HMD Global Offering Nokia 8 for RM300 Off

The festive season is just around the corner, so several phone makers are running promotions for their smartphones. This time around, it’s HMD Global, and it’s offering quite a sizeable discount on its flagship smartphone, the Nokia 8.
From now until 28 February 2018 (or while stocks last), the Nokia 8 can be purchased for only RM1,988 – that’s exactly RM311 worth of discount. To sweeten the deal, the company is also bundling RM200 worth of freebies with the phone. Unfortunately, HMD Global did not detail the content of the free gift.

If you don’t quite fancy HMD Global’s discount, the Nokia 8 is going for slightly less on Lazada. The Blue variant is going for RM1,869, while the Steel colour is a little more affordable at RM1,849. These are definitely better prices for the Nokia 8 than HMD Global’s promotion, but note that there are no freebies of any kind.
If you’d like to learn more about the Nokia 8, you can do so right here.
(Source: Facebook (Nokia Mobile))
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LG Mobile Division Ditches China Due To Declining Revenue

LG has reportedly pulled its smartphone division from the Chinese market. According to a source, the company has ceased selling mobile devices within the country; although there has been no official indication of the South Korean company’s plans.
A reporter from China Business allegedly visited the LG office, where the information was supposedly shared. We are hesitant to call the information confirmed at the moment; seeing that there is only one source being cited.
That said, it isn’t too difficult to believe that LG is cuttings its losses. The Chinese market is incredibly competitive and the last LG phone was released there in 2016. LG has struggled to deliver its devices to some regions within a reasonable time frame, as we here in Malaysia have come to experience.

LG is not exactly scrapping for cash either. It’s other divisions have been turning a steady profit. A situation that is rather unfortunate considering that it has finally been catching up with the competition through the release of the LG V30.
[Source: Sohu, via Android Police]
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OPPO F5 Dashing Blue Now Opens For Pre-Order: Comes With Swarovski Clear Case

Just in time for the upcoming Valentine’s Day, OPPO today has begin to take pre-order for yet another new colorway for its F5 smartphone. This time around, it is called Dashing Blue and the company is offering a special set of gifts to the first 500 pre-order customers of the phone.
Included in the gift set is a specially made gift box with matching colorway alongside a limited edition clear case that is decorated with Swarovski crystals similar to the case that was part of the initial release box set for OPPO F5 6GB Red Edition. Additionally, customers can choose to personalize the case further with a laser engraved name or short message.

As for the phone itself, it still the same regular F5 variant that comes with 4GB of RAM and 32GB storage. Built with a 6-inch FHD+ 18:9 display, the phone also carries a MediaTek Helio P23 MT6763T octa-core processor, 20MP f/2.0 front camera, 16MP f/1.8 rear camera, and 3200mAh battery.
Price-wise, the new OPPO F5 Dashing Blue can be obtained at RM 1,298 which is similar to the standard version of the phone as well as the Fattah Amin tie-in model. Customers are able to pre-order the new model through OPPO Malaysia’s online store as well as participating e-commerce partners such as Lazada, Shopee and 11street.
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Intel Could Be The Exclusive Supplier For iPhone Modems This Year

Intel could stand to break Qualcomm’s hold on iPhone modem supply this year. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the semiconductor maker could end up being the exclusive supplier for the iPhone in 2018.
There are a couple of reasons for Kuo’s rather extreme expectations of Cupertino. Firstly, Intel’s new XMM 7560 modem supports both GSM and CDMA; past models only supported GSM connections. Support for both networks would now allow Intel to properly cater to what Apple needs for the global market.
Secondly, Apple and Qualcomm are in the middle of a heated disagreement about patent licensing. Cupertino has been accusing Qualcomm of using its position to extract unfavourable licensing terms; particular with the agreement preventing Apple from even talking to other manufacturers. The court battle has been going on for several months now, and it doesn’t look like there will be a conclusion in 2018.

Kuo does not believe that the exclusivity arrangement – if it happens – will last for very long. Apple likes to maintain a diverse supply chain (which is why it’s chafing under the agreement with Qualcomm). If anything, this could simply be used as a bargaining chip for future contracts.
Intel is no stranger to supplying iPhones with modems; it’s already one of Apple’s suppliers. Albeit on a much smaller scale than Qualcomm. This is a chance for the company to make up ground in the mobile cellular modem market; something it has been failing to achieve.
[Source: Mac Rumors]
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Gabe Newell Sets The Record Straight Over Microsoft and Valve Rumour

Gabe Newell, founder of Valve, recently went on record to quash a rumour that Microsoft has expressed interest in acquiring his company and its digital distribution platform, Steam.
The rumour seems to have first cropped up several days ago on Polygon, with the article suggesting that Microsoft buying up Valve “might be unlikely, but not impossible.” Naturally, people who read this article might have been shaken up a bit. One worried fan actually wrote an email to the man himself, asking “Is Valve being bought by Microsoft? Please respond, the community is shaken.”
Newell responded with a simple, “not that I’m aware of.”

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, had talked about expanding the gaming business segment of his company nearing the end of last year, especially after the initial sales performance of the Xbox One X last year.
“We’re mobilising to pursue an expansive opportunity in the 100+ billion gaming market. This means broadening our approach to how we think about gaming end-to-end. About starting with games and how they’re created and distributed, and how they’re played and viewed.”
It’s easy to see how the rumour could catch on from the quote. The gaming industry is by far one of the most lucrative at the moment, with Valve at the very heart. Steam is easily the most used piece of digital distribution on the internet; drawing hundreds of millions of gamers to the platform on a daily basis. It wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine that Microsoft wants a piece of that pie.
(Sources: Hot Hardware, Game Debate, Polygon)
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AMD’s Threadripper CPU Can Pay For Itself In 18 Months With Mining

AMD’s Threadripper is undoubtedly the company’s most powerful HEDT CPU, albeit being far more expensive non-extreme Ryzen brethren. To that end, AMD wanted to show the mining community that its Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is capable of paying for itself, and asked tech site HardOCP if they could demonstrate.
Yes, we know that it is pretty much common knowledge that GPU mining is still more lucrative than CPU mining. But, what you may not know is that CPU mining with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper (also with Ryzen 7 processors) are actually more profitable than you may think. This is due to the CPU’s high core count, along with its large 32MB L3 Cache.
In the video, HardOCP had set a Ryzen Threadripper 1950X to mine Monero via the XMR-STAK mining program. Once the system was properly setup, the 1950X was able to achieve a hashrate of 1,486H/s, with a TDP of 246W. According to their calculations, and given the current value of the Bitcoin today, HardOCP reckoned that the 1950X would need to mine for approximately 18 months in order to pay itself off.

But that’s just the cost of the CPU itself. Judging from the video itself, HardOCP doesn’t mention the cost of the other components in use: the water cooler, motherboard, and even the RAM. On that note; the Ryzen Threadripper isn’t your average kind of CPU, and they require coolers specifically designed for them, and this is despite the fact that each Threadripper CPU comes with a special bracket.
(Source: HardOCP)
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Microsoft Has Five Versions Of Windows 10 For Partners

Microsoft is apparently changing how it plans to license Windows 10 to OEM partners. A report indicates that the operating system will not only feature five different SKUs, but will also have a Windows 10 S version of each of these different versions.
The new roadmap for Windows 10 was leaked by Thurrott, which managed to catch a glimpse of what Microsoft has in plan for partners. In this case, it would be splitting the OS into Entry, Value, Core, Core+, and Advanced. Each of these SKUs caters to a different class of computer.
Entry caters to truly budget devices. Being designated for devices running on Intel Pentium and Celeron chips, having less than 4GB RAM, and being smaller than 14-inches in size. Overall, it’s likely to be used for convertible tablets and filling in the space for Windows 10 S.

From there, it slowly creeps up the hardware configurations until it reaches the Advanced SKU. Which is meant for anything running on an Intel Core i9 or AMD Threadripper processor.
It’s unclear if there will be any practical differences between these versions of Windows 10. The variation in pricing and SKU is nothing exactly new from Microsoft, as the company often offers licenses at multiple tiers; with little effect on the end consumer.
What could impact consumers is the addition of a Windows 10 S mode to each of the SKUs. In effect, it could convince OEMs to ship more computers with Windows 10 S instead of a full version OS; and then later charge more for the upgrade. Chances are that Microsoft is pushing towards this practice anyway.
If there’s anything to note, it’s that the new SKU pricing structure will likely affect prices of laptops and pre-built systems. So expect prices of higher end devices to see a small bump after these prices go into effect in April.
[Source: Thurrott]
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Sapphire Debuts Pulse Radeon RX 550 Graphics Card

Sapphire has unveiled yet another new addition to its Pulse series of graphics card called the Pulse Radeon RX 550. Prior to this, the company had earlier showcased the slightly more powerful Pulse Radeon RX560 Lite graphics card. Interestingly, both the Pulse Radeon RX 550 and Pulse Radeon RX 560 are based off of the same GPU by AMD: Polaris 21.
Of course, the Polaris 21 GPU on the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 550 comes with lower compute unit count. To be more specific, this graphics card features 10 core counts (a “full” Polaris 21 GPU has 16) which translates to a stream processor count of 640. For those who may remember, the reference Radeon RX 550 came with just 512 stream processors.

In addition, the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 550 comes with a clock speed of 1071MHz along with a memory clock speed of 6GHz. It’s worth mentioning that this graphics card comes in two storage “flavours”: 2GB and 4GB. When it comes to design, the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 550 features a black and red cooler shroud, which houses one open-air cooling fan.
Display outputs on this graphics card include one DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI ports each. Unfortunately, pricing and date of release for the Pulse Radeon RX 550 was not mentioned by Sapphire at the time of writing. It’s also not known whether the company will be bringing this graphics card to Malaysia.
(Source: TechPowerUp)
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Razer Announces Chinese New Year Edition Of The Razer Phone

A limited edition Razer Phone is now up for sale in the US and China for the upcoming Chinese New Year Celebration. It is one of the more modest special edition designs, with a gold accented logo being the only difference on the device.
Called the Razer Phone 2018 Gold Edition, the Razer logo on the back is now in gold instead of the grey accent in the standard edition. The retail box also sports a different design, with generous splashes of red as well as a Chinese New Year-inspired logo incorporating Razer’s famous snake iconography.
Internally, the phone still features the same hardware. It comes with a 5.7-inch 1440p IGZO 120Hz display, Snapdragon 835 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, front-facing stereo speakers – each speaker comes equipped with individual amplifiers – as well as a dual-camera system on the back.
Interestingly, the Razer Phone 2018 Gold Edition doesn’t have a premium attached to it. It will retail at the same $699.99 (about RM2960) as the standard variant, and can be purchased from the official Razer online store.
(Source: Razer)
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MCMC Network Performance Report 2017: TM Doesn’t Fully Meet The Standard For Wired Broadband

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) earlier this week has released the Network Performance Report for 2017. This particular report covered a number of topics including the performance of wired broadband in our country through DSL and fiber networks that belonged to TM, Maxis, and Time.
Based on the network tests throughout the country from January to December 2017, the regulatory agency stated that all of the ISPs above managed to meet the throughput (download and upload speed) standard that the agency has imposed on them. For DSL, it has to be at least 70% of the subscribed speed for 90% of the time while fiber throughput must be 90% of the subscribed speed under the same duration.
TM’s Streamyx DSL service was rebranded to Broadband last year.
However, TM’s DSL service didn’t meet the standard for latency and packet loss though as well as the latency standard for its fiber service. According to MCMC’s requirement, the network latency has to be equal to or less than 85ms for at least 95% of the time while the maximum rate of packet loss is 1%.
The agency further noted that Maxis fiber service failed for the Central region to meet the latency standard but then again, the fiber network that the company utilized was actually leased from TM. Here is the breakdown of the overall test results for wired broadband as provided by MCMC:

MCMC has noted that latency and packet loss issues are certainly something that the ISPs need to work on. In another set of charts which are based on speed subscribed by users, the agency pointed that DSL services not able to meet MCMC’s latency standard at all while only fiber packages with speed of 20 to 29 Mbps as well as 100 Mbps and above managed to comply with the standard.
The situation is not that bad when it comes to packet loss but DSL customers with 1 to 2 Mbps and 5 to 9 Mbps packages are facing more than 1% of packet loss rate. Fiber services on another hand are well within MCMC’s standard:

MCMC has also noted in its report that certain TM customers have experienced a drop in terms of internet experience after the company begun to offer free upgrade last year. Additionally, the agency also stated that rural areas might be facing poor latency on their DSL services if their home is more than 1km away from the Access Node.
Despite all these shortcomings though, TM still receive positive notes inside the report on several fronts. It includes having best throughput among all fiber providers alongside its effort to help users better understand the Wi-Fi network condition in their house and the Wi-Fi technology itself through the company’s Wi-Fi Analyzer App.
New year, new mission for UniFi.
Meanwhile, MCMC has stated in the report that the agency is likely to issue a penalty to ISPs for not meeting the agency’s mandatory standards. It didn’t elaborate further on that matter though but nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how these ISPs react to this report as well as actions taken by MCMC in the near future.
(Source: MCMC)
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