Samsung Patents Video Chat Feature Using AR Emoji

Samsung looks to be expanding its AR Emoji usage for users. The company has been granted a patent with the USPTO for a video call feature that uses virtual avatars instead of regular video streaming.
The pattern states that the current video conferencing feature is high in latency, requiring an entire image to be generated and compressed before being transmitted. A virtual avatar would reduce the amount of data that would need to be sent; since there is no longer a video feed to be streamed.
This can reduce the bandwidth usage for users especially in areas where internet speed are slow and data are expensive.
Another reasoning mentioned in the patent is that during a video call, people aren’t able to make eye contact with each other because the camera isn’t placed directly on the screen. AR Emoji get around this by presenting an Avatar for people to engage with; especially since the avatar can be generated from a picture of the user.
The only drawback is that the current AR Emoji features show an exaggerated version of the person’s facial expressions. Losing quite a bit in terms of facial tics.

We’ll see what Samsung decides to do with the patent. It is possible for Samsung to come out with an AR Emoji video call feature in the future. If Samsung does develop it into a live feature, we do hope that there will be an upgrade of some sort to make better 3D avatars compared to what the AR Emoji can do currently.
(Source: Patently Mobile via The Verge)
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ASUS Offers Dual RT-AC68U and RT-AC86U Routers Bundle with Discounts of Up To RM 1220

Aside from their PC components and smartphones, ASUS is also known to produce high-performance routers. In conjunctions with the on-going Lazada 6th Birthday Sale, some of them are being offered with huge discounts.
Specifically, there are two ASUS routers involved in the special promo: the AC1900 RT-AC68U and the AC2900 RT-86U. However, you actually need to purchase them as a set of two routers in order to enjoy the discounts.

Nevertheless, we are still looking at rather huge savings here. For the RT-AC68U bundle, it is going for RM 1458 instead of its usual RM 2098 price tag. As a comparison, the router already costs RM 1269 per unit at ASUS Malaysia’s Lazada store although a quick search pointed us to a seller who offering it at only RM 699.
As for the RT-AC86U bundle, users can obtain it for RM 1918 through the on-going sale promotion. Usually, the bundle goes for RM 3138 and a stand-alone unit is currently priced at RM 1569 through ASUS Malaysia’s Lazada store as well even though another merchant has listed the router at RM 1039.

In general, consumers able to save RM 640 if they go for the RT-AC68U bundle or RM 1220 if they choose the RT-AC86U bundle instead. Regardless of the bundle that they obtained this direct offer from ASUS Malaysia or even from the individual sellers that we mentioned above, these are great money savers.
(Source: ASUS Malaysia Official Lazada Store)
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Grab the Xiaomi Mi A1 from RM699 Today

Here’s another deal for those looking for an affordable smartphone. The Xiaomi Mi A1 has been discounted many times, but this time around, it is the lowest we’ve seen the phone go – you can now own the Android One device for only RM699.
At this price point, the Mi A1 is almost a no-brainer purchase, especially if you’re looking for a stock Android smartphone. If 32GB of internal storage isn’t quite enough for you, worry not – G Store is offering the 64GB variant for slightly more at RM749.

To learn more about the Xiaomi Mi A1, check out our hands on with the device.
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ASUS Lyra Mesh WiFi Set Is Now Going For Under RM 1000

Originally launched in Malaysia last year, the ASUS Lyra Home Mesh WiFi system is designed to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zone within one’s home which would then allow users to stay connected wherever they may be in the house. In conjunction with Lazada 6th Birthday Sale, you can obtain the set for much lower than its normal retail price.
Comes in a set of three hubs, the AC2200 tri-band solution should be able to handle large or multi-story house with footprint area of between 4000 to 6000 square feet. Said to be protected by commercial-grade security system called AiProtection which is powered by Trend Micro, the Lyra mesh Wi-Fi system also has its own app that allows users to monitor, manage, and diagnose their network.

When it was released in Malaysia late last year, the Lyra set carried a price tag of RM 1999. At the on-going Lazada Birthday Sale though, consumers can get their hands on it for just RM 999 which should be quite alluring for those who are looking for methods to strengthen or stabilize the Wi-Fi network at their home.
(Source: ASUS Malaysia Official Lazada Store)
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Score the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 For Just RM79

Xiaomi’s fitness band has always been on the affordable side of things, but not quite this affordable. Originally retailing at RM129, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is now listed at only RM79.
However, note that this is not an official unit from Xiaomi Malaysia – it only comes with a one-month warranty, but it is fulfilled by Lazada. If you want the extra security, you can grab the Mi Band 2 from Xiaomi’s official Lazada store for not that much more: it’s currently offered for RM88.

For a fitness band as feature-packed as the Xiaomi Mi Band 2, this is a pretty darn good deal. If you’re eyeing to get it, we recommend getting it from Xiaomi Malaysia’s Lazada store – it comes with one year warranty instead of only a month for merely RM9 more than Gadgetbin’s listing.
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Dell Alienware And Illegear Gaming Laptops On Sale For The Lazada 6th Birthday Festival

Lazada’s sixth anniversary sale is seeing massive discounts on both Dell Alienware and Illegear gaming laptops, with discounts going up to 24%. To be fair, these laptops still sport the older Intel seventh generation processors; since the new Coffee Lake-H equipped models are yet to arrive in the country.
First up are the pair of Alienware 15 and 17 gaming laptops. These two share nearly identical specifications, with the only difference lying in the displays. The Alienware 15 is equipped with a 15.6-inch FHD display with a 120Hz refresh rate. This model is also advertised with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology. On the other hand, the Alienware 17 fits a 17.3-inch FHD display; also featuring the Tobii IR eye-tracking system.

On the inside of both gaming laptops are an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16GB dual channel RAM, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. Interestingly, neither of these configurations appear on the official Dell Malaysia website.
The Alienware 15 is going for RM7,999, which represents a markdown of 11%. On the other hand, the Alienware 17 is on offer for RM8,299; a discount of 16%.

Illegear serves up some somewhat more tempting offers. Starting with the Illegear S5X, which was the first Max-Q equipped laptop to enter Malaysia last year. It’s still a relative workhorse, despite being on the market for nearly a year now. More importantly, it’s currently on Lazada for RM5,715.
This price nets buyers a 15.6-inch laptop with a Full HD display, an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD, 1TB SSHD, and a GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q. All of which is quite a lot of power packed into such a low price. Then again, this is likely Illegear clearing the stock in anticipation of the arrival of the newer Coffee Lake fitted S5 laptops.

Finally, there is the Illegear Raven. Which offers a profile similar to that of the S5X. It’s also a 15.6-inch gaming laptop with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and 8GB RAM. What is different is that the Raven is fitted with a 120GB SSD + 1TB HDD storage combo, and a less powerful GTX 1060 graphics card.
Despite this, the price is seeing a 24% mark down; being sold for RM4,260. Again, this look like stock clearance for Illegear. But then again, it’s not nearly a bad deal considering the price.
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You Can Own a Brand New iPhone for Only RM1,179 Now

Lazada’s 6th Birthday Festival is happening right now, so expect a lot of discounts from today to 27 April on the e-commerce site. This particular offer is especially interesting – it’s one of the most affordable ways to own a brand new iPhone.
Remember the iPhone 6 deal we wrote about a few weeks back? It is now even more affordable. Previously going for RM1,299, the Gold iPhone 6 with 32GB of storage can now be bought for only RM1,179.

Yes, the iPhone 6 is quite an old device – it was launched back in 2014 – but for RM1,179, it will certainly appeal to certain folks. Especially for those who are looking to try out an iPhone without breaking the bank.
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Spotify Introduces On-Demand Streaming For Free Mobile Users

Spotify has formally announced the introduction of on-demand streaming for on mobile for free users. The feature, which was leaked last week, allows users to select and play specific songs while on mobile; instead of being locked into the shuffle play option.
Free users will have 15 playlists available with the on-demand streaming feature, although none of these can be customised. Instead, they will feature Spotify’s own list of curated playlists – and also the Daily Mixes, Discover Weekly, and Release Radar. We’re told that the other playlists will change depending on the music tastes of the listener. Allowing people to slowly evolve their listening habits.
To this end, playlists without the on-demand streaming will have a blue shuffle icon. Something that was already leaked ahead of time.

Also being introduced is a new Data Saver option for those with limited data caps. This will reduce the fidelity of the audio in order to save on data use. However, Spotify won’t say what the audio quality will be like with the option turned on; only that it will save up to 75% on data usage.

The introduction of these freemium features is part of Spotify’s efforts to convert more free users to paid ones. Ideally, giving them a bigger taste of a premium account will be the push that some need to begin paying for a monthly subscription.
Spotify’s on-demand playlists is set to begin rolling out to the Android app this week, the the update set to reach iOS over the next two weeks.
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Fitbit Versa Is Officially In Malaysia: Price Starts At RM 990

Fitbit today has officially launched its new fitness-oriented smartwatch, Versa in Malaysia. Considering that the device was first announced to the world just a month ago, it surprisingly didn’t take too long to be made available in our market.
In many ways, the new smartwatch is almost identical to the Ionic which made its way into Malaysia at the end of last year. Just like its higher-end sibling, the Versa is able to track more than 15 specific exercises which include running, biking, yoga, weight training, golf, hike, tennis, stairclimber, and circuit training although only 7 can be displayed inside the Exercise section of the watch at one time.
The Versa can also be used to track swims and it is able to withstand water depth of up to 50m. Of course, users can also used to keep track of their daily steps, floors climbed, burned calories, and sleep through the watch.
(L-R) Fitbit Versa vs Fitbit Ionic.
Built with the wrist-based PurePulse heart rate monitor, the Versa also comes with the SpO2 sensor as per Ionic but similarly, it is not yet being activated for users since Fitbit is still testing applications that are suitable for the sensor. While Fitbit Pay is not yet available in Malaysia at the moment, the company has included NFC into all Versa smartwatches that are released in our market to support the wireless payment feature.
With battery life of around 4 days, the Versa also comes with internal storage that able to fit more than 300 songs and supports music output via Bluetooth headset as well as Not to forget, users can also download clock faces and apps from the Fitbit OS App Gallery for the watch.
So, what made the Versa rather different from Ionic are generally down to two things: aesthetic design and GPS capability. As you can see, the Versa chassis has rounded edges which are not far off from the design language utilized by Pebble who was acquired by Fitbit few years ago.
Just a small sample of watch bands available for Fitbit Versa.
Unlike Ionic, the Versa doesn’t come with built-in GPS. However, a feature called Connected GPS allows the watch to utilize smartphone’s GPS for users that require real-time pace and distance to be shown on Versa during their run or bike ride.
Price-wise, the standard variant of Versa can be obtained for RM 990 while the Special Edition models which come with woven band goes for RM 1120. Fitbit has also released replacement watch bands for Versa in Malaysia which are priced from RM 130 to RM 420 depending on their types.
The Versa is available immediately through Fitbit’s own store on Lazada as well as well-known retailers throughout Malaysia including All IT Hypermarket, AONE Plus, Best Denki, Harvey Norman, Timekeeper, and Thunder Match Technology.
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LG OLED TV W Series Will Be Coming To Malaysia

LG is making plans to bring its signature OLED TV W Series into Malaysia. The TV made its debut earlier during CES 2018, but we got a chance to see the device and its technology up close at the company’s annual InnoFest 2018 in Seoul, Korea.
As part of its premium-grade Signature series, the TV is chock full of unique selling points. As a start, the TV’s frame is razor-thin, sporting a thickness of just 4mm (basically two credit cards stacked together). The TV’s thin form factor and flexible OLED panel means its can easily be wall-mounted with magnetic wall brackets (in turn, making it look like an aesthetic part of the furniture).
The TV also features LG’s new Alpha 9 intelligent processor, providing it with more imaging features. These features allow the OLED TV W to run videos at higher frame rates (120 fps, specifically) at 4K UHD resolution, virtually eliminating the blurring effects that one usually sees in action movies with fast-moving scenarios.

Colours and contrast are obviously also a big deal for LG, and to that end, the TV’s OLED display also supports the two currently existing HDR format – Dolby Vision and HDR10. For the uninitiated; HDR enables a TV to keep black levels at its optimal levels, which in turns allows for other colours to be projected more accurately.

One major feature that LG provided the W Series is the use of Google Assistance. Specifically, Google’s voice-operated search assistant is designed to work in tandem with LG’s WebOS. Like its mobile counterpart, users can easily summon the feature via the TV’s provided remote. From there, users can ask Google Assistant questions (e.g. the weather, cooking recipes, etc.) or command it to perform certain actions (e.g. turning off/on the TV).
Sadly, an LG representative told us that the W Series coming to Malaysia won’t have support for Google Assistant, due to the fact that Google itself hasn’t made the function available to the country yet. Having said that, the W series will still come with LG’s WebOS.

As we mentioned at the beginning, LG will be bringing in the W Series sometime in May this year, and will come in sizes of 55″, 65″, and 75″. At the time of writing, LG did not specify how much its TVs will retail for.
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