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I don’t know if many of you know this, but Microsoft was ahead of its time with the Surface Phone/Andromeda. When the first patents came out it was supposed to be more than a phone and further patents talked about a foldable phone.  That was before ZTE Axon M, the Samsung, LG, Huawei and Oppo patents. But the device is still not out, which doesn’t stop designers from envisioning it. Concept Creator rendered the Surface Phone anew, with some novelty associated with the latest Andromeda patents. The project was in limbo last summer and we haven’t heard about it since. The new renders depict a rather bulky and thick device, with a reinforced hinge. The unified screen portion is seamless and we also get two external displays. There’s a bit of Lumia and Surface Pro DNA here and I’m guessing some magnesium alloy too. The hinge area now seems coated with a sort of rubbery material, perhaps to decrease friction. That adds to the thickness, though. The inner screen bezels are rather larger, but the outer screens have very narrow bezels, so that checks out. My only beef with the concept is that the two screens don’t overlap perfectly when closed. But then again, it may be intentional, leaving room for you to open the gizmo. I also can’t seem to spot any camera. If the device comes this year, it’ll arrive either at BUILD in April or May or November, like the last Lumias and Surface units. For more visit OUR FORUM.

Following a partial U.S. government shutdown caused by a deadlock on the issue of the Mexican border wall between the Democratic Party and Donald Trump, tens of government websites can no longer be accessed or have become insecure because their TLS certificates have not been renewed. The websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, NASA, and the Court of Appeals are some of the ones hit by the government's failure to extend around 80 TLS certificates used on .gov domains. .gov websites with expired certificates on the HSTS preload list now inaccessible One of the websites affected by this mishap is Department of Justice's ows2.usdoj.gov, which displays an error message warning visitors that the connection is not private or secure, depending on the used web browsers. To make things worse, because ows2.usdoj.gov is also on Chromium's HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) preload list, the website will not be accessible given that both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox will automatically hide the button allowing users to temporarily ignore the warning and open the website. Furthermore, seeing that most other web browsers also use their own HSTS preload lists based on the Chrome one, there is nothing users can do to load the .gov websites temporarily broken by the expired TLS certificates. The government sites not on the HSTS preload list will open after users click on the 'Advanced" button at the end of the warning and choose to proceed, but there are risks involved in doing that. Check out OUR FORUM for more.

A modern smartphone needs more than a front-facing camera in facing the user.  In fact, the most common front-facing sensor is the light and proximity sensor, and now a major Apple iPhone supplier has created the technology which allows this sensor to be buried behind the screen. ams, a leading worldwide Austrian supplier of high-performance sensor solutions announced the release of the TCS3701, an RGB light and IR proximity sensor IC which can accurately measure the intensity of ambient light from behind an OLED screen. This capability supports today’s industrial design trend to maximize smartphone display area by eliminating front-facing bezels, where an ambient light/proximity sensor is typically located. By developing this ‘Behind OLED’ ambient light/proximity sensor, ams enables smartphone manufacturers to achieve the highest possible ratio of the display area to body size while retaining crucial touchscreen disablement and automatic display brightness/color adjustment functions, which require an RGB/infrared light sensor. Despite the constraint of operating behind an emissive OLED display screen, the TCS3701 senses the addition of the ambient light passing through the display to light emitted by the display’s pixels located just above the sensor. ams has developed unique algorithms which enable accurate detection of ambient light levels without knowledge of the display pixel brightness above the sensor. Light transmission through an OLED screen is limited by its opacity, but the TCS3701’s ultra-high sensitivity to light means that it can still produce accurate light measurements in all lighting conditions. Read more on OUR FORUM.

It’s day 1 of CES 2019 and we have already seen amazing technology and hardware from some of the big companies. AMD is rumored to launch the highly anticipated Ryzen processors which meet its competition as Intel has launched new 9th Gen desktop CPUs along with their 10mm Ice Lake processors. The company has announced that it will be adding six more 9th-gen Core processors, ranging from Core i3 to Core i9, set to release soon. Intel didn’t reveal details about the new processors but TechRadar did some research and found out details about the new processors. You can head below to take a look at the list of the new processors that Intel plans to roll out to the market. These new processors ditch the integrated GPUs in favor of reduced pricing which will allow Intel to compete with AMD Ryzen. While GPUs are important, users assembling their own desktop usually add a dedicated GPU which makes the Intel’s GPU useless. With the new F-series Intel is cutting down costs by removing GPUs so the system relies solely on the dedicated GPU installed by the user. For more visit OUR Forum.

We are still seeing the fallout from Microsoft’s contention campaign to encourage and sometimes force Windows 7 and Windows 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10. Now in what may be a precedent-setting case, the Finnish Consumer Disputes Panel has ruled damages caused by such an update to a Windows 8 user should be compensated by Microsoft, to the tune of 1,100 euro (about $1,254.) The complainant had asked for 3000 euro, saying in 2016 Microsoft automatically upgraded his Windows 8 PC to Windows 10, causing it to malfunction in a way Microsoft’s support was unable to fix and resulting in his camera surveillance software no longer working. He had asked to be compensated for the cost of replacing the cameras but was able to explain why this was needed. Microsoft did not offer a robust defense, saying the man’s claims were unreasonable, that he received free customer support, and that Microsoft was not responsible for his control software. Microsoft did not, however, deny that the new operating system could have been downloaded without his permission. The man insisted and the panel agreed Microsoft had no automatic right to install the upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10, and in addition had an obligation to perform the work correctly, which they did not. Learn more at OUR FORUM.

A number of complaints came to light recently from iPad Pro owners who were unhappy to discover that their expensive Apple tablets were bent. Apple responded to these complaints by saying that the iPad Pro's unibody design "meets or exceeds" all of its high standards. Now the company has gone further, publishing a support page explaining the manufacturer and testing process of the iPad Pro, and explaining that the way the tablet is made is the reason some people see a bend. Apple insists, however, that a bend should be within a tiny 400-micron tolerance. The support article is entitled iPad Pro unibody enclosure design, and on it, Apple explains "how the enclosure is made and tested". As we have discerned from complaints, it is the LTE version of the iPad Pro that is particularly susceptible to an unwanted bend, and Apple says -- as it has done before -- that this is because of the cooling down of materials used in the casing. Few people who have a bent iPad Pro will particularly care about why it is bent, being primarily concerned about the fact that it is bent. Apple insists that the "new iPad Pro models meet an even tighter specification for flatness than previous generations", and when it comes to the "flatness specification", there should be "no more than 400 microns of deviation across the length of any side", or -- as the company explains -- "less than the thickness of four sheets of paper". Follow the bent iPad Pro saga on OUR FORUM.

 

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