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Xbox Live is back online after an evening outage

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Microsoft’s Xbox Live service was down for some users this evening, according to a tweet from Xbox Support. The timing was unfortunate as more people than usual had likely turned to online gaming as they self-quarantined in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. During the outage, Microsoft’s Xbox Live status page was endlessly cycling its loading screen across many devices and browsers, preventing clarity into the actual status of the service.

“We understand some users may be experiencing errors with sign in or matching making on Xbox Live,” the Xbox customer service Twitter account stated, “and are currently investigating. Please check back here for details.”

That message was tweeted at 5:10 PM ET, and no other message has followed at the time of publishing this story.

At the time of initial, DownDetector.com showed outage reports abating from a peak of nearly 100,000 at 5 p.m. The outage came on a day when millions were choosing to stay inside, and many of them are playing video games online; Steam reported a new concurrent user record of greater than 20 million online this weekend.

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OnePlus CEO posts comparison pictures with 8 Pro and 'another flagship' – MobileSyrup

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OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has tweeted photo comparisons between the OnePlus 8 Pro and another unnamed flagship smartphone.

The above two pictures showcase the phone’s ultrawide camera that is rumoured to feature a 48-megapixel sensor. The handset also bins every four pixels into one to allow more light. The bottom is the telephoto shooter versus another flagship’s telephoto camera, which reportedly supports 3x optical zoom and features an 8-megapixel sensor.

In both pictures, the OnePlus 8 Pro photos are brighter and feature better quality. They look like good shots, but it’s difficult to compare them against an unknown flagship.

Lau also posted a short video on Weibo reportedly recorded with the OnePlus 8 Pro. The video showcases the smartphone’s high dynamic range and image stabilization features.

OnePlus says it will unveil the OP8 series on April 14th. 

Source: Pete Lau (@PeteLau), Weibo Via: GSMArena 

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OnePlus 8 Pro camera sample shows off ultrawide night photography w/ good detail – 9to5Google

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With a bigger price tag expected, one of the biggest hurdles OnePlus is set to face on the upcoming OnePlus 8 Pro is the camera quality. It’s got the hardware to do well, but how are the results? There’s not much available yet, but OnePlus CEO Pete Lau recently shared an intriguing sample.

Shared on Twitter, the first public OnePlus 8 Pro camera sample is a shot taken with the ultrawide camera in a city at night. The shot — presumably taken using OnePlus’ “Nightscape” mode — shows a city in the evening with a mostly clear sky and dozens of buildings with lights turned on at night. For just about any 2020 smartphone, this is a shot that should always look great!

In OnePlus’ case, the shot indeed does look pretty stellar. There’s plenty of detail in the shot especially towards the center. Since this is an ultrawide lens, though, there’s a bit of distortion and loss of detail off to the sides of the frame. The shots were uploaded through Twitter’s website, though, so there’s no extra compression added on.

Lau also uploaded another picture from the same location from “another flagship phone.” He doesn’t specify which other phone is being used here, but the results aren’t nearly as good. The shot overall is much darker and there’s a lot less detail in all of the buildings. Just given how good most flagships have gotten recently, though, I have a tough time believing this comparison involved something like a Galaxy S20, iPhone 11, or Huawei device.

Regardless, it’s obvious why this sample shot is so good. As was leaked recently, the OnePlus 8 Pro’s ultrawide camera is a 48MP sensor that’s almost identical to the main one, just with a wider field-of-view on the lens.

The OnePlus 8 Pro is set to debut on April 14th.

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Microsoft says video calls in Teams grew 1,000% in March – TechCrunch

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With the COVID-19 pandemic making work from home the default for those companies that are able to do so, it’s no surprise that we are seeing a massive rise in the usage of video chat tools like Zoom, Google Meet and Teams . We’d already heard some updates from Zoom and Google, but today Microsoft joined the parade with a new report on how its Teams users have adapted to the rise of remote work.

Back on March 16, the company reported 900 million meeting minutes in Teams . Now, less than a month later, it says that it saw a new daily record of 2.7 billion meetings in one on March 31. During those meetings, more users than ever also turn on their video cameras. Overall, the number of users who go on camera has doubled since before this crisis began and the overall number of video calls in Teams grew by over 1,000 percent in March.

That’s a lot of time spent in meetings that could’ve probably been used in more productive ways, but it sure is a lot of Teams meetings.

The Microsoft team also looked at where people use video most, with Norway and the Netherlands leading the pack. There, 60 percent of calls include video. In the U.S., that number is 38 percent. Microsoft says this may be due to the availability of fast broadband.

Microsoft also found that its users are also spending more time of the day with Teams. In March, the average time between when somebody first used teams and the last use of the service increased by over an hour. The company argues that this doesn’t mean that people are working longer hours, “rather that they are breaking up the day in a way that works for their personal productivity or makes space for obligations outside of work.”

No matter the service a company uses for remote work, it’ll be interesting to see how many of these new habits will stick once this crisis is over. In China, where some employees are now returning to work, the number of daily active Teams users continues to grow according to Microsoft but there will surely also be regions where usage will decline quickly once things get back to something resembling normal.

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