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Forget .com: Get ready for .google and .apple

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domain-expansions

ICANN received 1,930 applications for new top-level domains.

The largest-ever expansion of the Internet’s naming system, beyond trusty old .com and .org, is almost here: Hundreds of dot-anything websites are slated to roll out this year, starting as early as this summer.

The list of proposed new domains includes .google, .apple, .nyc and .book. It’s the first major expansion in more than a decade, and it’s a complicated process — one that has suffered through both technical delays and critics’ concerns.

The nonprofit group Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) formally approved the expansion of “generic top-level domains” (gTLDs) back in June 2011. One year later, ICANN unveiled 1,930 proposals for new domain names.

Those applications weren’t cheap: ICANN charges $185,000 per proposal, fees that the group says are necessary to cover extensive reviews on each proposal. The technical setup and upkeep on a single domain will cost a company additional thousands, or in some cases, even millions of dollars, annually.

It’s an expensive change for everyone involved, and opinion is split. Supporters of the move agree that the .coms and .nets of the world have become saturated, and expansion could make it easier to score a “good” website address. They also say dot-brand sites will help companies to market themselves and to protect customers from spammy sites. For example, Barclays could warn that a purported online banking site isn’t legitimate unless it ends in .barclays.

The suffixes will also be more inclusive of global Internet users, with non-English alphabets like Russian and Arabic now allowed.

Critics counter that expanding domain names will be confusing for consumers. And opponents including the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) argue ICANN hasn’t adequately addressed all cybersecurity concerns.

ANA president Dan Jaffe said “the worst possible scenario” would be for someone to pretend to be a well-known company by starting a new site with a trusted brand name in the domain.

“The Internet marketplace is dependent on trust and faith, and it could all be eroded,” Jaffe said.

ICANN spokesman Brad White countered that the group has spent months soliciting opinions — both from experts and the public — on everything from security to trademark concerns. Plus, he says, the rigorous application process essentially works as a “background check.”

“You can’t just walk in and get one of these domains,” White said. “We created this new space in the context of what’s already out there — so we looked at cybersquatting issues, we looked at security problems, and we tried to make a new field that’s better.”

That current field includes just 21 gTLDs, not including “country codes” like .ca or .uk.

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The Future

The sequel to Sony’s PlayStation Phone apparently leaks, eight years too late

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Cast your mind back, if you can, to the tender world of gadgets circa 2011. Apple had just launched Siri on the iPhone, Google was making its biggest push into social networking with Google Plus, and Sony had decided it was time to release a true gaming smartphone: the much-anticipated “PlayStation Phone,” officially dubbed the Xperia Play.

It was not, by any means, a great success. A 2011 Engadget review praised the phone’s sliding mechanism and gamepad but bemoaned its dim screen and lack of playable titles. The device had its fans, though, many of whom were excited in 2012 by whispers of an Xperia Play 2. This promised sequel never emerged, but eight years after the PlayStation Phone 2 was first rumored, images purportedly showing the device have appeared online.

Pictures of the phone were shared on the Xperia subreddit by a user who found a listing for the device on Idle Fish, a Chinese secondhand goods store operated by Alibaba. The seller says the phone is only a prototype and there’s no way to verify its authenticity. The seller’s shop, though, suggests they have some sources in the world of obsolete tech, with other listings including a PS3 devkit and classic keyboards like the venerated IBM Model F.

The device has left and right shoulder buttons, as well as the usual D-pad and PlayStation buttons. 
Image: via Idle Fish
Yes it turns on! But it’s not clear if it can do more than that. 
Image: via Idle Fish
The rear of the device shows Sony’s old Xperia branding.
 Image: via Idle Fish

The phone certainly looks the part. It’s got the same slide-out mechanism as the original Xperia Play and the PSP Go, a D-pad, a set of standard PlayStation buttons, left and right shoulder buttons, and Xperia branding on the rear. There’s also a mysterious “3D” button, which was perhaps for features similar to the stereoscopic display on Nintendo’s 3DS.

Notably, the front of the phone has capacitive buttons instead of hardware buttons. That’s consistent with changes to the design of Xperia phones from 2012 onward, and it matches a leaked render of the Xperia Play 2 that did the rounds on gadget blogs back in 2012. In other words: this may well be the real deal, but we have no way of knowing for sure.

It’s certainly interesting to think, though, what might have happened if the Xperia Play had found a market. Would gaming smartphones have become mainstream instead of a niche, if persistent, product category? Despite its limitations, the Xperia Play reportedly handled PlayStation games extremely smoothly (check out this video review of the device from 2019 for an in-depth look) and who wouldn’t want to have the PS1’s back catalog in their pocket?

But Sony apparently thought the hybrid approach just wasn’t worth it. Indeed, in 2011, it also released the PS Vita: the successor to the PSP which handily took care of any Sony fans looking for a reliable and portable gaming experience.

And in 2020, it’s hard to imagine a dedicated gaming phone ever making a comeback. Why bother when you can simply stream most console games to your smartphone of choice? If the Xperia Play 2 has finally surfaced, it’s only as a shipwreck of a long-forgotten age.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/23/21452167/sony-xperia-play-2-playstation-phone-prototype-concept-leaked-images

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The Future

First Apple product with miniLED backlighting will be iPad Pro in Q4 – Kuo

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Following Monday’s miniLED report, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a follow-up report out today stating that the first Apple product to use the technology will be a new iPad Pro in Q4 of this year.

Today’s report doesn’t get any more specific than that, but Kuo has previously predicted that the first model to get the improved backlighting system would be the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Kuo at the time thought this would be launched in Q1 2021, but better-than-expected progress has accelerated that timescale …

Background

It had been expected that Apple would gradually transition iPads and MacBooks to OLED screens. Apple first debuted OLED in the Apple Watch before adopting it for flagship iPhones. All four of this year’s iPhone 12 models are expected to have OLED screens.

However, Kuo said a year ago that Apple now appeared to be favoring continuing to use IPS-LCD screens for its larger products, but with miniLED backlighting to improve the quality. By using very many more smaller LEDs for backlighting, it provides greater control over small sections of the screen. This offers many of the same benefits as OLED: higher contrast ratio, increased brightness, deeper blacks, and better power efficiency.

But an LCD screen with miniLED backlighting is actually better than OLED in a couple of respects: it’s less prone to burn-in and has a longer life.

MiniLED technology is expensive, but Monday’s report said that Apple was bringing on board a second supplier, and using competition between them to drive down costs. Kuo thus expected miniLED screens to make it into 30-40% of iPads and 20-30% of MacBooks at some point next year.

MiniLED iPad Pro in Q4

Today’s report says that the first miniLED display will likely be in an iPad Pro. In the context of the earlier report, the smart money would be on a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro in Q4, with the 11-inch one lagging somewhat behind. Apple may also see a staggered launch as a way of boosting sales of the more expensive larger model.

Kuo also expands on his earlier prediction of Apple negotiating lower prices. He now expects Apple’s miniLED chip costs to fall by 50% in 2021 and a further 35% in 2022. He says that miniLED has already progressed from the ‘technology development’ stage to ‘economy of scale.’

The analyst says the results of price competition have already been seen in the miniLED television market, with costs falling dramatically as a result. Kuo expects a combination of lower production costs, economies of scale and Chinese government subsidies to continue to drive down the cost to Apple.

Source: https://9to5mac.com/2020/09/23/ipad-pro-in-q4/

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The Future

The first HarmonyOS-powered phone from Huawei to arrive in 2021

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Huawei’s HarmonyOS was unveiled last year during the Huawei Developer Conference and there’s a report claiming that this year’s conference on September 10 will bring the HarmonyOS 2.0. Interestingly, the rumor cites Richard Yu himself, the company’s CEO. And the first phone with the in-house operating system will launch as early as next year.

The first HarmonyOS-powered phone from Huawei to arrive in 2021

A smartphone running the said OS already exists and will likely hit the market next year along with a number of new devices including PCs, tablets, smart wearables and other IoT products. In fact, the first smartwatch running HarmonyOS is expected to make a debut until the end of this year.

Source: https://www.gsmarena.com/the_first_harmonyospowered_phone_from_huawei_to_arrive_in_2021-news-45132.php

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