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Nokia 8 Android Flagship Brings Dual-Sight ‘Bothie’ Camera, OZO Audio

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Nokia 8 Flagship

HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, has announced the Nokia 8 flagship, a premium smartphone for Android purists. Oh yes, it’s designed with content creators in mind.

Nokia’s premium rectangular slab — the Nokia 8 — is made out of a single block of 6000 series aluminum, which has been refined over 40 stages, including machining, anodizing, and polishing. Some select high-gloss mirror finish variants take over 20 straight hours to complete.

Sporting a 5.3-inch QHD display with Gorilla Glass 5, the Nokia 8 is powered by a Snapdragon 835 chipset, the latest offering from Qualcomm, coupled with 4GB of memory. The storage volume mounts to 64GB, and is expandable up to 256GB via microSD.

Nokia 8 Polished Blue and Copper

There’s a 13-megapixel dual-camera setup at the back, while the same with a wider camera angle on the front. The handset also debuts Nokia’s collaboration with ZEISS optics. The battery is a 3,090mAh affair, supporting Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology. There’s a biometric fingerprint sensor, as well.

The Nokia 8 also features OZO Audio. What this means for you is that the handset can capture audio with immersive 360-degree spatial surround sound. It actually combines three microphones with Nokia’s acoustic algorithms, and enables high fidelity playback even on non-OZO Audio devices, according to the company, thanks to binaural codecs.

Nokia 8 Color

Besides the premium features and construction, the Nokia 8 has something even more on board. The handset has its unique take over selfie — no, not wefie! It’s called #Bothie (and you know what it sounds like!). Thanks to the new Dual-Sight feature, the Nokia 8 lets you make use of both front and rear cameras simultaneously. It stitches the front and rear camera views in a split screen visual for both photos and videos. Plus, you can live stream natively and in real-time through Dual-Sight. A big thanks to ZEISS optics!

Not unlike other Nokia Android phones, the Nokia 8 will, of course, come bloatware-free with pure Android Nougat 7.1.1. Available in Polished Blue, Polished Copper, Tempered Blue and Steel, the Nokia flagship will retail for approximately €599 when it launches next month in Europe.

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Blocks modular smartwatch is finally available to purchase

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Blocks SmartWatch

Blocks has begun selling the modular smartwatch, which the company launched on Kickstarter in 2015. True to its name, the Blocks modular smartwatch is a full add-on gear, powered by a proprietary OS, and works with both iOS and Android.

Once upon a time back in 2015, when Apple Watch had just launched, Android Wear was still a good deal to bet on. Meanwhile, Blocks launched on Kickstarter, and also made its trip to CES in Vegas. The company promised to ship the product in May of 2016, however, constant delays made it possible today. The company has begun shipping the watch to Kickstarter backers, and is using CES to tell the world that it is now ready for everyone.

Blocks SmartWatch Module

Blocks’ Core smartwatch has fitness tracking, Amazon Alexa, notification support, alongside some modular add-ons. Of course, the Blocks smartwatch can display time.

Blocks says it will continue developing new modules, including a fingerprint sensor, extra batteries, if things go well with the ecosystem.

The Core comes in either black or silver finish, with black and red straps on offer. The add-on modules cost $35 each on top of $259 for the Core base unit. Even after years of delays, Blocks isn’t confirming an exact date yet, saying that the devices should ship sometime in Q1 of 2018.

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Oculus partners with Xiaomi to launch Oculus Go and Mi VR Standalone

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Oculus Go
Image Credit / Facebook

Oculus announced partnerships with Xiaomi and Qualcomm at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. As part of the new partnerships, the company also revealed details about the upcoming Oculus Go along with a new Mi VR Standalone headset.

Oculus Go, which the company announced at last year’s Oculus Connect, will be manufactured by Xiaomi, in partnership with Qualcomm to power the headset. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 Mobile VR Platform is what powers Oculus Go and Mi VR Standalone.

Mi VR Standalone and Oculus Go

We’ve worked closely with Qualcomm to deliver the highest possible level of performance to meet the high computing demands of the standalone VR product category.

The Go and Standalone both share the same core hardware technology and features, sporting same design aesthetics (except the logo). While the Oculus Go headset will be available worldwide, the Mi VR Standalone will be available exclusively for the Chinese market. The Oculus Mobile SDK support will allow developers to easily port their content to the platform in China. Plus, the company says Xiaomi is working directly with Oculus developers to localize popular content from the Oculus Store.

No word on the availability of the devices yet!

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Google Pay brings Android Pay and Google Wallet together

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Google Pay
Look for Google Pay at checkout in Google apps, online, and in stores

Google has announced that it is merging Android Pay and Google Wallet into a new brand name, Google Pay. Sounds familiar? Well, it has now been a common naming convention in the industry — especially in the payment space.

After Google launched Wallet in 2011, the service once supported NFC payments for goods and services. However, the company later launched Android Pay in 2015 for online and real-world payments, making Google Wallet a person-to-person payment system. All that now has changed to Google Pay.

Google Pay Logo

For current Android Pay and Google Wallet users, it is just a change of name and logo. Google says it will be easier to use payment information saved to Google Account, speeding up the entire checkout with peace of mind. Plus, the new Google Pay logo will be visible online, in-store, and across Google products in the coming weeks. In fact, Google Pay is already available on Airbnb, Dice, Fandango, HungryHouse, and Instacart. The company is also offering promotional offers to the users.

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