Samsung Is Ready To Roll Out 8nm Processors For Mobile Devices

Samsung has announced that it is ready to begin production of 8nm chips. The company has completed certification and qualification for its 8LPP (Low Power Plus) production node, meaning that its next chip will have leapt ahead of the competition in terms of die shrinkage.
Receiving qualification three months earlier than anticipation, Samsung Foundry said that,”8LPP is expected to rapidly ramp-up to the level of stable yield by adopting the already proven 10nm process technology.” In other words, the new 8LPP chips will still be built using the same methods currently applied. Not the much anticipated EUV (extreme ultra violet) lithography that’s set to bed used in the production of 7nm chips.
While the implications for mobile System on a Chip (SoC) production is great (better yields, less chip binning, more transistors in a same die area), the use of 8LPP production node will also benefit other areas as well.

This includes cryptocurrency and network/server use. New chips designed for cryptocurrency mining can be created at a lower cost. At the same time, new network-centric SoC can be designed with better yields and performance in the long run.
Potential customers includes Samsung’s Exynos division, as well as Qualcomm for its upcoming Snapdragon products. Samsung did not share when the first chips using the new node process will be available, however it is announcing the road-map for the 8LPP production node at the Samsung Foundry Forum Europe happening in Munich.
(Source: Samsung )
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MCMC Is Blocking Fanfiction.net For Indecent And Obscene Content

The Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission has confirmed that it is blocking popular fan fiction site FanFiction.net. The site, which hosts user written stories and content, is said to have failed to take necessary steps to remove indecent content and resulted in the ban.
According to a report by The Star newspaper, the ban has been in place since 12 October. The site itself tweeted about the ban, saying that “Malaysia has joined Indonesia as the only two countries on earth that has blocked access to FanFiction.Net.”

Malaysia has joined Indonesia as the only two countries on earth that has blocked access to https://t.co/IqVFgtpPL3.🧐
— FictionPress (@FictionPress) October 12, 2017

On the other hand, the MCMC said in a statement that it “acted after receiving numerous complaints from the public including parents who are worried that their children were exposed to improper materials on the website such as adaptations of popular fictional characters familiar to most children, but with lewd and explicit sexual scenes written by anonymous online contributors.”
Fan fiction is often used by fans of particular shows to explore the universe or as writing practice. That said, the genre often wanders into rather explicit content and FanFiction.net was known for making it easy to find these kinds of stories. Thus, it really comes as no surprise that the MCMC has moved to block the site. What is surprising is that the commission took so long to notice its existence.
MCMC has been vigilant on clamping down on online materials that it deems offensive as of late. It blocked the entire Steam store for hosting the rather distasteful (but somehow hilarious) Fight of Gods. A ban that barely lasted 24 hours after Valve took steps to geo-block the title from Malaysia.
[Source: The Star]
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Samsung 360 Round Camera Captures VR Content In Full 3D

Samsung has announced a new 360-degree camera that sports an impressive 17 lenses. Called the Samsung 360 Round, the camera is designed to cater to those who want to capture VR content in stereoscopic 3D. Something that doesn’t happen very often.
The 17 different lenses includes several specialised lenses. Eight pairs of lenses capture images in stereo-3D horizontally, while a single lens capture images vertically. The final image and video captured will have better image quality and detail when compared to a single-lens solution.
Samsung said that the 360 Round camera is both water and dust resistant. It also claims that the camera runs cooler than any other camera of its ilk; hence the lack of any cooling fan built-in. This makes the 360 Round the perfect companion for outdoor capture and live streaming, according to Samsung.
After capturing, the content are stitched together in a PC, and is turned into VR content for desktop and mobile. The Roomba-sized device is only captures the content – it does not stitch it in-camera.
The official specs for the Samsung 360 Round are as follows:

17 cameras with 1/2.8-inch, 2MP image sensor and f/1.8 lens each
Six internal microphones with support for two external mics
LAN or USB Type-C connectivity
10GB of RAM and 40GB of internal memory
Up to 2TB SSD, up to 256GB SD card
1.93kg
19V, 21.1A power input

The camera is clearly targeted for professional outfits looking for a rugged outdoor live-streaming solution. Samsung said the camera will be on sale sometime in October – but no dates has been shared. It will also cost about US$ 10,500 (about RM 44,363).We hope the next Samsung 360 camera will pick up hints from the 360 Round – you know, so we can have better consumer-grade 360-content recording.
(Source: Samsung )
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The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Is a Classy, Expensive Smartphone

Just like how it was last year, Huawei also unveiled a limited edition – and very costly – Porsche Design variant of its latest Mate 10 series. Dubbed the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10, it’s really a more premium-looking Mate 10 Pro with some differences here and there.
On the front, the Porsche Design Mate 10 doesn’t look all that different from the regular Mate 10 Pro, aside from the design firm’s branding below the display instead of Huawei’s. Naturally, the phone also comes pre-loaded with a custom theme with different fonts and wallpapers to reflect the phone’s status as a Porsche Design device.
Turn the phone around, and you’ll see the ceramic-like rear glass panel. It’s still made of glass, of course, but it does look and feel like ceramic to a certain extent. In contrast to the Mate 10 Pro, the Porsche Design Mate 10 comes with vertical stripes – complete with Porsche Design’s logo – instead of horizontal ones too.

Beyond these differences, the Porsche Design Mate 10 has the same hardware as the Mate 10 Pro. These include a 6-inch 1080p OLED FullView Display with HDR10 support, a Kirin 970 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM, double the internal storage of the Mate 10 Pro at 256GB, a large 4,000mAh battery, as well as EMUI 8.0 based on Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.
In the camera department, the limited edition Mate 10 comes with a Leica-certified dual-camera system made up of a 12MP RGB sensor and a 20MP monochrome sensor; both sensors are fitted with large f/1.6 lenses. The front-facing camera, on the other hand, is an 8MP shooter.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 will be launching in Malaysia sometime in the second half of November 2017 alongside the Mate 10 Pro. Much like last year’s Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9, it will retail at RM6,999 as well.
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HP ZBook X2 Is A Detachable Tablet For Professionals

HP has introduced a new tablet designed for professionals, with a form factor that borrows from its consumer line. The HP ZBook X2 is part of the company’s ZBook workstation line-up, but as the X2 moniker reveals, has a detachable keyboard base.
The 2-in-1 detachable has all the hallmarks of ‘designed for the pros’. The 14-inch 4K screen has a matte finish, emulating a drawing tablet surface. This is useful as HP and Wacom teamed up to create a bespoke stylus for the ZBook X2, said to be the “most accurate and expressive” in the industry, with 4,096 levels of sensitivity.
The ZBook X2 may be a tablet, but you wouldn’t want to carry it around for long periods of time. At 1.6kg (or 1.8kg with the included keyboard), you would most likely have it on a desk most of the time, propped up on its multi-angle kickstand.
Inside the aluminium-magnesium body, the ZBook X2 can be customized with up to an Intel Core i7-8560U Kaby Lake-R processor, NVIDIA Quadro M620, 32GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of solid state storage. You also get a slew of ports (for a tablet), including two USB 3.1 Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, one USB 3.0 port, and a boon for photographers: an SD card slot.
Be prepared to cough up a great wad of cash though, as the HP ZBook X2 starts from $1,750 (about RM7,390). HP will be throwing in the stylus in the package at that price. Interested customers can look forward to the ZBook X2 in December – though pricing and availability in Malaysia is not confirmed.
(Source: Engadget)
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ZTE Axon M Brings Two Screens Into One Large Display

ZTE has announced the new ZTE Axon M, the company’s (and arguably the world’s) first foldable smartphone. As previously reported, the phone features two separate displays that can combine into one giant screen.
The design of the phone is more like the Sony Xperia series than the curved edges of the Samsung Galaxy S8. The Axon M has a large forehead and chin, and the two screens sits on a hinge. Oddly enough, the internals are more 2016 than 2017.

Inside the ZTE Axon M, you get:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
4GB RAM
64GB Storage
microSD support up to 256GB
Dual 5.2-inch IPS Full HD displays
3180mAh battery with Quickcharge 3.0
20MP camera with f/1.8 lens
Integrated fingerprint scanner on power button
Android 7.1.2

As the spec sheet above shows, there is only a single camera mentioned in in the specs list. This is because the single camera is for both selfies and normal photos. It makes use of the two screens to achieve this feat (which side is the front, anyway?)

Thanks to Android Nougat’s multi-window feature, the Axon M can fully utilize the two screens in multiple modes: mirror mode, dual mode, extended mode, and of course the traditional smartphone layout.
It will be exclusive to AT&T in the USA, and will be priced at $725 (about RM3,060). There are plans of bringing the phone to Japan and Europe; but when asked, no concrete plans as of yet for other parts of the world. We do hope it comes here to Malaysia in the near future – how cool is it to have a phone that is a tablet at the same time.
(Source: ZTE USA)
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Blind Camera Comparison: Huawei Mate 10 Pro & Samsung Galaxy S8+

Huawei and Leica are collaborating yet again for the Huawei Mate 10 series’ dual-camera system, and needless to say, we’re pretty excited to see just how capable the new and improved camera is. While we’re still here in Munich, Germany, we took the Mate 10 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S8+ around the city to snap some comparison shots.
In terms of camera hardware, the Mate 10 Pro is arguably in a better position here. Not only does it sport two rear cameras, both the 12MP RGB sensor and 20MP monochrome sensor are equipped with f/1.6 lenses. The Galaxy S8+, on the other hand, only has one rear camera with an f/1.7 lens.
Of course, there’s more to camera performance than just sheer hardware advantage, so let’s see how these two smartphones compare to each other. Just like our previous blind camera comparisons, these images are arranged in random order; we’ll reveal which phone took which picture sometime next week. Until then, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Click on the images to view in full resolution.
Daytime

Low Light

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Huawei Mate 10 Hands On: For the Core Mate User

The Huawei Mate 10, while impressive, isn’t quite as exciting as the sleek Huawei Mate 10 Pro. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, of course: both devices are catered to different consumers, and the Mate 10 continues to emphasise on the strengths of Huawei’s Mate series.
On top of that, the standard Mate 10 also boasts a number of features not found on the more premium Mate 10 Pro; some of which are indispensable to certain users.
Let’s talk about specifications: the Mate 10 features a 5.9-inch 2560 x 1440 RGBW HDR display with a conventional 16:9 aspect ratio, a Kirin 970 processor paired with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage further expandable with a microSD card, as well as a generous 4,000mAh battery. The Mate 10 also boasts the same Leica-certified dual-camera system as the Pro model.

As the Mate 10 comes with a standard 16:9 display, it feels chunkier and bigger than its Pro variant, which comes with a taller and narrower display. Needless to say, the Mate 10 is not a small device – it has a large 5.9-inch display, after all – but it is more compact than its predecessor, thanks to the very minimal top and bottom bezels.
Not only do they reduce the overall footprint of the Mate 10, the small bezels also give the device a modern aesthetic. Much like the Mate 10 Pro, the Mate 10’s good screen-to-body ratio at 81.79% is also enough for Huawei to categorise the phone’s display as a FullView Display.

So how good is the Mate 10’s 5.9-inch 1440p display? Very. Sure, some may not be thrilled by the fact that it is an RGBW display – it produces a “tile-patterned image” when viewed up close – but it looks more than adequate when viewed at a normal distance. It can get quite bright, texts and images look sharp, and with support for HDR10, colours are vibrant too.
Build quality, needless to say, is also very solid. Unlike its predecessor, the Mate 10 now boasts a glass and metal construction, which makes it much more comfortable to use for long periods of time. On top of that, it also gives the device a more premium look, though the back glass panel does attract fingerprints rather easily.

Beyond the display and feel in hand, the Mate 10 software experience is pleasant too. Navigating through the phone’s user interface feels very responsive and zippy, and by utilising the NPU (Neural Processing Unit) of the Kirin 970 chipset, the Mate 10 can perform offline text and image translation faster. Now, these are all done with the Microsoft Translator app, so it’s not exactly a feature exclusive to the Mate 10, but the NPU does speed things up quite a bit; Huawei claims the NPU provides up to 300% increase in performance.
In my testing, the Mate 10 was able to translate an image of a spec sheet I took at the launch event in about five seconds or so. While this is quite an impressive feat, I’ll definitely test this feature more thoroughly in a full review. It’ll be interesting to see just how much faster the Mate 10 is at translating images and texts compared to smartphones without an NPU.

Camera performance of the Mate 10, on the other hand, is largely similar to the Mate 10 Pro. After all, both smartphones are equipped with a similar dual-camera setup, which is made up of a 12MP RGB sensor and a 20MP monochrome sensor with large f/1.6 lenses on both of them. The primary 12MP RGB shooter also comes with optical image stabilisation, and on the front, the Mate 10 features an 8MP shooter.
Naturally, the Mate 10 can take some really good-looking shots, but as mentioned in my hands on of the Pro model, the camera app isn’t quite as responsive as I would’ve liked. Nonetheless, autofocus speeds are very good, and the Mate 10’s dual-camera system just holds a lot of promises.

The Huawei Mate 10 isn’t a sexy, sleek flagship smartphone like the Mate 10 Pro. Instead, it’s the practical, no-nonsense Mate device consumers know and love. It features a large display, support for expandable storage, and a 3.5mm headphone jack – the latter two features are not even found on the Pro model.
To top it off, Huawei is pricing the Mate 10 at the very same price point as its predecessor at RM2,699; that’s pretty good price-to-performance ratio. Of course, it’s not as sleek-looking nor does it carry an IP67 rating like the Mate 10 Pro, but if you value the Mate 10’s feature set (microSD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, among others), it’s really quite a compelling flagship smartphone.
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Microsoft Surface Book 2 Goes Official: Features 8th Gen Intel Core CPU and Up To NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060

When it was unveiled to the world in October 2015, Microsoft deemed Surface Book as its “ultimate laptop”. Featuring a rather interesting approach to convertible form factor and equally elaborate hinge design, the company has finally announced the successor to the device.
Called Surface Book 2, it looked just like the original Surface Book. However, the new Surface Book 2 can be obtained with a bigger 15-inch 3240×2160 PixelSense display instead of just 13.5-inch 3000×2000 option. Other than that, the new model is also packed even more firepower than its predecessor given its new set of CPU and GPU.

Alongside Intel Core i7-8650U with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB PCI-based solid state drive, the 13.5-inch variant features NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB for the 13.5-inch model while the 15-inch option carries an even beefier GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics. Interestingly though, Microsoft does offer the 13.5-inch variant with lower-end Intel Core i5-7300U chip which also does not come with dedicated GPU.
Nevertheless, all Surface Book 2 models do come with one USB Type-C port although too bad that it doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3. In terms of battery life, Microsoft claimed that the Surface Book 2 is able to provide up to 17 hours of video playback.

With a starting price of USD 1499 (about RM 6331), the new Surface Book 2 will be available in United States starting from mid-November onwards. Its availability in Malaysia is not yet known at the moment although we don’t expect it to be released in our market any time soon either.
(Source: Microsoft)
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Microsoft Surface Book 2: Comes In Two Sizes with 8th Gen Intel Core CPU and Up To NVIDIA GTX 1060

When it was unveiled to the world in October 2015, Microsoft calls it as the “ultimate laptop”. Now, the company has launches its successor in the form of Surface Book 2.
While Microsoft might have retained plenty of characteristics from the original model such as its signature hinge design and convertible form factor, there are still couple of things that separate Surface Book 2 from its predecessor. For example, it comes in two different sizes with one featuring 13.5-inch 3000×2000 display while the other one has larger 15-inch 3240×2160 display.

Since it is a brand-new product, the hardware on Surface Book 2 is much capable as well since users can obtain it with Intel Core i7-8650U. Alongside the new 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, the 13.5-inch model now has GeForce GTX 1050 2GB graphics card while the 15-inch model soars even higher with GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics alongside up to 16 of RAM and 1TB PCIe solid state drive.
However, these options are not available with the base model for 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 though. Instead, it is equipped with 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300U and doesn’t come with dedicated GPU as well as limited to 8GB RAM and 256GB solid state drive. Nevertheless, all models feature USB Type-C port.
With a starting price of USD 1499 (about RM 6331), the new Surface Book 2 will be released in United States starting from mid-November.
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