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Daily updated technology news

This Instagram tool blocks offensive, abusive DM requests 22 Apr 2021, 6:03 am

This Instagram tool blocks offensive, abusive DM requests

Instagram has provided users with a way to block out abusive messages that are sent as DM requests on its platform.

While people can avoid abusive or offensive messages in DMs on Instagram by limiting who can contact them, many users report getting abusive messages via the DM request inbox on Instagram.

A new tool can now be used that will automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases, and emojis, so you never have to see them. It will work in a similar way to the comment filters that are already available on Instagram.

Instagram worked with anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organizations to develop a predefined list of offensive terms that will be filtered from DM requests when the feature is turned on. There is also the option to create your own custom list of words, phrases, or emojis that you don't want to see in your DM requests.

All DM requests that contain these offensive words, phrases, or emojis - whether from your custom list or the predefined list - will be automatically filtered into a separate hidden requests folder. If you choose to open the folder, the message text will be covered so you're not confronted with offensive language, unless you tap to uncover it.

You can turn both comment and DM request filters on and off in a new dedicated section of your Privacy Settings called Hidden Words.

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Resident Evil 4 VR coming to Oculus Quest 2 this year 22 Apr 2021, 5:59 am

Resident Evil 4 VR coming to Oculus Quest 2 this year

Sixteen-year-old classic RE4 has been demonstrated ahead of its release for the Oculus Quest 2.

Originally released for the GameCube, Resident Evil 4 is a beloved classic of the horror series and has been ported several times already. This year it is getting the Oculus VR makeover, and we now have a glimpse of what that will look and feel like.

Weapons, ammo, and items are physical objects in the game you can reach out to manipulate or pick up. Drawing a weapon can be done with your hand rather than a menu, along with the act of reloading.

You can move Leon from your first-person perspective using the controllers or you can use a new teleportation feature that makes it easy to skip Leon's movement forward.

The game can be run at a higher framerate than the original 30FPS also, and all original characters and textures have been ported to Unreal Engine 4. More details will be available soon ahead of its launch later this year.

Take a look at the demo:

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WATCH: Enhanced video of Mars helipcopter flight 22 Apr 2021, 5:54 am

WATCH: Enhanced video of Mars helipcopter flight

There is now an enhanced version of Monday's historic first powered flight from the Martian surface.

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter made history this week when it powered up and lifted off on the surface of Mars. The brief excursion into Mars' thin atmosphere is the first time a human-made device has taken powered flight from the surface of another planet, even if it was just a short hop into the air. It is important to state it is the first powered flight, as the Soviet Union achieved the first balloon flight in the atmosphere of Venus in 1985.

The first images of Ingenuity were grainy and choppy and were followed by a better video. However, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory channel on YouTube has uploaded an enhanced video with more detail.

It actually contains two separate recordings of the event, presented side by side. The view on the left uses motion filtering to show where dust was detected during liftoff and landing and the view on the right is enhanced with the motion filtering.

Here is the video:



Ingenuity serves as a technology demonstrator ahead of future missions to Mars which will involve the use of more flying probes. It may also be used to scout locations of interest and find driving routes for missions. In its current test campaign, it is expected to fly at least five times.

Part of the historic 1903 Wright Brothers' airplane is attached to Ingenuity, and the take-off and landing site on Mars has been named the Wright Brothers Field.

Img Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Free-to-play games on Xbox no longer require Gold subscription 22 Apr 2021, 5:53 am

Free-to-play games on Xbox no longer require Gold subscription

Several dozen popular free-to-play games can now be enjoyed on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X without an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Popular titles including Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends, Fortnite, Rocket League, Roblox, and many more were limited to paying Xbox Live Gold subscribers up until now. Microsoft is known to have been testing the change for weeks.

Additionally, Xbox party chat and the Looking For Groups (LFG) have been similarly liberated from the premium tier.

The move comes after Microsoft irked gamers with a planned doubling of the yearly cost of an Xbox Live subscription earlier this year. It also happens as Microsoft is phasing out the branding of Xbox Live, to be replaced by Xbox network.

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SpaceX: Starlink satellite didn't almost collide with rival sat 22 Apr 2021, 5:48 am

SpaceX: Starlink satellite didn't almost collide with rival sat

SpaceX has denied recent reports of a near-miss incident involving one of its Internet-beaming Starlink satellites, and one belonging to rival OneWeb.

The news has reignited concerns about the ambitious plans of SpaceX and others to launch arrays of satellites into low-Earth orbit in order to provide low-latency, high-speech broadband services. Critics warn that launching too many satellites into low Earth orbit increases the risk of collisions that could produce large amounts of dangerous space junk, inhibiting future space operations.

There are also concerns about the presence of satellite constellations in orbit and the effect it will have on ground-based astronomy.

In recent days news spread about a close call between a Starlink satellite, operated by SpaceX, and a OneWeb satellite. In a filing, SpaceX essentially accuses OneWeb of spreading false information about what actually occurred.

The initial reports stated that SpaceX has turned off its collision avoidance system when its satellite came within 190 feet of the OneWeb satellite on April 2. OneWeb had performed a maneuver and avoided a collision. Representatives of SpaceX and OneWeb met with FCC staff since the incident.

SpaceX told the FCC that, "OneWeb's head lobbyist recently made demonstrably inaccurate statements to the media about recent coordinations of physical operations. Specifically, Mr. McLaughlin of OneWeb told the Wall Street Journal that SpaceX switched off its AI-powered, autonomous collision avoidance system and 'they couldn't do anything to avoid a collision.'"

"Rather, SpaceX and OneWeb were working together in good faith at the technical level. As part of these discussions, OneWeb itself requested that SpaceX turn off the system temporarily to allow their maneuver, as agreed by the parties."

SpaceX went on to deny there was any close call / near miss at all.

There are currently 1,378 Starlink satellites in orbit while SpaceX is approved to operate 12,000 in orbit. It is also seeking clearance for an additional 30,000 to supplement the 12,000 satellite constellation.

The OneWeb satellite constellation has been affected by the bankruptcy of OneWeb but the project is going ahead.

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Apple's luxury luggage tag costs $449 21 Apr 2021, 7:50 pm

Apple's luxury luggage tag costs $449

Apple finally released its long anticipated AirTag device yesterday. And to be honest to its reputation, the item tracking device comes in wide variety of styles. And yes, some of those styles are insanely priced.

AirTag is essentially a small Bluetooth-like device that you can hook to your key ring, your laptop, etc and can then find your misplaced item with your phone. Similar solutions have existed before, from wide variety of manufacturers over the past few years.

The basic version of AirTag is quite reasonably priced, at $29 in U.S. But..

A genuine leather luggage tag, including a built-in AirTag and designed by famous French luxury designer Hermès is something else. It is currently available only in the United States, but it costs a whopping $449 on Apple's own store.

AirTag Hermes luggage tag price
screenshot from Apple US website


Then again, such luggage tag can be considered a steal, as some Hermès' traditional (as in: no AirTag included) leathery luggage tags cost a whopping $1,150.

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Spotify to continue deleting Joe Rogan podcast episodes, according to report 21 Apr 2021, 7:44 am

Spotify to continue deleting Joe Rogan podcast episodes, according to report

According to a report from Digital Music News last week, Spotify will resume removing Joe Rogan Experience podcasts from its inventory.

The popular podcast made the jump to Spotify at the end of 2020, with the Swedish streaming platform securing exclusivity over the existing catalog and new episodes. Some older episodes still remain on YouTube, while Spotify decided against bringing over several dozen podcast episodes. Additionally, clips from new podcast episodes are still uploaded to YouTube.

Spotify has reportedly removed 42 episodes of the podcast which features guests including provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes, comedian Chris D'Elia, and more. While Spotify did not bring over old episodes featuring Alex Jones, it still has a more recent episode online with Mr. Jones and comedian Tim Dillan, which Rogan himself described as a "big test."

The popular podcaster, comedian, and UFC commentator clashed with Spotify employees shortly after the transition to the service. Reports circulated that Spotify employees were demanding editing oversight be given to Spotify staffers, that trigger warnings be displayed for some episodes, as well as clarifications by "fact-checkers."

Since then, Spotify has removed episodes quietly and according to the DMN report, is planning to eventually remove between 15 and 20 more episodes. For now, the service has reportedly halted the purge of the episodes due to a public backlash against the removals.

Spotify is believed to have spent more than $100 million in securing the JRE exclusivity deal.

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Microsoft 'Cloud PC' could be coming this summer 21 Apr 2021, 7:40 am

Microsoft 'Cloud PC' could be coming this summer

According to a report, Microsoft may be preparing to launch its Cloud PC service as soon as this summer.

Codenamed 'Project Deschutes', Microsoft sees potential in offering the familiar Windows Desktop environment as a service to subscribers. With this Cloud PC service, customers could use their devices to access a remote Desktop running atop Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform.

Of course, familiar Microsoft products such as Office 365 would likely be accessible through the service. Believed to be in testing now, the Cloud PC service may roll out as soon as June or July, reports ZDNet.

Leaks have revealed that Microsoft is planning multiple options for potential subscribers designated Medium, Heavy, and Advanced. The three separate options would vary based on the allocated CPU capacity, RAM capacity, and storage space.

Another potential use for the Cloud PC service is to allow customers running Windows 10X devices to run Win32 applications. Windows 10x is an upcoming operating system that will target the Chrome OS market, and it will not run standard Win32 applications.

Read more at ZDNet

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Musk: Autopilot was off before fatal Tesla crash in Texas 21 Apr 2021, 6:45 am

Musk: Autopilot was off before fatal Tesla crash in Texas

Tesla chief Elon Musk revealed that the data from a fatal car accident involving a Tesla Model S showed the car was not on autopilot at the time.

Police responded to reports of a serious car accident near The Woodlands, about 30 miles north of Houston, on Saturday night. The vehicle, a Tesla Model S, veered off the road and hit a tree at high speed before igniting, killing two occupants.

According to deputies, there was nobody in the driving seat at the time that the vehicle veered into the tree. Emergency services fought the fire using more than 30,000 gallons of water, as the damaged battery kept reigniting. At some point during the four-hour effort to put out the fire, Tesla has to be contacted for instruction on how to quench the flames.

Predictably, the details of the incident prompted questions about the safety of vehicle automation, and Texas authorities revealed they will secure data from the vehicle from Tesla with a warrant.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has responded to the incident and subsequent reports publicly, however. He did so using the platform he usually uses to respond to media reports, Twitter!

In a response Tweet, Musk revealed that the data from the accident shows that Autopilot was not engaged at the time of the accident. Furthermore, the vehicle did not have the full self-drive capabilities, which can be purchased as an add-on for a $10,000 fee. FSD enables compatible Tesla's to automatically change lanes and self-park.

The street on which the accident took place also would not have been compatible with Autopilot anyway, due to the lack of lane lines that could be detected and used to navigate.



Just days ago, Musk also tweeted updated information on the safety of the product, showing that Tesla with Autopilot engaged is approaching a 10 times lower chance of an accident than an average vehicle.

See more: www.tesla.com

Since the accident, the identity of one of the occupants of the vehicle has been revealed as 58-year-old Dr. William Varner, an anesthesiologist. Another passenger has not been named yet.

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Netflix blames COVID-19 impact for subscriber growth lag 21 Apr 2021, 6:20 am

Netflix blames COVID-19 impact for subscriber growth lag

The COVID-19 pandemic can be blamed for both good news and bad news at Netflix!

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it confined most of us to our homes and dramatically increased our demand for online and streaming media. Netflix rode a wave of soaring subscriptions as a bored public sought an escape from the constant reminder of our predicament.

In 2020, Netflix added a whopping 36.5 million new subscribers globally which easily its best year for subscriber growth. By contrast, 2019 had seen a decline in growth from 28.6 million to 27.8 million the previous year.

While more users were signing on to the service, Netflix was hit by the same production problems as others in the industry. Filming of its popular TV shows and much of its new movies and other content ground to a halt as COVID-19 restrictions also kept directors, producers, actors, studio engineers, writers, and everyone else required for production at home.

In the first quarter of 2021, Netflix recorded just shy of 4 million new subscribers, down dramatically from over 15 million for the same period a year earlier. Worse, it warned shareholders that it only expects to add just 1 million new subscribers in Q2.

The streaming giant attributes the dramatically cut in subscriber growth to the delay of new content going to the service - a delay caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is now looking to new seasons of popular shows like The Witcher and Money Heist to accelerate subscriber growth in the second half of 2021.

Netflix counts more than 207 million subscribers globally.

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Microsoft's billions fail to sway Discord 21 Apr 2021, 6:15 am

Microsoft's billions fail to sway Discord

Social and messaging platform Discord is walking away from talks over a multi-billion dollar deal with Redmond-giant Microsoft.

Discord witnessed rapid growth last year as more people were staying at home as part of COVID-19 restrictions. The service enables users to gather in public or private channels to chat, post images and other media, and also to Direct Message each other.

Voice chat is also supported, as is the ability to share screens or camera feeds. Discord servers dedicated to a single topic (tv shows, sports teams, musical artists, video games, etc.) are very popular, and the company earns revenue by selling premium Nitro subscriptions at $9.99 per month, or $99.99 for the year.

Nitro members can "boost" servers to unlock extra features, and also have access to exclusive emojis and other benefits. In 2020, Discord reported revenue of over $130 million driven by Nitro subscriptions.

Microsoft has been looking to expand its web services in recent years. It scooped up video games outfit ZeniMax Media in a $7.5 billion deal last month. Additionally, it acquired Nuance Communications and its AI and speech recognition technology, for $16 billion this month.

However, these acquisitions came on the back of its public failure to buy TikTok almost a year ago.

According to reports on the talks between Microsoft and Discord, the latter will focus on building up its platform with an eye to a public listing eventually.

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UK intervenes in ARM's sale to Nvidia 19 Apr 2021, 4:37 pm

UK intervenes in ARM's sale to Nvidia

One of the biggest tech acquisitions ever gets slowed´down. American Nvidia has already agreed to buy UK-based ARM for a whopping $40 billion.

But now British authorities have intervened and have requested a report on impact to its national security. ARM is the chip designer whose chips power basically all the cell phones in the world: Androids, iPhones and more. Furthermore, Apple's new M1 chip is based on ARM technology and Microsoft is keen to push its Windows to run on ARM-based computers, too.

Britain's Digital Secretary said "Following careful consideration of the proposed takeover of ARM, I have today issued an intervention notice on national security grounds. As a next step and to help me gather the relevant information, the UK's independent competition authority will now prepare a report on the implications of the transaction, which will help inform any further decisions."

The deal would merge the leading GPU manufacturer Nvidia with the dominant mobile phone (and increasingly notable computer) chip maker.

ARM, based in Cambridge, UK, doesn't manufacture any of its chips, but licenses its technology. Notable clients include Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung and more.

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Android 11 update tracker - What phones will get it? 15 Apr 2021, 1:43 pm

Android 11 update tracker - What phones will get it?

Android 11 was released in September, 2020. Only handful of phones in fall of 2020 were actually released with Android 11 operating system, but the list of phones announced that will get the update has grown significantly over the months.

In this list, we try to keep track of all promised, rumored and confirmed Android 11 updates to all major manufacturer phones. Some of the list is based on -Google's own list, some of the list is based on manufacturer's own announcements.

It should be remembered that even when specific phone model is promised to have an Android 11 update, it doesn't necessarily mean that your phone will get it. The models promised to get the update include typically only unlocked phones, not those customized to specific operator - it is up to operators to decide whether their custom models will get the said update or not.

Android 11 has already arrived or has been promised to arrive to these phone models:



Note! Honor and Huawei models are unlikely to ever get the Android 11 update. Both devices are getting EMUI 11 update, but it is based on Android 10, not on Android 11.

Google phones


  • Pixel 2
  • Pixel 2 XL
  • Pixel 3
  • Pixel 3 XL
  • Pixel 3a
  • Pixel 3a XL
  • Pixel 4
  • Pixel 4
  • Pixel 4a

All the mentioned Google phones can already get the official Android 11 update.

Samsung


OTA (over-the-air) updates already available:
  • Galaxy S20
  • Galaxy S20+
  • Galaxy S20 Ultra
  • Galaxy S20 FE
  • Galaxy Z Flip
  • Galaxy Note 20
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
  • Galaxy Note 10
  • Galaxy Note 10+
  • Galaxy S10 Lite
  • Galaxy S10
  • Galaxy S10+
  • Galaxy S10e
  • Galaxy Fold
  • Galaxy Z Fold2
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
  • Samsung Galaxy M31
  • Samsung Galaxy A51 (OTA rolled out in Europe: 5th of Feb, 2021)
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
  • Samsung Galaxy M21
  • Samsung Galaxy M31s
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
  • Samsung Galaxy A70
  • Samsung Galaxy A51 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy A71
  • Samsung Galaxy A42 5G

April 2021:
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
  • Samsung Galaxy A50s
  • Samsung Galaxy A80
  • Samsung Galaxy M51

May 2021:
  • Samsung Galaxy A70s
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

June 2021:
  • Samasung Galaxy M40
  • Samsung Galaxy A31
  • Samsung Galaxy M11
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
  • Samsung Galaxy M01
  • Samsung Galaxy M01 Core
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 (2020 model)

July 2021:
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

August 2021:
  • Samsung Galaxy A10
  • Samsung Galaxy A10s
  • Samsung Galaxy A20
  • Samsung Galaxy A20s
  • Samsung Galaxy A30s
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019 model)

September 2021:
  • Samsung Galaxy M10s
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2019 model)


Schedule listed here is official Samsung schedule, but might change over the time. We'll update the list accordingly, if needed.

OnePlus


For these models, official, open Android 11 is already available:
  • OnePlus 8 Pro
  • OnePlus 8
  • OnePlus Nord
  • OnePlus 7T Pro
  • OnePlus 7T
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
  • OnePlus 7

For these OnePlus models, Android 11 beta version can be installed:
  • McLaren Edition OnePlus 7T Pro
  • OnePlus 7 Pro 5G

For these models, Android 11 will be released later this year:
  • OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition
  • OnePlus 6T
  • OnePlus 6
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
  • OnePlus Nord N100

Furthermore, OnePlus 8T, 9 and 9 Pro shipped with Android 11.

Xiaomi


Android 11 is available for these Xiaomi models:
  • Xiaomi POCO F2 Pro
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro
  • Xiaomi Mi 10
  • Xiaomi Mi A3
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S
  • POCO X3
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
  • Redmi K30 Pro
  • Redmi K30 5G
  • Redmi K30i 5G
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite
  • Redmi Note 8
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro

Android 11 is promised for these models, but not available yet:
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Youth Edition
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
  • Xiaomi Mi 9 Pro
  • Xiaomi Mi 9 SE
  • Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite
  • Xiaomi Mi 9T
  • Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro
  • Redmi K30
  • Redmi K20 Pro
  • Redmi K20
  • Redmi Note 9
  • Redmi Note 9 Pro
  • Redmi Note 9 Pro Max
  • Redmi 10X Pro
  • Redmi 10X 5G
  • Redmi 9
  • Redmi 9C
  • Redmi 9A
  • POCO X2
  • POCO M2 Pro
  • POCO C3

Nokia


Android 11 is available for these Nokia models:
  • Nokia 8.3 5G (available from 2nd of Feb, 2021)
  • >
  • Nokia 3.2 (OTA rolled out 03/2021)
  • Nokia 8.1
  • Nokia 2.3
  • Nokia 4.2
  • Nokia 2.2

These models will get Android 11, according to the manufacturer HMD Global:
  • Nokia 9 PureView (Q2/2021)
  • Nokia 7.2 (Q1-Q2/2021)
  • Nokia 6.2 (Q1-Q2/2021)
  • Nokia 5.3 (Q4/2020 - Q1/2021)
  • Nokia 3.4 (Q1/2021)
  • Nokia 2.4 (Q1/2021)
  • Nokia 1.3 (Q1/2021)
  • Nokia 1 Plus (Q2/2021)

OPPO


These OPPO models have Android 11 available:
  • Find X2
  • Oppo F17 Pro
  • Oppo Reno 4 4G
  • Oppo F11 Pro
  • Oppo A9

These OPPO phones will get Android 11:
  • Find X2 Pro
  • Reno 3
  • Reno 3 Pro

Realme


These Realme models already have open Android 11 beta available:
  • Realme X50 Pro

For these Realme phone models, Android 11 will be released, but later:
  • Realme X50
  • Realme X3
  • Realme X2 Pro
  • Realme X2
  • Realme XT
  • Realme X
  • Realme 7 Pro
  • Realme 7
  • Realme 6 Pro
  • Realme 6
  • Realme 6i
  • Realme 6S
  • Realme 5
  • Realme 5 Pro
  • Realme 5i
  • Realme 5s
  • Realme 3 Pro
  • Realme 3
  • Realme Narzo 10
  • Realme Narzo 10A

Sony


These Sony phones already have OTA Android 11 update:
  • Sony Xperia 1 II (released in December, 2020)
  • Sony Xperia 1 (February 2021)
  • Sony Xperia 5 II (January 2021)
  • Sony Xperia 5 (February 2021)
  • Sony Xperia 10 II (January 2021)

Motorola


These Motorola models have Android 11 OTA update available:
  • Moto G Pro (February 2021)
  • Moto G Stylus
  • Moto G8
  • Moto G8 Power
  • Motorola edge
  • Motorola edge+

This is the official list of Motorola phones that will get Android 11 update:
  • Lenovo K12 Note
  • Motorola razr 5G
  • Motorola razr
  • Motorola One 5G
  • Motorola One Action
  • Motorola One Fusion
  • Motorola One Fusion Plus
  • Motorola One Hyper
  • Motorola One Vision
  • Moto G 5G
  • Moto G 5G Plus
  • Moto G9
  • Moto G9 Play
  • Moto G9 Plus
  • Moto G9 Power
  • Moto G Power

Asus phhones


For these Asus phones, the stable Android 11 is already available:
  • Asus Zenfone 6 (released in end of year 2020 in some countries, most othher countries in February, 2021)
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro (OTA rolled out in end of March, 2021)
  • Asus Zenfone 7 (OTA rolled out in end of March, 2021)

These Asus phones will get the Android 11, as promised by Asus:
  • Asus ROG Phone 3

Are we missing something? Let us know in comments!

EDIT 23rd of Feb, 2021: Updated list for Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Sony, Nokia and Motorola

EDIT 26th of Feb, 2021: Updated Motorola's status

EDIT 1st of March, 2021: OnePlus Nord updated to Android 11 as of today.

EDIT 26th, March, 2021: OnePlus 7T Pro, several Samsung models, Nokia 3.2, Moto G8 and Moto G8 Power updated to have stable Android 11 available for them. Also, Xiaomi Mi 10T and Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro hhave it, updated accordingly. Added Asus phones to the list.

EDIT 15th of April, 2021: Updated the status for several Motorola, Nokia and OnePlus models.

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OnePlus Watch review: Big, boring, and buggy 15 Apr 2021, 11:44 am

OnePlus Watch review: Big, boring, and buggy

Modestly priced, awesome battery life, and from a brand known for its quality products! What could go wrong? This is exactly what many of us thought when OnePlus finally decided to launch its own smartwatch, aptly named OnePlus Watch.

We got the OnePlus Watch for review just before its official launch date and were pretty excited to see it in action.

Unfortunately, this time around, the expectations were not met. For us, the OnePlus Watch is a prime example of a product that doesn't have a focus and was simply launched because everybody else had one.

  1. Tech specifications
  2. Design
  3. Display
  4. Battery life
  5. OnePlus Watch UI
  6. Features
  7. OnePlus Watch and running
  8. Co-operation with your phone
  9. Other features
  10. OnePlus Health app
  11. Summary
  12. Stars / Verdict


Tech specifications


Weight 45 grams (without the wrist wrap)
Size 46.4 mm (circular), 10.9 mm (thickness)
Build Stainless steel or Cobolt alloy (special edition)
Display 1.39" 454 x 454 pixels, AMOLED
Battery 402 mAh (manufacturer states battery life up to 14 days)
Internal storage 4 GB
Other Requires Android phone with Android 6.0+ ; IP68 ; suitable for swimming ; integrated GPS
Price $159 / €159

Design


OnePlus Watch on table


OnePlus Watch is being sold in two editions: the standard black edition and a special cobalt-colored edition. The one we got for us to review is the standard black edition of the watch. You could call the watch's design as simplistic - but I'd call it just plain boring.

OnePlus Watch retail box, opened


As I struggled to put on the watch, I had to wonder: why in the world would the engineers decide that the century-old, tried and tested method was outdated and decided to replace that method with something that is extremely cumbersome. Sure, with a smartwatch the idea is that it is very tightly placed to your wrist in order to measure your heartbeat and other physical measurements. However, due to the annoying wrist strap, I hated taking it off and putting it back on.

OnePlus Watch on teenager's hand


For reasons unknown to us, OnePlus has decided that one size surely fits all. The watch has exactly one size option and it is enormous. OnePlus Watch is one of the largest smartwatches out there. Sure, it is just a matter of millimeters, but with a watch those millimeters are quite important to the aesthetics and feel of the product.

OnePlus Watch showing heart rate data


Speaking for myself, I'm from the land of the giant Vikings, but an oddity here - a short guy with a slim body type, and for me the OnePlus Watch was simply too big. Sure, I could still adjust it to my wrist, with the last hook of the wrist strap in use. But for small women or guys smaller than me, the watch is simply too big.

My teenage son tried the watch on and as you can see in the picture above, the watch had to be adjusted quite close to the elbow in order to be snug enough for the heartbeat sensor to work properly. Not an ideal placement for a watch, I'd say.

So, if you're something like 6 feet / 180 cm tall and have a bulky structure, the watch might be just fine. For everybody else, it is just too big.

Display


OnePlus Watch display


The pretty massive 1.39" display is covered with curved sapphire glass. The 454 x 454 resolution AMOLED display is actually pretty awesome. It is so bright that watch can be easily used outside on sunny days.

Also, the touch screen of the display is smooth and very responsive but doesn't give you accidental taps, even with a slightly curved display. So, in this area, OnePlus Watch is one of the better smartwatches we've tested.

While I complained about the size of the watch, the other side of that is obvious: the display is also big, as OnePlus has managed to keep the bezels very, very thin.

Battery life


OnePlus took a massive risk with its OnePlus Watch and decided to build its own operating system for the device rather than adopting Google's Wear OS or another existing smartwatch operating system. OnePlus reasoned this decision with increased battery life. Their marketing claims "up to two weeks" of battery life for the watch. Surely, the actual tech specifications play it down slightly, stating that the battery should last for "one week, even two".

Our test period didn't last two weeks, so we couldn't verify the claim fully. However, based on our several days of testing, the claim actually might have some truth in it. We'd estimate that with our usage, the built-in 402 mAh battery should last for 8 to 10 days.

For a smartwatch to have a battery life of more than a week is an impressive achievement, absolutely.

OnePlus Watch in charger
OnePlus Watch charging


Obviously, to honor the OnePlus tradition, the watch is very, very fast to charge, too. Just 20 minutes of charging should get the battery to more than 50 percent capacity.

OnePlus Watch charger


The charger itself is elegantly designed and easy to use. It is just a magnetic cup that snaps the watch inside it for charging. It should be noted though that the watch doesn't ship with the outlet charger, but just the charger cable for the watch that you need to hook up to your existing power adapter.

OnePlus Watch UI


The watch's own user interface is very clear and easy to navigate: all functions are in logical places and nothing is hidden underneath piles of menus like in some other smartwatches. As a handy bonus, the other physical button of the device can be programmed to perform the task you most commonly need to access.



OnePlus Watch was actually a pleasure to use as the operating system was very snappy and the user interface was logically designed. Here I can understand why OnePlus decided to build its own operating system for the watch.

Features


OnePlus Watch features menu


As for the features, OnePlus Watch has all the standard features you'd expect to have in any smartwatch, sports watch, or even sports bracelet. It can measure your heart rate, analyze your sleep, track your daily steps, etc.

Most of the measurement features are on by default, as they should be. None of the features present in the OnePlus Watch make it stand out from its competitors, but then again, it doesn't really lack any of the basic features either. Almost all the features found in OnePlus Watch are the features found in $30 bracelets and $500 sports watches, too.

There's one nice addition, however. For the runners among us OnePlus Watch has an integrated GPS. Having an integrated GPS makes it stand out from many of the other cheaper smartwatches. With the device's own GPS, you can leave your phone at home when you decide to do your morning run and still get the exercise tracked properly.

OnePlus Watch and running


Sure, I had to test how well the Watch works as a sports tracking device. I decided to do two separate 5 kilometer runs on separate days. Both runs I tracked with OnePlus Watch, but also with a chest strap heart-rate monitor, in order to get comparable data.

OnePlus Watch showing data when running


I was curious to see how well OnePlus Watch could track my BPM. It is a quite well-known fact that wrist-based heartbeat monitoring isn't as accurate as chest strap monitors. Furthermore, I also have this interesting (but harmless!) heart condition that causes my BPM to occasionally spike every now and then. This results in quite interesting data to my BPM charts if the heartbeat monitor is able to pick those up.

Data from OnePlus WatchData from chest strap
left: data from OnePlus Watch, right: data from chest strap monitor


The first run didn't reveal anything weird at all, but the second run was interesting. When comparing the data from the OnePlus Watch app to the data gathered by my chest strap monitor, we can see how OnePlus Watch didn't react to sudden changes in heart rate: it smoothed out the peaks and valleys (caused by short, very fast runs and also by red traffic lights).

Surely, the average BPM is pretty much identical in both charts and thus, is accurate enough to get an idea of how hard/easy the run was overall. But if you're training in a way that you try to keep your BPM within a specific range, OnePlus Watch simply isn't a good enough option for that purpose. Then again, OnePlus never really claimed that they were building a proper sports watch and it is obvious that the OnePlus Watch isn't one either.

The bigger problem though was with the watch's GPS tracking. For my first run, it seems that it took over 10 minutes for GPS to start tracking the route properly. In my map, there's a 1.5 kilometer gap that is simply missing from the very beginning of the run. Interestingly, the totals the app shows are better in line with actual data: according to that, it missed only appx. 500 meters of my normal daily run.

With a GPS problem that significant, it is obvious that you cannot rely purely on OnePlus Watch's data if you have any goals or targets for your running. Even when you don't have any goals, it is very annoying to lose some of the data. After all, you ran in order to get that data!

Co-operation with your phone


Even though OnePlus Watch can be used without a phone, it has been designed to work with one. OnePlus hasn't released a companion app for iPhone, so for the time being, OnePlus Watch is for Android users only. Based on our test Android phones and OnePlus Watch work quite smoothly together.

From your phone, you can select what phone apps can send their notifications to your phone too. I set the Watch to receive notifications for incoming WhatsApp messages and SMS messages. As a handy bonus, you can also quickly reply to your messages with pre-saved quick messages like "I'll get back to you shortly".

OnePlus Watch music controls


The watch can also control music playback on your phone: you can skip tracks, adjust volume levels, and more. The playback controls aren't app-specific, but instead, they are universal Android playback controls. I used them for both Spotify and an audiobook player and they worked perfectly.

As a handy little feature, there's also a "Find my phone" feature in OnePlus Watch that plays a tone on your phone, even when muted, so you can find it if you're accidentally placed your phone somewhere you can't remember.

Other features


Beyond those features already mentioned, OnePlus Watch is actually pretty plain. It is quite hard to determine whether OnePlus Watch should be categorized as a "real smartwatch" or just a "big sports bracelet". All the basic features you'd expect from a smartwatch are there, yes, but absolutely nothing else.

And as the operating system is new and solely used for this device, there are no third-party apps to install - and there's no word from OnePlus whether there ever will be.

For me, one of the biggest letdowns of the Watch was the fact that you can't use its NFC feature to do contactless payments in stores.

OnePlus Health app


While the watch itself was a pretty solid, but slightly boring package, the companion Android app is something else. The entire app screams "v1.0". Sure, it worked – for the most part – but everything seemed to be slightly unfinished and lacked polishing.

That said, the only really big problem with the app was the fact that it somehow managed to lose its Google Fit sync after the first day. On the first day or so, the data was flowing nicely from the OnePlus Health app to Google Fit, as it should. But after that, syncing of the data simply stopped, even though the apps were still linked together.

Also, the exercise diary and how the data was presented was simply sub-par compared to any other "real" sports tracking applications. There were no tools for analysis or to create summaries.

OnePlus Watch app, main viewOnePlus Watch app, sleep dataOnePlus Watch app, notification management


For most parts, the app did its job. It was similar to most other smartwatch manufacturers' apps: nothing fancy, but the main screen did its job by providing core information about your current health, recent sleep, etc.

Summary


OnePlus Watch is an affordable smartwatch with great battery life, but yes, it is slightly boring too.

Its biggest problem is definitely unfinished software, most notably the Android companion app. Also, its GPS issues need to be addressed soon, one way or another, because a sports device with a non-functional GPS is a bit pointless.

Besides the GPS issue, the watch itself didn't have any significant technical problems. It was smooth to use and did its limited set of jobs as expected.

But even when/if OnePlus manages to get the Android app sorted out and fixes the annoying GPS issue, there is still one huge open question out there. Who is this watch for? It is bit "too dumb" to be a real smartwatch. It lacks training programs and other features you'd expect to have in a real sports watch, so it can't be really called that either.

If you're looking for a real smartwatch, buy a proper Wear OS watch instead and if you're a sports fanatic, buy a real sports watch.

I think OnePlus Watch's core target group is the same people who buy sports bracelets: people who want to keep not-so-detailed track of their health on daily basis, but aren't fanatic about it.

And yes, the potential buyer needs to have bigger arms than I do, too.

Stars


2.5/5 stars

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Logitech ends its line of Harmony remotes 12 Apr 2021, 10:52 am

Logitech ends its line of Harmony remotes

Logitech, best known for its keyboards and mice, has decidedd to end its once-popular Harmony line of universal remote controls.

Logitechh's Harmony remotes have been praised by many and they had their heyday in first decade of 2000s. About 15 years ago many countries went through digtalization of TVs and there was a need for separate STB in order to get digital TV transmissions to old, analog TV sets. Furthermore, the decade also marked the peak time for DVDs. Thus, many households had several peripherals connected to the TV: STB, DVD player and various others. So, the need for remotes that could command them all was also at its peak.

Since then, things have changed: streaming services have largely replaced DVDs, TVs themselves have the streaming service apps integrated into them and built-in digital TV receivers are commonplace with TV sets. So, the need for universal remotes has also diminished.

Company predicted the trend early on and considered selling its Harmony business back in 2013, but decided to keep it in house instead. But now, Logitech has announced that they have stopped manufacturing Harmony remotes for good.

Logitech promises to support the existing remotes for several years by adding new devices too its Harmony device database and will also provide customer support for existing customers. But in case you want to buy one, you better hurry, as the ones retailers currently have in stock, will be the last ones.

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