HTC 10 unveiled: 5.2-inch QHD display, 12 UltraPixel camera with laser autofocus

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On its website today, HTC unveiled the HTC 10. This is the phone HTC hopes will take on Samsung’s Galaxy S7, LG’s G5, and Apple’s iPhone 7.

HTC’s latest attempt to save its smartphone business is a flagship with the tagline “Power of 10” which, apparently, symbolizes “greatness and independence but also that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, the company claims — just as every other smartphone manufacturer tries to — that the latest flagship offers more than just a new metal design, better camera, and improved performance.

And yet, those are indeed the highlights that HTC insists will save it.

htc_10_design

HTC’s press release, leaked to us ahead of the official announcement, uses nonsense marketing-speak like “inspired by light and sculpted to perfection” when describing the new design. But in short, you can expect a full glass front that merges with the metal body.

The company also notes that the HTC 10 was subjected to over 168 hours of extreme temperature tests, ranging from -20°C (-4°F) to 60°C (140°F), plus over 10,000 drop, bend, scratch, and corrosion tests. Is this finally a phone that absolutely doesn’t need a case? Probably not, but one can sure dream.

htc_10_camera

Next up, the camera features “the world’s first optically stabilized, larger aperture f/1.8 lenses” on both the front and rear cameras, larger sensors, 12 million UltraPixels (1.55um per pixel), laser autofocus on the back, plus a wide-angle lens and screen flash on the front. The HTC 10’s camera is also designed to launch “in as little as 0.6 seconds.” RAW format support is also a go.

HTC also claims that the 10 features “the world’s first stereo 24-bit Hi-Res audio recording, capturing 256 times more detail than standard recordings, across twice the frequency range.” The phone includes a headphone amp that delivers “two times the power of a conventional headphone amp,” the ability to upscale from 16-bit to 24-bit audio, and digital to analog conversion. You can even create your personal audio tuned to your individual hearing. The BoomSound Hi-Fi speakers feature a separated tweeter and woofer design, and a dedicated amplifier for each.

And finally, performance. HTC says the 10’s quad HD display is 30 percent more colorful and 50 percent more responsive to touch than its predecessor. The company says its fingerprint scanner unlocks in 0.2 seconds and is algorithmically designed to recognize you faster over time. It also claims that its battery can be charged to 50 percent in just 30 minutes.

htc_freestyle_layout

Last, but not least, HTC has created a new Freestyle Layout, which essentially means you don’t have to organize your apps in a grid anymore. You can place icons, stickers, and widgets anywhere you like, organize by layers and groups, link stickers to apps, or even get rid of icons altogether.

Here are the HTC 10’s specs:

  • Display: 5.2-inch, Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels), super LCD 5
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • Platform: Android 6.0 with HTC Sense
  • Memory: 4GB RAM, 32GB/64GB storage expandable up to 2TB via microSD
  • Rear Camera: 12MP (HTC UltraPixel 2), laser autofocus, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), f/1.8 aperture, Pro mode, Auto-HDR, Zoe Capture, hyperlapse, 12X Slow motion mode, 4K video recording with Hi-Res Audio
  • Front Camera: 5MP (1.34MICROm pixels), autofocus, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), f/1.8 aperture with ultra wide-angle lens, Live Makeup, Auto-HDR
  • Sound: HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition, Dolby Audio, Personal Audio Profile, Hi-Res Audio Certified, Hi-Res Audio Earphones, Three microphones with noise cancellation, Hi-Res Audio Stereo Recording
  • Connection: USB Type-C
  • SIM card: Nano SIM
  • Connectivity: NFC, BT 4.2, Wi-Fi@: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
  • Sensors: Fingerprint Sensor, Sensor Hub
  • Battery: 3000 mAh

The HTC 10 starts shipping this month in four colors: Carbon Grey, Glacier Silver, Topaz Gold, and Camellia Red.

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Chrome App Launcher Retirement

google-chrome
The app launcher makes Chrome apps easy to open outside the browser, but Google has found that users on Windows, Mac, and Linux prefer to launch their apps from within Chrome. With Chrome’s continued emphasis on simplicity and streamlining browser features, the launcher will be removed from those platforms and it will remain unchanged on Chrome OS.
Beginning in a few weeks, Chrome will no longer enable the launcher when users first install a Chrome app. Anyone who currently has the launcher will receive a notice informing them that the launcher will be going away. In July, existing instances of the launcher will be removed.

Google Chrome Tips:

Since Google Chrome can be used to do almost anything, as you’re using Chromebooks, find below some tips that you can benefit from while using Chrome:

New Tab Window

Chrome Tabs

Google tries hard to make new tabs useful from the outset but there are some Chrome extensions that can make it work even harder. One of these is Momentum.

Upon opening a new tab, instead of the spartan slate of recent sites and Chrome apps you get Momentum, your personal dashboard presenting a Things to Do list, quote of the day, favorite links and, to top it all off, a beautiful landscape.

Chrome shortcuts

Any power user worth his or her salt knows the keyboard is still king. Knowing the right Chrome key combos can save you a ton of time across your day.

Here are a few shortcuts you should definitely know (PC/Mac):

  • Ctrl/Cmd + L – highlights text in the address bar
  • Ctrl/Cmd + T – open a new tab
  • Ctrl/Cmd + W – close current tab
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + T – reopen closed tab
  • Ctrl + Tab – switch tab one tab to the right
  • Ctrl + Shift + Tab – switch tab one tab to the left
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + B – toggle the bookmark bar visibility

And here’s where you’ll find the whole shooting match.

Smart Search

You can use the top bar on Google Chrome to directly search for anything you want, and its a smart search. Go ahead and try to enter a simple or complex Math expression or convert currencies or simply search for the weather!

  • Calculation (2+2) * (4-2)
  • Beirut Forecast
  • Tilt (Be careful it will tilt your screen!)
  • 100$ to AED
  • English to Indian

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Problems Starts Showing!

Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Plenty of people couldn’t wait to get their hands on Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, and when the handsets finally went official, a lot of customers went head over heels for them. However, users encountered little snags here and there, finding out that the anticipated smartphones came with a couple of issues.

Oversensitive Touch Screen

The screen is just too sensitive, causing users to accidentally open an app or select other elements of the interface. This issue isn’t entirely new for Samsung, as the Galaxy Note 5 also bore a similar problem in which the user’s fingers or thumb rest on the phablet’s edges, making other input unresponsive.

Until Samsung tones this down a bit, the only solution right now is to get a case that can provide a better grip on the handset.

Bluetooth Is Always On

The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge came with Bluetooth Low Energy, but unfortunately, it stays on even when Bluetooth is turned off, eating up precious battery life.

Android Developers suggests that users should never scan on a loop, and to set a time limit on the scan to steer clear of this battery-intensive problem.

Bluetooth Connectivity

Another issue that users have reported is how the smartphone can’t connect to other devices such as a car’s audio system and whatnot.

To resolve this, head on over to Settings > Applications > Application Manager. Select More and then Show System Apps. Look for Bluetooth Share, then tap on Force Stop, and clear the cache and data.

No Adoptable Storage

One of the most anticipated features of Android Marshmallow is Adoptable Storage, an option that basically turns both the internal and external storages into one. As everyone can imagine, Galaxy S7 and S7 edge owners were not happy when Samsung decided to drop it.

Unfortunately, there’s no switch to easily turn this on, but Paul O Brien of MoDaCo presented a neat method to do so, although it’s not exactly easy and it involves some risk.

At any rate, the devices still allow users to install apps on the microSD card.

Overheating

Many users have reported that the smartphones in question get warm to an uncomfortable level. For newly bought devices, that’s pretty much expected, as they will download, update and install a slew of apps on the first boot. If the heat persists after that process, then that’s the problem.

A simple reboot could do the trick. To do this, press and hold the power and volume down buttons for 10 seconds, and the device should restart.

Two other things to take note of is to not use the smartphone while it’s charging and to turn off Fast cable charging over at Settings > Battery.

Constant MicroSD Card Prompt

The microSD pop-up message is expected on each reboot, but when it appears randomly, that spells an issue.

There’s no real home solution for this, but do make sure that the microSD card is sitting right on the tray or that the external storage is not faulty itself. If the problem lies in the device, getting in touch with Samsung or the corresponding carrier or retailer is the only option.

Lag

Considering that both the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are premium devices, lag and stutter must have been at the bottom of the list of anyone’s expectations. Apparently, they should’ve been somewhere at the top.

One fix here is to set the Windows animation scale, Transition animation scale and Animator duration scale in the Developer options to 0.5x or off, which are 1x by default.

This should make things a little faster. For those who haven’t unlocked it yet, head on over to Settings > System > About device > Software info and repeatedly tap on Build number until a message pops up about being a developer. The Developer options tab should be under System at that point.

Another one is to wipe the cache partition. Turn the device off and turn it on by pressing and holding the home, volume up and power buttons at the same time. Once the Samsung logo is in plain view, let go of the power button, but hold on to the other two until the Android logo makes an appearance. This will bring up the Android recovery menu. There, just select the wipe cache partition by using the volume rocker to navigate and the power button to confirm and do a reboot.

If all else fails, then a factory reset might be in order. Needless to say, this will wipe everything out.

Unresponsive Buttons

The home and multitask buttons are reportedly unresponsive at times. A reboot sometimes fixes this, but the issue is said to be caused by an app, so some uninstallations might be required.

Again, the extreme fix here is to do a factory reset.

Slow Wi-Fi

A user at the Android Central forums reports that the S7 edge is causing some Wi-Fi issues, causing the connection to drop or become slow.

“After messing around a bit, I disable Wi-Fi, and the issue instantly goes away. Another hour into messing with things, and I realize it is my phone that is somehow causing the problem. I turn on Wi-Fi on the phone, and the Internet has all sorts of problems, but the moment I disable Wi-Fi, everything is fine,” the user says.

There’s no solid fix yet, but some of the noteworthy mentions in the thread include turning Bluetooth off and to set the Wi-Fi connection to IPv4 instead of IPv6.

Wet Speakers

With an IP68 waterproof rating, there’s no way that users haven’t tried to submerge the smartphone in water yet. However, it’s causing some problems for the audio front.

According to the user reports, the speakers would blast distorted sound after the device gets wet. It’s not a big issue at all, though, as waiting for the handset to dry will take care of it. Just don’t use a blow dryer, as the heat could damage some of the guts of the smartphone.

Camera Failure

Some users have complained that the camera app doesn’t work sometimes, facing the prompt “Warning: Camera Failed.”

A simple reset could fix this, but a hard reset could do better. To do this, just press and hold down the power and home buttons until the smartphone restarts.

If the problem persists, go to Settings > Applications > Application manager and look for Camera. As usual, Force Stop it and clear the data and cache.

Edge Screen Rejection

David Ruddock of Android Police reports that edge screen doesn’t properly reject an input. It looks like the issue is in the device itself, as the Canada variant of one of his colleagues just got an update that fixes it.

Again, there’s no solution here besides wait for the carriers to roll out a patch.

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No Sony Xperia Z6 this year, the X series will replace the Z Series!

Sony Xperia X Performance

While we were expecting to see as many as five of them, Sony has confirmed that there won’t be any Xperia Z6 at all. The confirmation came in the form of a Facebook comment by the German arm of the Japanese company.

In addition, the company also revealed that the new Xperia X series of smartphones – which was announced at the ongoing MWC in Barcelona – will replace the Z series. “A Z6 will not exist. The new X series is under a modified concept that meets the needs of our users even more accessible,” the Google translated version of the comment read.

Sony Xperia X Performance

So, what does this mean. Well, going by what all Sony has confirmed, it’d be safe to assume that the the new SD820-powered Xperia X Performance is Sony’s flagship for the year. The other two phones that the company unveiled at MWC are the Xperia X and XA.

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