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Apple Previews Redesigned Books App Coming in iOS 12

Apple today shared an in-depth preview of the all-new Books app for iPhone and iPad coming in iOS 12 later this year.

As shown on stage at WWDC 2018 last week, the Books app has been completely redesigned with the following tabs:

  • Reading Now displays all of the books you are currently reading or listening to. A new “Want to Read” section allows you to keep a wishlist of books you are interested in. “Complete the Series” or “You Might Like” present books based on those you have recently finished.
  • Library displays your full collection of books with large cover art, including the books downloaded to your device. There is also a “Finished” timeline of books you have read in the past with the dates you finished them.
  • Book Store allows you to browse all titles available on Apple Books, with categories such as Top Charts, Staff Picks, Editorial Collections, and Special Offers & Free. You will receive personalized recommendations based on your purchases in “For You.”
  • Audiobooks allows you to browse all audiobook titles available on Apple Books.
  • Search

Apple’s services chief Eddy Cue:

Apple Books will inspire a love of reading — it puts a world of books and audiobooks right at your fingertips, whether you want to dive into your favorite story for a couple of minutes or a few hours. This is our biggest books redesign ever, and we hope this beautiful app inspires both customers and authors alike.

The new Books app launches this fall, with the Book Store available in 51 countries, and free books available in 155 countries.

Tag: iBooks
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Third-Party macOS Security Tools Vulnerable to Malware Code-Signing Bypasses for Years

Hackers have had an “easy way” to get certain malware past signature checks in third-party security tools since Apple’s OS X Leopard operating system in 2007, according to a detailed new report today by Ars Technica. Researchers discovered that hackers could essentially trick the security tools — designed to sniff out suspiciously signed software — into thinking the malware was officially signed by Apple while they in fact hid malicious software.

The researchers said that the signature bypassing method is so “easy” and “trivial” that pretty much any hacker who discovered it could pass off malicious code as an app that appeared to be signed by Apple. These digital signatures are core security functions that let users know the app in question was signed with the private key of a trusted party, like Apple does with its first-party apps.

Joshua Pitts, senior penetration testing engineer for security firm Okta, said he discovered the technique in February and informed Apple and the third-party developers about it soon after. Okta today also published information about the bypass, including a detailed disclosure timeline that began on February 22 with a report submitted to Apple and continues to today’s public disclosure.

Ars Technica broke down how the method was used and which third-party tools are affected:

The technique worked using a binary format, alternatively known as a Fat or Universal file, that contained several files that were written for different CPUs used in Macs over the years, such as i386, x86_64, or PPC. Only the first so-called Mach-O file in the bundle had to be signed by Apple. At least eight third-party tools would show other non-signed executable code included in the same bundle as being signed by Apple, too.

Affected third-party tools included VirusTotal, Google Santa, Facebook OSQuery, the Little Snitch Firewall, Yelp, OSXCollector, Carbon Black’s db Response, and several tools from Objective-See. Many companies and individuals rely on some of the tools to help implement whitelisting processes that permit only approved applications to be installed on a computer, while forbidding all others.

Developer Patrick Wardle spoke on the topic, explaining that the bypass was due to ambiguous documentation and comments provided by Apple regarding the use of publicly available programming interfaces that make digital signature checks function: “To be clear, this is not a vulnerability or bug in Apple’s code… basically just unclear/confusing documentation that led to people using their API incorrectly.” It’s also not an issue exclusive to Apple and macOS third-party security tools, as Wardle pointed out: “If a hacker wants to bypass your tool and targets it directly, they will win.”

For its part, Apple was said to have stated on March 20 that it did not see the bypass as a security issue that needed to be directly addressed. On March 29, the company updated its documentation to be more clear on the matter, stating that “third-party developers will need to do additional work to verify that all of the identities in a universal binary are the same if they want to present a meaningful result.”

Tag: security
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Apple Releases Second Beta of tvOS 11.4.1 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.4.1 update to its public beta testing group, two weeks after seeding the first tvOS 11.4.1 public beta and a day after seeding the second beta to developers.

The tvOS 11.4.1 public beta can be obtained by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under “System.” “Get Public Beta Updates” will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.

No notable features or changes were discovered in the first two developer betas of tvOS 11.4.1, suggesting this is a minor update.

Most tvOS updates have been minor in scale, and Apple does not provide detailed notes outlining what’s new, so we may not know just what’s included in tvOS 11.4.1 if it’s only bug fixes.

tvOS 11.4.1 is going to be one of the last updates to the tvOS 11 operating system with Apple now shifting its focus to tvOS 12.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)
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Apple Seeds Second Beta of iOS 11.4.1 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming iOS 11.4.1 update to its public beta testing group, one week after releasing the first public beta and one day after seeding the beta to developers.

Beta testers who are members of Apple’s beta testing program will receive the iOS 11.4.1 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device.

Those who want to join the beta testing program can sign up on Apple’s beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas. iOS betas are not always stable and should not be installed on a primary device.

There were no notable features discovered in iOS 11.4.1 in the first two developer betas, suggesting it focuses on bug fixes and other minor improvements.

iOS 11.4.1 will be one of the final updates to the iOS 11 operating system now that Apple is shifting its focus to iOS 12.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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Apple Announces World Cup Content Coming to Siri, Apple TV, News, App Store, iBooks and More

Apple’s personal assistant Siri has been updated with support for sports ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, Apple announced today.

Sports support for Siri in the nine new countries expands Siri sports information to a total of 35 countries, including the United States.

Specific to the World Cup, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod, and Mac owners can ask Siri questions like:

  • When does France play Australia?
  • What teams are in group A?
  • Who is on the England squad?
  • Who won the Argentina-Iceland match?

In addition to expanding Siri sports support, Apple also plans to highlight football (soccer in the United States) apps and games throughout the month. Features will include tips on taking the perfect football photo and how to “get your football fix” on social media. Highlighted apps will include FOX NOW and BBC Sport, while featured games will include FIFA Mobile and PES 2018.

The TV app on Apple TV and iOS devices will feature World Cup coverage via FOX NOW in the United States and TSN and RDS in Canada, with fans able to follow their favorite teams through the TV app’s Up Next feature.

Apple also plans to feature World Cup content in the News app through Eight by Eight magazine, and in Apple Music with featured playlists for each of the 32 participating nations.

Podcasts will include a “The Beautiful Game” World Cup editorial collection, as will iBooks, with Apple highlighting World Cup-related podcasts and book selections.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off later this week on June 14 and lasts through July 15.

Tags: App Store, Siri
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Apple just banned apps from cryptocurrency mining on iOS devices

Apple is taking a stance against cryptocurrency mining. The company has updated its developer guidelines to explicitly ban cryptocurrency mining apps on iOS devices. Why? It’s part of wider restrictions against apps that drain battery, generate excessive heat, or strain a device’s resources — all of which take place during cryptocurrency mining.

“Apps, including any third-party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining,” states the new policy.

Here’s a full list of the new guidelines.

Apple will allow virtual currency wallet apps, as long as they’re offered by developers who are enrolled as organizations.
The only cryptocurrency mining apps allowed are those that mine outside of the device, like cloud-based mining.
Apps can help users make pay, trade, or receive cryptocurrency on an approved exchange, but the apps must be from the exchanges themselves.
Similarly, apps involved in initial coin offerings, bitcoin futures trading, or other cryptocurrency securities trading need to be from the banks, firms, or other approved financial institutions. And they must be lawful.
Cryptocurrency apps can’t offer users virtual coin for tasks like downloading other apps, getting other users to download the app, or boosting social media activity.

Of course, developers running ads that exploit device resources to mine cryptocurrencies has been an issue for a while now, and not just on mobile devices. Even YouTube was briefly serving up ads like this for a while, until Google noticed what was happening and banned the ads. Apple’s policy goes a step further, however — it bans mining of any kind, even if the user explicitly wants to use their device for mining.

It’s unlikely that the new policy will frustrate miners. iPhones and iPads don’t really possess the processing power to make them good mining devices. That said, it’s possible future devices could possess such power.

Thankfully Apple isn’t banning any app related to cryptocurrency mining. As long as the mini process happens off the devices, apps related to the process will still be allowed. On top of that, crypto wallets can still be used on iOS devices.

Cryptocurrency mining itself basically involves setting a computer the task of solving equations. To trade bitcoin, transactions are verified through these complex equations, then added to a distributed ledger. In return for solving the equations, miners get bitcoin. Of course, there is a cost associated with mining — electricity costs money, so mining isn’t worth it on many lower-powered computers and devices.

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Is this the future of medicine? Synthetic blood could buy patients 48 extra hours

Finding blood donors continues to present a challenge across the United States, with hospitals and medical professionals often citing a blood shortage in areas of the country. And while there’s no doubt that we still need folks to visit their local blood drives with hopes of saving a life with their donation, science has stepped in with a new temporary solution. Two scientists — Dr. Andre Palmer of the Ohio State University and Dr. Dipanjan Pan, an associate professor in the department of bioengineering at the University of Illinois — have now independently developed two synthetic blood technologies.

Dr. Pan’s product is called ErythroMer, and while it is not, in fact, a blood substitute, it is an “oxygen carrier that can be given as an oxygen-delivery vehicle that can kind of act as a stop-gap measure to keep the injured alive until they get to the hospital,” Pan told Engadget. Essentially, ErythroMer is a manmade hemoglobin — the protein in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen to various parts of the body. Because ErythroMer is produced in powder form, it’s capable of being stored for up to six months, which is significantly longer than the shelf life of actual human blood — even when it’s stored properly on ice it can only last up to 42 days. Moreover, because this hemoglobin molecule is artificial, there is a reduced risk of transferring blood-borne diseases like HIV or Zika during transfusions.

As it stands, Pan and his colleagues are hoping to use ErythroMer in military applications, though if successful, the synthetic  blood could doubtless be used in civilian operations as well. Excitingly, NASA has already expressed interest in the synthetic blood, as it may come in handy as astronauts are sent to planets beyond our own.

Meanwhile, Dr. Palmer has created a polymerized hemoglobin, or PolyHb, that is quite similar to Erythromer. It is also based on natural hemoglobin, then encased in a polymer, and is meant “to give the patient enough time to get to a hospital to get a blood transfusion because ultimately, if you lose blood, the best thing you can be transfused with is blood,” as Palmer noted. Again, like Erythromer, PolyHb can be delivered in powdered form, which cuts down on its weight and mass by 50 percent.

This is important as it means that PolyHb is particularly portable, which could be hugely important when treating wounded soldiers on battlefields, or patients in difficult to access areas. All PolyHb needs to be reconstituted is some purified water — then, the powdered platelets can be transfused as needed. PolyHb buys patients up to 48 hours of extra time, which could be the difference between life or death in many medical situations.

While all of these advances are certainly met with excitement by the medical community, there are, of course, still shortcomings. Currently, neither ErythroMer nor PolyHb can do more than transport oxygen — while this is a major function of blood, it’s not the only function, which means  that you couldn’t replace your entire bloodstream with these synthetic solutions.

As Palmer told Engadget, “You’d have the oxygen-carrying therapeutic, and then you’d have something that initiates clotting, for example. So it is possible to mix two different therapeutics together to achieve extra functions.” We’re just waiting on that possibility to become a reality.

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Huawei plans to outdo Apple and Samsung in a really big way

Huawei is apparently in the process of designing a new, and very large, smartphone. According to a report from Korean source The Bell, Huawei has put in an order for 6.9-inch OLED screens with Samsung, and they’re destined for use on a smartphone, and not on a small tablet. This isn’t uncharted territory for Huawei, which is no stranger to oversize smartphones, or even tablets that are made to double as phones.

It’s then speculated the eventual device will be part of the Mate family, which has traditionally debuted near the end of the year. In 2017, the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro arrived in October, suggesting we should expect the replacement phones to come around the same time this year. The Mate 10 Pro is hardly a small phone with its 6-inch screen, but if the Mate 20 — or whatever the sequel will be called — increases this to nearly 7 inches, it’ll be larger than most other phones available today. It’s worth remembering that Huawei’s Mate series usually includes two devices, and the 6.9-inch model may be labeled Pro, and come alongside a slightly smaller phone.

If the Mate 20 does have a 6.9-inch screen, it will also be bigger than several other rumored devices coming this year. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which often takes the crown for the largest screen, is expected to be a little smaller than 6.4 inches, while the possible Apple iPhone X Plus may stretch to almost 6.5 inches. These two phones, along with the Pixel 3 XL, will set the trend for big-screen devices later this year, and Huawei doesn’t want to miss out on being able to say it has the largest screen when compared to the competition.

Big screens usually mean big bodies, but due to the P20 and P20 Pro, Huawei now has experience with slim bezels, alternative aspect ratios, and screen notches. While this won’t make the 6.9-inch phone very pocketable, it will hopefully keep the in-hand size manageable. The brief and ridiculous trend of tablets doubling as smartphones was short-lived, and anyone who handled Lenovo’s enormous 6.98-inch Phab Plus will know this type of device isn’t for those with dainty hands.

Huawei has a difficult task ahead with the Mate series. The P20 Pro is so accomplished, it eclipsed the Mate 10 Pro very quickly, leaving us less excited about future Mate phones than usual. A big screen is a start, but will it be enough to pull people away from the other 6-inch-plus phones coming this year? We’ll know more as 2018 progresses, and also discover whether Huawei is planning to use this screen on a Mate phone, or an entirely new line altogether.

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  • Apple iPad (2018) review


Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 ‘urgent’ update calms noisy fans for quieter computing

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Dell has released a new BIOS update for its XPS 15 2-in-1 convertible laptop that fixes the problem of noisy fans when it’s plugged into a mains socket. Described as “urgent,” by the PC manufacturer, this is an update that XPS 15 2-in-1 owners will want to get a hold of as soon as they can.

Although rather experimental in its design, the XPS 15 2-in-1 has proven to be a hit with all sorts of PC users, ourselves included. We did note in our review though, that while powerful, the Intel G-series processor, which combines an Intel CPU and AMD GPU on the same die, did cause the system to get a little hot and by extension, quite loud. This update should fix that problem, at least when the laptop is plugged in.

That’s something that early testers have reported being the case, with Windows Central suggesting that fans now only really spin up when the laptop is charging and shut off when the system is fully charged, making it much quieter to use and power up.

Considering the Intel/AMD combi-chip at the heart of this machine is so new, too, we would hope to see more updates to the system in the coming months. Considering the XPS 15 2-in-1 suffers from lackluster battery life with the 4K screen, we would hope that Dell is able to improve the efficiency of that in the future, too.

This BIOS update brings the system to version 1.1.5 and is supported by all existing Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1 laptops. As a BIOS update it is a little more impactful to the system than Windows driver or software updates, so it’s important that when the update is being installed, you do not restart or turn off your system manually. It will likely reboot itself upon completion.

If you like the look of the XPS 15 2-in-1, but aren’t quite sure whether you need that convertible functionality, you could always opt for the XPS 15. It’s cheaper and has quite a different hardware profile under the hood. To see how the two laptops compare, check out our head-to-head of the two systems. Both are great, but one comes out on top.

Editors’ Recommendations

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BlackBerry Key2 vs. OnePlus 6: Which fan-favorite will win?

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

When you think of phone brands with devoted followers, Apple and Samsung likely come first to mind. But you would be remiss if you didn’t add BlackBerry, a brand that has created some of the most iconic smartphones of the 21st century, and OnePlus to the list.

Both companies have cult-like followings, and both have just released new phones: The OnePlus 6 and the BlackBerry Key2. The latter has a physical keyboard, and BlackBerry is trying to grab the attention of touchscreen users from all manufacturers. Since these two phones are priced somewhat similarly, we put them head-to-head to see how they stack up.


BlackBerry Key2
OnePlus 6

151.4 x 71.8 x 8.5 mm (5.96 x 2.82 x 0.33 inches)
155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm (6.13 x 2.97 x 0.31 inches)

168 grams (5.92 ounces)
177 grams (6.24 ounces)

Screen Size
4.5-inch IPS LCD
6.28-inch AMOLED display

Screen Resolution
1,620 x 1,080 pixels (434 pixels per inch)
2,280 x 1,080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)

Operating System
Android 8.1 Oreo
Android 8.1 Oreo

Storage Space
64GB (U.S.), 128GB (International)
64GB (with 6GB of RAM), 128GB, 256GB (both with 8GB of RAM)

MicroSD Card Slot

Tap To Pay Services
Google Pay
Google Pay

Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

6GB, 8GB

Dual 12MP, 8MP front
Dual sensor 16MP (OIS) and 20MP rear, 16MP front

Up to 4K at 30 frames per second (fps)
Up to 4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 480 fps super slow motion, HDR

Bluetooth Version
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth 5.0

3.5mm headphone jack, USB-Type C
3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C

Fingerprint sensor
Yes (front)
Yes (back)

Water resistance


App Marketplace
Google Play Store
Google Play Store

Network support
Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile
T-Mobile, AT&T

Black, silver
Midnight black, mirror black, silk white


Buy From

Review Score
Hands-on review
4.5 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

When it comes to performance, there is no contest between the BlackBerry Key2 and the OnePlus 6. You will find a perfectly capable Snapdragon 660 processor on the Key2, but the OnePlus 6 ships with the top of the line Snapdragon 845 chip. That means it will deliver superior performance and can tackle graphics-intensive games better. Both phones come with 6GB of RAM standard, although there is an 8GB option of the OnePlus 6 available for $70 less than the BlackBerry Key2.

The OnePlus 6 has a measly 3,300mAh battery to power a large screen and powerful processor; in our tests, it only manages to last about a day. The BlackBerry Key2’s 3,500mAh battery capacity may not seem like that much more, but there is a much smaller screen, and it’s able to last easily for about two days (based on our experience with the BlackBerry KeyOne, which had a similar battery size).

Neither the BlackBerry Key2 nor the OnePlus 6 feature wireless charging. Both phones do, however, offer a quick-charging option. On the Key2 you will find Quick Charge 3.0, which should return about 50 percent charge in a little under 40 minutes. The OnePlus 6 uses the company’s proprietary Dash Charge technology, which will add about 60 percent charge over the same period of time.

The win for this round goes to the OnePlus 6. Its Snapdragon 845, multiple RAM options, and Dash Charge technology give it the leg up over the Key2.

Winner: OnePlus 6

Design and durability

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

When it comes to design, the BlackBerry Key2 stands out among the crowd. It manages to look modern, while still being reminiscent of past Blackberry phones. You’ll find a small, but manageable, display butted up to a spectacular physical keyboard on the front, as well as a dual-camera setup on its textured back.

The OnePlus 6, on the other hand, has the look of a traditional flagship smartphone. It features a gorgeous glass body, a bezel-less screen, and a small camera bump and fingerprint sensor on the back. It looks elegant.

In terms of durability alone, the BlackBerry Key2 is much more likely to weather an accidental drop versus its competitor. Yes, the OnePlus 6 does use Gorilla Glass 5, but the Key2 has an aluminum back with a textured rubber coating — it won’t crack like glass. Neither phone is water or dust resistant.

We’re giving this round to the BlackBerry Key2. Since both phones have their own unique design aesthetic, the design portion of this challenge subjective. The Key2 will undoubtedly handle drops better.

Winner: BlackBerry Key2


Andy Boxall/

In 2018, it’s nearly impossible to find a display smaller than 5 inches — even on budget phones. BlackBerry bucks the trend with the Key2, which has a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with a 1,620 x 1,080 resolution and 434 pixels per inch (PPI). Its the same display configuration as last year’s KeyOne, save for the fact it features smaller bezels.

The OnePlus 6, on the other hand, features a 6.28-inch AMOLED display with a 2,280 x 1,080 resolution. And while it has a lower pixel density of 402 PPI, the difference is hardly noticeable. You do get a nice, large screen for media consumption, though.

OnePlus takes the display round by a long shot. The AMOLED display looks a lot better than the IPS LCD screen, and the screen is nearly two inches larger to boot.

Winner: OnePlus 6


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Key2 is the first BlackBerry to feature a dual-camera setup on the back. There is a 12-megapixel primary lens with an f/1.8 aperture, alongside a secondary 12-megapixel lens with an f/2.6 aperture. While we didn’t have an opportunity to test the camera extensively, we believe it should do well in daylight. Low-light photos will likely be a mixed bag. There is 2x optical zoom on the Key2, as well as a portrait mode.

There is also a dual-camera setup on the OnePlus 6. It features a 16-megapixel primary lens with optical image stabilization, alongside a 20-megapixel secondary lens. Both lenses have an f/1.7 aperture. Camera quality is solid on the OnePlus 6, and it also includes a portrait mode for the front and rear camera.

We haven’t had time to test the Key2’s camera, but we’re giving the win to OnePlus largely because we believe optical image stabilization is a huge benefit for low-light photography.

Winner: OnePlus 6

Software and updates

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

When it comes to software, both the Blackberry Key2 and OnePlus 6 run Android 8.1 Oreo. In addition to running the latest version of the Android operating system, each phone has its own unique take on Android that adds additional functionality.

OnePlus has its OxygenOS layered over Android, and it adds a few nice features like Gaming Mode, which pauses interruptions when gaming, black and white mode, which offers an ebook reader-like screen, and there are tons of customization options to make the phone look exactly how you want.

But one of the huge selling points for the BlackBerry Key2 is its software package. On the phone, you will find the BlackBerry Launcher, with more than a dozen specialized apps that help you get work done quickly. Apps like Privacy Shade and BlackBerry Locker keep prying eyes away, and Power Center makes sure your battery will last until the next time you plug in.

Where the OnePlus 6 does excel is updates. BlackBerry does a pretty good job of offering monthly security updates, but KeyOne owners are still waiting for the Android 8.0 Oreo update. OnePlus tends to be quick.

We’re calling this round a tie. While we believe you will see the update to Android P quicker on the OnePlus 6 versus the Key2, there are so many downright useful security and privacy-focused features in the Key2 that you won’t find on the OnePlus 6.

Winner: Tie 

Special features

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Other than its Alert Slider, many of the special features on the OnePlus 6 are baked into the software, and we’ve already mentioned most of them above.

TCL (the company that licenses the BlackBerry brand) has added a ton of features via hardware. For example, there is the Convenience Key, which lets you set three apps to three separate modes (nine apps total). In Car mode, the apps will change to your favorites such as Google Maps, Waze, or a music streaming app, when the phone connects to your car’s Bluetooth. The same happens when your phone is on your home or work network.

The keyboard also lets you create up to 52 shortcuts — you can long-press or short press a key to jump to an app or shortcut. What is more is that the new Speed Key lets you switch between apps without ever having to leave an app. It makes multitasking much faster.

The BlackBerry Key2 takes the win.

Winner: BlackBerry Key2 


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The BlackBerry Key2 comes in at $650. It’s available on the BlackBerry website and is compatible with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

The OnePlus 6 starts at $530 for the base model and can be purchased on the OnePlus website. It’s compatible only with AT&T and T-Mobile networks in the U.S.

Overall winner: OnePlus 6

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Comparing specs alone, the OnePlus 6 comes ahead of the Key2, but it’s a close race. At the end of the day, both of these phones cater to different audiences, but it’s impressive how close the Key2 comes to the OnePlus, especially with a physical keyboard.

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  • LG V35 ThinQ vs. OnePlus 6: Can LG’s latest flagship beat an Android favorite?
  • OnePlus 6 vs. Google Pixel 2 XL: What difference does $300 make?

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