Samsung Reportedly Hoarding Qualcomm Processors For the Galaxy S9

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 may be announced this week, but we are already seeing reports of next year’s Samsung Galaxy S9. A report has emerged that Samsung has bought ‘most’ of the first batch of the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chips for their 2018 flagship, leaving other manufacturers in the lurch.
The chip is mainly used for the US-bound smartphones from Samsung (here in Malaysia we most likely be getting the Exynos version), but it still puts a dent in the planning for other manufacturers such as LG, HTC and Sony. We’re inclined to believe that this report is true. Samsung did the same thing with the Snapdragon 835 mobile platform last year, and this could be the continuation of a trend.
There is also a report saying that Samsung is looking to go modular with their upcoming 2018 flagship. The Galaxy S9, code-named ‘Star’, is set to receive accessories that can expand the usage of the smartphone by the consumers. The report did not state what form of modularity the phone will be used however. Even so, we gather that the Moto Mods and the Essential Phone did spark some discussion among the Samsung R&D team in Seoul.
Samsung Galaxy S8
We will have to wait and see how this news pans out in the long run, but we can expect Samsung to pull something out of the magic box they have and see if they can amaze the world yet again.
(Source: GSMArena , PocketNow )
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Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Official: Two Distinct Variants, Retail from Only 699 Yuan

Xiaomi recently launched yet another budget-friendly device in China, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A. Available in two different models, one of the most notable aspects of this new phablet is its very, very affordable price tag: the Redmi Note 5A retails from only 699 Chinese yuan – that comes up to about RM450.
As mentioned, there are two variants of the Redmi Note 5A: the standard one, and the Redmi Note 5A Prime. As its name suggests, the Prime is the higher-end model in the series, and it comes with a 5.5-inch 720p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor paired with up to 4GB of RAM, two choices of expandable storage (32GB or 64GB), and a 3,080mAh battery.

Aside from that, the Redmi Note 5A Prime also comes with a 16MP front-facing camera complete with flash. The rear shooter, on the other hand, is a 13MP camera with phase detection autofocus.
And then we have the more affordable Redmi Note 5A. For the most part, it shares most of the Prime’s specifications, but it does come with less storage and RAM at 16GB and 2GB respectively. Other than that, the Redmi Note 5A also features a 5MP selfie camera – instead of the Prime’s 16MP shooter – and a Snapdragon 425 processor.

As is always the case with Xiaomi, the Redmi Note 5A carries very competitive price tags. The standard model retails at only 699 yuan (about RM450), while the Prime variant goes for 899 yuan (approximately RM580) and 1,199 yuan (around RM770) for the 32GB + 3GB and 64GB + 4GB models respectively. As usual, it remains to be seen if the Redmi Note 5A will be available in Malaysia.
(Source: MIUI Forum)
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The new BMW M5 debuts in Need for Speed Payback

As BMW unveiled the wraps off their new BMW M5, they also took to the digital space to unveil the new super saloon. And what better platform to do so in Electronic Art’s Need for Speed franchise. Debuting in the latest edition, the BMW M5 will feature all of its real world characteristics in Need for Speed Payback. Players will be among the first to experience the new M xDrive all-wheel drive as they tear through the city streets and diverse landscape of Fortune Valley later this year.

“The new BMW M5 is a stunning car,” said Marcus Nilsson, Executive Producer at Ghost Games. “With immense horsepower and torque combined with gorgeous design, our players are going to love getting behind the wheel of the new M5. Whether it’s pulling off intense heist missions, or outrunning cops in epic pursuits or just cruising the open world, this car embodies performance, speed, and desire, making it one of the pinnacle rides in Need for Speed Payback.”
“The M is not only synonymous for the world’s most powerful letter but has also become a synonym worldwide for the prototype of the Ultimate Driving Machine. Take a look at the new BMW M5: its power output, torque and acceleration, the M specific all-wheel drive system M xDrive and its stunning design make our all-new toy the perfect feature for Need for Speed,” said Frank van Meel, President BMW M Division. “While the M5 won’t be officially released until next spring, Need for Speed players can drive it first and exclusively in Need for Speed Payback. We at BMW M are really proud of this collaboration.”
“Young, enthusiastic and 100% devoted to their passion: This is not only true for BMW M fans but also for millions of gamers around the globe, who love Need for Speed. BMW is joy and excitement for cars, whether it is in real life or digital,” said Hildegard Wortmann, Senior Vice President Brand BMW. “With this cooperation, BMW can reach out to a new audience that is truly digital. This is a perfect example of a fruitful cooperation in modern marketing with benefits for everyone and a new milestone after the BMW M2’s debut in 2015’s Need for Speed.”
The collaboration between Need for Speed and BMW has come a long way starting way back in 1999 where the BMW M5 was available to be used in the game as well as the M3 in 2005 and the M3 GTR in 2009.
Need for Speed Payback will be available for players in November.
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Android 8.0 Is Officially Called Oreo

Google has officially revealed that Android 8.0 will be called Oreo; marking the second time that the company has used an official trademark in its naming scheme. The name was suitably released during the solar eclipse in the US, seeing that the sun vaguely resembled an Oreo for a short time.
Android Oreo brings with it a host of new features, including picture-in-picture multitasking. It almost looks like what’s going on with YouTube’s picture-in-picture option; except expanded to other apps. And then there is the Notification Dots, which moves notifications into speech bubbles above the app icons instead.
More importantly, Google Play Protect is being introduced as part of the Google suite of apps with Android Oreo. This is effectively a built in security app, similar to Microsoft’s Windows Defender. Mobile security is becoming a big deal, the built in antivirus might help against the growing amount of malware targeting Android devices.

Android 8.0 Oreo is being pushed out to the Android Open Source Project today, and will be rolled out of testing in phases. Google is doing carrier testing with the Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P right now, which means that the update should be released by the end of the year.
[Source: Google]
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WhatsApp Introduces New Text-Based Status Updates

It looks like WhatsApp is very adamant about getting users to use its status feature. The company just introduced a new text-based status update, allowing users to make creative status updates with their choice of font, colour background, as well as links.
The update is very similar to Facebook’s status update. Instead of just plain text, you can pick a colourful background to make your status more interesting. That’s not just all, you can also customise things further by picking a specific font, and even sharing links with friends.
“The new feature makes it easy to share creative text-based status updates. Now you never have to worry about getting the word out to all your family and friends. Whether you’re looking for vacation recommendations or notifying a group about the address for a party, the text-based status feature allows you to update your contacts in a fun and personal way.”

WhatsApp first introduced its new status feature back in February 2017. The feature is similar to Stories on the company’s other social platforms, Facebook and Instagram, allowing users to share pictures and videos that will expire after 24 hours. However, not everyone is keen on sharing pictures of their personal life. After about a month later, the company brought back its good-old text status feature.
Just like a regular status update, you can control who can see your updates. Under WhatsApp’s privacy settings, you can pick to share with your contacts, filter out people from your contacts, or only share with specific people you know. You can also see who viewed your status update by tapping on the eye icon at the bottom of any status update.
WhatsApp’s new personalized status update feature is currently being rolled out for WhatsApp on iOS, and on Android. Users on WhatsApp Web will be able to see these status updates as well.
(Source: PhoneArena)
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Microsoft Announces Age Of Empires IV

The Age of Empires series is back, and not just as a 4K remaster either. Microsoft announced a new addition the franchise at Gamescom, although didn’t provide any real details about what it will contain.
All we know about AoE IV is that it will be developed by Relic Entertainment. The company behind Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. Both series are considered to be excellent additions to the RTS genre. Which puts the game in safe hands. Provided that nothing goes wrong.
AoE IV is not the only Age of Empires game being released in the near future. Microsoft also announced Definitive Editions for Age of Empires I, II, and III. These are simply remasters of the original games; allowing people with newer computers to run them without too many issues. Age of Empires: Definitive Edition will be available this October; while the Definitive Edition for AoE II and III do not have release dates.
That’s a whole lot of Age of Empires for one announcement, and Microsoft must be extremely confident that people want to buy the series that many times over.
[Source: Xbox]
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Acer Debuts Nitro 5 Spin: A Convertible Gaming Notebook With 8th Gen Intel Core Processor

Acer has showcased its latest product in the form of a convertible gaming notebook called the Nitro 5 Spin, which is one of the first device to feature the newly announced 8th generation Intel Core U-series processor. In fact, the new convertible even made an appearance on Intel’s livestream just few hours ago.
Just like the standard Nitro 5, the new Nitro 5 Spin is designed for casual gamers. That being said, its convertible form factor made the laptop slightly more versatile since users can choose to utilize it not only in the orthodox laptop position but also in display, tablet,
When it comes to specifications, the Nitro 5 Spin can be obtained with up to Intel Core i7-8550U processor – a rather curious implementation given how gaming laptops is usually fitted with H-series processor. Aside from that, the convertible gaming laptop also features an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card for its 15.6-inch full HD IPS touch display.

Storage-wise, the Nitro 5 Spin is able to support PCIe solid state drive with capacity of up to 512GB. Not to forget, the convertible notebook also comes with a battery that apparently able to last for up to 10 hours, according to Acer.
In terms of availability, the new Nitro 5 Spin convertible gaming notebook will be made available in selected regions starting from this October 2017 with a starting price tag of US$999 (about RM4,282). At the time of writing, Acer has yet to announced the laptop’s release date and pricing for Malaysia.
(Source: Acer)
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Tesla wants to store your driver profile in the cloud

When the world of cloud computing and file storage came about, backing up your files to tools such as DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive and even Amazon Cloud storage meant that all of your data is safe and you can easily move from one laptop to another. In some cases, my previous consulting firm used to store entire virtual desktops on the cloud such that I could always connect to my work desktop without the need to actually physically my work laptop. In the world of automotive, the idea of profile probably started with your key and the most are that your car remembers how you have adjusted your seats, side mirrors and rear view mirror.
Tesla, on the other hand, aims to take this to the next level. Now imagine this, if, in your own Tesla car, you have set your own seating position which you are very comfortable with, your own playlist as well as other controls within the car. Store all of that information on the cloud and say the next time you are travelling and rent a Tesla vehicle, you get all of that readily available for you. That is what Elon Musk wants to achieve with Tesla and he confirmed it with a tweet.
Of course, the next level would be to constantly evolve the user profile data by enriching it with more data and information such as insurance and other preferences. Tesla alone isn’t focusing on the cloud as other automakers such as BMW is relying on the cloud as well for data to be shared and obtained. In the future when more data of the driver profile in the cloud is harnessed, safety and other benefits can emerge not just for the drivers but also for the overall industry.
The other flipside to it is that Tesla is trying to get customer stickiness, the same way how Google entices people with free apps only to get them to swap out their entire ecosystem to Google-centric. I foresee Tesla’s strategy is somewhat similar.
[Source: TechCrunch & Twitter]
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Malaysian E-Logistics Site EasyParcel Becomes First High Profile Casualty of Disgruntled Indonesian Hackers

Malaysian based e-logistics delivery service Easyparcel.my looks to be the first high profile casualty of disgruntled Indonesian hackers.
The Star earlier today reported a number of Malaysian sites defaced by Indonesian Hacker groups protesting against the Indonesian flag being printed upside down in a booklet distributed during the opening ceremony of the Kuala Lumpur 2017 Sea Games.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman have both apologised to Jakarta over the flag blunder.
We are still trying to reaching out to Easyparcel.my to ascertain whether any user data or information was compromised from their servers. MyCert, the Malaysian Computer Emergency Response team earlier today issued an advisory with regards to the attacks on Malaysian websites.
Update [3.45pm] Easyparcel.my has taken their services offline to address the issue.

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Intel Officially Unveils 8th Gen Core U-series Processors: Offers Up To 40% Improvements

Ahead of its live show tonight, Intel has officially launched its brand new 8th generation Core processors. However, the announcement only involved a very small portion of the family which is rather intriguing to say the least.
Specifically, what Intel has unveiled are two Core i5 and two Core i7 U-series processors. For those who not familiar with Intel’s naming scheme, the U-series Core processors are generally designed for mainstream and premium laptops that are not meant for gaming or high-performance applications which are the type of tasks that are traditionally handled by the H-series processors.
Here is the general specifications of all four 8th generation Intel Core U-series processors that Intel has announced today:

In terms of performance, Intel claimed that its new 8th generation Intel Core processors offers up to 40% of improvement over their predecessors. Additionally, they also able to help laptops to provide up to 10 hours of battery life regardless for productivity or entertainment.

Consumers can expect to see new laptops featuring the 8th generation Core i5 and Core i7 U-series processors starting this coming September. As for desktop processors, they will only be released later in the year.
(Source: Intel)
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