17 August  2018

The quest for full screenery (newly-invented phrase) has left us in a bit of a quandary. It arises thusly: Mobile phones of the modern ilk must perforce have a front facing camera, and preferably an earpiece and speakers. At least some of those items are traditionally crammed in at the top of the phone, where the bezel would normally be. Now if you want to go bezelless, you could do a couple of things - you could incorporate a notch, and risk the howls of derision from the inveterate antinochists, or you could go the Oppo and Vivo way, with a  pop-out camera that adds to complexity and expense and might adversely affect  reliability. Now it is Oppo themselves that have found a golden middle path. The R17 (and F9) include camera inlets (called "waterdrop notches") that are so subtle and unobtrusive that none but the most crotchety users would complain about the optics of it. Here's an important additional pointer - Oppo is, of course, a sister company to OnePlus, and design elements first tested on Oppo releases have on occasion found their way onto subsequent OnePlus models. This might, then, be the shape of things to come from OnePlus' upcoming 6T.
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Speaking of OnePlus, Xiaomi is set to launch its own offshoot brand that will aim to garner maximum market attention. The brand is called Pocophone, and the first model, the F1, is slated by Xiaomi to be, as the name suggests, the fastest phone on the market. So confident are Xiaomi of their claims, that they have dubbed the newcomer the Master of Speed. It will be the cheapest Snapdragon 845-equipped handset out there, and will launch in India first. That particular market already has a longstanding love affair with Xiaomi, and it is not unreasonable to project that the newcomer will gain quick traction there.
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One tends to think of full screenery (there he goes again) as a new development, but here is a handset that was substantially ahead of its time. If we slapped a substantial prize pot on the desk for the correct answer, very few would trot up to claim it. The Sharp Aquon Crystal was announced just about exactly four years ago. This makes it a 2014 model, positively ancient in mobile phone terms. Yet it had a near bezelless display, save for the obligatory chin, and it sported a few other features that were ahead of its time.  It slipped the front facing camera to the bottom of the phone and advised users to flip the phone when taking selfies, a trick later employed by other manufacturers. It also did not have a speaker, instead using a neat trick where a vibrating internal unit  essentially turned the entire phone body into a speaker, also a trick later picked up by other manufacturers. The phone never really took off, for as we know, a prophet is not always honoured in his own lifetime, but Sharp definitely had a clear view on some things that were a few years into the future yet.
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Not so very long ago, we reported that Apple was the first company to cross the trillion dollar valuation threshold.  It is not a lap ahead of the opposition, though, and other juggernauts such as  Google and Amazon are also rapidly closing in on that figure. It is not surprising to discover that rivalries at the upper echelon can be rather fierce, and one of the battlefields that Amazon has chosen is to switch YouTube users over to its video streaming platform, Twitch. Now YouTube of course has enjoyed a rather substantial head start, and is one of the world's most recognizable brands. Amazon would not let that deter them, though. They have started headhunting prominent YouTube personalities, in some instances offering them multi-million dollar incentives to Twitchswitch. Twitch was once a niche platform focusing on video game streaming, but is now broadening its horizons, hopefully, forpprom their point of view, shrinking those of YouTube at the same time.
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The club for mobile phone users who have fallen victim to embarrassing autocorrect faux pas must surely be one of the largest societies in the world. For all its value in the productivity stakes and plastering over  users' spelling deficiencies, autocorrect has in its time risen up and bitten back with some memorable howlers. We enjoy the memes, but don't often take the time to think of how all of this actually came about. Here, then, for those who are not averse to indulging in a spot of entertaining reading, is the story of how autocorrect came to be, forever after lurking with intent to assist, but also to embarrass.
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We opt for a spot of positivity with a second Winner of the Week candidate instead of our usual Friday edition Wally of the Week.  As is often the case, our winner comes in the form of a four footed, furry bundle of love. This woofter has some serious diplomatic chops, of that there can be no doubt. It spotted the impending outbreak of hostilities between two felines, and rather than getting out the phone and capturing the melee for a later YouTube upload, it gently grabbed the one cat by its harness and removed it from the arena. A perfect example of de-escalation that many police officers would be well served to emulate.
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