Apple Said To Be Working On MicroLED Display For Future Apple Watch And AR Wearable

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Following on from a similar report which came out of the altogether more reliable Bloomberg last week, DigiTimes is today reporting that Apple is indeed working with TSMC on a new MicroLED display technology for use in future products.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Google said to be testing revamped Pixel launcher search bar for Pixel 3

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With every major Android release, Google revamps its Pixel launcher to accommodate the device and the new design language better. With Android P right around the corner, we now are seeing a slightly revamped Pixel launcher that will ship with the Google Pixel 3. The new revamped launcher is found by modifying the existing Pixel Launcher APK from the Google Pixel 2 to enable some hidden, in-development features of the launcher. The Pixel launcher’s search bar is now split into two; one for search and one with Google mic icon. We’re not sure what the purpose of this change or it is part of the rumored Material Design 2 set to be unveiled during Google I/O 2018. A similar thing happened during the Pixel 2, and the modded APK with bottom search bar was out before its release thanks to many APK modders. XDA the sole power behind the new finding has mentioned that it will soon publish an update to the modded app with these new changes available as a toggle. The in-development parameters of the latest official APK are a giveaway to prove that this revamped launcher is indeed for the Google Pixel 3. Source
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ARKit app downloads said to hit 13M, dominated by games

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Apple officially launched its new ARKit framework as part of iOS 11, allowing developers to build applications for iPhone and iPad based around augmented reality. Now that iOS 11 has been available for just over 6 months, app analytics firm SensorTower has some data on the popularity of ARKit applications…

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9to5Mac

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Facebook said to postpone smart speaker reveal as data scandal continues

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As public outrage over Facebook’s data collection policies continues to swirl, the company has decided to delay the announcement of its upcoming smart speakers, according to a Bloomberg report. The devices were said to have been set for an unveiling at Facebook’s F8 developer conference in May, but as Bloomberg puts it, “now may be the wrong time” to ask people to trust the company with even more personal information by placing always-listening microphones in their homes.

Bloomberg reported details of the products last August. They’re said to include a video-focused device codenamed Aloha (and possibly called Portal) with a laptop-sized touchscreen, along with a standalone speaker that would sell for a lower price. Both reportedly use a…

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Huawei’s upcoming Mate flagship said to sport in-display fingerprint scanner

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Under the display fingerprint sensors are slowly becoming a thing and we are hearing reports that Samsung might include it in the upcoming Note9. This year we have already seen Vivo X20 Plus UD and X21 UD smartphones with the in-display sensor and it is just a start. Today we are hearing reports that Huawei might be going this route and it is said to sport an under-display fingerprint scanner. Huawei is said to be choosing the Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint solution which might make the new Mate 11 ( or Mate 20) flagship the first smartphone to ship with that particular sensor built-in. The Huawei Mate flagship s scheduled to launch in late Q3 or early Q4 (so September or October). Qualcomm, in order to build its ultrasonic sensor, is said to have partnered with Taiwan-based GIS and China’s O-film Tech, both specializing in offering touchscreen solutions. While it is three-time costlier than the traditional counterparts, but is also 0.44mm thick and works through “up to 800-micron cover glass”, compared to only 200-300 microns of glass thickness for ‘normal’ capacitive scanners. The sensor will also work when your fingers are wet or greasy. Huawei isn’t the only company looking towards under-display fingerprint sensors, others brands are also apparently decided to build …
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Samsung said to decide on in-display fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy Note9 soon

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In-display fingerprint technology though took sometime are finally making their way. Vivo was the first one to introduce and it looks like Samsung might be finally bringing their flagship Galaxy Note9 with an in-display fingerprint sensor and there are reports that say Samsung will take a call on the same by the end of this month.  Though there were conflicting reports about the company bringing an in-display fingerprint sensor, the latest report from the Korea Herald claims that Samsung is going to make a final decision on the in-display fingerprint sensor for the Galaxy Note9 soon. Furthermore, Samsung Display, the division which supplies panels for Samsung devices has said to have prepared three or four solutions to integrate a fingerprint sensor into the display. The report says that both the Samsung display and Samsung Electronics are really considering the inclusion of an in-display fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy Note9. However, the company isn’t decided and is expected to take the call by the end of this month. Some say that Samsung will introduce the in-display fingerprint sensor in order to differentiate its smartphones from the lot. While there are reports that Samsung will skip the technology for this year and push it to …
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Huawei’s U.S. plans hit major setback as Best Buy said to stop sales

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Huawei can’t catch a break in the States. Just at the company was set to announce a big carrier deal at CES, AT&T reportedly switch gears last minute. Now, a week before the company is set reveal its next big flagship at an event in Paris, Best Buy is reportedly planning to stop sales of the company’s products “over the next few weeks.”

That news comes courtesy of a report from Reuters, based on a “person with knowledge of the matter.” The Chinese smartphone maker was clearly banking on 2018 to be the year it finally expanded sales to the world’s third largest smartphone market. The AT&T deal was reportedly all but finalized ahead of the company’s big CES push.

The last minute nature of the news clearly left the company in a lurch, with consumer CEO Richard Yu going off-script to excoriate carriers and U.S. officials that have repeatedly raised concerns over the company’s perceived ties to the Chinese government.

Huawei offered a non-comment to TechCrunch in the wake of the report. “Huawei values the relationship it has with Best Buy and all our other retail partners,” the company writes in the statement. “As a policy, we do not discuss the details of our partner relationships.”

The statement goes on to offer the standard sort of defense of the company’s position.

Huawei currently sells its products through a range of leading consumer electronics retailers in the U.S.  We have a proven history of delivering products that meet the highest security, privacy and engineering standards in the industry and are certified by the Federal Communications Commission for sale in the U.S.  Our smartphones are widely acclaimed – both among critics and consumers – for their innovation in areas like battery life, processing power, build quality, and camera capabilities. Our products are sold by 46 of the top 50 global operators, and we have won the trust and confidence of individuals and organizations in 170 countries around the world.  We are committed to earning that same trust with U.S. consumers and making our products accessible in as many ways as possible.

A Best Buy spokesperson told TechCrunch, “We don’t comment on specific contracts with vendors, and we make decisions to change what we sell for a variety of reasons.” Noncommittal, sure, but it does appear to acknowledge a shift in the company’s relationship with the smartphone maker.

Until now, Best Buy has been a saving grace in the company’s U.S. plans. While it’s true that most smartphone purchases occur through carriers in the States, the chain is still the largest consumer electronics retailer in the U.S., marking another major setback for the company’s plans.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Deleting Facebook is easier said than done

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Over the past few days, Facebook has come under intense scrutiny due to its previous relationship with Cambridge Analytica, a data science company that secretly culled information from 50 million Facebook users. This has raised questions not only abo…
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I said the Galaxy S9 should’ve copied the iPhone X notch, and holy crap were Android fanboys triggered

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Galaxy S9 Vs iPhone X Display Notch

In an article published on Monday, I shared some renders made by a graphic designer that showed us what the new Galaxy S9 would look like if Samsung had copied Apple’s iPhone X display design. In my opinion, a notched display design like the iPhone X would make Samsung’s new flagship look even better than it already does.

The Galaxy S9 display could extend almost all the way to the bottom of the phone like it does on the iPhone X thanks to Apple’s nifty method of hiding the display controller, and the top corners would extend just as far. Then the ear speaker, front-facing camera, and sensors could reside in the centrally located notch at the top of the screen. This is a design that remains controversial — people either love it or hate it. Personally, I like the design a lot, and as I wrote, I think it would improve the look of Samsung’s Galaxy S9 by allowing Samsung to cover more of the phone’s front side with screen.

It was a rather simple little article that I thought was innocuous. But holy moly, Android fanboys were triggered.

Shortly after that article was published, I began receiving dozens of emails from whiny Android fanboys. OK wait, calm down. I’m not suggesting all Android fans are whiny, and I’m not suggesting that Apple fanboys are not whiny. In fact, Apple fanboys are often even more whiny. All I’m saying is that these particular Android fanboys were ugly-crying into my inbox. I stopped checking Twitter long ago, but I’m sure my mentions and DMs were just as colorful.

Now, I didn’t read all of the emails I received yesterday. I get somewhere between 300 and 500 emails on a normal day without fanboy rage, so I never have time to read all my emails. The ones I did read, however, can be split into two main groups.

The larger group shared the opinion that I am a fool because Apple’s notched iPhone X display design is ugly. Had Samsung used the same design on the Galaxy S9, they argued, it too would have been ugly. This is obviously a very valid opinion that is no more or less valid than my own. The notch is divisive, and it’ll continue to be controversial for the foreseeable future.

Some of the people who emailed me accused me of being a liar. Similar to far-right conservatives and far-left liberals, they’re so convinced that their opinion is the only one, they simply cannot comprehend any sane, intelligent person disagreeing. A few people even cited an earlier article I wrote, in which I basically called the iPhone X’s notch an abomination. It is absolutely true that I hated the look of Apple’s notched display design in photos before the phone was released. Sadly, these emailers must have missed all the articles like this one where I changed my mind and ate crow once I actually began using the iPhone X.

Wait, what? Opinions can change!?!

Of course, that’s neither here nor there. Android fanboys are entitled to their opinions just like everyone else, and if they hate the notch, then so be it. Of course, they had better get used to it since so many Android phone makers are copying the design. In fact, Apple’s iPhone X display design is being copied by so many Android phone makers that Google is actually building notch support into the next version of Android.

And that brings us to the second group of whiny emails I received. This group was far smaller than the first, but it was far angrier as well. According to this group, a Galaxy S9 with a notch wouldn’t be copying Apple at all. Instead, it’s actually Apple that’s the copycat.

Yes, we’ve all seen this song and dance plenty of times before.

These cute folks have managed to convinced themselves that all this hubbub over notched displays isn’t because of Apple and the iPhone X. Instead, all these companies out there embracing the concept of a notch are doing so because of another company. A true trailblazer and pioneer: Essential.

Hey, come on. Stop laughing. Let’s at least hear them out!

Long, long before Apple had the idea to release a smartphone with a notch cut out of the screen, Essential released the PH-1 with a notch at the top for the front-facing camera. Apple’s designers saw this, the story goes, and rushed to copy the design for the iPhone X. You see, Apple is a follower when it comes to design, not a leader. And all these other Android vendors out there that have released phones that look exactly like the iPhone X are actually copying Essential, not Apple. Get it?

Of course, we all know that this is absolutely ridiculous. Essential unveiled the PH-1 in mid-2017, long after Apple began developing the iPhone X. In fact, the iPhone X was so far along at that point that dummy models featuring the final iPhone X design —  notch and all — had already been leaking for months.

But the Essential PH-1 was released in August, and August comes before November, so Essential clearly did it first. The logic is unassailable.

Let’s take a quick look at the designs to refresh our memories.

Essential’s notch

Apple’s notch

Every other copycat Android vendor’s notches

They all look just like the Essential phone, right!?

Look, no one is arguing that Apple was the first smartphone maker on the planet to release a smartphone with a chunk sliced out of the screen. But “first” is often meaningless in this industry. Apple is a trend-setter, and the entire industry has been chasing Apple’s iPhone designs for a decade now.

Was Apple the first smartphone maker to release a phone with a big touchscreen and no physical keyboard? Nope, definitely not. But once Apple did it, every other big vendor copied the new design and companies like BlackBerry and Nokia that initially refused to were destroyed. Was the iPhone the first smartphone on the planet to feature a fingerprint sensor? Of course not, but Apple did it better than any company that came before it, and then the entire market rushed to follow Apple’s lead. Now, fingerprint authentication is on almost every smartphone out there. It’s not because Motorola put a fingerprint scanner on some crappy phone no one bought, it’s because Apple introduced Touch ID on the iPhone 5s.

In the end, of course, none of this really matters. Pick the phone that’s right for you and enjoy it. And as for smartphone designs, liking a display that is almost bezel-less aside from a notch at the top isn’t right or wrong, it’s a matter of preference. Personally, I think the Galaxy S9 would look better with almost no bezel at the bottom and a notch at the top. Many of the hundreds of thousands of people who read that article yesterday agree with me. Others do not. You know what — who cares either was? Time marches on.

You know what, though? People who refuse to embrace the notch are going to see their options severely limited for a while, until vendors find a good way to hide cameras, speakers, and sensors under display panels. Dozens of little Android companies have copied Apple’s notch, and now big companies like Huawei, Asus, and even LG are stealing the design. With Android P fully embracing notch support, haters are going to have a rough couple of years ahead of them.

Apple – BGR

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