DJI Mavic Air – the Most Portable DJI Drone Ever

The DJI Mavic Air is an ultra-portable, foldable camera drone offering a 4K camera for superior image quality, new QuickShot modes and SmartCapture for easier, more intelligent photo and video capturing, and FlightAutonomy 2.0 with Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems for smarter, safer flight. Weighing just 430 grams, Mavic Air is the most portable DJI drone ever created.
The Mavic Air will be available in three colors: Onyx Black, Arctic White and Flame Red. The retail price including the drone, battery, remote controller, carrying case, two pairs of propeller guards and four pairs of propellers, is 769 GBP (849 EUR). The Mavic Air Fly More Combo includes the drone, three batteries, a remote controller, a travel bag, two pairs of propeller guards, six pairs of propellers, a battery to power bank adapter and battery charging hub, for 949 GBP (1,049 EUR).
DJI Press Release
The Most Portable 3-Axis Gimbal 4K Camera Drone Features SmartCapture, FlightAutonomy 2.0 and Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems
DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, has introduced the Mavic Air, an ultra-portable, foldable camera drone that delivers higher performance, more intelligent features and greater creative possibilities than any other consumer drone. Developed with the traveler and outdoor enthusiast in mind, Mavic Air inherits the best features of DJI’s iconic Mavic series with a 4K camera for superior image quality, new QuickShot modes and SmartCapture for easier, more intelligent photo and video capturing, and FlightAutonomy 2.0 with Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems for smarter, safer flight. A marvel of engineering and design, Mavic Air enables limitless exploration wherever adventure takes you.
“When DJI introduced the Mavic Pro, it reinvented what a consumer drone could be: powerful, yet portable, accessible, but advanced,” said Roger Luo, President at DJI. “Today, with the introduction of Mavic Air, we have pushed these attributes to the next level to create our best consumer drone yet.”
Designed for Portability and Power
Weighing just 430 grams, Mavic Air is the most portable DJI drone ever created. Its folding arms and propellers sit flush against its slender aerodynamic frame, making it so compact that its footprint is nearly the size of a modern smartphone when folded.
Every aspect of Mavic Air’s camera has been designed for maximum performance. Its recessed three-axis mechanical gimbal is suspended from dampeners to further reduce vibration providing superior protection and steadier shots. A powerful camera housing a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor and the equivalent of a 24mm F2.8 lens (on a 35mm full frame sensor) captures high-quality photos and videos.
Mavic Air photographs crisp 12-megapixel still images utilising new HDR algorithms that preserve more highlight and low light details, allowing you to capture stunning aerial pictures from sunrise to sunset. It also shoots smooth stabilised 4K video at 30 fps, capturing the highest quality video of any DJI consumer drone with a maximum bitrate of 100 Mbps. Preserving the action in dramatic fast-paced scenes is now possible through its ability to shoot 1080p slow-motion video at 120 fps.
Mavic Air is DJI’s first drone with 8 GB of onboard storage letting you save photos and videos directly to the aircraft on the go, plus a micro SD card slot for additional storage capacity. The newly-added USB-C port makes exporting captured footage easy and fast.
Expand Your Creativity
Mavic Air’s intelligent camera system creates new possibilities for anyone regardless of their photography and drone piloting experience. Photo enthusiasts who want to capture their surroundings in complete detail can use the new Sphere panorama feature to automatically shoot and stitch together 25 photos, creating a crystal-clear 32-megapixel panoramic image within one minute. Mavic Air also supports multiple panorama modes, creating horizontal, vertical, and 180 degree images.
QuickShot intelligent video modes make creating professional videos fun and easy with predefined flight paths that automatically keep your subject in the frame. Use Rocket, Dronie, Circle, or Helix plus two new modes Asteroid and Boomerang, to effortlessly create videos that once required significant piloting skills and sophisticated editing software. Asteroid starts with a spherical image that zooms in as it descends toward the subject on the ground, while Boomerang circles the subject in an oval-shaped flight path with the video finishing at the start point.
Mavic Air’s ActiveTrack intelligent flight mode has been improved to automatically sense multiple subjects, following your subject and keeping it in the frame with more precision, especially during high motion activities like running and cycling.
Powered by machine learning technology, SmartCapture[1] is an ultra-responsive control mode that makes shooting photos and videos effortless. With a maximum range of up to six meters (20 feet), you can give hand gesture commands to launch, follow, photograph, record, push, pull and land, letting you capture the moment from any angle without the need for a remote controller.
Smarter, Safer Flight
More powerful computing capabilities and optimised algorithms help Mavic Air fly smarter and safer through obstacles and terrain. FlightAutonomy 2.0 processes data gathered from seven onboard cameras and infrared sensors to construct a 3D map of its environment for more precise hovering and better flight performance. The improved forward and backward dual camera vision systems can sense obstacles up to 20 meters (66 feet) away. To help navigate through more complex outdoor environments, Mavic Air has newly developed Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems that helps pilots avoid and bypass obstacles automatically, providing an extra layer of reassurance during flight.
Mavic Air has a maximum flight time of up to 21 minutes. It can fly stably in windy conditions of up to 22 mph (36 kph) and at high elevations of up to 5,000 meters (16,404 feet) above sea level[2]. Mavic Air’s remote is the first to feature detachable control sticks that can be stored inside the remote controller for added portability. Its omnidirectional antennas placed on the foldable landing gear help increase signal coverage to deliver a maximum range of up to 2.5 miles (4km)[3] with 1080p real-time video transmission when flying with the remote controller. When in Sport mode, Mavic Air flies at exhilarating speeds of up to 42 mph (68 kph) and is compatible with DJI Goggles for an immersive FPV flight experience.
Price and Availability
Mavic Air will be available in three colors: Onyx Black, Arctic White and Flame Red. The retail price including the drone, battery, remote controller, carrying case, two pairs of propeller guards and four pairs of propellers, is 769 GBP (849 EUR). The Mavic Air Fly More Combo includes the drone, three batteries, a remote controller, a travel bag, two pairs of propeller guards, six pairs of propellers, a battery to power bank adapter and battery charging hub, for 949 GBP (1,049 EUR).
Starting today, Mavic Air will be available for pre-order at, the four DJI Flagship Stores and authorized dealers. Pre-orders will start shipping on January 28. For more information on all the new features and capabilities of Mavic Air, please visit
DJI Care Refresh
DJI Care Refresh is available in select countries and provides peace of mind for Mavic Air owners. DJI Care Refresh covers accidental damage to the aircraft, gimbal or camera during normal use for up to 12 months, and for an additional charge, the plan will offer up to two full replacements that are new or equivalent to new. DJI Care Refresh is available for 89 GBP (99 EUR) before the new Mavic Air is activated, or within the first 48 hours after activation. For more info or service availability in your country, please visit
[1] It is recommended to use Mavic Air’s propeller guards, when using SmartCapture
[2] Maximum flight service ceiling. Maximum flight altitude above ground level is limited for safety purposes.
[3] The aircraft must be unobstructed and free of interference, using a remote controller when FCC compliant. When EC compliant the maximum range is 1.2 miles (2km). Always follow applicable laws and regulations when flying.
DJI is a global leader in developing and manufacturing civilian drones and aerial imaging technology for personal and professional use. DJI was founded and is run by people with a passion for remote-controlled helicopters and experts in flight-control technology and camera stabilization. The company is dedicated to making aerial photography and filmmaking equipment and platforms more accessible, reliable and easier to use for creators and innovators around the world. DJI’s global operations currently span across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and its revolutionary products and solutions have been chosen by customers in over 100 countries for applications in filmmaking, construction, emergency response, agriculture, conservation and many other industries.

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Android Oreo 8.1: No more guesswork about Wi-Fi speed

With the update to Android 8.1 Oreo, Google is introducing a new feature that shows the speed of Wi-Fi networks before connecting. This information can prove extremely helpful when seeking out public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are always a big mystery in terms of speed. Is it worth trying to connect your smartphone to the hotspot, or is the network too slow anyway? If there are several networks to choose from, you have to try all of them to find out which is the fastest and has the strongest signal. With Android 8.1 Oreo, the trial and error approach is a thing of the past. Even before you connect to a public Wi-Fi network with your smartphone, you’ll be able to see the strength and speed of the network. The Wi-Fi symbol in the network list shows the signal strength: the fuller the icon, the stronger the signal. Below the network name, Google also displays the following four speed levels:

Slow: If you can use Wi-Fi calling, you can make phone calls and send texts.
OK: You can read webpages, use social media, and stream music.
Fast: You can stream most videos.
Very Fast: You can stream very high-quality videos.

Of course, this feature works only on public, unsecured networks. If a Wi-Fi network is protected with a password, Android only displays a lock as an icon, because the speed of the network can’t be determined.

Public Wi-Fi can be spotty. For the first time, 8.1 lets you take out the guesswork & see the speed of networks before you hit connect. Rolling out now:
— Android (@Android)

Do you think this Android 8.1 Oreo feature is helpful, or not? Tell us in the comments!

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Facebook acquires biometric ID verification startup

Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s acquired… The startup offered an API that let other companies quickly verify someone’s government issued identification card like a driver’s license was authentic. The Boston-based startup will shut down as both its team and technology are rolled into Facebook, where it could help users who are locked out of their accounts. had raised at least $4 million from investors including Cava Capital since launching three years ago. The 2015 seed round funded advanced forensics used to pull information from an ID card, as well as mobile biometerics and facial recognition to confirm a person’s identity before the startup deleted the personal data

Clients could quickly integrate the tech, which sped up on-demand startup staff onboarding. Food delivery service Doordash used to verify its drivers, while Notarize used it to authenticate the identity of customers looking to file documents.
The startup writes “When we launched Confirm, our mission was to become the market’s trusted identity origination platform for which other multifactor verification services can build upon. Now, we’re ready to take the next step on our journey with Facebook. However, in the meantime this means all of our current digital ID authentication software offerings will be wound down.”’s ID authentication feature

Facebook tells TechCrunch “We are excited to welcome the Confirm team to Facebook. Their technology and expertise will support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe.”

Facebook tests selfie-to-unlock feature

Facebook could potentially use the technology to have people confirm their identities if they’re locked out of their accounts after being hacked or losing their password. Back in September we spotted Facebook testing a feature that let you unlock your account using a selfie. And since at least 2013, Facebook has let people mail in a copy of their photo ID or other identity verification materials in order to regain access to their account.
Since this is a full acquisition, not just an acqhire,’s team and tech could help Facebook strengthen and streamline these options. And one day, perhaps Facebook could even serve as your ID card in some situations. Face ID on the iPhone X could eventually be opened to third-parties to power more biometric security across apps. With our keys and payment cards becoming digitized and part of our phone, the ID card is really the last reason you have to carry an old-school wallet.

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Halo 6 release date rumours and news: Will Halo 6 see a 2018 release? 343 Industries says not to bet on it

As the second Halo title from 343 Industries, and the first “next-gen” Halo game, Halo 5 had a lot to live up to – and it was a bit of a mixed bag. But can Halo 6 really do much better?
Going from what we know so far, it’s likely we’ll see 343 Industries shift attention back onto Master Chief, delving deeper into the Reclaimer Saga that Halo 4 kicked off and Halo 5 failed to resolve. It’s still early days for this Xbox exclusive, but everybody knows it’s on the way. Here’s everything we know so far about 343 Industries’ plan for Halo 6.
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Halo 6: Everything you need to know
Halo 6 release date: When’s it coming out?
We saw and heard absolutely nothing about Halo 6 at E3 2017. This is likely to mean it won’t be making an appearance on store shelves over the next year to 18 months – taking a 2018 release date out of the question entirely.
This is supported by a blog post from 343 Industries that seems to imply Halo 6 won’t be arriving in 2018. Community manager of 343 Industries, Brian Jarrard, wrote: “2018 has arrived and with it, the promise of new fun times to be had and adventures to be embarked upon. No, not those adventures, but plenty of exciting ones regardless.”

Jarrard’s cryptic message is almost certainly referencing Halo, 343’s biggest money-maker and leading series. It doesn’t take a genius to read into his message that Halo 6 is unlikely to arrive in 2018.
Historically, there’s often been a three-year gap between each main entry into the Halo series. For example, Halo 5 Guardians was released in October 2015 – three years after Halo 4’s 2012 release date. Going by the same release pattern, Halo 6 should land in late 2018 but, as we’ve deciphered, Halo 6 is not likely to be out this year.
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Halo 6 announcement: When can we expect a Halo 6 trailer?
It’s unclear when we’ll see Halo 6 announced. You could interpret Jarrard’s message as saying there’ll be no signs at all of Halo 6 in 2018. If this is the case, you can bet it will skip Gamescom for another year and won’t make an appearance at E3 2018 either.
However, with Microsoft in dire need of news on the exclusives front, 343 Industries may use E3 2018 to launch its Halo 6 marketing campaign. It’s likely we’ll see teaser footage at E3 2018 in June and then a full announcement at Gamescom in August 2018.
Halo 6 story and the Reclaimers: What will Halo 6 be about?
As the sixth entry into the main Halo series, Halo 6 isn’t just another sequel: it’s the concluding game in the second trilogy that began with Halo 4. While there may be no concrete details around Halo 6’s story yet, we can make some educated guesses thanks to the open ending of Halo 5.
Without wanting to dole out spoilers – although it’s been nearly three years, so you should have played Halo 5 by now – things didn’t look good for Master Chief at the end of Halo 5. Cortana and another rogue AI were working together to take over the galaxy, all while Master Chief was being chased down by the UNSC who believed he was the bad guy in all of this. Now, though, Master Chief is partnered up with his assailant-come-newfound-allies, and is heading out to reclaim the galaxy from these rampant AI.

It’s expected that, this time around, the focus will be squarely on the Master Chief. Halo 5 alienated some long-term series fans as so much of the game was spent outside of the Chief’s boots. 343 should have seen this coming: Halo 3 did something similar, with sections jumping between the Arbiter and Master Chief, and people were not best pleased.
Speaking to GamesTM, franchise development director Frank O’Connor revealed that the team “took some digs for the storytelling,” with Halo 5. “We definitely marketed in a way that we hoped was going to bring surprise, but for some fans and certainly fans of Master Chief, it was a huge disappointment because they wanted more Chief.”
Halo 6 gameplay: How will it play?
Chances are that Halo 6 will play very similarly to previous Halo entries. Aside from Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, the main entries of Halo haven’t really mixed up gameplay beyond keeping up with general trends in first-person shooters. Don’t expect this to change.
However, Microsoft Studios’ corporate VP Bonnie Ross confirmed at DICE 2017 that Halo 6 will bring back split-screen co-op multiplayer. For some reason, 343 Industries made the decision to remove it for Halo 5 and that didn’t go down well with fans. An online co-op will still be included, but now players have a choice again, which is always welcome.
Will Halo 6 be Xbox One X optimised?
I can say with certainty that, when Halo 6 does eventually arrive, it will run like a dream on the Xbox One X. There are already some great games optimised for the Xbox One X, and Microsoft will be targeting the Xbox One X as the ultimate showcase of its flagship shooter series, promising silky-smooth 60fps 4K gameplay to boot. 
Obviously it will also run on the Xbox One S with no problems and, thanks to Microsoft’s new Play Anywhere initiative, it’s likely to come to PC as well. Even Xbox head Phil Spencer said he doesn’t see any reason why it wouldn’t arrive on PC, which is great to hear despite the fact that both Halo 4 and Halo 5 haven’t yet made their way onto Windows 10.

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Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan swapping teams is the best move for everyone

Arsenal, Manchester United, and both players will benefit immensely from this move.
One of the longest running transfer sagas of the winter window has come to and end, and while it took a different shape than we thought it would a couple of weeks ago, it could have a fairly profound impact on the rest of the Premier League season. Alexis Sanchez has left Arsenal after three and a half years and joined Manchester United, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way in a rare swap of two higher-profile players.
This is a transfer that has a major effect on both teams, and while it may not directly influence the title race — let’s be honest, Manchester City is running away with that sucker and Sanchez won’t help United close the gap that much — it will make the race for the top four more compelling. Both teams are getting a player they very much need in order to improve themselves down the final stretch of the season, and it could help to re-shape how the season plays out from here.
The bigger headline-grabbing part of this move is Sanchez’s move to Manchester United. His presence gives them the more dynamic, flow-shifting attacker they’ve needed for ages. Romelu Lukaku gave them the hyper-athletic battering ram that helped them bulldoze opponents early on, but without a slashing presence to play off him and keep defenses honest, his form has struggled as defenses have focused on him.
United have tried various players in different roles to help him, but none of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, or Juan Mata brought the full set of on-ball talents that Sanchez does to support and free up Lukaku. His ability to play both as a creative presence and a direct attacking option who can cut apart defenses on his own will make Manchester much more difficult to gameplan against than they have been for the last few months.
For Arsenal, Mkhitaryan brings them a more balanced presence that they’ve needed. Andre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi, and Granit Xhaka all represent good players in attack and midfield, but they’ve lacked a facilitating presence who can support and link all of those players and their roles. Jack Wilshere has been tried in that role in varying degrees of success, but for the most part, Arsenal’s varying players in those key areas of the pitch have had to function as individuals, not as a unit.
Mkhitaryan can be that facilitating player, the linking element who binds those disparate pieces together. At Borussia Dortmund, he was at his best when he was allowed to roam, filling the gaps around the pitch using his work rate to get where his teammates needed him to be to either keep the ball moving, reset an attack, or make a key run back to help cut off a counter attack. At Manchester United, he’d been used more rigidly, locked into one role for a game and not even allowed to settle into that role for long before his shaky form had Jose Mourinho yanking him from the lineup. Arsene Wenger has used players like Mkhitaryan in the past, though, and will almost certainly recognize the value of his versatility and utilize him accordingly.
But more than the good for for the teams this deal represents, it’s also a good move for the players themselves. Sanchez and Wenger clearly didn’t see eye-to-eye anymore, and he wanted a new — and presumably higher-level — challenge than what Arsenal was currently able to offer him. That’s why he started running down his contract and trying to force a move. At United, he’ll get that challenge, even if they’re pretty much out of the title race already this season. Mkhitaryan had struggled under Mourinho at Manchester United, stuck in a more rigid system than he works well in. Both players should now be in environments that will be better for their careers, and improve on their recently down form because of it.
At their best, Sanchez and Mkhitaryan can be two of the best players in the EPL. This season, that hasn’t been the case, but these moves should help unlock that potential again. It’s also going to make both Manchester United and Arsenal better teams after fading in form for some time, making the top-four race among United, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur much more interesting during the run-in to the end of the season. This is a much-needed injection of quality and excitement at the upper end of the EPL table, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch how this transfer pans out for everyone involved.
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Australian Open: Wozniacki advances as Nadal goes out – as it happened

Caroline Wozniacki is in the semi-finals at Melbourne Park after overcoming Carla Suárez Navarro in three sets after Rafa Nadal was forced to retire with injury in the deciding set against Marin Cilic

Edmund stuns Dimitrov to set up semi-final against Cilic

2.44pm GMT
Wozniacki speaks: “I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy,” she says. “A lot of games in the first set were quite close, but I was proud that I managed to stay cool. She [Suarez Navarro] improved in the second set and made me step back to the baseline. I stepped a bit closer to the baseline in the third set and I feel had a little more energy in the end.” On Elise Mertens, her semi-final opponent, she says “she’s had an amazing start to the year. It’s gonna be a tough one.”
Wozniacki found another gear in that final set just when she needed it – and she’ll need it again in her semi-final when she goes in search of her first appearance in the final at Melbourne and, of course, that elusive slam.
2.39pm GMT
Third set: Wozniacki* 6-0, 6-7, 6-2 Suárez Navarro (*denotes server) Wozniacki rounds off an impressive performance by securing victory with some comfort. A bit of late-80s pop nostalgia with Mental as Anything’s Live It Up played on the PA serenades the players back on court. Wozniacki begins with another excellent first serve, that enables an easy one-two and a 15-0 lead. Another two errors from her opponent takes the Dane to three match points. She squanders the first of them with a netted forehand after a long rally and some more focused returning from Suarez Navarro, but secures her place in the semi-finals when the Spaniard overhits from the back of the court again. Wozniacki raises her arms – she’s in the last four, and it’s 1.39am local time.
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Michael Jordan says he would only trade Kemba Walker for an All-Star

Jordan doesn’t want to trade Walker, but admits he has been involved in trade talks.
Late Monday night, Charlotte Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan confirmed an ESPN report that Kemba Walker had been involved in trade talks in advance of this season’s Feb. 8 trade deadline. In an exclusive interview with The Charlotte Observer, Jordan said that he wasn’t actively looking to trade the 2017 All-Star, but that it wasn’t off the table.
“It’s not like we are shopping him,” Jordan said. “We would not just give him up. I love Kemba Walker. I would not trade him for anything but an All-Star player.”
Jordan admitted that he was disappointed with Charlotte’s season, as the team has limped to a 19-26 record and sit four games out of the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference despite entering the season with playoff hopes.
“Obviously, the season has been a disappointment so far, and there have been teams asking about players. Also, we’ve been asking about players,” Jordan told The Observer. “We ask teams who they like on our roster and they always say Kemba.”

When the trade rumors were originally reported, Walker responded fervently, making it clear that he didn’t wish to leave the Hornets.
“I’d be pretty upset,” Walker told reporters when asked about it. “I have put my heart and soul into this city.”
Walker described his close relationship with head coach Steve Clifford, and his unwavering support of the city and community. All that is true, as Walker is building a house in Charlotte and sits only 800 points away from becoming the all-time leading Hornets scorer. Clifford echoed those sentiments:
“I think it would be hard to trade him,” Clifford said. “He’s our best player, he’s the face of the franchise, and I think it would be very difficult to find a scenario where he’d get traded.”
However, in the Monday interview, Jordan didn’t rule it out, even while expressing his support for the 27-year-old point guard who is averaging 22 points and six assists this season.
“I’m telling you I believe in my team,” Jordan concluded. “I’m disappointed in our record and I’m frustrated at times. But I’m telling you I like everything about Kemba’s work. I’m not just going to throw him away.”

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New OnePlus 5T Camera Mod Dramatically Improves Performance

Richard Goodwin

23/01/2018 – 10:01am

The OnePlus 5T is one of the best Android phones around right now, and a new camera module for the phone makes it EVEN BETTER

The OnePlus 5T is one of the best Android phones around right now, and a new camera module for the phone makes it EVEN BETTER
The camera on the OnePlus 5T is decent. But a new camera mod called the Camera M Mod makes things even better with improved detail in captured images. And best of all? You can download it for free right now.
The camera is the one area of the OnePlus 5T where things aren’t quite as good as the competition. It’s decent enough, but it’s no way near as good as the shooter on the Google Pixel 2 XL or the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
The Camera M Mod, however, helps to lessen this disparity. And then some, as you can see below in the images.

How the Camera M Mod works is simple enough: it takes the existing OnePlus 5T and essentially puts it on steroids by increasing the JPG quality to 100 which adds in WAY more detail to captured images.
However, in order to get this mod up and running on your OnePlus 5T you will need Magisk installed on your phone and have your phone rooted.
The mod comes via XDA Developers and you can download it by following the instructions found here. Before doing anything, however, I would strongly advise you to read ALL the comments and information in the thread. That way you know exactly what you’re doing/getting yourself into

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Why the HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro’s NPU is the future of smartphone AI

Androids going rogue, all-powerful sentient networks causing global Armageddon – the picture painted hasn’t always been a positive one. With AI becoming a practical reality in recent years, however, the real-world outlook is, luckily, a lot more positive.
Today, AI-powered algorithms can recognise your voice and respond in real time. They can translate foreign languages for you on the fly and they can help you organise, categorise and search through huge libraries of photographs without you having to laboriously tag them by hand.
And, amazingly enough, the power of the internet has brought all of this AI magic to the smartphone in your pocket, with digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, and automatic image recognition via Google Photos now available to pretty much every phone owner on the planet.
Cloud vs on-device AI
AI is so commonplace, in fact, that we already take it for granted. But there’s still a long way to go before it becomes truly ubiquitous and that’s because most AI computation today takes place in the cloud, on servers with dedicated AI hardware. In other words, you need an internet connection for it to work. Your phones and laptops aren’t as clever as you think; they’re merely conduits. The real AI resides in the cloud.
The processors in smartphones, although powerful, simply aren’t suited to the sort of repetitive computations required for things like voice and image recognition. Right now, not only would such operations take too long to complete on a phone, they’d hog resources, slowing the phone down in other areas, and they’d quickly drain your battery as well.
That’s going to change soon, though, and in the future, more phones will be like the HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro. The Mate 10’s Kirin 970 SoC (system on chip) processor includes a special module dedicated to AI calculations: the NPU (neural processing unit).
Without getting too deep into complicated mathematics, the idea is that the NPU is able to process the sorts of calculations involved with AI-type functions more swiftly and with less impact on the main CPU.

What can the NPU on the Mate 10 Pro be used for?
You might, at this point, be wondering what sorts of things this new silicon allows your phone to do. After all, today’s digital assistants work incredibly well and quickly, too. And how often are you really without an internet connection? Trouble is, they slow up when your internet connection does and disappear entirely when your connection goes down.
Phones with dedicated AI hardware could shift a lot of the work of your digital assistant to the phone and although you’d still need the internet for some questions, it could carry out other tasks – like launching an app, for instance, or playing a downloaded Spotify playlist – without the need for a data connection.
There’s so much more dedicated AI hardware can do than simple digital assistant work, however. This is ably demonstrated by the HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro and its most exciting party trick: live, on-the-fly scene and object recognition in the camera app. Most cameras, whether they be hulking DSLRs or smartphone cameras have a number of scene modes you can choose from, which prioritise certain settings that help the camera capture the shot you want. Select sports mode, for instance, and the camera favours high shutter speeds in low light, thus preventing motion blur. A food mode, meanwhile, is likely to accentuate, and slightly over-saturate, the colours.
On most cameras these modes are manually selected; not so on the HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro. Using its NPU to help it analyse the environment, the Mate 10 can recognise different objects and scenes, from text to food and faces, adjusting colour, contrast, brightness, and exposure in an instant. Not only that, but the Mate 10 also uses its NPU to help the camera select the perfect focus mode for the scene at hand.
The phone also has a specially accelerated version of Microsoft Translator preinstalled, which translates up to “500% faster than other smartphones running the same app” and without the need for an internet connection. It’s certainly nippy: point the Mate 10 at a French restaurant menu, take a picture and it translates it into English, without the need for an internet connection, in seconds.
AI and power management
But that’s not the end of the HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro’s AI talents. There’s also machine learning built into the core of the phone’s software, specifically its power management controls, which is great news if you’re sick of having to charge your phone every single day.
The Mate 10 Pro uses its NPU capabilities to analyse and monitor users’ habits and intelligently optimise its power management schemes. It can recognise which apps are important to the user and prioritise those, while preventing others from sapping precious battery life.
Not only that, but the phone is also loaded with a number of different profiles that allow it to spot different high-power drain scenarios – mobile gaming and camera use, for instance – and manage the phone’s resources in the interests of extending battery life.
Having the NPU and machine learning underpinning the power-management systems certainly seems to work. In fact, the HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro is among the best handsets you can buy for battery life right now, lasting up to two days between charges.
So far, there is no other smartphone with a dedicated AI processor, so the applications of the technology are still nascent and developers have yet to take full advantage. But with the Mate 10 Pro, Huawei is blazing a trail and offering a glimpse of an AI-powered future that isn’t tethered to the cloud.
It’s the sort of technology that – very soon – will spread into all aspects of our lives and, I’d wager, this time next year every phone and mobile chipset manufacturer will be following Huawei’s lead.

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Will the new Sony Xperia ditch the 3.5 mm headphone jack?

It’s inevitable that we’ll be seeing more and more smartphone manufacturers removing the 3.5 mm headphone jack from new devices, and it looks like Sony will be joining them too. Newly released documents from the FCC (US Federal Communications Commission) suggest that the new Sony Xperia will be the first in the series to get rid of it. Sony fans: is this disappointing or is it a welcome change?

How can we be certain that it won’t have a headset jack? In the FCC documents (with the ID, PY7-21831A), it seems that the phones will use a USB Type-C port for audio as well as charging. The included dongle will allow you to both charge and listen at the same time.
 USB Type-C port will replace the jack © AndroidPIT

What else can we expect?
Although we don’t have any major information about the new Sony Xperia from these documents, there are some more interesting hints. Besides the headphone jack, we can also predict that the dimensions of the smartphone will be 152.79 x 72.42mm, with a 5.7inch display and may have thinner bezels if it is to follow the lead of other smartphones with 18:9 displays such as the OnePlus 5T, Mate 10 Pro, and LG V30, and also Samsung, who are apparently working towards the 100 percent display.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
This news is not surprising however, as it’s no secret that Sony may be dramatically redesigning their Xperia smartphones. We predict that the phone in question could be the Sony Xperia XZ pro, but we can’t be sure until MWC next month. 

It’s about time that Sony modernized its smartphone designs.
What do you think?

So, keep your eyes peeled for the potential unveiling of a high-end Sony phone, and tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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