Google’s Pixel camera app to receive external mic support

Google's Pixel phones may be known for their incredible photo and video-taking prowess, but audio recording is one area in which the handset range could stand to see a little more love. 

Thankfully, Google has listened to its users, confirming in a Pixel Community User forum thread dating back to 2016 (following a recent report from Android Police) that it will implement external mic support as part of an update to its official camera app, which will arrive alongside the Pixel 3 on October 18, 2018.

"At the same time as Pixel 3 launch (October 18th), we will introduce support for Android-compatible plugged-in external microphones in the default camera app for all Pixels," said a member of Google's Pixel camera engineering team. 

Mic support will be available through the USB Type-C port on the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL (you'll likely need a dongle for that), while the original Pixel range have access to a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

Along with external mic support, the Pixel 3's camera app will bring a bunch of new features, including super selfies, super zoom and 'Top Shot', which takes several photos for you and then uses machine learning to select the best one. 

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Fortnite for Android now open to all comers – no invite needed

Originally released earlier this year as a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 timed-exclusive, Fortnite for Android was eventually opened up to other devices, though you still needed an invitation in order to play. 

Thankfully, that invite is no longer necessary, with Epic Games announcing via Twitter that the Fortnite beta is now available to play on any compatible Android device.

Of course, you still can't download the immensely popular battle royale shooter from the Google Play Store – to get your hands on the Fortnite for Android beta, you'll have to visit fortnite.com/android from your handset's browser and follow the steps from there.

Alternatively, you can visit the page from your desktop computer and then use your phone or tablet to scan the QR code that appears on your screen.

Worried that your Android device isn't compatible? You can head over to our in depth Fortnite Android Beta page to see a complete list of the devices that will run the game. 

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Samsung Galaxy A9 will have four rear cameras, according to new leaked image

In the race to see which smartphone manufacturer can fit the most cameras onto a single handset, Samsung has reportedly placed itself in the lead, with an upcoming mid-range handset set to sport four rear cameras. 

As was hinted at in previous specs rumors, it's thought that the Samsung Galaxy A9 will likely feature four camera lenses lined up in a vertical array, with each camera offering a different kind of photographic functionality.

Thanks to a new (and very official-looking) image tweeted by noted leaker Evan Blass, we now have a pretty good understanding of what each camera is expected to bring to the table – and how they'll look.

According to details accompanying the image, the first lens will consist of an ultra wide camera with an 8MP resolution, f/2.4 aperture and a 120-degree field of view.

This is followed by a telephoto camera with a 10MP resolution, f/2.4 aperture and 2x optical zoom, a 'main' camera that boasts a huge 24MP resolution and f/1.7 aperture, and an additional depth camera with a 5MP resolution, f/2.2 aperture and live focus capability. 

Placed underneath the four cameras is a flash, while a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner can also be found in the middle of the phone. 

Positioned as an upper mid-range device, the Galaxy A9 seems like it's going to have some flagship-level photographic credentials. We'll know for sure when the handset is officially announced in the very near future.

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Google Pixel 3 XL display test shows huge improvement over predecessor

Just two months ago, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was awarded top marks for its Super AMOLED screen, earning an A+ score from DisplayMate, the world's leading authority in display technology.

Now, the same company has heaped praise upon Google's newly announced Pixel 3 XL, tweeting that the upcoming device "has earned our Highest A+ Rating and a DisplayMate Best Smartphone Display Award."

At present, the company has revealed little else about its Pixel 3 XL display benchmark tests, though it has announced that an in-depth review article will be published on October 15.

This has to be considered a huge win for Google – while last year's Pixel 2 XL was well received, there were numerous reports of muted colors and screen burn-in issues surrounding its LG-made OLED display. 

DisplayMate, however, has yet to offer any word on how the standard Google Pixel 3's display stacks up against its big brother. 

Available for pre-order now, the Google Pixel 3 XL (along with the regular Pixel 3) will release on October 18 in the US, and November 1 in the UK, Australia and 11 other territories. 

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iPhone XS charging fix now available in new iOS 12.0.1 update

Last week, we reported on an iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max charging bug that saw some handsets fail to receive power if plugged in while the display was asleep. 

In almost every reported instance, the phone would begin to charge normally once it had been unlocked and interacted with, indicating that the issue lay in the device's inactivity, and not the display's sleep status.

Thankfully, Apple's new iOS 12.0.1 update has now been released, addressing the issue with a 104MB download that "fixes an issue where some iPhone XS devices did not immediately charge when connected to a Lightning cable".

Alongside the charging bug, the firmware update is said to resolve "an issue that could cause iPhone XS devices to rejoin a Wi-Fi network at 2.4GHz instead of 5GHz," while also restoring "the original position of the ".?123" key on the iPad keyboard". 

Other fixes address "issues where subtitles may not appear in some video apps", and "where Bluetooth could become unavailable".

To get the latest iOS 12.0.1 update, launch your iPhone or iPad's 'Settings' app, select 'General' then 'Software Update'.

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Google Pixel 3 gets virtually squeezed in new Japanese teaser video

We're only days away from the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL's official unveiling on October 9, but that doesn't mean the teasers and easter eggs are ready to stop just yet. 

The latest Pixel 3 preview comes to us from Japan, with a fun new video that hints strongly at the return of Active Edge technology, which gave Google's Pixel 2 range squeezable sides for an additional level of control. 

You can check out Google's adorable Pixel 3 teaser video below, which features numerous hugs, grasps, grips and squashes – hey, we never said Google's hints were subtle! 

According to 9To5Google, the video also seems to hint at possible color options for the upcoming Pixel 3 range, with previously-rumored shades of white, black, pink and mint green showing up numerous times throughout the short teaser.

That said, yellow and light blue also feature prominently during the video's 40-second runtime – could it be that Japan is set to receive additional color variants?

Admittedly, all we have is speculation at this point, though we can expect the Pixel 3 to sport the latest Android 9 Pie version of Google's mobile OS, along with a Snapdragon 845 chipset when it launches in one week's time. 

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JB Hi-Fi has quietly launched its own range of SIM-only mobile plans

If you've ventured into one of the many JB Hi-FI stores around Australia over the last few days, you may have noticed huge banners detailing numerous SIM-only plans available on the retailer's new mobile service, JB Hi-Fi Mobile. 

The service, which offers exclusive data-heavy BYO mobile plans on the Telstra Network, aims to give JB Hi-Fi customers bang for their buck, with certain plans offering gift cards and potentially huge discounts if you also purchase a new handset from the big-box retailer.

JB's entry-level plan offers new customers 25GB of monthly data and unlimited talk and text within Australian for $45 per month on a 12-month plan, along with a bonus $200 gift card thrown in for good measure. 

For $65 per month, customers can nab 40GB of monthly data and unlimited calls and SMS, with the option to get either a $300 discount on a new phone valued under $999, or $500 off the outright price of any new phone priced over $999. 

Each of the plans also includes free access to Apple Music and the Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspot network. Currently, JB's exclusive plans aren't available online, so you'll have to venture in store and speak to a JB Hi-Fi staff member in order to sign up. 

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Apple’s AirPower mat might be “doomed to failure”, according to new report

Announced last year alongside the iPhone X, Apple's AirPower charging mat promised to bring wireless simultaneous charging to multiple Apple products upon its eventual release. 

After an initial delay that would see the Qi-based device pushed to March, then a second postponement to September (a whole year after its original announcement), the AirPower mat has seemingly missed the boat once again, vanishing from Apple's website in the process. 

Now the only AirPower-related question we have for the Cupertino company is: what's going on?

Thanks to a new report from noted leaker Sonny Dickson, we may now have some details about the alleged problems that are holding the AirPower mat from release. 

Failure to launch

According to Dickson, who cites several inside sources, "the broad feeling of many working the project at Apple is that the device may be doomed to failure, and may not be viable at all unless significant advancements can be made."

The report lists several key issues which Apple is allegedly facing in regards to the AirPower mat, with a heat management problem believed to be the company's biggest hurdle.

"Currently the device produces far too much heat, which causes performance setbacks, and can affect the ability of the devices to charge if they become too warm in the process," says Dickson.

Other reported issues include buggy inter-device communication, issues with charging activation and charging speed, and other mechanical and interference concerns.

Will the AirPower mat ever be released?

With so many purported engineering hurdles to overcome, there is a worry that Apple may end up shelving the AirPower mat indefinitely. 

That said, Dickson does put forth the possibility that the mat could ultimately be "taken back to the drawing board with an all new design that would have a different appearance than the one Apple showed us at the 2017 iPhone X event."

He continued, "While it is still possible for the AirPower (or a similar device not yet shown to the public) to debut before the end of the year, broad consensus among engineers suggests that this is highly unlikely."

If an all-new product bearing the AirPower trademark were to eventuate, Dickson's sources claim that a public showing of the (totally hypothetical) device would be “not likely to occur before [US] Spring”.

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Samsung Galaxy S10 will arrive with a ‘very significant’ makeover, claims CEO

Samsung has stuck with a winning design formula for the last few entries in its Galaxy S series of smartphones, but according to the Korean company's mobile division CEO, we in for some big changes with next year's flagship. 

As reported by SamMobile, Samsung's mobile business chief DJ Koh spoke to Chinese media earlier this week, telling them to expect "very significant" design changes for the Galaxy S10.

Unfortunately, Koh did not specify just what that might entail for the device, though he did state that the Galaxy S10 would be released in some "amazing" color options, leading us to believe that Samsung may offer the upcoming phone in some more unusual shades.

While the S10's design is promised to be radically different, it's unlikely that the flagship will follow in the Samsung Galaxy X's flexible footsteps, as that foldable phone is expected to be unveiled before the end of the year and will probably be in a category all of its own. 

Coming soon to a Galaxy near you

Fans are expecting big things for the milestone device, which will be the tenth Galaxy S iteration to be released in nine years, and if the rumblings about major upgrades surrounding the handset are to be believed, it may very well end up being worth the hype. 

According to one rumor, the Galaxy S10 could come in three models, with different sizes and camera arrays included across the range – the largest of which is expected to sport a triple-lens camera on its rear.

Another recent rumor posited that the device could have a cutting-edge in-screen fingerprint scanner, while another expects it to be almost bezel-free

This is all speculation, of course, but we should find out more about the tenth Galaxy S-series phone early next year. In the meantime, we've collated our own list of what we want to see from the Samsung Galaxy S10

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Goodbye jack: Apple has killed off the last iPhones with 3.5mm headphone sockets

Following the announcement of its 2018 iPhone range, which includes the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, it's been revealed that many of its previous iPhone models, including last year's tenth anniversary iPhone X, are being phased out by Apple, as reported by The Verge

The discontinued handsets, which have now been removed from the Apple website, include the iPhone 6S and iPhone SE, meaning you can no longer buy an iPhone with a 3.5mm headphone jack from the Cupertino company. 

Good news for fans of huge bezels: Apple is still selling the iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus on its website, making them the only notch-free iOS handsets that you can buy direct from the source. 

If you were looking forward to charging your new iPhone on an AirPower mat, you'll have to keep waiting – Apple's upcoming Qi wireless charging solution has also completely vanished from the company's website, putting the likeliness of its release up in the... ahem... 'air' for the time being. 

The new iPhone range will be available for pre-order from September 14, with a global release date of September 21. 

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The banana-shaped Nokia 8110 4G is coming to Australia in late September

While no stranger to modern phone design, it's great to see that HMD Global's commitment to the classic Nokia motifs of yesteryear has remained steadfast. 

Announced for overseas markets back in February, the Nokia 8110 4G has now been confirmed for Australian release on September 20, 2018. 

Known for the sliding mechanism that was used to both answer phone calls and provide access to the phone's number pad, the original Nokia 8110 became a favourite following its appearance in The Matrix (albeit in a spring-loaded capacity that didn't actually exist at the time — at least until the Nokia 7110). 

Black and Yellow (Black and Yellow)

Like the name suggests, the updated version of this classic feature phone supports 4G connectivity, allowing users to browse the internet, read emails and peruse social media apps while on the go. 

It also comes pre-loaded with Nokia's classic Snake game, as well as Google's Assistant, Maps and Search apps.

Running on the Qualcomm 205 mobile platform, the Nokia 8110 4G's battery life boasts 25 days of standby time, making it ideal for long trips, hikes and other occasions where a flat battery could potentially be dangerous.

Priced at a very reasonable $129, the Nokia 8110 4G will be available in Black and Banana Yellow from Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Big W and Officeworks stores. 

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iPhone XC could be the name of Apple’s new entry level handset

The leaks surrounding Apple's 2018 iPhone line have started to intensify, with the Cupertino company gearing up to officially reveal its new handsets later this week.

According to recent reports, Apple's iPhone X successor is expected to be called the iPhone XS, while another model, currently being referred to as the iPhone XS Max, will take the presumed iPhone 9 Plus slot thanks to its larger 6.5-inch display (and, we assume, zero sugar content).

Now, a presentation from the carrier China Mobile has been leaked onto Chinese social media site Weibo and picked up by the Japanese Mac blog Macotakara, which offers up some interesting pieces of information, including the supposed name of Apple's upcoming entry-level iPhone.

The leak also seems to clear up the confusion surrounding that awkward iPhone XS Max name, with the presentation referring to the bigger device by the much more likely moniker of iPhone XS Plus. 

So XC it hurts

Dubbed the iPhone XC (with the 'C' perhaps denoting its intent to play in the same space as the more-affordable iPhone 5C from a few years back), the new handset will supposedly carry an expected price of $699 (around £540 / AU$980) based on the Chinese pricing featured in the presentation's slides, according to 9to5Mac.

The site also reports a $900 (around £696 / AU$1,266) rough price point for the 5.8-inch iPhone XS, while the iPhone XS Plus is said to be priced around the $1,000 (around £774 / AU$1,404) mark.

Concept designer Ben Geskin has also taken to Twitter showing what appears to be a set of iPhone XC prototypes in red, white and blue color options. 

Geskin is usually known for his renders and photoshops, but the designer claims that the phones featured in this leak are the "real deal". We'll find out for sure later in the week, but in the meantime you can check out the photos of the alleged prototypes below. 

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Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro leaks may have revealed the flagships’ faces

As we head towards the official unveiling of Huawei's next big flagship series, the leaks and rumors have begun to intensify around the Chinese phone maker's upcoming Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro handsets, with a pair of new leaks giving us yet another unofficial look at the supposed devices. 

As reported by Phone Arena (via /Leaks), the leaked images show what appear to be the front panels of both the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro handsets, with the former sporting a teardrop-shaped display cutout, and the latter featuring Samsung Galaxy Note 9-style curved edges and a more distinct iPhone X-inspired notch that will reportedly house a 3D facial scanner. 

Along with the leaked front panel images, the report also offers a sneaky image of a purported Huawei Mate 20 prototype that was taken in China that seems to confirm a number of previously reported features, including a round, rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a weird 2 x 2 rear camera arrangement

Though the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro have yet to be announced (they do seem quite likely, given the existence of the Huawei Mate 20 Lite), it has been confirmed that Huawei's next flagship handset(s) will be powered by the new Kirin 980 chipset.

We expect Huawei's Mate 20 series to be officially unveiled in October, as per last year's Mate 10 launch. You can check out the latest leaked images below. 

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Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 takes page out of Find X playbook, employs sliding selfie camera

Though it arguably kicked off the current bezel-free smartphone craze with its original Mi Mix handset, Xiaomi seems to be taking a page out of Oppo's design playbook with a Find X-style sliding selfie camera on its newly announced Mi Mix 3 device.

Posted by Xiaomi president Lin Bin on the company's Weibo page along with a proposed October release date, the Mi MIx 3 image shows a camera that's hidden behind an almost completely bezel-free display. 

Previous Mi Mix devices, like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, awkwardly placed the selfie camera at the bottom of the phone's face, forcing the user to either turn the handset upside down, or take self portraits from an especially unflattering angle. 

If you look closely at the bottom left corner of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, you'll notice that unlike the Oppo Find X, the entire back part of the device slides – not just the top section. 

Ticket to slide

This unique approach leads us to believe that instead of the camera popping up, the Mi Mix 3's display may actually slide down. Could this mean that the Mi Mix 3's sliding mechanism is not motorized like the Find X, but rather a manual implementation that would see the user simply flick the screen down when they want to take a selfie?

It would make sense for Xiaomi to go with a non-mechanical approach – while a very impressive device in its own right, the Oppo Find X's motorized pop-up camera feels like something that's destined for an eventual breakdown.  

Unfortunately, it's all just guesswork at this stage, with absolutely no information on the Mi Mix 3's specs offered at this time. Stay tuned for more information in the lead up to the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3's (likely China-only) October release.

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2018’s iPhones could offer much better battery life thanks to new A12 chips

Apple's A11 chip made last year's iPhones exceptional in terms of performance, and thanks to a new chip manufacturing process, we could be seeing another huge boost in 2018, according to Cult of Mac. 

TSMC, the Taiwanese company that is exclusively manufacturing Apple's iPhone processors this year, is reportedly implementing a 7 nanometre process for 2018's devices, which should shrink the size of chips by around 30% when compared to the 10 nanometre process that was used on the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X

Promising increased performance and decreased power consumption on its website, TSMC says its 7nm process is said to make the A12 chip 20% faster than last year's A11 chip and 40% more energy efficient.

The A12 chip's power consumption improvements should come as a welcome addition, given recent reports that the iPhone XI's battery might only be 10% bigger than last year's model. 

Just how well these innovations will translate to real-world performance and battery life are obviously unknown at this point, although we should find out soon enough: Apple's expected to officially unveil its 2018 lineup in just a couple of weeks' time, on September 12.

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