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Snapchat is working on a TikTok-like user experience with a new vertical swipe for its content in Discover.

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TikTok is one of the most influential apps existing on mobile devices. However, the app’s future is unclear due to ongoing investigations into its processes. Many giants like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and even Byte are also testing out new TikTok like features to gather the migrating audience.

Snapchat, another social media giant appears to join the others in the race to replicate TikTok features and gather an audience for their platforms. It seems to be working on a new, vertical swipe UX for its Discover content according to an image shared by Matt Navarra and posted by the user @artb2668.

Snapchat has also included in-app instructions for users so they can use the new feature easily. The screenshot instructions can be seen providing information about how swiping in various directions can trigger different commands. For example, swiping left or right will exit the Discover content.

According to TechCrunch, a very small percentage of the users currently have access to this feature as Snapchat confirmed the UX test.

However, it is only for Discover content and not for Stories sent to users by their friends. Users involved in the test still need to tap on each Story to advance through them, which is unlike TikTok as it does not have separate Story frames.

All of these replication attempts highlight the significance and the impact of TikTok on social media. Every major functionality is bound to get copied at some point. For example, Facebook’s News Feed and Snapchat’s Stories were replicated by other developers, hence TikTok’s unique features are also going to go through this phase. This also underlines the fact that there is a potential for innovation stemming beyond the major platforms.

Facebook’s awareness of this trend is proven by its NPE team always launching and shutting down new applications all the time, trying to tap into the next big trend before other developers come across it. However, this testing does not seem to have yielded any significant results. Although, this can help Facebook maintain its top position in the social media apps by already having features that can potentially gain traction.

TikTok is also looking for ways to pick off users who are uncertain about the app’s future given the situation its currently in. Facebook also quickly rolled out Instagram’s Reels feature in the region when TikTok got banned by India last month. US President Donald Trump also commented that America could also look into blocking the app, as a punishment for China for COVID-19. This has increased the downloads for alternate tools, and it is logical for many developers to add TikTok-style tools to gather more migrating users.

Snapchat’s duplication of TikTok features also makes sense with TikTok facing more questions and its top creators trying to diversify their presence to secure their future in the industry. However, there is no official announcement on what Snapchat might do after completing the experiment

Source: digitalinformationworld.com/

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review: Samsung’s Best Yet

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Before Samsung sent us the S21 Ultra, we had been thinking of an intro – something which lines up with the last few flagship launches from Samsung. The original plan was to lament about how the Indian variants of the Samsung flagships are powered by slower Exynos while the US and Chinese variants are powered by the Snapdragons. That plan is history now. Having used the S21 Ultra as a daily driver for a week now, we are convinced. Convinced that you have to read the entire review.

Here are our thoughts on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review: Looks, build, design, and display
The Galaxy S20 Ultra was a decent bit of a phone – but it brings its own share of drawbacks – the 120Hz refresh rate was underwhelming for its conditional usage, telephoto was not that great, and the Space Zoom was – let’s face it – not that great.

So, when we say we were expecting a better-than-last-time phone – we actually were. The Galaxy S21 Ultra now promises to bring the best of the S20 Ultra, and more. Like S Pen more.

Starting, the phone arrives in a slim box – minus the power brick. Hands up if you are not surprised. Samsung had mocked Apple for not giving charging adapters in the iPhone and Apple Watch retail boxes.

The S21 Ultra does not get the AKG earphones too – we did miss them for a second.

The display is protected by a screen protector and a second thinner protector on top it. The S21 Ultra now goes through a redesign of what was the defacto shiny glossy back panels for a long time – instead of getting a full matte black MKBHD treatment. Samsung calls it the Phantom Black shade. The ridiculously plain slab of matte black – with a metal camera module.

Samsung calls it the Contour Cut – the metal camera island now extends to the frame from the top and left. The backside of the S21 Ultra is where the design comes to life. You either love it – or hate it. There’s no in-between. We decided to slap on a carbon fibre skin for the camera island. Unfortunately, the skin did not arrive on time.

The S21 Ultra is heavy – at 227 grams – outweighing the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra by almost 20 grams. The build is solid – slippery because of frosted glass – but solid.

Speaking of frosted glass – there’s the fear of scratches. If you get the S21 Ultra – you will get a good protective cover no questions asked.

The S21 Ultra gets an all-new Dynamic AMOLED 2X display – Samsung’s most premium panel – a full 6.8-inch 1440p OLED panel with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. The curved display is on the low – and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.

And – the S21 Ultra now supports the S Pen, thanks to the Wacom sensor layer – bye-bye Note then? No.

The front gets a massive 40-megapixel selfie shooter and a faster in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. There is no headphone jack. The overall build is superb with a host of top-notch materials. The frosted back finish is a massive step up from the Cosmic Grey of last year’s S20 Ultra. But get a case, though.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review: Software and performance
The S21 Ultra arrives with Android 11 out of the box – with OneUI 3.1 on top. Samsung has promised 3 major updates meaning the S21 Ultra should be getting the Android 14 two years from now.

The S21 Ultra now supports all forms of Samsung styluses – starting with the S Pen from the Note 20 Ultra, or the one on the Tab S7+. Samsung also launched a special S Pen for the S21 Ultra, with a Bluetooth enabled S Pen Pro in the future. This is the first Galaxy phone to feature S Pen support.

The lockscreen now gets a wellbeing widget which helps you track your time spent on your phone at a glance. The in-display fingerprint is quick. Samsung has improved since the Galaxy S10 series. There is face unlock too.

There are subtle changes – like the one with the notification shade on the display, quick toggle customisation, and notification history – thanks to Android 11. Another important feature Samsung has implemented is permission handling. Now you get prompts every time an app requests it.

Then there’s the S Pen support. We used the S Pen from the Note 20 Ultra and found it satisfying. The S21 Ultra brings low-latency support in several apps. The underlying functionality of the S21 Ultra’s S Pen support is close to the Note but not as quite. For starters, there are no Air Gestures. No remote for shooting photos or videos.

The S Pen Pro is tipped to offer the above-mentioned features – and compatibilities on the S21 Ultra will be added via an OTA release.

It does, however, gets the Air Command menu which offers the complete host of Note features like Advanced Screenshot Capture, Smart Select, Screen Write – and other basic S Pen features like hover and scroll function.

In terms of performance – it was a surprise. On paper, the Exynos 2100 did look good – and we were not hoping a lot out of it on the performance side. The 2100 SoC from Exynos gets a similar tri-cluster setup and is paired with the Mali-G78 GPU which has been stated to bring an overall 46 per cent jump in graphics performance over the last generation.

The Exynos 2100 chip is a big move from the Exynos 990 chipset. The S20 Ultra did have a decent performance with the Exynos 990 – we had seen the performance fall in the Note 20 Ultra. The Note 20 Ultra is a good phone – just not the phone you would want if you planning to push games like PUBG Mobile. The S21 Ultra does not suffer from throttling.

PUBG Mobile ran without so much as a winch on the S21 Ultra. Surprisingly, the game allowed for Ultra graphics settings and did not so much as flinch when we pushed session after session. Multi-tasking was a breeze. We once tried to go through an entire half-day of working using the split-screen mode with Samsung Notes in one and Chrome in another.

After a long time – the S21 Ultra brings hope for the Exynos line in terms of performance capabilities. We also did not find any heating issues with the phone during gaming. Although, the camera side would get slightly hot when shooting in Pro mode.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review: Camera
The S21 Ultra arrives with a quad-camera array at the back and for the first time – you get two telephoto lenses at the back offering 3x and 10x optical zoom capabilities. The primary camera features the latest ISOCELL HM3 1/1.33-inch sensor from Samsung.

It gets a Nona-pixel Bayer filter patter which allows for 9-to-1 pixel binning. The HM3 sensor also brings an improved HDR, low light, and autofocus performance. The camera gets Smart ISO Pro which is a new HDR technology and captures one high ISO shot with one low ISO shot at the same time – removing the problem of ghosting of moving objects. There is a Low Noise mode too which improves light sensitivity by 50 per cent.

The camera app also gets some changes starting with the Portrait mode which is basically the Live Focus mode renamed. The Pro mode can be used in the ultra-wide lenses now. The camera quality with the 12-megapixel shooters is excellent. The details are stuffed into the image. The images show off a decent bit of sharpness and the dynamic range is on-point most of the time.

White balance and colours on the S21 Ultra are accurate – considering Samsung tends to go slightly overboard with the colour processing.

Shooting in RAW means you can change the processing in your photo as you would like – but that means shooting in full 108-megapixel mode. The photos are huge. The ultra wide lens is good – images look slightly over processed but colours are accurate, and the photos have a good dynamic range as well.

The ultra wide lens now supports autofocus and so does the two telephoto lenses as well. Speaking of telephoto lenses – the S21 Ultra gets one 10-megapixel telephoto with 3x zoom and one 10-megapixel shooter with 10x optical zoom and a full zoom of 100x. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra does well on the full zoom capabilities but if you are planning to shoot something like say – the moon – bring a tripod next time.

Nighttime images were better. The images take about five seconds to shoot and come with excellent details, spot-on exposure, and no overstuffing of colours and low on noise.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review: Battery

The S21 Ultra gets a decent battery life. The Exynos 2100 chip brought about a decent bit of optimisation but if you are on the full WQHD+ resolution with 120Hz enabled and you are gaming and using the camera – going through a day without a charger is tough.

But bring it down a notch – to FHD+ – and the battery blossoms. Do what you might – and the battery still stands with you. We were able to get through the day easily without any hiccups.

The S21 Ultra gets a massive 5000 mAh battery and comes with fast charging capabilities. We used the 25W in-box charger which arrives with the Note 20 Ultra and was able to charge it up within 70 minutes to a full 100 per cent.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review: Price and verdict
Time to say this – the S21 Ultra is impressive – and with the S Pen support, the new 120Hz Quad HD OLED display, new optics, and the Exynos 2100 – all together make it a great deal. The S21 Ultra is the first real flagship – something which brings the best of everything starting with daily use, performance-based use, camera quality, battery, excellent display, excellent audio, and a build quality which can take down a tank – the S21 Ultra is the best Android flagship on sale right now. If you are looking for one – now’s the time.

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Why the iPhone 12 is a BETTER CHOICE than iPhone 12 Pro

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Apple iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are here and mark the beginning of a new generation of iPhone. Support for 5G, a new hardware design and camera improvements are a significant step away from the iPhone X generation of devices. This is nothing new. Apple did something similar in 2010 with the iPhone 4 and in 2014 when it released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Apple iPhone 12 and 12 Pro

There is one big difference with the iPhone 12 generation, though. It’s the first time there are four new iPhones at once: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. If you want to go small and reap the benefits of a lower price there’s the Mini. If you want the biggest iPhone with the newest in iPhone cameras, get the Pro Max. But that leaves the 12 and 12 Pro which are similar (like basically-the-same-phone similar). That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are of the same sizes. They both have the same design, the same display, the same insanely fast A14 Bionic chip, the same 5G support, the same selfie, wide and ultra wide cameras. Heck, they both come in blue. (Technically, the 12 Pro is Pacific blue.) This is a departure from the base and pro models from last year. The $699 iPhone 11 and $999 iPhone 11 Pro were similar but had enough differences to distinguish themselves from each other.

The $829 iPhone 12 (or $799 if you activate it on a carrier when you buy it) is $130 more than the iPhone 11 when it was released. An iPhone 12 with 128GB of storage (the same as the baseline 12 Pro) costs $879 (sans carrier discount) which is only $120 less than the $999 iPhone 12 Pro. It’s best to think of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro as “better” and “best” versions of the same phone. Here’s how to buy each iPhone 12 model.

Apple iPhone 12

Apple iPhone 12

Prices start in the UK at £799 for the iPhone 12 and £999 for the 12 Pro. In Australia they start at AU$1,349 for the 12 and AU$1,699 for the 12 Pro. See the chart at the bottom for a full pricing breakdown.

IPHONE 12 VS. 12 PRO VS. IPHONE 11

iPhone 12 iPhone 12 Pro iPhone 11
Price off-contract (USD) $829 (64GB), $879 (128GB), $979 (256GB) $999 (128GB), $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB) $599 (64GB), $649 (128GB), $749 (256GB)
Camera 12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultra wide) 12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultra wide), 12-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultra wide)
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

 

The iPhone 12 has the exact same cameras as the iPhone 12 Pro, except for the telephoto camera and lidar. But these phones aren’t just dependent on hardware to take good photos and videos. Apple’s new A14 Bionic chip, along with software and machine learning, adds improvements to everything.

For example, the 12 and 12 Pro have the same hardware for their ultra-wide-angle camera as last year’s 11 and 11 Pro. But the 12 and 12 Pro have software to correct the lens distortion. Take a look below at these ultra-wide-angle photos of a brick wall in the iPhone 11 photo, notice how the corners of the brick wall look like they’re bending.

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leaked! check out the new Apple Iphone 12 pro and Pro max

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Rising Apple insider has revealed that Apple will equip its iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max models with 6GB RAM, that’s 50% more than their predecessors and this should deliver a major increase in multitasking performance.

Moreover, acclaimed Apple leaker Jon Prosser has now followed up this information stating that he “can confirm” it as well. But there’s one downside. 

Iphone 12 pro

The bad news is L0vetodream states that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max (the new names for the 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch entry-level models), will stick with the same 4GB RAM as in the iPhone 11.

Last year Apple gave all iPhone 11 models matching chipsets and RAM, so it’s something of a surprise to see the company reverse this change (the iPhone XR had less RAM than the iPhone XS) after only a single generation. 

Consequently, those who want absolute peak performance from their new iPhones are going to have to spend more this year.

After all, it is Apple’s decision to equip iPhones with considerably less RAM than Android rivals which has seen them repeatedly outpaced in multitasking speed tests.

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TikTok: Amazon says email asking staff to remove app ‘sent in error

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Amazon has said an email sent to employees asking them to remove the video-sharing app TikTok from any mobile device that can access their company email was sent in error.

An internal memo sent to staff earlier on Friday had said employees should delete the app over “security risks”.

The app, owned by a Chinese company, has come under scrutiny because of fears it could share data with China.

TikTok said it did not understand Amazon’s concerns.

“This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error. There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok”, a company spokesperson told the BBC.

But earlier on Friday, a memo sent to staff seen by multiple news outlets stated that the app must be removed from mobile devices.

“Due to security risk, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email.

“If you have TikTok on your device, you must remove it by July 10 to retain mobile access to Amazon email”, it read.

TikTok said the company had not received any communication from Amazon before the email went out.

 

Source: BBC.com

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‘Pixel 4a (5G)’ and ‘Pixel 5’ are the other two Google phones for 2020

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For months now, we’ve been tracking three codenames tied to the lineup of Made by Google’s 2020 Pixel phones. Now all three codenames have appeared in the Google app along with associated product names including the “Pixel 5” and the “Pixel 4a 5G.”

Since we began hearing about these codenames, we’ve been warning that the Pixel 5 that will be released — presumably this fall — may not have the “flagship” specs that Pixel fans are used to. Instead, we had discovered two Google device codenames — “redfin” and “bramble” — based on the upper mid-tier, 5G-enabled Snapdragon 765G SoC. At the time, we had no reason to believe these would be anything other than the Pixel 5 and Pixel 5 XL.

Today, our own Dylan Roussel dug into the code of the latest beta version of the Google Search app searching — or perhaps “fishing” — for redfin and bramble. Rather than coming up empty, as usual, instead, he seems to have found names for the entire 2020 Google Pixel lineup.

However, instead of revealing the upcoming Pixel 4a and the expected two models of Pixel 5, the Google app does not list a “Pixel 5 XL” and instead lists bramble as the “Pixel 4a (5G).” See for yourself!

So what does this mean? So far, evidence has pointed to bramble using the Snapdragon 765G chip, which is of course equipped for 5G networking. That would mean that this “Pixel 4a (5G)” and the Pixel 5 — which could very well launch side by side this fall — will run on the same main hardware.

But how will Google differentiate these two seemingly very similar devices? The most obvious ways they could do this are through cost and build quality differences. By using “cheaper” materials like plastic on the Pixel 4a (5G) and more “premium” materials like glass and aluminum on the Pixel 5, the two could look and feel obviously different.

Outside of that, Google may differentiate the two devices based on their other specs and features. It’s still too early to speculate, as this is uncharted territory for Google, who has always launched two variants of each Pixel phone — a standard version and an upsized “XL” version. For 2020, Google is clearly launching three distinct phones with three distinct purposes. Needless to say, this year’s Made by Google event will be an exciting experience

 

Source: 9to5google.com/

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