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Android 11 Beta Features- Highlights, How to Install, and More

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Android 11 Beta Best Features

The Android 11 Beta version 1 is already available to the public. At the time of writing, it is only available on Pixel devices, but manufacturers such as Oppo and Xiaomi are going to join the fray anytime soon.

That being said, with any major update to the operating system, there are some new things that are going to be introduced.

Read further to find out all of the features in Android 11 Beta.

How to Install the Update

Before anything else, I want to point out that the first beta version of Android 11 is riddled with bugs. I wouldn’t say that it is a daily driver at all so if you can wait a little longer for the second beta, then that is better.

However, for those that want to tinker with their devices, you might want to try out the new Android OS right now. So, how do you install the update?

Well, there are actually two ways for you to install the new OS, but I will only highlight the easiest one.

Anyway, the first thing that you need to do would be to have a Pixel device. That means that any phone from Google Pixel 2 and above should work.

Next, you want to go to the Android Beta Program on your pixel device and sign-in with your Google account. Once that is done, you want to scroll down and tap ‘Your Eligible Devices’.

Find your specific phone’s model number and tap the option to opt-in. From there, you will be presented with some prompts and the OTA update should be available shortly after.

If you want to get out of the beta program, all you have to do is redo the steps and when asked to opt-in, simply just opt-out and that’s it.

Android 11 Features

In every new version of the Android operating system, there are always some new features and improvements being introduced on an annual basis.

That being said, while there aren’t that many changes in the UI, there are still some notable ones. Below are just some of the best features of Android 11.

1.Notification Groupings

Android 11 Notifications

It is really frustrating to sift through all of your notifications for specific ones, but Google has had enough of that. In Android 11, your notifications are now grouped into three categories: Conversations, Alerting Notifications, and Silent Notifications.

In the Conversations section, you will find all of your chat messages from your various apps. At the moment, only Facebook Messenger is not bugged simply because Facebook has already implemented the needed API for this feature to work.

Theoretically, your emails, chat messages, and texts should be grouped in the Conversations section.

All of the system notifications are automatically grouped in the Silent Notifications section. These are notifications that you’ve put to the said category, as well as system messages that you normally wouldn’t need to see (such as USB debugging, for example).

All of your other notifications that you haven’t put in the Silent category will be lumped together in the Alerting Notifications section. These include your news apps, RSS feeds, articles, emails (if you didn’t give it a priority), among many others.

I really love this new feature simply because it makes it easier for you to respond to conversations.

2.Chat Bubbles

Android 11 Chat Bubbles

If you’ve ever used Facebook Messenger, this new feature will be right at home. Chat bubbles are essentially similar to the previously-mentioned app’s feature with the major difference that it now supports all of your chat applications.

As mentioned earlier, only Facebook’s Messenger app utilizes this functionality, though expect other app developers to follow suit.

So, if you’ve received text messages or any notifications from your chat apps, then each notification will correspond to its own chat bubble so you can easily tap and reply to them.

Expect that this feature will become so much better in later beta versions of the OS.

3.Persistent Media Playback Controls

Android 11 Media Playback

Android 10 introduced a feature where media playback can be controlled by a card found on the notifications section of the device. Although it was good, there are some actions that would make it disappear, hence it is not as useful as one would hope it to be.

In Android 11, you can expect better media playback controls simply because the same feature is now put on top of the quick settings menu. Although it is still buggy and you have to go to the developer options to enable the said feature, I like the idea of a persistent media playback control panel.

4.Control

Android 11 Controls

Another standout feature that was introduced in the new Android operating system is Control. By simply pressing the power button, you will be presented with a new screen that offers some smart home features on the fly.

You can tap Google Pay if you have (and you can also add your preferred payment method as well).

If you have smart home appliances or even Google Home speakers, you can also control that on the same screen as well.

It seems that the company is making huge strides in making IoT more mainstream and accessible to the general public.

5.Improved App Permissions

Android 11 App Permissions

Also introduced in Android 10, the App Permissions have been refined in Android 11. By default, applications are granted one-time permission and that is when you fire up the app to use its features.

Other than that, you can also choose to permit the application indefinitely or completely deny it from using your phone, etc.

There is also a new feature that allows you to revoke permissions on apps that you haven’t used in quite a while. You will be notified which applications have their permissions revoked so that you won’t get surprised if you use them sometime in the future.

6.Screen Recorder

Android 11 Screen Recorder

A lot of people have to download 3rd party screen recording apps from the Google Playstore in order to record what’s on their screen. There was supposed to be a similar feature that should’ve been implemented in Android 10, but it seems that it was buggy back then so it was ditched entirely in the final release.

However, I am pleased to inform you that the built-in screen recorder is back and the feature is not buggy at all. Hopefully, this will be released in the final version of the OS.

7.Better Gesture Navigation

Android 11 Gesture Navigations

As smartphones become bigger and bigger, people love to use gesture navigation for better ergonomics and usability.

Gesture navigation is already built into the Android OS starting last year, though Google has improved it even more.

With Android 11, you can easily adjust certain parameters like the sensitivity, as well as how big or small you want the gestures area to be.

8.Dark Theme

Android 11 Dark Theme

Although the dark theme is nothing new, you can now easily toggle between dark and light themes by enabling/disabling its quick settings icon.

In addition, more and more applications are embracing the darker aesthetic, so no more buggy UIs.

One unique feature is that you can set your phone’s theme to dark immediately based on the time that you’ve set in the settings menu.

Lastly, you can also change the icon’s shapes for your quick settings as well. You can use the default, squircle, and a whole lot more.

Conclusion

The Android 11 Beta version 1 is already here. It is still quite buggy and app developers would have to incorporate the new API for them to take advantage of the new features.

As of the time of writing this article, only Google Pixel devices are supported, though some phone companies have already expressed their desire to join the program as well.

All of the new features are just quality of life changes. Perhaps, we can expect more in the next set of beta versions before the final release.

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Xbox Series X- When Will It Be Released and What Does It Bring to the Table?

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Microsoft Xbox Series X

After months of hype and speculations, the Microsoft Xbox Series X has finally been unveiled to the public and we now know a lot more information about the upcoming game console than ever before.

In this article, I will go over the key points that you need to know about Microsoft’s console, such as release dates, pricing, new features and technologies, and so much more.

Release Date and Pricing

The Xbox Series X will be released on November 10 and pre-orders will start as early as September 22. The price of the said game console will be $499 which is in-line with Sony’s Playstation 5 disc edition.

Unlike Sony where the company has decided to employ a staggered release date for its PS5 consoles, the Microsoft Xbox Series X will be released on the same date worldwide. Of course, there is the challenge of availability considering that we are still suffering from a global pandemic, which is why pre-ordering the console (assuming that you want to get one) makes a whole lot of sense.

Design

Microsoft Xbox Series X 1

Unlike previous Xbox consoles, the Series X will actually have a more tower-like design with some air vents that can be visibly seen on top of the device.

The Series X will also feature a 4K Blu-ray player, so you could say that it is indeed quite similar to what Sony has to offer.

As of the time of writing this article, the console will only be available in black, though with the release of prior Xbox consoles, a white-colored Xbox is not too far off.

The more vertical design of the upcoming gaming machine might prove to be challenging for some people, especially when it comes to desk space. You will need to have adequate space to rest the console on the surface.

Specs

Microsoft Xbox Series X Design

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen Custom Zen 2, 8-cores/16-threads (via SMT) @3.8GHz (boost) and 3.6GHz (base)
  • GPU: AMD Custom RDNA 2 GPU with 52 Compute Units, 12 TFLOPS, and @ 1.825GHz
  • Process (nodes): 7nm Enhanced
  • Memory: 16GB GDDR6, 320-bit Bus, 10GB @ 560GB/s and GB @ 336GB/s memory bandwidth
  • Internal Storage: 1GB Custom NVMe SSD, 4.8 GB/s (read) and 2.4 GB/s (write) (both are theoretical values)
  • Storage Expansion: 1TB
  • External Storage Support: USB 3.2 External HDD
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
  • Performance Target: 4K @ 60 FPS, up to 120FPS (Theoretical)

I am really very excited about the new-gen consoles because they are packed with serious hardware that allows you to play games at 4K resolution without any issues.

Just like the PS5, the Xbox Series X is also powered by a custom AMD Ryzen CPU (using Zen 2 architecture) and a custom AMD GPU (using the new RDNA2 architecture). This performance package should allow you to play games at 4K@ 60 frames per second ‘comfortably’ (at least according to Microsoft Xbox president, Phil Spencer) and it could even give you the right amount of processing power to achieve more than 60 frames per second (up to 120 frames per second, theoretically).

The CPU, according to Digital Foundry, has a base clock of 3.6GHz and it boosts up to 3.8GHz. The good thing is that the boosting algorithms will only kick in when the console needs more horsepower which can be a good thing both from a performance and thermals standpoint.

It is also worth noting that the new Xbox will support ray tracing. Thus, you can enable such a feature in the games that support it and you will not have to worry about any performance penalties at all since the hardware is more than capable.

This new and upcoming game console will also be using a custom 1TB NVMe SSD which is 100+ GB more than what the PS5 has to offer.

While Spencer didn’t mention anything specific, the SSD that comes in the Xbox Series X should be faster than any consumer SSD that you can find on the market up to this point.

This would mean that if you are going to use its expansion slot to add more storage, you will have to buy an SSD directly from Microsoft if you want to get the best performance possible out of a storage drive.

If you are okay with using an external hard drive, it can support one that is using a USB 3.2 Gen 1 cable.

The optical drive is a 4K Blu-Ray player and each game disc can hold as much as 100GB of storage (though it is more likely that each disc can contain an amount lower than that).

Features

The Microsoft Xbox Series X has a lot of nice features up its sleeve. For one, it has the new Velocity architecture that makes good use of the console’s NVMe SSD, thus virtually eliminating load times.

In line with the said technology, you will also get to enjoy the ‘Quick Resume’ feature where you can pick up right where you left off almost instantly thanks to the use of a new DirectStorage API and Sampler Feedback Streaming (SFS) technologies.

The Xbox Series X will also have VRR or Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode or ALLM to provide you with a smooth gaming experience. The former will eliminate screen tearing and improve overall frame rates and the latter will ensure that it will use your chosen display’s lowest latency mode for maximum performance.

Because the Playstation 5 can support 8K resolution, Phil Spencer also said that the Microsoft Xbox Series X can also handle that as well, though it remains to be seen if the gaming experience will be somewhat enjoyable, given how taxing the said resolution can be.

Controller

Microsoft Xbox Series X Controller

Unlike the DualSense controller that comes with the PS5, not much is known about the Series X’s controller. Spencer did say that it will have a slimmer form factor and its D-Pad is vastly improved (to mimic the Xbox Elite controller which is a 3rd-party peripheral).

The rumble motors are reported to make a comeback, though I do not know if it will be a better implementation than the haptics that are embedded in the DualSense controller.

It seems that lowering the latency is one of the top priorities of the company as Spencer said that it will have a Dynamic Latency Input feature that will significantly reduce the input lag of the said controller. Of course, this will be tested in our review once the unit is available.

Games

It is a bit of a disappointment that Halo Infinite, which used to be a launch title, is delayed until 2021. There are still plenty of different games, however, and here are just some of the most notable ones:

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • As Dusk Falls
  • Avowed
  • Battlefield 6
  • Borderlands 3
  • Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War
  • Chivalry 2
  • Control: Ultimate Edition
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Dirt 5
  • Dragon Age 4
  • Dying Light 2
  • Everwild
  • Exomecha
  • Fable
  • Far Cry 6
  • FIFA 21
  • Gears 5
  • Graven
  • Hood: Outlaws and Legends
  • Hogwarts Legacy
  • Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  • New Genesis: Phantasy Star Online 2
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Rainbow Six Quarantine
  • Resident Evil Village
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Scorn
  • State of Decay 3
  • Watch Dogs: Legion

Backward Compatibility and Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft Xbox Series X Game Pass

A lot of people were disappointed by the fact that the Playstation 5 only supports PS4 games and is not backward compatible with the older generation Playstation consoles. The Microsoft Xbox Series X is different.

You see, it not only supports all of the games from its predecessor’s content portfolio, but it will also support most of the games of the older generation platforms as well. This means that even the original Xbox games are playable on the new game console which is a really good thing.

You would want to register for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate so that you can unlock all of the games. It is worth noting that by getting the game pass, you also have the privilege of using the company’s xCloud feature that allows you to play Xbox games while you are on the go. Think of this as an improved version of Google Stadia.

Conclusion

I am really impressed with what the Microsoft Xbox Series X has to offer. Aside from its very powerful hardware, its new features and technologies will certainly improve your gaming experience manifold.

By getting the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you get to enjoy your favorite Xbox games while on the go, while also unlocking all of the possible older-generation games that are playable on the new platform.

It remains to be seen if the new controller is better, but I am eager to find out if the new low latency feature can truly decrease input lag by a lot.

Remember that you can already pre-order your own unit today and the console will be officially released on November 10 in all regions. It costs $499.

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TikTok and WeChat Bans- What We Know So Far

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Tiktok and WeChat Ban

It seems that President Trump’s ban on Chinese tech giants are in full swing after one of the most powerful men in the world issued bans on popular Chinese-owned apps: TikTok and WeChat.

TikTok is a popular platform that allows people to record and upload user-generated content, which is essentially a means of uploading viral content over the internet.

WeChat is a chat platform that also includes a payment portal and a news corner. It is a more robust application that could potentially be a problem when it comes to your data and privacy in general, at least, that’s what Trump thinks.

The Ban

Tiktok Ban

In a previous post, President Trump has given ByteDance, the company that created TikTok, about 45 days for them to reach an agreement with Microsoft. If a deal doesn’t push through, the application will no longer be allowed to operate in the U.S. Apparently, there is a new deal that was made and the stakeholder is a different company now.

Oracle has won the bidding war so instead of Microsoft making a deal with the Chinese-based company, it is now Oracle that will take the helm. The company was supposed to oversee the deal but apparently, it couldn’t reach an accord with ByteDance, which prompted Trump to remind the Chinese company that it only had until November 12 to operate.

In what appears to be an insult to ByteDance, Trump also added that its popular application will no longer be available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store starting Sunday, September 20.

On a similar note, WeChat also suffers the same fate as the president of the United States have also issued an order for the US-owned mobile operating system giants to remove the said application in their respective app stores.

At the time of writing, both Apple and Google haven’t issued any statements but they did mention in the past that they are going to abide by the laws of the country.

President Trump, on Friday, has issued an ultimatum where the popular Chinese export will no longer be able to operate within U.S. soil if it cannot reach a deal with Oracle.

ByteDance representatives, as well as the Chinese government, were adamant against the decision stating that ByteDance was not given a chance of due process. The Chinese government is mulling over the possibility of doing the same with US-owned companies, so we could see some ramifications of this particular threat made by Trump.

Apparently, the ban on both WeChat and TikTok spawned over fears that the Chinese-owned apps are getting private data from its consumers.

There is some truth to this in the sense that TikTok wants to gain access to a lot of permissions that have no integral bearing on the app’s features, which is kind of fishy when you really think about it.

But, in a statement that was released by ByteDance, the only information that was extracted from users is data that the users are willing to share and nothing else. This is also stipulated in the terms and conditions and if users agreed to this, then the app developer has the right to the data.

Some Hope

ByteDance is probably happy by the fact that it has received quite a number of downloads on Saturday, the supposed last day that American citizens can download the application.

True enough, in a statement that was released by the said company, it had received an 800% surge in users over the weekend- something that was unprecedented in recent times.

Just a reminder, you can still use TikTok on your mobile device until November 12 (or longer, depending on whether or not Oracle and ByteDance will reach an agreement).

An update on the deal: Trump’s administration wants Walmart to join the agreement, which would mean that both Oracle and Walmart will be major stakeholders of ByteDance.

It is also worth noting that both of the US-based companies will only own about 20% of the entire share of the company. That means that ByteDance will still own the vast majority of TikTok and other future applications that are going to be developed.

The move is just to ensure that the Chinese-based company will not overstep its boundaries, especially when it comes to national security.

What About WeChat?

WeChat Ban

It still remains to be seen whether or not WeChat will be permanently banned in the U.S. or not, but American users will no longer be able to use the said application until further notice.

Judge Laurel Beeler, one of the judges that handled the case, said that the ban has created a lot of serious questions about the First Amendment rights of some Chinese-Americans.

Apparently, WeChat is the only chat application that is allowed to operate within Chinese soil, so banning this application in the U.S. would mean that some Chinese people who are not fluent in English, will have a hard time communicating with their relatives in China.

I think it is precisely because of this reason why Trump and his administration wants to ban WeChat. It apparently has the means of communicating some sensitive data from American citizens that could potentially be used and be weaponized by the Chinese government. Although these claims could potentially be true, there is no tangible evidence to suggest that this is indeed the case.

While TikTok could still be used by Americans until Walmart and Oracle are able to reach a deal, the same cannot be said for WeChat.

The good thing is that there tons of other messaging apps that American citizens can use, but this will certainly not bode well for the Chinese-American community.

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Apple Watch 6- What Are the New Things in Apple’s Newest Smartwatch?

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Apple Watch 6 Hands-on Review

Apple has unveiled the new Apple Watch Series 6 (or simply known as the Apple Watch 6) and it is the company’s new flagship smartwatch that brings with it some interesting features.

Today, I am going to be talking about this particular product so that you will have a glimpse of the new things that it can do. Do keep in mind that this is not an actual review of the watch but rather an interesting preview.

What’s New?

Let’s get down right to it: What are the new things that the Apple Watch 6 has to offer? Well, there are only two noteworthy additions and that is the new chipset, as well as the Sp02 blood oxygen sensor. Let’s talk about the latter first.

The new blood oxygen sensor was built into the smartwatch as a means of letting the user know his or her level of blood oxygen whenever they do certain activities, such as hiking, mountaineering, or any other strenuous activities that could potentially affect a person’s blood oxygen levels.

This is also certainly useful, especially since we are in the midst of a global pandemic that can affect a person’s respiratory system as well.

To utilize the said feature, all you have to do is download a specific app and wear the smartwatch wherever you go.

Provided that the watch is still tethered to your iPhone, it will provide you with some information about your blood oxygen levels. While it can do it passively, you can also get a reading any time you want.

To do this, all you have to do is fire the app, press on the active reading feature, and wait for about 15 seconds and the application will give you your current blood oxygen levels.

While this is an interesting feature, the app does tell you that all of the readings are meant just for general fitness purposes only and should not be used as a means of self-diagnosis or information that can be relayed to your physician.

Apple Watch 6 Hands-on Review 2020

Even though I understand that the watch is incapable of providing 100% accurate results, giving you a glimpse of your blood oxygen levels should remain helpful somewhat. The said warning just makes it appear that the feature is, to put it bluntly, just a gimmick.

Anyway, the new chipset that is placed inside the Apple Watch 6’s chassis should provide you with more power and probably better battery life.

One interesting side effect of the new chipset is that it can automatically adjust the display’s brightness if it detects that you are outside and the sun is shining brightly as ever. While it remains to be seen if this has a huge impact on the battery life of the device, it is interesting that the brightness level is much more powerful than in the Apple Watch Series 5.

Design

Some tech reviewers deem the Apple Watch 6 as an iterative upgrade- both in the features and the design departments. That is because the new watch pretty much looks like its predecessor, albeit you are given some new color options to choose from.

I really like the new red-colored strap. It looks vibrant and lively and I am pretty sure that this color and aesthetic will be much more appealing than the others.

For people that want a subtler look, you also have the option to get either the black graphite variant or the blue aluminum case.

After speaking to an Apple representative, it seems that the company will also be releasing a gold version as well, though I think that the price of that thing is higher than the color options I’ve just mentioned.

The watch is still offered in 40mm and 44mm variants and you also get that always-on display that a lot of people really love about the Series 5.

Apple Watch 6

Verdict

The Apple Watch 6 is an iterative upgrade, in my opinion. It does provide you with a much better chipset and it also offers a new Sp02 sensor that could potentially be helpful to you more than others, but I don’t think these features would want people to reach for their wallets and buy this thing.

If you ask me, if you have an older Apple Watch Series 3, upgrading to the latest smartwatch just makes sense because it will be considered a huge generational leap.

However, if you are currently using the Series 5, the only reason why you’d get the new product is for its Sp02 sensor and nothing else.

The Apple Watch 6 is also the poster child for the new WatchOS so if you want to get a smartwatch that is already packed with the latest watch operating system from Apple, then it is probably a thing that you can buy today.

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Android 11 Beta Features- Highlights, How to Install, and More

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Android 11 Beta Best Features

The Android 11 Beta version 1 is already available to the public. At the time of writing, it is only available on Pixel devices, but manufacturers such as Oppo and Xiaomi are going to join the fray anytime soon.

That being said, with any major update to the operating system, there are some new things that are going to be introduced.

Read further to find out all of the features in Android 11 Beta.

How to Install the Update

Before anything else, I want to point out that the first beta version of Android 11 is riddled with bugs. I wouldn’t say that it is a daily driver at all so if you can wait a little longer for the second beta, then that is better.

However, for those that want to tinker with their devices, you might want to try out the new Android OS right now. So, how do you install the update?

Well, there are actually two ways for you to install the new OS, but I will only highlight the easiest one.

Anyway, the first thing that you need to do would be to have a Pixel device. That means that any phone from Google Pixel 2 and above should work.

Next, you want to go to the Android Beta Program on your pixel device and sign-in with your Google account. Once that is done, you want to scroll down and tap ‘Your Eligible Devices’.

Find your specific phone’s model number and tap the option to opt-in. From there, you will be presented with some prompts and the OTA update should be available shortly after.

If you want to get out of the beta program, all you have to do is redo the steps and when asked to opt-in, simply just opt-out and that’s it.

Android 11 Features

In every new version of the Android operating system, there are always some new features and improvements being introduced on an annual basis.

That being said, while there aren’t that many changes in the UI, there are still some notable ones. Below are just some of the best features of Android 11.

1.Notification Groupings

Android 11 Notifications

It is really frustrating to sift through all of your notifications for specific ones, but Google has had enough of that. In Android 11, your notifications are now grouped into three categories: Conversations, Alerting Notifications, and Silent Notifications.

In the Conversations section, you will find all of your chat messages from your various apps. At the moment, only Facebook Messenger is not bugged simply because Facebook has already implemented the needed API for this feature to work.

Theoretically, your emails, chat messages, and texts should be grouped in the Conversations section.

All of the system notifications are automatically grouped in the Silent Notifications section. These are notifications that you’ve put to the said category, as well as system messages that you normally wouldn’t need to see (such as USB debugging, for example).

All of your other notifications that you haven’t put in the Silent category will be lumped together in the Alerting Notifications section. These include your news apps, RSS feeds, articles, emails (if you didn’t give it a priority), among many others.

I really love this new feature simply because it makes it easier for you to respond to conversations.

2.Chat Bubbles

Android 11 Chat Bubbles

If you’ve ever used Facebook Messenger, this new feature will be right at home. Chat bubbles are essentially similar to the previously-mentioned app’s feature with the major difference that it now supports all of your chat applications.

As mentioned earlier, only Facebook’s Messenger app utilizes this functionality, though expect other app developers to follow suit.

So, if you’ve received text messages or any notifications from your chat apps, then each notification will correspond to its own chat bubble so you can easily tap and reply to them.

Expect that this feature will become so much better in later beta versions of the OS.

3.Persistent Media Playback Controls

Android 11 Media Playback

Android 10 introduced a feature where media playback can be controlled by a card found on the notifications section of the device. Although it was good, there are some actions that would make it disappear, hence it is not as useful as one would hope it to be.

In Android 11, you can expect better media playback controls simply because the same feature is now put on top of the quick settings menu. Although it is still buggy and you have to go to the developer options to enable the said feature, I like the idea of a persistent media playback control panel.

4.Control

Android 11 Controls

Another standout feature that was introduced in the new Android operating system is Control. By simply pressing the power button, you will be presented with a new screen that offers some smart home features on the fly.

You can tap Google Pay if you have (and you can also add your preferred payment method as well).

If you have smart home appliances or even Google Home speakers, you can also control that on the same screen as well.

It seems that the company is making huge strides in making IoT more mainstream and accessible to the general public.

5.Improved App Permissions

Android 11 App Permissions

Also introduced in Android 10, the App Permissions have been refined in Android 11. By default, applications are granted one-time permission and that is when you fire up the app to use its features.

Other than that, you can also choose to permit the application indefinitely or completely deny it from using your phone, etc.

There is also a new feature that allows you to revoke permissions on apps that you haven’t used in quite a while. You will be notified which applications have their permissions revoked so that you won’t get surprised if you use them sometime in the future.

6.Screen Recorder

Android 11 Screen Recorder

A lot of people have to download 3rd party screen recording apps from the Google Playstore in order to record what’s on their screen. There was supposed to be a similar feature that should’ve been implemented in Android 10, but it seems that it was buggy back then so it was ditched entirely in the final release.

However, I am pleased to inform you that the built-in screen recorder is back and the feature is not buggy at all. Hopefully, this will be released in the final version of the OS.

7.Better Gesture Navigation

Android 11 Gesture Navigations

As smartphones become bigger and bigger, people love to use gesture navigation for better ergonomics and usability.

Gesture navigation is already built into the Android OS starting last year, though Google has improved it even more.

With Android 11, you can easily adjust certain parameters like the sensitivity, as well as how big or small you want the gestures area to be.

8.Dark Theme

Android 11 Dark Theme

Although the dark theme is nothing new, you can now easily toggle between dark and light themes by enabling/disabling its quick settings icon.

In addition, more and more applications are embracing the darker aesthetic, so no more buggy UIs.

One unique feature is that you can set your phone’s theme to dark immediately based on the time that you’ve set in the settings menu.

Lastly, you can also change the icon’s shapes for your quick settings as well. You can use the default, squircle, and a whole lot more.

Conclusion

The Android 11 Beta version 1 is already here. It is still quite buggy and app developers would have to incorporate the new API for them to take advantage of the new features.

As of the time of writing this article, only Google Pixel devices are supported, though some phone companies have already expressed their desire to join the program as well.

All of the new features are just quality of life changes. Perhaps, we can expect more in the next set of beta versions before the final release.

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Xbox Series X- When Will It Be Released and What Does It Bring to the Table?

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Microsoft Xbox Series X

After months of hype and speculations, the Microsoft Xbox Series X has finally been unveiled to the public and we now know a lot more information about the upcoming game console than ever before.

In this article, I will go over the key points that you need to know about Microsoft’s console, such as release dates, pricing, new features and technologies, and so much more.

Release Date and Pricing

The Xbox Series X will be released on November 10 and pre-orders will start as early as September 22. The price of the said game console will be $499 which is in-line with Sony’s Playstation 5 disc edition.

Unlike Sony where the company has decided to employ a staggered release date for its PS5 consoles, the Microsoft Xbox Series X will be released on the same date worldwide. Of course, there is the challenge of availability considering that we are still suffering from a global pandemic, which is why pre-ordering the console (assuming that you want to get one) makes a whole lot of sense.

Design

Microsoft Xbox Series X 1

Unlike previous Xbox consoles, the Series X will actually have a more tower-like design with some air vents that can be visibly seen on top of the device.

The Series X will also feature a 4K Blu-ray player, so you could say that it is indeed quite similar to what Sony has to offer.

As of the time of writing this article, the console will only be available in black, though with the release of prior Xbox consoles, a white-colored Xbox is not too far off.

The more vertical design of the upcoming gaming machine might prove to be challenging for some people, especially when it comes to desk space. You will need to have adequate space to rest the console on the surface.

Specs

Microsoft Xbox Series X Design

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen Custom Zen 2, 8-cores/16-threads (via SMT) @3.8GHz (boost) and 3.6GHz (base)
  • GPU: AMD Custom RDNA 2 GPU with 52 Compute Units, 12 TFLOPS, and @ 1.825GHz
  • Process (nodes): 7nm Enhanced
  • Memory: 16GB GDDR6, 320-bit Bus, 10GB @ 560GB/s and GB @ 336GB/s memory bandwidth
  • Internal Storage: 1GB Custom NVMe SSD, 4.8 GB/s (read) and 2.4 GB/s (write) (both are theoretical values)
  • Storage Expansion: 1TB
  • External Storage Support: USB 3.2 External HDD
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
  • Performance Target: 4K @ 60 FPS, up to 120FPS (Theoretical)

I am really very excited about the new-gen consoles because they are packed with serious hardware that allows you to play games at 4K resolution without any issues.

Just like the PS5, the Xbox Series X is also powered by a custom AMD Ryzen CPU (using Zen 2 architecture) and a custom AMD GPU (using the new RDNA2 architecture). This performance package should allow you to play games at 4K@ 60 frames per second ‘comfortably’ (at least according to Microsoft Xbox president, Phil Spencer) and it could even give you the right amount of processing power to achieve more than 60 frames per second (up to 120 frames per second, theoretically).

The CPU, according to Digital Foundry, has a base clock of 3.6GHz and it boosts up to 3.8GHz. The good thing is that the boosting algorithms will only kick in when the console needs more horsepower which can be a good thing both from a performance and thermals standpoint.

It is also worth noting that the new Xbox will support ray tracing. Thus, you can enable such a feature in the games that support it and you will not have to worry about any performance penalties at all since the hardware is more than capable.

This new and upcoming game console will also be using a custom 1TB NVMe SSD which is 100+ GB more than what the PS5 has to offer.

While Spencer didn’t mention anything specific, the SSD that comes in the Xbox Series X should be faster than any consumer SSD that you can find on the market up to this point.

This would mean that if you are going to use its expansion slot to add more storage, you will have to buy an SSD directly from Microsoft if you want to get the best performance possible out of a storage drive.

If you are okay with using an external hard drive, it can support one that is using a USB 3.2 Gen 1 cable.

The optical drive is a 4K Blu-Ray player and each game disc can hold as much as 100GB of storage (though it is more likely that each disc can contain an amount lower than that).

Features

The Microsoft Xbox Series X has a lot of nice features up its sleeve. For one, it has the new Velocity architecture that makes good use of the console’s NVMe SSD, thus virtually eliminating load times.

In line with the said technology, you will also get to enjoy the ‘Quick Resume’ feature where you can pick up right where you left off almost instantly thanks to the use of a new DirectStorage API and Sampler Feedback Streaming (SFS) technologies.

The Xbox Series X will also have VRR or Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode or ALLM to provide you with a smooth gaming experience. The former will eliminate screen tearing and improve overall frame rates and the latter will ensure that it will use your chosen display’s lowest latency mode for maximum performance.

Because the Playstation 5 can support 8K resolution, Phil Spencer also said that the Microsoft Xbox Series X can also handle that as well, though it remains to be seen if the gaming experience will be somewhat enjoyable, given how taxing the said resolution can be.

Controller

Microsoft Xbox Series X Controller

Unlike the DualSense controller that comes with the PS5, not much is known about the Series X’s controller. Spencer did say that it will have a slimmer form factor and its D-Pad is vastly improved (to mimic the Xbox Elite controller which is a 3rd-party peripheral).

The rumble motors are reported to make a comeback, though I do not know if it will be a better implementation than the haptics that are embedded in the DualSense controller.

It seems that lowering the latency is one of the top priorities of the company as Spencer said that it will have a Dynamic Latency Input feature that will significantly reduce the input lag of the said controller. Of course, this will be tested in our review once the unit is available.

Games

It is a bit of a disappointment that Halo Infinite, which used to be a launch title, is delayed until 2021. There are still plenty of different games, however, and here are just some of the most notable ones:

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • As Dusk Falls
  • Avowed
  • Battlefield 6
  • Borderlands 3
  • Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War
  • Chivalry 2
  • Control: Ultimate Edition
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Dirt 5
  • Dragon Age 4
  • Dying Light 2
  • Everwild
  • Exomecha
  • Fable
  • Far Cry 6
  • FIFA 21
  • Gears 5
  • Graven
  • Hood: Outlaws and Legends
  • Hogwarts Legacy
  • Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  • New Genesis: Phantasy Star Online 2
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Rainbow Six Quarantine
  • Resident Evil Village
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Scorn
  • State of Decay 3
  • Watch Dogs: Legion

Backward Compatibility and Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft Xbox Series X Game Pass

A lot of people were disappointed by the fact that the Playstation 5 only supports PS4 games and is not backward compatible with the older generation Playstation consoles. The Microsoft Xbox Series X is different.

You see, it not only supports all of the games from its predecessor’s content portfolio, but it will also support most of the games of the older generation platforms as well. This means that even the original Xbox games are playable on the new game console which is a really good thing.

You would want to register for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate so that you can unlock all of the games. It is worth noting that by getting the game pass, you also have the privilege of using the company’s xCloud feature that allows you to play Xbox games while you are on the go. Think of this as an improved version of Google Stadia.

Conclusion

I am really impressed with what the Microsoft Xbox Series X has to offer. Aside from its very powerful hardware, its new features and technologies will certainly improve your gaming experience manifold.

By getting the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you get to enjoy your favorite Xbox games while on the go, while also unlocking all of the possible older-generation games that are playable on the new platform.

It remains to be seen if the new controller is better, but I am eager to find out if the new low latency feature can truly decrease input lag by a lot.

Remember that you can already pre-order your own unit today and the console will be officially released on November 10 in all regions. It costs $499.

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TikTok and WeChat Bans- What We Know So Far

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Tiktok and WeChat Ban

It seems that President Trump’s ban on Chinese tech giants are in full swing after one of the most powerful men in the world issued bans on popular Chinese-owned apps: TikTok and WeChat.

TikTok is a popular platform that allows people to record and upload user-generated content, which is essentially a means of uploading viral content over the internet.

WeChat is a chat platform that also includes a payment portal and a news corner. It is a more robust application that could potentially be a problem when it comes to your data and privacy in general, at least, that’s what Trump thinks.

The Ban

Tiktok Ban

In a previous post, President Trump has given ByteDance, the company that created TikTok, about 45 days for them to reach an agreement with Microsoft. If a deal doesn’t push through, the application will no longer be allowed to operate in the U.S. Apparently, there is a new deal that was made and the stakeholder is a different company now.

Oracle has won the bidding war so instead of Microsoft making a deal with the Chinese-based company, it is now Oracle that will take the helm. The company was supposed to oversee the deal but apparently, it couldn’t reach an accord with ByteDance, which prompted Trump to remind the Chinese company that it only had until November 12 to operate.

In what appears to be an insult to ByteDance, Trump also added that its popular application will no longer be available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store starting Sunday, September 20.

On a similar note, WeChat also suffers the same fate as the president of the United States have also issued an order for the US-owned mobile operating system giants to remove the said application in their respective app stores.

At the time of writing, both Apple and Google haven’t issued any statements but they did mention in the past that they are going to abide by the laws of the country.

President Trump, on Friday, has issued an ultimatum where the popular Chinese export will no longer be able to operate within U.S. soil if it cannot reach a deal with Oracle.

ByteDance representatives, as well as the Chinese government, were adamant against the decision stating that ByteDance was not given a chance of due process. The Chinese government is mulling over the possibility of doing the same with US-owned companies, so we could see some ramifications of this particular threat made by Trump.

Apparently, the ban on both WeChat and TikTok spawned over fears that the Chinese-owned apps are getting private data from its consumers.

There is some truth to this in the sense that TikTok wants to gain access to a lot of permissions that have no integral bearing on the app’s features, which is kind of fishy when you really think about it.

But, in a statement that was released by ByteDance, the only information that was extracted from users is data that the users are willing to share and nothing else. This is also stipulated in the terms and conditions and if users agreed to this, then the app developer has the right to the data.

Some Hope

ByteDance is probably happy by the fact that it has received quite a number of downloads on Saturday, the supposed last day that American citizens can download the application.

True enough, in a statement that was released by the said company, it had received an 800% surge in users over the weekend- something that was unprecedented in recent times.

Just a reminder, you can still use TikTok on your mobile device until November 12 (or longer, depending on whether or not Oracle and ByteDance will reach an agreement).

An update on the deal: Trump’s administration wants Walmart to join the agreement, which would mean that both Oracle and Walmart will be major stakeholders of ByteDance.

It is also worth noting that both of the US-based companies will only own about 20% of the entire share of the company. That means that ByteDance will still own the vast majority of TikTok and other future applications that are going to be developed.

The move is just to ensure that the Chinese-based company will not overstep its boundaries, especially when it comes to national security.

What About WeChat?

WeChat Ban

It still remains to be seen whether or not WeChat will be permanently banned in the U.S. or not, but American users will no longer be able to use the said application until further notice.

Judge Laurel Beeler, one of the judges that handled the case, said that the ban has created a lot of serious questions about the First Amendment rights of some Chinese-Americans.

Apparently, WeChat is the only chat application that is allowed to operate within Chinese soil, so banning this application in the U.S. would mean that some Chinese people who are not fluent in English, will have a hard time communicating with their relatives in China.

I think it is precisely because of this reason why Trump and his administration wants to ban WeChat. It apparently has the means of communicating some sensitive data from American citizens that could potentially be used and be weaponized by the Chinese government. Although these claims could potentially be true, there is no tangible evidence to suggest that this is indeed the case.

While TikTok could still be used by Americans until Walmart and Oracle are able to reach a deal, the same cannot be said for WeChat.

The good thing is that there tons of other messaging apps that American citizens can use, but this will certainly not bode well for the Chinese-American community.

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Apple Watch 6- What Are the New Things in Apple’s Newest Smartwatch?

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Apple Watch 6 Hands-on Review

Apple has unveiled the new Apple Watch Series 6 (or simply known as the Apple Watch 6) and it is the company’s new flagship smartwatch that brings with it some interesting features.

Today, I am going to be talking about this particular product so that you will have a glimpse of the new things that it can do. Do keep in mind that this is not an actual review of the watch but rather an interesting preview.

What’s New?

Let’s get down right to it: What are the new things that the Apple Watch 6 has to offer? Well, there are only two noteworthy additions and that is the new chipset, as well as the Sp02 blood oxygen sensor. Let’s talk about the latter first.

The new blood oxygen sensor was built into the smartwatch as a means of letting the user know his or her level of blood oxygen whenever they do certain activities, such as hiking, mountaineering, or any other strenuous activities that could potentially affect a person’s blood oxygen levels.

This is also certainly useful, especially since we are in the midst of a global pandemic that can affect a person’s respiratory system as well.

To utilize the said feature, all you have to do is download a specific app and wear the smartwatch wherever you go.

Provided that the watch is still tethered to your iPhone, it will provide you with some information about your blood oxygen levels. While it can do it passively, you can also get a reading any time you want.

To do this, all you have to do is fire the app, press on the active reading feature, and wait for about 15 seconds and the application will give you your current blood oxygen levels.

While this is an interesting feature, the app does tell you that all of the readings are meant just for general fitness purposes only and should not be used as a means of self-diagnosis or information that can be relayed to your physician.

Apple Watch 6 Hands-on Review 2020

Even though I understand that the watch is incapable of providing 100% accurate results, giving you a glimpse of your blood oxygen levels should remain helpful somewhat. The said warning just makes it appear that the feature is, to put it bluntly, just a gimmick.

Anyway, the new chipset that is placed inside the Apple Watch 6’s chassis should provide you with more power and probably better battery life.

One interesting side effect of the new chipset is that it can automatically adjust the display’s brightness if it detects that you are outside and the sun is shining brightly as ever. While it remains to be seen if this has a huge impact on the battery life of the device, it is interesting that the brightness level is much more powerful than in the Apple Watch Series 5.

Design

Some tech reviewers deem the Apple Watch 6 as an iterative upgrade- both in the features and the design departments. That is because the new watch pretty much looks like its predecessor, albeit you are given some new color options to choose from.

I really like the new red-colored strap. It looks vibrant and lively and I am pretty sure that this color and aesthetic will be much more appealing than the others.

For people that want a subtler look, you also have the option to get either the black graphite variant or the blue aluminum case.

After speaking to an Apple representative, it seems that the company will also be releasing a gold version as well, though I think that the price of that thing is higher than the color options I’ve just mentioned.

The watch is still offered in 40mm and 44mm variants and you also get that always-on display that a lot of people really love about the Series 5.

Apple Watch 6

Verdict

The Apple Watch 6 is an iterative upgrade, in my opinion. It does provide you with a much better chipset and it also offers a new Sp02 sensor that could potentially be helpful to you more than others, but I don’t think these features would want people to reach for their wallets and buy this thing.

If you ask me, if you have an older Apple Watch Series 3, upgrading to the latest smartwatch just makes sense because it will be considered a huge generational leap.

However, if you are currently using the Series 5, the only reason why you’d get the new product is for its Sp02 sensor and nothing else.

The Apple Watch 6 is also the poster child for the new WatchOS so if you want to get a smartwatch that is already packed with the latest watch operating system from Apple, then it is probably a thing that you can buy today.

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