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Google: We will shut down our search engine if we have to pay for news 22 Jan 2021, 9:38 am

Google: We will shut down our search engine if we have to pay for news

In a very weird row, Australia is proposing a legislation that would force online giants Google and Facebook to pay for local news publications. Basically, every time an article from Australian news site would appear in Google search results or in Facebook feed, that news site would get paid.

Similar proposals have been suggested - and even executed - in the past. Spain, France and Germany have all demanded money from Google to local news sites, but in those cases, the demands have been focused on Google News, Google's own news aggregator. In Spain, government enforced such law in a way that all news headlines shown in local Google News were eligible for payments from Google.

The result?

Google simply shut down Spanish version of Google News. And Spanish news sites lost huge chunk of their traffic immediately.

In Australia, the law would be even tougher - all news headlines shown in traditional Google search results would be eligible for payments, too. The proposed legislation doesn't put any weight on the fact that both Google and Facebook actually direct readers to such news sites. According to Google, they send "billions of clicks" each year to Australian news sites.

Furthermore, all websites can block themselves from being shown in search engines by simply blocking the search engine indexing process. This is typically done by adding a robots.txt file to the website root, rendering the website invisible to search engine crawlers that index the web. But publishers obviously don't want that - they rely on traffic provided by Google and others, but they still want those entities feeding them traffic to pay.

Now, Google has responded to Australian government about the issue and has declared that if they're being forced to pay for news, they'd simply shut down Australian version of Google search and possibly block Australian users from accessing other Google search editions, too, if the legislation would include those, too.

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LG planning to sell its phone manufacturing to Vietnam 21 Jan 2021, 3:07 pm

LG planning to sell its phone manufacturing to Vietnam

According to Korean sources, electronics giant LG is planning to sell its phone manufacturing division to Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup.

LG's phone business has been making losses for some time now and company has announced plans to restructure its operations. If the proposed deal happens, LG would retain its phone R&D and outsource the actual manufacturing to Vingroup's facilities. LG currently has phone manufacturing facilities in Vietnam, China and Brazil.

The outsourced model for phone manufacturing wouldn't be a very big shock to anyone - after all, companies like Apple have oputsourced their phone manufacturing to third party operators years ago.

Vietnamese government is supporting the deal, hoping it would expand country's high-tech sector significantly. The deal hasn't been approved yet, but according to Korean sources, it seems likely to happen.

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Roomba model comparison chart (2021) - i3 vs i4 vs e5 vs i6 vs i7 and more 21 Jan 2021, 11:50 am

Roomba model comparison chart (2021) - i3 vs i4 vs e5 vs i6 vs i7 and more

iRobot is the world's largest manufacturer of robotic vacuums. Its robovacs are sold under Roomba brand name globally. The problem is that there are tons of different Roomba models out there and Roomba's naming convention is no straightforward.

In this article, we try to clarify how various Roomba models differ from each other - and also to shine some light on Roomba's odd naming conventions. We have reviewed almost all Roomba models that exist, and thus the opinions mentioned on each model / series are based on our extensive reviews.

  1. Naming convention
  2. Roomba 600 series
  3. Roomba 670 series
  4. Roomba e5 series
  5. Roomba e6 series
  6. Roomba 980 series
  7. Roomba 970 series
  8. Roomba i3 series
  9. Roomba i4 series
  10. Roomba i7 series
  11. Roomba i6 series
  12. Roomba i8+
  13. Roomba s9 series
  14. Roomba 500, 700 and 800 series
  15. Roomba Combo (113, 1138)
  16. Comparison chart

Model names

First of all, Roomba's naming convention can be confusing. The company has improved its game lately in this particular area, but it still causes confusion to consumers all over the world.

If a specific Roomba model has three numbers in its model name, only the first two numbers matter.

That is to say: Roomba 675 is exactly the same device as Roomba 676 is. The last number only indicates that some small details might differ: typically the last number indicates the color but it can simply be a way to determine which retailing giant has exclusive right to sell the specific model - model still being exactly the same as everyone else has, but the last number differs. Sure, in some cases models that have different last numbers might carry a different set of bundled accessories: one model might come with one replacement brush, another one with two. But the vacuum is always the same if the two first numbers match.

However, there's an exception to this rule: Roomba's 600 series, with low digits, where all the models are the same: Roomba 605 is the same as 606 or 620 or 616. Clear, right?

If Roomba's model starts with a letter, only the letter and first number are significant.

For example, Roomba e5 is widely sold also as Roomba e5152 in Europe. But no matter what the numbers are, it is still the very same Roomba e5, the latter numbers don't matter at all. Sure, again, they can indicate either retail channel, number of accessories the device ships with, color - or simply the geographical area the device was aimed for (say, Europe or the United States).

...and finally, the third rule:

If the product name has a plus sign at the end of the model name, it ships with a Clean Base unit.

So, Roomba i7 and Roomba i7+ are technically the same device, but Roomba i7+ ships with the Clean Base dock, which has the auto-emptying feature for emptying the device's dustbin automatically.

For "non-plus" models, you can typically buy a kit separately that has the Clean Base docking station and required parts to modify your non-plus model to work with the Clean Base. But again, the plus model and non-plus model are otherwise exactly the same device.

Roomba 600 series

Roomba 605

As of now, the Roomba 600 series is the cheapest entry-level robovac in Roomba's line-up. It is meant for people who are shopping for their first robovac - or don't have the means to use smartphone or don't have WiFi at their home.

Unfortunately, based on our tests, Roomba's 600 series is also the one that we wouldn't recommend getting. In our review of Roomba 605 we noticed that it doesn't do a very good job in cleaning, it has a tendency to stink like .. well, an old vacuum and it had serious problems with all sorts of rugs and carpets.

Key points to know about Roomba's 600 series:
  • Doesn't have recharge and resume option. This means that the vacuum can't continue its job after it runs out of battery. So, basically, it is suitable to small, max 2-bedroom apartments, not to anything bigger than that.
  • Brush type is bristle (as opposed to rubber / silicone in more expensive models). This means basically that it isn't very suitable for a pet home, as untangling the pet hair from bristle brush is a pain.
  • Can't be controlled remotely: doesn't support any sorts of network connectivity.
  • Quite sub-par cleaning results.
  • Can't be scheduled at all.
  • Stinks like an old vacuum.

Roomba 670 series (Roomba 675, 676, ..)

Roomba 676

Significantly better than the basic 600 series. Supports network connectivity and can be controlled with a smartphone. Has scheduling options. Better filter: doesn't smell bad, like the 600 series does.

If you're buying your first robovac and just want to try a cheap one first, the Roomba 670 series is a good option there.

Main points:
  • Doesn't have recharge and resume option - suitable for smaller apartments only.
  • Uses bristle brushes - not recommended for pet households.
  • Can be controlled over the internet with a smartphone app.
  • Good cleaning results.
  • Can be scheduled.

Roomba e5 series (Roomba e5, e5152, etc)

Roomba e5

A very small step up from 670 series. Two main differences when comparing e5 to 670 series: e5 uses rubber / silicone brushes (vs bristle brushes used by 670 series) and has better suction power.

If you're considering between the 670 series and e5, consider these points: if the two cost currently the same, get e5. If you have pets, get e5. If there's a significant price gap (670 being significantly cheaper) and you don't have pets, get 670. They're almost identical, after all.

Roomba e5 key points:
  • Doesn't have recharge and resume option - suitable for smaller apartments only.
  • Uses silicone / rubber brushes, so suits much better for pet home than those that use bristle brushes.
  • Can be controlled over the internet with a smartphone app.
  • Good cleaning results.
  • Can be scheduled.

Roomba e6

Again, just to confuse the living heck out of consumers, the Roomba e6 is actually exactly the same device as Roomba e5. The only differences are that e6 has a different color than e5 and e6 always ships with a virtual wall unit. Based on feedback, for e5, it seems to "depend" slightly whether your package includes virtual wall unit or not. But thhe color is different, that's for sure. No other differences whatsoever.

Roomba 980 series (Roomba 980, Roomba 981, ..)

Roomba 980

Roomba 980 series is Roomba's slightly older premium model, dating back to 2017. It is still widely available and has been software updated quite regularly by iRobot, so we added it to the list, too.

Roomba 980 was the first Roomba model to have full mapping features available: it can map the house and continue cleaning if the battery runs out of juice before it gets the entire area cleaned. This means that 980 is suitable also for very large homes, as it can continue its duties even after it has charged itself.

Roomba 980 also happens to be the loudest robovac we have ever tested. Its "carpet mode" feature puts a "turbo boost" to its suction when it detects carpet or a rug - and it sounds a bit like a fighter taking off when it does that.

Roomba 980 is overall an excellent product. Not as good as its successors in Roomba's top-end line, but as the model is currently being phased out, you might get yourself a great deal if you find 980 in deep discount.

Roomba 980 key points:
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Very, very good cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has mapping function: shows the map of where it has cleaned and supports virtual no-go zones that can be created through the smartphone app.

Roomba 970 series (Roomba 971, Roomba 975, ..)

Roomba 970-sarja

This one is weird. There used to be an older Roomba 970 series back in 2016 or so. But in 2020 Roomba released a new Roomba 970 series that has been available mostly outside the United States only - namely, in Europe and in some Asian countries.

The Roomba 970, the year 2020 edition is basically a slightly toned-down version of the above-mentioned Roomba 980. Most notably, 970 has a smaller battery than 980, it lacks the carpet boost feature and its mapping abilities have been slightly crippled.

It does, however, support the recharge and resume feature, meaning that it can continue its cleaning after it runs out of battery - and thus, is suitable for bigger homes than e5 and other cheaper models.

Roomba 970 key points:
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Good cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has limited mapping functionality: shows the areas it has cleaned, but map can't be edited and doesn't support room-specific cleaning.

Roomba i3 series (Roomba i3, Roomba i3+)

Roomba i3+

Roomba i3 series was launched back in 2020 as the "higher mid-price" option in Rooomba's lineup. Basically, it is the cheapest Roomba that can have a self-emptying dustbin option.

What is a self-emptying dustbin then? The charging dock of such robovacs has a larger dustbin within the charging dock itself. Once robot has finished vacuuming and its own dustbin is getting full, it empties its own dustbin to the larger dustbin located at the charging station.

Now, here, it is good to remember that the self-emptying dustbin feature comes with the "plus models" only. So, i3+ can empty its own dustbin, but i3 can't. Otherwise, these two models are identical. And the dustbin feature can be upgraded to i3 separately, but it will cost more than the difference in the price of i3 and i3+.

As a vacuum, i3 is basically a stripped-down version of i7 series. A very good vacuum that has remote controlling, scheduling, good cleaning results, recharge and resume feature, and more. However, its mapping abilities have been slightly crippled, just like with 970 series. This means that while you can see the area the vacuum covered, you can't create virtual no-go zones or edit the map, or command your i3 to clean just a specific room.

Roomba i3 main features:
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Good cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has limited mapping functionality: shows the areas it has cleaned, but map can't be edited and doesn't support room-specific cleaning.
  • The "plus" version, i3+, comes with Clean Base and automatic dustbin emptying feature.

Roomba i4 series (Roomba i4, Roomba i4+, Roomba i4150, ..)

Yay for weird naming conventions again..! Roomba i4 is exactly the same thing as Roomba i3.

Only one difference: i4 can be only bought from Costco in United States and Canada (and possibly through some other exclusive retailers in othehr continents).

Roomba i7 series (Roomba i7, Roomba i7+, ..)

Roomba i7+

The i7 series is Roomba's former flagship robovac. And in our opinion, it is still the best Roomba you can get, even better than its successor, the s9.

Roomba i7 is, just like i3, a model that can have a self-emptying dustbin if you opt to buy the "plus" model. If you buy the basic i7, you can upgrade it later to have the Clean Base dustbin mechanism, but with a higher cost. Whether you buy i7 or i7+, they're the same device.

Oh, and man, i7 is good! It is the best robotic vacuum we have tested, ever. It is the only robovac that didn't get stuck with rugs or carpets in our test homes during our extensive four-month review period.

If you're shopping for a very good robovac, buy i7 or i7+!!

As its features, it has full mapping capabilities: you can name rooms, command i7 to clean only the rooms you want it to clean; you can create no-go zones through the smartphone app, etc.

Roomba i7 key points:
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Excellent cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has full mapping functionality: rooms can be named; robot can be ordered to clean just select rooms if needed; no-go zones can be created through phone app, shows cleaning history maps.
  • The "plus" version, i7+, comes with Clean Base and automatic dustbin emptying feature.
  • Only robovac that doesn't get stuck in most common household objects (like rugs, etc)

Roomba i6 series (Roomba i6, Roomba i6+, Roomba i6550, ..)

Again, Roomba's model naming is confusing.. Roomba i6 series is identical to Roomba i7 series.

There are only two differences here: Roomba i6 is Amazon exclusive. And i7 ships with more accessories than i6 (namely, more spare dustbags and filters). Other than that, no difference whatsoever.

Roomba i8+

Okay, this one is bit like i6, but with a twist.

Roomba i8+ is almost exactly the same thing as Roomba i7+.

Roomba i8+ doesn't have a "non-plus" sibling, so there's the version with Clean Base only. The i8+ is Costco exclusive model, meaning that you can't buy it from anywhere else other than from Costco.

And i8+ actually has one significant difference when compared to i7+, too: Roomba i8+ has a 20 percent bigger battery than Roomba i7+ has. Other than that, they're the same thing.

As confirmed by iRobot:

Roomba s9 series (Roomba s9, Roomba s9+)

Roomba s9+

And finally, there's Roomba s9, the flagship model of the Roomba lineup, released back in 2019. It looks totally different from all other Roomba models, as its design resembles that of Neato robovacs: it isn't circular like other Roombas are.

It is the official successor or i7 series, but in our tests and reviews i7 beats it in most areas: the s9 gets stuck slightly more often and i7 does a better job at the actual cleaning than s9 does.

Again, s9 has two variations: the plus model and the "non-plus" model. The difference here is, again, the fact that s9+ comes with a Clean Base charging station while Roomba s9 ships with a traditional charging station.

It is an excellent vacuum, one of the best we've ever reviewed, but still, in our opinion, Roomba i7 is still a better choice.

Roomba s9 main points:
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Very, very good cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has full mapping functionality: rooms can be named; robot can be ordered to clean just select rooms if needed; no-go zones can be created through phone app, shows cleaning history maps.
  • The "plus" version, s9+, comes with Clean Base and automatic dustbin emptying feature.

Roomba 500, 700 and 800 series

These models are old Roomba models, phased out years ago. They're still sold at some retailers, but they originate from the year 2017 or earlier. As we haven't reviewed these models and as they're already end-of-life models, we aren't going to go into their specs or details here. The same applies to older 900 series models, like Roomba 960 series.

Roomba Combo

Roomba Combo

Ah, finally, there is this one. The weirdest of them all. Launched around end of year 2020, Roomba Combo, first device from iRobot to combine vacuum and robot mop together.

Actually, no. The Roomba Combo isn't manufactured by iRobot at all. It is 100% made by Chinese companny called Ecovacs, known for their cheap robotic vacuums. The product is simply a rebranded Ecovacs device that has nothing to do with "real Roomba", other than the sticker on top of it - and coloring of its parts.

Sold mainly in Europe and other areas outside Americas, it is simply a clever way to cash in with Roomba brand. The deal between iRobot and Ecovacs was formed back in May 2020 and the Roomba Combo is the first product to come out of that partnership.

As a product itself, it doesn't use any of the existing Roomba parts, like batteries, brushes, wheels, etc.

We haven't been able to review it yet, so we cannot tell whether it is a good product or not, but we'd be little vary about its quality. It is priced aggressively, at cheaper price point than most Roomba's vacuum-only cheap models.

Comparison chart

tip: you can scroll the table sideways if it doesn't fit into your browser!

  Roomba 600 Roomba 670 Roomba e5 / e6 Roomba 970 Roomba 980 Roomba i3 / i3+ Roomba i6/i6+/i7/i7+ Roomba i8+ Roomba s9/s9+ Roomba Combo
Reviews Roomba 605 review                  
Battery 60 min 90 min 90 min 75 min 120 min 75 min 75 min 90 min 90 min 110 min
Battery size 2 200 mAh 1 800 mAh 1 800 mAh 1 800 mAh 3 300 mAh 1 800 mAh 1 800mAh 2 210 mAh 3 300 mAh 3 000 mAh (NiMH)
Brushes bristle bristle rubber rubber rubber rubber rubber rubber rubber rubber
Recharge & Resume no no no yes yes yes yes yes yes no
Navigation tech iAdapt 1.0 iAdapt 1.0 iAdapt 1.0 iAdapt 2.0 iAdapt 2.0 Floor sensors iAdapt 3.0 iAdapt 3.0 iAdapt 3.0 random
Dustbin size 500 ml 500 ml 500 ml 600 ml 600 ml 500 ml 500 ml 500 ml 460 ml 450 ml
Allergy filter no no yes yes yes yes yes yes yes not known
no no no no no yes
(plus model)
(plus model)
yes yes
(plus model)
Smartphone app no yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Maps no no no yes
yes yes (limited) yes yes yes no
Suction power 1x ("base level") 1x 5x 5x 10x 10x 10x 10x 40x not known
Single room cleaning no no no no yes no yes yes yes no

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Trump's last hurrah against Huawei 18 Jan 2021, 9:09 pm

Trump's last hurrah against Huawei

Trump administration has issued more restrictions to Huawei before leaving the White House. According to a Reuters report, Trump admin is now denying licenses that Huawei was required to work with American companies.

After May 2019 and the addition to the U.S. government's "entity list", Huawei's road has been a rocky one. While specific licenses made it possible for it to continue buying technology and products from U.S. based companies, it has had to get rid of Google services on its phones.

Now it seems that other products and technology from the United States might not be anymore available to the Chinese smartphone and wireless powerhouse.

Just before leaving office, Trump admin has started denying the licenses Huawei needs to buy products from the U.S. companies. This includes companies like Intel, whose chip shipments to Huawei will cease.

A total of eight licenses to four different companies have been denied and the source expects this to continue. Not only is this tough for Huawei, it's affecting the companies that are losing business and a massive customer at that.

According to the report, 150 licenses that gross $120 billion are pending and another $280 billion haven't yet entered the process. Many of these are now likely to be denied, although it's unclear what percentage will be affected.

There's currently no clear policy to point to which would explain the basis of the denials but dozens of licenses are expected to be denied.

Recently Xiaomi was added to a U.S. blacklist that lists Chinese companies with connections to Chinese military. U.S. shareholders of those companies have to divest their investments.

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Steam releases "2020 Year in Review," reveals player numbers 18 Jan 2021, 7:31 pm

Steam releases "2020 Year in Review," reveals player numbers

Steam has revealed their 2020 figures in a post they call "2020 Year in Review." The company's fifth annual review includes some stats, including player numbers and most popular games.

The service broke new records with a whopping 120 million monthly active users and 62.6 million active users every day on average.

Steam recorded a peak to 24.8 million concurrent players, which happened during the bug-ridden Cyberpunk 2077 launch.

The situation the world has been for the past year has no doubt tremendously increased the usage of this online platform as well. A total game time recorded was 31.3 billion hours which is a massive 50.7% increase to the previous year with around 20 billion hours.

Steam stats in 2020

Not only was the year a success for Steam, according to the company it was good for the developers and publishers too. The number of games that grossed more than $100k increased by 36%. Seasonal sales also broke records.

As you can imagine, the data transferred coincides with the game time and increased over 50% to 25.2 exabytes. That's 25 200 000 000 000 000 000 bytes.

Data transferred by Steam in 2020

The post on Steam's website goes into way more detail about SteamVR stats, controllers, etc so you might want to check it out here.

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DuckDuckGo reaches new heights: 100 million searches a day 18 Jan 2021, 4:06 pm

DuckDuckGo reaches new heights: 100 million searches a day

Perhaps the most serious competition to Google's search engine comes not from Microsoft and Bing but a different perspective altogether. DuckDuckGo promises to keep browsing private and search results untailored.

The 2008 launched website has gained traction in recent years due to privacy issues with the Silicon Valley giants. Now, SearchEngineJournal has spotted that DDG has managed to break a new one-day record.

A week ago on January 11, DuckDuckGo was used to search a total of 102 million times. This is the first time the search has passed 100 million searches in a single day.

Just last fall DDG was hovering at around 40 million searches a day. Average in January will be around 90 million likely, unless the site gets a huge bump in the latter half.

DDG is a small player still, considering even Yahoo and Bing still clearly outrank in marketshare, and for a comparison Google's searches per day are counted in trillions.

However, people are becoming more privacy oriented my the minute, so who knows if DDG will start trending soon in the same vein as Signal just did.

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Trump admin blacklists Xiaomi 15 Jan 2021, 12:44 pm

Trump admin blacklists Xiaomi

The Pentagon has designated nine companies to their black list for being associated with the Chinese military, Reuters reported. Among the added are the world's third largest smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac.

This is a separate black list from the one Huawei is in, and has the specific distinction to being controlled by the Chinese military. This also means that the companies on this list aren't necessarily barred from cooperating with U.S. companies, so Xiaomi should be able to continue using the Google ecosystem on their phones.

What they are barring is shareholding from U.S. individuals and companies. Holdings in these companies have to be divested by November 11. The list previously included companies like the Chinese chip maker SMIC.

There's a possibility that Xiaomi will be added to the entity list that makes it harder to work with U.S. companies and technologies, too. This happened to the Chinese oil company CNOOC which was on the military black list and was according to FT just recently added to the entity list.

However, it's less likely as the administration changes and four years of toughening of China policies might be a thing of the past.

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Samsung's new wireless earbuds have ANC and new two-way design 14 Jan 2021, 7:39 pm

Samsung's new wireless earbuds have ANC and new two-way design

Samsung announced today the new Galaxy S21 lineup that includes, as expect, the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra. As has become a custom, the company also refreshed their earbuds.

The new model carries the name Galaxy Buds Pro and, according to the company, they also provide audio experience that even professionals would appreciate.

One has to doubt that any serious audio professional is going to switch their monitor headset for there but there are some improvements that should provide better audio.

Samsung has developed a two-way design that allow two difference elements, separate woofer and tweeter, inside the tiny shell. It remains to be seen how much this actually improves the audio quality.

The new design also features a more streamlined profile and a new addition of a wind chamber should capture most of the wind that is trying to get to the microphones to ruin your phone calls.

Galaxy Buds Pro also feature active noise cancellation, or ANC, which allows users to block out the distracting ambient noises but also use the mics to pass through whenever there's a need for a quick chat or perhaps you'd want to hear surrounding announcements.

There's Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity that allows multi-device pairing and easier switching between devices.

Galaxy Buds Pro cost $200 and they are available in three color options.

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Samsung announced new Galaxy S21 series from $799 to $1199 14 Jan 2021, 7:20 pm

Samsung announced new Galaxy S21 series from $799 to $1199

Samsung announced today three new Samsung Galaxy S21 models as expected. At the first Unpacked event of the year Samsung introduced Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra.

The lineup hasn't really changed from last year in terms of the trio of devices hitting different price points and specs preferences but there are some important upgrades to the last year's models.

All the new Galaxy S21 models have a new and improved display panels that offer better peak brightness and now also 120 hz refresh rate at maximum resolution.

The S21 and S21+ feature a Full HD+ display and Ultra has a QHD+ panel. All of them feature a more durable Gorilla Glass Victus on top of the panels. Peak brightness hits 1300 nits on S21 and S21+, and 1500 nits on Ultra.

As you might guess, there are some size differences. S21 display is 6.2" while S21+ is 6.7" and Ultra 6.8", which means that S21 and S21+ display size stayed the same while Ultra got tiny bit smaller from last year, although it does now support S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and S Pen

However, all of the models got a larger, 1.7x to be exact, fingerprint sensor underneath the display.

The S21 is the only model to rely on polycarbonates in construction. The other two have a glass and metal build. All of them have IP68 waterproofing.

Battery size varies from 4000 mAh of S21 and 4800 mAh of S21+ up to 5000mAh of Ultra. To improve battery life, Samsung has also implemented a variable refresh rate that automatically adjust the display from 10hz all the way to 120hz depending on the need.

SoC has been upgraded to 5 nanometer chips, Exynos 2100 or Snapdragon 888 (US), depending on the market. As for the storage and RAM options here's what you've got:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21: 8/128GB, 8/256GB

  • Samsung Galaxy S21+: 8/128GB, 8/256GB

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: 12/128GB, 12/256GB, 16/512GB

Unfortunately there is no microSD slot anymore, so you'll have to do with what you've got in terms of storage.

In terms of camera, the setup changes quite a bit between the S21/S21+ and the Ultra, quite like last year. The former two have a triple camera setup including a 12 MP regular shooter (f/1.8, OIS), a 12 MP ultrawide with 120 degree view, and a 64 MP telephoto with 3x hybrid zoom.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra camera setup

Ultra on the other hand replaces the default shooter with a 108 MP (f/1.8, OIS) camera and adds another 10x telephoto to go with the ultrawide and 3x telephoto.

In terms of selfie cameras, the first two have a 10 MP camera and Ultra features a whopping 40 MP selfie shooter.

Pre-order have started today and the sales start officially on the 29th of this month. The prices start at $799 (S21), $999 (S21+) and $1199 (S21 Ultra).

Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21+

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Signal has revealed new features after hitting #1 on App Store 13 Jan 2021, 9:14 pm

Signal has revealed new features after hitting #1 on App Store

Signal has been trending ever after Facebook announced in the new EULA that all WhatsApp users need to share their information with Facebook.

Elon Musk decided to give people a push they might need in order to switch from a messenger to another by tweeting simply "Use Signal." And people most definitely have been switching according to App Store and Google Play ranks.

Signal is now number one app on both platforms, and there's probably a lot of people that are yet to switch. The non-profit running Signal are certainly trying abuse the fact that they've seemed to catch lightning in a bottle.

They've not announced on Twitter a few new features that will be soon landing on Signal. According to the tweet in a few days you'll get:

  • Chat wallpapers!
  • About field for your Signal profile
  • Animated stickers
  • For iOS: Media auto-download settings and full-screen profile photos (to match Android)

  • Signal added a "Good morning India!" at the end of the tweet which might mean that the rollout will start from India. It's a little unclear, here's the tweet:

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Nvidia announces GeForce RTX 3060 at CES 13 Jan 2021, 4:35 pm

Nvidia announces GeForce RTX 3060 at CES

Nvidia has announced their newest addition to their RTX graphics card lineup at the virtual CES that runs this week. The most budget friendly of the new 3000 series cards will be available late next month.

The new 3060 fills the gap that Nvidia left last month when they announced RTX 3060 Ti. Now with the regular 3060, they've got a fairly affordable new generation card, that a lot of people have been waiting for.

GeForce RTX 3060 features 12 GB of GDDR6 memory, 3584 CUDA cores, 192-bit memory interface, and a clock of speed of 1.32 GHz (boost at 1.78 GHz). Nvidia recommends a 550 watt PSU for the GPU that uses up to around 170 watts.

Nvidia compared the new card to the latest GTX predecessors, the GTX 1060, and specifically their ray tracing capabilities. A rather odd comparison, considering that it has been well established that ray tracing is pretty much the one trick the new RTX cards have to offer.

Nonetheless, the new RTX 3060 can provide up to 10 times the ray tracing performance to GTX 1060. Nvidia also promised 60 fps, ray tracing enabled, in new games.

As mentioned, RTX 3060 will be available late February, although expect stock to be limited, starting at $329.

More information about RTX 3060 can be found here.

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Adobe Flash - no more 12 Jan 2021, 9:22 am

Adobe Flash - no more

Flash has been dying for a while now. Ever since HTML5 video over a decade ago people were ready to give up their Flash Players for the less resource heavy option.

Now after years of scaling down, Microsoft being among the last to remove Flash, Adobe has finally pulled the plug.

The company has fought for the unoptimized, resource-hogging security problem for long enough. It is time to let it go.

As of today, 12th of January, 2021, Adobe Flash asks you to uninstall itself from your computer. Furthermore, all Flash content will refuse to work after this day.

In the release notes, Adobe thanks all customers and collaborators for the 30 year lifespan of Flash Player.

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Google, Apple, Amazon ban Twitter competitor Parler 10 Jan 2021, 3:56 pm

Google, Apple, Amazon ban Twitter competitor Parler

There is some sort of social media purge going on right now. After President Donald Trump was ejected from Twitter, other platforms have followed suit with bans of their own.

In addition to several social media platforms removing Trump's accounts or restricting access, tech companies – or monopolies as the Congress addresses them – have joined in.

Google and Apple have removed the Twitter competitor Parler citing "public safety threat" and "insufficient measures to remove threats" respectively.

Parler was built to provide more free speech focused social media platform for those that do not appreciate Twitter's arguably rather selective and/or restrictive measures, or those that have no choice in the matter.

Parler CEO John Matze posted a statement to Apple banning Parler. He brought up Apple's hypocrisy with threats as Parler was banned while #HangMikePence was trending on Twitter.

In addition to the two mobile platform giants, Amazon, the provider of Parler's cloud computing, has decided to shut down their servers.

Parler is currently still online but Matze suggested it might go down for as long as a week following AWS ban while the company works on future plans.

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Roku has bought Quibi's shows 9 Jan 2021, 5:42 pm

Roku has bought Quibi's shows

The not-so-successful short-form mobile streaming platform Quibi has found a new home. Perhaps a little surprisingly it's none of the traditional large media conglomerates, instead you can spot Chrissy Teigen now on The Roku Channel.

Roku has announced that is has acquired much of what is Quibi's show library. This includes both original shows and documentaries that were originally developed for Quibi.

The Roku Channel will be the new home to shows such as #FreeRayshawn, Chrissy's Court, Die Hart, Dummy, Flipped, Most Dangerous Game, Punk'd, Reno 911!, and Survive. There are a total of more than 75 shows and hundreds of hours of content.

Roku also namedropped some of the entertainment stars that join Roku's catalog, including Idris Elba, Kevin Hart, Liam Hemsworth, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Richie, and Chrissy Teigen.

According to the company, all this content is going to be available to you for free in the near future.

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Hyundai source suggests Apple Car might be coming 8 Jan 2021, 8:18 pm

Hyundai source suggests Apple Car might be coming

For years we've had rumors, or at least hopes, that Apple would enter the car market. Redefining the industry might not be as easy as it was before Tesla, but information that has been leaked in the past years suggests that Apple is seriously looking at the possibility of an iCar.

The Cupertino-based company bought an autonomous driving company in 2019 and has been seeking talent beforeyears before – and after that to compliment the automotive business they might engage in later on.

Even the respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that an Apple car might be in the making for a release in 2023 to 2025.

Now the news comes from a Korean source that Apple has been in talks with Hyundai about their EV.

However, rumors suggest that Apple interested in cooperating with Hyundai specifically at this point but has contacted other manufacturers as well.

It's too early to tell who Apple might team up with, and iCar is still very far off, but it's another strong indicator that in a few years we might see some sort of EV announcement from Tim Cook. We just have to hope it doesn't use Apple Maps.

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