OnePlus 5 battery life set for major improvement – report

Good news! OnePlus 5 owners may be about to get a significant boost to battery life thanks to a newly rumoured software update.

Another day, another OnePlus 5 software update – at least according to a French tech blog that claims OnePlus is cooking up a seriously tasty upgrade for owners of the company’s last flagship smartphone.

In a new blog post, French outlet Frandroid claims that OnePlus is hoping to improve battery life for the OnePlus 5. The claim is that the OnePlus 5 will soon be capable of achieving seven hours of screen-on time, while consuming just 50% of the battery charge. To do this, the company is reportedly making adjustments to the kernel – the bit of software that manages all the components in your device – to give better autonomy to the phone battery.

The article notes that one possible solution would be the integration of Energy Aware Scheduling (EAS), a power management system that lets the kernel take better advantage of multi-core architectures. An example of that would be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, the OnePlus 5 chipset that is built based on ARM’s multi-core big.LITTLE design.

With EAS, the OnePlus 5 would be able to better manage the different cores of the processor and distribute computing tasks accordingly, assigning processes to high-power or low-power cores dependant on the requirement.

EAS has already been implemented on the Google Pixel phones, as Google added ARM’s EAS system to the Android 3.18 kernel last summer – that’s the version Pixel phones use. Google also added it to kernel 4.4 in June this year, which is the kernel version used by the OnePlus 5.

According to Frandroid, the new version of OnePlus’ OxygenOS should be available in the coming weeks, although it admits that there may be delays if bugs emerge.

The bad news is that there’s no way of verifying this information, since OnePlus hasn’t made any official statements on the matter. Given that the article’s source is anonymous, we’d recommend taking this leak with due caution until we get official word from OnePlus about such an update.

This new WhatsApp feature isn’t exactly killer – but it’s damn useful

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp now enables users to exchange files of any kind.

In a new update, the firm has extended document attachments beyond the PDFs it enabled last year.

Now users can send any files, as long as they’re under 100MB. That also means users will be able to share higher-res photos with each other.

Elsewhere, the app will now allow users to use formatted text with bold, italic and strike-through text now possible. All you’ll need to do is hold your finger down on the words you’d like to format.

Also part of the roll-out for Android is the new photo album system, which came to iOS users last month.

The update automatically groups photos together in an album, rather than each appearing concurrently within the message thread.

The images will appear as a grid, with additional images being represented numerically in the bottom right corner of the grid.

The update is rolling out to both iOS and Android users now.

Report: Amazon’s next Echo will tackle the threat of Apple’s HomePod

Amazon is plotting a new Echo speaker featuring greatly improved sound, as it seeks to head of the threat of the incoming Apple HomePod speaker.

According to sources speaking to Engadget, the next smart speaker will add in ‘several’ tweeters, rather than the single tweeter and woofer combo featured in the current model.

This would offset the biggest criticism levied at the popular Alexa-packing device; the poor sound compared with other Bluetooth-enabled speakers, as well as the Google Home rival.

Meanwhile, the company plans to reduce the physical footprint, with the source describing it as 3-4 Echo Dot devices stacked upon each other.

Amazon is also ditching the plastic speaker grille, according to the report. Instead it’ll use a cloth covering that could ensure a more premium-looking product.

The improvements don’t stop there, Wednesday’s report says, with Amazon plotting to boost the microphone technology in a way that’s still unclear.

Currently the Amazon Echo has a total of 7 far-field mics, so it’s unlikely the firm is going to be adding more. It may be that the next-gen Echo simply improves its already excellent voice recognition tech.

It’s unclear when Amazon will release its new Echo, what it’ll be called and how much it’ll cost. However, if the retail giant is seeking to go all-in and challenge Apple’s HomePod we may end up seeing a more premium price point.

Amazon has naturally declined to comment on the reports, but we’re already prepping us for the best Echo yet. Let’s hope we see it on sale for Prime Day 2018!

Here’s when Moto will be announcing those recently leaked devices

Lenovo-owned Motorola has announced it is holding an event later this month, where it is likely to announce a fleet of new smartphones.

The #hellomotoworld event will take place in New York on July 25, where the Moto Z2 Force and the Moto X4 handsets will surely be on display.

The Moto Z2 Force has been tipped as the firm’s 2017 flagship handset. It’s said to include a dual camera, a sleek design and a front-facing fingerprint sensor built into the home button.

It will likely be a tougher and more capable version of the Z2 Play, which was announced last month. It is reported there’ll be a Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB RAM and a 5.5-inch QHD display.

A recent render of the Z2 Force also showed the Moto Mods connector. As such, we’re also likely to get a closer look at the slew of new modular accessories that were tipped at an event in Ghana last week (via Android Central).

The event previewed a 360-degree camera, a GoPro-style action camera, a DSLR Mod and a Marshall-branded speaker.

As for the Moto X4, we reportedly got our first look at the specs and design this week.

The well-connected Evan Blass believes the Moto X4 will arrive towards the end of the year with an octa-core Snapdragon 620 processor running at 2.2GHz and coupled with 4GB of RAM.

The 5.2-inch full HD screen will show off Android 7.1 Nougat, while there’ll also be a 3,000mAh battery, IP68 water resistance and 64GB of internal storage, plus microSD.

The rear cameras will be 8-megapixels and 12-megapixels respectively, according to Blass, while the front-facing selfie cam will be a whopping 16-megapixels.

Get an Xbox One S with Forza Horizon 3 for under £190

We’ve got a deal that we reckon can finally convince you to make the leap and pick up an Xbox One S.

Grainger Games is doing a cracking deal on the Xbox One S, which gets you the 500GB version of the console as well as a copy of Forza Horizon 3 – all for just £188.99

On Amazon for instance, you’d pay £197.99 for an Xbox One S (500GB) and £31.99 for Forza Horizon 3, which totals £229.98. That means you’re saving a hefty £40.99 by bagging this deal.

We gave the Xbox One S a 4/5 score in our review, praising the console’s 4K game upscaling, the HDR compatibility, the great value for money (especially as a UHD Blu-ray player), and the small form factor.

Here’s our verdict, which was written around the time of the console’s launch last year:

“The Xbox One S is far better than the original Xbox One, with improvements on every front. It’s smaller, it’s prettier and it includes a greater number of features. Sure, the gaming element is almost unchanged, but HDR gaming compatibility means at least a degree of future-proofing. Then there’s the 4K output: although it’s upscaled, rather than native, right now this is the best you’ll get from a console.”

“But the real worth is the ability to play UHD Blu-rays. This is the most affordable 4K Blu-ray player on the market, and it’s a competent performer to boot. If you own a 4K TV and you want your movies and games looking their best, the Xbox One S is a no-brainer.”

“Microsoft faces competition from Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro. While the Sony offers 4K and HDR in gaming, it doesn’t play UHD Blu-rays. That’s a major omission in my book, leaving an open goal for the Xbox One S.”

Meanwhile, Forza Horizon 3 scored a very rare 5/5 score when we reviewed it, with key highlights including the wide roster of extremely customisable cars, the beautiful graphics, the fun and varied events, the impressive and varying range of terrains, the competitive Drivatar AI, and the solid online multiplayer.

Here’s our verdict from last year:

“Besides that time I threw my Mustang around the bends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, I have never had a more fun, thrilling or satisfying driving experience.”

“This game gets my heart rate going like no other racer. It captures the childish glee of playing with toy cars and combines it with the adrenaline of throwing yourself around in a very expensive hunk of metal.”

“Will it last? I’ve had a solid week of this and I’m not even close to being bored yet. Then there’s Playground Games’ history of adding worthwhile expansion packs, which promises to keep things fresh.”

Is a rose gold Galaxy S8 in the works?

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ may be getting a new colour iteration, at least if purported new press renders are to be believed.

Pictures of a rose gold S8 have appeared on the Chinese social network Weibo, via PriceRaja, showing off the 6.2-inch S8+ variant sporting a light rose gold finish.

It’s worth noting the original post on Weibo now seems to be unavailable, so take these renders with a pinch of salt.

However, it’s not uncommon for Samsung to release new colours of its flagship phones after the initial launch, with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge receiving new colour options post-launch – Pink Gold being a highlight.

If these renders are real, then it seems Samsung has decided to change its colouring for the pink variants of its phonem with the S8 renders being a brighter model overall.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Bixby voice controls ‘weeks away’ as English proves taxing

Samsung’s personal assistant Bixby is still weeks away from arriving on the Galaxy S8 range, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday.

The voice-powered Siri-rival was scheduled to arrive alongside the flagship smartphones, but more than a month on, the English language version is nowhere to be seen.

Apparently, despite sounding like something a bloke from Leeds would name his dog, Bixby is still having a hard time with understanding spoken English.

The report says: “Recent internal tests of the service have revealed the voice-activated assistant is struggling to comprehend English syntax and grammar, one of the people said.”

According to the report the voice portion won’t be ready to roll out in the United States (and presumably in the UK) until “at least” late June.

Related: Galaxy S8 review

Other parts of the Bixby equation are out there, with the Vision image and text analysis tools already available in all markets. Voice, however, remains elusive.

A Samsung spokesperson told CNET: “Bixby Voice benefits from time to further enhance natural language understanding, and we are currently growing our user testing in the US to prepare for launch.”

The question is, are current Galaxy S8 adaptors really missing the presence of the voice-powered personal assistant?

Usually, when a hyped feature misses the launch window on a major device, companies are inundated by complaints by punters asking when it’ll show up.

In our experience, that hasn’t been the case this time around.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 rumour train is already building up a head of steam

The dust has only just settled on Samsung’s excellent Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, but the rumour mill has already started whirring concerning its successor.

Korean publication The Bell reports that work is already underway on what could well be the S9 (H/T SamMobile). It is claimed that the upcoming flagship will be codenamed ‘Star’, and ‘Star 2’ for the larger S9 Plus model.

The post adds that development is already ahead of schedule compared to previous years, although such rumours are common in the early development cycle of new products.

If true, though, this might suggest that ‘Star’ could land sooner than April 2018, which is when Samsung’s 2017 product release cycle indicates it’s likely to be released.

However, we should stress that these rumours can’t be confirmed and should naturally be taken with many pinches of salt.

Specific details on what Star will feature or what it might look like are thin on the ground, but we reckon it will be more of an incremental update focusing on improving the fingerprint scanner (an in-display reader has been mooted, potentially being debuted with the Note 8) and the already-beautiful Infinity Display.

Indeed, if the S9 is anything like its predecessor, then Samsung will again be looking to push the boundaries of what a premium handset can offer.

We certainly wouldn’t recommend holding off picking up the S8 or S8 Plus, though, as they’re two of the best phones you can buy right now, with our mobile editor Max Parker writing that the S8 is: “Easily the best phone around right now. It feels like the future.”

Is this Samsung’s first dual-camera Galaxy smartphone?

A supposed new Samsung leak appears to bolster rumours that the company is working on a phone with a dual camera.

Like all industries, the smartphone market is prone to trends. This year one of those prevailing trends is the dual camera. It’s undeniably en vogue, with major flagship phones like the iPhone 7 Plus, Huawei P10, and LG G6 all utilising the technology. But Samsung decided against the feature with its Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone this year.

However, we’ve heard persistent rumours that Samsung is going to trial the technology on an upcoming Galaxy C-series device. Excitingly, an image of what’s claimed to be the unannounced Samsung Galaxy C10 has turned up on Chinese social media site Weibo. What’s important here is that the image depicts the phone as having a dual camera module.

Now it has to be said that Weibo is a hotbed of leaks, but they’re not always accurate. After all, it’s basically China’s Twitter. However, given the consistency of Galaxy C10 leaks, we’d inclined to believe that Samsung is readying up a phone with a dual camera.

At the very least, we’d be very surprised if we didn’t see a dual camera phone from Samsung within the next year. It’s highly likely that the next round of iPhones will use the technology, and it’s also rumoured that the OnePlus 5 will feature it too. That’s why it’s been heavily tipped that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will make the switch towards the end of summer, giving users a reason to upgrade beyond the Galaxy S8.

Unfortunately, there’s no way of us verifying the legitimacy of this leak, so take it with due caution.

iPhone 8 might not be delayed until 2018 after all

Rumours that Apple’s iPhone 8 might by delayed until next year have been challenged by a new report from China.

It’s long been rumoured that Apple is going big this year; the 10th anniversary iPhone is tipped to pack all kinds of new features. But this impressive showing also led to rumours that the phone would be delayed on account of supply chain issues. For instance, it’s been claimed that yield for OLED displays – expected to be finally added to the iPhone this year – has been lower than expected.

According to China’s Economic Daily News (EDN) however, the iPhone won’t delayed at all. The publication alleges that production is on track, and that the first units will be available for sale as soon as October. Bear in mind, however, this this information can’t be verified, and may be inaccurate.

Previous reports had suggested that despite Apple’s plans to have phones ready by August or September, production had been delayed until the fourth quarter of 2017 – delaying sale until 2018. But the EDN report notes that key suppliers, including chipmaker TSMC, circuit board makers Zhen Ding Technology and Kinsus Interconnect Technology, and battery supplier Simplo Technology are all ready to ramp up iPhone parts in June.

Taiwan’s TSMC, which manufactures Apple chips, is expected to begin fabricating the wafers for Apple’s new A11 chip on June 10 according to the report, and is tipped to deliver the chips in high volume by the second half of July.

What’s more, assembly giants like Foxconn and Pegatron are said to be accelerating the recruitment and training of new workers ahead of iPhone 8 mass production.

The iPhone 8 is expected to arrive in September this year, and will mark the 10th anniversary of Apple smartphones. The working theory is that the iPhone 8 will be a special edition device that lands alongside two more conventional iPhone 7S devices.

Apple is tipped to introduce OLED displays and an all-screen front design, which would be a marked departure from previous iPhone handsets. For instance, OLED displays are much more efficient, as well as producing a better colour gamut and wider dynamic range, than conventional LCD panels. Samsung has been using OLED screens for years on its flagship Galaxy smartphones – including the new Galaxy S8. However, this situation was helped by the fact that Samsung manufactures the lion’s share of phone-sized OLED panels globally.

Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t actually confirmed any details about its plans for new smartphones, so take this report with due caution. We often hear a flurry of supply chain news ahead of official iPhone launches, but it’s not always correct.