BrightTitan Cast 24: IFA
Welcome to the 24th episode of BrightTitan Cast. This week, the news were mostly about IFA.
Samsung just announced the recall of the Note 7, their newest and most expensive phone. This means all the sales are halted ( globally ) and the effected devices are recalled. Let me extend the term “effected devices”. Total of 35 Note 7 versions have this issue ( which is battery related ) which means 24 million sold Note 7. That is a lot, right?
The first report came from a South Korean News Agency, Yonhap, saying that they are preparing to recall the Note 7. Then, the recall was confirmed by a spokesperson. Later though, Yonhap indicated Samsung was in communication with carries about how to get over the recall process.
According to the Samsung official ( who asked to remain unnamed in the report ), the situation is not as bad as it looks because the effected devices are only 0.1% of all the units and it is as simple as changing the battery to solve the issue.
Few days ago, Android Central reported that the upcoming Google phones will not be called as Nexus. And now, we have got another claim ( but this time from Android Police ) which tells us the new name for the upcoming Google devices will be Pixel.
When you think about this name change, it actually make sense because every other Google hardware including Chrome Books and Google’s latest tablet is a member of this family.
First phones to join this family would be the upcoming HTC phones code named as “Marlin” and “Sailfish”. Their real name would be though Google or HTC Pixel and the XL model.
The specs of the upcoming pixel devices are 5 and 5.5-inch displays with both of them using the same processor ( quad-core Qualcomm processor ), 4GB RAM and 12-megapixel cameras.
Weeks after Nvidia’s announcement to bring desktop level 10 graphic cards to laptops, nearly all gaming hardware makers refreshed their laptops with the latest cards. You can now include Alienware to the list as well.
The most important change with the new Alienware laptops though is the new design. While all other manufactures are making their gaming products even thicker, the new Alienwares are approximately 20% slimmer than the last generation. Alienware 13 is 22mm thin ( compared to the 28mm on the last generation ) and the fifteen-inch model is also 22mm ( down from last year’s 34mm thickness ). Alienware 17, on the other hand, is only 8mm thicker than the smaller versions.
Under the hood, there lies Nvidia GTX cards. Alienware 13 has 1060, 15 has 1070 and the biggest model is powered by GTX 1080. Thanks to the new cards, 15 and 17-inch versions also supports G-Sync.
Like the recent gaming devices, Alienware laptop series also supports Windows Hello cameras and Tobii eye tracking. For the ones who don’t know, Windows Hello allows you to unlock your computer with your face and the Tobii system tracks your eyes. Even though the purpose of the Tobii eye tracking is within the games, Alienware integrated this system to the windows so well that the laptop turns off the backlight when you are not looking at the screen.
You can even turn on your computer by looking at the Alienware logo on the front. With their latest laptops, Alienware is the third company ( after Acer and MSI ) to support Tobii.
However, other than the graphic card and eye tracking features, they said nothing more about Alienware 13. For the 15 and 17-inch model though, we additionally know that they are powered by Intel Core i7 6820HK which is overclocked to 4.1Ghz. You can also choose RAM up to 32GB and main storage to 1TB on the 15 and 17. There is no details about the pricing though.
IFA is the show where Sony announces their flagship phones. This year, the tradition continues but now, we are seeing the new phones from the X family instead of the old Z series. After the Xperia X Premium, X series has a new flagship phone named as Sony Xperia XZ.
To start with, it is basically an ordinary smartphone with an unordinary camera. Under the metal body with 5.2-inch Full HD display ( and yes, it is entitled as a flagship phone ), there lies SnapDragon 820 with only 3GB of RAM. As you can see, there is nothing special about its hardware and it even fails to be at the same page with the current flagship phones. Right now, even the mid-end phones comes with at least 4GB of RAM and QHD display.
Anyway, let’s talk about its camera which is the most important part of the Sony Xperia XZ. On the back, there is a 23-megapixel camera with dual sensors including laser autofocus and RGBC infrared sensor. According to Sony, that is how the phone adjusts the colors including the white balance of photos based on the lights in the environment. Other significant features of the phone is the Predictive Hybrid AF ( which comes from the X Premium ) and 5-axis video stabilization.
On the front, we have 13-megapixel camera which is able to increase the ISO to 6400. Again, according to Sony, the front camera is able to take clear photos even in the environments with not enough lights.
The problem from the Xperia X Premium continues to exist on the XZ as well. X Premium was also an ordinary phone with an expensive price tag. With XZ, nothing has been changed. Even though we don’t know its price yet, still, it is not hard to predict that Sony Xperia XZ will cost as much as the other flagship phones. However, it does not have the features that is absent on every flagship and even mid-end phone of the 2016. I am talking about everything except camera and processor.
Anyway, we will make the final comments about the XZ when Sony announces the price tag.
If you are looking for a new windows laptop, you probably came across with a 2-in-1. However, the problem with the current 2-in-1 laptops were the fact that they were neither good at being a laptop nor being a tablet. The problem was that they were so thick for a tablet and unpractical for a laptop. The new Lenovo Yoga Book might be the best 2-in-1 yet.
To start with, Lenovo Yoga Book consists of two parts. The screen which is standard for all computers but the second part is the body. However, there is nothing on the body. It is just a black glass like the screen.
The trick of this design is the pressure sensitive flat surface instead of traditional keyboard. This design allows you to have both keyboard and the surface to make sketches. You can even put a paper on the surface and write on the paper. As it is pressure sensitive, the computer will sense what you write or draw.
The second unique point of the Lenovo Yoga Book is its thinness. Yoga Book is 9.6mm when it is closed and 4.05mm at the thinner point. As a result, it is not very different than the real tablets at all.
What is worth mentioning is that Lenovo Yoga Book tries to be a tablet so it only comes with Intel Atom x5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Even though it is more than enough for the Android version, there is a doubt about the performance of the windows version.
Anyway, it costs $549 for the Windows version and $499 for the android. The 4G version, though, is even more expensive but we don’t know its price.
Last year’s Samsung Gear S2 was a decent model. The new model, Samsung Gear S3 keeps the basics but adds new features.
The biggest change is the screen size. Gear S3 has a 1.3-inch display which is a little bit bigger than last year’s 1.2-inch display. Samsung said that they made this change in order to follow the latest “trends”.
Other features that are worth mentioning is the built-in microphone and GPS in all models. These features were only absent on the 3G version of Gear S2. Also, instead of 3G, new generation supports LTE. On top of these connectivity features, Gear S3 also includes NFC chipset for payments.
In terms of design, you still have two choices; frontier and the classic model. While classic model has a stainless steel body with more formal look, the frontier one is more sporty. Other difference between the models is that fact that only the frontier model supports the LTE.
The watch, by the way, provides 4 day of battery life which is a huge improvement over the last generation.
There are also some changes on the Tizen coming with Samsung Gear S3. Like the external design, the ui looks very similar to the previous generation but there are some tweaks that increases the user experience.
The watch will be available on the end of year but there is no details about the pricing.
Last week, some of the Dropbox users who were using the same password since 2012 were warned by an email to change their passwords. Now, we know the reason because few years ago, hackers stole 70 million Dropbox users’ passwords.
Even though we were officially told by Dropbox about the hack, now, we know how bad is the situation.
According to Motherboard, the amount of data stolen from Dropbox which includes not only passwords but also email addresses was 5GB. This affects total of 68,680,741 Dropbox users
Analysis confirms that the credentials are user e-mail addresses with hashed and salted passwords that were obtained prior to mid-2012. We can confirm that the scope of the password reset we completed last week did protect all impacted users.
Even if these passwords are cracked, the password reset means they can’t be used to access Dropbox accounts. The reset only affects users who signed up for Dropbox prior to mid-2012 and hadn’t changed their password since.
While Dropbox accounts are protected, affected users who may have reused their password on other sites should take steps to protect themselves on those sites. The best way to do this is by updating these passwords, making them strong and unique, and enabling two-step verification.
Individuals who received a notification from Dropbox should also be alert to spam or phishing.
This hack ( along side with others ) proves one thing. Even if you have a strong password, your security depends on the service that you are using. In this case though, we would recommend to use two-factor authorization. Yes, it is a pain to write the code each time but you have to make a choice. Which one is more important for you? Your data / information or your time
Laptops are getting thinner and smaller while gaming laptops are getting bigger. The new Acer Predator 21 X is an example of this.
It is a huge laptop that you cannot possibly carry with you because it weights more than 8kg. It has a 21-inch curved screen with Tobii eye-tracking feature.
The interesting point of Acer Predator 21X is the design. It is even thicker than the PS4 but this thickness allows you to have mechanical keyboard with CherryMX switches and LED lights plus hardware features that you would normally see on a desktop. For example, you get dual Nvidia GTX 1080, up to 64GB RAM and maximum 4TB of storage.
Acer will start to ship Predator 21X in the February of 2017 but there is no details about the pricing.
Google was making phones since 2010, sort of. They were asking phone makers including Samsung, LG, Motorola and Huawei to make makes under the name, Nexus. This year, there will be Google’s two new phones built by HTC and codenamed as “Marlin” and “Sailfish”. However, they will not carry the Nexus branding.
According to Android Central, Google is making big changes in the device branding. The biggest change on the next Google phones will be the lack of Nexus logo as well as the logo of the producer ( in this case, HTC ). Instead, there will be “G” icon on the phone.
The other significant change on the upcoming Google phones is the Android. Until now, Google insisted on using the standard version of Android ( known as Vanilla ) on Nexus phones while nearly all other phone makers were using android with additional features. On the upcoming Marlin and Sailfish, there will be a special version of Android but we don’t know what will be the changes. My bet is on the optimization and some new features exclusive for the Google phones.
Intel announced Kaby Lake, 7th generation Intel Core series. It is the revamp of the Sky Lake and “tock” of Intel’s tick-tock strategy. It tries to be like the Skyline but at the same time, it solves the problems of the previous generation. Problems such as poor power managing.
As you would expect though, Kaby Lake supports all of the trending technologies such as 4K or 360 degree videos. The new generation also supports Windows Hello so you can unlock your computer by looking at it.
Even though 7th generation Kaby Lake will allows computer makers to produce thinner laptops, still, huge update is coming in 2017.
Again, being the tock, Kaby Lake is the last step before we see new 10 nm processors ( such as Intel Cannonlake ).
Furthermore, with the same power efficiency, Kaby lake provides better performance compared to 6th generation. Also, Kaby Lake is 10 times faster than the first generation Core series.
If you have ever attend to a wedding or an event where a professional camera is needed, you will see photographers use Canon 5D Mark III. It is a very powerful and capable camera ,but there was one problem. It was introduced just before 4K started to rise. As a result, the camera which supposed to be one of the most powerful ones was not supporting the feature that was even available on our phones.
The new 5D Mark IV brings 4K and other features that we all wanted on Mark III.
To start with, Mark IV is able shoot 4K video ( 4096×2160 ) at 24 or 30fps. However, if you insist on the new HDR feature, then you are limited to 1080p at 30fps.
The other unique point of Canon 5D Mark IV is “Dual Pixel AF”. It is a technology based on the use of phase-detection on each pixel of the sensor.
On the back, there is a 3.2-inch touchscreen which makes focusing as easy as only one touch. Also, thanks to the new display and new “Dual Pixel RAW” technology, you can change the focal point even after you take the picture.
Other features are 30 megapixel sensor ( compared to the 22 on Mark III ), faster continuos shooting speed at 7fps ( which is 1 more than the previous generation ) and new connectivity features including Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS. However, there are also few things that didn’t change with the new generation. For example, ISO range ( which is 50 to 102,400 ) is same.
And here comes the price. It costs $3,500 and will be available from September. The good thing is that if you own Mark III, you probably have some good sensors and you can use any sensor compatible with Mark III with Mark IV as well. However, there are new sensors for Mark IV anyway.