Thursday, February 15, 2018

Essential Phone Arrives In Three New Limited Edition Colors

2/15/2018 11:19:00 PM

If you have a soft corner for limited edition smartphones and a Essential brand liker and the Essential Phone, then the company has something worth considering.

Today, Essential has announced that it is introducing its “Spring Collection” of colors for the Essential Phone. That means three new limited edition shades will be rolling out, with the first of the bunch launching today. Each of the new colors are limited editions, and each is priced at $599.

“We know many of you have been patiently waiting for these new colors and we’re sorry for the long wait. Each new Essential Phone color embodies meticulous craftsmanship and innovation. Our team of designers and engineers spent months developing custom ceramic colors, a feat that is much more complex and challenging than altering colors on standard materials such as plastic. Even with this additional work and investment, colored ceramic is extremely difficult to produce consistently so we’ve only made a small batch of each of these new colors.”

Each of the new handsets will be made available exclusively via Essential’s online storefront, which you can find linked at the bottom of this article.

First up is the Ocean Depths variant, which includes a blue/green shade, with a copper band and accent around the fingerprint reader on the back. You can see it pictured at the top of this article.

The Ocean Depths color will go on sale beginning today at 12:00 PM PT.

The second color to go on sale is the Stellar Gray, which will go on sale Tuesday, February 20, at 12:00 PM PT. It is pictured just above. It will offer a matte black back, which will offer a “comfortable grip” when in the hand. There are no accents on this model, like the two other limited edition variants.

The last of the bunch is the Copper Black, which has a ceramic and high gloss back, along with copper accents on the band and fingerprint reader. It will go on sale on Thursday, February 22, at 12:00 PM PT.

Do you like the new colors? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Essential | Essential Store

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Essential Phone Gets Android 8.1 Beta Update With “Slow Scrolling Jitter Fix”

2/15/2018 12:26:00 PM

Picture Credits : Droid Life

Recently, Essential made a statement in which they said they are skipping Android 8.0 and going straight to Android 8.1 instead due to stability issues with Android 8.0 Oreo. Today, Essential announced that the Android 8.1 “Oreo” update was rolling out in their beta channel. And when Essential says something is rolling out, they mean it – you can download it right now.

Users who opted through their beta program got the update which includes picture-in-picture mode, smart text selection, faster startups, etc., just like you would have received with Android 8.0. However, Essential seems to have found a solution to address one of the phone’s biggest bugs. Listed in the changelog is a “Slow Scrolling Jitter Fix (Beta),” that could add some much needed smoothness to the Essential Phone’s user experience.

 Also, this update also brings redesigned navigation buttons with smaller back and app switcher buttons straddling a bigger home button. Also, like on the Pixel Launcher, the phone’s theme now switches between dark and light depending on your wallpaper.

In addition to that possibly fix, they tossed in February’s security patch and dynamic calendar and clock icons. The update arrives as OPM1.180104.010 and weighs in at roughly 492.9MB for those on 8.0 Beta 3. If you are interested in joining the Essential beta program, head over to Essential’s site.

Source : Essential

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Essential Teases Ocean Depths Color Variant For February 15

2/14/2018 12:05:00 PM

When it comes to a good designed smartphone in terms of beauty, Essential PH-1 is the one. Like most manufacturers, Essential has been slowly releasing new colors of its flagship PH-1 device since it launched last year. But unlike most other OEMs, they’ve actually been surprisingly forthcoming with their new color roadmap, showing them right on their website.

Last year the company launched “Pure White” Essential Phone and today they are  teasing the launch of a new color on Twitter. It’s an aqua color wit gold accents, something that’s pretty unique and will end being dubbed “Ocean Depths” according to the phone’s listing. Essential says the color will be available starting Thursday, February 15th, only not in so many words.

Of course this leaves the “Stellar Gray” model as the sole color yet to launch or have a release date but we’re sure it’ll come soon enough (not that anyone was really waiting on this one, right?).

There's still no news about the other still-unavailable color on Essential's site, 'Stellar Grey.' That being said, since Ocean Depths is what everyone's been clamoring for, it makes sense that it's coming out first.

Source : Essential

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Nokia 8 Getting Android 8.1 Oreo Today

2/13/2018 09:49:00 PM

The Nokia 8 first received Android 8.0 at the end of November and recently started experimenting with a second serving – 8.1 Beta.

That didn’t last long as the stable Android 8.1 Oreo update is now rolling out. Juho Sarvikas (CPO of HMD) just made the announcement, but at least one person in the Twitter thread has already downloaded the update.

This update (V4.84A)  has the same change log as the Beta version, except that the Security patch has been bumped up to February. The update is a hefty 1.5GB so you better sit down and connect to a Wi-Fi network.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

VLC 3.0 Brings 8K Video Playback, HDR10, and Chromecast Support

2/12/2018 02:36:00 PM

If you talk about media players, open source media player VideoLAN also known as VLC is the most popular one. VLC recently received a massive update to version 3.0. The update comes three years after VLC 2.5 was released and brings the media player up to speed with the latest standards and codecs.

The most important feature addition in VLC 3.0 is perhaps Chromecast support. Almost every other major media player for Android has had support for Chromecast since eons now, but VLC was missing it for some reason.

The massive update to the app has also led the developers to restructure its base so that it uses the same code across all base. There’s also support for hardware decoding on all platforms including HD and UHD videos with H.264 and H.265 codecs thereby ensuring little CPU consumption while playing back 4K and 8K videos.

Other notable features include support for HDR10 videos, 360-degree videos, 8K video playback, support for Samsung’s DeX, complete Oreo support, and more. Overall, the update comes with over 1,500 bug fixes as well.

A detailed change-log of the update is below:

  • Supports hardware decoding on all platforms, for HD and UHD of H.264 & H.265 codecs, allowing 4K and 8K decoding with little CPU consumption.
  • Supports 360-degree video and 3D audio, up to thid order Ambisonics, with customizable HRTF.
  • Supports direct HDR (on Windows 10) and HDR tone-mapping (on other operating systems).
  • Allows passthrough for HD Audio codecs so external HiFi decoders can provide the best sound.
  • Allows users to browse local network drives like SMB, FTP, SFTP, NFS, and so on.
  • Supports Chromecast discovery and streaming (including audio-only), even in formats not supported by Chromecast, such as DVDs.
  • Adds a new subtitle rendering engine, supporting ComplexTextLayout and font fallback for multiple languages and fonts, including East-Asian languages.
  • Updates the user interface to support HiDPI on Windows 10, new APIs for macOS, and so on.
  • Adds support for numerous new formats and codecs, including WebVTT, TTML, HQX, CEA-708, Cineform, and many more.
  • Prepares support for AV1, both decoding and encoding.
  • Supports Bluray with Java menus (BD-J), although decryption needs to be performed outside of VLC.
  • Prepares the experimental support for Wayland on Linux, and switches to OpenGL by default on Linux (Qt5 only for now).
  • Supports Dex for Samsung’s Android devices and other keyboard-driven devices, in addition, to complete Oreo support and playlists.
  • Improves performance and battery life on iOS.

VLC 3.0 also make sure to have compatibility with even older versions of major operating systems. On Android, VLC 3.0 is compatible even with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, while on the Windows front, it works even with Windows XP. This why VLC 3.0 is a long-term release, with the next major version of the app dropping support for older operating systems.

Download : VLC

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Friday, February 9, 2018

WhatsApp Beta Users Can Now Do Payments In India

2/09/2018 11:53:00 PM

It's been a year at this point, we've known that WhatsApp has been toying with the idea of adding a peer-to-peer payment service for its users in India. A move like this makes sense for the company, and according to some users of the WhatsApp beta, this functionality is now starting to become available.

To start making using this new feature, you should see a new "Payments" tab within your WhatsApp settings. Tapping this will take you to a splash screen, and once you accept WhatsApp's terms of service/privacy policy, you'll be asked to select your bank and enter your account information.

Once your account is linked, you'll be able to start sending money to other WhatsApp users by tapping the attachments icon in a conversation. Tapping on a transaction that you send or receive will show its status and which of your bank accounts was used, and after the initial setup process, you can go back to the Payments settings page to view your entire payment history. 

This feature is being limited to users in India with a long list of supported banks in the region, including State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank. When it's up and running fully it'll be another boost for what is already by far the most popular messaging service in India. Adding a payment option will see it compete directly with Google's Tez payments app and other apps like Truecaller 8, all of which hope to benefit from the UPI platform.

If you live in India and use WhatsApp, why not sign up for the beta and give payments a try. If you get it working, let us know in the comments down below. It may only be available for some as part of a limited server-side rollout, so don't panic if you've not got access to it yet. It'll be on its way eventually.

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Essential Phone's Camera Updated With Auto-HDR, New HDR Algorithm

2/09/2018 11:33:00 PM

The Essential Phone taken so many hits last year with their average performance, touch responsiveness, and camera. But, still standing strong, thanks to the magical OTA updates that eliminate its flaws Today, we’ve got a big camera update to play with.

The Essential team announced an update for the Essential Phone’s camera application that adds an Auto-HDR mode, a new HDR algorithm to improve the camera performance, dynamic HDR, flash indicators, and a number of stability fixes.

In October 2017, Essential rolled out an update that improved the camera’s capture speed, low light performance, and more. A month later, the camera application was updated to allow for 60FPS monochrome video recordings. And the following month, another update added portrait mode and reduced compression to improve the image quality.

The Essential Phone’s camera performance has almost become a running gag due to how polished the rest of the device feels. It’s solid in the hand thanks to the unibody titanium design, and the iPhone X-like cutout on the top of the screen, which initially generated controversy, results in an incredibly immersive experience.

Ultimately, though, camera performance can make or break a smartphone’s reputation. It’s why Google bragged about the Google Pixel 2 topping DxOMark’s rankings, and why Samsung’s recent press invite for the Galaxy S9 puts an emphasis on the upcoming phones’ cameras.

The update is available now from the Google Play Store.

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