Xiaomi Mi 9 To Be Launched On 20 February

We are not sure what’s with 20 February, so we can’t help but wonder if there is something special about that date. This is due to the fact there will be another flagship phone to be launched on that very day in addition to the Samsung Galaxy S10 series.
That phone will be the Xiaomi Mi 9 which will make its debut at an event in China on that very day. Hence, in general, it seems that the Chinese company will have time advantage to them though since Samsung Unpacked launch event in San Francisco will only take place hours later due to time zone differences.

Naturally, the official specifications of Mi 9 are not yet known at the moment. Nevertheless, it is quite clear from the picture above that the device will carry three rear cameras which have been rumored to include 48MP, 12MP, and 3D Time-of-Flight sensors.
Other than that, the phone has also been rumored to be equipped with 6.4-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, and up to 8GB of RAM as well as 256GB internal storage. The rumor mill has also mentioned in-display fingerprint scanner and 3500mAh battery.

Well then, let’s see how accurate these rumors going to be once the Xiaomi Mi 9 launch event takes place on 20 February.
(Source: MIUI Forum.)
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TNG eWallet Physical Card Integration Now Supports LKSA and SMART Tolls; More Highways Soon

TNG Digital has recently extended the support for Touch ‘n Go eWallet integration with physical Touch ‘n Go cards for tolls at Lebuhraya Kemuning – Shah Alam (LKSA) and Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART). Originally introduced last December, this feature was first made available for Duta Ulu-Kelang Expressway (DUKE).
Officially referred to as Pay Direct and also called as “TNG Card” on the app itself, it allows users to utilize the funds inside their TNG eWallet to pay for tolls. In other words, the TNG physical card will still act as the physical payment medium but the toll fares will be deducted from users’ eWallet instead of the physical card itself.

Despite the integration, the funds within the eWallet and physical card are still separated from each other. Hence, deduction from users’ physical card will only take place if there are not enough funds within their eWallet.
Meanwhile, TNG Digital has also revealed a list of highways that will support the feature in the near future:

Ampang – Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (AKLEH)
Besraya Expressway (BESRAYA)
Cheras – Kajang Highway (GRANDSAGA)
Damansara – Puchong Expressway (LDP)
Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE)
Kajang Dispersal Link Expressway (SILK)
Kuala Lumpur – Karak Expressway (KLK)
Kuala Lumpur – Kuala Selangor Expressway (LATAR)
Lebuhraya Grand Sepadu (GRANDSEPADU)
Maju Expressway (MEX)
New Pantai Expressway (NPE)
Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS)
Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT)

However, no exact implementation dates have been provided by TNG Digital in the list which is available in the eWallet app.
(Source: TNG eWallet)
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Apple Submits Patent For New Face ID Technology; Details Improved Facial Recognition Formula

Apple has reportedly submitted a new patent to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). According to sources, the patent contains improvements and changes in its Face ID formula and the way it works.
The patent application was submitted after its current iteration of Face ID was reportedly cracked on the iPhone X back in 2017 by a Vietnamese cybersecurity firm known simply as Bkav. Specifically, the firm fooled Apple’s Face ID by using a highly sophisticated facial scanning system, as well as employing the help of a professional artist.
One of the changes detailed in the new patent points at two illumination modes; the first using a flood illumination process, while the second illumination mode employs multiple discrete points of illumination for depth-sensing.
Image source: Patently Apple.
The patent goes on to list 15 other detailed points about the new Face ID formula in extensive detail. Because it can get very technical, we won’t go into these points here. You can read it on the patent’s official USPTO page.
As it usually is with all patents, it’s possible that Apple may not reinforce this specific patent. And even if it does become reality, it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing it anytime soon. By comparison to the competition though, the company from Cupertino does have a reputation of following through with the majority of the patents it has submitted.
(Source: Patently Apple via USPTO)
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Activision Blizzard Lays Off Nearly 800 Employees As Previously Rumoured

True to the rumours, Activision Blizzard has begun laying off employees. Kotaku reports that the company said during its earnings call that it will lay off 8% of its roughly 9600-strong staff. That’s very slightly under 800 people who have just lost their jobs.
The joint-publisher began notifying those affected across not only Activision and Blizzard, but also mobile game publisher King. The latter having been acquired in 2015.

Ironically, CEO Bobby Kotick told investors that the company had achieved record results in 2018. The restructuring is still happening, because despite record results, they were still short of initial expectations. To that end, the company is also lowered its sales expectations in 2019.
It’s pretty disheartening to see a company lay off employees in a year in which its revenue achieved new heights. Worse still, it looks like it will be affecting employees outside of the US too, “subject to local requirements,” as said by Blizzard president J. Allen Brack.
(Source: Kotaku)
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Samsung Galaxy S10 Series Detailed Specifications Leak Online

As Samsung’s Unpacked 2019 event is set to kick off in just another week, a new leak containing what is reportedly detailed specifications of the phones has appeared. Hardware specifications that reportedly covers the Galaxy S10e, S10, and the S10 Plus.
The leaked specs sheet of Samsung’s next flagship series comes by way of GSM Arena, which alleges that it had managed to gain access to this critical information through a source within Samsung. They’re not the most detailed sheets, but the majority of that information does seem to fall in line with earlier reports of the series.
The phones aren’t outrightly referred to by their respective “Galaxy S10” monikers either; The list seems to refer to the three phones as “Beyond0”, “Beyond1”, and “Beyond2”, but given the following specs, it’s quite obvious which device is which.

The Galaxy S10e (Beyond0) features a 5.8-inch QHD+ (2280 x 1080) Dynamic AMOLED HDR+ display, reinforced with Gorilla Glass 5. As for the Galaxy S10 (Beyond1) and S10 Plus (Beyond2), both devices have a 6.1-inch and 6.3-inch QHD+ (3040 x 1080) Dynamic AMOLED HDR+ Gorilla Glass 6 displays, respectively. The one thing that all three displays share in common, of course, is that all of them are using Infinity “O” displays.
Moving down the ladder, the Galaxy S10e’s fingerprint scanner seems to be situated on the side of the phone. Unsurprisingly, the fingerprint scanner for the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus seems to be built into the displays.

As per another earlier report, the Galaxy S10ephone only sports a dual 12MP f/1.5 + 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera setup, and not a triple camera setup. For that matter, Both the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus use the same 12MP f/2.4 Telephoto + 12MP f/1.5 Wide Dual Aperture + 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, triple-camera.
At the front, the story’s a little different. For the Galaxy S10e and S10, both phone sport a single 10MP f/1.9 “Duel Pixel AF UHD” front-facing camera sensor. While the Galaxy S10 Plus features an additional 8MP f/2.2 live focus camera sensor.

There’s also the memory and storage configuration. According to the leak, both the Galaxy S10e and S10 will have between 6GB and 8GB RAM, and a choice between 128GB and 256GB of internal storage. But it’s the Galaxy S10 Plus that takes the cake with its top-of-the-line variant sporting 12GB RAM and a whopping 1TB of storage.
However exciting as all this information is, this is still information that has yet to be verified by Samsung. As such, we do advise you to take this article with a liberal sprinkling of salt, at least until the brand’s official Unpacked event next week.
(Source: GSM Arena via Hot Hardware)
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Apple Submits Patent For New Face ID Technology To USPTO; Details Improved Facial Recognition Formula

Apple has reportedly submitted a new patent to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). According to sources, the patent contains improvements and changes in its Face ID formula and the way it works.
The patent application was submitted after its current iteration of Face ID was reportedly cracked on the iPhone X back in 2017 by a Vietnamese cybersecurity firm known simply as Bkav. Specifically, the firm fooled Apple’s Face ID by using a highly sophisticated facial scanning system, as well as employing the help of a professional artist.
One of the changes detailed in the new patent points at two illumination modes; the first using a flood illumination process, while the second illumination mode employs multiple discrete points of illumination for depth-sensing.
Image source: Patently Apple.
The patent goes on to list 15 other detailed points about the new Face ID formula in extensive detail. Because it can get very technical, we won’t go into these points here. You can read it on the patent’s official USPTO page.
As it usually is with all patents, it’s possible that Apple may not reinforce this specific patent. And even if it does become reality, it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing it anytime soon. By comparison to the competition though, the company from Cupertino does have a reputation of following through with the majority of the patents it has submitted.
(Source: Patently Apple via USPTO)
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PayPal Is Closing Its Operations Center In Malaysia By The End of 2019

PayPal will be closing its Operations Center in Malaysia by the end of this year, according to a statement released by the company. The decision behind the closure is said to be due to investment alignments.
In the statement which was made available to us by our friends over at Amanz, PayPal stated that while the Operations Center in Malaysia has done a great job since it was opened in 2011, the company has decided to realign its investment to other sites that are better equipped to cater the needs of its customers.

For normal customers, this move will not affect them though as the Operations Center mainly handles customer support for PayPal products and services. The role will be transferred to other locations throughout the world which is said to be in Bangalore, India as well as in Shanghai, China.
In other words, Malaysians can continue using PayPal as per norm. Internally, PayPal will be offering “comprehensive separation packages” to its staff in Malaysia and provides assistance to them through on-site career center to help them transition to other job opportunities.
(Source: Amanz)
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The Division 2 Open Beta Coming Soon

While the closed beta for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 has just ended, it looks like there’s a public beta on the way. While it was not revealed in an official announcement, the game’s Twitter account did casually mention such a thing.
In answering questions about rewards gained from the beta, the Twitter account mentioned not only the open beta but also that rewards can be gained by participating in either the closed or open betas. The open beta was also mentioned during a live stream session at The Division’s official Twitch channel.

There are 2 rewards available for playing the Beta:
Earn the Capitol Hill Arm Patch by completing the Invaded Mission in the Private or Open Beta
Earn the DC Patriot Weapon Skin by participating in any of the The Division 2 Betas
— The Division 2 (@TheDivisionGame) February 7, 2019

Based on the remark made by the developer during the live stream session, the game experience will also likely to be more stable as compared to the closed beta since they clearly intend to implement new fixes for the upcoming open beta.
Considering the open beta was only mentioned in passing, we don’t know yet when it will take place though. The Division 2 itself will launch on 15 March, so chances are that the open beta session will be held very soon.
(Source: Massive / Twitter, Twitch via GameSpot)
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Battlefield V Lightning Strikes Update Brings NVIDIA DLSS In-Game

NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) anti-aliasing technology has finally arrived on DICE’s Battlefield V (BFV). A month after Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO and co-founder of NVIDIA, announced at CES 2019 that his company’s visual technology would be available several triple A titles.
The new anti-aliasing technology was made available through BFV’s Chapter 2 Lightning Strikes updates, which in itself comes with several new gameplay updates and modes. Including four player co-op gameplay with the new Combine Arms mode, as well as the return of the much beloved Rush mode from previous Battlefield installments.
As a recap, DLSS is an anti-aliasing technology developed by NVIDIA that utilises the GPU brand’s proprietary AI servers in order to create better and more visually stunning texture in-game at high resolutions, but by using considerably lower, but still equally detailed textures. You can read our in-depth article about the feature, along with NVIDIA’s new real-time ray-tracing (DXR) to learn more about both features.
Having said that, not all games are capable of supporting both DXR and DLSS at the same time. To date, BFV is the only game title that actually carries support for the two NVIDIA proprietary graphics technology. On that note, having access to both DXR and DLSS translates to the game providing more optimised framerates while retaining that level of realism in environmental lighting that NVIDIA often gushes about.

The new BFV Chapter 2 Lightning Strikes update is scheduled to go live today, so gamers with a GeForce RTX graphics card should already be able to gain access to it. If it is still not available, try manually updating the game or simply wait for the title to automatically do so.
(Source: DICE)
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LG Officially Launches Q9 One Smartphone; Only Available in South Korea

LG has officially launched the Q9 One, a smartphone that is part of the Android One program. Unlike most Android One devices, the Q9 One clearly sports some better-than-the-average hardware.
For starters, the Q9 One sports a 6.1-inch QHD+ display, complete with a large notch on the top bezel. Despite the large display, the phone only weighs in at 156g and has a thickness of just 7.9mm.
The guts of the Q9 One isn’t just some run-of-the-mill, mid-range hardware either. The phone runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC that was first released in 2017, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage (up to 2TB via microSD). Powering up all these components is a 3000mAh battery.
It’s no slouch in the connectivity department either, and comes with support for Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, a USB-C port that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. Along with support for WiFi on the 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac waveband. Additionally, the phone also features a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC for an improved audio experience.
At the back, the Q9 one sports a 16MP f/1.6 main camera with HDR10 and OIS support. While at the front, the phone uses an 8MP sensor for its front-facing camera. Beyond that, LG did not list down any further specifics about the cameras.

As interesting as this phone would be to test, it seems that LG will only be selling the Q9 One within South Korea. On that note, the phone will be available through the brand’s LG Uplus service, and at a price of KRW599500 (~RM2173).
(Source: LG)
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