HMD Global has officially launched the new Nokia 7 smartphone in China. This new model promises to deliver many of the flagship features that people look for without the high price tag of the Nokia 8. Its body is made of 7000-series aluminium and there’s thermoformed glass on the front and back. The 16-megapixel rear camera of the Nokia 7 boasts of an f/1.8 aperture lens, and you get the same “bothie” mode as you do with the Nokia 8, allowing you to capture frames with the front and rear cameras simultaneously. You can also livestream to Facebook or YouTube using both cameras at the same time, right from the default camera app. The Nokia 7 also has a 5.2-inch full-HD screen, octa-core Snapdragon 630 SoC, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 5-megapixel front camera, and 3000mAh battery. It runs Android 7 and will be updated to Android 8.
Oppo reportedly to unveil three Oppo F5 variants at launch event
It looks as though Oppo will be launching three variants of its upcoming F5 smartphone rather than just one as previously expected. A poster spotted in Thailand tips the existence of the Oppo F5, Oppo F5 6GB and Oppo F5 Youth, which could all be unveiled at the company’s upcoming October 26 event in the Philippines. All of them continue the selfie-centric positioning of the F-series, and boast of an AI-powered beautification mode. The Oppo F5 and Oppo F5 6GB appear to have dual front cameras, while the F5 Youth is likely to be targeted at a more budget-conscious audience. All three are said to have tall 18:9 full-HD+ screens with narrow bezels, and a face recognition feature.
Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL get torn apart and tortured on camera
The inevitable iFixit teardown of the Google Pixel 2 XL has been published, and the website has revealed how the Pixel 2 XL’s squeezable edge sensors work. There’s a strain gauge on each side of the phone, made up of steel blocks with resistors between them, which can be used to detect physical pressure. This is then used as a trigger to bring up the Google Assistant. The teardown also revealed Google’s new Pixel Visual Core SoC and hidden antennas.
Another regular part of top-end phone launches is the JerryRigEverything torture test video, and Google’s new flagship, the Pixel 2, seems to perform pretty badly compared to its rivals. The premium coating that Google has boasted of is apparently quite easy to scratch, and it can be peeled off the metal frame easily. The device can also easily be bent and scratched, and its screen doesn’t hold up well to fire exposure.
At least on the software side, users are assured of a long-term plan – Google has confirmed that both the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL will receive updates for at least the next three years. All Major Android updates delivered before October 2020 will be compatible with both phones. Both could still receive updates beyond that, but this is not guaranteed. Of course there’s no assurance that third-party apps will continue to support this hardware.
HTC teases upcoming U series models
HTC has teased the launch of another U-series smartphone on November 2, posting on Twitter that it will bring back the “Brilliant U”. According to reports, the company could unveil one or two models at an event in Taiwan, the purported U11 Plus and possibly another called the U11 Life. The U11 Plus would be an upgraded version of the flagship U11 with a 4000mAh battery and larger 18:9 screen. It could have 4GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 835 SoC, with the possibility of a variant with 6GB of RAM. The HTC U11 Life is reportedly meant to target a lower price point, with a 5.2-inch screen, Snapdragon 630 SoC, and 16-megapixel front and back cameras, plus either 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, or 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
iOS 11 bug lets attackers access photo libraries on locked iPhones
A bug discovered in iOS 11 can give strangers complete access to your photo library, as discovered by a YouTube channel called iDeviceHelp. The process fairly convoluted, and requires physical access to the target phone as well as the victim’s FaceTime ID. The attacker has to make a FaceTime call from another iPhone to the victim’s, and then go through a very specific sequence of steps. iOS will then allow the attacker to reject another incoming FaceTime call and compose an iMessage to the caller, including the ability to attach photos from the phone’s camera roll. The attacker can then scroll through the phone’s entire photo library and send themselves whatever they’d like, just as if it was unlocked. The operator of the channel says he has alerted Apple to the issue. It affects iOS 11.0.3 as well as the betas of iOS 11.1.
Google Play store gets Android Instant Apps section
Google has begun promoting Android Instant Apps with a new Try It Now section in the Google Play store. Instant Apps can be used without first needing to be downloaded and installed on the user’s device. There are only six apps in the section as of now, and it isn’t showing up in the Indian Google Play store yet. Instant Apps were first announced at Google’s IO conference in 2016, and need to be programmed in a modular fashion.
The company also announced this week that it will begin charging app developers a smaller commission on subscriptions sold in-app, starting next January. It is reducing its share of each sale from 30 percent to 15 percent, which matches the policy announced by Apple a while ago.
Amazon Alexa integration comes to Moto Mod, Logitech speakers
Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is popping up in more and more places, starting with a snap-on Moto Mod smart speaker accessory for the Moto Z series. The speaker has launched in the US priced at $150 (approximately Rs. 9,800). This follows the launch of the Moto X4 with Alexa already integrated. The new Moto Speaker with Amazon Alexa has stereo speakers and four mics that can pick up voice commands even with music playing. It also has its own 1530mAh battery. It works just like any other Alexa smart speaker.
Logitech has also unveiled a new range of Bluetooth speakers, the UE Blast and UE Megablast models, replacing the UE Boom and UE Megaboom respectively. Both feature Alexa integration which lets you stream audio directly from online services including Amazon Music, and control playback with voice commands. Both models can work independently over Wi-Fi and paired with a Bluetooth device, but lack 3.5mm input jacks. The Bluetooth-based Double Up and Party Up features from the previous models have also been dropped. Both models are also rated IP67 for water and dust resistance, making them well suited to outdoor use.
Samsung’s flagship phones to run Linux, new premium VR camera announced
Samsung has announced that its Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 smartphones will soon be able to run Linux-based desktop OS environments, thanks to the functionality offered by the DeX desktop accessory. The Linux on Galaxy feature will let users work with a selection of Linux distributions on their phones as well as using a connected monitor, keyboard and mouse. It is targeted primarily at developers and promises a fully functional development environment. The company is allowing interested users to register for updates, but hasn’t said when the feature might roll out for actual use.
Samsung has also just launched a new VR content camera called the Samsung 360 Round, which is shaped like a disc and has 17 lenses arranged around its circumference and top. There are eight stereo lens pairs around the body, with a single upward-facing one on the top. It is capable of streaming 4K video and spatial audio. No price has been announced, though it could be in excess of $10,000.
iPhone 8 demand described as “anaemic” by US, Canada carriers
Cellular service providers in the US and Canada have described demand for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus as “anaemic”. Apple’s shares have fallen by nearly 3 percent because of lower demand for this generation of iPhones as compared to previous years. The impact of the iPhone X announcement and the fact that it hasn’t launched yet also factor into these findings, though some carrier executives believe that its high price will deter users and not make up for the current slump. Recent reports also suggest that the iPhone 7 is actually outselling the iPhone 8.