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Mobile Phones

Google Buys HTC Pixel Team

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Google Buys HTC Pixel Team

Google and HTC announce a $1.1 billion "cooperation agreement"-- one where the search giant buys "certain HTC employees," many of whom with experience working on the Pixel smartphone line.

The search giant also gets a non-exclusive license for a good chunk HTC IP in order to support the Pixel smartphone family.

“Our unmatched smartphone value chain, including our IP portfolio, and world-class talent and system integration capabilities, have supported Google in bolstering the Android market,” HTC CEO Cher Wang says. “This agreement is a brilliant next step in our longstanding partnership, enabling Google to supercharge their hardware business while ensuring continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and VIVE virtual reality businesses."

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Huawei Takes on Apple With "Real AI Phone" Promise

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Huawei Takes on Apple With

Were you impressed by the iPhone X's Neural Engine-powered face-recognition? Huawei insists it isn't, as it posts a video on its Facebook page stating "facial recognition isn't for everyone."

Following that, the video also claims it will unveil a "real AI phone" on 16 October 2017-- meaning its latest flagship, the Mate 10.

Marketing bombast aside, Huawei might have something actually interesting to show off with the Mate 10. After all, it will be the first phone powered with the Chinese company's latest system-on-a-chip, the Kirin 970. Presented at IFA 2017, the Kirin 970 carries a "Neural Processing Unit" (NPU), a set of processing cores dedicated to AI tasks.

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Purism Takes on Secure Smartphones

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Purism Takes on Secure Smartphones

"Freedom-respecting computer manufacturer" Purism announces what it calls the "world's first encrypted, open platform smartphone"-- the Librem 5, a phone able to make encrypted calls hiding the user's number.

The device is also able to send encrypted texts and emails, as well as set up a VPN for web browsing. It is compatible with 2G, 3G and 4G connections with any GSM, UMTS or LTE network, and even carry hardware kill switches for the microphone, camera, wifi/Bluetooth and baseband.

The OS of choice is PureOS, the Purism-developed Debian GNU/Linux derivative. It should also be able to run most GNU+Linux distributions. And in case the user wants even more control, Librem will release the device source code, making it open for editing.

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The "Bothie" Taking Nokia 8

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The

HMD Global hopes to introduce a new word with the launch of the Nokia 8, its first Nokia-branded Android flagship-- "bothie," or a photo taken by both front and rear cameras, simultaneously.

Attempts at terminology aside, the Nokia 8 is the Finnish company's take on the likes of Apple and Samsung. It is a 5.3-inch device with an aluminium unibody, inside of which are a 2560 x 1440 resolution LCD display, Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (expandable to 256GB via microSD card) and a 3090mAh battery. The software of choice is stock Android 7 (aka Nougat).

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LG Presents Q8 Smartphone

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LG Presents Q8 Smartphone

LG announces a smaller, splash-proof version of the flagship V20 smartphone-- the Q8, a 5.2-inch handset with all features from its bigger sibling, including the always-on second screen on top of the main display.

The Q8 carries all the high-end internals from the V20, such as the Qualcomm 820 processor, 32-bit DAC, 2560 x 1440 resolution IPS display, secondary 160 x 1040 always-on display and dual-camera setup. Further internals include 4GB RAM, 32GB storage (expandable to 2TB via microSD card) and 3000mAh battery.

Connectivity comes through wifi, Bluetooth 4.2 BLE, NFC and USB-C. A fingerprint sensor is included, while the body is IP67-rated for resistance against splashes, drops and other such hazards.

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Alcatel Keeps Windows Phone Alive With Idol 4 Pro

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Alcatel Keeps Windows Phone Alive With Idol 4 Pro

Windows Phone might soon be over but Europe is soon getting a new smartphone running on the Microsoft OS-- the Alcatel Idol 4 Pro, a handset first launched in the US back in 2016.

Technically a rebranded version of the Android-based Idol 4S, the Idol 4 Pro features a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The display is a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution number and the cameras are 21MP back/8MP front, while the body is in metal and glass (as opposed to the typical Alcatel plastic).

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Camera Maker RED Claims "Holographic" Phone

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Camera Maker RED Claims

The company known as RED might be famous for high-end digital cinema cameras, but it is now also taking on smartphones with the announcement of the Hydrogen One, the "first holographic media machine."

Details on the Hydrogen One are scant. A bombastic press release claims the device features a 5.7-inch screen able to display regular 2D media, stereo 3D media and "4-view content," something RED fails to actually define. The phone should also be able to handle augmented, virtual and mixed reality, all without need for glasses.

Otherwise, the only details officially known about the smartphone are its featuring a USB-C port, microSD card slot and headphone jack. However, the curious can glean more information from the RED patent for “Modular Digital Camera and Cellular Phone,” which describes a strange device featuring rectangular modules (such as a spare battery, speaker, projector and cameras) users can slot on the back or front.

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Qualcomm Presents Quick Charge 4+

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Qualcomm Presents Quick Charge 4+

Qualcomm is quick to present an update on the Quick Charge 4 standard-- Quick Charge 4+, a set of enhancements vendors can add to Quick Charge 4-compliant devices.

The enhancements found in Quick Charge 4+ are Dual Charge (or at least a "more powerful" version of the feature found in the earlier version), Intelligent Thermal Balancing (steers current to the coolest dual charging pathways in order to keep temperatures down) and "advanced safety features" (monitor phone and connector temperature against overheating and short-circuit damage).

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The Squeezable HTC U11

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The Squeezable HTC U11

The HTC U11 looks like any regular smartphone, but it does have one surprise up its sleeve-- users can "squeeze" the 5.5-inch handset to control apps, camera and more.

Dubbed "Edge Sense," the system consists of pressure sensors below the volume buttons on the sides. A calibration tool allows users to set a short and long squeeze, and the two actions can be configured in different ways. For instance, one can squeeze the phone to summon the camera, followed by either a short squeeze to take a selfie or a long squeeze to switch to the rear-facing camera.

HTC adds the phone ignores "false squeezes" caused by pockets and the like, while an eventual software update will allow users to configure any app to take advantage of app functionality. The company also suggests one use a squeeze to summon one of the two included voice-controlled assistants, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

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