Sony Begins Android 9.0 Pie Rollout For Sony Xperia XZ2 And XZ2 Compact

Sony Mobile has begun rolling out the Android 9.0 Pie for its Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact smartphones. Updates to both Xperia models is being done OTA (over-the-air) across different regions, with a file size that over 1GB in size (specifically, 1059MB).
The Android update will change the build number for both devices from version 51.1.A.11.51 to version 52.0.A.3.27. The update also includes the latest Android security patches. The update will also bring the new Sony camera app with it, although it should be noted that it doesn’t seem to have a portrait selfie mode.

Android 9.0 Pie was first announced back in March 2018, but only officially adopted the official “Pie” moniker back at the beginning of August this year. As one would expect, the new Android OS update comes with software updates and improvements, as well as new features. One such feature is the Adaptive Battery feature, which automatically prioritises battery for a user’s most used apps.
Android 9.0 Pie also comes with a new App Actions feature that suggests apps or actions, based on the user’s time, habit, and location. It also comes with a new functionality that is aimed at improving the wellbeing of users.

Surprisingly, it Sony doesn’t seem to be rolling out Android 9 Pie to its Xperia XZ2 Premium. Considering that the phone is the more premium version of the Xperia XZ2 lineup, we’d imagine that it would at least be given priority for the Android 9 Pie rollout.
(Source: Xperia Blog)
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Monero-Mining Malware Hidden In Flash Updates

Cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks has discovered a false Flash updater which not only does what it advertises, but also adds in a cryptocurrency mining bot called XMRig. Once updated, the said bot will then be used to mine Monero, which are all sent to a single wallet.
The bogus Flash updater has supposedly been around since early August. And it seems to have proliferated too, with 113 instances of files with the “AdobeFlashPlayer” prefix being hosted on non-Adobe servers.

Researchers of Palo Alto Networks tested the file, obtained via a spoof URL. There was initially nothing to suspect, as the Flash updater is running as expected. But soon after, web traffic shows that the Monero-mining bot has already started working.
This is just another entry into the long list of cryptocurrency mining malwares, many of which are disguised as legit software. But for what it’s worth, this one can be avoided as long as you make sure you’re downloading the Adobe updates from the right servers.
(Source: Palo Alto Networks)
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New Samsung Headset Currently In The Works ; Could Combine Both VR And AR

While not outrightly mentioned, the lack of any VR headset or technology during Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 Unpacked event did not go unnoticed. However, we recently found out that the Korean electronics brand does have a new headset in the works. From none other than the president of Samsung himself, DJ Koh.
Information of Samsung’s new headset were revealed during our interview with Koh. Where he explained that Samsung was still invested in the medium, and that the company was actually exploring the idea of creating headset that didn’t just support VR alone, but also incorporated AR (Augmented Reality) technology too.

To that end, Koh then mentioned that he had personally tested a “prototype headset” that actually combined the two mediums. Now, To be fair, having a prototype doesn’t mean that the idea (let alone a finished product) is set in stone.
As far as we’re concerned, Samsung could just as easily make a quick about turn with the technology. Although that seems highly unlikely at this point, seeing how that bit of information came straight from the horse’s mouth. Further, Koh didn’t specify any timeline for the prototype.
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PS4 Consoles Are Crashing Due To A Malicious Message; Factory Reset Seems To Be Only Solution

It looks like the PS4 is a currently a victim of a bug that will cause it to crash hard when it receives messages containing a string of specific characters. Some cases are so severe that a factory reset becomes necessary to stabilise the console once again.
And you don’t even have to open the message for it to happen like your conventional email-spread malware. Just getting a notification containing said string of characters is enough to have the entire PS4 system come crashing down. Deleting the message after it’s been received seem to do no good either.
The key to avoiding falling victim, though, seems simple enough. All it takes is to keep your messages is to set your messages to private, meaning you can either only receive messages from registered friends or no one at all.

If you’ve already gotten the message while your PS4 is turned off, the alternative method is to delete the message in question via the PlayStation app for Android or iOS.
Until Sony issues a fix, it’s not an overstatement to say that you need to take preventive steps to keep yourself safe. This is especially true if you play competitive games and have bad luck with people who take losses poorly or are just plain trolls.
(Source: Reddit via The Verge)
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Interview: Understanding Samsung And Its Future With DJ Koh

Prior to the launch of the Samsung Galaxy A7 2018 and Galaxy A9 2018, we sat down with DJ Koh, President of Samsung Electronics, to speak about his company’s new mid-range flagship, the Galaxy A9 2018. During that time, we asked him several questions about his decisions and thoughts that made the phone. Along with other topics, such as the company’s take on the future of its Galaxy smartphones, AI, and VR.
Lowyat.NET (LYN): As far as our memory can recall, this quad-camera setup has never been done before in history of Samsung Galaxy devices. We’re curious: why did Samsung decide to equip the feature on a mid-range Galaxy A series flagship, instead of the flagship Galaxy S or Galaxy Note series?
That’s a very good question. In the last seven, eight years, we’ve been focusing on our high-end flagship models. Today, however, it’s become apparent that those very same flagship models cannot satisfy every consumer segment in our list. Among that list, millennials are one such customer base.
What this group is trying to pursue are Instagram pictures, cameras, and a phone with unique features that will allow them to express themselves. During our research, we realised that millennials – as well as customers with the millennial mindset, are not necessarily looking for everything in their flagship device. That’s the reason why we look at what kind of unique features we can deliver with to that market segment, which led us to create the Galaxy A7 2018 as well as the Galaxy A9 2018. The latter being the world’s first smartphone with a quad-camera setup.
On that note, this is why we think millennials can express themselves with the Galaxy A9 2018.

LYN: If I may add on to the question: Would we be seeing the quad-camera technology being applied to your higher-end end devices moving forward?
That depends. We have to see the market trend, customer’s voice, as well as the demand. Just because we have adopted the quad-camera setup with our Galaxy A series, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will carry that forward to our other smartphone models. Again, it really depends on customer response. Samsung has always pursued meaningful innovation, after all.
LYN: While we know that 5G is not yet ready for primetime at the moment with consumers most likely will only start to see it in action from 2020 onward. Will 5G have significant impact on how Samsung design their future phones, tablets, and other devices?
We have been investing in a lot of 5G technology, patent and standardisations. Samsung is an end-to-end network company; we design and make our own modems, our own chipsets. But to understand why 5G is important, I’ll speak about IoT (Internet of Things). For the last seven to eight years, people talked about it. It is an idea that would’ve devices seamlessly connected to one another. But it never happened? The question is, why?
That’s because of time latency. With the current 4G networks, you’re averaging time latencies between 50ms and 100ms. That’s actually very slow. With 5G, the same latency is less than 1ms. In automotive terms; 50ms translates to a few metres, while 1ms is just a centimeter.
Applying 4G connectivity to IoT with that kind of latency? It’ll be a disaster. That’s why we need 5G for IoT. From an individual home to a factory, we need to move from 4G to 5G for IoT to be implement IoT efficiently.
We are also in the midst of creating a new cloud that would allow multiple devices to connect to each other. We also aim by having all Samsung devices connected to our cloud. We’ll also be releasing a new SDK/API based on that cloud technology during our developer’s conference that’s taking place this November.

LYN: Will the Galaxy A series be replacing your current Galaxy J series?
At the moment, we still have the Galaxy A series and the Galaxy J series for the market. We haven’t reached the conclusion yet, but we’re definitely looking at substituting the Galaxy J series with the Galaxy A series. Meaning that it’ll just be the Galaxy S series and Galaxy A series smartphones in the future.
That said, our focus is still on how we can deliver meaningful innovation and experiences in devices with periodical releases of new devices. Based upon our observation of the consumers.
LYN: Artificial intelligence is something that almost all smartphone manufacturers have been talking about. How about Samsung? Does AI still have a place with the brand’s Galaxy devices?
Samsung Electronics is a unique company. Besides smartphones, we also manufacturer white goods. Based on that, I have always thought how can we deliver a better and unique experience with our products for our customers. And I think AI could be a solution within the next five to 10 years.

LYN: We noticed that Samsung hasn’t mentioned or highlighted virtual reality since the Galaxy S9 launch. Is Samsung no longer interested in VR anymore? Or Samsung is looking into different kind of experience for their customers…augmented reality or mixed reality, perhaps?
We were the first company to deliver a VR headset for our mobile devices, and we have definitely invested a lot in the medium. However, the reason we haven’t spoken about VR for a while is due to a couple of issues. The first issue is content.
The second problem is a comfort issue: we noticed that customers who used our VR headset couldn’t use it for more than 25 to 30 minutes at a time. This was due to a lens problem, and we couldn’t overcome those limitations.
Today, we are heavily looking into incorporating both VR and AR (Augmented Reality). We haven’t decided which route to go with this yet, but we’re working closely with our partners on this. I’ve tested a prototype headset that actually incorporates both VR and AR, and it really delivers a much better experience with that combination.
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Five Reasons Why You Should Own The Honor 8X Today

The Honor 8X recently made its debut in Malaysia. While the phone was designed for the mid-range market segment, there are several reasons (besides its incredibly affordable price) as to why you should consider making this your next phone.
91% screen-to-body ratio – FullView Display with Tüv Rheinland

As far as smartphones this year goes, a large display with an equally screen-to-surface ratio seems to be the trend. To that end, the Honor 8X features a 6.5-inch Full HD+ notched display. It’s a FullView display as well, with a 19.5: 9 aspect ratio that envelops over 91% of the phone’s surface. Even the chin at the bottom of the display is only 4.25mm thick.
Moreover, the display is TüV Rheinland certified and features an Eye Comfort Mode that serves as a blue light filter, and thus protecting your eyes from suffering from fatigue. Additionally, the display comes with a night mode for easy reading on your phone while in bed.
Kirin 710 SoC

Honor has seen fit to equip the Honor 8X with the Kirin 710 SoC, which is a 12nm octa-core AI processor that runs at a clockspeed of 2.2GHz on four Cortex A73 cores, and 1.7GHz on the remaining Cortex A53 cores. Allowing the phone to run as smooth as possible, without any lag.
Specs-wise, the Kirin 710 SoC produces a 75% single-core CPU performance improvement over its competition, and a 68% improvement in multi-core performance. On top on that, the mobile chipset’s GPU can boast a 130% performance boost in gaming (thanks to GPU boost), along with a 100% improvement in power efficiency.

Big storage and long battery life

If there is anything that the Honor 8X is big on, it’ll have to these two things: a massive internal storage capacity, and an equally large battery. By default, the Honor 8X possesses a whopping 128GB internal storage, which can be further expanded by an additional 400GB via its microSD card slot.
With a battery size of 3750mAh as well, it’s safe to say the Honor 8X has more than enough power to help it get through more than a day and a half of use. Couple that with the power efficiency of the Kirin 710 SoC, and what you get is fantastic power management.
Night shot

The main camera of the Honor 8X has what is arguably one of its most impressive features: Night Shot. As its name suggest, Night Shot enables the Honor 8X to capture pictures in low-light environments and conditions that would otherwise be impossible.
By utilising the AI Camera, Night Shot takes a picture of a subject several times via machine learning-based multi-frame stabilisation. Needless to say, the end results of the feature are dark images that are enhanced, brighter, and just gorgeous to look at.

AI Camera Technology

When you’re not surfing the internet or playing your favourite mobile games, the Honor 8X is still a capable shooter. The main camera array on the phone is of a dual nature, possessing both 20MP and 2MP shooters that work in tandem, in order to capture and produce some impressive images.
Combine those sensors with the Honor 8X’s on-board AI Camera software though, and the pictures you take get a boost in detail retention and clarity. Images are sharpen, and any traces of blurring are also eliminated to the best of the feature’s ability.

The Honor 8x is already available in Malaysia at all authorised resellers and stores, at an SRP of RM949. The phone can also be purchased via the brand’s official page, as well as on Shopee.
In conjunction with the phone’s launch, Honor will also be giving aways deals worth RM500 with the sale of every Honor 8 at its Honor roadshow from 13 October to 14 October. These free gifts include a free Honor Band 3, a Special Gift Box, one Flip cover for the phone, an RM50 Hihonor voucher, and one Honor backpack.
Be advised, these roadshows will be taking place in designated locations. These places are:

MyTown Shopping Centre – Cheras
Klang Parade – Klang
Prangin Mall -Penang
Sutera Mall – Johor Bahru

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by honor Malaysia.
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Pokémon Go AR+ Mode Is Now Available On Android Devices

While it’s a feature that’s been available for iPhone users since last year, Android users are finally getting Pokémon Go AR+.
The extra Augmented Reality (AR) features are largely the same as it was in iOS. You get to see the virtual creatures in their proper sizes, they are aware of your presence, and catching wild Pokémon while being close grants bonuses as well.

On that last one, approaching wild Pokémon in this new mode will see the addition of an awareness meter. Filling this up will cause the creature to run away. On the flip side, getting as close as possible will not only make it easier to catch, you’ll also get bonuses for being near as well.
While Pokémon Go AR+ is available to iPhone 6s or newer running iOS 11 or newer, Android users will actually have to check if your device is compatible. To find out, you’ll have to go to the Google Play Store, and see if your device is compatible with ARCore by Google.

While Pokémon GO hasn’t exactly been experiencing content drought recently, this may be a good reason for those who have quit to revisit the game, albeit briefly.
(Source: Pokémon Go Live)
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Twitter Emojis To Have Same Character Count; Regardless Of Gender And Colour Modifiers

Twitter has announced that all emojis will have a character count of two. This is following an update to Unicode and the way emojis are encoded in general.
Previously, due to the differences in which text and emojis are encoded, emojis often have different character counts. The difference may be greater when gender and colour modifications are applied. This made composing tweets a little tricky, especially if you wanted to make full use of the 280 character limit, and want to have a lot of emojis as well.

With emojis having the same character count across the board, it should be easier to use emojis with any modifier you like. This is simply because you don’t have to worry about your favourite emoji with your favourite modifiers costing more character space than the defaults.
(Source: Twitter)
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The Samsung Galaxy A7 2018 Now Up For Pre-Order; Retails For RM1299

Aside from launching its Galaxy A9 2018 yesterday, Samsung also launched its Galaxy A7 2018. Like the Galaxy A9 2018, the Galaxy A7 2018 is a mid-range refresh of last year’s Galaxy A7 2018. On top of that, the phone will be going up for pre-order.
The pre-order period will officially begin on 15 October and conclude on 21 October. The phone itself will retail at an SRP of RM1299. Those who pre-order the phone during the specified period will not only get the phone upon its availability, but also a several gifts worth RM302, absolutely for free. These gifts include a mini tripod stand, a Thermos Unique Mug, and a Samsung Screen Protection.

Specs-wise, the Galaxy A7 2018 sports a 6-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED Display, with a maximum resolution of 2220 x 1080 pixels. Underneath the hood, the phone is powered by an Exynos 7885 SoC, 6GB RAM, and a 3300mAh battery. For storage, the phone comes with a 128GB internal storage capacity, which can be expanded via microSD by an additional 512GB.
The main camera on the Galaxy A7 2018 is actually a triple-camera setup. Specifically, it comprises a 24MP f/1.7 primary shooter; an 8MP f/2.4 ultra-wide angle lens; and a 5MP f/2.2 depth sensor. At the front, the phone sports a 24MP front-facing camera that Samsung says makes it excellent for capturing selfies.

For security, Samsung has installed the phone’s fingerprint sensor into the side of the phone, combining it with the power button. In terms of ports, the Galaxy A7 2018 uses a microUSB port for charging and file transfer, but also comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
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OnePlus 6T May Omit 3.5mm Jack; Battery Life Improved In Return

In an exclusive interview between TechRadar and OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, the latter has confirmed that the “next OnePlus handset” will not come with a 3.5mm jack. The next OnePlus handset in question is highly likely referring to the OnePlus 6T, considering the expected launch window.
Of course, the first obvious question to ask is why. And the answer to that is supposedly because it’s the right time to do so. In response to the question, Pei has said “making a great phone doesn’t mean putting every component available into the device.”
He then added “It was a very controversial decision. We’re not doing it for the sake of doing it and because everyone else is. We believe now is the right time, as it’ll benefit the majority of our users while keeping the downside low.”

So what are the benefits that Pei is talking about? The one thing that he’s divulged is “improved battery life,” but stopped short of giving a figure. He also mentioned that removing the 3.5mm jack “freed up more space, allowing us to put more new technology into the product.” That said, the only new tech that we can think of is the previously leaked in-display fingerprint sensor.
For users who would still prefer to use the 3.5mm jack, Pei assured “We’re adding an adapter to the box, allowing you to use your 3.5mm headphones normally. We’re also making a new version of out Bullets V2 wired headphones, which will have a USB-C connector.”

Excited to see what headphones you plug into the #OnePlus5T's headphone jack!
— OnePlus (@oneplus) November 16, 2017

It’s worth pointing out that prior to the 6T, OnePlus was seen as an avid supporter of the 3.5mm jack. As recently as the OnePlus 5T and all the way back to the OnePlus 3, it was seemingly part of Oneplus’ marketing plan to advertise that it’s a feature it wants to keep alive. What was the reason behind the change of heart? Who knows?

You have headphones. The #OnePlus3 has a headphone jack. It’s not rocket science
— OnePlus (@oneplus) September 7, 2016

At any rate, we’ll find out what the supposed benefits of not having the 3.5mm jack are once the phone launches. If previous leaks are to be believed, it will happen on 17 October, 2018.
(Source: TechRadar)
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