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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

Microsoft Documents Confirm Futuristic Surface Plans

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It’s rare that you see a Microsoft Surface device being promoted without its Surface Pen. It’s a key feature that is talked up regularly by the Surface team, and it’s one area ripe for innovation. The latest details show work continues to make a more intelligent Pen.

The details come from a patent titled “Stylus for Zero Force Activation” and details a system to improve the Surface Pen’s ability know when to switch to inking mode. Mayank Parmar reports:

“…Microsoft says the stylus still uses a vibrating tip to determine when the contact with a surface occurs. The patented Surface Pen also comes with a capsule that is designed to minimize the motion of the shaft and the shaft runs parallel to the length of the stylus.

“The tip has two antennas and one is connected to the shaft using a track made of metal material. There’s also a transmitter located in its tip and it can detect the position of the stylus tip, and then quickly switch to inking mode.”

Microsoft’s Surface vision has always been built around different modes of working. Think of the Surface Pro 2-in-1s with their detachable keyboards that allowed for a tablet experience with and without qwerty input. Think of the Surface Book’s outstanding feature of a laptop with a fully detachable screen? Even in the Surface Laptop, which doesn’t have a physical transformation you can still move between pen input and trackpad movements. Surface is about multiple modes, and switching between them quickly and easily.

That includes the Surface Pen. It has two modes of use. The first is the more traditional stylus-based approach to computing, replicating the ideas of a mouse or trackpad in operation. The second mode is inking mode, where your artistic flair can take over.

Allowing the Surface Pen to better understand when to switch modes, to decrease the delay in switching modes, and to create a ‘magical’ experience mixing stylus- and inking-modes, is a natural next step for Microsoft to address.

As always, a published patent does show the direction a company is taking with hardware development, but it does not guarantee that this technology will be seen on consumer devices. But some patents heel more likely to show up than others. This one feels like something we’ll be seeing in the near future.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2020/10/18/microsoft-surface-pen-inking-stylus-patent-surface-pro-surface-book/#5104855019ad

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The Future

100W wireless charging could be a thing next year

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  • A new leak points to 100W wireless charging by several brands in 2021.
  • Heat and battery degradation would likely be two key challenges for the tech.

We’ve seen major strides in fast charging in the last two years, as smartphone manufacturers like Huawei, BBK, and Xiaomi upped the ante for both wired and wireless charging. We’ve previously seen wired charging top out at ~120W in recent months, but wireless charging solutions aren’t far behind, either.

Now, frequent leaker Digital Chat Station has claimed that several manufacturers are targeting 100W wireless charging for phones launching in 2021. Check out the post below.

Digital Chat Station 100W wireless charging

This would be a major leap over current wireless charging standards. We’ve seen 40W wireless charging in the likes of the Oppo Ace 2 and Huawei P40 Pro Plus respectively. Oppo has also announced 65W wireless charging technology earlier this year, although we haven’t seen it on a commercial device just yet.

Nevertheless, we do wonder about heat and battery degradation with a move to 100W wireless charging. Oppo in particular stated that its 125W wired charging solution degraded the battery to 80% capacity after 800 charging cycles, compared to its 65W wired solution dropping down to 90% capacity after 800 cycles. So hopefully brands address this challenge adequately with 100W wireless charging.

Another concern with this tech is compatibility with other Qi charging devices. Oppo’s 65W wireless charging solution defaults to significantly slower 10W or even 5W topups for other Qi-compatible phones.

Source: https://www.androidauthority.com/100w-wireless-charging-1166327/

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The Future

An iPhone 12 to please everyone — well, except Android fans

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Remember when there was just an iPhone, and the only decisions you needed to make were capacity and color?

Well, if you like having lots of options, the iPhone 12 sounds like it’s the handset for you, with the latest rumors suggesting lots of choice.

It seems Apple wants to make an iPhone 12 for everyone — well, maybe not Android fans.

So far, we expect the iPhone 12 to be offered in the following configurations:

  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 Mini

So, what’s going to be the differences between them?

Good question!

All are expected to be powered by the new A14 Bionic chip, and all are expected to feature 5G. However, super-fast mmWave support could be reserved for the Pro models. Another commonality is that none will come with earbuds or a charger, but you will get a snazzy braided USB-C-to-Lightning cable.

The most obvious difference is going to be display size.

  • iPhone 12: 6.1-inch
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 6.1-inch
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7-inch
  • iPhone 12 Mini: 5.4-inch

There are likely to be other differences to differentiate the Pro Max from the rest of the pack. The two biggest features — LiDAR depth sensor and 120Hz high refresh rate panel — are likely to be Pro Max only features.

Another difference that users will care about is battery size. The bigger the handset, the beefier the battery.

Rumors point to following capacities:

  • iPhone 12: 2,775 mAh
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 2,775 or 2,815 mAh
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 3,690 mAh
  • iPhone 12 Mini: 2,230 mAh

Another thing that people care about — because it can turn a cheap iPhone into an expensive one — is storage capacities. These are likely to be as follows:

  • iPhone 12: 64GB | 128GB | 256GB
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 128GB | 256GB | 512GB
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 128GB | 256GB | 512GB
  • iPhone 12 Mini: 64GB | 128GB | 256GB

RAM is another differentiator. The split here is likely to be Pro/non-Pro

  • iPhone 12: 4GB
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 6GB
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6GB
  • iPhone 12 Mini: 4GB

Finally, starting price.

  • iPhone 12: $749
  • iPhone 12 Pro: $999
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: $1099
  • iPhone 12 Mini: $649

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/an-iphone-12-to-please-everyone-well-except-android-fans/

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