Huawei P40 Prototype Shows What It Could Look Like At Launch

Last week, when Huawei announced its Mate Xs, it also mentioned the launch date for its upcoming P40 devices. What the company did not mention was that it had prototypes of the device being used by its staff. Digital Trends managed to spot one, and it’s likely to be what the phone will look like. After all, this was only a month before the phone was supposed to be launched.
For now, it’s unclear if this was the base Huawei P40, or one of its variants. It looks a little different compared to the leaks and renders we’ve seen previously. These differences would suggest that it’s not the Huawei P40 Pro, which is what most of the renders reference. Most obvious is the fact that the camera bump houses only three cameras. Sitting next to the bump is the flash, alongside what could be a ToF sensor and a microphone.

Where you’ll usually find the Huawei and Leica branding on the P40 prototype, you see instead Polarie and Blink. These are supposedly the codenames for the former. Digital Trends reports that the company commonly use codenames on prototypes like this. While not shown, the phone has a USB-C port at the bottom, but unfortunately no 3.5mm audio jack.
Digital Trends did not share any shots of the phone from the front, or any angle that would make the screen visible. Not unexpected, since it’s still a prototype, and the software could be easily changed before the launch of the actual Huawei P40. But which device in the P40 line this actually is, we’ll have to wait until the end of March to find out.
(Source: Digital Trends)
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Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary For PC Shows Up On Steam

As the first game in the series, Halo: Combat Evolved no doubt has many fans. And the game is now on Steam again. It’s not the original version that was released back in 2003 either. This version is the Anniversary remaster that was first released for the Xbox 360.
The announcement came pretty much out of the blue. Microsoft made the announcement stating that the game is also a part of the Master Chief Collection. Naturally, you can also get it via the Microsoft Store or Xbox Game Pass for PC.
So what can you expect from Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary? 60fps or more, for one. There’s also support for a lot of features that you’d expect from a modern day game, like 4K resolution, variable framerates, and support for ultra-wide screens.

The last time Halo: The Master Chief Collection got a new addition was three months ago, when Halo: Reach was added. The Collection now has a totla of seven titles from the Halo series. It’s available now on Steam for RM65.
If you’re just interested in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, then you can get it on its own for just RM23.50 instead.
(Source: Microsoft, Steam via PC Gamer. Image: Microsoft / YouTube)
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WeChat Found To Be Censoring Specific Keywords About Coronavirus

WeChat has reportedly been hard at work censoring keywords about the Coronavirus and the crisis surrounding it. The actions of the popular Chinese messaging app were discovered by the research group, Citizen Lab, who also says that the censorship had been happening since the beginning of the year.
The research group has allegedly determined WeChat’s actions via a set group chat conversations. Which were sent to three WeChat accounts based in Canada and China. From there, it would see which words would be removed or censored mid-transmission.
The end result, as you can see from the image below, is that the Chinese account simply doesn’t receive that large chunk of information pertaining to the virus, which is alarming in its own right.

At the start of January, WeChat was supposedly censoring 152 keywords related to the coronavirus. However, by the second week of February, the messaging app’s censorship list rose to 526 keywords.
On a side note, it’s not just WeChat that has been actively censoring keywords either. YY, a Chinese social media platform similar to Twitter, was also discovered to have blacklisted 45 specific keywords about the Coronavirus.

Keywords that were specifically censored include factual information about the coronavirus, any reference to China’s epidemic policies, and Li Wenliang. The doctor turned whistleblower who first warned the world about the disease.
Wenliang passed away on 7 February after being infected and succumbing to the disease. Ultimately, his death led to a wave of anger from the Chinese population who felt that its government handled the situation poorly.

As pointed out by The Verge, it’s not clear why WeChat is doing this, but there is a possibility that its actions could be a direct order from the Chinese government itself. Given the close ties the two bodies have with each other. As it stands, the Chinese government actively uses WeChat and Twitter to hunt down people it deems to have shared “negative information” regarding the Coronavirus outbreak.
WeChat then finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place; the app has a monthly active user base of more than one billion users and is an integral part in their lives. User can, among other things, use the app to make payments or purchases. However, censoring keywords about the coronavirus could end up doing more harm than good.
(Source: Citizen Lab via The Verge // Image: The Star)
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Waze Beacons Now In Malaysia; To Help Drivers Navigate In Tunnels and Underground Roads

Waze today has revealed that the first deployment of the Waze Beacons in Southeast Asia will take place right here in Malaysia. Specifically, the Bluetooth-based devices will be installed within the basement roads of the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) leading to the car parks in the area.
In the joint announcement made by Waze and TRX City, the Waze Beacons will also point out to the connecting roads and highways surrounding the area. This should be useful to drivers in Kuala Lumpur since TRX is a major development area at the edge of Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Bukit Bintang, and Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Not only that, TRX is also within the vicinity of Bulatan Kampung Pandan as well as the entrance to Maju Expressway (MEX) and SMART Tunnel. Not only that, the area can also be accessed via the upcoming Setiawangsa-Pantai Expressway too.
Despite being called Waze Beacons, these devices are not property of Waze but instead, they are installed and owned by TRX City itself. Furthermore, the usages of these devices is not exclusive to Waze alone as other navigation services are able to utilize Waze Beacons as well.

As the implementation at TRX is deemed as a pilot test for Waze Beacons in Malaysia, do expect them to be available in more areas soon. Hence, do keep a look for the above notification in your Waze app which signifies the presence of Waze Beacons nearby.
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WhatsApp Dark Mode Feature Rolling Out To Android And iOS

Facebook owned messaging service WhatsApp announced on 3 March that it will be rolling out its Dark Mode feature soon. The developers mentions that the new mode will roll-out to both Android 10 and iOS 13 in the coming days.
Despite having an edgy name that would make a goth punk rocker blush, Dark Mode basically replaces the app’s bright white background and colours with a… well, darker theme. This is to help users reduce eye strain when using WhatsApp in low light environments.

In order to further reduce eye fatigue, developers have specifically chosen colours that are closer to the system defaults on Android and iOS respectively. Additionally, in order to have important information to stand out, design elements on its interface have also been slightly tweaked.
However, the Dark Mode feature has yet to arrive on both Android and iOS versions of WhatsApp in Malaysia. But when it does, you can activate it by accessing Settings > Chats > Theme, and select Dark.
(Source: WhatsApp Blog.)

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Shot on iPhone Night Mode Challenge: Here Is How The Winners Were Chosen

Back in January, Apple has organized another round of Shot on iPhone photography challenge. This time around, the challenge is a bit more specific from the previous edition as it focuses on the Night mode that is available on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
From thousands of submissions that came from all corners of the world, only six of them were chosen as the winning photos of the challenge. All of them will soon be featured not only on Apple’s website and Instagram but also on billboards across the globe.
The responsibility of choosing these photos lies on a group of judges that includes in-house experts from Apple as well as professional photographers from a wide variety of expertise and backgrounds. Among them is Darren Soh of Singapore who is the only judge that came from Southeast Asia and was actually one of the winners for the 2019 Shot on iPhone challenge.

View this post on Instagram

Because @aikbengchia and I were hosting Tim in Tiong Bahru, we could not leave out a quick rundown about the historic and unique architecture of both prewar and postwar flats in the estate and here we are crouched looking at the newer HDB flats in the distance as we sought shelter from this morning’s heavy downpour. #Apple #timcook #tiongbahru #singapore #hdb #publichousing #artdeco #architecture #sgarchitecture #architecturesg #singaporearchitecture #shotoniphone
A post shared by Darren Soh (@darrensohphoto) on Dec 11, 2019 at 3:40am PST

Known for his take on architecture and landscape, Darren pointed out in a response to our query that the submissions for the Night mode challenge have a really high standard and many of them apparently made him “look at them over and over again”. To him, these submissions also represents the capabilities of the Night mode on iPhone.

When it comes to what exactly are the characteristics that he was looking inside the photos that were submitted to the challenge, this is what he has to say:
“Low light situations are often mysterious and ambiguous, and for me, images that make me ask more questions about what I was seeing rather than gave me straightforward answers were most arresting and I really saw this in many of the entries.”
For iPhone owners that are looking to broaden their photography horizon, Darren shared two major points that could be helpful in their effort. One of them being the fact that they need to understand what the capability of iPhone especially in terms of what it can do well.

To turn a shot from good to great, they then need to push the cameras on the iPhones to the limits in correspond to their own creativity and imagination. Well, if you need some inspirations, then do check out the full list of Shot on iPhone Night Mode Challenge winners on Apple’s official website.
(Images: Mitsun Soni, Andrew Manuilov, Rubén P. Bescós. All three were the winning photos of the Night Mode Challenge.)
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Google Cancels I/O 2020 Conference Over Coronavirus Fears

Google has become the latest tech brand to join other major tech corporations with the cancellation of its annual I/O developer conference this year. The cancellation of Google I/O 2020 supposedly comes just days after it also cancelled its other Cloud Next event.
As you may have guessed, the chief reason behind the cancellation of Google’s event is due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak. That has affected companies and event around the world. “In accordance with health guidance from the CDC, WHO, and other health authorities, we have decided to cancel the physical Google I/O event at Shoreline Amphitheatre,” Google had said in a statement to The Verge.
To say that Coronavirus concerns have wreaked havoc on the world of tech is not an understatement. To date, the virus that originated from Wuhan, China, has forced the cancellation of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) and Facebook’s F8 developer conference, among many others.

Some events, such as this year’s Game Developer Conference (GDC) have been delayed instead of cancelled, while other companies such as NVIDIA have opted to soldier on with its annual GPU Technology Conference (GTC) by cancelling the live event. Opting to livestream its keynote from a safe and sterile environment instead.
(Source: The Verge)
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Black Shark 3 Officially Launched; Pro Variant Offers 7.1-Inch Display With Pop-Up Shoulder Buttons

After weeks of teasing, Xiaomi subsidiary brand Black Shark has officially launched its new gaming smartphone in China. The Black Shark 3 is available in two variants: a standard model, and a Pro edition which packs extra features.
The vanilla version of the gaming smartphone sports a 6.67-inch FHD+ screen with 90Hz refresh rate, and currently boasts the world’s fastest 270Hz touch-sampling rate. Under the hood, it is equipped with a 5G capable Snapdragon 865 chipset, up to 12GB RAM, and storage of up to 256GB.

Power-wise, the Black Shark 3 features a 4,720 mAH battery with 65W fast charging support via USB-C, and 18W through a magnetic port on its back. Additionally, the phone features capacitive shoulder buttons on its right side.
The Pro version, on the other hand, is equipped with a larger 7.1-inch QHD+ OLED display with the same refresh rate and touch-sampling rate as the standard edition. Other specifications are also similar except for a token few. This version is only available with 256GB internal storage, and it also features a larger 5,000mAh battery.

Furthermore, the Black Shark 3 Pro is equipped with pop-up mechanical shoulder buttons. According to the brand, the buttons can supposedly withstand over 300,000 lifts and more than one million clicks.
As for cameras, both phone variants feature a triple-camera setup on its back which consists of a 64MP main, 13MP ultra-wide, and a 5MP bokeh camera. Housed within a thin bezel on top of their display is a 20MP front-facing camera. Last but not least, both standard and Pro editions include a 3.5mm headphone jack as well.

The standard Black Shark 3 will go on sale on 6 March in Lightning Black, Armor Gray, and Star Silver colours, while the Pro is available on 17 March and is offered in Phantom Black and Armor Gray only. The configurations for the vanilla version includes 8GB/128GB priced at CNY3,499 (~RM2,100), 12GB/128GB at CNY3,799 (~RM2,280), and 12GB/256GB at CNY3,999(~RM2,400). Meanwhile, the Pro variant comes in 8GB/256GB at CNY4,699 (~RM2,825) and 12GB/256GB at CNY4,999 (~RM3,000).
The Black Shark 3 series are planned for global release, but the company has not disclosed release dates or pricing for other regions at this time.
(Source: Black Shark.)
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John Wick Director Chad Stahelski to Make a Movie About Cars

Chad Stahelski is one of the best action directors working today. There’s no doubt about that. Stahelski has been a part of the industry since the 90s. He worked in the stunt department for films like The Matrix (he was Keanu Reeves’ stunt double), Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Zack Snyder’s 300 among many many others. But it’s when he stepped behind the camera and helmed JohnWick did we really notice the sheer brilliance this man can offer. The John Wick franchise has been a revelation. Stahelski’s action sequences aren’t just hard-hitting and pulsating, they’re also wonderfully choreographed and photographed.
Now, it looks like Stahelski is gearing up for his next film and it’s going to be about cars! Per Deadline:
A Quiet Place producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller have set at Paramount an action movie described as a high-concept spin capturing the spirit of the great car movies, with a unique central relationship at its centre. Chad Stahelski is eyeing to direct; Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum will write the script. Form and Fuller will produce through their Par-based Fully Formed Entertainment, along with Stahelski through his 87eleven Entertainment banner. Midnight Radio’s Nemec & Applebaum will also be producers and 87eleven’s Jason Spitz will be executive producer.

This is a very promising project and not just because Stahelski will be directing. Andrew Form and Brad Fuller have produced a bunch of interesting projects including the aforementioned and absolutely brilliant A Quiet Place, as well as The Purge and Project Almanac. I’m not so sure about writers Nemec and Appelbaum, though as I’ve not been a fan of their past three films — Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles duology and Wonder Park.
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realme C3 Hands On: A Pretty Entry-Level Device

Yesterday saw the launch of the realme C3 in Malaysia. While it only came with one RAM and storage configuration instead of two, the Malaysian model also comes with an extra camera, compared to the one we saw launch in India. I took some time after the launch to get a feel of what the phone was like, and here are my thoughts on the phone.
To start, it’s a pretty large phone, especially for an entry level model. I’m still not sure about what to feel about a 6.5-inch screen with only a HD+ resolution. But on the flip side, if you’re looking for an entry-level phone you’re probably not too fussed about the crispness of the images you see.

But then again, many of the more affordable smartphones have begun trending this way. On a related note, it also comes with a waterdrop notch for the front-facing camera.
While its pretty common to see chamfers instead of curves at the edges of a phone, it’s a little unusual to see them near the phone’s buttons. No doubt it makes the phone look slightly better than without them, even if they serve no other functional purpose. But it’s just rare that this much attention to detail was given to an entry-level phone.

Said buttons themselves are quite ordinary. This includes placement, with the power button on the right and the volume rocker on the left. The top and bottom are pretty ordinary too, with the former being pretty much spotless.
At the bottom is where you see the usual suspects. First is the micro-USB port, which is both expected and a little unfortunate. Next is the 3.5mm audio jack, which is a sight for sore eyes. And finally, the mundane mono speaker grille.

The back is lightly textured, but the highlight of it is, well, the simulated sun rays. They are made to look as it they are emanating from the camera. That’s another bonus point as far as aesthetics go.

The realme C3 has a MediaTek G70, which was touted as a gaming chipset for entry-level phones. The oxymoron aside, it does provide a good experience for general use. Swiping from screen to screen is smooth, though this may have something to do with the software as well.
It’s running the new realme UI, which is based on Android 10. The overlay also gives you control over some UI elements, such as the size of your app icons, and the edges around it.

For cameras, it comes with a 12MP main camera, a 2MP portrait lens, and a 2MP macro shooter. That last one is the one that was added to the Malaysian units. It also makes the realme C3 one of the most affordable phones to come with a macro lens.

But the overall performance is about what you’d expect from an entry-level device. Colours are a little on the warm side, and even under well lit conditions there looks to be some distortion to the images.
That said, that’s in no way a conclusive test. Maybe an in-depth review will yield different results. But until we get a chance to do that, we’ll have to leave things at that.
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