First 3nm chips to hit the market sooner than you think

We’re already living in a world with 7nm chips, but 2019 will be the first year that all flagship devices will be equipped with chips built on the 7nm process. The Kirin 980, Apple A12 have already proven that moving to 7nm chips offers an incredible boost in performance and efficiency, but we’ll have to wait until early 2019 to get our hands on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 which will likely be the most common 7nm chip next year.

Getting to 7 nm wasn’t an easy feat, but chip makers are already putting in the work to deliver 5nm and 3nm chips. Needless to say, moving to 5nm and then down to 3nm will be a challenging and expensive endeavor. With the continued reduction in size, chip makers will likely be forced to change the underlying architecture from FinFET to a multi-gate or gate-all-around architecture to further improve efficiency. This will require new manufacturing techniques and new facilities and machinery to build them.

TSMC has already announced plans to bring its 5nm production facility online by late 2019 or early 2020, but the company has just revealed that its 3nm production line which is expected to cost $19 billion has just passed its environmental assessment and is scheduled to be operational sometime in 2022. TSMC may not be a name you recognize, but you’re likely familiar with their works since they are the ones who build the chips for Qualcomm, NVidia, AMP, MediaTek and dozens of other “chips makers.”

The announcement comes as a surprise since TSMC has been quiet on the subject of 3nm chips for a long time. According to an internal report, the company didn’t want to show its hand, giving it a potential lead over Samsung and Huawei’s chip-making businesses.

With 2019 right around the corner, 2022 will be here sooner than you think. Just to give you an idea of how far we’ve come over the past few years, 2012 was the year that the Nvidia Tegra 3 was the most sought-after chip. The chip was built on the 40nm process with 4 main cores and a 5th battery-saver core. By the time 2022 rolls around, the 3nm process will allow TSMC to cram in nearly 1,000% more semiconductors on the same size chip. 

It may be hard to get excited about a 3nm SoC that you won’t be able to use for another 3-4 years, but the process takes a lot of time. TSMC is planning to start construction of the 3nm chip facility in 2020 with the installation of the equipment to build the chips scheduled for 2021. Once that’s done, it’ll be about a year before the manufacturing process is completed, tested and refined before the fir commercial chips from Qualcomm, MediaTek and others start rolling off the line.

The 7nm chips we have now are already extremely powerful and efficient. What new and amazing features are you hoping to see on smartphones and other gadgets running 3nm chips in 2022?

Source: GizChina

World’s first SD855 smartphone benchmarks kill the competition

When Qualcomm
announced the new Snapdragon 855 last month, they promised that the new 7nm
chip would be significantly more powerful than the Snapdragon 845 and would
also give Huawei’s Kirin 980 and Apple A12 a run for their money. While it’s
easy to get excited about claims like that, we’ve been waiting for some
real-world numbers to back them up.

Thanks to today’s unveiling of the Lenovo Z5 Pro GT which is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, we can now get a better look at howmuch more powerful Qualcomm’s new chip actually is.

During the Z Pro GT’s unveiling, Lenovo shared some numbers, revealing that the phone managed to score a mind-boggling 368,480 points onAntutu. When compared to the Antutu benchmark numbers of the iPhone XS, the Lenovo Z Pro GT has a 3-5% performance advantage. But that gap grows to 20% when matched up against devices running the Kirin 980 and there’s an astounding 25% gap when you look at devices running the Snapdragon 845.

To be fair, the Lenovo Z5 Pro GT’s Antutu benchmark numbers area little skewed since the benchmarked device was equipped with 12GB of RAM. By removing the RAM “advantage” that the phone has over its competitors, Antutubelieves that the phone would still manage a score in the 360,000 point range. Even with this drop, the Lenovo Z5 Pro GT is still the most powerful smartphone to be benchmarked by Antutu and should give us a good baseline for how other Android smartphones running the Snapdragon 855 should perform. For those who don’t know, a leaked Antutu benchmark score for the upcoming Samsung GalaxyS10 surfaced recently with a score of 343,051. Since the device isn’t expected to make its debut for at least two more months, those scores couldeasily reach 360,000 as the software is finalized and performance optimizationsare made.

While few of you will likely be buying the new Lenovo Z5 ProGT, the performance numbers we’re seeing from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 lookpromising. The new chipset will deliver incredibly powerful smartphones in 2019 and the new 7nm manufacturing process will also give those devices improved battery life.

What’s your take on the performance of the new Snapdragon
855? Do you think it’ll be worth upgrading from a high-end 2018 smartphone to
one running a SD855 in 2019? Share your thoughts in the comments.

HTC tries to get back in the game with Desire 12s

HTC has introduced its latest Desire series smartphone in Taiwan. The new HTC Desire 12s isn’t exactly the smartphone Android enthusiast will be clamoring over, but at least its spec sheet sheet mirrors its price. 

The budget device is 8.3 mm thick and sports a unique dual-material design which has shiny texture and double lines matte texture. The handset is light weight and sports a 5.7-inch 18:9 aspect ratio multi-touch display with HD+ resolution.

The HTC Desire 12s specs include octa-core Snapdragon 435 SoC and has options of 3GB RAM with 32GB RAM and 4GB RAM with 64GB ROM. There is a 13MP front and 13MP rear camera both accompanied with LED flash.

HTC Desire 12s Specifications

Dimensions: 154.2 x 72.7 x 8.3 mmWeight: 150 gramsFingerprint sensors: RearSIM: Dual Nano SIMOperating System: Android 8.1 Oreo with HTC Sense UIDisplay: 5.7-inch 2.5D curved glass display with 1440 x 720 pixels resolution HD+ resolution, 18:9 aspect ratio, multi-touch supportChipset: octa-core (1.4GHz A53 x 4 + 1.1GHz A53 x 4) Snapdragon 435 mobile platform with Adreno 505 GPURAM and Storage: 3GB RAM with 32GB storage, 4GB RAM with 64GB storage. Expandable using MicroSD cardFront camera: 13MP with LED flash, F/2.4 Aperture, BSI Sensor, Fixed Focal length, Face detectionRear camera: 13MP with LED Flash, F/2.2 Aperture, PDAF, 1080p video recordingBattery: 3075 mAh with 5V/1A chargingConnectivity: 4G VoLTE, Wi-FI 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth V4.2, GPS/GLONASS, MicroUSB, NFC, 3.5mm Audio JackSensors: Ambient Light, Proximity, Gravity, Compass, Magnetic

The HTC Desire 12s 3GB/32GB model is priced at NT$ 5990 (US$ 195 / Rs. 13,900 approx.). The Desire 12s 4GB/64GB variant costs NT$ 6990 (US$ 225 / Rs. 16,250 approx.). The device comes in Red Bloom, Refreshing Silver and Personalised Black colours and is already on sale in Taiwan.

There’s no indication that the HTC Desire 12s will be making its way to the US market, but we could see the phone pop up in a handful of countries across Asia and Europe. It’s doubtful that this device will do much of HTC’s bottom line, but it’s nice to see that HTC hasn’t yet thrown in the towel. 

Source: HTC

Google to spend $1B on NYC campus

 Alphabet Inc’s Google said it is committed to investing over $1 billion to establish a new campus in New York city, as it expands its current presence in the city’s technology corridor along the Hudson River. The new leased campus, which is over 158,000m² (around 1.7 million square feet) will be the primary location for Google’s global business organisation, the company said in a blog post.

With the investment, Google plans on doubling its headcount in the city from 7,000 employees to 14,000. The expansion of the Google Campus will be gradual, taking up to a decade to be fully implemented.

The announcement follows Google acquisition of the Chelsea Market for $2.4 billion back in March and comes hot on the heels of Amazon’s decision to chose New York as a location for its HQ2. If you’re looking for a tech job in the next few years, it looks like New York City may be competing directly with the Bay Area in California. 

Source: Google Blog

The 5G we were promised won’t be coming in 2019

With 4G coverage still not at 100% and the 2019 influx of 5G capable handsets about to land in our pockets, what can we really expect in 2019 from 5G?
The fifth generation of connectivity, *ahem* 5G, will be ready for the average Joe next year. Software and hardware are in the works, and carriers are getting ready to flip the switch of their 5G networks in the first half of 2019.
What we know:

Qualcomm has released details of its next-gen Snapdragon mobile CPU with X50 5G modem and antenna
Samsung and Verizon announced plans to launch a 5G smartphone on Verizon’s 5G network in the first half of 2019 using Qualcomm’s 5G-capable chip
Apple will reportedly wait until 2020 to release a 5G smartphone, preferring to wait until all the kinks have been worked out and 5G is more widely available
LG plans to beat Samsung to the punch with the first true 5G phone. The device will be out in the first half of 2019 as a Sprint exclusive

What we DON’T know:

How quickly the 5G rollout will actually happen over the year outside of major cities
If most major cities will even be enabled from day one
If remote and rural areas will even see 5G

Those who lived through the 3G to 4G upgrade will remember there were some serious issues when 4G first rolled out. Carriers took years to offer decent coverage and the first few generations of 4G devices were plagued with issues. As a person who lives in rural France, it was October 2016 when I saw 4G flash up on my notification bar for the first time. It was glorious, my life went from 2.4Mbps to 45Mbps in 24hrs, however, this leaves me thinking “how long will it be before I can even start to think about 5G?” My next smartphone is more than likely to be 5G enabled but I have a strong feeling that I’ll be left stranded in a 4G wasteland waiting for the world around me to catch up. What’s more, I certainly won’t be alone in waiting.
So, should we be hyped?  
The hype is actually real. 5G boasts the ability to take advantage of truly unlimited data at up to 2GBps, but its expected average speed should be around 300MBps. If you ask most smartphone users, those speeds would be a dream, but mobile connectivity is only the beginning. From smart-home security to self-driving cars, all the Internet-connected devices in your life will be able to talk to each other at lightning-fast speeds with reduced latency.
5G could finally make AR & VR headsets more viable for mainstream users. Augmented reality glasses and virtual reality headsets haven’t breached the mainstream, but tech companies are hedging bets that these devices will eventually replace our smartphones. With 5G connectivity, that is a real possibility.
But don’t go getting too excited just yet. There’s still a lot of work to be done, including compatibility trials to make sure the radios play nicely with hardware and infrastructure build-out so that 5G coverage isn’t concentrated solely in high-density cities.
With Qualcomm leading the charge, we’ve seen a lot of positive progress on the 5G front in 2018. Despite 2019 looking like a big year for network launches and new handsets promising to usher us into the 5G era, it looks like it won’t be until 2020 or even 2021 before network providers have enough towers upgraded with new equipment to deliver 5G speeds to a significant portion of the population.

Where will see it first? In the US, the charge will be led by Verizon and AT&T, but T-Mobile and Sprint will be pushing their 5G deployments as well. The largest metropolitan areas with the fastest internet backbones will see the 5G icon pop up first, but it’ll be years before 5G coverage trickles out to the suburbs and rural areas will likely never see it. In France, I’ll likely have to make a trip to Paris to experience anything, and that’s only if they hit the rollout targets. C’est la vie.
The reason for this is the limitation of the mmWave technology being used for 5G. While mmWave can offer much faster speeds than LTE, it doesn’t travel far and has a hard time penetrating walls. To deliver G coverage, service providers will need to build out a much more dense network of 5G towers to offer good coverage — something that would be too expensive to do in rural areas. Where G coverage isn’t feasible, service providers will continue to improve their 4G networks, eventually offering Gigabit LTE. Or in other words, the 4G speeds we were promised back in 2011.

As for hardware, smartphones with 5G connectivity will be more expensive and will likely suffer from poor battery life. OnePlus has stated that its first-gen 5G devices will carry a $200-$300 premium over their LTE counterparts due to the new Qualcomm X50 modem, and multiple QTM052 antenna modules needed to connect to a 5G network. The extra modem and antennas will increase a phone’s power consumption, likely reducing battery life to what we saw on the first generation of 4G smartphones like the HTC Thunderbolt.
There’s little doubt that we’ll see the first G networks come online in 2019 with the first round of 5G devices. Just don’t get your hopes up. You’ll likely not be living the 5G dream for years to come.

The punch hole is just as bad as the notch

As an HTC user, one thing I’ve never had to worry about are notches. But now with the “hole punch” being the next screen/camera craze seemingly about to storm the smartphone market, I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that my next smartphone might include an ugly black spot on the screen.
But why are we being forced to sacrifice screen real estate for notches or the aptly-named hole-punch camera cutout? Is this simply a design trend that will fade away as quickly as it showed up or are the notch and punch-hole here to stay?
I mean there are even seriously viable alternatives emerging such as the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 with their sliding phone throwback and the pop-up cameras of the Oppo Find X to name but two both adding functionality while maintaining full-screen real estate. Personally pop-up and sliding cameras aren’t for me, I’m not sure I like the added possibility of mechanical failure. But at least they are trying, right?
Notches flew on to our screens in August of 2017 with the introduction of Sharp’s Aquos S2 overshadowed swiftly by the Essential PH1, then followed by countless other manufacturers. Fast forward just over a year and we see the internet recoiling in horror when the sheer size of the Pixel 3’s notch was revealed. I can’t help wonder if this has sparked some kind of retreat? Boardroom meeting across the globe discussing how they’d break up our full-screen experience over the next 18 months of smartphone releases. “I know let’s just punch a hole out the screen” – Le sigh. Let’s not even mention LG’s patent for an oval cutout.

This still leaves me asking the question though: why? Notches are ugly. Dead space is ugly. Are my dreams of true edge-to-edge screens really that crazy? Any way you cut it, the notch and the punch-hole aren’t really a step forward in my book.
It can certainly be argued that the hole is aesthetically not that bad — but as consumers, we’re constantly being asked to compromise screen space for dead space. I’d rather have a modest bezel that houses the cameras, speakers and fingerprint sensors (That’s right I think rear fingerprint sensors are useless too) rather than see my handsets getting more and more erm edge to edge “glassy”?
Yesterday’s unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy A8s and Honor View 20 were just the beginning. Lenovo’s Z5S has already received certification by the TENAA in China and then there’s the upcoming Huawei Nova 4 is expected to be the first Huawei-branded phone to feature the hole-punch camera and is likely to be introduced on 17th December 2018.
Needless to say, I like display notches and holes as much as I’d like to see a cluster of dead pixels.
I’m merely opening up a conversation here, manufacturers are producing the units, consumers are buying them. However, I see opinions to the contrary all across social media. Do people really like notches and cutouts are much as we a led to believe? All i know is the punch-hole is just as bad as the notch and I’m almost dreading what might be coming next unless of course, it’s a return to nice sturdy bezels and aluminum bodies.

Preliminary injunction stops sales of iPhones in China

The heated patent dispute between Apple and Qualcomm has been picked into overdrive today with a sales ban order issued by the Chinese courts. The courts have granted its request for two preliminary injunctions against four Chinese subsidiaries of Apple Inc which prohibits the “importation, sale and offers for sale in China of the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.” 
This is a huge blow for Apple which has asserted that the company’s products do not violate any of Qualcomm’s patents, even claiming that one of the patents in questions has been previously invalidated.
“Qualcomm’s effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world,” Apple said in a statement. “All iPhone models remain available for our customers in China. Qualcomm is asserting three patents they had never raised before, including one which has already been invalidated. We will pursue all our legal options through the courts.”
It’s not clear when the Chinese government will start enforcing the importation and sales ban on the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. While the court order does not affect any of Apple’s 2018 products, it will could still have a significant on Apple’s bottom line since sales of older devices make up a large portion of the company’s overall sales. Apple may be able to appeal the court order in an effort to keep its devices on store shelves, but the company has not announced that an appeal has yet need files. 
“Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us. These Court orders are further confirmation of the strength of Qualcomm’s vast patent portfolio.” – Qualcomm
The patent battle between Qualcomm is also playing out in other markets across the globe. A federal judge has set a court date of April 15th in the US to head the case. We’ll keep you apprised of any new updates as they unfold.
Source: Qualcomm, CNET

Google Call Screen now showing up on original Pixel and Pixel XL

Google released Call Screen with the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL devices, but the company promised that the feature would make its way to the older models. Last month it came to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and now it’s the OG’s turn.
Owners of the original Pixel and Pixel XL are now starting to see the Call Screen feature appear on their devices. This feature allows Google Assistant to take over a call (if that’s something that you want), asking what the call is about and taking a message from the caller all while providing a real-time transcript of the screened call. It’s a pretty amazing feature and it’s fantastic to see Google pushing for older devices to get new goodies.
Make sure the Google Phone app is fully updated and check in Settings > Call Screen to see if you have the feature! If you’re using Call Screen for the first time, feel free to let us know what you think of the new feature in the comments.
Source: Reddit Via: Droid-Life

Are you ready to do your banking with T-Mobile?

If you are feeling a little bit of déjà vu when reading this headline then perhaps you are remembering back into the distant past of January 2014 when T-Mobile last announced that it was going to help you manage your money. That time around the initiative was called “Mobile Money” and it hung around for about 30 months before shuttering in July of 2016.
There are some similarities between that service and the newly announced T-Mobile Money, such as no fees whatsover, including overdraft or ATM fees. But this time around the service is going to be a bit more like a traditional banking service with checking accounts that will net you at least 1 percent annual interest or 4 percent (on up to $3,000) if you also deposit at least $200 each month via direct deposit or the like. Anything beyond the $3,000 will earn interest at 1 percent, which as T-Mobile points out is still well above the current national average of 0.4 percent from the top 5 banks.
There is naturally an app to go with the service with the familiar T-Mobile magenta theme to it and at first glance it looks like a clean and intuitive interface. You’ll receive a traditional Debit card and the service is compatible with Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay at launch. Accounts are FDIC-instured up to $250,000 and along with the fee free overdraft protection, T-Mobile subscribers are even eligible for up to a $50 “Got Your Back” interest free loan in essence from T-Mobile that will cover the overdraft as long as you pay it back within 30 days.
In case you were worried that T-Mobile was just venturing into the banking business on its own, they are partnered up with BankMobile, which is the younger and presumably cooler digital division for Customers Bank.
It’s an interesting move from T-Mobile, probably wiser than going for yet another payment service, but would you consider using your carrier as your bank?
Source: T-Mobile

Snapdragon 8150 early benchmarks show crazy performance increase

The current-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is considered to be a decent chip, but it’s a bit underpowered when matched up against Huawei’s Kirin 980 and Apple’s A12 Bionic chip that’s used in the 2018 iPhones. Naturally, Qualcomm is expected to in forward with its next-gen chip which is due sometime in early 2019, but a new leak suggests that performance improvements could be bigger than expected. 
A leaked AnTuTu benchmark score of the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 8150 has surfaced with a total score of 362,292 and GPU score of 156,328, making the Snapdragon 8150 the most powerful smartphone chip we’ve ever seen.  While the score is only 2.8% higher than the A12 Bionic’s 352,405, it’s 17% higher than the 309,628 score posted by the Huawei Mate 20 Pro which is using the Kirin 980. 
For reference, OnePlus 6 with 8GB of RAM managed a score of 293,151 while our Pixel 3 with only 4GB of RAM was able to deliver a score of 279,701. Both phones are using the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, so there’s clearly a wide range in performance that needs to be taken into account.
While Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 wasn’t the most powerful mobile chipset we saw this year, it looks like the new Snapdragon 8150 take the crown in early 2019. Hopefully, Qualcomm is also working on efficiency improvements as well which will allow 2019’s smartphones to last longer on a single charge.
Source: Weibo Via: TechRadar