If you’ve been longing after an Amazon Echo device for a while and have refrained from snatching one up due to the lack of support in the UAE, then things are about to get better for you.
This week Amazon has sent out emails to a select number of UAE customers to trial certain features of Amazon Alexa and provide feedback.
The email reads as follows:
Amazon invites you to play an exclusive role in shaping the future of Alexa!
We are looking for people that would be interested in exploring a range of Alexa features and provide us feedback. We will use your inputs and interactions with Alexa to help improve the experience we offer customers in the United Arab Emirates.
The email then leads to a signup page, with a photo of an Amazon Echo as the background.
At the moment, support for Alexa-enabled devices (both from Amazon and third party) isn’t available in the UAE, with customers having to use Amazon accounts for other regions instead, such as the UK or USA. This also limits the kind of skills that are available for each Echo device.
It’s not clear if this testing phase is merely to gauge interest for Alexa support, or if it’s to prepare for an official launch in the future. Amazon hasn’t provided any further information on a proposed launch date for its smart home devices, so we’ll have to stay tuned to see if any further announcements come through.
Nintendo Switch Online will add N64 and Mega Drive games with a new subscription plan – Video Games Chronicle
Nintendo [2,050 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/”>Nintendo has announced that Nintendo 64 [151 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/nintendo-64/”>Nintendo 64 and Mega Drive / Genesis games will be added to Nintendo Switch [1,941 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/switch/”>Switch Online in late October.
A new membership tier called the Expansion Pack will be introduced that adds selections of games from each system.
Special controllers for each system will also be released at $49.99 / €49.99 / £39.99 each.
The Japanese Mega Drive controller will have six buttons, whereas the North American and European version will be the 3-button controller released alongside the console when it originally launched.
Nintendo Switch OLED Model Trailer
The full list of games at launch will be:
- Super Mario 64
- Mario Kart 64
- Star Fox 64
- Yoshi’s Story
- The Legend of Zelda (Series) [110 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/the-legend-of-zelda-series/”>The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Mario Tennis
- Dr Mario 64
- Sin & Punishment
- Castlevania Bloodlines
- Contra Hard Corps
- Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Golden Axe
- Gunstar Heroes
- Phantasy Star IV
- Shining Force
- Shinobi III
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Streets of Rage 2 [37 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/rage-2/”>Rage 2
Nintendo has also confirmed some of the Nintendo 64 games that will be added after launch, including:
- Banjo-Kazooie [66 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/banjo-kazooie/”>Banjo-Kazooie
- Pokémon video games [230 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/pokemon/”>Pokémon Snap
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
- Mario Golf
- Paper Mario
- F-Zero X
There was no mention, however, of Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on Switch Online, which had been reported in the past few weeks.
Nintendo discussed expanding the Switch Online library with other platforms as far back as 2019, 12 months after it launched.
During a 2019 shareholder meeting, president Shuntaro Furukawa [145 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/people/shuntaro-furukawa/”>Shuntaro Furukawa was asked specifically if the company had plans to re-release Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube [174 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/nintendo-gamecube/”>GameCube software.
“At this place we cannot tell new information about future classic hardware among others, but we are thinking about providing an extension of the online service which is currently providing Famicom [NES] software, as well as other methods of providing them,” he said.
“We also recognise that there are opinions wanting to play past titles.”
U.S. social audio app Clubhouse launches ‘wave’ feature for private chats
U.S. social audio app Clubhouse launched a feature on Thursday to let users virtually wave at friends inside its audio-only chat app to show they are open to a private chat, in a move to expand beyond public rooms that can have thousands of listeners.
Clubhouse, which pioneered the “social audio” feature that has since been copied by Facebook and Twitter, wants to enable users to have private chats, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Paul Davison told Reuters.
“A lot of people know us for bigger conversations, but the reason people stay so long is they’re finding their friends and meeting new people,” he said in an interview.
Users of Clubhouse, which is backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, can “wave” at friends online in the app and a private audio chat room will open when a person accepts the wave. The user can then invite more contacts into the private room, or choose to open the chat to the public, Clubhouse said.
(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; Editing by Edmund Blair)
iPhone 13 benchmarks — Apple just blew away Android phones – Tom's Guide
All four of our iPhone 13 reviews are in, as are our benchmark results from testing. Apple promised gains with the new A15 Bionic chip, and while it’s an iterative upgrade over last year’s A14 Bionic in most respects, it crushes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 that powers several of the best Android phones.
From synthetic benchmarks to real-world testing, the iPhone 13 series (especially the Pro models) pulled even further ahead from the best chips Apple’s competitors use. In some cases, the gap is incredibly wide. Qualcomm has its work cut out for it with the next-generation 800-series Snapdragon, not to mention the Tensor chip Google is working on to power the Pixel 6.
Apple even said that the A15 Bionic’s GPU in the Pro models would be 50% faster than the competition. (The best rival graphics engine right now is the Adreno 660 in the Snapdragon 888.) In our testing, that proved true in many cases. The A15’s performance hike over iPhone 12 phones is middling, but Apple upgraded the Neural Engine on its chipset this year. This has allowed for the new Cinematic mode and Photographic Styles, which heavily leverage AI to do their thing.
Measuring a phone’s performance goes beyond raw numbers. It’s more about what the phone can do in a real-world setting, and in that regard, the iPhone 13 certainly delivers. But those raw numbers do tell an important story, so here’s how the iPhone 13 stacks up to what’s already out there, for both the Pro, standard and mini models.
iPhone 13: Geekbench results
Geekbench 5 measures the CPU’s overall performance, broken out into single- and multi-core results.
|iPhone 13 Pro||A15 Bionic||1733||4718|
|iPhone 13||A15 Bionic||1688||4436|
|iPhone 12 Pro||A14 Bionic||1595||3880|
|iPhone 12||A14 Bionic||1593||3859|
|Galaxy S21 Ultra||Snapdragon 888||1123||3440|
|Galaxy S21||Snapdragon 888||1048||3302|
|Galaxy Z Fold 3||Snapdragon 888||1107||3418|
|OnePlus 9 Pro||Snapdragon 888||1126||3685|
|Asus ROG Phone 5||Snapdragon 888||1127||3672|
|Pixel 5||Snapdragon 765G||596||1617|
Geekbench 5 scores are arbitrary in a vacuum, but they help measure a device’s performance in context to other devices — even if you get slightly different scores every time you run the test.
As you can see, the iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini models are quite a ways ahead of the Snapdragon 888 and Snapdragon 765G. More than a thousand points separates the iPhone 13 Pro from the two most powerful Android phones we’ve ever tested, the OnePlus 9 Pro and Asus ROG Phone 5. That’s not to mention that the new iPhones pull well ahead of the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 3, the best that Samsung has to offer.
And we’ll just skip over that delta between the iPhone 13 and the Pixel 5. Let’s hope the Pixel 6 helps Google catch up a bit.
iPhone 13: Graphics benchmarks
A lot of people play games on their phones, with the iPhones leading the charge. For the following benchmark, we use 3DMark’s Wild Life Unlimited test, which produces a score and average frames per second. It’s meant to provide a realistic impression of a phone’s gaming performance.
The A15 Bionic pushes the boundaries on mobile gaming, as you’ll see in the results below.
|Processor||Score||Frames per second|
|iPhone 13 Pro||A15 Bionic||11,693||70|
|iPhone 13||A15 Bionic||9331||56|
|iPhone 12 Pro||A14 Bionic||8619||51|
|iPhone 12||A14 Bionic||8555||51|
|Galaxy S21 Ultra||Snapdragon 888||5739||34|
|Galaxy S21||Snapdragon 888||5805||35|
|Galaxy Z Fold 3||Snapdragon 888||5622||34|
|OnePlus 9 Pro||Snapdragon 888||5755||35|
|Asus ROG Phone 5||Snapdragon 888||5806||35|
|Pixel 5||Snapdragon 765G||1160||7|
Like Geekbench, the Wild Life Unlimited score is meaningless on its own and should only be used for comparison to other devices. However, the important metric is the average FPS, which is a real-world benchmark.
The iPhone 13 Pro with its five-core GPU smokes the competition, even its iPhone 13 sibling and that phone’s quad-core GPU — the extra core seems to really matter, based on these results. But look at how far ahead the A15 Bionic is compared to the Snapdragon 888 phones, which hadn’t caught up to the A14 Bionic from last year.
The iPhone 13 Pro netted double the Snapdragon 888’s best framerate in our testing, which is insane. The Wild Life Unlimited benchmark is pretty hard on phones. (I didn’t even include the newer Wild Life Extreme Unlimited, which we’ve only recently started using in our testing.) So seeing the iPhone 13 Pro fare so well is a bit mind-boggling.
iPhone 13: Video encoding speeds
Another real-world application to gauge a phone’s performance is our Adobe Premiere Rush test. This tasks a phone to transcode a 4K video file to 1080p. The results below are listed as minutes:seconds.
|iPhone 13 Pro||A15 Bionic||0:26|
|iPhone 13||A15 Bionic||0:26|
|iPhone 12 Pro||A14 Bionic||0:27|
|iPhone 12||A14 Bionic||0:26|
|Galaxy S21 Ultra||Snapdragon 888||1:03|
|Galaxy S21||Snapdragon 888||1:03|
|Galaxy Z Fold 3||Snapdragon 888||0:50|
|OnePlus 9 Pro||Snapdragon 888||1:03|
|Asus ROG Phone 5||Snapdragon 888||1:00|
|Pixel 5||Snapdragon 765G||2:52|
Year-over-year, there’s functionally no difference between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 — maybe a second here or there. However, Apple’s lead over Qualcomm remains, performing the transcode in half the time that most of the Snapdragon 888-equipped phones needed.
Transcoding is a CPU-intensive task, and it makes sense that Apple’s phones would lead the way on this particular benchmark. Apple has said that you can perform a full video workflow from shooting to rendering on the iPhone 13. The iPhone 13 can also record in the ProRes format natively, which is what many professionals use.
The poor Pixel 5 needed triple the time required by the other Android phones.
iPhone 13 performance outlook
Another year, and Apple has further cemented its lead over Qualcomm. Not only does the iPhone 13 series have excellent battery life (excluding the mini, which is below average) and stellar cameras, but it’s the most powerful suite of phones you can buy. If having the best performance is a top priority for you, then you’ll want to look at the iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max.
Let’s hope Qualcomm’s next high-end Snapdragon or Google’s Tensor can narrow the gap with what Apple has built.
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