Pocketnow Daily: NEW Galaxy S21 Teaser & Exynos Updates: YES and NO! (video)

Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel phones are on sale today

Apple’s latest M1 13-inch MacBook Pro, Razer Blade 15 and more laptops are on sale today

Headphones from Sony, Samsung, Apple and more are also on sale today

You already know, the official news today begin with deals, and again there’s no better time to buy Samsung products both old and new. You can still reserve a Galaxy S21 model and get up to $700 in trade-in and up to $60 in credit for accessories once you do, so make sure you check the first link in the description if you want a Galaxy S21. Sticking to Samsung and trade-in deals, the Z Flip is still a crazy $100, yes $100. The Z Fold 2 is still $1000 and you can get the Galaxy S20 Ultra for $600. We also have deals on the Note but again, you need an eligible device for trade-in. If you don’t have a device to trade-in we also have discounts for all of these on Amazon if you’re still looking for a great deal. Moving on, you can get a Google Pixel 4 for $295 off its original price tag, leaving it at $504 shipped. The M1 MacBook Pro is still $60 off, leaving the 256GB of SSD model for $1239. The Razer Blade 15 is also $300 off, this is the Intel Core i7, RTX 2060 model, leaving it at $1500. We have a ton of more deals on other laptops, AirPods, Sony Earbuds and headphones and more, in the links in the description.


Intel announces 11th Gen Core H-series mobile processors for gaming laptops

Qualcomm’s second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is bigger and 50% faster

Fossil Gen 5 LTE costs $349 and let will let you take calls directly on the smartwatch

Jabra Elite 85t gets four new color options at CES 2021

Yes, CES is still happening but before we get into more specific launches, let’s talk about some of our favorite single out announcements. Beginning with Qualcomm as the company just launched the second generation to their ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. This new sensor is 77% larger than its predecessor and it works 50% faster, this improved sensor will reportedly debut with the S21, if history repeats itself. Intel just announced their 11th Gen Core H Series of mobile chips which power gaming laptops based on a 10nm process, supporting up to 5GHz clock speeds, PCIe Gen 4, Thunderbolt 4 and more features. But, 10nm huh Intel? The Jabra Elite 85Ts which are some of my favorite earbuds just got 4 new colorways, including Gold, Copper, Black and Grey in case you were waiting for some variety. Fossil just announced the Gen 5 LTE which brings a 45mm sleek design and it now allows you to take calls directly on the smartwatch which is pretty nice for $349. And guys, there’s so much more CES 2021 coverage on Pocketnow.com but, we have specific articles for each of these products and their details, in the links in the description.

AMD unleashes Zen 3-based Ryzen 5000 series mobile processors

NVIDIA unveils RTX 30 series laptop GPUs and GeForce RTX 3060 desktop graphics

Let’s keep talking about CES, we know that a lot of you guys like when we cover PC parts and well Nvidia and AMD are back at it again. Starting with AMD, they just unveiled their Ryzen 5000 Series of mobile processors, these are divided into 2 families, the H and the U Series. The H Series is targeted at gaming enthusiasts in both 6 and 8 core variants with peak clock speeds of 4.8GHz, interesting considering Intel is pushing 5GHz. When it comes to the U Series, these are aimed at ultra-books and the rest of mass market laptops, these range from 4 to 8 cores, with pretty much the same base specs as some of the H Series but only pushing up to 4.4GHz. AMD is looking at 23% higher single threaded performances and up to a 17% increase in multi-threaded performances. Moving on to Nvidia, the company just revealed the RTX 30 Series laptop GPUs and a RTX 3060 desktop GPU. These are based on their 3rd Gen Max Q technology, offering up to 2x ray tracing output, and the new tensor cores are claimed to be 2x more capable. Overall Nvidia is aiming at higher efficiency, better performance and refined acoustics here. Over 70 laptops with the RTX 30 Series will debut this month alone, so you can check out all of the specifics in the links below. For a minute there I was like – are we sure about that number or is it 7? But nope, 70 laptops.

HONOR announces MagicBook Pro, HONOR Band 6

Sticking to CES, let’s move on to Honor as, we know that the company went independent form Huawei a couple of months ago and they just announced their upcoming flagship products. First off we got the Honor MagicBook Pro which brings a 16.1in display with a 90% screen-to-body ratio. It’s powered by a 10th Gen Intel processor, along with 16GB of dual channel DDR4 RAM, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD, when it comes to cooling it brings dual fans and dual heat pipes. It includes Bluetooth 5.0, an HDMI port, 3 USB A ports and a USB C port, as well as a headphone jack and a fingerprint sensor. It apparently charges up to 50% in just 30 minutes. Now, moving on to wearables we also got the Honor Band 6 which features a 1.47in AMOLED Display, supporting 10 workout modes and 14 days of battery life. It brings 5 ATM water resistance and it brings a heart rate monitor, oxygen monitor, sleep and stress monitor and even a female cycle tracker. It comes in three color variants including Meteorite Black, Sandstone Grey and Coral Pink. Sadly we didn’t get word on price tags yet but it should be on global markets very soon.

Is this the new design of the 2021 iPad Pro refresh?

Now let’s talk about Apple and particularly iPads as it does seem that Cupertino is planning an aggressive push here. Lately there’s been a ton of rumors on the upcoming iPads as, we’re expecting a refresh to the regular iPad and we’re supposed to get mini-LED displays on the Pros very soon. Now, we have some new CAD renders of both iPad Pro models coming from 91Mobiles and MySmartPrice. Starting with the bigger model, it looks like it’s bringing pretty much the same design language as the current model with the boxy design and the single USB-C port as well as the smart connector for the keyboard. The camera is still a dual module along with the LiDAR sensor. When it comes to the 11in version, it also looks like its predecessor which we got back in 2020 but, apparently it’s going to be a couple of millimeters thinner and shorter. The CAD renders also show that we might be getting a Touch ID sensor similar to the one on the iPad Air, and you can also notice it on the renders for the 12.9in iPad. We’re expecting these iPads some time this year, running on a variant of the A13 or A14 Bionic, along with a mini-LED display. It clearly seems that iPad sales are up given the pandemic if Apple plans to make a broader push and even bring a more aggressive price tag.

Story of the day:

Samsung Galaxy S21 retail box leak confirms the absence of a charger

Samsung unveils the 5nm-based Exynos 2100 flagship SoC that will power the Galaxy S21

And finally for the hottest news today, you guessed it. We’re literally a couple of days away from Samsung’s Unpacked but, there’s still a ton of leaks and information to Unpack here.. Let’s start with something official as Samsung just posted the full teaser for the S21 Series which is captioned “Welcome to the Everyday Epic”. It teases a lot of camera capabilities, mainly video, low light and zoom. It shows the silhouette of the device and some software tricks as well. Sticking to what’s official, the company just announced the Exynos 2100 which will power the S21 depending on your region. It is a 5G-ready chip based on a 5nm process and a tri-cluster core design allowing for a 30% increase in multi-core performance and 40% boost in graphics performance. It allows some crazy tricks like handling 6 cameras and 200MP resolution output, as well as handling 4K panels at up to 120Hz, or QHD+ at 144Hz but, we won’t bore you with specifics, we’ll have a specific link for this in the description. Back to the S21, we have some new posters showing off the design yet again, as well as teasing the 5G capabilities, the storage tiers and the camera. Now, the poster getting the most headlines is the one showing off the box and as you can see, it’s very thin. Meaning it’s pretty much official that we won’t be getting a charger or headphones this year. Go Green! And remember, you can already register for the S21 and get some perks, in the first link in the description. So yeah, with that teaser and all of the other posters, seriously what’s left?


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Qualcomm’s second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is bigger and 50% faster

Qualcomm has just announced an upgraded fingerprint sensor for smartphones based on its proprietary ultrasonic technology that is claimed to recognize the patterns even the finger is wet. Qualcomm is calling it the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2, and from what the company is promising, it will address two of the biggest pain points associated with the first iteration that was announced back in 2019 – recognition speed and sensing area.

Qualcomm's new fingerprint sensor is 50% faster and 77% larger

Qualcomm says that its second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is 50% faster compared to the first-gen solution. Additionally, Qualcomm claims that its latest solution is also 77% larger, which means users will have more leg-room when it comes to placing their fingers on the sensor from varied angles and still get past the authentication process with ease. “This larger sensor combined with faster processing will be 50% faster than Gen 1 so you can unlock your device quicker than ever,” Qualcomm says.

The second ultrasonic fingerprint by Qualcomm has a surface area of 64mm sq. (8x8mm) with a square profile, while the first-gen iteration only measured 36mm sq. (4x9mm) and had a rectangular outline. Qualcomm says that the increased surface area of the sensor means it can now capture 1.7x more biometric data for a faster and more secure authentication experience.

3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 will likely appear inside the Galaxy S21

The company says that its second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor will make its way to smartphones in early 2021. And given its previous collaboration with Samsung, it is highly likely that the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 will make its way to the Samsung Galaxy S21 family that debuts on January 14 at Samsung’s next Galaxy Unpacked event.

In case you’re wondering, Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensor relies on sound waves to read the valleys and ridges on fingerprints, and uses the ultrasonic pulse reflection data to create a 3D map of the fingerprint for authentication. This approach is said to make it make secure compared to the optical sensors that have so far been faster.

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Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon appointed as the next CEO of the chip giant

Qualcomm has today announced a major leadership change at the company. Steve Mollenkopf, who served the role of Qualcomm’s CEO since 2014, is leaving the company after 26 years. Following his departure, Qualcomm’s President Cristiano Amon will take over the CEO position effective June 30, in the wake of Qualcomm’s Board of Directors unanimously picking him to lead the company. Following the leadership change, Mollenkopf will continue to serve as a strategic advisor for the company for a while

Mollenkopf leaves after spending 26 years at Qualcomm

“I am immensely proud of all that we have accomplished at Qualcomm and the position the Company currently enjoys as the world’s leader in wireless technologies,” said the outgoing Qualcomm chief. “Cristiano spearheaded the development of our 5G strategy, including its acceleration, industry-leading technology roadmap and global rollout.”

Under Mollenkopf’s leadership, Qualcomm truly transformed into the smartphone chip juggernaut that it is today, and is also making strides to replicate the same level of success in the world of PCs as well. However, things haven’t been all rosy and rainbows in his tenure, as Qualcomm was also involved in a massive patent licensing feud with Apple as part of which the Cupertino giant alleged Qualcomm of charging exorbitant fees and abusing its dominant market position. 

Qualcomm survived the massive feud with Apple under Mollenkopf

As for Amon, he has been the face of Qualcomm for a while now, leading product launches and talking about the company’s ambitions in the fields of 5G, automobiles, and IoT on various platforms. Now in his 15th year of association with Qualcomm, Amon is touted to be the guy who spearheaded the chipmaker’s foray in the domain of 5G.

“We have been at the forefront of innovation for decades and I look forward to maintaining this position going forward. In addition to driving the expansion of 5G into mainstream devices and beyond mobile, Qualcomm is set to play a key role in the digital transformation of numerous industries,” Amon was quoted as saying in an official statement

Qualcomm has lately doubled down on its efforts to capitalize on the 5G wave. Just a day earlier, the company launched its first 5G-ready Snapdragon 4xx series chip that is destined for budget phones. After introducing 5G support with its top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8xx family of mobile chips, the company added 5G compatibility to its Snapdragon 7xx portfolio and eventually extended it to the Snapdragon 6xx line-up as well.

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MediaTek eclipses Qualcomm to become world’s largest smartphone chip seller in Q3 2020

MediaTek appears to have reached a major business milestone in the third quarter of a year that witnessed the smartphone industry going through some major turmoil. As per data shared by Counterpoint Research, MediaTek eclipsed chief rival Qualcomm to become the world’s largest smartphone chip vendor in Q3 2020. As smartphone sales returned on a growth trajectory, MediaTek’s market share went up courtesy of the increase in demand for devices falling in $100-$250 price bracket in regions such as India and China. 

MediaTek had a market share of 31% in Q3 2020

MediaTek commanded a market share of 31% last quarter, recording a growth of 5% on a YoY basis. Qualcomm’s market share, on the other hand, shrunk from 31% in Q3 2019 to 29% in the same quarter this year. “MediaTek’s strong market share gain in Q3 2020 happened due to three reasons – strong performance in the mid-end smartphone price segment ($100-$250) and emerging markets like LATAM and MEA, the US ban on Huawei and finally wins in leading OEMs like Samsung, Xiaomi and Honor,” noted Research Director Dale Gai. 

READ MORE: MediaTek announces Dimensity 700 5G SoC for affordable phones
Image: Counterpoint Research

5G wave is in favor of Qualcomm right now

The increasing adoption of 5G chipsets proved to be a silver lining for Qualcomm, as it emerged as the largest 5G chipset vendor in Q3 this year. Qualcomm led the 5G chipset market with a share of 39% and is expected to regain the top chipset vendor crown in the next quarter propelled by the sale of 5G smartphones. Counterpoint’s report mentions that out of all smartphones sold in Q3 2020, 17% were 5G enabled. And this growth streak will likely continue in the next quarter as well as one-third of all phones sold in Q4 2020 will be 5G-ready, predicts the research firm. 

READ MORE: MediaTek unveils Dimensity 1000C 5G chip, goes inside T-Mobile LG Velvet

5G phones will aid Qualcomm bounce back in Q4

However, MediaTek will be on Qualcomm’s tail in the 5G smartphone market as well. The company’s Dimensity line of 5G-enabled chipsets will likely dominate the market of low-end and budget 5G smartphones, while Qualcomm is expected to remain the market leader when it comes to upper mid-range and flagship Android smartphones in the upcoming quarters.  

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Qualcomm reveals benchmark scores of its latest flagship SoC – the Snapdragon 888

Qualcomm has today released the benchmark scores of its latest top-tier smartphone chip – the Snapdragon 888 – that is going to power the 2021 Android flagships. As expected, the new Qualcomm offering provides a noticeable leap in performance over its predecessor, which is not too surprising. Of course, the Snapdragon 888 will also fly during day-to-day usage, and is capable of handling any demanding task or graphics-intensive game you throw at it with ease. 

Before we get into the actual benchmark scores, do keep in mind that the tests were done on a reference device that came equipped with a hefty 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 512GB storage, 3,780mAh battery, and an FHD+ display with 120Hz refresh rate. The hardware almost sounds like a template for what we can expect to find inside a 2021 Android flagship. 

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 scored 1135 in single-core and 3794 in multi-core Geekbench 5.0 tests, which is well above the average 980 single-core and 3200 multi-core Geekbench 5.0 scores of the Snapdragon 865+ inside the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. In comparison, the A14 Bionic powering the iPhone 12 series clocked an average of 1580 in single-core and 3600 in multi-core Geekbench 5.0 tests.

Coming to the AnTuTu benchmark (v8.3.4), the Snapdragon 888 clocked an impressive 735439. In comparison, the Snapdragon 865+ inside the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra records an average AnTuTu score in the range of 700000. However, when it comes to graphics intensive tests, the Snapdragon 888 appears to lag behind A14 Bionic inside the iPhone 12 Pro.

Image Credit: Qualcomm

The benchmark sheet provided by Qualcomm shows that the Snapdragon 888 reference device clocked an average score of 169fps on the GFXBench Manhattan 3.0 test running at 1080p resolution in off-screen mode. In comparison, a test result ran on the iPhone 12 Pro shows that the A14 Bionic reached a much higher score of 210fps.

Now, these are test results obtained on a reference device, which means the results obtained on a commercially available Snapdragon 888 smartphone will vary. Also, Qualcomm has cherry-picked the benchmark tests whose scores it has shared, which means we’ll have to wait for the first wave of Snapdragon 888 phones to perform the rest of the tests and see the actual picture.

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Google and Qualcomm join hands to offer four years of assured Android updates

Google has joined with Qualcomm to extend the duration for which smartphones can get Android updates, both in terms of major build numbers and years of security updates. Thanks to Google’s partnership with Qualcomm, all compatible smartphones will get four assured Android version upgrades and security updates for four years. This will be made possible courtesy of enhancements made to Project Treble, the architecture that allows the development and deployment of Android updates.

Cost and resources required for Android upgrades are coming down

“Going forward, all new Qualcomm mobile platforms that take advantage of the no-retroactivity principle for SoCs will support 4 Android OS versions and 4 years of security updates. All Qualcomm customers will be able to take advantage of this stability to further lower both the costs of upgrades as well as launches and can now support their devices for longer periods of time,” Google said in a blog post. Qualcomm, on the other hand, notes that tweaks made to Project Treble will cut down on the time and resources required to upgrade Qualcomm-powered smartphones to the latest build of Android. 

The changes made to Project Treble allowing four years of Android upgrades will go live for all devices powered by new Qualcomm SoCs and running Android 11 or a later build. From Qualcomm’s end, the shift towards a longer update cycle begins with devices powered by Qualcomm’s latest flagship chip – the Snapdragon 888. Earlier, the whole process of implementing OS frameworks ran across multiple tiers and shot up the costs associated with the whole process, but it has also been tweaked.

Google is drastically changing the way OS frameworks are handled and deployed by OEMs. Following is a diagram depicting how things have changed: 

(Tap to view full-sized image in a new tab)

“We’re also reusing the same OS framework software across multiple Qualcomm chipsets,” notes the search giant. “This dramatically lowers the number of OS framework and vendor implementation combinations that Qualcomm has to support across their mobile platforms and results in lowered engineering, development, and deployment costs.”

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Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 678 SoC brings a tiny clock speed boost for mid-range phones

Qualcomm has just launched a new smartphone SoC – the Snapdragon 678. The fresh Qualcomm SoC succeeds the well-received Snapdragon 675 chip, and brings a small boost in processing power via a higher clock speed. The latest Qualcomm processor is targeted at lower mid-range smartphones but doesn’t offer many meaningful upgrades over its predecessor. With the exception of a slightly faster clock speed (2.2 GHz vs 2.0 GHz), not much has changed, as the rest of the core capabilities are almost the same.

The octa-core Snapdragon 678 relies on the Qualcomm Kryo 460 CPU, while graphics are handled by the Adreno 612 GPU. It is based on the 11nm process, the same as its predecessor. As for imaging capabilities, they are handled by the Qualcomm Spectra 250L ISP that supports up to 192MP capture and dual cameras up to 16MP. When it comes to videography, it allows 4K video capture while slo-mo video recording is capped at 1080p with 120FPS frame rate and 720p at 240FPS frame rate. Video playback, on the other hand, is also capped at 4K Ultra HD. 

Small upgrades, big aspirations

Coming to smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 678 SoC, they can pack a display with a peak resolution of FHD+ (2520×1080), however, Qualcomm has not specified the refresh rate limit in the specifications sheet. Wireless connectivity is handled by Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac, while the cellular connectivity is limited to 4G and is enabled by the Snapdragon X12 LTE modem. 

For audio output, the Snapdragon 678 offers capabilities that include Qualcomm Aqstic, Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus, Qualcomm Adaptive, and Qualcomm aptX HD. As for fast charging, Qualcomm’s proprietary Quick Charge 4+ technology handles the duty of juicing up the battery. Unfortunately, Qualcomm has not yet revealed the names of brands that will employ its latest chipset in their upcoming mid-range smartphones.

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Apple is developing its own modem to replace Qualcomm’s

At its WWDC20 conference, Apple announced its move to shift from Intel chips to its own processors for the Mac lineup. Now, it seems like the company isn’t only looking to replace Intel but Qualcomm chips as well. For the unaware, the latest iPhone 12 lineup uses Qualcomm’s X55 modem, but it could change in the future. A new report claims that Apple is developing an in-house modem.

The latest development comes from Bloomberg that cites Apple’s Senior Vice President of hardware technologies Johny Srouji’s town hall meeting with Apple employees. It says that Apple is working on its own cellular modem to use on its future devices that will eventually replace modem components sourced from Qualcomm.

“This year, we kicked off the development of our first internal cellular modem which will enable another key strategic transition,” he said. “Long-term strategic investments like these are a critical part of enabling our products and making sure we have a rich pipeline of innovative technologies for our future.”

Johny Srouji, Senior Vice President of hardware technologies, Apple

Apple developing its in-house modem has been in the rumor mill for a while. The company also purchased a majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business to accelerate the project’s development. However, Apple had to go for Qualcomm likely to bring 5G to the new iPhone 12 lineup. Hence, it reached a settlement with Qualcomm and signed a multi-year licensing deal despite a major patent dispute with the silicon giant.

The agreement is still valid for the next five years, with an option to extend it for two more years, but Apple seems to limit its reliance on Qualcomm by developing its own modem now. The Cupertino company has now built a team of hardware and software engineers that will develop the cellular modem.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 with Snapdragon 888 confirmed, rumors of improved features emerge

Just yesterday, we got to see some leaked video teasers of the complete Samsung Galaxy S21 series, but rumors don’t stop there. The latest ones suggest that the new Galaxy S21 will feature faster reverse wireless charging, a bigger and faster fingerprint scanner. Now, we also have official confirmation of one of the processors inside Samsung’s new flagship.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 will come with Qualcomm’s SM8350 processor under the hood in some markets. This information comes from a recent FCC certification that was granted to Samsung’s SM-G9991U. In other words, the upcoming Galaxy S21 series will feature Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888 5G chipset in the US and South Korea, while other markets will receive Exynos 2100 processors.

Now, good news don’t stop there, as the certification also shows that the device will feature mmWave 5G, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and faster 9W reverse wireless charging. The device will also come equipped with a 4,000mAh battery, and the certification also mentions a 25W USB Type C fast charger, with model number EP-TA800 even though we can’t say if it will be included in the box, as previous rumors suggest that Samsung will also ditch power adapters and earphones with the next Samsung Galaxy S21 series.

Further, rumors claim that the Samsung Galaxy S21 will include a bigger and faster fingerprint scanner. This new rumor comes from a well-known leaker, Ice Universe, as he believes that Samsung is going to give its devices a new fingerprint scanner.

The new sensor under the OLED panel in the Samsung Galaxy S21 will be square, 8mm sides with 64 sq.mm, which is larger than the current 4x9mm sensors with 36 sq.mm sensors. This directly translates to a sensor that will be 77 percent larger. We just hope that these new sensors are also safe and reliable.

Source SamMobile

Via GSM Arena

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Pocketnow Daily: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 5G: More Than We Expected! (video)

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Apple’s previous-gen MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro and more on sale

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, iPad Pro, Apple Watch Series 6 and more on sale

As per usual, let’s kick today off with some M1 MacBook deals because why not? The latest M1 MacBook Pro is currently $50 off, that leaves the 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD model in Space Gray for $1249. Sadly we don’t have any deals for the Air at the moment but what we do have deals on is Samsung products! Believe it or not the company is making the trade-in deals even better, starting once again with the Z Fold 2 which is $925 and you get $120 in Samsung Credit for other purchases. You can get the Galaxy Note 20 line for as low as $225, and the S20 line for as low as $365. Those Note deals sound like if they’re probably planning something. Probably the craziest deal is the S20 FE, which goes for $115, you get the $120 in Samsung Credit and you also get a $30 eCertificate. Again all of these are trade-in deals and you need an eligible device. But alright, moving on, the Google Pixel 4 is $281 off, that leaves the entry level model for $518 shipped.

Salesforce acquires Slack for a cool $27.7 billion, calls it a match made in heaven

Sticking to the official news, let’s talk about Slack. Right about now I seriously wish I was a software developer. Last week some rumors sparked up, hinting that Salesforce was planning to buy the company. Well, they just made it official through a press release, Salesforce just acquired Slack for $27.7B and it will now be integrated into their Salesforce Cloud. Now, for those of you that use Slack that are probably wondering what’s going to happen to yours, current CEO Stewart Butterfield will continue to lead the company and the transaction is expected to conclude on the second fiscal quarter of 2022. Once this is complete, Slack will become a full operating unit of Salesforce, allowing them to offer a unified platform for connecting employees and partners to customers, as they will be “integrating slack to their workflow”. I just find it shocking that my least favorite way to communicate is worth so much, but yeah, I also wonder if you’ll still be able to use it once the takeover is completed.

Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds appear in leaked renders

Let’s move on to Samsung and accessories, particularly with their upcoming Galaxy Buds Pro. We showed you how these were already certified by the FCC and that the “Pro” feature would be Active Noise Cancelling. Well, now we have some new renders from Evan Blass that show us both the design and the case. And, as the previous leaks claimed, they pretty much bring the same design as the Galaxy Buds+ but the case looks like the one on the Buds Live, if that makes sense. Speaking of this case, it looks like it will bring a 472 mAh battery but we still have no details on play-time or how many charges it actually provides. Again we should expect these with the Galaxy S21 Series and their main features will be Active Noise Cancellation, a better Ambient Mode and a richer listening experience. Of course we hope that Samsung adds other features along the way just to sweeten the pot, but I feel keeping the price aggressive will be the best strategy.

Apple to launch two MacBook Pro models with fresh design and mini LED display in 2021: Kuo

Moving on to Apple and their Apple Silicon and miniLED roadmaps, we have a new report from Ming Chi Kuo with new devices that we should expect. According to his latest research Note, Kuo reiterates that we should expect two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an all-new form factor design and they will launch in 2021. Now, he also mentions that we should expect a new and “affordable” MacBook Air in 2022. Of course, all of them will bring Apple Silicon chips and a miniLED display. Kuo also claims that Apple will be able to offset the increased costs of miniLEDs in the Macs, thanks to their Apple Silicon chips being significantly cheaper than Intel’s solutions. miniLED displays are also projected to see pretty high shipments with MacBooks being the main driver here, probably because the iPad is rumored to move on to OLED next year. Apparently MacBook shipments could grow by 100% with up to 35M units per year. If the M1 MacBooks are any indication, this is definitely something we’re looking forward to, and a logical reason why the 16-inch MacBook Pro didn’t see a refresh.

Samsung Galaxy S21+ appears online in a sleek mirror silver finish. Take a gander!

We’re already getting pretty close to the Galaxy S21 Series so, the leaks should just keep coming right? Well, about a month ago we got the first CAD renders from OnLeaks and now we get some from a different source. Now, these renders are for the Galaxy S21 Plus showing off the new design. We see the flat display with the punch hole at the front with the slimmer bezels of course. At the back you get to see the new triple camera array which reportedly consist of a 12MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra wide and a 64MP telephoto. Now, these renders show a silver variant which we hadn’t exactly seen before and they got a pretty glossy finish. To recap, we’re expecting the S21 Line in mid-to-late January, rocking the Snapdragon 888 or the latest Exynos, up to 16GB of RAM and all the bells and whistles you could expect. I guess the only question left is if you like the design, which I’m just liking for the fact that it’s unique.

Story of the day:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Mobile Platform details are here

And finally, the hottest news today have to do with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. First of all, thank you Qualcomm for sponsoring this video and let’s get right to it. Yesterday, the company pretty much teased the launch of the Snapdragon 888 5G at their Tech Summit. Well, today was day 2 and now we have everything you need to know about this chip. It is built on a 5nm process, implementing 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 for enhanced mobile experiences. It brings the 3rd Gen Snapdragon X60 5G Modem which enables all 5G flavors with speeds of up to 7.5Gbps. It supports Global 5G Multi-SIM for international roaming, and again it delivers industry leading power efficiency at 26 Tera Operations per second. The New Kryo 680 CPU delivers a 25% boost in CPU performance while the Adreno 660 GPU gives you 35% faster graphics when compared to the previous generation. The new Spectra 580 ISP is a Triple ISP which brings a new low light architecture for brighter pictures. It supports Rec. 2020 color gamut photo and video capture, up to 10-bit color depth for photo and video as well as HDR HEIF. You now have 8K video at 30fps and Slow-mo 720p video at a crazy 960 fps. It also supports Dolby Vision 4K video at 120fps and HDR 4K video with Portrait Mode which sounds pretty slick. Snapdragon Elite Gaming also brings way more responsiveness and game rendering at up to 30% thanks to Variable rate shading. Again, 14 OEMs were announced to use the platform with Xiaomi, OPPO and Realme being some the first.


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Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 gives a big push to camera prowess, and I’m excited about it

Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon 888 – its latest flagship processor – a day ago, but didn’t share details about the performance gains and the new features it brings to the table. Today, the company finally has revealed the numbers, and they are a lot to process (ha!). To start, Snapdragon 888 makes the jump to the 5nm process, you get faster cores, a better graphics engine, an integrated 5G modem this time around, and a massive boost to imaging capabilities. We are going to focus on the last bit here i.e. camera enhancements. But before we do that, let’s take a quick glance at its key specifications:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 880
  • Based on the 5nm process.
  • Qualcomm Kryo 680 CPU based on ARM Cortex-X1 core. It promises up to 25% performance boost and higher efficiency.
  • Adreno 660 GPU that offers a 35% graphics performance uptick.
  • 6th-Gen Qualcomm AI Engine with Hexagon 780 processor that offers 3x improvement in performance per watt output.
  • Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System.
  • Support for QHD+ panels at 144Hz refresh rate.
  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 5
  • Second generation Qualcomm Sensing Hub

What’s the whole fuss about camera upgrades?

At the heart of all the imaging capability upgrades offered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC is the Qualcomm Spectra 580 image signal processor that now has triple 14-bit CV-ISPs. It takes over the reins from the Qualcomm Spectra 480 image signal processor on the Snapdragon 865 that had dual 14-bit CV ISPs. This new triple CV-ISP design drastically upgrades how Qualcomm’s latest SoC handles multi-camera systems on smartphones, especially triple rear camera setups.

The key advantage of this triple ISP design is achieving triple camera concurrency. As the name suggests, the chip can now handle three different data streams from three separate image sensors at the same time. So essentially, all three rear cameras (primary + ultra-wide + telephoto) cameras can record videos simultaneously. And that too, in 4K HDR format. We are unsure how OEMs will implement it, but one possibility is that users will be able capture a scene with three different lenses and then save (or share) the view they like best -the standard crop, a magnified view or a wider scene.

Simultaneous 4K HDR video capture by all three cameras

And just like videos, the triple ISPs will also let smartphone cameras shoot three images of 28MP size at the same time, one from each sensor. Another advantage of the triple ISP design is that switching between the primary, ultra-wide and telephoto lens will be almost instantaneous. In a dual ISP setup, the chip has to guess if users will now switch to the telephoto lens or they zoom out by reverting to the primary camera. The triple ISP system runs all three cameras simultaneously and speeds up the switching process.

Qualcomm also claims to have made some improvements at the architectural level for the new Spectra 580 ISP that can crunch an astonishing 2.7 Gigapixels of image data per second, compared to the 2 Gigapixel per second output of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC. Thanks to that data crunching enhancement, the chipset will allow smartphones to capture up to 120 shots of 12MP each in a second. A hundred and twenty photos of 12MP each with burst mode!

Qualcomm hasn’t provided further details how this will be executed, but the technique of stacking multiple frames to produce a final image that is brighter and richer in details is something many Android devices already do. But with more frames and extra computing power at their disposal, low-light photography will receive a major boost, theoretically speaking.

Burst capture at 120fps for 12MP stills is very promising

The chipmaker is also touting what it calls staggered HDR that will dramatically boost the dynamic range of images. Again, thanks to the triple ISP approach, three images with different exposure range and details in different regions of a scene are captured simultaneously and merged to create a single image with a much better dynamic range. The technique itself is not new, but the Snapdragon 888 adds 4K HDR with computational HDR capability to the mix.

Another major feature is that Snapdragon 888-powered smartphones can not only capture 4K videos at 120fps, but can also play them natively. This will put the high-refresh-rate 120Hz panels on smartphones to good use. However, it is unclear if the chip can also handle editing such videos, something that the likes of iPhone 12 Pro allow with Dolby Vision HDR videos. The upgraded camera capabilities also include 10-bit HDR HEIF photo capture and 4K HDR video capture with portrait mode. The latter is something I am particularly excited to test out on the 2021 Android flagships.

Capture and play 4K HDR videos natively

Qualcomm has deployed AI to handle autofocus, auto-exposure, and automatic white balance adjustment with its latest chip. The company is relying on new Saliency Auto Focus and Auto Exposure engines to make of this new approach that promises to enhance image accuracy. We are also assured of improved low-light performance, with Qualcomm claiming that the smartphones powered by its latest silicon can even capture images in dark surroundings with an illuminance as low as 0.1 lux.

It would be too early to pass a verdict without testing out the camera performance of Snapdragon 888-powered phones, since it also depends how well OEMs tune the camera sensors and their algorithms. But with Qualcomm providing a solid foundation with its latest silicon, I am optimistic. It is quite evident that Qualcomm has finally decided to create something that can truly take advantage of multi-camera setups on modern Android flagships.

Qualcomm stepped up, now it's up to OEMs

With enhanced processing firepower at disposal courtesy of the Snapdragon 888 and increased push to computational photography techniques, Qualcomm has done its part to take our smartphone camera experience to the next level. The first wave of Snapdragon 888 flagships will appear in the next couple of months, and I can’t wait to see if Android devices can finally play catch up to what Apple has been doing lately and usher us into a new era of what smartphone cameras can do.

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Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Mobile Platform details are here

Yesterday, Qualcomm teased the launch of its latest flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 888. Now, the company has revealed details of its next-generation chipset. It implements 5G, along with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 for enhanced mobile experiences. There is an integrated 3rd generation Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System that enables support for 5G sub-6 carrier aggregation and mmWave that can deliver speeds 7.5 Gbps.

The Snapdragon 888 is also supporting Global 5G multi-SIM, which allows for international roaming, managing personal and work numbers on the same phone. It has Wi-Fi 6E standard as well. The SoC comes equipped with 6th gen Qualcomm AI Engine with the new Qualcomm Hexagon 780 processor. The company says, “Snapdragon 888 delivers industry-leading power efficiency and performance with up to three times performance per watt improvement over the prior generation—all at an astonishing 26 TOPS.

In the performance department, the Snapdragon 888 is manufactured using the 5nm process technology. There is Qualcomm Kryo 680 that generates up to a 25% uplift in overall CPU performance and allows top frequencies of up to 2.84GHz. It is paired with Adreno 660 GPU that delivers up to 35% faster graphics rendering compared to the previous generation.

The new Mobile Platform is further enhanced by the 2nd gen Qualcomm Sensing Hub, which integrates a dedicated low-power AI processor to enable use cases like screen awake, lift and activity detection, and audio event detection.

As for the cameras, it features Qualcomm Spectra 580 ISP with a Triple Image Signal Processor (ISP), which is capable of capturing from three cameras simultaneously at up to 2.7 gigapixels per second. The Qualcomm Spectra 580 ISP also debuts a new low light architecture, for brighter photos, even in near darkness. Also included is photo capture in 10-bit color depth in the HEIF format. Additionally, in collaboration with Truepic, the new SoC can capture cryptographically-sealed photos that are compliant with the open Content Authenticity Initiative standard.

The Snapdragon 888 can:

•Rec. 2020 color gamut photo and video capture
•Up to 10-bit color depth photo and video capture
•10-bit HDR HEIF photo capture
•4K Video Capture + 64 MP Photo
•8K Video Capture @ 30 FPS
•Slow-mo video capture at 720p @ 960 FPS
•HEIF: HEIC photo capture, HEVC video capture
•Video Capture Formats: HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
•4K Video Capture @ 120 FPS
•4K HDR Video Capture with Portrait Mode (Bokeh)

The flagship chipset delivers Variable Rate Shading (VRS)for the first time to mobile devices. VRS improves game rendering by up to 30% for mobile’s most immersive experiences to date. Qualcomm Game Quick Touch increases responsiveness by up to 20%, which lowers touch latency.

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Pocketnow Daily: Samsung Galaxy S21 Is Getting CHEAPER? (video)

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 starting at $450, Apple deals event and more available today

And guess what? We’re beginning the month of December with deals, don’t act like you didn’t see it coming. Let’s start this off with the deals that are just too good to be true from Samsung. those Samsung deals we’ve been covering, they’re still live. So again, these are all trade-in deals but you can currently get the Galaxy Z Fold 2 for $1000, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra for a crazy $599 and other cool products like the Z Flip 5G for just $300. And yeah, the Galaxy S line is also available, starting at $140 for the S20 FE and all the way up to $740 for the S20 Ultra so, yeah get the Note. Again, these are all trade-in deals, but the $100 credit is no longer available, so just keep that in mind. Now let’s talk iPhone 12 Pro Max on a similar approach as Verizon currently has a BOGO deal where of course, you have to get an installment plan but then you get the second one for free. Moving on, B&H has a huge Apple sale going on and the latest 12.9in iPad Pro is currently $300 off, leaving the entry level LTE model for $849. The 16in MacBook Pro is $300 off, that means that it starts at $2499. And guys, those Samsung deals where just some, we’ve got more in addition to Apple deals in the description and over at Pocketnow.com.

NVIDIA’s new GeForce RTX 3060 Ti GPU offers more power than the RTX 2080 Super for $399

Now let’s switch to to official news as Nvidia seriously keeps just showing off with their recent GPU launches. The company just announced a new GPU in their RTX 3000 family. So far the company already provided us with some crazy powerful GPU’s this year, but now it looks like they’re adding to the affordable side. This new GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is priced at $399 and it reportedly offers more power than the RTX 2080 Super which costs $699. They are advertising it as an affordable, latest-gen entry into the world of ray-traced gaming and it’s a decent option for 1440p gaming, kind of like the Xbox Series S. When it comes to specs, this thing brings enhanced ray-tracing cores and AI-processing Tensor cores that offer a 2x throughput. It has a base clock speed of 1.41GHz and it boosts up to 1.67GHz with 8GB of GDDR6 memory. It will be available for grabs tomorrow at again, $399. Why do I feel that someone I know added this to the script intentionally?

Samsung’s next earbuds are called Galaxy Buds Pro as per US FCC documents

Now let’s move on to Samsung as, if you think about it, the company has been launching true wireless earbuds along with each flagship announcement. Yes, not in the box, but with prices that make it just aggressive enough to feel that way. They’ve been doing for the past couple of years, starting with the Gear Icon X. Well, with the S21 season approaching, we have some new reports on what we should expect. According to SamMobile, Samsung will launch a successor to the Galaxy Buds+. These will bring two major improvements which are, Active Noise Cancellation and an Improved Ambient Move. They’re expected to bring the same type of in-ear design but off course, with ANC this time around. However, this was a report over the weekend, now we have a new report from MySmartPrice with new information. Apparently these were just certified by the FCC and they will be called the Galaxy Buds Pro. The name makes sense as we’re expecting the same design with ANC which is considered a Pro feature and they will now bring a squared case, kind of like the regular AirPods case. So yeah, we’ll keep you posted when more leaks come in as we’re getting close to January.

A new issue is now affecting iPhone 12’s LTE and 5G connectivity

Apple launched the iPhone 12 line a little over a month ago and keep in mind, this is Apple’s first 5G smartphone and it looks like the ride isn’t going too smooth. Over 500 users are claiming that they have some issues with their iPhone 12 dropping coverage unexpectedly. The main user who posted the claim says that he activated his phone on Saturday and on Sunday after a short drive, his phone had no reception and the No Service label to the point where the iPhone indicated that it was not activated. He then went to say that the only way to get the connection back was to toggle AirPlane Mode on and off. Just for some context he had the phone in 5G Auto on AT&T and once he switched to LTE the same thing happened, even after he reset the network settings. Apparently he even talked to Apple support and even with them installing two profiles on it, the issue kept happening. He posted this on Reddit where a ton of other users are having the same problem. And guys, me and Diego have actually been having this issue, not to the point where it says it’s not activated because their unlocked, but we do lose service completely until we restart our device. In all fairness, though, it’s only happened once to each of us, so we’ll keep you posted in case Apple posts a response.

Story of the day:

Samsung to lower the price barrier for Galaxy Series S21 series as the Note sunsets

And finally for the hottest news today, let’s bring back Samsung since all eyes on what the company is doing next with all the rumored dramatic changes. If you tuned into yesterday’s Pocketnow Daily, one of the things we talked about is how Samsung wants to replace the Note with the Z Fold, but doesn’t want to lower the price tag, but now this makes a little more sense. According to a new SamMobile report, Sammy will be lowering the Galaxy S21‘s price tag due to the Galaxy Note’s death. The report mentions that Samsung will drop the price of the Series by around $100 or more. This would mean that the regular S20 would start at either $899 or $849, the S21+ at $1099 or $1049 and the S21 Ultra dropping by the same margin. This would be a pretty big deal for Samsung as, the S20 Series didn’t sell too well thanks to that price tag. Going back a little bit on the Note, a new Reuters report further confirms that Samsung is not planning to debut a Galaxy Note this year and they will be shifting those resources to develop their foldables. It also mentions that the top model in the S Series, will bring a stylus, as well as the next Z Fold. This means you’ll be getting a cheaper Galaxy S21 Ultra with S-Pen support, and that actually sounds pretty sweet.


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Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform

Qualcomm has started its first day of the Snapdragon Tech Summit Digital with the announcement of its upcoming Mobile Platform. Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of mobile, compute, and infrastructure at Qualcomm Technologies, introduced the company’s latest flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform.

You can watch the livestream here.

The new chipset comes with the 3rd gen Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System that enables global compatibility by offering mmWave and sub-6 across all major bands worldwide. Plus, it has support for 5G carrier aggregation, global multi-SIM, stand-alone, non-standalone, and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing.

Further, there’s a new 6th gen Qualcomm AI Engine with a completely re-engineered Qualcomm Hexagon processor. It offers 26 tera operations per second (TOPS). The platform is further enhanced by the 2nd generation Qualcomm Sensing Hub, which incorporates lower-power always-on AI processing for intuitive, intelligent features.

The company also says that its latest flagship chipset features the 3rd generation of Snapdragon Elite Gaming that delivers “Qualcomm Technologies’ most significant upgrade in Qualcomm Adreno GPU performance.”

Snapdragon 888

The Snapdragon 888 will further triple down on the future of computational photography and “transform smartphones into professional-quality cameras,” says the company. It will allow users to capture 2.7 gigapixels per second, or roughly 120 photos at 12MP resolution—up to 35% faster than the previous generation.

Snapdragon 888 is the most powerful mobile platform from Qualcomm Technologies ever. In addition to the industry-leading 5G connectivity, it has brought groundbreaking breakthroughs and innovations in AI, gaming, and camera. I’m glad that our new flagship smartphone Mi11 will be one of the first devices with Snapdragon 888. This is another cutting-edge product from us and will be loaded with various hardcore technologies

Lei Jun, Founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Xiaomi

Xiaomi’s Mi 11 will be one of the first smartphones to be powered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC. Plus, OEMs like ASUS, BlackShark, Lenovo, LG, MEIZU, Motorola, Nubia, realme, OnePlus, OPPO, Sharp, vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE will also launch phones with Qualcomm’s latest flagship offering.

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Qualcomm to host its first esports tournament in India with a prize pool of over $65,000

Qualcomm has announced the launch of its first-ever mobile Esports program, Snapdragon Conquest, in India. It is part of Qualcomm’s esports initiative in the region, which has a notable mobile gaming community. For reference, India is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world where the mobile gaming industry is rising as well. Moreover, increased internet penetration has driven mobile gaming as a whole forward in the country. Qualcomm is offering a prize pool of INR 5,000,000 that translates to about $67,300.

Qualcomm says it is taking its expertise in delivering superior gaming experiences directly to gamers through the Snapdragon Conquest tournament. The tournament is expected to encompass multiple events throughout the year, enabling competitive gaming across multiple game titles. It is designed to engage mobile gamers across all segments and levels of proficiency. The tournament kicks off with Snapdragon Conquest: Free fire Open 2020. The official game title for this season is Garena ‘Free Fire’ – a skill-based battle royale game where four-player teams battle against each other strategically utilizing in-game resources to win.

There will be live broadcasts and player livestreams for aspiring gamers, giving them the opportunity to learn and increase their own proficiency. The company says, “For serious gaming enthusiasts, Snapdragon Elite Gaming platform delivers premium, mobile-first features and enhancements including advanced customizations, ultra-realistic graphics, and lightning connectivity and performance speeds to help gamers harness the power of desktop-level gaming to transform the mobile phone into a premium gaming machine.”

Moreover, there is no entry or registration fee charged for participating in the tournament.

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