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Samsung's next foldable phone could be this RAZR-like clamshell – Engadget



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Wang Ben Hong

Shortly before Motorola revived the RAZR, Samsung made it loud and clear that it was also working on a clamshell foldable phone, so it’s no surprise that a prototype would eventually show up in China. Earlier today, Weibo user Wang Ben Hong shared five photos of what he claims to be Samsung’s latest foldable prototype — one that appears to be half the size of the Galaxy Fold.

There’s no word on internal specs, but we can see the punch-hole camera right below the earpiece, and the lack of chin allows the unfolded screen to extend all the way to the bottom. Both characteristics match the clamshell concept art at this year’s Samsung Developer Conference.

Samsung clamshell foldable phone prototype

This leak also reveals a couple of new features on Samsung’s next foldable. Much like the $1,500 RAZR, this device also benefits from an outer notification screen but in a much smaller serving. Next to that you’ll see a pair of rear cameras (the RAZR only has one) plus an LED flashlight. There’s a volume rocker along the top right side of the phone, followed by what’s likely a fingerprint reader. It’s unclear whether this clamshell has inherited the Galaxy Fold’s dedicated power button, though. We’d also like to get a closer look at this hinge design — it appears more rounded than what the RAZR packs.

Wang didn’t share further detail, but assuming that this prototype is legit, it’ll be interesting to see how Samsung will position it as a product. Will it be a full-on flagship to match its pricey foldable panel? Or will it take a page out of the RAZR’s book and opt for a more efficient mid-range chipset? Either way, chances are this will be a slightly more affordable alternative to the $2,000 Galaxy Fold (or the $2,400 Huawei Mate X, for that matter). And as our very own Chris Velazco found out, such clamshell form factor may win over more consumers’ hearts — at least until they see the prices, anyway.

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Google Debuts 5G Pixel Phones Ahead of Apple’s iPhone Launch – Bloomberg



Google launched a pair of new 5G Android smartphones: the Pixel 5, its flagship model, and the Pixel 4a 5G, an entry-level device with faster cellular network speeds.

While the Pixel 5’s display is in line with the latest top-end phones from Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., changes to its features and a lower price put the handset more directly in competition with lower-end phones from those companies.

Google started offering its own smartphones with much fanfare in 2016, after years of collaborating with handset manufacturers on a bespoke Nexus line intended to demonstrate the best of its Android operating system. Progress has been slow. While IDC data show Pixel shipments rose 52% to 7.2 million units last year, Apple, Samsung and Huawei Technologies Co. each sell more than 100 million handsets annually.

The Pixel 5 moves to a front display that is almost all screen. Both new phones include slower processors, fewer camera sensors and cost less than the premier phones from its rivals. The Alphabet Inc. unit also removed the facial recognition camera and motion sensor from last year’s Pixel 4, instead adding a hole-punch sized notch for the camera and reverting to a fingerprint sensor on the back. The starting price for the Pixel 5 is $699, $100 less than last year, and the same price as the entry-level iPhone 11.

Apple and Samsung’s latest top offerings cost more than $1,000. Rick Osterloh, Google’s hardware chief, said the company removed expensive components because it didn’t want to sell a $1,000 phone that would price many consumers out of the market in an economic downturn.

The flagship handset unveiled Wednesday for new fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks now comes in a single 6-inch model, replacing the 5.7-inch and 6.3-inch Pixel 4 offerings from last year. It comes in black and green. The phone also adds the ability to charge headphones on the phone’s back, and new low-power mode to extend battery life.

Pixel devices have won over some customers with capable cameras and photo-related software. But Apple and other manufacturers have caught up and one of Google’s leading camera technology experts, Marc Levoy, left earlier this year.

Review: Apple Just Killed The Google Pixel’s Killer Feature

The Pixel 5 adds an ultrawide-angle camera, replacing the telephoto camera lens from last year’s model. The latest setup helps users photograph more of the environment, while the telephoto lens had more zoom. Google is making up for the lack of optical zoom with software. Apple and Samsung offer three separate cameras on the rear of their pricier top-tier phones.

The front camera on the Pixel 5 is 8 megapixels, the same as the Pixel 4, but the new handset has more memory and a larger battery. The phone also adds a feature to use portrait mode in the dark and new modes for enhanced video stabilization.

#lazy-img-365007037:beforepadding-top:83.36363636363636%;Pixel 4a (5G)

Pixel 4a 5G

Source: Google

The Pixel 4a 5G is similar to the Pixel 4a announced in August, but adds a 6.2-inch screen, improved cameras and a faster processor. That phone costs $499, considerably more than the smaller non-5G variant. Both phones are scheduled to be released Oct. 15, Google said.

Apple plans to launch four new iPhones in October, adding faster chips, improved cameras, its largest and smallest display options and an updated design, Bloomberg News has reported.

Google introduced other hardware products on Wednesday, including a new Nest Audio speaker and an updated Chromecast TV streaming device.

— With assistance by Vlad Savov

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    Chromecast with Google TV vs the "old" Chromecast series



    Google Chromecast with Google TV on table straight downGoogle Chromecast with Google TV on table straight down

    In 2013, Google launched the first version of its Chromecast TV dongle. It was designed to cast smartphone apps, including video streaming apps, to big-screen televisions. Seven years later, the market for streaming TV apps has changed, and Google is changing with it. Today, it officially announced Chromecast with Google TV.

    So what are the similarities and the differences of Chromecast with Google TV vs Chromecast? Good question.  As you will see, the original Chromecast is still very useful. However, the new Chromecast with Google TV offers a lot more, and it’s not that much more expensive.

    Read more: Best video streaming devices

    Chromecast with Google TV vs Chromecast: Features

    Third-gen ChromecastThird-gen Chromecast

    Back in 2013, smart televisions were still something of a novelty. The first Chromecast allowed TV owners to quickly turn it into a smart television, and inexpensively. If you had a smartphone, and your apps supported Chromecast, you could connect the dongle to your TV’s HMDI port. Then you could cast and watch movies, play games, and more from your phone to your TV.

    Later versions of Chromecast did basically the same thing as the original. However, the current third-generation Chromecast streamed smartphone content at 1080p resolution. The more expensive Chromecast Ultra. which launched in 2016, increased the streaming resolution to 4K. It also added support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision video formats and an Ethernet port. It also allowed users to stream high-end PC and console games to their TV via the Google Stadia service.

    Google Chromecast with Google TV on table style photoGoogle Chromecast with Google TV on table style photo

    The new Chromecast with Google TV is a very different device. While it can still cast smartphone apps to your TV, it has Android TV built-in as well. That means you can watch streaming TV and apps directly, with no smartphone required. It comes with its own hardware remote for controlling those apps. It also supports Google Assistant to control apps with your voice, again via the remote.

    Google Chromecast with Google TV for you tabGoogle Chromecast with Google TV for you tab

    In fact, for this product, Google has installed a new UI on top of Android TV. That’s where the “Google TV” part of the brand comes in. It allows you to watch movies and TV shows across several streaming apps and services on one screen, rather than switching between apps. It’s very similar to what you will find on the Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV apps. The device supports up to 4k resolution, along with HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision video formats.

    Read more: Google TV – All you need to know

    Unfortunately, the new Chromecast with Google TV does not yet support the Google Stadia game streaming service. That support is supposed to be added sometime in 2021. If you want Stadia gaming on your big-screen TV right now, you need to either keep or purchase the Chromecast Ultra.

    One other minor addition to Chromecast with Google TV are color choices. You have snow, sunrise, and sky colors to pick from.

    Chromecast with Google TV vs Chromecast: Price

    The current third-generation Chromecast is available for $29.99, while the Chromecast Ultra is priced at $69. The Chromecast with Google TV is on sale now in the US for $49.99.

    Which one should you buy?

    If you own a 1080p TV, and want an inexpensive way to stream video and other content on your television, the regular Chromecast is your best best. If you want to try out Stadia game streaming, get the Chromecast Ultra. However, if you have a 4K television, and want a better movie and TV show streaming experience without the need for a smartphone, Chromecast with Google TV is a must.

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    Trudeau to resume briefings after his national address boosted downloads of COVID Alert app



    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is planning to resume regular briefings similar to those he held early in the pandemic after a plea he made to Canadians during his national address led to a significant bump in the number of downloads of the COVID Alert app.

    According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), COVID Alert had been downloaded 2.75 million times by last Tuesday, the day before the throne speech, which Trudeau followed with a national address that was broadcasted by each of the country’s major television networks.

    During Trudeau’s address — which critics said failed to focus on the severity of the second wave of COVID-19 in favour of highlighting the government’s just-revealed agenda — the prime minister drew attention to the notification cellphone app, while talking about how Canada can contain the pandemic.

    “In the spring, we all did our part by staying home,” Trudeau said. “And this fall, we have even more tools in the toolbox. People are wearing masks. That’s critical. So keep it up.

    “We’ve got the COVID Alert app. Take the teacher who felt fine, but she gets a positive (test result) after the app warned her she’d been exposed. COVID Alert meant she went home instead of the classroom.

    “It’s a powerful, free tool that’s easy to use and protects your privacy,” he continued. “So if you haven’t already, download it off the App Store or Google Play. It’s one more way to keep ourselves and others safe.”

    Searches of “COVID Alert” spiked on Google immediately after the prime minister’s address. Google Play statistics provided to iPolitics by the PMO show that downloads of COVID Alert also soared immediately after the prime minister’s address.

    Between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. last Wednesday, about 15,000 people downloaded COVID Alert onto Android phones alone.

    Higher-than-usual download rates continued throughout the evening, as well.

    From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., it was downloaded close to 8,000 times on Androids, and between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., it was downloaded about 5,000 times.

    By Friday, the app had been downloaded 2.91 million times.

    Responding to the bump in downloads, which the government hopes to replicate to counter the spike in COVID-19 cases, specially in Ontario and Quebec, Trudeau will resume the semi-regular updates he made from Rideau Cottage in the pandemic’s early days.

    With the House of Commons sitting again, Trudeau likely won’t hold the briefings outside his home, a senior source in the PMO told iPolitics. While a schedule hasn’t been set in stone, the PMO envisions Trudeau resuming regular briefings “at the very least” once per week.

    Federal officials have been tirelessly trying to convince Canadians to download the COVID Alert app since it was released at the end of July.

    COVID Alert does not force users to surrender any personal information and doesn’t track users’ locations.

    It relies on Bluetooth technology to exchange randomized codes with other phones that users are close to. Although the app is available across Canada, to function, it relies on users inputting single-use key codes when they test positive for COVID-19. That way, their phone automatically alerts anyone they encountered to the possibility of exposure to COVID-19.

    Provincial health authorities are responsible for delivering codes to people who test positive for the coronavirus. So far, only users in Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador are able to report a diagnosis in the app.

    Quebec’s government has spent weeks very publicly rejecting COVID Alert, insisting it wants a made-in-Quebec application instead. That stance shifted on Monday.

    Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said Quebec would likely adopt COVID Alert in “a matter of days.”

    Speaking to reporters again on Tuesday, Dubé said his Ontario counterpart told him she was “not totally satisfied” with how many people were using (or not using) the app.

    While Dubé said his government plans to talk to opposition parties about beginning to use the app, he said, “The straight answer is: Yes, we will have the application.”

    Quebec Premier François Legault also said the province will launch an advertising campaign to encourage people to download COVID Alert.

    With files from Kevin Dougherty and Janet Silver.

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