Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Front Panel Leak Shows Even Smaller Bezels

The final shape of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 may have already been revealed. An image of the front panel of Samsung’s next flagship was posted by Twitter user Ice Universe; indicating that the phone may try to get away with incremental improvements instead of a massive redesign.
Ice Universe is generally known for reliable leaks, which is why the image is of some note. In it, we see a front panel that increases the amount of screen space compared to the bezels. Squeezing everything else into as small a space as possible. Also important is the complete lack of display notch. Showing that Samsung is confident enough that it doesn’t need to be following trends set by Apple.

Screen Panel of Galaxy Note9
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) June 19, 2018

That said, it’s impossible to guess at what surprises Samsung will have for us with the Galaxy Note 9. It is almost certainly going to have more RAM and storage than its predecessor, along with a new version of the Bixby AI assistant. A bigger battery may not be out of the question either.
[Source: Forbes]
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NVIDIA Creates Slow Motion Videos Using AI

NVIDIA has used AI technology in a variety of applications. From its Volta-based SaturnV supercomputer to self-driving cars, the GPU maker has now extended the technology to a mainstream feature: slow motion videos.
Specifically, a group from Cornell University has been using NVIDIA’s deep learning technology to artificially transform a standard video running at 30fps, and slow it down to 240fps. Additionally, the same technology can also be used to transform manually recorded slow motion video into super slow motion video.
The ability to record slow motion and super slow motion video already exists on smartphones such as the Xperia XZ2 and the Samsung Galaxy S9 series. However, the group writes that manually recording video at high frame rates is impractical, as it requires a large amount of memory and is power-intensive for mobile devices.
In the case of NVIDIA’s AI, it creates slow motion videos by first analysing two different frames of the original video. After the analysis, it begins to predict every frame within the video, and proceeds to slot in intermediary sequences between those frames, thus creating the aforementioned slow motion video.

There are some limitations to the method. As a start, the group needed to train their deep learning machine to handle specific types of footage. This meant that in order for it to slow down a video of a racquet bursting a jelly filled balloon or a ballerina doing a twirl, it was necessary for the system to watch several videos related to the acts.
You can see from the video that the end results are rather impressive, but isn’t entirely accurate and will need to be refined a lot more before it can become a commercially available.
(Source: NVIDIA via YouTube, The Verge).
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Facebook Messenger Now Comes With Autoplay Video Ads

A new update to Facebook Messenger brings a rather new element to the messaging service: autoplay video ads. Worse of all, the ads are unskippable and can’t be disabled.
Right now Facebook says that the ads are being rolled out to a small selection of users in a ‘gradual manner‘ as the company is planning to roll out the autoplay ads to more users as the year progresses. While advertisement in Messenger is not new, auto-playing ads will be rolled out to customers for the first time ever.

At the same time, users who do not want to see ads in their chat window are limited to how they can dismiss the ads outright. Currently, users can only either hide, report or adjust ad targeting preferences with no opt-out option in the works.
This comes as Facebook is still reeling over the controversial data leak with Cambridge Analytica. As the ads will be targeted to the users, questions are being raised on how the data collected will not be misused by companies and Facebook itself in wrong ways. While the targeted ads will bring great smiles to advertisers, the frown smiley will most likely be permanent on the faces of Facebook users overall.
(Source: Recode, Quartz)
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Video Game Addiction Receives Official Recognition From WHO

The World Health Organisation has released its new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Among these new classifications is official recognition for ‘gaming addiction’ which covers an unhealthy obsession with playing video games.
Gaming addiction is described as having three signs:

Impaired control over gaming (e.g. onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context).
Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities.
Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

That said, the handling of the classification has received some criticism. With experts believing that the warning signs described being too broad and subjective. Potentially leaving mental health workers to interpret without much in the way of actual guidelines.

It certainly looks like the disorder is being described by people who are not entirely familiar with video games. Especially with how some games use specific conditioning techniques in order to get players continue playing games and spending more money.
However, video gaming addiction appears to be treated in a similar way as how the WHO described a gambling addiction. Using much of the same language and outline.
If anything, this could likely lead to game addicts actually getting the help they need. There is no doubt that there are people who are likely to end up addicted to playing games, although this is more likely a symptom of some other issue.
[Source: TechCrunch]
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Oppo Find X Official with Slide-Out Camera, Dual-Curved AMOLED Display & 3D Facial Recognition

Ahead of its scheduled launch event in Paris, the Oppo Find X is now official courtesy of The Verge. According to the site, Oppo’s latest flagship smartphone features some interesting technology; one of which is a motorised, slide-out camera system.
That’s right, the Find X’s whole camera system is hidden until you need it. Once you’ve activated the camera, the top portion of the phone motorises up to reveal the 25MP front-facing shooter and 16MP + 20MP dual-camera system. In a way, it’s a more sophisticated – and sleeker – slide-out mechanism than the vivo Nex’s pop-up selfie camera.

Aside from the motorised camera system, the Find X doesn’t have any fingerprint sensor. Instead, it relies on 3D facial recognition for biometric security, much like the iPhone X. Whether or not Oppo’s implementation is as good as Apple’s Face ID system still remains to be seen.
Other specifications of the Find X include a 6.4-inch Full HD+ dual-curved OLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of internal storage, a 3,730mAh battery – it supports Oppo’s proprietary VOOC fast charging technology, of course – as well as ColorOS based on Android 8.1 Oreo.

The Oppo Find X is set to be available globally, although its retail price has not been revealed yet. Hopefully, the flagship phone will be launched here in Malaysia in the near future.
(Source: The Verge; images via The Verge)
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Steam Compiles User Data In New Support Page To Comply With New EU Law

In light of the European Union’s (EU) passing of its General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR), Steam began its compliance by placing all of its user data in a new support page. The portal basically categorises the account data of every Steam users and can now show you all the games you’ve ever purchased on it since the day you joined.
The portal will also let you see the number of hours you’ve clocked in for every game that you owned, along with all the achievements that you’ve unlocked over the course of each game.
To be fair, most of the data available on the support page can be dug up via other means on Steam, provided you’re diligent enough to dig up all that history. The new portal merely simplifies the process for Steam users and, to reiterate, allows the digital game distributor to comply with the new GPDR rules.

The GPDR was first introduced on 14 April 2016, and was fully implemented on 25 May 2018. It is an EU law that aims – among other things – to give control to citizens and residents over their personal data. Companies that fail to comply with the new rule run the risk of being fined up to 4% of its global annual turnover or 20 million Euros (~RM93 million), depending on which penalty is greater.
(Source: Steam via Engadget, Gamasutra, Rock Paper Shotgun)
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AMD Throws Shade At Intel By Offering To Swap Core i7-8086K For A Threadripper 1950X

Remember how Intel had recently debuted its ‘special’ Core i7-8086K at Computex 2018? Well, it looks like AMD has something to add to that. The red company has just launched a rather interesting campaign, which offer winners of Intel’s Core i7-8086K Limited Edition Sweepstakes a chance to swap their newly won CPU with a Ryzen Threadripper 1950X processor—but only limited to 40 people.
AMD has mentioned the following:
“We appreciate the advancements they’ve helped drive with the x86 architecture over the last four decades. But, we’re ready to take it from here. That’s why we’re giving 40 performance-hungry enthusiasts in the U.S. an opportunity to celebrate the next 40 years of high-performance computing by trading in their commemorative processor prize for our CPU that enables you to work, play and create with heavy metal.”

Do note that this campaign is only open to consumers who are currently residing in the United States, which is unfortunate. That aside, it seems that AMD is indeed confident that it will be ‘dominating’ the x86 market in the near future. Whether that becomes a reality remains to be seen. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if Intel will have come up with a response to AMD’s ‘savageness’—or not.
(Source: AMD)
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Oppo Find X May Feature Slide-Out Camera & 93.8% Screen-To-Body Ratio

The Oppo Find X will be made official later today, and it’s really Oppo’s most anticipated flagship yet. Based on leaks and rumours, the Find X seems to be a really promising phone, and it may just feature a slide-out camera system too – no, it’s unlike vivo Nex‘s implementation.
Unlike the Nex’s pop-out selfie camera, the Find X will supposedly have its rear cameras hidden underneath the back panel. Looking at the video teaser of the phone, it seems like the camera system slides out to reveal the dual-camera system. It’s a pretty smart mechanism, and it’ll be interesting to see where the selfie camera is positioned.

As far as specifications go, the Find X’s rumoured hardware are as high-end as it gets. It’s said to come with a 6.4-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with an impressive 93.8% screen-to-body ratio, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM, at least 128GB of internal storage, and a 3,645mAh battery – it should support Oppo’s proprietary VOOC fast charging technology too.
In the camera department, Oppo itself has confirmed that the Find X will sport a dual-camera system that can do 5x optical zoom. Most smartphones can only do 3x optical zoom, which makes this a pretty impressive feat.

Oppo is expected to unveil the Find X very soon, and we’ll find out then if it lives up to expectations. Considering the fact that this phone marks the return of the Find series, it may be Oppo’s most important flagship to date.
(Source: GSMArena)
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The vivo Nex Is a High-End Flagship with Notchless Display & Pop-Up Selfie Camera

Not too long ago, vivo officially announced its latest – and arguably most impressive flagship yet – smartphone: the vivo Nex. Based on the Chinese company’s concept Apex phone, the Nex is a pretty impressive device with a 91.24% screen-to-body ratio, among other things.
Unlike Xiaomi’s implementation with the Mi Mix phones – their front-facing cameras are placed on the bottom chin – vivo took a different approach with the Nex: it sports a pop-up selfie camera. It’s an 8MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture, and it’s certainly a solution to the “notch problem” most phones have now.

Aside from that, the Nex also features an in-screen fingerprint sensor, much like the vivo X21. Speaking of which, this is also one of the most “bezel-free” smartphones right now with a 6.59-inch Full HD+ OLED display, although it still has a slight chin at the bottom of the phone.
Other specifications of the Nex include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of internal storage, a generous 4,000mAh battery, as well as a 12MP + 5MP dual-camera system on the back. Interestingly, there’s also a more affordable variant of the phone with a Snapdragon 710 SoC, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.

The vivo Nex is currently only available in China, and it’s priced at up to 4,998 Chinese yuan, which comes up to about RM3,095. Not a bad price tag for a flagship of this calibre, though the Nex may not be launched outside of China.
(Source: The Verge)
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Samsung Developing Its Own GPU For Exynos Processors

Samsung is reportedly starting development of its own in-house GPU for its System on a Chip (SoC) products. The GPU is said slated to be used first in its lower-end Exynos SoCs, and in the future perhaps migrate to its higher-end products.
Based on several LinkedIn job listings, Samsung is opening a new research centre in California. It has so far pulled in experts from Qualcomm, AMD and NVIDIA to help design the future GPU for upcoming Exynos SoCs. Currently, Samsung is using ARM’s Mali GPU cores for its Exynos products.

Qualcomm’s Adreno GPU cores have some advantages against ARM’s own Mali cores, as the Adreno was designed in-house by Qualcomm to fit its criteria. By going along this route, Samsung may want to gain the upper hand in offering a complete product to future customers that do not need any external components.
Samsung’s Mongoose cores in the Exynos SoCs has been proven to be a blazing performer in computational tasks, so having its own GPU in the mix tuned to the Mongoose core will impact device optimisation in the long run. Samsung is already producing its own modems for its product line-up so with the GPU announcement, it can truly say it has everything in-house.
(Source: via GSMArena)
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