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Clash of consoles: New PlayStation and Xbox enter $150 billion games arena – fight! – Reuters Canada

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TOKYO/CHICAGO/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Think Michelangelo vs Da Vinci. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Batman v Superman. Another epic rivalry is rejoined next week when Sony and Microsoft go head-to-head with the next generation of their blockbuster video-game consoles.

Xbox Series XIS – Microsoft’s next generation gaming consoles are seen in this handout image dated September 2020. Microsoft/Handout via REUTERS

Sony, whose PlayStation 5 (PS5) takes on Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S, is widely viewed as being in pole position to capitalise on a pandemic-driven boom in consumer spending that has buoyed the $150 billion video game industry.

The Japanese company’s deep bench of games and broader fan base – it has sold over 100 million PS4s, winning the battle of the previous generation – should see it retain its edge over it American archrival, according to industry experts.

“People who own Xbox tend to buy the new Xbox, while people who own PlayStation tend to buy the new PlayStation,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.

Yet the industry is changing and cloud gaming is on the rise, allowing games to be streamed without bulky hardware. This could curb console sales in coming years, analysts say, a shift that could benefit Microsoft.

The two consoles – the first to be released by the two companies for seven years – are eagerly awaited; the Xbox will go on sale on Tuesday, and the PS5 two days later in core markets, costing about $300 to $500 apiece.

The race to order the devices in advance actually began weeks ago, though blink and you might have missed it. Pre-orders of Sony’s PS5 sold out within minutes on many retail sites, for example, frustrating fans.

Julian Mercado, 17, managed to reserve a PS5 from Walmart.com WMT.N just minutes after pre-orders started on Sept. 16, knowing he’d be up against a legion of gamers.

“It’s exactly like shopping on Black Friday,” said the high school student from Dallas, who has been playing video games with his dad since he was five. “You show up early, you walk away with something good. You show up too late, you’ll walk away with nothing.”

PLAYING IN A PANDEMIC

Sony 6758.T might have the edge, but the stakes are high for the Japanese company. Its gaming business is its biggest cash cow; in its fiscal 2019 the division, which includes hardware, software and services, brought in close to a quarter of its roughly $77 billion group sales and nearly 30% of its $7.9 billion operating profit.

Microsoft MSFT.O does not break out the results of gaming, though it’s a smaller part of its business than for Sony. It also does not disclose hardware sales but the current Xbox One is estimated by analysts to have sold 50 million units.

For the other big hardware player, Japan’s Nintendo 7974.T, sticking to consoles is paying off with it hiking forecasts last week following elevated demand for its Switch.

The PS5 will retail at $499.99 or $399.99 for a digital-only version, while the Xbox Series X will sell for $499.99 and the lower-spec Series S for $299.99.

About 5 million PS5s are forecast to be sold this year, versus 3.9 million of the new Xboxes, according to media research firm Ampere, with combined sales expected to be higher than the previous generation.

See GRAPHIC tmsnrt.rs/3l3Rpe3 of PlayStation v Xbox sales forecasts: tmsnrt.rs/3l3Rpe3

“The pandemic is expected to transform the U.S. holiday shopping season,” said Jason Benowitz, a senior portfolio manager at Roosevelt Investment Group. “Playing from home has become a way for some to safely socialize.”

Sony’s games depth is supported by in-house studios behind exclusives such as “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales”. By contrast the new Xbox, say games experts, will lack killer launch titles, with the latest in its flagship “Halo” series pushed back to next year as the pandemic hits development.

Cloud gaming growth could hand the U.S. software giant an advantage in coming years, though. Although both companies have moved to offer services, Microsoft has been more aggressive.

Its Xbox Game Pass subscription service has grown rapidly; it offers more than 100 titles including brand-new games and has over 15 million users. Sony has been reluctant to make its hottest titles available on services like PlayStation Now, fearing this could cannibalise sales of big-budget games.

‘DEMAND OUTSTRIPS SUPPLY’

The pandemic, while fuelling some demand, has also constrained Sony and Microsoft’s production, according to industry experts, who see shortages stretching into 2021.

“Demand will outstrip supply so there’s going to be some people who won’t get a-hold of the console when they want to,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, director of Ampere’s games research.

Sony has announced that retailers like Walmart, Best Buy BBY.N and Target TGT.N will sell the PS5 exclusively online when it launches on Nov. 12, to prevent people from camping outside stores during a pandemic.

Walmart stands to sell as much as $1.1 billion worth of new consoles by the end of January, according to Wedbush. It dominates the U.S. market along with GameStop GME.N, each with a roughly 30% share, while sales of consoles at Target and Best Buy comprise about 15% apiece, the research firm said.

Target said it was working closely with its vendors to secure enough inventory. Some shoppers who had reserved consoles told Reuters that Target had said they may receive them days after the launch date.

Walmart said it would start selling the new consoles at launch but declined to comment on whether it would have enough stock to meet demand. Best Buy also declined to comment on whether it would be able to meet demand, while GameStop did not respond to requests for comment.

For DeAnthony Thicklin, a casino attendant who reserved his PS5 on Target.com in September, the priority is to get their hands on a console on the launch day itself.

The 25-year-old offered some advice.

“Have all your card information set up so the only thing you have to do is click,” he said. “Don’t hesitate. Be quick.”

Reporting by Sam Nussey in Tokyo, Richa Naidu in Chicago and Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Additional reporting by Uday Sampath Kumar; Editing by Kenneth Li and Pravin Char

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Here’s when your Samsung Galaxy phone may get the One UI 3.0 (Android 11) update – XDA Developers

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Android 11 is the newest version of Android. While the update has rolled out to a bunch of smartphones, phones that come with heavier UX skins need to wait for a longer time for the update to reach them. Samsung’s One UI 3.0 update is based on Android 11, and so far, the update has largely been restricted to flagship S series, Note series, and Fold series. If you are wondering when will your Samsung Galaxy smartphone get One UI 3.0 based on Android, here’s when it will receive its update.

Samsung has not publicly posted an update timeline for its Galaxy smartphones, but a list has been posted in the Samsung Members app for users in Egypt (via TizenHelp). This list may be talking about the update in the context of that region, but we can get a rough idea of the general timeline on when different phones will be getting their update. So far, Samsung has rolled out One UI 3.0 betas for the Galaxy S20 series, Galaxy Note 20 series, Galaxy S10 series, Galaxy Note 10 series, Galaxy Z Flip, and Galaxy Z Fold 2.

According to the list, here is the update timeline for stable releases:

  • December 2020:
    • Galaxy S20
    • Galaxy S20+
    • Galaxy S20 Ultra
  • January 2021:
    • Galaxy S10
    • Galaxy S10+
    • Galaxy S10 Lite
    • Galaxy Note 10
    • Galaxy Note 10+
    • Galaxy Note 20
    • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
    • Galaxy Z Flip
    • Galaxy Z Fold 2
  • February 2021:
    • Galaxy Fold
  • March 2021:
    • Galaxy M21
    • Galaxy M30s
    • Galaxy M31
    • Galaxy A51
    • Galaxy Note 10 Lite
    • Galaxy Tab S7
  • April 2021:
    • Galaxy A50
    • Galaxy M51
  • May 2021:
    • Galaxy A21s
    • Galaxy A31
    • Galaxy A70
    • Galaxy A71
    • Galaxy A80
    • Galaxy Tab S6
    • Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
  • June 2021:
    • Galaxy A01-Core
    • Galaxy A01
    • Galaxy A11
    • Galaxy M11
    • Galaxy Tab A
  • July 2021:
    • Galaxy A30
    • Galaxy Tab S5e
  • August 2021:
    • Galaxy A10
    • Galaxy A10s
    • Galaxy A20
    • Galaxy A20s
    • Galaxy A30s
    • Galaxy Tab A 10.1
    • Galaxy Tab Active Pro
  • September 2021:
    • Galaxy Tab A8 (2019)

As is apparent, the update timeline mentioned within the Samsung Members app prioritizes the devices that already have a Beta update available in some form. The update lands on Samsung’s mid-range and budget range not before March 2021, which is a little disappointing. The update timeline also stretches all the way to September 2021, which is about a month before the next Android release is expected in stable form. Also, keep in mind that the wording used in the announcement on the Samsung Members app is “Preparing in …”, and not “Rolling out”, which leaves room open for any unexpected delays. While you wait for the update to arrive, check out the features that Samsung has in store for you, and the general update changelog.

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Apple M1 is the boost the Windows ecosystem needed: Qualcomm – ZDNet

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The Snapdragon 888


Image: Qualcomm

With recent tests showing that putting Windows onto Apple Silicon absolutely spanks the performance currently available on Qualcomm-made processors, one could be forgiven for thinking Qualcomm was apprehensive about its future desktop prospects.

However, Qualcomm SVP and general manager for mobile, compute, and infrastructure Alex Katouzian told journalists on Wednesday that the new chip was a validation for putting mobile chips into laptops.

“As we’ve seen during the pandemic age and I think this is going to continue for many years to come, video conferencing and remote working locations are going to become more and more important which means you have to have the capability of great video conferencing, you have to have the camera capability, you have to have the longevity of the battery, you should be able to work from any place that you are, inside your house or outside your house, and reach your work environment in a secure fashion,” he said.

“All of those things are validation of what we’ve been preaching and I think the strength is going to come from the fact that our partnership with Microsoft is going to be much stronger and extended into the future.

“I think many, many parties realise that the Windows-based ecosystem needs a boost like this, and we’re the partner of choice to make that happen — so, it’s a great opportunity and a great validation for Qualcomm.”

Hours earlier, Qualcomm took the wraps off its new Snapdragon 888 chip, which will support 5G at millimetre-wave and sub-6GHz frequencies on “all major bands worldwide”. It will also support carrier aggregation, standalone and non-standalone modes, and dynamic spectrum sharing.

The company said it “completely re-engineered” its Hexagon processor that can now perform at 26 tera operations per second and updated its Sensing Hub to allow for lower-power, always-on AI processing.

On the image front, the chip can capture photos and video at 2.7 gigapixels per second, a 35% boost on the prior generation.

A notable absence among the list of Android phone makers that said they would use the 888 was Samsung. Those on the list included Asus, Lenovo, LG, Meizu, Motorola, Nubia, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

Last month, it was reported the United States had granted approval to Qualcomm to sell 4G chips for mobile phones to Huawei.

Speaking on Wednesday, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said the company was in the fortunate position of being able to “meet the objectives of both sides” of the trade war.

“We look at ourselves as probably a company that provides a lot of stability … in our sector of technology between the two countries, so I think if you look in the essence of our business model, we have a licensing business model. We don’t need to transfer technology. We open license that technology, and there’s respect of intellectual property which is consistent with some of the United States’ claims,” Amon said.

“I think all of our customers in China are licensed, and when we see the respect of intellectual property, we provide export of semiconductors which is in, from my United States perspective, it’s in the direction of increasing commerce of exports to China.

“We allow the China ecosystem with the Belt and Road Initiative building, on our platform, the mobile ecosystem of China to not only support the transition of China domestic to 5G, but to expand to other markets.”

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Realme announces 'Race' phone with Snapdragon 888 5G chipset – CanIndia News

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Smartphone maker Realme on Tuesday announced a new smartphone ‘Race’ with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G mobile platform.

The announcement was made on the heels of the two-day Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit Digital 2020.

“We are proud to be among the first smartphone manufacturers to come equipped with the Snapdragon 888 chipset,” said Madhav Sheth, VP, Realme, CEO Realme India and Europe.

“With this milestone, we reaffirm our commitment to bring more 5G devices in India in 2021”.

In 2020, Realme was one of the first manufacturers to use Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G Mobile Platform in Realme X50 Pro 5G, becoming the first 5G flagship smartphone in India.

According to the company, the Snapdragon 888 chipset with its limitless possibilities will connect more people around the world with a fast and smooth 5G experience especially in terms of gaming, video and communication capabilities.

Realme has launched various smartphones across all price ranges from entry-level up to flagship segments, including India’s first 5G smartphone Realme X50 Pro 5G.

–IANS

wh/na

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