Last Tuesday saw devices running BlackBerry OS essentially turn into retro paperweights, as they lost core functionality like the ability to make calls, send texts and access cellular data.
Given BlackBerry branded devices have run Android since 2015, this likely didn’t affect many of our readers, but the renewed interest did raise an interesting question: whatever happened to that BlackBerry 5G we were promised back in 2020?
At the time the new custodians of the BlackBerry licence, OnwardMobility, said that the keyboard-toting device would arrive in the first half of 2021, and as the clock ticked ever closer to midnight on December 31, the company’s official site still had a “coming 2021” label on it.
Obviously, that deadline wasn’t met, but the sudden coverage of the missing device has awoken OnwardMobility from its slumber, and the company has offered an official statement. The new BlackBerry 5G is still coming; it’s just been delayed.
“To all of you who have patiently waited so long for updates from OnwardMobility, we are humbly aware that we owe you some form of communication as we enter 2022,” the company wrote in a blog post. “And to misquote Mark Twain, as so many do, ‘Contrary to popular belief, we are not dead’.”
No prizes for guessing the reasoning for the missed deadline: it’s all down to the “challenging” conditions of 2021 leading to “various delays”. But the company assures readers that it still plans to bring an “ultra-secure 5G enterprise smartphone” with a keyboard to market.
While the word “BlackBerry” doesn’t appear in the post, the name and branding still appears on the homepage, so we’re not expecting a sudden rebrand. In any case, we should learn more soon. OnwardMobility is promising “regular updates,” with the first coming this month.
It’s a pretty positive blog post, despite the headline acknowledging the elephant in the room: most people assumed another BlackBerry revival was dead in the water. But despite the upbeat tone, it’s hard to see a 5G BlackBerry making any significant inroads, whenever it appears.
There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that the smartphone market is so ridiculously competitive that even established names struggle to get out of the single-digit sales market share. Sony barely registers, HTC is essentially out of the phone game and LG actively called it quits on a part of the business it could do longer justify.
Onward Mobility isn’t the first company to pick up the BlackBerry licence — TCL Communications released a number of handsets with the branding from 2017’s KeyOne to 2018’s Key2 LE. The licensing agreement ceased in 2020, and the fact that TCL didn’t rush to renew it speaks volumes.
That doesn’t mean BlackBerry couldn’t rise again in the right hands, of course, but the omens don’t look good, and there’s one more data point against its chances. For a while, Samsung produced cases with BlackBerry-style physical keyboards for its Galaxy S smartphones. The company hasn’t bothered with this line since the Galaxy S8, and the most likely reason is a lack of interest.
We’d love to be proven wrong, but we wouldn’t recommend putting money on BlackBerry becoming relevant again in 2022, even if it doesn’t seem quite as big a long shot as it did last week.
Samsung's Galaxy S22 Could Get a Graphics Boost From a New AMD-Fueled Chip – Gizmodo
Samsung has unveiled the Exynos 2200, its first smartphone processor with AMD graphics. More specifically, the chip uses AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture which enables variable-rate shading and hardware-accelerated ray tracing, a technique used to make lighting effects in virtual environments appear more realistic.
While it hasn’t been confirmed, we assume the SoC will be featured in Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S22 set to be revealed at the Unpacked event (which is rumored for Feb. 8). However, Samsung typically reserves its in-house Exynos chips for international markets and turns to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips for stateside models. Based on the latest rumors, US Galaxy S22 versions will likely run on the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
The Exynos 2200 uses what AMD calls an “Xclipse” GPU and is based on Samsung’s 4-nanometer processing node. We’ve known since 2019 that the two chipmaking juggernauts would work together, and just last year, AMD confirmed that Samsung’s “next flagship mobile SoC” would use RDNA 2, the platform of AMD’s latest mobile and desktop GPUs.
The term “flagship” here is noteworthy in that it suggests the processor will indeed make its way to Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S series phones when they presumably arrive next month. What neither company has been willing to share just yet are performance numbers, though Samsung will likely highlight those during the Galaxy reveal. So far, the company is only claiming that the chip will enable the “ultimate mobile phone gaming experience.”
“AMD RDNA 2 graphics architecture extends power-efficient, advanced graphics solutions to PCs, laptops, consoles, automobiles and now to mobile phones. Samsung’s Xclipse GPU is the first result of multiple planned generations of AMD RDNA graphics in Exynos SoCs,” said David Wang, the senior vice president of Radeon Technologies Group at AMD.
Shifting to the CPU, the Exynos 2200 will use Arm’s latest Armv9 CPU cores in a tri-cluster configuration consisting of a single Arm Cortex-X2 “flagship core,” three balanced Cortex-A710 big cores, and four power-efficient Cortex-A510 little cores.
According to Samsung, the chip has more advanced AI, an upgraded neural processing unit (NPU) with twice the performance as its predecessor, and an image signal processor with support for up to 200-megapixels, 4K HDR (or 8K video recording), and the ability to connect to seven individual image sensors and drive four concurrently.
We’re curious to see what benefits the new graphics bring and whether those performance gains and features will be supported by mobile games. Interestingly, Samsung says the Xclipse GPU is “positioned between the console and the mobile graphic processor” so it sounds like the company wants to blur the lines by delivering at-home gaming performance on mobile hardware.
Instagram is testing paid subscriptions with a small group of creators – The Verge
US Instagram users will soon be able to subscribe to a small number of creators and influencers to access exclusive content and features. In a blog post, the company says it’s launching a test of subscriptions today, with more creators being added in the coming weeks.
Fans will pay a monthly fee to access subscriber-only content from creators they follow, like exclusive Lives and Stories. Subscribers will also get a purple badge by their username that signals their status to the creator. Price tiers will range from $0.99 to $99.99 per month, and creators can select the price point for their subscriptions. Co-head of product Ashley Yuki told TechCrunch that Instagram will not take a cut of creators’ subscription revenues “until at least 2023.”
Ten creators are part of the early test, including basketball player Sedona Prince, Olympian Jordan Chiles, and astrologer Aliza Kelly.
“I’m excited to keep building tools for creators to make a living doing creative work and to put these tools in more creators’ hands soon,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, which owns Instagram, wrote in a Facebook post. Facebook also has its own version of a subscription program for creators.
In a video today, Instagram head Adam Mosseri says subscriptions are “one of the best ways” for influencers and creators to have a predictable income. Some creators have already been monetizing Instagram features like Close Friends by charging fans a fee off-platform for access to Stories. Instagram and Facebook aren’t the only companies to roll out subscription models to compete with platforms like TikTok; in 2021, Twitter introduced Super Follows, and some creators offer additional subscriber content off-platform on Patreon or Substack.
Xiaomi 11T Pro with Snapdragon 888 and 120W charging launched in India – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com
The Xiaomi 11T Pro was unveiled last September and is powered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC. It runs Android 11-based MIUI 12.5 out of the box without any ads, and Xiaomi has promised to provide three years of Android and four years of security updates to the smartphone.
The 11T Pro is built around a 6.67″ FullHD+ 120Hz AMOLED screen with Dolby Vision support and Gorilla Glass Victus protection. The display has a punch hole in the center for the 16MP selfie camera but doesn’t have a fingerprint reader underneath. That’s because Xiaomi embedded it to the power button located on the right side of the smartphone.
Around the back, we have a camera system comprising 108MP primary, 8MP ultrawide, and 5MP telemacro units.
The Xiaomi 11T Pro ships with a 5,000 mAh battery with 120W charging, and Xiaomi has bundled the compatible 120W adapter with the smartphone, which is advertised to fill the cell from flat to 100% in 17 minutes.
The rest of the Xiaomi 11T Pro’s highlights include 5G connectivity, USB-C, NFC, stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos support, Hi-Res Audio certification, and audio tuning by Harman Kardon.
The Xiaomi 11T Pro comes in Meteorite Black, Moonlight White, and Celestial Blue colors and has three memory options – 8GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB, and 12GB/256GB priced at INR39,999 ($535/€475), INR41,999 ($565/€500), and INR43,999 ($590/€520), respectively. However, those who purchase the smartphone using their Citi Bank credit card are eligible for a discount of INR5,000 ($65/€60).
The 11T Pro is already available for purchase in India through Xiaomi’s official Indian website, Amazon.in, Mi Home, and retail outlets.
You can read our Xiaomi 11T Pro in-depth review here to learn more about it, or watch the video review linked below.
Samsung's Galaxy S22 Could Get a Graphics Boost From a New AMD-Fueled Chip – Gizmodo
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