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Samsung's ISOCELL 2.0 technology brings better light sensitivity to cameras
by João Carrasqueira
Samsung's ISOCELL technology has been part of many of its smartphone cameras in recent years. It's a pixel separation technology that helps separate different colored pixels by placing barriers between the different color filters on the sensor, preventing colors from one pixel from affecting the pixels around it and resulting in more color fidelity. Today, Samsung shed some light on its ISOCELL 2.0 technology (via Android Authority), which aims to improve light sensitivity compared to previous generations of ISOCELL.
In its first generation, ISOCELL used metal barriers to separate the different color filters, which prevented colors from bleeding over, but also absorbed a portion of the incoming light, meaning each pixel would be less vivid. This was first improved with ISOCELL Plus, which replaced part of the metal grid with a new, more reflective material. Now, with ISOCELL 2.0, the lower portion of that barrier has also been replaced by this material, making it so that even more light gets through to the sensor, thus producing more vivid colors.
As noted in the video above, this is especially helpful for small pixels, which have become more and more prominent as cameras start at resolutions of over 100MP. With each pixel absorbing more light, that means that more detailed images can be created thanks to the higher resolution, while also having more vivid colors for each of the pixels.
ISOCELL 2.0 technology was already mentioned last year when Samsung introduced an array of ISOCELL-based sensors. The company said that it would start adopting ISOCELL 2.0 in sensors in late 2020, as is the case with the ISOCELL GM5.
Samsung announces the Galaxy XCover 5, four years after its predecessor
by João Carrasqueira
It's been four years since Samsung introduced the latest phone in its Galaxy XCover lineup, which consists of rugged devices designed for mobile workforces. We did get the XCover Pro last year, which is a higher-end model, but today the company is announcing the XCover 5, a true successor to the XCover 4 from 2017.
The XCover 5 comes with plenty of upgrades over the XCover 4, as you'd expect after a four-year wait period. It now has an Exynos 850 chipset, which has eight Cortex-A55 cores at 2.0GHz. The RAM has been doubled to 4GB and the internal storage is four times higher at 64GB, but both are the same as on last year's XCover Pro. There's also a 3,000mAh battery with 15W fast charging.
The display is a slightly larger 5.3-inch panel, and it's still a TFT panel with HD+ resolution. Since the phone is designed for harsh environments, there's a Glove Touch feature so you can use the touchscreen with gloves on. There's only one rear camera, clocking in at 16MP and f/1.8 aperture, while the selfie camera is 5MP and has an aperture of f/2.2.
As you'd expect, the XCover 5 is rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, and it also meets the MIL-STD-810H standard for durability. There's a set of Pogo pins for charging, facial recognition for unlocking the phone, and one programmable key on the side. It also supports NFC with EMV L1 certification. Finally, in terms of software, it's running Android 11.
The Galaxy XCover 5 will be available this month in markets including Asia, Europe, and Latin America, with other regions coming later. Pricing information wasn't revealed, though.
Nintendo reportedly preparing a new Switch model with a 7-inch OLED display
by João Carrasqueira
The Nintendo Switch rumor mill is turning once again as the console has just turned four years old. A new report by Bloomberg indicates that the Japanese gaming giant is preparing to launch a new revision of the console this year, though a good while later than suggested in previous reports.
This time, though, there's a bit more information, as Bloomberg's sources state that Nintendo is sourcing larger 7-inch displays from Samsung Display, as opposed to the 6.2-inch and 5.5-inch panels of the current Switch and Switch Lite. The biggest difference here is that these displays will be using OLED technology instead of the LCD panels found in the existing models of the Switch. The OLED display should offer better battery efficiency, more contrast, and potentially better response times, according to Yoshio Tamura, co-founder of consultancy firm DSCC.
One thing that some might find unfortunate is that the panel being sourced will still be 720p, so the larger size won't come with an accompanying increase in resolution, meaning the pixel density will be lower than the current model. However, the console will come with some form of 4K support when docked to a TV, meaning there will be an even bigger gap between the handheld and TV experiences. On the bright side, that should help the console's battery last longer and allow the chipset to run cooler.
The report also further clarifies that Nintendo is sourcing rigid OLED displays, as opposed to flexible ones as seen in most of today's smartphones. Flexible displays have been typically used because they make it possible to reduce the bezels around the screen to minimal sizes, but they're naturally more expensive. Still, it's expected that the new Switch model will use the same casing, so bezels will still be reduced from the current iteration.
As noted in the report, the partnership between Nintendo and Samsung would benefit both sides, as Samsung has seen prices for rigid OLEDs drop due to oversupply, while Nintendo manages to secure a partner during a time when display-related components are seeing supply shortages.
Samsung Display is said to be preparing the displays to be shipped to assemblers in July, so a launch in 2021 seems to make sense, and it would help prop up the Switch's appeal for the holiday season as the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft start to grow their audience after a full year on the market. Of course, it's up to Nintendo to make these plans official, so we'll have to wait until then.
By Jay Bonggolto
Samsung Galaxy A32 is now available to purchase in India for ₹21,999
by Jay Bonggolto
The launch of the Galaxy A12 in India last month marked the arrival of the first Galaxy A handset in the country this year, packing a MediaTek Helio P35 SoC, a 6.5-inch HD+ Infinity-V display, and more. Today, Samsung India announced the launch of another device from that lineup.
Samsung introduced today the Galaxy A32 in India following the global debut of its 5G version earlier this year. The device is powered by an octa-core Mediatek Helio G80 SoC paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It also sports a 6.4-inch Full HD+ Infinity-U Super AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate that should make your gaming experience smooth.
The front camera is a 20MP sensor housed in a waterdrop notch, while its quad-camera setup on the back comprises a 64MP main sensor, 8MP ultra-wide shooter, 5MP macro sensor, and a 5MP depth sensor. Other camera features include hyperlapse, night mode, slow-mo, panorama and pro mode.
Inside, the phone has a 5,000mAh battery that Samsung claims can keep it running for up to 20 hours of video, 93 hours of music playback, and 19 hours of internet usage. The battery also supports 15W adaptive fast charging. It runs One UI 3.1 based on Android 11.
If you're wary about your privacy, the Galaxy A32 features AltZLife that allows you to double-pressing the power button in order to swap between normal and private mode. This feature also recommends storing your private content in the secure folder right on your device.
You can purchase the handset in India via Samsung's online storefront, other online stores, and retail shops in India from today for ₹21,999 (~$302) in four color variants: Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Blue, and Awesome Violet.
Sky Mobile reveals how much data was saved due to lockdown
by Paul Hill
The Mobile Virtual Network Operator, Sky Mobile, has revealed that £174 million worth of data has been saved among its customers due to lifestyle changes brought around by lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unsurprising that mobile data has dropped significantly due to people staying home and using their broadband connection more but it’s nice that Sky Mobile has been able to quantify the use reduction.
Customers that have continued to pay for their mobile usage over the last year have not lost access to the 55 million GBs of data that have been saved, instead, it’s stored in Piggybank for up to three years so many customers will have a lot of data to burn through once restrictions are lifted. Sky Mobile said that on average, customers have saved 43 GB of data which works out to about £136 of savings per person.
Commenting on the news, Paul Sweeney, Managing Director of Sky Mobile, said:
According to the firm, customers in Scotland saved the most data reaching 7.7 million GBs and saving £24 million. London came second with customers saving 4 million GBs of data which was worth £13 million.
While not one of the main providers in the UK, the service does have 2 million customers and it offers some interesting features including Piggybank and the recently announced ability to share spare data with those who may need it.