Honor briefly showed off its upcoming Magic 2 phone a few months back, revealing a bezel-less screen and a sliding mechanism that opens up to a camera. The company will unveil the device officially on October 31st, but until then, Honor is teasing the phone with a series of hands-on videos by Chinese celebrities giving their impressions. We can see from the video there are three rear cameras, similar to the P20 Pro by Huawei, its parent company.
Honor is also leaning hard into the clicking sound the slider makes, by releasing videos featuring “beats” made with the slider. Here’s a video featuring a Chinese singer unboxing the Honor 2, and then singing over the beat. It’s cringeworthy, but not as difficult to watch as this TikTok video featuring someone using two Honor Magic 2 phones as a pair of dang drumsticks. Watch as they click open and close the phone, and hit the poor, uncovered phones against a table to a beat.
Aside from the light phone abuse, another thing to take away from this video is that the sliding mechanism reveals a front-facing camera that’s rumored to be 16-megapixels, according to specs leaked on Chinese website MyDrivers, via TrustedReviews. The leaks also state that the phone has a 6.39-inch AMOLED display with a 2340 x 1080 resolution, and an in-display fingerprint sensor. We also know that the phone will have Huawei’s new Kirin 980 processor, and will come with Android 9 Pie installed.
Sliding camera mechanisms have been gaining popularity among Chinese phones like Oppo’s Find X and Vivo’s Nex. Instead of having the cameras pop up automatically though, Honor’s “Magic Slide” mechanism is manual, and the company’s clearly trying to market it as a “fun” feature. We’ll know more about the Magic 2 when Honor launches the phone in China on October 31st.
Samsung is getting closer to taking the wraps off its foldable smartphone, a prototype of which has supposedly been in the works for years now. In a tweet sent late last week, the company teased a big reveal of the device, or at least a prototype version of it, describing its upcoming developer conference as “the crossroads between the present and the future” and showing a subtle graphic of two lines unfolding into a right-facing arrow.
We’ve been hearing for a while now that Samsung was close to showing off its foldable phone. Samsung CEO DJ Koh hinted in an interview with CNBC in September that the product could arrive as soon as this year, but we still haven’t seen any hardware, even in just the prototype phase.
The crossroads between the present and the future – Samsung Developer Conference is where you’ll meet the knowledge needed to stay on tech’s cutting edge. #SDC18Learn more: https://t.co/t66edOWIUi pic.twitter.com/bDZHuZVWee— Samsung Mobile (@SamsungMobile) October 18, 2018
That looks like it could change as early as next month, with it now more likely than ever that either some form of the device’s software interface or perhaps some actual hardware will be on display at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco, which starts November 7th.
So far, all we have to go on is this 2014 concept video showing what such a device might look like and how it could be used to fold a phone in two and noticeably reduce its size. Prior to that, Samsung showed off a prototype flexible AMOLED display way back in 2012.
It is one of the enduring mysteries of our time: in a lineup full of otherwise neatly named products, Apple’s alternative hardware cycle iPhones have always seen an -S appended to their names, going back to the iPhone 3GS in 2009. But the question remains: what does the S actually stand for?
Turns out, mostly nothing — according to Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, who told Engadget in an interview that the letters the company picks for its products don’t actually stand for anything at all. That includes this year’s iPhone XS and XS Max, and of course, the puzzlingly named iPhone XR. (The X does stand for 10, though.)
Schiller did go on to explain what the letters meant to him, commenting that “I love cars and things that go fast, and R and S are both letters used to denote sport cars that are really extra special.” (Porsche is fond of appending the letters on its models, and Mercedes Benz has both its R- and S-Class vehicles, for example.)
It hasn’t always been this way. Back when Apple first announced the iPhone 3GS, Schiller himself proudly explained the name as “the S simply stands for speed, because this is the most powerful, fastest iPhone we’ve ever made.”
And when the iPhone 4S rolled around two years later, CEO Tim Cook explained in an interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the D10 conference that the product’s “S” designation there stood for Siri, Apple’s then newly introduced digital assistant.
By the time that the iPhone 5S and 5C came out in 2013, though, Apple had stopped offering explanations for its names, a trend that continued to the iPhone 6S. Interestingly, the iPhone SE did get a name explanation, again by Schiller, who confirmed that it stands for “Special Edition” to journalist Jason Cipriani.
But now, with the XS, XS Max, and XR, we’re back to the alphabetically nihilistic approach where none of these letters actually stand for anything. It’s a curious choice for Apple, a company that usually prides itself on hidden details, as well as for luxury products in general, which often go out of their way to manufacture elaborate stories behind tiny aspects of their brands to further the air of value and history.
But sometimes, it seems an R is just an R. (Or at least, a car)
Some users of Google News for Android are reporting that the app has used up excessive amounts of background data, leading to overage charges. According to dozens of posts on the Google News Help Forum, users have been experiencing this issue as early as June. The issue was verified and addressed by a Google News community manager in September, stating that the company was investigating and working toward a fix, but the issue is still ongoing.
Verge reader Zach Dowdle emailed in with his experience, and screenshots of his app and Wi-Fi data usage.
The Google News app is randomly using a ridiculous amount of background data without users’ knowledge. The app burned through over 12 gigs of data on my phone while I slept and my Wi-Fi had disconnected. It lead to $75 in overage charges.
Image: Zach Dowdle
The Google News app used 21GB on Wi-Fi in one month. The spike starting September 24th shows when the bug affected Dowdle’s app.
Image: Zach Dowdle
When Wi-Fi disconnected, the bug used up close to 12GB of mobile data in a night.
According to several users, the app burned through mobile data despite having “Download via Wi-Fi” turned on in the settings. In some extreme cases, the Google News app used up to 24GB of data, leading to overage charges of up to $385, users reported. So far, the only solutions seem to be disabling background data, and deleting the app altogether. We’ve reached out to Google about the issue and will update when we hear back.
Today, executives from both Amazon and the server manufacturer, Super Micro, are calling for the retraction of a Bloomberg report published earlier this month. The report alleged that these chips were able to compromise the computer networks of as many as 30 companies, including networks belonging to Amazon.
Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook called for Bloomberg to retract a report claiming that Chinese spies smuggled malicious microchips into a company server. In an unprecedented move, Cook sat down for an interview with BuzzFeed News last week in order to address the allegations proposed in the Bloomberg report. Cook said, “This did not happen. There’s no truth to this,” eventually calling for the publication to retract the story which he said Apple had been denying in conversations with reporters for months.
The other two companies named in the story, Amazon and Super Micro, decided to follow in Apple’s footsteps today, offering their own statements condemning the allegations.
“@tim_cook is right. Bloomberg story is wrong about Amazon, too,” Amazon Web Services executive Andy Jassy said in a tweet earlier today.
@tim_cook is right. Bloomberg story is wrong about Amazon, too. They offered no proof, story kept changing, and showed no interest in our answers unless we could validate their theories. Reporters got played or took liberties. Bloomberg should retract. https://t.co/RZzuUt9fBM— Andy Jassy (@ajassy) October 22, 2018
On Monday, Super Micro said that the company would continue to investigate the claims and review its motherboards in search of any hardware manipulations. Just hours after, Super Micro CEO Charles Liang said, “Bloomberg should act responsibly and retract its unsupported allegations.”
The report cites 17 unnamed sources and no compromised hardware has surfaced in the weeks since publication. The report garnered nearly instant criticism when it was published earlier this month from cybersecurity experts who were unconvinced by the available evidence.
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, and the UK’s top cybersecurity agency have also come forward, saying that they have yet to see any evidence corroborating Bloomberg’s claims.
Asus has made a new Chromebook with a 15.6-inch display, the biggest it’s ever gone for a Chrome OS notebook, according to ChromeUnboxed. Besides the new display size, the rest of the upcoming Chromebook C523’s specs sound similar to the company’s previous efforts.
The 15.6-inch anti-glare display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080; Asus will also optionally offer a version with a touchscreen. The “NanoEdge design” allows for slimmed-down side bezels, though the top and bottom bezels are still fairly substantial. It’s got a 180 degree hinge so that it can be laid flat down if needed. The Chromebook C523 is powered by an Intel Celeron dual-core processor or an Intel Pentium quad-core processor, depending on which configuration you choose. The same goes for RAM, which comes in either 4GB or 8GB configurations. As for ports, it includes an SD card slot, headphone jack, and four USB ports (two Type-A USB 3.1 / two Type-C USB 3.0). There’s an HD webcam and support for Bluetooth 4.0. The Chromebook weighs 3.2 pounds and promises up to 10 hours of battery life.
With the new size, Asus could be going after Lenovo or Acer, two companies that already make larger Chromebooks. Pricing and availability info hasn’t been released yet, but we’ve reached out to Asus for more details.
Today Mozilla announced that it will be running an experiment where a small group of Firefox users will be shown an ad to purchase a subscription to ProtonVPN, as spotted by ZDNet. In a blog post, Mozilla says it picked ProtonVPN for the partnership due to factors like transparency and data retention policies.
Beginning October 24th, the ad will show for select US-based Firefox users who are running the latest version — Firefox 62 — on desktop. If eligible and browsing on an unsecured network, you’ll be shown an ad in the top right corner of your Firefox window that prompts you to click through to a sign up page.
Mozilla is offering ProtonVPN’s services for $10 a month, which is actually $2 more than if you signed up for the same package directly through ProtonVPN. But, the majority of the revenue from ProtonVPN subscriptions that are processed through Mozilla will go directly to Mozilla. Both companies are banking that people will have good will about paying a little more in order to support their “shared goal of making the internet a safer place.”
The partnership is useful and does make sense, but ultimately it is an advertisement for a subscription service that will be built into a browser. It’s also not Mozilla’s first foray with baking monetized content into Firefox — new tabs show recommended articles from Pocket, and sometimes those articles are sponsored. If the program proves successful, ProtonVPN says it could expand to all of Mozilla’s more than 300 million users.
Linus Torvalds, the software engineer and outspoken Linux kernel creator, has returned to oversee the open source project following a self-imposed break last month designed to help him adjust his controversial behavior. Torvalds, who has a reputation for being rude and aggressive to other members of the community, said at the time that wanted to address his “flippant” actions and proclivity for personal attacks. “I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development,” Torvalds wrote at the time.
Now, about one month later, interim Linux chief Greg Kroah-Hartman, who Torvalds appointed to oversee development of the kernel, has announced that he’s “handing the kernel tree” back to Torvalds in the announcement note for version 4.19. “These past few months has been a tough one for our community, as it is our community that is fighting from within itself, with prodding from others outside of it,” Kroah-Hartman wrote. “So here is my plea to everyone out there. Let’s take a day or two off, rest, relax with friends by sharing a meal, recharge, and then get back to work, to help continue to create a system that the world has never seen the likes of, together.”
Torvalds stepped back from the Linux community to rethink his treatment of other developers
While Torvalds has yet to release a statement of his own, ZDNet reports that he and Kroah-Hartman are both currently in Scotland meeting with Linux developers for the Open Source Summit Europe conference. Linux is an open source project, but Torvalds oversees the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) and he and Kroah-Hartman receive funding from the non-profit Linux Foundation to maintain kernel development and manage its community of contributors.
As part of Torvalds return to the Linux community, the Linux Foundation has officially instated its revised code of conduct that now subscribes to the principles of the more widely adopted and inclusive Contributor Covenant created by Coraline Ada Ehmke. Torvalds announced the new code of conduct in his initial note about stepping back, and the move created controversy in the Linux community for its stark departure from Torvalds’ prior “code of conflict” that treated no-filter feedback and bluntness as the natural and more successful state of open source software development.
The new code of conduct asks that contributors deliver criticism constructively and to accept such criticism mindfully, that people use inclusive language, and that members of the community be respectful of “differing viewpoints and experiences.” It also prohibits “sexualized language or imagery,” derogatory comments, personal or political attacks, and “public or private harassment.” Korah-Hartman described the thought process behind pushing for a more inclusive code of conduct in the 4.19 announcement:
And we all need to remember that, every year new people enter our community with the goal, or requirement, to get stuff done for their job, their hobby, or just because they want to help contribute to the tool that has taken over the world and enabled everyone to have a solid operating system base on which to build their dreams.
And when they come into our community, they don’t have the built-in knowledge of years of experience that thousands of us already do. Without that experience they make mistakes and fumble and have to learn how this all works. Part of learning how things work is dealing with the interaction between people, and trying to understand the basic social norms and goals that we all share. By providing a document in the kernel source tree that shows that all people, developers and maintainers alike, will be treated with respect and dignity while working together, we help to create a more welcome community to those newcomers, which our very future depends on if we all wish to see this project succeed at its goals.
It’s not clear whether the state of Linux development will suddenly become more accepting and positive, especially considering Torvalds was only gone for about one month. But with the new code of conduct in place, and Torvalds’ pledge to examine his actions and improve his behavior, it sounds like productive first steps are being made to revise the Linux community’s culture for the better.