Samsungs A70 (Sony Sold 4.2 million) iPhone sales - Sonys premium RX0 II - Garmin Smartwatch style with four colors


Its the first time Samsung has published a warning before it has released its earnings guidance. Instead of reconfiguring a new torso, the team decided to swap astronauts. NASA astronauts Nick Hague (suit with no stripes) and Anne McClain (suit with red stripes) on a spacewalk last Friday. NASA. The SYMFONISK looks right at home next to Swedish furniture. Samsung's Galaxy A70 has a huge display and 32-megapixel selfie camera, With a matching 32-megapixel triple-camera setup on the rear. Sony's premium RX0 II action cam has a flip-up screen and eye AF, The action camera will ship in April for $700.



1. Samsungs Galaxy A70 has a huge display and 32-megapixel selfie camera

With a matching 32-megapixel triple-camera setup on the rear.

Samsung has launched its biggest A-series phone ever, and it has a pretty impressive camera setup, too. The Galaxy A70 packs a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED 20:9 1,080 x 2,400 display with an "Infinity-U" notch. That houses the 32-megapixel, f/2.0 selfie camera that beats the main camera on many other phones. On the back is a 32-megapixel F1.7 main camera (trumping the 24-megapixel main camera on the last model), an ultra-wide-angle camera and a depth sensor.

With a large 4,500 mAh battery, the Galaxy A70 supports 25W fast charging, making it the first Galaxy phone to do that (the Galaxy S10 5G will also support 25W charging when it arrives in April). As for other specs, it packs an 8-core processor, 6GB or 8GB of RAM (depending on the options and region), and 128GB of internal storage on top of a microSD slot that bumps it by 512GB. You'll also get both facial recognition and an in-screen fingerprint reader.

The only thing missing is maybe a zoom lens like the kind you can find on Huawei's $400 P20 phone. Still, these are very interesting specs for a mid-range device, and Samsung is likely hoping to drum up some business in that market, given how much the demand for high-end phones has dropped. Samsung has yet to reveal the A70's price and availability, but will reveal more on April 10th.



2. Samsungs earnings warning shows the impact of slower iPhone sales

Samsung usually publishes an earnings guidance so investors know what to expect when its full earnings come in. Now, the tech giant has pre-empted its guidance with a warning in what Reuters says is an unprecedented move, perhaps in an effort to prepare its investors for a bad first quarter as early as possible.

The company expects its profit for the first quarter of 2019 to miss expectations due to plummeting chip prices, as well as the slower demand for both chips and display panels. "The company expects the scope of price declines in main memory chip products to be larger than expected," Samsung wrote in the regulatory filing. According to DRAMeXchange, DRAM chip prices fell by over 20 percent in the first quarter of the year.

In other words, the company is feeling the effects of sluggish economies and weakening smartphone sales worldwide. Samsung supplies the OLED panels for Apple's newer iPhones, for instance, so slow iPhone sales would also impact the Korean company's performance. The forecast echoes the tech giant's warning when it published its Q4 results for 2018. At the time, Samsung said it was expecting worse earnings for 2019 due to a weaker demand for memory, which is part of the reason why it's investing in new categories like folding phones. It's very much possible that we'll see more experimental ventures from the tech giant as it tries to find the right formula to remain profitable in the future.

According to Reuters, financial analyst firm Refinitiv SmartEstimate puts Samsung's operating profit for January to March at 7.2 trillion won ($6.4 billion). That's less than half of the 15.6 trillion won ($13.8 billion) profit the company posted in the same period last year. The firm also expects its sales to drop from 60.6 trillion won ($53.5 billion) a year ago to 53.7 trillion won ($47.5 billion). We'll get more official details when Samsung releases its guidance sometime next week.



3. Sonys premium RX0 II action cam has a flip-up screen and eye AF

The action camera will ship in April for $700.

Sony has announced a follow-up to its tiny rugged camera from 2017, the RX0, and it's just as tough and handy. The RX0 II has a 15.3-megapixel sensor and a Zeiss Tessar T 24mm F4 fixed wide-angle lens with a 20-cm minimum focus distance for scenic shots. It's very similar in size to its predecessor, with a 2.3in x 1.59in x 1.38in body that weighs just 132 grams. However, it's a lot more selfie-friendly, thanks to an adjustable LCD screen that can flip 180 degrees upward and 90 degrees down.

You can even use the screen underwater: the device is waterproof up to 33 feet, is tough enough to survive being crushed with 400 pounds of force and can withstand the impact of a drop up to 6.5 feet. That selfie-friendly screen is bolstered by Sony's Eye AF that locks onto the eyes of the subject, as well as Soft Skin Effect that can cover minor blemishes.

Want to capture high-definition videos? The RX0 II supports internal 4K 30p recording and can stabilize your footage even when in handheld mode. In case you want to stabilize the video even further -- and those susceptible to motion sickness will likely thank you for this --- you can run it through its accompanying Movie Edit add-on app on a phone or a tablet. It also features a Super Slow Motion mode that shoots videos at 1,000 fps and has a continuous shooting mode for time-lapse-videos.

Since the device is tiny and could make handheld shooting a bit tough, Sony has introduced an optional shooting grip with integrated controls. The device comes with a mic jack, as well, so you can plug in an external microphone if needed for vlogs and recordings that need crisp and clear audio. And if you're working on a project that requires multiple cameras, Sony's Imaging Edge Mobile application will give you the power to control up to five RX0 II cameras at once. The new action cam will start shipping in April 2019 and will be available at various North American retailers for US$700 and CA$900.



4. An ill-fitting spacesuit cancels NASAs first all-female spacewalk

A historic spacewalk was scheduled to occur this week, with only women operating outside the ISS for the first time ever. News of the event was revealed earlier this month when a flight controller tweeted about the schedule, but as NASA noted at the time "assignments and schedules could always change." Now that has happened, as the second of three planned spacewalks will instead be performed by a man and a woman, Nick Hague and Christina Koch.

According to NASA, last week when Hague performed the first operation with astronaut Anne McClain, there was an issue with the fit of McClain's spacesuit. In what is essentially the "t-shirt" area of the Enhanced EMU suit astronauts wear on spacewalks, the Hard Upper Torso (H.U.T.) comes in three sizes: Medium, Large and XL. McClain had trained in both the medium and large sized units, but discovered that the medium size worked better for her. According to a spokesperson, there are two medium-sized units onboard, however only one can be ready in time, so Koch will go with Hague instead and history will have to be made another day.

While there's some confusion over how this could happen, it seems like there are a few issues going on. Of course astronauts are measured extensively before their trip, but there is no way to simulate the extended effects of zero gravity on their body and earlier this month McClain tweeted that she's grown by two inches since launch.

As a NASA spacesuit engineer explained on Quora, the suits are modular and able to adjust between many different fits for whoever will be wearing them, and in a best case scenario, are set up for an "optimal size" for the astronaut. However that's not always possible, so someone may have to wear a suit set up for someone else, or a part may not be available on the space station.

In this case, they do have the equipment, and the suits can be reconfigured. However as described in the NASA spokesperson's tweet the team decided to swap spacewalkers instead of adjusting the various parts on the suit around a new torso.



5. Garmin gives its Vivomove smartwatch more style with four new colors

It's been a long time since smartwatch wearers had to settle for boxy lumps of plastic around their wrists. Now manufacturers are able to cram these wearables full of features, style is firmly back on the agenda, as demonstrated by Garmin which has just announced four new color options for its Vivomove HR smartwatch.

The new arrivals all boast Italian leather bands (all industry standard 20mm, so you can mix and match), and include silver, gold and rose gold face options. Like the existing Vivimove HR models, they come with heart rate monitoring, fitness tracking, smart notifications and a number of dynamic design features that will appeal to analog fans. The new spring colors are available from Garmin.com for $350.



6. Sony has sold 4.2 million PlayStation VR headsets

It has also announced 25 VR games coming out over the next months.

Sony is celebrating a major milestone: it has already sold over 4.2 million PlayStation VR systems as of March 3rd, 2019, less than three years after it started selling the device. Not shipped to retailers, but sold by retailers. In other words, there are as many as 4.2 million people out there with PS VR headsets of their own. The tech giant started selling the device in 2016 as a virtual reality platform that plugs into a PS4 console -- something that likely helped boost its sales and popularity.

Some of the PS VR's rivals like the Oculus Rift and the original HTC Vive need powerful computers to work. Seeing as Sony reported back in January that its PS4 sales were closing in on 100 million, it's easy to see how it was able to sell 4.2 million headsets. As VentureBeat noted, global market intelligence firm IDC estimated Rift and Vive shipments for the fourth quarter of 2018 to be around 300,000 and 230,000 units, respectively. Meanwhile, Sony shipped 463,000 headsets in the same quarter, according to the firm.

In addition to revealing its PS VR sales victory, Sony has also announced the next wave of games arriving on the virtual reality platform over the coming months. The 25 titles include Blood & Truth, a follow up to one of the first PS VR games London Heist, Everybody's Golf VR, and a collection of classic and original mini-games set in the Five Nights At Freddy's. Hello Games has also created a virtual reality version of the entire No Man's Sky experience, and it's coming out for the platform this summer.



7. Gollum is the star of Daedalic new (Lord of the Rings) game

But the tricksy character won't make his gaming debut until 2021.

The Lord of the Rings universe just keeps on expanding. Even though the original blockbuster trilogy finished up 16 years ago, and the subsequent Hobbit films sort of bombed, entertainment giants think there's still mileage in the franchise. Amazon has announced a forthcoming TV series, and now Daedalic has revealed it's working on a new game, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.

In an interview with PCGamer, Daedalic CEO Carsten Fichtelmann says that we can expect the game in 2021, so it's clearly early days yet -- indeed, there aren't any screenshots or concept art beyond the above logo. However, he did reveal that the game will concentrate on the character of Gollum. Not the Warner/Andy Serkis version of Gollum, though, as Daedalic has the rights to the books, not the movies, so it'll have to put its own mark on Tolkien's tricksy character.

Gollum's no warrior, so it seems unlikely that the game will be one of high-octane action and fighting. But his troubled personality could very well give way to a game of stealth and intrigue. As Fichtelmann says, "You'll come to decisions you have to make, and you'll have the two voices talking to you. He may change his mind, and this is a clue about how it will play." Other than this, there are no further details yet, although Fichtelmann rightly acknowledges that they've got a "big task" at hand.



8. IKEA offers a peek at its Sonos-based speaker

IKEA isn't officially unveiling its first Sonos-powered speaker until April, but that isn't stopping the furniture store from offering a look in the meantime. As you can see here, the SYMFONISK looks like... well, a Sonos speaker with IKEA design cues. Its boxy, fabric-covered style appears to be a fitting complement to your plywood tables and cabinets. The company even suggests that it could serve as a wall-mounted shelf (below), although that would make it an awfully expensive part of your decor.

There are still many unknowns, such as the audio quality and price, although their compatibility with IKEA's other smart home devices suggests they might not be entry-level. You might only have to wait until April 9th to find out. Just remember that SYMFONISK isn't due to ship until August -- it's going to be a while before you can judge them for yourself.



9. HTC Streamlink turns VR headsets into big screens for console gaming

But you'll need your own USB video capture card.

One surprise announcement coming out of today's Vive Ecosystem Conference in Shenzhen is HTC's Streamlink, an in-house VR app that lets your PC-powered or standalone Vive headset -- like the new Vive Focus Plus -- receive HDMI signal from any USB video capture card -- some of which can be bought for as low as $65 per piece in China, according to an HTC rep. There are many potential use cases here, of course, but HTC is specifically pitching this as a new way of playing games on your consoles -- namely PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One S -- as well as watching videos from your set-top box.

Just to be clear, HTC isn't here to replace your PS VR nor Labo VR Kit. Instead, it's all about playing your usual console games on a much larger virtual screen -- and ideally on the sharp 2,880 x 1,600 AMOLED display on the Vive Pro and Vive Focus series. I was able to briefly try this feature with a Vive Focus connected to an Xbox One S, and the viewing experience was no different than the usual virtual theater apps on my own Focus -- I could even resize the virtual screen if needed.

However, there seemed to be a slight delay between my controller input and the picture, and unless HTC can fix this (which is probably unlikely given the nature of capture cards), it's probably best to avoid the more demanding titles in this mode. Another issue I noticed was the USB-C cable dangling from the top of the headset, so be sure to warn others about it in case they trip over. It's also worth noting that HTC doesn't offer its own capture card to go with your headset, so you may hit some bumps when trying it with different devices.

Streamlink is part of HTC's new initiative to push multi-mode capability across its VR devices, making them more practical and versatile. Other features on the list include the new 360 camera streaming mode supported by the Insta360 Evo, along with the earlier phone streaming mode, PC big screen mode and PC VR streaming mode. Existing Vive users can already download the Streamlink app from Viveport today.

 

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