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30
May

Hands-on video with ASUS ZenBook 3: so, so thin


We didn’t expect much from yet another ASUS ultraportable, but the ZenBook 3 is seriously impressive. Weighing in at 2 pounds and 11.9mm thick, it’s both thinner and lighter than Apple’s already crazy portable MacBook. It also packs in speedy Core i5 and Core i7 processors, so you won’t have to worry about it being underpowered. Above, check out our hands-on video of the ZenBook 3, and you can read deeper impressions on the announcement post.

30
May

Can ‘Warcraft’ break the curse of the video game movie?


There’s a special place in cinema hell for video game movies. From 1993’s cringeworthy Super Mario Bros. — a high-profile abomination that even Nintendo wants to forget — to the basic-cable-worthy schlock that was Mortal Kombat and even the underwhelming Jake Gyllenhaal-vehicle Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, games have failed to make the big screen translation. But that’s precisely why director — and son of the late, great David Bowie — Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) agreed to tackle the theatrical debut of developer Blizzard’s massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game Warcraft.

“There’s been a rough track record of movies based on video games,” says Jones. “I do like the challenge. I like the idea of maybe making a film which is way better than anyone expected it to be because I know the expectations are all over the place.”

Set mostly in the Earth-like world of Azeroth, Warcraft follows the premise set forth by Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, the franchise’s first release for PC in late 1994. Having destroyed their own planet with dark magic, the Orcs attempt to take over the world of humans, setting off an epic clash of clans. What follows onscreen is a live action/CGI mashup visually reminiscent of Avatar that opts for a kinetic pace of nonstop battles over deep character study and plodding narrative.

Jones wasn’t originally attached to this Warcraft adaption — Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead) was. But, having been a longtime fan, he jumped at the chance to pick up where Raimi left off and build a film that lets audiences decide who the good guys are.

In advance of the film’s US release June 10th, I sat down with Jones to talk about his love of PC gaming, how spaghetti Westerns informed Warcraft’s battles and his early sci-fi and fantasy inspirations.

Had you been a PC gamer? What was your experience with Warcraft?

I’ve been a games player, a PC gamer for a long time. I had an [Intel] 386, then got a 486. [I] upgraded through the Pentiums. And I was playing all of the original real-time strategy Warcraft games and the Command and Conquer games, which were kind of happening around the same time.

But I was playing video games since the Atari 2600. Then the Commodore 64; then the Amiga and Atari IIe. Basically, everything … ever since I first could play games, I was playing them.

What attracted you to this as your third feature film, especially with the challenges of translating a video game to film?

I like the puzzle-solving nature of making movies. With Moon, my first film, I had Sam Rockwell performing mainly against himself. I mean, he really is the only actor that we see on screen most of the time. So there was the challenge of that. In Source Code, I had this small piece of narrative that I was sort of repeating multiple times, sort of Rashomon-style. And I wanted to make sure each time it felt original and new. So there was the challenge of that. And, obviously, Warcraft, it’s breaking the curse of games movies. But also structurally, it’s kind of interesting. It’s not what you would expect. It’s a war movie where the audience gets to empathize with both sides.

How did this come about? Did Blizzard approach you? Were they seeking someone to bring this to the screen, or was it a personal passion?

No. This is a film which I think Blizzard and Atlas and Legendary, who are involved in it, have been trying to make for quite a few years now. And my involvement originally was as a fan who was incredibly excited that Sam Raimi was on board to direct that movie. You know, I love Evil Dead 2 and I love a lot of his movies, but that one in particular. And I just got really excited about what he would do with Warcraft. And when he eventually dropped out to pursue The Wizard of Oz, there was no one attached and it seemed like the film had stalled. I had just finished Source Code around that time, and it had received good reviews. And I was able to talk my way into getting a chance to pitch what I would do with that project if I had the opportunity to do it.

And fortunately, being a long-term fan, my pitch was very much in sync with what Blizzard were hoping the movie could be.

What was the research process like? I mean, getting it just right so you don’t alienate fans, but also…

How many days of this [mimics playing on a PC] were involved? I mean, I think the fact that I was a fan meant that there was already a real synchronicity between what I thought the film could be and should be, and what Blizzard were hoping the film could be. Blizzard have this amazing history and legacy of taking things that people are already fans of and putting on that little twist that makes them kind of unique and allows you to see them in a different way. And [with] Warcraft, it really is sort of that idea of taking Tolkien, where humans and hobbits and cute creatures are the good guys, and then the creatures and the monsters are the bad guys. That was kind of the standard for fantasy. And they kind of turned it on the head by saying, “No, you as the player can be the hero on all sides.” And that’s what we wanted to bring into the movie — the idea that heroes come in the most unexpected places.

Were there any guidelines of dos and don’ts from Blizzard?

Well, I mean they do have a legacy. They have 20 years of digital folklore that they’ve made up, and it served them very well. … I’ve always worked very, very closely with them throughout the process, from the beginning right through to the end. And it was always about making my case. If there was ever a point where we weren’t completely already in agreement, I would make my case as to why for a movie there were changes that would be necessary. And sometimes they’d push back and sometimes they’d understand and agree.

In terms of the visuals, how did you set on the exact style you wanted without going too believable, but also not too cartoon-y?

I mean, there were kind of two big challenges in making Warcraft. One was to take the aesthetic of the game of Warcraft, which is very stylized and kind of comic book-y, and where the characters are drawn both narratively and aesthetically in these big, broad strokes and find a way to give it a bit of three dimension and realize it in a live-action way.

And that was really just a matter of spending a lot of time in preproduction working with Blizzard and with our own artists and just finding a way to strike that balance between the oversized armor and weapons of the game and something which feels that way but works in a live-action environment.

The other big challenge was how are we gonna make our Orcs, which are really more than just monsters. They’re not monsters in our movie; they’re characters. And we spend a lot of time with them and we get to know them. We get to care about them. And the technology for that was really something where ILM came in with this next-generation motion capture that they’ve been working on. I think body-motion capture is now at a pretty good state. But facial-motion capture, there was room for improvement. And they, at the time, had just come off from doing The Incredible Hulk and the first Avengers movie. And Jeff White and Jason Smith, who I talked to at ILM, were basically both Warcraft fans as well. So it was kind of a nice synchronicity there. And they talked about this new facial capture that was going to have such a fidelity that it would capture all of the nuances that, in previous generations of mo-cap, had kind of had characters slip into the Uncanny Valley. But now, with all of those details there, you really believe these creatures exist.

As for taking those battles from the game and bringing that to the big screen — how did you approach those shots, especially when you’re filming in 3-D?

Well, this was my first 3-D experience. So there were certainly some suggestions and some rules of thumb that I was given early on. [I] got to watch some footage from other films, obviously, and talked to people involved in shooting 3-D.

But just as far as how you frame, how fast you pan the camera — things like that where you don’t want to, in a way, draw the audience’s attention to the edges of the frame — it’s kind of a weird thing, because whenever you frame something, there’s always going to be something on the edge. But it’s always about not making the eye be drawn too much to that because that’s where things start to mess with your head, especially when you’re panning or something like that. So there were some framing elements that we sort of were keeping in mind.

But as far as the scale of the battles, it might seem like an odd homage, but one of the things I really wanted Warcraft to reflect were the old Sergio Leone Westerns, in particular Once Upon a Time in the West, because we have so many duels. We have these kind of one-on-one battles. And we have guys jumping off balconies onto their horses or griffins … onto their flying horses. So they’re all of these kind of Western-feeling things, these big operatic moments in our movie. So that was something that I wanted to pay homage to. So on some of the framings, Sergio Leone really sort of became a touchstone.

I know we were joking before about Mortal Kombat and the Street Fighter movies, and how video games movies can go so wrong. So when you decided to start working on this screenplay, how did you make sure there was enough story there?

There was a pre-existing script that I worked on top of. So I think the best way to describe my work was an aggressive polish. There were some structural issues that I changed. And there were some characters that I made more of than what was in the previous script.

I think as a filmmaker, I try and switch off my game-fan hat … but really sort of think about it as a filmmaker. Who are the characters that the audience are gonna care about? How can I get them to care about them? And then, what is the story which is gonna draw the audience through with it? … That you would do in any kind of film. And the fact that it’s based on a game is really not as big an issue.

I noticed there were one or two moments in the film where myself and the rest of the audience cracked up. Was that intentional on your part? Did you look to break the tone?

Yeah. Absolutely. Where you can mix the operatic, high drama — the Sergio Leone duels and the big, wide-scale battles scenes up with a bit of humor, I think it makes you feel like you had a full meal.

Going back to your body of work, what is it about sci-fi and fantasy for you … from your youth, what were some of the first things that you fell in love with?

Yeah, Moon and Source Code were kind of sci-fi. One’s sort of more speculative future sci-fi, and Source Code is more kind of contemporary playing with potential technologies. And then obviously, Warcraft is more fantasy-based. But both fantasy and sci-fi were just really important to me, and things that appealed to me when I was growing up. There was a British comic book called 2000 AD, which was a huge influence. That’s kind of like the Heavy Metal of the UK. It’s been around for decades, and it’s where the character Judge Dredd comes from. So I was a big fan of that. I was a big fan, obviously, of Blade Runner and Star Wars and all of the expected ones. But also, you know, 2001.

I remember my dad showing me Metropolis and things like that as well when I was growing up. So, I kind of had a mixed diet on film. J.G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick as far as literature goes. And lots of games, as well. I was playing game since I was a kid.

Image credits: Universal Pictures / Warcraft

30
May

Australia to auction off confiscated bitcoins this June


Australia has plans to sell off a considerable amount of bitcoins, the cryptocurrency favored by shady online folk, this June. 24,518 bitcoins confiscated by police will be auctioned off by financial services firm Ernst and Young in 2,000 blocks, an amount that equals just over a million US dollars given the current conversion rate. Australian authorities wouldn’t specify where the bitcoins come from other than to say it was in conjunction with a crime. However, as the BBC points out, reports from 2013 indicate a similar quantity of bitcoins were seized in an online drug bust in Victoria. The upcoming auction will be open to bidders worldwide and could help set a precedent legalizing the currency for use in Australia, where it’s still undergoing regulatory approval.

Source: BBC

30
May

Real-world ‘Pong’ might just beat the video game


If you miss the days of playing Pong with old-school dial controllers but would rather not track down a vintage console or arcade cabinet, today’s your lucky day. Daniel Perdomo and crew have built a real-world Pong machine that replicates the pioneering game with physical parts. Despite what it looks like, it’s not just an Atari-themed air hockey table. Instead of letting physics take over, the machine maps virtual ball and paddle movements to objects. All the eccentricities of Pong gameplay are intact, just in a more tangible (and arguably, far more immersive) form. LEDs track the score, while the controllers are rejiggered hard drives.

Perdomo doesn’t just want this to be a one-off project. He’s hoping to find a hardware manufacturer to produce further tables. If that happens, there’s a real chance that you could have a Pong table in your rec room — perfect for those moments when a round of darts or pool isn’t enough to captivate your house guests.

Via: Gizmodo, Popular Mechanics

Source: Daniel Perdomo (YouTube)

30
May

Apple May Introduce Next-Gen Natural Language API in its Amazon Echo Competitor


Last week we reported that Apple is said to be readying an Amazon Echo competitor that could be used in the home for features like listening to music, asking for information and getting news headlines.

The product is thought to include a camera with facial recognition capabilities and said to learn over time about its users, which interact with the device via an enhanced version of Siri. Meanwhile, Apple’s virtual assistant is expected to be opened up to outside developers via a soon-to-be-released software development kit in order to facilitate this integration.

Now, Tech Insider claims that a natural language outfit bought by Apple late last year could play a central part in the company’s plans for the upcoming smart home device.

In October 2015, Apple acquired VocalIQ, a UK-based startup that had spent the last 10 years researching natural language, belief tracking, decision making, and message generation, in an attempt to develop a next-generation natural language API.

Speculation at the time suggested Apple hoped to use the technology in its car project, codenamed “Titan”.

However, according to a source familiar with VocalIQ’s technology who spoke to Tech Insider, Apple is likely to introduce the API in its Echo competitor because of its ability to go beyond the “session-based” contextual responses touted by the likes of Viv. VocalIQ achieves this feat by retaining semantic context between conversations and permanently remembering the preferences of its users.

Apparently the company had been testing VocalIQ against Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, and found it to be vastly superior in dealing with complex natural language queries, such as asking for “a nearby Chinese restaurant with open parking and Wi-Fi that’s kid-friendly”.

[But] What if you change your mind an hour later? Simply saying something like “Find me a Mexican restaurant instead,” will bring you new results, while still taking into account the other parameters like parking and WiFi you mentioned before. Hound, Siri, and any other assistant would make you start the search session over again. But Vocal IQ remembers. That’s more human-like than anything available today.

VocalIQ can also filter out extraneous noise to figure out exactly what you’re saying, thus making it more accurate than Siri is today. It’s able to take in all the noise in an environment — the TV, kids shouting, whatever — and determine with a high probability which sound is actually the user’s query. It can even learn to adapt to different accents over time to improve accuracy.

While the report’s source doesn’t claim to have any hard evidence that Apple plans to include the technology into its upcoming smart device, the possibility is an intriguing one. It also feeds into the expectation that Apple’s decision to open up Siri to third-parties indicates that the virtual assistant will receive the necessary enhancements to prevent it from being overtaken by recent advances in competing products.

Tags: Siri, VocalIQ, Amazon Echo
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30
May

Asus Announces ZenBook 3, a Retina MacBook Lookalike That is Thinner, Lighter, and Faster


ASUS today at Computex 2016 in Taiwan announced a wide range of new products, including the ZenBook 3, its third-generation ultraportable notebook that is thinner, lighter, and faster than Apple’s lookalike 12-inch Retina MacBook.

The 12.5-inch ZenBook 3 has an ultra-thin 11.9mm aerospace-grade aluminum alloy chassis that weights just 2 pounds and is “50% stronger than the standard alloy” used in competing notebooks. Comparatively, the Retina MacBook is 13.1mm thick and weighs 2.03 pounds.

ZenBook 3’s display is crafted from edge-to-edge, scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 4, with a 1,920×1,080 pixels resolution and wide 72% NTSC color gamut. The notebook has a slim bezel design that provides an 82% screen-to-body ratio for a maximum viewing experience with a minimal footprint.

The Windows-based notebook is powered by up to an Intel Core i7 processor and features 16GB of 2133MHz RAM, up to 1TB of PCIe 3.0-based flash storage, and quad-speaker audio by Harman Kardon. Like the Retina MacBook, the ZenBook 3 has a single USB-C port for charging and connecting peripherals.

ASUS includes a dongle with USB 3.0, USB-C, and HDMI ports in the box, while a larger universal dock is available with additional connectivity options.

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ASUS sacrificed a fanless design like the Retina MacBook has in favor of increased performance, but the ZenBook 3 has an innovative cooling system that features the “world’s thinnest fan design” at just 3mm. The notebook delivers up to 9 hours of battery life with fast-charging technology for recharging up to 60% capacity in 49 minutes.

ZenBook 3 is available in three spun-metal finishes, Royal Blue, Rose Gold, and Quartz Grey, based on a two-phase anodizing process that creates golden highlights on the diamond-cut edges. Whereas the Retina MacBook’s keyboard is always black, the ZenBook 3’s keyboard matches the color of each finish.

The full-sized backlit keyboard also has 19.8mm key pitch and a slightly deeper 0.8mm key travel, compared to 0.5mm on the Retina MacBook’s ultra-thin butterfly mechanism keyboard that some have contested. Next to the keyboard is a glass trackpad with palm-rejection technology, Smart Gestures, and handwriting support.


An optional built-in fingerprint reader with Windows Hello support enables users to sign in and unlock the ZenBook 3 with one finger tap, in lieu of having to type their password or PIN. Similarly, the 2016 MacBook Pro may feature Touch ID as Apple works on an unlocking-via-iPhone feature for OS X 10.12.

ZenBook 3 will be available in the third quarter of 2016, starting at $999 in the U.S. for the base model with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. A 512GB SSD model will sell for $1,499, while the top-range Intel Core i7 model with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD will cost $1,999.

ASUS also announced the Zenbo home robot, the ZenFone 3 Series, the ASUS Transformer 3 Series, and multiple other new products.

Tag: Asus
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30
May

Asus Transformer 3 Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


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Aloysius Low/CNET

Just ahead of Computex 2016’s official start, Asus has used its pre-show conference to reveal its new Transformer tablet series. While the focus was on its bigger Pro sibling, the Transformer 3 still has plenty to offer.

This Windows 2-in-1 PC is just 6.9mm (0.27 inches) thick and weighs 695g (1.5lbs), but offers 9 hours of battery life and still has the same 12.6-inch 3K 2,88 x1920-pixel display.

Specs

  • 303 by 202 by 6.9mm (11.9 by 7.9 by 0.27 inches)
  • 12.6-inch, 2,880×1,920-pixel resolution display with a 275ppi density
  • 7th Generation Intel Core processors
  • Up to 8GB ram
  • Up to 512GB SSD storage
  • Thunderbolt 3 Port

Much like how the Surface 3 was a slightly cut down version of the Surface Pro 3, the Transformer 3 is a less robust version of the Transformer 3 Pro, which offers more RAM and storage.

But there looks to be more similarities than differences — there’s even the same Harmon Kardon speaker system built in both models. But those differences make a big change in the pricing. The Transformer 3 starts at $799 (AUD $1,115 or 545) compared to the $999 (AUD$1,395 and 683) of the base model of the Pro.

We’ll get hands on impressions with the Transformer 3 as Computex continues.

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Aloysius Low/CNET

30
May

ROG XG Station 2 Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


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Claire Reilly/CNET

First announced back at CES in January, the Asus brand Republic of Gamers (better known at ROG to the party faithful) has used the Computex 2016 show to talk more about its XG Station 2 external graphics card dock.

Like Alienware and Razer, ROG clearly thinks there’s a market for this style of external GPU boost and its resurrected a device from 2007 to do it.

Like other external graphics enclosures, the ROG XG Station 2 is basically a powered box that lets you install a standard GPU and connect that to your laptop, getting you vastly improved graphics power when you’re gaming at home. Unplug it and you’ve got a portable laptop all over again.

The XG Station 2 has a a 680W power supply and support for the latest generation of GeForce GTX and AMD Radeon graphics cards. It uses a Thunderbolt 3 connection and what ROG describe as “an exclusive proprietary connector” that apparently delivers a further 15 percent graphics performance.

ROG is so confidant in the power level it says that the XG will offer VR-ready graphics processing for laptops. At the moment, only the gutsiest of desktop PCs are capable of running the high-end VR experiences.

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Claire Reilly/CNET

It can be hot-swapped, meaning you can plug and uplug it while the laptop is running and it has four USB 3.0 ports and a LAN port.

Asus mentioned the XG at its launch of the new Transformer range, which gives you an idea of the company’s strategy for the product.

For reference, the original used the ExpressCard port, had two USB 2.0 slots and could take the 8800 GTS card, the 8800 GTX was too long to fit inside.

At the moment, we’re waiting on more details and pricing.

30
May

Asus ROG Avalon Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


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Aloysius Low/CNET

Computex is usually a great place to showcase new stuff, and apart from the Asus Zenbo robot that made its first steps today at enslaving the human race with cuteness, Asus here in Taipei has announced a new hybrid motherboard-chassis combo called Avalon that promises to change how you assemble your future DIY PC.

The idea behind the Avalon is simple. Instead of having to worry about how to squeeze your massive Nvidia GTX 1080 into the limited space in your chassis, by making the board part of the chassis, the Asus ROG Avalon lets you better manage the space by keeping things a lot neater.

If you’ve built your own PC before, you’ll know what a pain it is to properly plan how you want all the components properly installed, so you don’t end up trying to squeeze between the tight spaces to adjust something.

The Avalon does away with this by optimizing the layout with a plug-and-play style and doing away with cabling. Components are also easily accessible and slotted in instead of being buried behind other components like in a normal PC build.

However, there appears to be a drawback. If you ever want to upgrade your PC, you can switch all your parts except for the motherboard, since it’s built into the chassis. The Avalon uses last year’s Intel Z710 chipset, which should be good for a few more years, but after that, you’ll have to upgrade the chassis as well if you want to use a newer processor that’s likely not backward compatible.

With the Avalon being a proof-of-concept still at the moment, don’t expect pricing or shipping. If Asus does see demand though, we could probably see the Avalon hitting stores in the near future, though hopefully with a newer chipset.

30
May

Nokia goes Android: What do we want to see?


Nokia is back, announcing that it’s going to be embracing Android and producing a number of smartphones and tablets over the coming years.

Nokia’s story has more twists and turns than a mountain pass, with an equal number of ups and downs. The announcement that we’ll be seeing Nokia branded phones once again is certainly exciting.

But what are we going to see, and what do we want to see?

What happened to Microsoft and Nokia?

The Nokia and Microsoft smartphone dalliance we’ll put down to a nasty affair. With Nokia realising that it was falling behind, it embraced Windows Phone with the Lumia line.

Soon the Lumia line was pretty much all there was to Windows Phone and Microsoft took over. The Nokia name was dropped, Microsoft Devices ruled the roost and several Microsoft Lumia devices followed on.

That hasn’t really worked out so well, so Microsoft has sold off some of the Nokia business it acquired, a new company has been formed called HMD (staffed by ex-Nokia and ex-Microsoft people), Nokia has granted a brand license to this company to make smartphones and tablets, and so this messy break-up will play out. 

Nokia has said, however, that it’s going to be keeping a close eye on things to make sure that everything carrying the Nokia name meets the standards you expect, which is an important point.

Pocket-lint

Nokia’s Android tablet: The Nokia N1

While Nokia wasn’t able to produce smartphones following the acquisition by Microsoft, it did show off an Android tablet, the Nokia N1. 

This was demoed at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona where we got our hands on it. That was in a similar position that Nokia’s future business will be in. The N1 was designed and managed by Nokia, but manufactured by Foxconn in China.

The result was a device that looked a lot like the iPad mini, but also carried the same quality of build to it, which is a good thing. It was also demonstrated to us with a full Android Lollipop build with Google Play services, something that wasn’t on the device in China, but a clear indicator that Nokia was playing with Android.

We commented at the time that it would make a great Nexus tablet: wouldn’t that be a great poke in the eye from Google, if it was to have a Nokia Nexus in the near future?

Pocket-lint

Nokia Android: Colourful Lumia design

When Nokia started churning out Lumia handsets, there was one thing that made them stand apart: colour.

No one else was making devices in colours other than black or silver, perhaps gold, or a special edition pink. Meanwhile Nokia was giving us neons with punch and verve. We’re certainly hoping that we see these things again.

It was perhaps telling that when Microsoft announced the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, colour was gone, perhaps a foreboding that the business was soon to be gone too. We’re sure that Nokia will embrace consumer glory and give us lots of delicious colours once again. 

But alongside those colours, Nokia has produced some phones that feel great and look great, without going all-out metal, like many of current flagships.

Pocket-lint

Nokia Android: PureView camera wizardry

Nokia’s Symbian swansong before this whole Microsoft thing was the 808 PureView. In some ways this was demonstrative of everything that was going wrong at Nokia, presenting a slightly under-specced phone that was too expensive, sitting on an operating system that lacked the consumer ease of the iPhone and the maturing Android (we’re talking 2012, remember the burning platform?)

But it gave us the 41-megapixel PureView camera and that trumped everything else around at the time. PureView, with Zeiss lenses continues into the Lumia line and the next big hit was the Lumia 1020, again punching hard with the camera in 2013. 

The smartphone camera game has changed in the last few years, but there’s still a lot to play for. Camera performance still gets top billing from all manufacturers – Apple gives its iPhone launch over to camera demos, Samsung does the same – so there’s everything to play for.

So this is where we have high hopes for future Nokia Androids: we want to see a class-leading PureView camera on an Android handset.

Nokia Android: Go high-end hardware

For those who followed the Windows Phone story, we waited a long time for a premium handset and it never appeared. That fuelled rumours of the Surface phone, but many of the Nokia Lumia devices were mid-range, following the argument that they’d be great in the developing world.

While we loved some of the designs (the Lumia 720, Lumia 925), it always felt as though Nokia never really went premium. Yes, some of the designs would now be great in the mid-range as a Moto G competitor, but we’d love a real flagship. 

And by flagship, we mean a no holds barred, 5.2-inch Quad HD display, latest Qualcomm Snapdragon hardware, BoomSound-challenging audio for an amazing Daydream VR-ruling experience, and so on.

Pocket-lint

Nokia Android: Software goes simple

Let’s face it: Android now offers a very complete user experience. It’s skinned, poked, prodded and adapted, but Nexus devices and Moto devices shine with simplicity. HTC is now moving to get simpler and it all points to one thing – Android doesn’t need to be adapted as it once did. 

Windows Phone presents an interesting case study for Nokia and software. Non-Nokia Windows Phones were worse, because Nokia was driving a lot of apps and innovation into Microsoft’s system. It called these “Lumia Extras” and really this was a patchwork that covered the gaps that Microsoft left. 

Although Android doesn’t need huge changing, there’s opportunities around things like the camera, to really make something special. Then there’s the growing emergence of VR through Daydream, and remember that Nokia is also working on high-end VR capture with the Ozo, experience it can leverage down to the consumer level.

We hope that Nokia doesn’t flatten Android, but we hope it uses its experience to give us an Android device that shines with simplicity, and retains some novelty. 

Nokia Android: When can I get it?

There’s no telling when the Nokia Android release date might be. The ink isn’t even on the agreement that will set this plan in motion, so we’re some way out. Nokia itself has confirmed there’s plenty of work still to do.

We can’t wait for the Nokia renaissance. We’re hoping that some of our wishlist gets fulfilled, otherwise Nokia will just join the swelled ranks of the Android masses.

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