR5 graphics, the price would then go to RM 25,899.
As for the 13-inch model, Apple has provided it with an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 quad-core chip which we not able to pinpoint its exact model number. That being said, the listing of Apple Store stated that the CPU has a base clock speed of 2.4GHz and Turbo Boost speed of 4.1GHz.
There is no discrete graphics for this particular model though and relies on the integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 GPU. The base model comes with 8GB LPDDR3-2133 RAM and 256GB SSD alongside a price tag of RM 7,849.
The maxed out model on another hand featured an unknown Intel Core i7 quad-core model which has base clock speed of 2.8GHz and Turbo Boost speed of 4.7GHz alongside similar Intel Iris Plus 655 integrated GPU. Priced at RM 15,149, it is also equipped with 16GB LPDDR3-2133 RAM, and 2TB SSD.
To get your hands on these MacBook Pro with freshly updated specs, just head on to Apple Malaysia’s official website.
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Adam Driver Talks Kylo Ren’s Emotional Complexities and Possible Relationship with Rey

When The Force Awakens first came around, many complained that without his mask, Kylo Ren felt more like an emotional wreck than an intimidating force. But perhaps that was the point. He isn’t supposed to have the regal presence of his grandfather, Darth Vader nor the terrifying stature of say, Grand Admiral Thrawn. Kylo Ren is a complex young man who’s conflicted and desperately trying to find his place in this world. This inner turmoil makes it easy for the dark side to seduce him. Kylo Ren is the core of the thematically rich sequel trilogy that explores the grey areas and complexities of its characters unlike never before in Star Wars.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Adam Driver, who plays Kylo Ren discusses the psychological state of his character. He discusses the struggle of being the kid of the two coolest people in the galaxy. Driver points out that while Ren’s parents, Han and Leia, are cool, their dedication and obsession with their lifestyles — smuggling, rebelling — don’t leave much room for raising kids. He grew up under the crushing pressure of having to live up to unrealistic expectations.
“How do you form friendships out of that? How do you understand the weight of that? And if there’s no one around you guiding you, or articulating things the right way … it can easily go awry. By the emotional logic that governs the Star Wars universe—and also our own—Kylo Ren is going to have to confront the past, and his fears, whatever they are, or be destroyed by them.”

In the same interview, Driver also discussed the whole ReyLo situation and whether Kylo Ren will end up being in a relationship with Rey, possibly as part of a redemption angle. Naturally, Driver wasn’t able to reveal much, but he doesn’t shut down the idea either.
“And then he had been forging this maybe-bond with Rey,” Driver says, “and it kind of ends with the question in the air: is he going to pursue that relationship, or when the door of her ship goes up, does that also close that camaraderie that they were maybe forming?”
Driver’s words definitely piques my interest. Could we end up getting a Shakespearean romance between Rey and Ren? Would Rey have to end up killing Ren after failing to bring him back to the light? December can’t come any sooner!
(Source: Vanity Fair)
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Stable Version Of TOR Browser Now Available On Google Play Store

The TOR project has officially released a new, stable version of its TOR browser for Android devices. The app will officially replace the beta version of the browser, which was released nearing the end of last year.
As explained on its official site, TOR Browser 8.5 comes with several improvements, all of which are focused on providing users with a secure browsing experience. Off the bat, the TOR project says that the app will have no proxy bypasses, and that the new browser will protect users from cross-site tracking via first-party isolation.
Other features include fingerprint resistance, which makes it more difficult for others to identify users by browser and device information, plus the ability to browse sites that are blocked or restricted by ISPs.

For the uninitiated, TOR, which is an abbreviation for “The Onion Router”, is an open-source software that is known for allowing users to visit site online anonymously. Ironically, the privacy and security layers of the browser also makes the browser of choice for users surfing the Dark Web. A portion of the World Wide Web that notorious for hosting illicit content and being a haven for black market dealers.
As mentioned, the app is already available for download, however, it should be noted that some users have pointed out that the app isn’t working properly with the Android Q beta. Also, the app isn’t available for iOS users due to restrictions put in by Apple. As a workaround, TOR Project developers have recommended using the Onion Browser for the iOS, developed by a Mike Tigas from the Guardian Project.
(Source: The TOR Project via Techspot, Hot Hardware)
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Rise of Skywalker: J.J. Abrams Inspired by Rian Johnson’s Approach to The Last Jedi?

For the past year or so, there has been much talk about J.J. Abrams and how he’s brought back into the galaxy far far away to save the crumbling Star Wars universe. That he’s going to right the wrongs of the blasphemous Rian Johnson. That The Rise of Skywalker will retcon and “fix” whatever happened in the highly polarising eighth episode of the Star Wars franchise. These aren’t my words. I for one love the Disney era of Star Wars, including and especially The Last Jedi, but I digress.
When the teaser trailer for The Rise of Skywalker first dropped, the voices of those who dislike The Last Jedi only grew stronger. Apparently, Kylo Ren fixing his broken helmet and Anakin/Luke’s blue lightsaber being reforged is a sure sign of a retcon. But what a lot of fans seem to forget is that it was Abrams, not Johnson, who killed Han Solo and put Luke on an island in The Force Awakens. And it looks like he may have wanted to be even more radical than that. In a chat with Vanity Fair, Abrams explains how his approach to making Episode IX is much different from Episode VII:
“Working on nine, I found myself approaching it slightly differently—which is to say that, on seven, I felt beholden to Star Wars in a way that was interesting—I was doing what to the best of my ability I felt Star Wars should be…(This time) it felt slightly more renegade; it felt slightly more like, you know, F**k it, I’m going to do the thing that feels right because it does, not because it adheres to something.”

Interestingly enough, Abrams seems to have taken a page out of Rian Johnson’s book, which adds a whole new layer of intrigue to The Rise of Skywalker.
“Having seen what Rian did made me approach this from a place of instinct and gut. I was making choices I knew I would not have made on VII, some story-wise, but more in terms of directing. I found myself feeling less like I’m going to try and do something that feels like it’s [only] true to the specifics of this franchise or the story.”
“The idea of the movie is kind of how I felt going into the movie as a filmmaker, which is to say that I’ve inherited all this stuff, great stuff, and good wisdom, and the good and the bad, and it’s all coming to this end, and the question is, do we have what it takes to succeed?”
I love that J.J. Abrams no longer feels obligated to bend the knee to a previously established formula. For Star Wars to continue to thrive, it needs to evolve. Whether you like The Last Jedi or not, there’s no denying that Rian Johnson changed the landscape of Star Wars in such a drastic manner that it blasted the door wide open for Abrams to take the finale in compelling and completely fresh directions while still maintaining the essence and exploring the philosophy of Star Wars. And that seems to be what J.J. Abrams is going for too.
“This trilogy is about this young generation, this new generation, having to deal with all the debt that has come before. And it’s the sins of the father, and it’s the wisdom and the accomplishments of those who did great things, but it’s also those who committed atrocities, and the idea that this group is up against this unspeakable evil and are they prepared? Are they ready? What have they learned from before? It’s less about grandeur. It’s less about restoring an old age. It’s more about preserving a sense of freedom and not being one of the oppressed.”
(Source: Vanity Fair)
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Razer Is Officially Killing Off The Ouya Console This June

Seven years after its unveiling and almost four years after the console’s acquisition by Razer, the curtains are finally coming down on the Ouya console. The gaming brand, renowned for its peripherals and gaming notebooks, says that it will be shutting down all services and support for the console on 25 June 2019.
The decision was confirmed in an official support document, whereby Razer said that it will be shutting down the game stores for Forge TV, Ouya console, and the MadCatz MOJO micro console. The Ouya is an Android-based micro-console that was created and introduced back in 2012. By its founder and then CEO, Julie Uhrman.
The console enjoyed massive popularity back when it was announced and remains one of Kickstarter’s most successful crowd-funded campaigns. Having obtained close to US$8.6 million (~RM36.05 million) from over 63000 backers. Sadly, lacklustre sales and the console’s less-than-adequate performance.

In terms of hardware, the Ouya is powered by the already archaic NVIDIA Tegra 3, 1GB RAM, and had an internal storage capacity of just 8GB (for the standard edition). It also didn’t help that the console’s controller was criticised for being laggy and possessing a poor build quality.
In 2015, Razer jumped in and bought out Ouya for what is still an unknown amount of cash, adding nearly all of Ouya’s software and employees into its fold. Uhrman, however, did not join Razer.
(Image source: Polygon)
Razer says that once the console is shut down, access to its “Discover” section will no longer be available. Further, some games that were downloaded on to the console via Google Play may continue to work, while others may not.
(Source: Razer via Techspot)
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