Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro kernel source code for the Android 8.1 Oreo release is now available

Xiaomi has a very unique relationship with the developer community at large, especially here at XDA. While often their devices are cheap and unlockable, they have failed to abide by the GPLv2 on multiple occasions in the past. As a result, it doesn't matter if the devices are unlockable since the developers can't do anything with them. Kernel sources are needed to develop custom ROMs and kernels for an Android phone. Thankfully Xiaomi pledged to release kernel sources within 3 months after launch. It's still not abiding by the GPL, but it's certainly a huge step forward. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro on Android 8.1 Oreo is the next of the company's devices to have kernel sources released on GitHub.

Interestingly, Xiaomi already released kernel source code for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro – but for Android Nougat. Releasing them a month later for Android Oreo signifies that, at least for now, the company is committed to change. While there is definitely no shortage of ROMs for the device on our forums, developers will no longer have to rely on shims to make sure everything works.

Android 8.1 Oreo for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 launched in March and with it came Project Treble support. This makes it one of the very few devices that have been updated after launch to support it, despite no requirement to do so. Xiaomi supporting its devices is great to see and seeing them stick to their 3-month window is even better. Releasing kernel sources in this instance isn't even necessary for development to take place as you can easily flash a Generic System Image (GSI) on any Project Treble enabled device and use LineageOS, Resurrection Remix or even AOSP if you wish. Still, being able to develop for a specific device is, at the moment anyway, far superior to using a GSI simply for compatibility reasons.


Source: GitHub



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Xiaomi Mi 8 and MIUI 10 will be announced on May 31st

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun took to Weibo the other day to confirm that the company's forthcoming Shenzhen event on May 31st would be used to announce multiple product launches. A device we may see is the Xiaomi Mi 7, but that's unconfirmed. What we will for sure be seeing is the Xiaomi Mi 8 alongside MIUI 10. MIUI is the company's custom Android skin and is packed full of features. MIUI 10 is the latest iteration, and as such is expected to have new features and improvements over its predecessor.

Xiaomi Mi 8 MIUI 10

The text at the bottom roughly translates to say that MIUI 10 is "faster than lightning".

We don't officially know anything about MIUI 10, but some have speculated that the latest beta updates to MIUI 9 will actually be MIUI 10. They show a drastically different UI and full-screen navigation gestures. Right now, these changes are only present on the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2.

While Xiaomi has a history of providing updates for their older phones, MIUI 10 will only run on devices higher than Android 5.0 Lollipop. This bids a final farewell to older devices that the company still updated. Owners of those older devices won't like it, but it may be that unnecessary money and time was being put into keeping those devices up to date. With Xiaomi also opening a dedicated smartphone camera development department, it may be that they are taking software seriously in order to compete with the best. As a result, it doesn't make sense to focus on time on older devices.

Xiaomi Mi 8 MIUI 10

Xiaomi Mi 8 Promotional Poster

What's interesting is that the Xiaomi Mi 8 appears to be what the Mi 7 would have been. The company mentions that they are launching the Mi 8 for their 8 year anniversary, so it could be that they skipped a number in order to keep it in line with the age of the company. If that is the case, then we know quite a lot about the device already. If it is indeed the Mi 7, it will have a notched AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 845 (as confirmed), and a possible 3,500mAh battery. It will also possibly be the first Xiaomi device to launch with Always on Display, which very few phones have.



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Honor 9 April security update rolling out, brings Face Unlock feature

More and more budget devices are being pumped out by OEMs these days. Honor is one of these OEMs, a company which tends to support older or weaker devices (though sometimes with reluctance). An update is rolling out to the Honor 9 now that updates the phone to EMUI 8.0.0.364. The update includes the April security patch and face unlocking has also been added at the same time. Honor is currently rolling out the update in a staged rollout globally, meaning that users will not all get the update at the same time. This is done in case there are any problems so Honor can pull the plug before it affects all devices.

The April security patch is a particularly important as one of the worst vulnerabilities would allow an attacker to create a file that exploits the media framework. This file would allow for code execution, where an attacker could theoretically wreak havoc on your phone. This is because of the privileged status of the media framework, as anything running through it would usually inherit its permissions, too. The fixes for the other exploits are important too, but that's certainly the most important of them all. Security patches are important for protecting your device and they are paramount to security.

While unconfirmed to work on the Honor 9, XDA Senior Member ante0 created a port of the Honor face unlock feature that could theoretically be installed on other EMUI 8 devices. The reason it's desired is simple: Honor's implementation is much faster and safer than Android's built-in version. If it works similarly on the Honor 9 as on other devices, then users certainly won't be disappointed. If you're looking forward to trying it early, you can try to use a VPN and connect to any of the countries where users have successfully received the update, which are mentioned in the thread linked below.


XDA Thread: Honor 9 B364 Rolling Out Now



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MediaTek Unveils the Helio P22: a Mid-Range SoC with Support for AI Frameworks

While the smartphone market is getting flooded with Qualcomm SoCs, MediaTek continues its dominion over low and mid-range SoCs, particularly in Asian countries. To keep up with the competition, MediaTek has unveiled the new Helio P22, bringing advanced 12nm process, AI applications, dual-camera support and better connectivity for mid-tier devices and below.

MediaTek Helio P22 Key Specifications

Processor

CPU Type ARM Cortex-A53 Cores Octa (8)
Max Frequency 2.0 GHz CPU Bit 64-bit

Memory and Storage

Memory Type LPDDR3; LPDDR4x Memory Frequency 933MHz; 1600MHz
Max Memory Size 4GB; 6GB Storage Type eMMC 5.1

Connectivity

Cellular Technologies Carrier Aggregation, CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev. A (SRLTE), FDD / TDD LTE, HSPA+ Specific Functions TAS 2.0, HUPE, IMS (VoLTE\ViLTE\WoWi-Fi), eMBMS, Dual 4G VoLTE (DSDS), Band 71
LTE Category Cat-4, Cat-7 DL / Cat-13 UL GNSS Beidou, Galileo, Glonass, GPS
WiFi a/b/g/n/ac Bluetooth 5.0

Graphics

GPU Type IMG PowerVR GE8320 Max GPU Frequency 650MHz
Max Display Resolution 1600 x 720 Video Encoding H.264, 1080p @30fps

Camera

Camera ISP 21MP, 13+8MP Capture FPS 21MP @ 30fps; 13MP+8MP @ 30fps
Camera Features AI Face ID (Face Unlock), AI Smart Photo Album, Single Cam/Dual-Cam Bokeh, EIS, RSC Engine, MEMA 3DNR, Multi-Frame Noise Reduction

The MediaTek Helio P22 is built with TSMC 12nm FinFET technology, allowing for an optimal mix of power saving and performance for the mid-range. The SoC features a 64bit Octa-core setup of ARM Cortex-A53's with a maximum CPU frequency of 2GHz. For graphics, the IMG PowerVR GE8320 with a maximum frequency of 650MHz allows support for displays up to 1600 x 720 resolution (20:9 HD+), as well as video encoding of up to 1080p @ 30fps. The Helio P22 supports LPDDR3 and LPDDR4x for memory with RAM up to 4GB and 6GB respectively. Although you do get restricted to eMMC 5.1 support for storage.

The Helio P22 also brings Edge AI enhancements powered by MediaTek NeuroPilot technology. This allows the Helio P22 to support common AI frameworks such as TensorFlow, TF Lite, Caffe, and Caffe2, as well as allows it to auto-select the best available AI resource for developer efficiency. AI accelerated camera features on the SoC include Face ID, smart photo albums, dual-camera depth of field, and more.

For the camera, the SoC supports either a single 21MP ISP or a dual camera setup of 13+8MP. Either setup can capture at 30fps. There is support for single camera and dual camera bokeh, EIS, multi-frame noise reduction and more.

One of the highlights of the SoC is the support for LTE on both SIM cards on phones with dual SIM support. You also get 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 as well as GNSS support for Beidou, Galileo, Glonass, and GPS.

Combined, the Helio P22 packs in key technologies that have been available on higher end SoCs and brings them to the mid and low ends. While not every feature will be available on every smartphone that comes with the Helio P22, support for all of these features allows OEMs much more flexibility and the consumers much more choice in the final product.

The Helio P22 is in volume production now and is expected to be available in consumer devices by the end of Q2 2018. You can expect to see Helio P22-powered devices in markets like India and China and others in the Southeast Asian region.


Source: PR Newswire



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After months of inconsistency, Trusted Places is disappearing from Smart Lock

Smart Lock is Google's system for providing you with ways to disable and enable your lock screen dynamically under certain conditions. It was added in Android 5.0 Lollipop. You can have it detect when your phone is on your person or when it's connected to a certain Bluetooth device and automatically disable the lock screen. You could also use biometrics such as facial recognition or voice recognition, but the former has been far outclassed by device OEMs like OnePlus and Honor. One of the most popular Smart Lock methods is Trusted Places, which disables the lock screen when you're at locations that you've deemed safe. It was a cool idea, but it has been unreliable for a few months.

Users in the past few months have been complaining about the unreliability. We found many threads in our forums about the issue. Lately, users have noticed Trusted Places being completely removed from Smart Lock. We can confirm that the feature has disappeared on a couple of our own devices, including a stock Android Oreo Google Pixel 2XL and the Sony Xperia XZ2. Users often complained about its inconsistency or the fact it just wouldn't work at all. Google may have decided it's easier to simply remove the feature rather than try to improve it and fix it.

trusted places

Screenshot showing that Trusted Places has disappeared entirely on our Google Pixel 2 XL running on Android Oreo.

If a replacement will come in the future nobody knows, as Google could eventually try replacing it with something else. It was a useful feature to some, especially when it worked. When the feature disappears on your device, you'll have to resort to using one of the other smart unlock options instead of Trusted Places, if you still want to make use of it. A common suggestion is setting up a Fitbit, smartwatch, or another Bluetooth device as your trusted device.

Have you noticed the disappearance on your device?



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Google codename “Kidd” is a high-performance Kaby Lake G Chromebook

Kaby Lake G is the codename for Intel's new series of high-performance processors with integrated AMD Radeon graphics. They made their debut at CES earlier this year. A new board is in development on the Chromium Git with Intel and AMD's taboo love affair.

The board, codename "Kidd," is a Chromebook (rather than a tablet or Chromebox). Aside from its form-factor and chip, there's not much else to glean from the initial commit.

Since Intel announced Kaby Lake G in late 2017, only a handful of devices with the chips on board have been released. In the few benchmarking results available, the chips especially deliver in the graphics department. Notebookcheck reported that the Radeon-powered XPS 15 ran cooler, quieter, and was thinner than its NVIDIA-powered counterpart while being nearly as fast.

Historically, the case for high specs on a Chromebook didn't exist for the majority of consumers. Now, with Linux apps released for Chrome OS, people can install full desktop Steam onto their devices (Pixelbooks only for now). GPU acceleration has not been ironed out by the Chrome developers yet, so the experience of playing games is pretty poor. The good news is that GPU acceleration is on the roadmap.

When GPU acceleration comes to Linux apps, gaming natively on Chrome OS will finally be a reality – and with that comes a higher appetite for quality graphics. It's no wonder that Google is planning for the future with Raven Ridge and Kaby Lake G Chromebooks, especially as AMD developers are contributing directly to the Chromium tree.

When we see a new board added to the Chromium Git, it's usually a case of months – even a year plus – before the device comes to market, but in the meantime, we will follow Kidd's development very closely.



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HTC U12+ is official: Snapdragon 845, Edge Sense 2.0, and quad cameras

After months of leaks and rumors, HTC has officially launched its new flagship smartphone: the HTC U12+. The phone is the successor of the U11+, which was a mid-cycle refresh of the U11. Most of the specifications of the device were already known thanks to a detailed specifications leak last week.

In some ways, the HTC U12+ is a standard 2018 flagship smartphone, as it features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip, a 6-inch display, and dual rear cameras. However, it does have many differentiating factors, including the lack of a display notch, the inclusion of dual front cameras, better audio, and Edge Sense 2.0.

Let's take a look at the specifications of the U12+:

HTC U12+ – Specifications at a glance

HTC U12+

HTC U12+ Specifications
Dimensions and weight 156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7-9.7 mm, 188g
Software HTC Sense on top of Android 8.0 Oreo
CPU Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4x 2.8GHz Kryo 385 Gold + 4x 1.8GHz Kryo 385 Silver cores)
GPU Adreno 630
RAM and storage 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage / 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage; hybrid microSD card slot
Battery 3500mAh
Display 6-inch Quad HD+ (2880×1440) Super LCD6 with an 18:9 aspect ratio
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB Type-C port (USB 3.1), dual nano SIM (nano SIM/microSD)
Bands GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
WCDMA: 850/900/1700/1900/2100MHz
FDD-LTE: Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/28/32/66
TDD-LTE: Bands 38/39/40/41
Rear camera 12MP "UltraPixel 4" camera with 1.4μm pixels, f/1.75 aperture, Dual Pixel autofocus, 2x optical zoom, OIS, EIS
16MP telephoto camera with 1.0μm pixels, f/2.6 aperture
Front-facing camera Dual 8MP front-facing cameras with 1.12μm pixels, f/2.0 aperture, 84-degree wide-angle

The HTC U12+'s design is an iteration of the U11+, which was the first HTC flagship to feature an 18:9 display. The U12+ is more compact and thinner than the U11+. The design does have some major differences. The cameras are placed horizontally in the center of the back, with the dual LED flash being placed below the camera module. The fingerprint sensor is found below the LED flash, giving the phone a look similar to the LG V30.

HTC uses a cold polished 3D glass technique for the U12+, which is said to help reduce bezel thickness. The most distinct feature on the front is the lack of a display notch. Unlike many device makers, HTC has chosen not to use a display notch to increase display size. The stated reason for this is because the company's BoomSound speakers take up room on the front of the device, which means that a notched display was impossible to achieve.

Interestingly, the U12+ has pressure sensitive volume and power buttons instead of using physical buttons. The buttons have non-configurable haptic feedback. As the buttons are no longer physical buttons, they cannot be depressed.

Display

The HTC U12+ has a 6-inch Quad HD+ (2880×1440) Super LCD6 screen with 537 PPI and an 18:9 aspect ratio. For the most part, the display's specifications are similar to the U11+, although the brightness rating is currently unknown. The panel supports the sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamuts, and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It also supports HDR10 content.

Performance

The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip. The SoC has four Kryo 385 Gold clocked at 2.8GHz (semi-custom cores based on Cortex-A75) and four Kryo 385 Silver cores clocked at 1.8GHz, paired with the Adreno 630 GPU.

It comes in two variants: 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, and 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, along with a hybrid microSD card slot for expandable storage.

Audio

HTC aims to make audio a differentiating factor. The U12+ has stereo BoomSound speakers which are said to be 50% louder than the company's last flagship phone. The speakers act as a woofer and a tweeter, and have their own dedicated amplifier. The phone comes with aptX HD and has Hi-Res audio recording and certification.

The U12+ does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack. HTC instead bundles USonic USB Type-C earphones that have active noise cancellation.

Cameras

HTC was one of the companies to include dual cameras in phones, starting with the One M8 in 2014. However, the company dropped the secondary camera because of its poor execution. Last year, it stated that its next phone would definitely have a dual camera setup, and the U12+ delivers.

The primary camera of the U12+ has a 12MP "UltraPixel 4" sensor with 1.4μm pixels, f/1.75 aperture, and optical image stabilization (OIS). It's augmented by a 16MP telephoto camera that has 1.0μm pixels and an f/2.6 aperture. The dual camera setup enables 2x optical zoom and up to 10x digital zoom. The cameras have HTC's HDR Boost 2 for better HDR photography. Bokeh mode (HTC's implementation of portrait mode) is also included.

The U12+ can record video at 4K resolution up to 60FPS, thanks to the Snapdragon 845's capabilities. Slow motion is supported at 1080p up to 240FPS, and 8MP photos can be taken during video recording. Video recording also uses HTC's Sonic Zoom feature, which uses four inbuilt microphones to zoom in an audio source during video recording for better audio capture.

The U12+ has quad cameras in total. In addition to having dual rear cameras, the phone also has dual front cameras. It has two 8MP sensors with f/2.0 aperture and 1.12μm pixels. Why go for dual front-facing cameras? HTC's reason to go for such a setup was to provide an 84-degree wide-angle view, and to implement a real-time bokeh effect.

Edge Sense 2.0

The HTC U11 was the first HTC phone to feature a squeezable frame, called Edge Sense. The functionality was improved with the launch of the U11+. Google has also included a less capable implementation of the feature (Active Edge) with the Google Pixel 2.

The U12+ features Edge Sense 2.0. It has a new Edge launcher, new gestures, and is integrated with Google Assistant. The feature now knows which hand the user is using for better one-handed use.

Connectivity

The U12+ is powered by a 3500mAh battery. It supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4, but HTC will bundle a Quick Charge 3 adapter in the box. The phone has IP68 certification for dust and water resistance.

It has the usual connectivity options including a hybrid dual nano SIM/microSD card slot, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 5.0.

The phone is powered by HTC Sense on top of Android 8.0 Oreo.

HTC U12+ – Pricing and availability

The HTC U12+ will be available in Translucent Blue, Ceramic Black, and Flame Red colors. The Translucent Blue color is similar to the U11+'s Translucent Black color option, and it has a translucent glass back.

The phone will be available starting June. In Europe, it will be priced at €799 for the 6GB RAM/64GB storage variant, and for £699 in the UK. In the US, the 64GB storage variant will be available for $799, while the 128GB storage variant will cost $849.

Let us know your opinions about the U12+ in the comments below.



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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

MIUI 9.5 Global Stable ROM officially available for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

MIUI 9 has been a highly anticipated software update for MIUI devices. We were previously told which smartphones Xiaomi makes that would be receiving this update and since then we've watched as they have rolled it out to more and more devices. The Redmi Note 5 Pro and its other variants have received a lot of attention since launch, and a beta version of the MIUI Global ROM leaked back in March of this year. There's no need to flash beta version of the OEM ROM anymore as Xiaomi has officially released the MIUI 9.5 Global ROM for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro.

There's been a lot of confusion surrounding the popular Redmi Note 5 series from Xiaomi, and rightly so. The company previously released the MIUI 9.5 Global Stable ROM for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 in India (which is actually a rebranded version of the Redmi 5 Plus in China). The Redmi Note 5 Plus in China shouldn't be confused with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro in India since it actually has upgraded hardware specs. It doesn't end there either. There is a slightly different variant of the Indian Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro which is sold in China as the Redmi Note 5.

This is why you may have had this post confused with a previous article we wrote about the Redmi Note 5 in India receiving a stable Global ROM of MIUI 9.5 update. We're looking at a similar software update here, though, with many bug fixes, quick search options, and much more. The team has yet to publish an official changelog in Xiaomi's Mi forums and the thread has actually been taken down (as of writing this). However, you can find the official download page linked below, or you can grab the actual ROM files directly with the Recovery ROM right here and the Fastboot ROM right here.

Download MIUI 9.5 Global Stable ROM (Android 8.1 Oreo) for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro



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Qualcomm is able to release the Snapdragon 845 source code in 6 weeks

Qualcomm's latest high-end system-on-chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, was announced at the Snapdragon Tech Summit back in December. The chipset offers 4 Kryo 385 (A75 "performance") and 4 Kryo 385 (A55 "efficiency") CPU cores, the latest Adreno 630 GPU, the Spectra 280 ISP, the Hexagon 685 DSP, and the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem. There's also a new Secure Processing Unit (SPU) and a dedicated Hi-Fi DAC that supports 32-bit audio called the AQT1000. The Snapdragon 845 SoC is a powerhouse in benchmarks and it is already available in devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, and the OnePlus 6. Developers on our forums have been itching to get their hands on a device with Qualcomm's latest and greatest, but there's just one thing that has made some developers worry about the future of development on the platform: The lack of publicly available source code for the kernel, HALs, framework branches, and more on the CodeAurora Forums.


Qualcomm and the CodeAurora Forums

If you've ever wondered why developers on our forums favor working on devices with Qualcomm chipsets over devices with chipsets from HiSilicon, Samsung, MediaTek, and others, the reason is that of Qualcomm's friendliness with the custom development community. The Android that custom ROM developers build from is based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Google releases a public part of AOSP but they also develop parts of Android in private (which is why if you build a ROM from AOSP today, you won't get any of the fancy new features in Android P.) For custom ROM developers, the only choice they have to merge Android's latest platform features is to wait for Google to release the source code with the final release. Chipset vendors, however, have an agreement with Google to get early access to the next version of Android—they fork from the private AOSP repositories, modify their chipset code to be compatible, and then distribute this code to OEMs to build and distribute ROMs for their devices.

Project Treble

General update process for each release of Android. Source: Google.

To abide by the GNU General Public License (GPL) under which the Linux kernel is licensed, the chipset vendors and OEMs are required to release the kernel source code, but that's all they're required to release. The kernel source code for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, and the OnePlus 6 are already available, for instance. That's enough for developers to get started on porting AOSP-based custom ROMs on these devices, but just having access to the kernel source code doesn't mean it'll be easy to port LineageOS 15.1 to these devices (though that's changing thanks to Project Treble). All of the chipset specific code for new chipset features is usually unavailable in these kernel source code releases, which is expected since the code would reveal how proprietary chipset features work. Developers have access to this code in the form of precompiled binaries (called a Binary Large Object or BLOB), but it's nearly impossible to combine these BLOBs with their work on an AOSP ROM since there's no documentation on how that would work.

Fortunately for developers, that's where Qualcomm's CodeAurora Forums (CAF) comes in handy. On CAF, Qualcomm releases the public parts of their chipset specific code in a way that makes it really easy for ROM developers to build for the platform without having to know how the new chipset features work. Developers just need to fork the public parts of the new platform repositories (such as hardware/qcom/display and vendor/qcom-opensource/bluetooth) and combine it with the precompiled binaries and it'll basically just work for the most part. Qualcomm has released their chipset specific code on CAF for previous SoCs such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820/821 and Snapdragon 835, and usually within days of the chipset being announced! However, it has been 5 months since the Snapdragon 845 was announced, and we have yet to see the company's usual source code drops under the sdm845 branch.

CAF Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

Searching CAF for source code relating to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC

The delayed release of sdm845 sources in CAF has led some developers to worry that Qualcomm would be abandoning the forum, in effect becoming like MediaTek by only sharing sources with their partners and not the community. The developers we spoke to are concerned that this would be detrimental to custom ROM development on devices from companies like Xiaomi, as CAF sources are often necessary to build stable ROMs for Xiaomi's Snapdragon devices. We reached out to Qualcomm to find out what's going on, and we finally have some good news to share: CAF isn't being abandoned, it's just that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 code drop won't happen until Qualcomm announces their new mobile platforms. The reason? Because of leaks.


CodeAurora Forum and Qualcomm Chip Leaks

When Qualcomm engineers are working on new platform features for their chipsets, it's rare for them to only develop these features with one chipset in mind. It's possible for unreleased chipsets to use the same software found in already announced chipsets like the Snapdragon 845. While companies often use code names to prevent leaks, even that doesn't totally prevent leaks from happening. For example, details of the unreleased Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 were found in CAF by Roland Quandt from WinFuture. We later found out from CAF that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 was being re-branded to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710. Qualcomm hasn't confirmed the existence of the Snapdragon 670/Snapdragon 710, but thanks to references in CAF we already know a lot about the upcoming chipset.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 Qualcomm Snapdragon 710

Thus, to prevent leaks like this from occurring, Qualcomm chose to delay the release of source code for the Snapdragon 845. We're told that the company won't be releasing the source code for the chipset until after the new mobile platforms are announced. After about 6 weeks from now, the company will be able to release the sdm845 sources on CAF. A Qualcomm representative apologized for the delay in source code release, stating that the company is reviewing their chipset naming conventions in code so they can release code for already announced chipsets while still avoiding leaks.



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Google Play Music uploaded music and saved playlists will migrate to YouTube Music

Google Play Music is in the process of being replaced by YouTube Music and YouTube Music Premium. It's all a bit messy and complicated, but that's what we've come to expect from Google. The situation has led to a lot of confusion among current Google Play Music subscribers.

Google says nothing will happen to Play Music right now and current subscribers will get YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red). However, that didn't answer all the questions. One of the most common questions was about uploaded music. A lot of people have a huge library of uploaded music on Play Music. It's still one of the best features of the service. What will happen to it with the transition? The head of Music at YouTube has the answer.

That's very good news for Play Music users, even those who aren't paying subscribers. A lot of people use Google Play Music as a storage locker for their music collection. It's a great way to access your music from the cloud on a variety of devices. We're still not sure if YouTube Music will have a similar uploading feature, but it's nice to know our collections will be migrated to the new service.



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First OnePlus 6 update rolling out with notch hiding and slow motion video support

The OnePlus 6 was officially unveiled last week and made some bold promises. Is it truly the fastest phone available now? Our testing seems to suggest that in some ways it may very well be. "The speed you need" is the company's slogan for the device, and so far, things are looking good. The OnePlus 6 is available to order online as of today and already there's a software update bringing support for hiding the notch and support for slow-motion video recording. There are a few other features as well.

As you can see from the official changelog above, the Android security patch has also been updated to May. The OnePlus switch application also comes preloaded, which can make switching to a OnePlus device super easy. You can transfer contacts, messages, call logs, photos, videos, audio, and applications through the OnePlus Switch. It's useful for those who have just received their brand new OnePlus 6 and want to set it up as quick as possible. As for how the notch is hidden, it works similarly to the Nacho Notch application which was made by XDA Forum Moderator Zacharee1. OnePlus promised there would be a way to hide the notch and now you can.

After that, there's a number of camera improvements which are pretty important. One is support for slow-motion video recording, which will allow for 480FPS at 720p and 240FPS at 1080p. Another cool feature is support for quick capture in portrait mode. For those unfamiliar, quick capture allows you to double tap the power button and your phone will launch the camera and take a photo. Now you can do that in portrait mode too, which will allow you to take bokeh style shots quickly.

Finally, the gallery application has been updated too. It allows more options for recently deleted files, though we're not quite sure what exactly that means yet. If you want to get the update and don't have it yet then you'll likely have to wait, as the update is going out as a staged roll out now.


Source: OnePlus Forums
Via: GSMArena



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Unofficial LineageOS 15.1 for Android Go devices is now available

Android Go is Google's optimized version of Android Oreo for low-RAM devices. It can run on devices with as little as 512MB of RAM and is aimed primarily for use in devices launching in developing nations. It means that devices can stay affordable while still being up to date and being able to run modern applications. It's helped largely by applications made to run in these conditions, such as the Go series of applications made by Google themselves. Android Go's build optimizations greatly improve the performance on lower-end hardware. But if the software experience is lacking, then consider checking out XDA Recognised Developer phhusson's unofficial build of LineageOS 15.1 for Android Go devices.

Android Go devices are based on Android 8.1 Oreo, which means that a Go device also supports Project Treble. As a result, that means you can install a Generic System Image (GSIs) on these devices so long as that build is compatible. Since Go devices are 32-bit ARM devices and have so little internal storage, none of the current GSIs will work on Go devices. That's why phhusson took the LineageOS 15.1 source code, added the Go build optimizations, and packed the ROM with Go Gapps, and built it for 32-bit ARM devices. So now you'll have the benefits of all the features that LineageOS brings but also a RAM-friendly Android 8.1 Oreo ROM for your Go device.

If you're unsure of what features you'll be able to make use of, there's a lot present in LineageOS 15.1. It's expected that some features may be broken in lower RAM conditions, but as a proof of concept, it's absolutely an amazing feat to pull off. If you want to install this ROM, simply follow the instructions here to learn how to flash a GSI on Project Treble enabled devices and make sure you download the Android Go variant of LineageOS 15.1 in the thread linked below.

Download unofficial LineageOS 15.1 for Android Go Devices



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The Alcatel 3V is a budget 18:9 FHD+ phone with Android Oreo that’s coming to the U.S. for $149

We've been talking about the new 3 and 5 series of smartphones from Alcatel for half a year so far as the company continues to stagger the release of their new devices. We first learned about these new products back in November of last year when we were given a look at some press renders of 6 new Alcatel devices. For a while, we only had those images to go on, but a few months later the company officially announced them. Today we're getting to learn more about Alcatel's new budget smartphone, the 3V, and its $150 price tag.

Alcatel 3V

It looks like Alcatel is getting close to releasing the 3V as we have learned the device will be made available on Amazon next week and then at Best Buy and Walmart in the coming weeks. The new press release highlights some of the features of the Alcatel 3V but they didn't go into as much detail as they did a couple of months ago in February. So, the Alcatel 3V comes equipped with a 6″ FHD+ 2.5D display with slim side bezels to compete with today's trends. Inside it will have the MediaTek MT8735A SoC along with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of expandable storage.

The back of the device will house the 12MP main shooter paired with a 2MP secondary depth camera. Right under these sensors you'll find the fingerprint scanner but we're also told the Alcatel 3V comes with Face Key, which can unlock the device using your face in less than half a second. There's a 5MP selfie camera with many software features including Social Square, Photo Booth, Instant Collage, and more. All of this will be powered by a 3,000mAh capacity battery with Android Oreo running the show and the affordable price tag of less than $150.


Source: PR Newswire



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On-device machine learning coming to Chrome OS

Machine Learning is one of those hotwords that keeps gaining traction inside Google. It has seeped into every branch of its business from the Google Assistant to Gmail. New code indicates that Google is now working to support machine learning on Chrome OS.

The implementation looks similar in concept to TensorFlow Lite for Android, where clients only perform inference from existing machine learning models rather than training and development of models. The current documentation is light so we don't know what the full impact on user-experience (if any) will be once development is finished. Here's what the readme for the Chrome OS machine learning service has to say:

"The machine learing [sic] service provides a common runtime for evaluating machine learning models on device. The service wraps the TensorFlow runtime which has been optimized to support the set of built-in machine learning models with [sic] are installed on rootfs."

While functionality is still in development, we can see the Chrome developers have already scoped out how it will be used from a couple of commits. The machine learning service will allow applications to make use of machine learning models that are pre-loaded onto the device. So far two models have been identified, TAB_DISCARDER and POWER_MANAGER, suggesting that in practice machine learning will not introduce funky new features—at least just yet—but will enable smarter system resource management.

While the models identified so far don't seem noteworthy, it will be interesting to see how they will impact the already-stellar battery life on the Chrome OS platform. These models could also pave the way for flashier use-cases down the line.

On-device inference is available on Android already with TensorFlow Lite, so the addition of this service raises a few unanswered questions: Will the Android container on Chrome OS make use of the new machine learning runtime instead? Will an API be exposed for third-party developers to make use of it? Will the service be limited to system resource management?

It's early days yet, but model inference coming to Chrome is another step towards feature-breadth and maturity that the OS isn't commonly known for. More on this feature as it develops.



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Android Oreo update for the LG V30/V30+ accidentally allows unsupported models to unlock the bootloader

The community had mixed feelings about the LG V30 as many were hoping the company would stick with the secondary screen the series had become known for. Others were also upset that LG went with a design style that makes the device look so similar to others on the market. That being said, the LG V30 is regarded by some in the community to be the best smartphone of 2017 with its only drawback being LG's bootloader unlock process. However, XDA Member TxanMoe stumbled on a method that allows us to unlock the bootloader of unsupported LG V30 models such as some U.S. carrier versions.

Things are still early in this discovery process but we're to the point where we can see that it works for a majority of the LG V30 variants on the market. Interestingly enough, this method will not work with the T-Mobile LG V30 model due to the fact that it has different RSA encryption than the other methods.

LG V30 Bootloader Unlock LG V30 Bootloader Unlock

This process requires you to download either the Android Oreo US998 KDZ or Oreo H930 KDZ firmware (depending on the phone you have) and then grab the Oreo-compatible version of TWRP. With that done, grab the unlock.bin file from the thread, Magisk or SuperSU, the encryption disabler, and the root checker disabler. LG V30 US998 or H930 variants that are on Android Oreo already can skip to the next step but other models will need to use the Frankenstein method to convert to Oreo US998. This actually requires you to flash Nougat US998 first and then over to Oreo. European H930G or any region H930DS devices will need to convert over to open market H930 using LGUP.

With that done, you'll want to enable OEM Unlock and USB Debugging Mode and copy the new_unlock.bin file to your device. Boot the LG V30 into fastboot mode (aka bootloader mode) and then you're going to flash the new_unlock.bin file using fastboot. Those who have unlocked their LG bootloader before are likely familiar with this process but the unique part of this whole thing is the unlock.bin file we're using actually comes from a Huawei Mate 8 device.

There seems to be some kind of bug in the LG V30's recent Android Oreo update that allows this to work as it has been shown to not work on older versions of the firmware. With all of that done though, you can then proceed to install TWRP and gain root access to your device if you'd like. The user who discovered this crazy method has created a video showing off the process below and XDA Recognized Contributor ChazzMatt has put together a lengthy text guide based on the process. Check out both below.


Unlock the bootloader of the LG V30/V30+



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Zero Camera Mod for the Samsung Galaxy S9 improves picture & video bitrates and removes recording limits

The Samsung Galaxy S9 camera is nothing short of amazing. In fact, it's probably one of the best mobile phone cameras we have around currently. However, just because it's the best doesn't mean there isn't any room for improvement. XDA Senior Member zeroprobe has been working on the Zero Camera Mod, a modification for the Samsung Galaxy S9 to make the camera even better. It changes some settings and removes some restrictions in order to provide an even higher quality camera. There's probably a reason these restrictions are in place, but none that immediately jump out.

One of the first changes you'll notice is that the Zero Camera Mod for the Samsung Galaxy S9 increases the bitrate of recorded video by about 30%. While that doesn't correlate to a 30% better video quality, it means that your videos will be more consistent. It also means that, at times, the videos will be higher quality than stock. Other noteworthy improvements to image and video taking include a higher JPG quality, no time limit on recording, and AutoFocus tracking in all modes. To install all of those, you'll need to flash the flashable zip found in the thread. If that's not enough, there's even more which you can access by installing the modded application as well.

A huge amount of features are offered in the Samsung Galaxy S9 Zero Camera Mod.

The modded application offers a number of extra features. The 4GB video limit is removed, along with allowing you to select your own custom bitrates instead. Even better, there is now support for setting a shutter time longer than 10 seconds.

If you want to give the mod a try, you can follow the link below to go to the thread on our forums. It only works on Exynos editions of the device, so if you have one of the few unlockable Snapdragon devices you're out of luck for now.


Zero Camera Mod on the Samsung Galaxy S9 Forums



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Linux app support coming to older Chrome OS devices

Linux apps on Chrome OS is one of the biggest developments for the OS since Android apps. Previous reports stated Chromebooks with certain kernel versions would be left in the dust, but the Chrome OS developers have older devices on the roadmap, too.

When Google first broke silence on Linux app functionality, it was understood that Linux kernel 4.4 was required to run apps due to dependencies on newer kernel modules. Thanks to an issue found on Chromium's public bugtracker, we have confirmation that containers won't be limited to the handful of Chrome OS devices released with kernel 4.4.

Due to the way the functionality has been engineered, Linux apps require newer kernel modules to work. The bugtracker entry indicates that the developers are working on backporting those kernel modules (in this particular case vsock) to older kernels so older devices can take advantage of the new functionality. The bug report mentions that Samus (codename for the Chromebook Pixel 2015) is in scope for Linux app support, a device that shipped with kernel 3.14. While it's possible that the Pixel is the only device outside of newer releases to receive support, it's more likely that we'll see the backport come to all 3.14 devices.

Linux apps on Chrome (otherwise known by its project codename Crostini) enables full desktop apps to run natively on Chrome OS, something that previously was only possible through "developer mode," which was a scary prospect for those who don't want to risk losing their data. At present, the new functionality is targeted at developers who want to run full applications like Android Studio, but reports indicate that work is underway to support a wider array of applications – including graphics-heavy ones – further down the line.

Chrome OS is based on the Linux kernel. Unlike your average Linux machine at home, kernel upgrades very rarely get released. While there is a precedent for upgrading kernel versions on older Chromebooks, devices usually stick to their factory release kernel for the duration of their product life. This might not be ideal for power users who want to be on the bleeding edge, but it makes it easier for the developers to ensure platform stability.

We don't know to what extent backporting will bridge the gap for older devices. Perhaps some kernel modules or platform generations won't make the cut and functionality won't be as extensive. Nonetheless, this news means that older Chromebooks won't suffer from early obsolescence just yet.



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The OnePlus 6 is Available for Sale. Buy it Now!

The OnePlus 6 is now available for anyone to buy online. Get the Mirror Black or Midnight Black colors from the OnePlus store. The Silk White will be available in June.

OnePlus 6 Mirror Black Pricing OnePlus 6 Midnight Black Pricing
6GB RAM / 64GB Storage $529 6GB RAM / 64GB Storage $529
8GB RAM / 128GB Storage $579 8GB RAM / 128GB Storage $579

Catch up on our coverage of the OnePlus 6.

What's New in OxygenOS for the OnePlus 6: All the Small Details in One Quick Read

OnePlus 6 Speed, Smoothness & Gaming XDA Review: Living up to the Slogan

Android P beta for the OnePlus 6 is now available

OnePlus Bullets Wireless Mini-Review: Good Audio, Comfortable Design, Great Price, and Not Much Else

OnePlus 6 Hands-On: Redefined Speed and a Premium Design that Reflects 2018's Smartphone Trends

Buy the OnePlus 6 OnePlus 6 Forums



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Razer Phone Update Brings Multitouch Fix, Portrait Mode, Recent Apps Lock, and More

The Razer Phone is a device from late 2017 that essentially targets gamers by presenting a phone with a high-end list of specifications. So while gamers would certainly appreciate the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, the 8GB of RAM, the 5.7″ QHD IGZO IPS LCD with a refresh rate of 120Hz, and the beefy 4,000 mAh battery, all of these features also contribute towards the Razer Phone becoming a quality smartphone by itself.

The Razer Phone was released with Android Nougat 7.1, which admittedly did not match the rest of the device's latest specifications at the time. However, Razer went on to remedy the situation by releasing the Android Oreo 8.1 update that not only brought new features to the device but also added Project Treble compatibility. Razer then went on to release the kernel source and factory images for the Razer Phone's Android Oreo release.

Razer is once again blessing the Razer Phone with an update. This new update bumps up the Android security patch level to May 2018 and brings with it a slew of other changes. The official changelog for the update mentions changes to the Privacy Policy in compliance with the GDPR and a portrait mode for the camera.

The update also includes a few other changes, such as a fix for the widespread multitouch bug of Android Oreo 8.1. Recents App locking, wherein you can lock apps in memory to avoid accidentally swiping them away in the Recents panel or clearing them by using the Clear All button. This feature came from Paranoid Android, and is present in many official as well as 3rd party ROMs such as LineageOS and OxygenOS.

Recent Apps Lock

The update is rolling out to all Razer Phone users, so you should see it appear on your device in the coming days. If you cannot wait and would like to manually update your phone, you can do so by using the fastboot images for this update.

Have you tried out the Razer Phone's latest update? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Check out XDA's Display Analysis for the Razer Phone!



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Monday, May 21, 2018

Snapdragon Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and HTC One A9 receive official LineageOS 15.1

Xiaomi devices are some of the most popular devices on our forums, owing largely to their affordability but decent hardware quality. Their custom Android software, called MIUI, isn't as popular as stock Android among likely readers of our forums. That's why custom AOSP-based ROMs like LineageOS are so popular for Xiaomi devices. We have good news on that front: You can now get official Android 8.1 Oreo-based LineageOS 15.1 for the Snapdragon Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (mido). The HTC One A9 (GSM International) has also recently received official support for the custom ROM.

For those unfamiliar, LineageOS is the most popular custom AOSP-based ROM. While other custom ROMs on our forums may focus on new software features or other tweaks, LineageOS focuses first on stability. The kernel source and device trees are often used as a starting point for other custom ROMs to build from, so an official release can be a big deal for the community of a device. Though the release is focused on stability, that doesn't mean that it doesn't have neat software features for you to enjoy. With a whole host of customization options, display settings, gestures, performance profiles, and more, LineageOS 15.1 still has plenty of features for anyone looking to get the most out of their device.

To install LineageOS 15.1, you'll need to make sure you have a custom recovery to flash the build. Generally, TWRP is recommended and can generally be found in the XDA forums for that specific device or on the official TWRP website. You can check out the the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 forum here and the HTC One A9 forum here. As for LineageOS itself, you can check out the links below to download the builds.

Download LineageOS 15.1 for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (mido)

Download LineageOS 15.1 for the HTC One A9



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OnePlus 6 kernel source code now available

The OnePlus 6 was announced last week. The day after it was unveiled, OnePlus announced on their forums that the Android P beta was available to download, and the kernel sources were also already available. However, the kernel sources were not actually available on the OnePlus GitHub at the time. That has changed, however, so developers can now start working on the device to bring TWRP and AOSP-based custom ROMs.

The OnePlus 6, to bring you up to speed, is probably the fastest phone on the market currently. It has a lot of potential that developers would surely be able to make use of. For those of you who are a fan of custom AOSP-based ROMs such as LineageOS 15.1 rather than the stock OxygenOS software on the OnePlus 6, then you will be happy to know that the kernel source is available. After a developer ports TWRP to the device, it'll take some time for developers to create a stable device tree for AOSP-based custom ROMs especially since the OnePlus 6 joins the list of devices with A/B dual partitions for seamless updates. But thanks to Project Treble compatibility, we should see the device boot a Generic System Image (GSI) within a few days.

OnePlus as a company has a storied history when it comes to kernel source code releases. With the OnePlus 3, the company failed to release kernel sources for updated versions of OxygenOS, which hampered the work of custom ROM and kernel developers. Things are different now as the company aims to release them as soon as possible. The OnePlus 5 had its kernel sources released the day of launch last year and in keeping with that trend they did the same for the OnePlus 5T and now the OnePlus 6.

View the OnePlus 6 Kernel Source Code



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Chrome OS prepares to finally show Android files in the Files app

Following a slew of Android-related commits to the Chromium Gerrit for Chrome OS, there's another we spotted which is probably the best addition yet. We've seen improvements to parental controls and the addition of Android app shortcut searches. Now we're getting a highly requested feature – Chromebooks with Android app support may soon finally be able to see all Android files on the device within the native Chrome OS Files application.

Chromebooks with support for Android apps have a major limitation right now: You can't see files in Android's /data/media, the storage location that Android applications store files for the user to access. Well, that's not entirely true since you are able to access the Android Downloads folder, but that was about it. If you wanted to access a file stored by an Android app in another directory, you either had to move it to a cloud storage location or move it to the Android Downloads folder. That's set to change.

Chrome OS

The commit message.

Now it's going to be much easier to access your Android files on Chrome OS, as you'll be able to see the entirety of your Android external storage. This is useful for a number of reasons, including applications which may download files to their own folders instead of the Downloads folder.

The flag description.

It is an experimental feature that will need to be enabled via a flag titled –show-android-files-in-files-app. The "Android files" option will then be viewable in the left pane of the Chrome OS Files application.

For those wanting to give it a try as soon as it's available, you'll have to wait for the commit to be merged and then switch over to the Canary builds. Canary builds are released every six weeks, but are generally highly unstable and not recommended for daily use. Still, not only will you be able to copy your Android files from anywhere, you'll also get all of the other Android related features we've spotted in recent weeks. That's not including any of the extra improvements that Google may have packed in too. If you switch over to the Canary build, be sure to back up all of your files beforehand and you should be good to go!



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Samsung announces Galaxy J6, J8, A6, and A6+ in India

Samsung has a huge presence throughout the world and has been able to maintain the #1 spot in many regions. While things may have shifted a bit for them at the start of this year with Xiaomi taking the lead in India, Samsung is still holding strong in 2nd place. The company wants to take the crown back with the introduction of some new devices. This is coming in the form of 4 new devices including the Samsung Galaxy J6, Samsung Galaxy J8, Samsung Galaxy A6, and the Samsung Galaxy A6+.

All four of these new smartphones headed to India feature the company's Infinity Display, which gives users 15% more display area without increasing the overall size of the device. We're seeing a lot of smartphone makers doing this recently with many opting for a notch at the top so they can pack in some sensors and a speaker. Samsung has yet to go down the notch route, but their curved glass does make it seem as if the display is flowing over the sides of the device.

Another key feature that Samsung is advertising with these smartphones is a new Chat-Over-Video feature. It enables users to chat through a transparent chat window and keyboard, while a video is still running. This has become a growing request from within India as they consume a lot of video content on their smartphones. Another feature that has been added specifically for India is the Samsung Mall application. This is a new service aimed at millennials which uses AI to recognize a product after they snap a photo of it and then see that item across popular e-commerce platforms.

Specs Galaxy A6 Galaxy A6+ Galaxy J6 Galaxy J8
Processor Exynos 7 Series Snapdragon 450 Exynos 7 Series Snapdragon 450
Display 5.6" HD+ 6" FHD+ 5.6" HD+ 6" HD+
Super AMOLED Super AMOLED Super AMOLED Super AMOLED
Rear Camera 16MP (f/1.7) 16MP (f/1.7)+5MP (f/1.9) 13MP (f/1.9) 16MP (f/1.7)+5MP (f/1.9)
Front Camera 16MP (f/1.9) 24MP (f/1.9) 8MP (f/1.9) 16MP (f/1.9)
Flash w/ Front & Rear LED Flash w/ Front & Rear LED Flash w/ Front & Rear LED Flash w/ Front & Rear LED Flash
Memory 4GB + 32GB4GB + 64GB 4GB + 64GB 3GB + 32GB4GB + 64GB 4GB + 64GB
microSD slot (up to 256GB) microSD slot (up to 256GB) microSD slot (up to 256GB) microSD slot (up to 256GB)
Battery 3000 mAh 3500 mAh 3000 mAh 3500 mAh
Android Version Android O Android O Android O Android O
Design Metal Unibody Metal Unibody Polycarbonate Unibody Polycarbonate Unibody
Pricing 21,990 (32GB)22,990 (64GB) 25,990 13,990 (3/32GB)16,490 (4/64GB) 18,990

Source: Samsung Newsroom



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Samsung Galaxy S Light Luxury announced in China as a mid-range Galaxy S8

The Samsung Galaxy S Light Luxury has been announced in China with a 5.8-inch infinity display, effectively making it a budget version of the Samsung Galaxy S8. The device has a Snapdragon 660 alongside 4GB of RAM, making it already a pretty decent smartphone. The fingerprint scanner is in the same place and the Bixby button still resides on the side of the device. It looks exactly like the Samsung Galaxy S8.

The Samsung Galaxy S Light Luxury is launching in two colours, black and red.

While it looks exactly like the Samsung Galaxy S8, the similarities stop there. As we've established, the system-on-chip has already been downgraded from the Snapdragon 835 down to the Snapdragon 660. Even further, the Samsung Galaxy S Light Luxury has a completely different camera – specs wise, anyway. The back camera is a 16MP single shooter, while the front remains 8MP. It comes with IP68 water resistance too, along with wireless charging support, facial recognition, and iris recognition support. The display comes in at 5.8 inches with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9 in an FHD+ resolution. It has a 3,000 mAh battery and also supports Samsung Pay. The Samsung Galaxy S Light Luxury also launches with Android Oreo, meaning so long as it can be unlocked you can make use of Project Treble.

The device is available for purchase from the Chinese site JD.com for ¥3999, or $626. Those pre-ordering it can get it for even cheaper at ¥3699 or $579. Those purchasing the device will also get a free set of AKG earphones, just like when you purchase the Samsung Galaxy S8. There's no information yet on whether the device will make its way overseas, but it's unlikely given that the device launched in China first. It very well could be an attempt at trying to steal market share from competitors like Xiaomi. Still, there's nothing really stopping you importing it if you want to give it a try.


Source: SamMobile



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LG Q7 Forum is now open

LG announced the LG Q7 today amongst a few other phones in the Q series. The Q series of smartphones is a new brand created by LG which aims to compete in the low-end market. Equipped with a Snapdragon 435 and 3GB of RAM, it's certainly not a powerhouse. Still, given its expected affordability it could very well be a reasonably popular device for developers to pick up. As a result, we've opened up the LG Q7 forums! You'll be able to hopefully see custom recoveries and ROMs in the following weeks after the device launches, though we don't quite know when that is yet. If you're interested in the device and want to get in on the talks, you can follow the link below to see what everyone is saying.


Join the LG Q7 XDA Forums



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Exclusive: Moto Z3 Play Specs and Software Features Leaked – Moto Experiences, Cinemagraphs and More

Lenovo's Moto Z family came at a time when enthusiasm for modular smartphones had yet to dwindle. The company made a bold promise to support their Moto Mods for three generations. This long-term strategy has seemingly paid dividends as more and more interesting modules have come out for the device since, including smart speakers, projectors, gamepads, and camera attachments. With only a few months left until we see what the Moto Z3 and Z3 Play have to offer, we bring you a new set of leaks that cover most specifications and software features.

XDA-Developers has been shown an internal Lenovo document detailing the hardware and key features of the Moto Z3 Play, and we can vouch for its validity. While this is still an early leak and some of what's shown here might be subject to change, we expect most (if not everything) mentioned here to eventually make it to the Z3 Play in particular, and perhaps the Z family in general. Some of these details also align with and expand upon previous leaks, so we are confident that the information in the internal document is correct.

Hardware Specifications

According to the internal document we were able to inspect, the Moto Z3 Play will be sporting an aluminum body with 2.5D Gorilla Glass at the front for slight display curves. The document also calls the phone "one of the thinnest premium smartphones in the market," a statement that probably explains the fact that the Z3 Play will only boast a 3,000mAh battery. While this remains a departure from the beefy battery capacity that gave the original Z Play its great reputation, the Z3 Play will support Moto Mods, meaning you'll be able to access battery-boosting modules. As expected, the Moto Z3 Play will also pack in the Snapdragon 636 processors, as well as 4GB of RAM with 32GB and 64GB of storage options, and microSD support. The front of the device will host a "virtually borderless" 6-inch 18:9 "Max Vision" FHD+ AMOLED display, bringing the Moto Z family up to speed with the latest trends in the premium smartphone segment. This presumably means smaller bezels, as suggested by previous leaks, though they'll have different budget considerations than other OEMs given they still need to support Moto Mods. For the camera, the device will bring a 12MP low-light sensor in a dual camera array, and an 8MP front-facing camera. Previous leaks have suggested that the Moto Z3 Play will not feature a headphone jack and none of the documents we've received make reference to one. 

Software & Features

Moto Display returns, and the company will be adding "Moto Experiences" for smarter and easier shortcuts to the features one uses most — this seemingly aligns with previous leaks about "Moto XP's." Moto Voice will take advantage of four noise-canceling microphones built into the phone, and it'll get the ability to "use voice commands to control [your] favorite apps" and get answers to multi-part questions. The navigation gestures featured in previous Moto devices will also appear on the Moto Z3 Play, and interestingly enough the company has opted for a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The device will offer TurboPower charging once more, promising "half a day's power in half an hour" (which oddly sounds like a weaker version of the Dash Charge slogan).

The camera of the Moto Z3 play will offer a variety of features, including what the company calls "cinemagraphs," Lenovo's take on live photos that keep a part of the shot animated (similar to Samsung's S9 & S9+ feature). It'll also offer a variety of creative effects to add to one's pictures. Portrait mode will be present on both the front and the back cameras, with the rear setup using both sensors for clearer depth-mapping and edge-detection. Another neat feature is called spot color, which lets you pick one color in the photo and turn the rest of the picture black-and-white, similarly to the aesthetic of the famous Sin City movies/graphic novels. Then there's cutout mode, which lets you snap a picture and replace the background with whatever image you want. On top of all of this, the Moto Z3 Play will let you adjust a variety of camera settings with a sort of manual mode, so you'll be able to fine-tune focal length, white balance, shutter speed, ISO and exposure through slider bars.

Finally, the document claims that Lenovo will be offering two future upgrades to the latest Android OS for "absolutely free."

Moto Mods and Bundles

The internal document also goes over some of the Moto Mods that'll be available with the Moto Z3 Play. It's likely they'll be paired with what the company labels different "editions" of the phone. Below are the bundles that we expect based on the info we've acquired:

  • Moto Z "Power" Edition: Bundled Battery Moto Mod
  • Moto Z "Style" Edition Bundled Style Shell
  • Moto Z "Gamepad" Edition: Bundled Gamepad Mod (duh)
  • Moto Z "Projection" Edition: Bundled 70-inch Projector Mod

That's everything we know about the upcoming Moto Z3 Play so far. We expect some of these features to all make their way to other upcoming Moto devices, so we'll let you know if we hear any more details. Stay tuned to the XDA Portal for more leaks and in-depth device coverage!

Check out XDA's Moto Z3 Play Forums!

 

 



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Google Photos adding “Favorite” feature to help you save your best photos in one place

Google Photos changed the way millions of people store the photos they take. Even today, most cloud storage services will cut you off when you hit a certain storage threshold but as long as you don't mind Google using its compression algorithm (which isn't bad at all), then you can upload all the images you want to Google Photos. While the company has put a lot of work into organizing and letting you search through your photos, they have yet to implement an increasingly requested feature. Today, the company has announced that you will be able to "Favorite" photos when the feature rolls out this week.

Having an image hosting service that lets you upload as many photos as you want is incredibly useful, but it can also introduce some issues as well. For example, when you know that you don't have to worry about storing them you instinctively start taking more photos than you normally would. This can be an issue when you have 1,000+ images stored on Google Photos as it can take a long time to sort through the images you have in the cloud. Google has done a great job at using image recognition, location data, and timestamps so you can search for the image you want, but that's never a replacement for a favorites option

Until now, you were forced the create a separate album if you wanted a place to store your favorites. This certainly wasn't a difficult workaround but it was a band-aid approach to something that many felt should be built into the platform. Today on Twitter the team has announced that a new Favorites option will be added to Google Photos sometime this week. To use it, you need to open up the image within Google Photos and then tap or click on the star icon to mark it as a favorite. You will then see a collection of your favorites at the top of your albums tab within the application.



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