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Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo reportedly to join forces against Google Play Store – CNET

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Ian Knighton/CNET

Last year Huawei had the unpleasant experience of launching a flagship phone, the Mate 30 Pro, with no support from Google’s Mobile Services. It ran Android, which is open source. But no Google apps worked, nor did apps like Uber, which rely on Google apps (Maps, in Uber’s case). Instead of the Google Play Store, Huawei offered its own AppGallery. Devoid of most of the apps you know and love, it was a sordid software affair.

The company is hoping to be more prepared in 2020. It will work with three other Chinese electronics giants — Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo — to compete against the Google Play Store, according to a report from Reuters. The four brands (Vivo and Oppo are both owned by the same company, BBK Electronics) will work together to make it possible for developers to upload apps onto all of their app stores simultaneously.

If you’re an Android user, you’ve probably noticed that whatever phone you use has a branded app store on top of the Google Play Store you download your apps from. Samsung has its own Galaxy Store, for instance. These four Chinese companies have the Xiaomi Market, App Market (Oppo), Vivo App Store and the aforementioned AppGallery (Huawei) as their very own app stores. These branded ecosystems are far more important in China, where users don’t have the option of using the Google Play Store.

The idea of this initiative, which Reuters reports will be called the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA), is to pool together the four companies’ user bases to encourage more developers to upload their wares onto the joint platform. GDSA was originally scheduled to launch in March, according to Reuters.

However a Xiaomi spokesperson told Reuters the company is only working with Oppo and Vivo, excluding Huawei. Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Google were contacted but did not respond immediately. Huawei declined to comment.

“This will be an important step for Chinese brands as they look to reduce dependence on Google and more so US companies in light of the US-China trade war and fear of cutting access to leading technologies,” said Counterpoint Research analyst Neil Shah.

President Donald Trump blacklisted Huawei last May with an executive order for allegedly having links to the Chinese government. The ban bars Huawei from using US technology, including Qualcomm chips (though most of Huawei’s processors are made in-house) and Google software.

“These cash-rich companies have significant power to attract developers to their platform and build a parallel ecosystem,” Shah said, pointing to Huawei’s burgeoning HarmonyOS operating system.

Though their presence is limited in the US, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo accounted for 40% of all global phone sales in 2019, according to Counterpoint research.

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Samsung quietly changed trade-in values for its Galaxy Z Flip 4 promotion – XDA Developers

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Over the past few years, Samsung has been aggressive when it comes to new smartphone launches, offering trade-in promotions, credits, and other incentives to lure in new and old customers. With the release of the Galaxy Z Flip 4, things were no different. The company delivered outrageous offers, like giving $900 in “enhanced” trade-in credit for a Galaxy Z Flip 3. This was a steal, considering the phone had a retail price of $999.99 when it was released a year ago. But now, it looks like Samsung is pulling back its offers, quietly changing its trade-in values.

The folks at 9to5Google spotted the changes, reporting that Samsung had lowered its trade-in values for the Galaxy Z Flip 3. As mentioned before, Samsung previously offered $900 in trade-in credit for any version of the phone. But now, the trade-in credit offered starts at $700 if you trade in a 128GB model of the Galaxy Z Flip 3. Those with a 256GB model will be eligible for $800 in credit, and the Bespoke Edition will bring in $900 in credit. Of course, these changes will disappoint some who were on the fence, but the offers are still pretty good even with the lower trade-in values.

    Samsung’s latest and greatest. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 improves on its predecessors, offering a sturdier more refined foldable handset.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 offers a familiar clamshell design with a more refined look, thanks to squared-off edges and a redesigned hinge. The compact foldable packs the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC paired with 8GB RAM. The 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED display offers a 120Hz refresh rate, with deep blacks and colors that pop. It gets a slightly larger battery than its predecessor, coming in at 3,700mAh. The phone offers wireless charging or 25W wired fast charging as an option if you’re in a rush. Those that love capturing the moment while on the go will be glad to know that the phone has dual 12MP cameras capable of shooting beautiful photos and videos.

Despite the lower trade-in values, Samsung is still offering other incentives like up to $200 in instant Samsung Credit that can be used towards accessories. It also offers a free memory upgrade, with the base model Galaxy Z Flip 4 upgraded to 256GB of internal storage. It’s also throwing in a case valued at $39.99. On top of that, by purchasing a Galaxy Z Flip 4, you’ll be eligible to receive four months of YouTube Premium, four months of SiriusXM streaming, three months of Spotify Premium, and six months of 100GB of OneDrive cloud storage for free. Simply put, this is still a great deal and should be taken advantage of.


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Apple reportedly plans iPhone and Apple Watch event for September 7th – Ars Technica

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Enlarge / The iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Samuel Axon

Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and new iPhones in September. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that this year’s iPhone event will be held on Wednesday, September 7th.

According to Gurman, the non-pro iPhone 14 lineup will axe the 5.4-inch mini display size that Apple has sold for the last couple of generations. The standard 6.1-inch model will instead be joined by a large-screened 6.7-inch version, matching the screen size of the current iPhone Pro Max model. But these phones will also continue to use the current Apple A15 Bionic chip and will look externally similar to the iPhone 13.

The iPhone 14 Pro will reportedly be more exciting, replacing the current camera notch with a pair of pinhole cutouts for the front-facing camera and FaceID scanner; many Android phones have already switched to similar pinhole cutouts to save screen space. The Pro phones will also reportedly get a faster chip and an even-larger three-lens camera assembly anchored by a 48-megapixel wide-angle camera plus 12-megapixel ultra-wide and telephoto cameras.

Apple also plans to introduce new Apple Watches, the report says. The Series 8 watches will reportedly include a standard model that looks similar to the current Series 7, plus a long-rumored larger and more “rugged” titanium model with more battery life and additional fitness tracking features.

The basic Apple Watch SE will reportedly receive a faster chip—the current SE uses an Apple S5, and a new one could use an S6, S7, or some newer as-yet unannounced chip. This new SE model will hopefully mean the end of the long-lived Apple Watch Series 3, which the company still sells even though it won’t be receiving the watchOS 9 update this fall.

A September 7th announcement for the new iPhones and watches probably means at least some new devices will be available to buy toward the middle of the month, roughly coinciding with the release of iOS 16—Gurman says that Apple Store employees have been told to prepare for a September 16th launch.

Apple often holds an iPad- and Mac-focused event in October to complement the September event, which is when we’d expect to see updates to those products and the release of macOS Ventura and the reportedly delayed iPadOS 16. Gurman predicts we’ll finally see a USB-C version of the low-end iPad, new M2-based iPad Pros, and updated Mac mini and MacBook Pros before the end of the year.

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Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4 feature new 'Light' battery-saving mode – MobileSyrup

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Samsung’s latest flagships running One UI 4.1.1 feature a new battery-boosting performance profile. This profile hidden in the settings on the Z Flip 4 and the Z Fold 4 is in a new section called ‘Performance Profile.’

In this settings section, there are two options called ‘Standard’ and ‘Light.’ The Light profile is described as prioritizing “battery life and cooling efficiency over processing speed.”

A user on Reddit that got their hands on a Galaxy Z Fold 4 early has put both modes to the test.

According to ‘Dudi4PoLFr‘, with Light mode turned on, benchmarking apps seem to drop about 20 percent of raw performance. This should, in theory, result in battery savings while still offering better overall performance than the Z Fold 3.

It’s also worth noting that the Galaxy Fold 4 and Flip 4 feature a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, which Qualcomm says is 30 percent more efficient than previous device Samsung devices.

I haven’t noticed that much of an increase in battery life in my testing of the Fold 4 of far. However, I’ve yet to try the foldable’s new Light mode. I’ll have a full review of the Galaxy Fold 4 up on MobileSyrup in the coming weeks.

Source: Reddit Dudi4PoLFr‘ Via: 9to5Google

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