Samsung Galaxy S9, and Sony Xperia, LG G7

Many technology companies will showcase their new products and smart gadgets at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show 2018 (CES 2018), and some smartphone makers like Samsung, Sony and LG are also expected to take part in the event.

Samsung Galaxy S9, LG G7 and Sony’s ultimate flagship of the Xperia series are few devices that are expected to be unveiled at the event which is to be held between January 9, 2018, to January 12, 2018.

Also read: Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ launch imminent as mass production of Exynos chipset begins

Here are the smartphones expected to be announced at the CES 2018:

Galaxy S9 rumours

The bottom bezels on the Galaxy S9 could be next to non-existent.Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9+

Samsung has the tradition of unveiling its flagship (Galaxy S series) in February before releasing it to the market in the following month but reports have claimed that it will be different this time: the handsets will be announced at the upcoming CES 2018 which is in January. However, it is not confirmed yet.

The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are expected to sport a 5.8-inch (5.77-inch to be precise) Infinity Display, a 6.2-inch Infinity Display (6.22-inch to be precise) respectively and also share other key specifications like Exynos 9810 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processors, 4GB/6GB RAM, and dual camera.

Sony Xperia flagship

Sony has the tradition of announcing new products at the CES every year, and 2018 may not be an exception. The Japanese company is likely to announce its flagship, the successor of Xperia XZ1. Nothing has been leaked on the upcoming handset but stray reports have claimed that it could come with a new design besides feature upgrades from its predecessor.

LG G7

LG launched its flagship G6 at this year’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain. However, it is reported that the company will host a media event on January 8, 2018, a day before the main event kicks off, sparking off speculations that the G7 could be announced at the event. However, it is not confirmed yet.

How an Android Software Update Rolls Out [INFOGRAPHIC by Sony]

Android updates, including both security patches and major versions, are something that many people value. Granted, some are afraid of new updates as they can change things around and sometimes new bugs or performance issues might surface. For the most part, though, new Android updates are important and vital to the platform. The entire process that an Android update goes through is incredibly complex, though, so Sony just released an infographic to help illustrate the entire process.

The first phase is the “bring up” process and it starts with Google sending Android OEMs what is called a Platform Development Kit (PDK for short). This goes out a few weeks before a new version of Android is released, and it includes a collection of source files and more to help the OEM develop, optimize and test the new update. Then when Google releases the update, OEMs can start to build the foundation so they can focus on the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL).

The HAL process is focused entirely on getting the different hardware components to work with the new software. If a company doesn’t doesn’t use the same components that Qualcomm uses (which is sometimes the case), then it is up to the OEM to get this straightened out. Once that is done, they can start working on the basic features that a smartphone or tablet should be able to do. This includes but is not limited to things like making and receiving phone calls, sending and receiving messages, and internet connectivity.

With that out of the way, the OEM can then work on the software feature that make their devices stand out from the competition. In Sony’s case, this includes customizing the lock screen and other applications including contacts, music, movies, album, camera, email and other features such as Smart Stamina and Xperia Assist. With that done, they can do some internal tests within the company followed by more testing outside of the lab.

You would think that is the end but that is just phase one. With that complete, phase two begins and this is where certification and approval of the update comes into play. These devices need to meet certain standards when it comes to Bluetooth, WiFi and cellular connectivity. Some of these cellular partners also want certain things in the software as well so after those are implemented the update is put through some tests from the carrier.

Finally, with all of that out of the way they can start rolling the update out to the users. This is normally done gradually while the team sits back and checks logs for any type of critical error during the update process. If some are detected, then they need to be fixed, but if not then they’ll continue the roll out process until it’s complete.


Source: Sony Mobile

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Big news for Yi M1 owners; Olympus TG-5, Sony 70-200mm, Panasonic EVA1 updated too

by

Mike Tomkins

posted Friday, November 3, 2017 at 6:23 PM EDT


 

 

This week, our Firmware Friday roundup is dominated by big news from the folks at Yi Technology. They’ve just released an update for the Yi M1 — colloquially known as the Yi Camera — and it’s a biggie, bringing with it a bunch of improvements which should make for a more satisfying shooting experience. We also bring news of updates for the Olympus TG-5 compact, Sony’s FE 70-200 mm F2.8 GM OSS zoom lens and the just-launched, Super 35mm Panasonic EVA1 cinema camera.

We’ll start things off with Yi, since the company’s firmware aims to answer some of our own criticisms of the shooting experience since launch.

Yi M1 (aka Yi Camera)

In our YI M1 review, we noted that we’d long been awaiting a firmware update which, we were told back at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, would resolve some common pain points with the camera, the most notable being the lack of a raw+JPEG file format option. We must admit that we’d given up on that update arriving, with some nine months having passed between the show and our final conclusion, but it turns out that the update was still on the way, and it landed on Monday.

So what’s new in the Yi M1 firmware version 3.0-int? Well, on top of the promised raw+JPEG file format (woo hoo!) we understand that the overall user interface has been improved substantially, autofocus performance has been tripled, movie and JPEG-mode still image quality improved, a sleep mode and remote shooting functionality added, and a bunch of stability and compatibility issues resolved. Per Yi themselves, the firmware includes the following changes in all:

Functionality:

  1. Added exposure control in the mode P/A/S/M for video capture

  2. Added AF/MF control for video capture

  3. Added RAW+JPG format for still capture

  4. Added a quick control panel on main shooting screen, which greatly improves access to frequently used settings:

    1. Focus Mode (S-AF, C-AF, MF, MF+Peak Focus)

    2. ISO (Auto, 100-25600)

    3. White Balance

    4. Metering Mode

    5. File Format (JPEG, RAW, RAW+JPEG)

    6. Drive Mode (Single, Continuous, 2s and 10s Self-Timer)

  5. Added a histogram in live view mode for both still and video capture

  6. Added the option to shoot 1-3 images when using the self-timer function with an initial 2 second or 10 second timer setting

  7. Supports remote shooting using the YI M1 App

  8. Added still image option to Time Lapse

  9. Raised Auto ISO maximum limit from 3200 to 25600

Focus Performance:

  1. Improved AF speed by approximately 300%

  2. Improved AF speed and accuracy in low light

  3. Added new focus viewing modes with improved image quality including: 6x, 8x and 10x magnification in MF mode

  4. Supports AF upon selecting a focal point manually

Image Quality:

  1. Greatly improved 4K video quality.

  2. Greatly improved still image quality, especially in high ISO and low light environment in JPEG and RAW

  3. AE algorithm optimization greatly improved

UI/ Display:

  1. Improved Touch Screen Control experience.

  2. Added 2 ways to show the Metering mode in the UI

  3. Added the user guide (Restoring factory settings to view)

  4. Added 2 new options for the display grid

  5. Master Guide template display logic optimized

  6. Change the thumbnails in each screen from 9 to 12 images. 

  7. Improved the display for f-stop (F), shutter speed (S) and exposure compensation (EV) on the Live view interface, especially if that function cannot be selected

  8. Added a prompt message when switching Macro and Normal modes for the f/1.8 42.5mm prime lens

Other:

  1. Added multiple selection of images for deletion.

  2. improved the overall stability of the system

  3. Added sleep mode

  4. Supports ISO AUTO in M mode

  5. Added French, Italian and Spanish languages

  6. Greatly improved the compatibility with M 4/3 lenses

  7. Improved SD card compatibility

  8. Improved Auto power off function

  9. Improved the audio quality when recording video

Yi M1 owners will want to download the update from the company’s website, as well as updating their lenses to the current v1.1 firmware release if you haven’t already done so. And kudos to Yi Technology for getting these improvements through the pipeline, even if they’ve been a long time coming. Now we’re crossing our fingers for exposure bracketing to stick around longer than a single series, a change we understand is under consideration for a future firmware release.

Olympus Tough TG-5

Moving along to Olympus, the new firmware version 1.1 release for the Olympus TG-5 compact camera is rather easier to describe. Here, there are just two changes made: GPS clock accuracy has been improved, and so has the stability of connections to your computer. You can use the company’s Olympus Digital Camera Updater application to bring your own TG-5 up to the current firmware version.

Sony FE 70-200 mm F2.8 GM OSS (SEL70200GM)

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about the release of firmware version 03 for the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Apparently that update introduced an issue of its own, however, and so it has now been superceded by firmware version 04. Sony doesn’t go into specifics as to what problems the previous update could cause, noting only that “some products may not operate properly” on that release. You will of course still get the benefit of the prior release, improving continuous autofocus performance during zoom operation when shooting using a Sony A9 camera body. You can download this update here.

Panasonic AU-EVA1

Finally, we come to the just-launched Panasonic EVA1 cinema camera, a Super 35mm-based 5.7K camera with an EF lens mount. To coincide with its release, there’s a minor firmware update which resolves an issue with irregularities in its video frame sequence when shooting in Variable Frame Rate mode. You can download the update here if you’re an early adopter of an EVA1-series camera.

And that’s all for this week. Be sure to check back next time for more of the latest firmware news!

(Camera parts image courtesy of Kelly Hofer / Flickr; used under a Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0 license. Image has been modified from the original.)

PlayStation Plus free games UPDATE – Sony announces early PS Plus freebie for subscribers | Gaming | Entertainment

PlayStation Plus subscribers have been given some good news by Sony and Capcom at Paris Games Week.

As PS Plus members , one freebie has been announced early.

During Sony’s Paris Games Week Media Showcase, it was revealed that Monster Hunter World would get a PS4 beta in December.

Launching on December 9, the Monster Hunter: World beta will be available exclusively to PlayStation Plus subscribers.

“Monster Hunter: World is rapidly approaching its release, and we’re bringing you a taste of the thrill of the hunt even sooner with our online beta for PS4 coming up in December, exclusively to PlayStation Plus users!” reads a Sony blog post.

“From 9th December to 12th December, you and up to three friends can start getting your feet wet on the dangerous locales of the new world.”

The Monster Hunter World beta will take place in the Ancient Forest and the Wildspire Waste, as players hunt various beasts.

Players will also be able to try 14 different weapons, not to mention various healing, buffing and trapping items.

“In this beta, you’ll be tasked with hunting a Great Jagras and an Anjanath in the Ancient Forest, and a Barroth in the Wildspire Waste,” the post continues.

“And while these are your main quest targets, be sure to always be on the lookout for other deadly monsters roaming each ecosystem.

“Aside from your robust arsenal of 14 unique weapon types, we’re also equipping you with a variety of new Mantles to try out, a full stock of healing, buffing and trapping items, and one of the most powerful tools introduced in Monster Hunter: World: the environment itself!”

Another bonus for PS4 owners is the ability to unlock Aloy’s bow and armour from Horizon Zero Dawn.

“This hunter armour set, along with machine themed armour for your Felyne Palico, will be available for free and only on PlayStation 4, though you’ll have to prove your worth by completing a unique Event Quest and gathering the required resources.”

And speaking of PlayStation Plus free games, Sony is expected to reveal the November 2017 lineup tomorrow.

PS Plus games are typically revealed between 4-5pm UK time, so stay tuned for the announcement.

Sony Profits Up 346% on Strong PlayStation Demand

Sony Corp (6758.JP) smashed broker estimates with its second quarter financial performance, posting a 346% year-on-year rise in operating profits to JPY204.2 billion compared to JPY45.7 billion a year ago.


That was 9.6% higher than the JPY186 billion forecast by analysts polled by Reuters. Net income also easily topped expectations, increasing by JPY 126.0 billion year-on-year to JPY 130.9 billion.

The Japanese electronic giant growth was driven by a strong performance from its Game & Network Services division which makes the PlayStation console. Sales of this division increased 35.4% year-on-year to JPY 433.2 billion yen, while operating income increased 188.3% to JPY54.8 billion due to an increase in PlayStation4 software sales, the impact of foreign exchange rates, as well as an increase in PS4 hardware sales, the company said.

Most other divisions performed well. Sales at the company’s imaging product and sensors division, which makes components for smartphones,  increased 15.8% year-on-year to JPY 156.7 billion. Sales at its Home Entertainment & Sound division  increased 28.1% year-on-year to JPY 300.9 billion yen thanks to an improvement in the product mix of televisions reflecting a shift to high value-added models, as well as the impact of foreign exchange rates. Meanwhile, revenue at its Semiconductor business grew 17.9% year-on-year to JPY228.4 billion  due to a significant increase in unit sales of image sensors for mobile products, as well as the absence of the impact of a decrease in image sensor production due to the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. Its Motion Pictures increased due to the strong worldwide theatrical performance of Spider-Man: Homecoming, while its Music division was boosted by  the continued strong performance of Fate/Grand Order, a game application for mobile devices. Recorded Music sales increased significantly primarily due to a continued increase in digital streaming revenues.

The company, which also raised its second quarter dividend to JPY 12.50 a share, now forecasts operating income for the year ending March 31 to be JPY 630 billion.

Sony closed 2.39% higher at JPY4,413 a share. Year-to-date shares in Sony are up 34.7%.