iFixit gave Google’s Pixel XL a middling repairability score of 6 out of 10 partly because its display was poorly assembled. Still, the team found a lot of modular components that can be easily replaced when they cracked Mountain View’s new flagship open. They also noted that HTC acted as the perfect silent partner, barely leaving a mark on the device despite manufacturing it for the tech giant. The only indication that HTC was involved is a logo on the XL’s battery, which you can peel off — it’s right in the middle of a tab you need to pull if you want to pop the phone’s battery out.
By the way, the Pixel XL has a 13.28 Wh battery that’s much better than the iPhone 7 Plus’ (11.1 Wh), but not as good as Samsung S7 Edge’s (13.86 Wh). If you want to see what the phone’s back-mounted fingerprint sensor, 12.3-megapixel rear camera and other notable parts look like outside the device itself, check out the full teardown process on iFixit’s website or watch the video below.
If last week’s Oculus Connect left you hungry for more news about virtual reality, maybe news of a new hardware out of Valve’s Steam Dev Days will do the trick. Perhaps the biggest tidbit is that the PC gaming juggernaut is working on a new controller for the Vive headset. What’s different from the current wand, according to TechCrunch, is the device will allow users to pick items up and put them down, all without letting go of the controller.
All of which suggests that the device may be palm or wrist-mounted. Since the event is developer-only, until our on-the-ground source can see the prototype for themselves further details (aside from those found on Twitter) are going to be hard to come by.
There’s some other news, too. Valve apparently wants its Lighthouse tracking system for the controllers to be as commonplace as WiFi, where anyone and everyone can develop for and use it. Currently there over over 300 different companies using the tech for motion tracking. New Lighthouse base stations may arrive next year as well. We’ll update this post with more info as it arrives.
Update: Pictures of the gizmo are surfacing on Twitter and as you might expect it looks very prototype-y.
First look at #valve’s prototype finger sensing controllers. I tried them. Awesome. #SteamDevDays pic.twitter.com/0B3SK48ld7
— Leigh_Christie (@Leigh_Christie) October 12, 2016
HTC has had on-again, off-again plans for a smartwatch for years, but it looks like something is finally starting to materialize. A Weibo user has posted what are claimed to be photos of the “Halfbeak,” an in-development Android Wear smartwatch that only recently surfaced in a Phandroid rumor. As you might surmise from the Under Armour branding, this would be all about fitness — you’d get a heart rate sensor, a rubber strap and other exercise-friendly design touches.
It’s not certain what HTC would do to spice up Halfbeak’s software, if anything. However, previous reports had it using a 360 x 360 circular display (no flat tire, thankfully) that you can clearly see here. The big question is when the smartwatch would ship, provided it’s still on track for a release. It’s easy to imagine HTC going forward with this wristwear, mind you. The company’s finances still aren’t in great shape, and a smartwatch could help establish its name among customers who currently have no interest in buying an HTC phone.
Via: Techtastic (translated)
Source: Weibo (sign-in required)
For years, the Nexus mobile range has been synonymous with a “pure” Android experience. No more. Google just announced the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones developed in-house that the company hopes will redefine the Android platform. Pitched as “the first phone with Google Assistant baked in,” the devices are focusing on that, plus photos, storage, communications and VR (they’re also the first phones built for use with Google’s $79 Daydream VR headset.)
The phones will be available for pre-order starting today, however, at least at first, the only US carrier selling them directly will be Verizon. Otherwise, you can buy the device unlocked (via the Google Store or other retailers) or for use with Google’s Project Fi service. The price starts at $649, and you can have one in “Quite Black,” “Really Blue” or “Very Silver.”
Click here to catch all the latest news from Google’s fall event.
Built with a 12.3MP camera, Google claims these phones scored an 89, the highest rating for a phone ever, on the DxOMark test for cameras (if you’re keeping score, the iPhone 7 rated an 86, while the iPhone 7 Plus has not been reviewed yet). Software lead Brian Rakowski didn’t stop there, claiming they also have the fastest capture speed of any phone tested, while Google even pointed out that unlike the iPhone (and the Nexus 6P) there’s no camera hump here. Finally, since it comes with Google Photos built-in, it’s promising unlimited photo storage for your pictures and video, in their original quality.
The Pixel has a 5-inch display, while the Pixel XL’s measures 5.5-inches, and they’re powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 CPUs. The cameras are 12.3MP, and they have 4GB of RAM plus either 32GB or 128GB of storage onboard. Despite rumors of different displays, Google said both will feature a “high resolution” AMOLED screen (and yes, there is a headphone jack), although the Pixel XL gets a larger 3,450mAh battery. The best news, however, is that with Pixel’s fast charging over USB-C, you should expect 7 hours of battery life from a 15-minute charge.
The first demos onstage focused on the software, specifically how it can respond to a user based on what it knows about their app preferences, and provide relevant information in response to a question. They’ll also come with a tool to transfer your old data to the new phone, including stuff from iMessage. Built-in customer support software will bring help 24/7, with a screensharing feature so you can show reps exactly what your phone is doing.
Source: Google Store
HTC is launching a new app store for its VR hardware. Viveport escapes beta testing today, showcasing all the other VR possibilities besides survival horror, shooting and such. The company is promising the hub will show off art, creativity tools, education apps and more — hoping to surface things that might get lost in the depths of Steam’s bigger catalogue. The store also includes Viveport Premieres: content that’s debuting on the Vive headset, including Google Spotlight Stories’ Petal, Stonehenge VR, The Music Room and more.
There’s also a cryptic final comment in the press release from Rikard Steiber, President of Viveport, teasing unlimited content for people wiling to jump through some social media and puzzle-based hoops in the near future. But for now, see what’s on offer — for a price — right here.
Along with its leak of the 4K Chromecast earlier today, VentureBeat is showing off this picture that it says is of Google’s upcoming Pixel phone. Along with the larger Pixel XL, it’s expected to be the successor to previous Nexus devices, with a 5-inch 1080p screen and 32GB of storage onboard. A potential $649 starting price is also raising eyebrows, but previous leaks from Android Police indicate that the most notable feature will be software built to maximize Google’s new Assistant AI.
We’re expecting to find out all of these details and more at Google’s October 4th event, as well as news about a new router and Google Home. Of course, if you just can’t wait, third parties like Nova Launcher and Action Launcher have already pushed out updates that can give your phone the Pixel look, if not its tight Google integration.
HTC today announced two new mid-range Android smartphones, a budget-oriented model called the Desire 10 Lifestyle and a more capable, more expensive handset called the Desire 10 Pro.
The Lifestyle model is a 5.5-inch device with a 720p Gorilla Glass display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 2GB or 3GB RAM, 16GB or 32GB expandable storage, a 13-megapixel f/2.2 rear camera, 5-megapixel f.2.8 front-facing camera, and 24-bit Hi-Res sound certified by Dolby Audio.
The Pro handset is the same size and has the same storage capacity options and audio features, but comes with a 1080p display, 64-bit Octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor, 3GB or 4GB RAM, a 20-megapixel f/2.2 camera with laser autofocus, a 13-megapixel f.2.2 front-facing camera with selfie panorama, and a fingerprint reader.
The two “Art Deco” inspired phones – which include a headphone jack – are matte plastic with a metal trim, and take design cues from the HTC 10, the company’s flagship smartphone for 2016, coming on the heels of last year’s HTC One M9 device. Both phones will be available in black, white, light blue, and dark blue.
HTC’s new Desire 10 range represents the company’s attempt to compete below Samsung’s and Apple’s flagship high-end smartphones, in a cheaper market segment populated by devices like the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus.
HTC says the handsets will be released exclusively in Europe to begin with, with the Lifestyle available from today and the Pro model coming in November. Prices are as yet unconfirmed for the latter model, but the Lifestyle costs £249, which converts to around $325.
Some MacRumors readers may remember HTC was forced to deny claims last year that the company’s flagship One A9 copied the iPhone. Apple declined to comment on the claims, but has taken legal action against Samsung for perceived copying in the past.
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The last time we saw a new Desire phone, HTC had basically speckled it with paint in the name of fashion. We can’t blame them — the effect was pretty damned cool — but now the company is trying something a little different with the new Desire 10 Lifestyle and Pro. HTC’s midrange work is getting wrapped up in a classy new look, and (spoiler alert) it’s a pretty impressive change. The Lifestyle is set to hit certain markets this month, ahead of the more expensive Pro model in November, and we got to take a closer look at both of them just a little while ago.
As you’ve easily deduced, the Pro is the more powerful of the Desire 10 twins. That’s mostly thanks to the octa-core MediaTek Helio P10, assisted by either 3GB or 4GB of RAM; the former model comes with 32GB of storage, down from the latter’s 64GB. Plenty of power to render things on the 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD screen and keep it all moving at a respectable clip, too. It’s always a little tricky to get a sense of what a phone’s capable of pre-launch, but poking around in the lightly skinned build of Android 6.0 Marshmallow felt more than adequately snappy. Anyway, just above that screen is a 13-megapixel camera (with a software-powered wide-angle selfie trick to boot), while a 20-megapixel camera sits on the opposite side. And below that? A rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, a nice touch that doesn’t often wind up in mid-range devices.
All of that (plus a 3,000mAh battery) is packed into a really handsome frame, with a matte body that gets criss-crossed with gold-ish antenna bands. This change is a far cry from the youthful Desire 530 — the Desire 10 Pro isn’t as exuberant as it is elegant. The tight tolerances and sturdy feel definitely give the 10 Pro a more premium air, and HTC’s color choices don’t hurt either. (The phone will be available in black, white, navy blue and a light blue the company’s calling “Valentine Lux”.)
You’d be forgiven for thinking the Desire 10 Lifestyle is just another barely-touched variant. After all, that’s definitely the impression HTC is trying to give off — the Lifestyle looks basically identical to its more expensive sibling despite its more modest spec sheet. There are some tell-tale signs, though, like the lack of a fingerprint sensor and a smaller flash setup under its main 13-megapixel camera. Once the Desire 10 Lifestyle is on, the phone’s lower-end ambitions are confirmed by the 5.5-inch 720p Super LCD screen — it’s still decently bright and vivid, if not the crispest out there. The rest of the differences are under the hood: there’s a slightly pokier Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset clocked at 1.6GHz, either 2GB or 3GB of RAM, 2700mAh batteries, and 32 or 64GB of storage.
There is one other big deviation from the Pro, however: the Desire 10 Lifestyle packs support for 24-bit high-res audio like the full-blown 10. Sure, you’ll lose out on a crisper screen and biometric unlocking, but the lure of improved audio is still pretty tantalizing. That’s also the sort of feature that rarely pops up in lower-end smartphones, so here’s hoping that trend keeps up for a while. And beyond that, HTC’s build quality impresses even when it comes to less expensive hardware (think around £249 in the UK). From a distance, there aren’t any discernible, physical differences between the Pro and the Lifestyle.
As usual, HTC is leaving most of the pricing and availability details up to the carriers and retailers themselves, but if you’re in the US, you can just put your wallet away. It’ll be a least a little while before either version of the Desire 10 winds up around these parts, and probably longer still if the Desires turn out to be hits and supplies get constrained. After just a little bit of time spent with HTC’s new devices, it was pretty clear that the line that represents “good enough” smartphone performance has gotten pretty high. Then again, it’s not like the best phones are guaranteed successes: the 10 was the best device HTC had cooked up in ages, and even its tremendous quality and performance couldn’t drive huge demand for it.
For years, Google’s reference Android smartphones have been relative bargains. Even the $649 Nexus 6 was a steal considering its then cutting-edge screen. You might have to get used to shelling out much more going forward, though. A reportedly trustworthy Android Police source claims that Google’s HTC-made 2016 phones (currently known as the Pixel and Pixel XL) will start at $649. That’s the typical manufacturer price for a mainstream device like the iPhone 7 or Galaxy S7, and well above the $499 it took to buy the Nexus 6P when it was new. The Pixel XL would almost certainly cost more, too.
Supposedly, Google is counting on financing options to soften the blow. And while Verizon will purportedly be the only US carrier selling the Pixels in stores, you’d still get to buy them online from Google.
It’s not clear what’s prompting the price hike, provided it’s real. High-end specs by themselves don’t dictate prices at Google. However, CEO Sundar Pichai previously hinted that future Google phones would be more “opinionated,” carrying distinctive software features that help them stand out. In that light, the Pixel line may represent a change in focus. Instead of focusing on developers and early adopters, as with the Nexus line, Google could directly compete with high-end Android manufacturers that already offer unique takes on Android. That’s something of a gamble — does the Google name command that much of a premium? You might not have long to wait for the truth, however, when rumors have the Pixel range launching on October 4th.
Source: Android Police
We saw some significant developments in the field of space exploration this week. Jeff Bezos unveiled his latest heavy lift rocket. The Gaia satellite has mapped its billionth Milky Way star. China launched another piece of its Heavenly Palace into orbit. And Galaxies just can’t seem to stop exploding. Numbers, because how else are you going to accurately measure your insignificance against the infinite voids of space?