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Canada's COVID-19 Alert app updated to include more precise exposure information – CBC.ca

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the COVID Alert app can now provide more precise information to people who are exposed to the virus.

There have been approximately 4.9 million downloads of the federal COVID-19 exposure notification app so far, with 2,939 Canadians using it to report a positive coronavirus test. Alberta and B.C. are the final two provinces that have yet to activate the app. 

Trudeau says users who test positive for COVID-19 can enter the time their symptoms started, or the date they were tested. This information is important to figure out when they were most infectious to others, and those who are exposed can better estimate the time period they were at risk.

Health Canada said in a statement Friday the tweak aligns more closely with public health guidance, as symptomatic individuals are most infectious from two days before their symptoms began. 

The new features are optional and the additional data will not be shared with the government or anyone else, according to Health Canada.

Until now, COVID Alert was designed to deliver exposure notifications to all users who were in extended close contact with an infected person over the past 14 days.

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry said earlier in the week the province remained reluctant to use the app while its exposure notifications were “very non-specific.”

“What we really would like to see is an app that we could download when we’re at a celebration or a party or a church service, so that we can identify those specific times when there may have been somebody with COVID who was in that vicinity,” Henry said on Monday.

Lucie Vignola, a director of Health Canada’s COVID-19 task force told CBC News this week the federal agency is also considering adding compatibility with wearable devices. The move could make the tool available to Canadians who don’t own a smartphone.

“We’re always looking to see how we can further improve the app … while maintaining that main aspect of privacy,” Vignola said.

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Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 promises faster speeds, better cameras, and more powerful AI – The Verge

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Qualcomm teased the Snapdragon 888, its latest 5G-equipped flagship smartphone processor, on the first day of its Snapdragon Tech Summit. But at the day two keynote, the company provided all of the details on the new chipset, which will be the brains powering almost every major 2021 Android flagship.

First off, the basic specs: the new processor will feature Qualcomm’s new Kryo 680 CPU, which will be one of the first devices to feature Arm’s latest customized Cortex-X1 core and promises up to 25 percent higher performance than last year’s chip with a maximum clock speed of 2.84GHz. And the company’s new Adreno 660 GPU promises a 35 percent jump on graphics rendering, in what it says is the biggest performance leap for its GPUs yet. The new CPU and GPU are also more power-efficient compared to those on the Snapdragon 875, with a 25 percent improvement for the Kyro 680 and a 20 percent improvement on the Adreno 660.

Another key difference between the Snapdragon 888 and last year’s 865 is that Qualcomm has finally integrated its 5G modem directly into the SoC. That means manufacturers won’t have to deal with finding the space (and power) for a second external modem. Specifically, the Snapdragon 888 will feature Qualcomm’s 5nm X60 modem, which the company announced back in February, and it will enable better carrier aggregation and download speeds up to 7.5 Gbps on new devices. The Snapdragon 888 will also support Wi-Fi 6 as well as the new 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E standard, which should boost that rollout by making it the default on most Android flagships.

As is tradition for a Snapdragon update, Qualcomm is also putting a big emphasis on its camera improvements. The new Spectra 580 ISP is the first from Qualcomm to feature a triple ISP, allowing it to do things like capture three simultaneous 4K HDR video streams or three 28-megapixel photos at once at up to 2.7 gigapixels per second (35 percent faster than last year).

It also offers improved burst capabilities and is capable of capturing up to 120 photos in a single second at a 10-megapixel resolution. Lastly, the upgraded ISP adds computational HDR to 4K videos, an improved low-light capture architecture, and the option to shoot photos in 10-bit color in HEIF. That said, it’ll be up to phone manufacturers to build cameras that can take advantage of the new features.

The final major changes come in AI performance, thanks to Qualcomm’s new Hexagon 780 AI processor. The Snapdragon 888 features Qualcomm’s sixth-generation AI Engine, which it promises will help improve everything from computational photography to gaming to voice assistant performance. The Snapdragon 888 can perform 26 trillion operations per second (TOPS), compared to 15 TOPS on the Snapdragon 865, while delivering three times better power efficiency. Additionally, Qualcomm is promising big improvements in both scalar and tensor AI tasks as part of those upgrades.

The Snapdragon 888 also features the second-generation Qualcomm Sensing Hub, a dedicated low-power AI processor for smaller hardware-based tasks, like identifying when you raise your phone to light up the display. The new second-gen Sensing Hub is dramatically improved, which means the phone will be able to rely less on the main Hexagon processor for those tasks.

All of this adds up to a substantial boost in Qualcomm’s — and therefore, nearly every Android flagship’s — capabilities for what our smartphones will be able to do. The first Snapdragon 888 smartphones are expected to show up in early 2021, which means it won’t be long before we’ll be able to try out the next generation of Android flagships for ourselves.

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Amazon customers with missing consoles offered new PS5 stock – Eurogamer.net

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With a deadline to accept by this weekend.

Amazon has begun contacting customers hit by its launch day missing-presumed-stolen PlayStation 5 disaster, and is offering a priority order for a replacement.

But because all affected orders were mass-refunded last week, this will now mean ensuring payment details are up to date and accepting a new £449.99 charge.

One affected customer – Push Square managing director Anthony Dickens – shared the email he received from Amazon via Twitter. In the message, Amazon gives a deadline of 23:59 UK time this Saturday, 5th December to accept.

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Can anything be done to stop the PS5 and Xbox Series X scalpers?

You’ll need to contact Amazon via its website livetext or phoneline to sort this (affected customers should already be familiar with those!). After that it should be job done, and there’s no need to put in a new order via Amazon’s website or sit and wait around for whenever new stock actually goes on sale.

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“Please note that this offer is solely for the purpose of replacing the PlayStation 5 that you ordered,” Amazon’s email reads. “It cannot be transferred to another customer and cannot be used to purchase additional units of the PlayStation 5.”

I’ve just heard from a couple of the customers I’ve been speaking with over the past few weeks who have also received similar emails from Amazon. If you’re an affected customer, it’s worth checking to see if you’ve received one too. And if you’re left waiting, do let us know.

Amazon previously pledged to “put it right” for all affected customers after shockingly widespread claims of stolen deliveries. One customer even pursued their PS5 order to the depot, where they were told a driver would be sacked.

Earlier this week I contacted Amazon to ask what it was doing to investigate its PS5 launch day issues, and whether it could reassure customers with future orders over the security of their orders. The company has yet to respond.

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PS5 comes out top in massive month for console sales | UK Monthly Charts – GamesIndustry.biz

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Almost 900,000 games consoles were sold in the UK during November, according to the last GfK market data.

The hardware data is for the four weeks ending November 28th.

In terms of home consoles (not handhelds), it is the eighth biggest month for console sales and the second biggest month for console revenue, behind December 2013, which was when PS4 and Xbox One received big new shipments.

The most successful machine of last month was the newly released PlayStation 5, which means that Nintendo Switch had to settle for second place for only the third time in two years. Even so, it was a big month for Switch, with hardware sales up 96% over the previous four weeks. The console had a very successful Black Friday, and so far this year, Switch hardware sales are up 63.1% year-on-year.

In terms of boxed software, 2.38 million games were sold in the UK last month (October 25th – November 21st). Switch games were the most popular of the month, accounting for nearly 35% of all games sold, followed by PS4.

Nintendo was the top publisher of the month thanks to continued strong sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, Minecraft and Super Mario 3D All-Stars. The company held off strong competition from Ubisoft, which saw big sales of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (No.2) and Watch Dogs: Legion (No.5).

The biggest selling new game of the month was Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. The Activision shooter sold significantly fewer boxed units than previous games in the franchise, with the vast majority of sales coming via digital download.

The other big new game in the charts is PS4 and PS5 game Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The title reached No.4 and primarily sold on PS5. In fact, it was comfortably the biggest PS5 launch game, ahead of Call of Duty.

The launch of new consoles unsurprisingly caused a spike in the accessories market. Nearly 1.25 million accessories were sold in November (October 25th – November 21st), which is up 61.4% month-on-month and 48.3% compared with last November.

The best-selling accessories of the month were the PS5 DualSense Controller (No.1) and the Pulse 3D Headset for PS4 and PS5 (No.2). The PS4 DualShock drops from the top spot to No.3, meanwhile the new Xbox controllers debut at No.4 (Shock Blue), No.5 (Carbon Black) and No.9 (Robot White). Other new accessories in the charts include the Media Remote for PS5 (No.7), the DualSense Charging Station (No.8), and the PS5 HD Camera (No.11).

Here is the UK Top 20 Best-Selling Boxed Games for November (GfK data)

Position Title
1 Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
2 Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
3 FIFA 21
4 Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales
5 Watch Dogs: Legion
6 Animal Crossing: New Horizons
7 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
8 Minecraft (Switch)
9 Super Mario 3D All-Stars
10 Fortnite: The Last Laugh Bundle
11 Ring Fit Adventure
12 Marvel’s Avengers
13 Minecraft Dungeons
14 Grand Theft Auto 5
15 Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
16 Demon’s Souls
17 Star Wars: Squadrons
18 51 Worldwide Games
19 Just Dance 2021
20 Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

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