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By Abhay V
Surface Duo begins receiving its first firmware update for 2021
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft is rolling out a new firmware update for the Surface Duo, making it the first update in over two months. While the firm had been serving monthly updates for the dual-screened Android device, it skipped the December update owing to the holidays and reportedly due to a tricky bug. Today’s release brings with it a bunch of improvements along with the December and January Android security patches. What it does not bring is the Android 11 update, of which there is no information from the company.
As has been the case for the past few months, the Duo is getting improvements to address stability issues with touch, possibly still ironing out issues pointed out by early reviewers. There are also improvements to the UI stability, likely to fix crashes or issues with features like App Pairs and the overall stability of the software when moving apps across screens. The changelog is generic in nature and does not divulge much information about the details of the updates.
Here is the complete changelog of the January 2021 update that brings software version 2020.1211.85:
As usual, this release only applies to the unlocked version of the device and is rolling out gradually, meaning it will be a while before all users see the update hit their devices. Users that own the AT&T version of the Duo might have to wait slightly longer for these updates. Usually, updates for the carrier variant are served within a week, so the wait should not be too long.
The company is also slated to make the Surface Duo available to more markets soon. It will be interesting to see what the timeline is for the release, and if the device gets an update to Android 11 by then or even ships with the updated software in those regions.
By Jay Bonggolto
Sony announces the Xperia Pro smartphone with a dedicated HDMI input for $2,499.99
by Jay Bonggolto
Sony announced today its newest 5G smartphone with an HDMI input, the first of its kind to include that feature. The Xperia Pro is targeted at professional content creators, enabling them to turn the handset into an external monitor and broadcast a live stream video through its 5G connectivity.
The device is capable of recording a 4K HDR video at up to 60fps and compatible with any camera equipped with an HDMI input, including Sony's Alpha lineup. It can also take slow-motion videos at 120fps. For creators, the Xperia Pro can be connected to the HDMI output of a camera and used as a secondary screen where they can view the video more clearly. They can also adjust the screen brightness, pinch to zoom in or out, and adjust the framing using the grid lines.
Connectivity-wise, the device supports both Sub-6GHz and 5G mmWave. It also features a 360-degree antenna design that Sony says covers all four sides of the phone for better reception. Users can also assign a network visualizer feature to its side-mounted shortcut button in order to look for the best spot to get a signal.
The Xperia Pro comes with a set of hardware specs similar to last year's Xperia 1 II. For example, it is powered by a Snapdragon 865 SoC and it has a 4,000mAh battery with fast charging support. On its back, there's a triple camera setup comprising a 16mm ultra wide-angle lens, 24mm wide-angle lens, and 70mm telephoto lens, all with 12MP sensors. For selfies, it has an 8MP camera on the front.
The device sports a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED display with a 21:9 "CinemaWide" aspect ratio and a resolution of 3840 x 1644. Its screen is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 6 and the phone has an IP65/68 rating for water resistance.
Sony is rolling out the Xperia Pro initially in North America starting today for $2,499.99. For that price, you get 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage that's expandable up to 1TB with a microSD card.
By Rich Woods
Motorola launches the Edge S in China with a Snapdragon 870
by Rich Woods
Today, Motorola is introducing the Edge S in China, and the device is the first to use Qualcomm's recently-announced Snapdragon 870 chipset. If you're unfamiliar with the Snapdragon 870, it's just an overclocked (to 3.2GHz) Snapdragon 865+ that's really aiming at budget flagship PCs, rather than competing with the new Snapdragon 888.
The device has a 6.7-inch 90Hz 2520x1080 display, similar to the rest of the Edge family; however, it's just a regular IPS LCD, not an OLED display. In the display are two hole-punch cut-outs for the 16MP main and 8MP ultra-wide front-facing cameras.
As for the rear camera, it has a 64MP f/1.7 main sensor that can capture 6K video at 30fps or 4K video at 60fps, a 16MP ultra-wide lens, a 2MP depth sensor, and a ToF sensor.
The battery is an impressive 5,000mAh, and it comes with up to 8GB RAM and up to 256GB UFS 3.1 storage. As for charging, Motorola is still shipping a 20W charger. Naturally, the handset keeps the 3.5mm audio jack, something that the Lenovo-owned firm boasted about the original Edge series.
As for when it's going to hit markets outside of China, that's somewhat unclear, but according to Evan Blass, it will actually be part of the Moto G lineup as the Moto G100.
Google Lens now supports offline translation in beta
by João Carrasqueira
As more and more services are based on the cloud, it's always nice to see when something that typically requires an internet connection becomes accessible offline. Google has long offered support for offline translations in Google Translate, and even delivered some major improvements to it about a year ago, and today, it's bringing that capability to Google Lens.
First spotted by 9to5Google, the Mountain View giant appears to be rolling out a new feature for the translation section of Google Lens, which is accessible through the Google app on Android. Now, it's possible to download language packs to use offline, so even if you don't have an internet connection, you can point the camera at a piece of text and have it translated instantly, even without pressing the shutter button. That should be particularly useful for traveling without a data plan.
Image credit: 9to5Google Of course, downloading language packs will take up space on your phone's storage, and it's also very common for offline translations to not be as accurate as online services, simply because the databases and intelligence behind the translation process are updated more often on the server side. It's also a bit more limited because, while you can copy the entire text you're looking at, you can't select specific words or phrases directly on the image, which you can do when you're connected. It's also worth noting that not every language supports offline translations.
According to 9to5Google, the update is rolling out through a server-side update, though it reports that only devices running beta versions of the Google app have received it right now. We haven't been able to spot the update on our test devices regardless of using beta or stable versions, so your mileage may vary. Either way, the feature should be making its way to more users over time.
By Namerah S
Looking for dark mode on WeChat? Here's a guide to show you how
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
Humans are social creatures, we like to be connected and interact with others. There is an abundance of social media apps flooding global markets nowadays. WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat - the list goes on and on.
To keep their user bases engaged, tech companies stay on their toes trying to provide new features every now and then. A recent trend that has caught on like wildfire is the advent of dark themes on apps.
We've already done a couple of guides to walk readers through the process of finding and turning on dark mode on various platforms. Today's tutorial will focus on Chinese messaging app WeChat, which serves as the region's equivalent to WhatsApp. Continue reading to learn how to toggle the dark theme for the Tencent-owned social media platform.
Step 1: Launch WeChat on your Android smartphone. Then, locate and open up the 'Me' tab on the bottom-mounted dashboard.
Step 2: Next, enter the settings menu and select the general settings option.
Step 3: You will find the dark mode feature at the top of the list, tap it and switch from the normal theme to the dark-toned one. You may have to restart the app for the effects to take place.
There you go, now you should have the dark theme enabled on WeChat. Here are some before and after images to give you a taste of what you can expect:
Before After We hope you found this step-by-step guide easy to follow. If you have requests for any other tutorials or guides, let us know in the comments below!