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Unboxing and first impressions of the Intel-based Honor MagicBook Pro
by João Carrasqueira
At IFA 2020, Honor introduced the MagicBook Pro, a 16-inch laptop powered by a Ryzen 5 4600H processor, as opposed to the U-series processors found in its non-Pro MagicBooks. Now, the company has introduced an Intel variant of the MagicBook Pro, which actually released in China even before the AMD version was introduced.
What's interesting about the Intel-powered MagicBook Pro is that instead of using an H-series processor like the AMD variant did, it actually has a Core i5-10210U, meaning it only has a 15W TDP instead of 45W. However, we now get a dedicated GPU in the form of the GeForce MX350 from Nvidia, while the AMD variant came with only the built-in graphics on the Ryzen processor.
Aside from the processor change, the rest of the laptop is nearly identical. There's a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, 16GB of dual-channel RAM, and a 56Wh battery. However, that battery is rated for an extra half-hour compared to the AMD version, for a total of 11.5 hours of battery life. The display is 16.1 inches diagonally and it has Full HD resolution in a 16:9 aspect ratio. There's no space for a camera above the display, so it's in the keyboard instead, as we've seen with other MagicBooks.
While a full review is coming soon, you can check out our first impressions of the new MagicBook Pro in the video below.
Facebook starts allowing short-form video monetisation
by Paul Hill
Facebook has announced that it’s opening up new ways to let content creators monetise their content on its platform. The main changes are to short-form videos, which content creators will now be able to monetise, and the testing of sticker ads in Stories. It’s also going to increase the number of creators that are allowed to monetise their content after the successes it saw last year.
According to the social media firm, from 2019 to 2020, those earning $10,000 per month grew by 88% and those earning $1,000 per month grew by 94%. With the pandemic hitting people’s finances and likely to continue doing so for the coming years, Facebook’s expansion of monetisation services will no doubt act as a lifeline for many people.
Before today’s update, ads were only available on three-minute or longer videos and start playing 45 seconds in. Now, videos as short as one minute can play an ad halfway through. Facebook says that these ads will be “minimally interruptive”.
Facebook said it’s also going to assemble a small group of content creators to test sticker ads in Stories. As stickers, they will sit on the user’s screen without breaking the Story that you’re watching and if used well shouldn’t be disruptive. While the test groups will be small in the coming weeks, it wants to expand soon to more creators. Once Facebook is happy with this ad format, it plans to bring it to short-form videos on Facebook too.
In addition to short-form video monetisation, Facebook also announced improvements to Stars that followers can send to content creators. Over the last six month, six billion stars have been sent which works out to around $60 million being added to creators’ earning. To boost knowledge of Stars, Facebook will be offering followers free Stars which they can send to creators; the firm is spending $7 million on the initiative.
To learn more about the different monetisation options available, you should head over to Creator Studio. It will let you know the eligibility criteria for all of the different options available.
Nokia and Samsung sign video standards patent license agreement
by Paul Hill
Nokia and Samsung have come to an agreement over a license for patents. Under the deal, Samsung will gain access to innovations in video standards covered by Nokia’s patents in exchange for royalty payments that help Nokia recoup the costs of its development efforts.
According to the statement put out by Nokia, the terms of the agreement are confidential between the two parties including the royalties that Samsung will have to pay the Finnish firm. Over the last 20 years, Nokia has invested €129 billion in research and development and now holds 20,000 patent families including 3,500 patent families that are essential for 5G.
Commenting on the deal, President of Nokia Technologies Jenni Lukander said:
Nokia said that it licenses out its innovations on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” terms. With Nokia doing most of the heavy lifting, other companies can then license the technologies for less than it would cost to do their own research and development.
Another firm that Samsung has licensed patents from is Ericsson. In December, Ericsson filed a lawsuit against the South Korean firm for violating the terms of the arrangement. A similar incident took place in 2012, but after two years, Samsung finally paid Ericsson $650 million, plus a years-worth of royalties.
Samsung Galaxy S21 unboxing and first impressions
by João Carrasqueira
Samsung's Galaxy S series is a staple of smartphone releases in the first quarter of every year, and this year was no exception. The Galaxy S21 family was introduced last month, and while many of its changes were iterative, some things definitely stand out.
Most notably, the price. After years of consecutive price increases that led us to the Galaxy S20 starting at $999, Samsung has finally cut back, and the Galaxy S21 starts at just $799. Samsung seems to have learned a lot from the more affordable Galaxy S20 FE it released later in the year, and made smart sacrifices like using a plastic back and reducing the screen resolution.
Still, this is a flagship phone in most ways that matter. You get a Snapdragon 888 chipset (or an Exynos 2100 outside of the U.S.), 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage. On top of that, a 120Hz display with the same Samsung quality as ever, a triple-camera setup on the back, and a 4,000mAh battery.
Samsung has also made what I consider a very significant design change, creating a metal camera bump that melts into the frame of the phone. This new look is fantastic, and it definitely helps this phone stand out. While we're only getting started with the Galaxy S21, you can check out our first impressions video below:
By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft announces new U.S. datacenter region
by Hamza Jawad
A couple of weeks back, Microsoft made Azure Availability Zones for the South Central U.S. datacenter region generally available. These zones are physical locations containing one or more datacenters with independent power, cooling, and networking systems, which stay resilient in the case of availability failures. The tech giant also announced new sustainable regions for the state of Arizona in September.
Building upon the aforementioned endeavors in the United States, Microsoft has today announced that its next datacenter region in the U.S. will be based in the state of Georgia. Dubbed "East US 3", the datacenter will be established in both Fulton and Douglas Counties. This move is also part of the firm's commitment to the Atlanta region, as per Microsoft President Brad Smith's blog post published earlier today.
Michel Turpeau, Chairman of the Development Authority of Fulton County, lauded the economic growth that could be realized through this venture, noting:
East US 3 is a large-scale project that will be diligently planned to meet sustainable design operations. Once the project is complete, the new datacenter region is set to provide "world-class data security and privacy", alongside access to a variety of Azure services. Azure Availability Zones will also be delivered, providing increased resiliency and failure tolerance for cloud applications. Microsoft also hopes that the making of this datacenter will help create an assortment of local jobs in the area.