The Android smartphone market has long been rather stale, with many companies simply bumping up specifications rather than trying to innovate. Yeah, things like faster processors, better cameras, and 5G radios are great, but consumers are becoming indifferent to new phone launches due to a lack of innovation. It feels like evolution rather than revolution.
Thankfully, LG has retained its weird side, creating devices like the V60 ThinQ 5G, which pre-dates Microsoft's much-maligned Surface Duo. LG is willing to take risks, which is keeping Android fun and fresh. Today, the company unveils its latest innovative product -- the Wing 5G. This smartphone is like nothing you have ever seen. The main display flips out to unveil a second hidden display underneath. This creates a "letter T" form-factor, which should be great for multitasking.
Manjaro is one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems these days, and it isn't hard to see why. It is based on the rock-solid Arch, but unlike that distro, Manjaro is very easy to install and use. In other words, it has all the benefits of Arch, but without the hassles and headaches. This makes it a great choice for both Linux experts and beginners.
Manjaro 20 "Lysia" was released back in April, and it was very well received by the Linux community. Today, the first point update, Manjaro 20.1 "Mikah," becomes available for download with a trio of desktop environment options -- Xfce (4.14), GNOME (3.36), and KDE Plasma (5.19). All three DEs are excellent, but Xfce is what the developers consider the "flagship." The Xfce variant comes with an all-new theme called "Matcha." All versions of Manjaro 20.1 come with Linux kernel 5.8, Pamac 9.5.9, and ZFS installation support.
Back in April, we told you about the deepin 20 Beta. That Linux distribution is very special because of just how beautiful it is. No, the operating system is not only about appearance (it is excellent overall), but it shows that Linux can be just as pretty as macOS and Windows 10. Hell, it is arguably more attractive than Microsoft's and Apple's desktop operating systems.
And now, the stable version of deepin 20 is finally here! This version of the operating system is based on Debian 10.5 and is loaded with new features and bug fixes. For instance, it has enhanced biometric support, allowing you to use your fingerprint -- a fairly rare thing in the Linux world. The new installer should be easier than ever, and if you have an NVIDIA GPU, you can opt to install closed-source drivers. Best of all, the app manager is simplified further, improving the discovery and installation of apps.
Whether you are working remotely from home or working in an office, a time will probably come where video chat will need to happen. This is particularly true during the pandemic, but even before COVID-19, businesses were increasingly having employees work remotely or from satellite locations. While many businesses and employees have functional webcams built into their smartphones and laptops, the integrated microphones are usually subpar. Quite frankly, when it comes to meetings, clear audio is far more important than webcam video quality.
Today, Jabra launches its latest full duplex portable speakerphone, and it looks like a winner. Called "Speak 750," it can connect via a USB or Bluetooth. Don't have Bluetooth in your PC? Don't worry -- Jabra includes a USB dongle in the box. The Speak 750 should provide far superior call experience than any integrated laptop or smartphone microphone. There are two models from which to choose -- a Microsoft Teams Certified variant and a UC model.
Headsets are an essential part of the online multiplayer gaming experience these days. They allow you to communicate with teammates -- or opponents -- depending on the game. Hell, even for offline single player games, a quality headset can usually provide superior audio compared to many chintzy computer speakers. They can also be used for music and movies, of course.
Today, ADATA unveils its newest gaming headset under its "XPG" gaming brand. Called "PRECOG ANALOG," it is designed to be a less expensive version of the company's regular PRECOG. This new version seems to forgo the USB control box and associated virtual 7.1 surround. Otherwise ,they seem almost identical, including the handy removable microphone.
If you are a computer nerd like me, you probably play around with your PC day and night. After a few bottles of Mountain Dew (or other caffeinated beverage), you may find yourself wide-eyed at 3 am typing away. If you live alone, that may be OK. If you are married or still live at home with your parents, however, there 's a good chance your typing and clicking can be quite loud and annoying. Hell, you might even accidentally awaken your family from time to time. This can lead to people being very angry with you.
Luckily, Logitech has a new product that should help you to be quiet when using your PC. Called "MK295 Silent Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo," the name pretty much explains exactly what it is -- a wireless keyboard and mouse with silent switches. The MK295 keyboard provides up to 3 years battery life from three AAAs, while the mouse lasts a year and a half with a single AA. Not only should the combo be ideal for home use, but business too -- it should make for a quieter office experience.
There are many power banks on the market these days, and for the most part, they are all very similar. These devices are essentially big batteries with USB ports designed to charge up your smartphone multiple times when on the go. When you can't find an outlet, these power banks can be a godsend, but also, they can be a critical tool during a power outage. If you live in an area that gets hit by hurricanes and/or tropical storms, you should absolutely own at least one of them -- a few if you have a family.
Today, Satechi unveils a new such product that is very Apple-focused. Called "Quatro Wireless Power Bank," it has a dedicated Apple Watch charger, Qi wireless charging (perfect for compatible AirPods), and both a USB-A and USB-C port. Not only is it designed with Apple devices in mind, but its overall aesthetics seem inspired by the iPhone-maker too. It features a matte black design, but the outer rim is surrounded by a beautiful shiny metal. It weighs 0.58 lbs and its dimensions are 6.4 x 2.9 x 0.7 inches.
So, here we are in September, six months removed from the release of Zorin OS 15.2. A lot has happened since March -- a pandemic, civil unrest, and out-of-control wildfires are just a few of the things that have made this year quite stressful. Not all is bad, however, as we have football starting up this week -- a great distraction to life's stresses.
Today we also get some big news on the Linux front -- Zorin OS 15.3 is finally here. True, it is just a point release, but once again, it should be the best version of Zorin yet. While great for Linux experts, I highly recommend it to those looking to switch from the buggy and much-maligned Windows 10. Zorin OS is a stable and well-designed operating system that is reminiscent of Windows. And so, its familiarity is a great way for Windows users to comfortably experience Linux. Version 15.3 comes with LibreOffice 6.4.6, which is a great alternative to Microsoft Office.
POCO -- a sub-brand of Xiaomi Inc. -- is not a well-known name in the USA, but in China and other parts of the world, it is quite popular with Android enthusiasts. The young Chinese brand is synonymous with affordable smartphones that have impressive features. This is important, as it allows regular people to buy respectable Android devices without breaking the bank. Sadly, companies such as Samsung, are pricing their devices well out of reach of the common man. Quite frankly, even if you can afford it, spending more than $1,000 for a smartphone is rather foolish.
With all of that said, today, POCO unveils its latest affordable Android smartphone. Called "X3 NFC," it comes loaded with killer features such as a massive 5,160mAh battery with 33W fast charging. It is optimized for gaming with a special GPU and advanced cooling. Despite being a "mid-range" phone, it has a very impressive display with 120Hz refresh and a 240Hz touch sampling. The POCO X3 NFC even has a quad-camera array (with flash), so it should take impressive photos. And yes, it has a 3.5mm headphone port too! Sadly, all is not perfect -- it does not support 5G.
There are many Linux distributions nowadays, but sometimes it feels like Ubuntu gets all the attention. Don't get me wrong, Ubuntu is worthy of its praise -- it is a great operating system. Still, why can't other distros shine sometimes? Companies that sell Linux-based computers, like Dell and System76, offer Ubuntu on their Linux computers, but what about Fedora?
Well, if you are a big Fedora fan like me, I have some seriously amazing news. Popular computer-maker Lenovo has started selling a Fedora variant of its ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 laptop (Windows 10 is an option too). The 14-inch notebook is thin, light, and gorgeous. A ThinkPad running Fedora? It looks like Christmas came early this year...
This upcoming Monday is Labor Day in the USA. It is a national holiday designed to celebrate the hard work of America's laborers. Many will have off from work on this day, but sadly, not everyone will.
Besides getting off from work, another big aspect of Labor Day is sales. Yes, many retailers offer discounts on products as a Labor Day promotion. This year, popular gaming company HyperX is offering some nice deals on several of its products.
Encrypting your data can be very important -- particularly for businesses that deal with sensitive information and trade secrets. However, working with encrypted media isn't always a walk in the park. Quite frankly, the concept of encrypting and decrypting a drive can be very confusing for some end users. And so, out of convenience, encryption is sometimes skipped -- tragic but understandable.
Thankfully, thanks to things like biometrics, working with encrypted drives can be easier, although that isn't always ideal for an IT department looking to work with many users and drives. Hell, with remote work exploding, it may not be possible to set up an employee's fingerprint. To simplify things, Western Digital has developed a new platform called "ArmorLock" that allows users to lock and unlock a drive using their smartphone (Bluetooth and an app). IT departments can easily set up the drive and authorize users before shipping it out to them. Today, under its "G-Technology" brand, Western Digital launches its first-ever drive to use the platform -- the ArmorLock encrypted NVMe SSD
When it comes to storage, consumers typically need to choose between a solid state drive for speed and a mechanical hard disk drive for large capacity. Over the years, however, SSDs have gotten bigger capacities, but for the most part, they still trail HDDs in that regard -- particularly in the consumer market..
Today, TEAMGROUP launches a new consumer solid state drive that offers the best of both worlds. Simply called "QX," this 3D QLC SATA 2.5-inch SSD offers an insane 15.3TB capacity. Before you get too excited, you should know the price -- it costs nearly $4,000.
AMD has owned 2020 with its excellent Ryzen mobile processors, but you didn't expect Intel to remain quiet, did you? With its new 11th gen Core processors (also known as Tiger Lake), Intel is looking to battle back quite strongly -- especially with the new Iris Xe graphics.
Today, Dynabook announces two new durable (MIL-STD-810G) Portégé laptops that are powered by these new Intel chips. Called "X30W-J" and "X30L-J," the former is a traditional clam shell, while the latter is a 2-in-1. Both lightweight laptops have 13.3-inch screens and can be configured with either a Core i5-1135G7 or i7-11-65G7 processor. The X30W-J can be had with up to 48GB RAM (wow), while the X30L-J is limited to 32GB. They both have high-end features like Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) too.
The popular Ubuntu Linux gets two new versions a year, with one coming in April, and the other in October. Its version numbering scheme is based on year (YY), a period, and the month (MM). For instance, the most recent stable version was released this past April and it is numbered as 20.04. In addition, Canonical (the operating system's owner) assigns names -- sequentially and alphabetically. The alphanumeric code name is always based on two words starting with the same sequential letter -- an adjective followed by an animal name. The aforementioned 20.04 is named "Focal Fossa."
Obviously, the next version of Ubuntu will be numbered 20.10, and it will be given a two-word code name based on the letter "G." This time, the operating system will be called "Groovy Gorilla." Thankfully, development of the operating system seems to be on schedule, as it recently received a feature freeze. What does this mean? Essentially, moving forward, Ubuntu 20.10 should only receive bug fixes -- no more features will be introduced unless by exception. It also signals that the upcoming Beta release should be released on schedule as expected.