Netflix series Sacred Games bagged two awards at the inaugural Asian Academy Creative Awards, reported Variety. Anurag Kashyap won Best Direction (fiction) and Aarti Bajaj won Best Editing.
Starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sacred Games, Netflix’s first Indian original, is based on Vikram Chandra’s novel of the same name. The first season, which premiered on July 6, was co-directed by Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane.
The Asian Academy Creative Awards, held in Singapore, were instituted year to celebrate “Asian content and creativity,” according to their official website.
Several Indian productions were recognised at the event. HBO Asia and Star India’s The Talwars: Behind Closed Doors won Best Documentary Series. Discovery Communications India’s Queens of Comedy bagged the Best Comedy Programme title. Actor Salman Khan won Best Entertainment Host/Presenter for the reality show Bigg Boss. One Life Studios won the Best Telenovela or soap opera series for its period drama Porus, which airs on Sony TV.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was officially unveiled in New York on Thursday. The newest member of the Galaxy Note series packs a massive 4,000mAh battery and the series’ biggest display yet. The Galaxy Note 9 launch comes at a time when Samsung desperately needs a hit. By the company’s own admissions, sales of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ have been less than flattering, and all eyes will now be on how the Galaxy Note 9 is received by fans.
While the “reasonable price” promise that was made by the company just days before the launch event wasn’t fulfilled when the US price of the smartphone was revealed on Thursday, the Galaxy Note 9 price in India is good news. The smartphone will launch in India at a starting price of Rs. 67,900, which is the same as its predecessor at launch, as Samsung looks to reclaim some of the market share it has lost in the country’s premium smartphone segment.
The big differentiator of the Galaxy Note series has always been its support for the S Pen stylus. Over the years, Samsung has added more capabilities to the S Pen, and with the Galaxy Note 9 the biggest changes are the direct result of adding Bluetooth support. Yes, the S Pen now comes with an embedded Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module, which makes it more than just a stylus; it has been turned into a remote that can be used to control your smartphone.
So, for example, you can use the S Pen to control video playback in the YouTube app, or move between images in the Gallery app. You can even use it to control a presentation, moving back and forth between slides. But the feature that will perhaps find the widest appeal is the ability to use the S Pen as a trigger to click pictures, or switch between the front and rear cameras. We tested this feature on the Galaxy Note 9 during some hands-on time ahead of the launch, and it worked as advertised.
Apart from the S Pen, the other big draw of the Galaxy Note series has been the big screen. At 6.4 inches, the Galaxy Note 9 packs the biggest display we’ve seen on a member of this family. As has been the case with recent Samsung flagships, the ‘Infinity Display’ on the Galaxy Note 9 is gorgeous, and is definitely one of the highlights of the smartphone.
With that said, as the average display size of all smartphones has increased in recent years, the Galaxy Note devices no longer hold the same exclusive appeal. Not many smartphone manufacturers used to venture into Galaxy Note territory as far as size is concerned, but that hasn’t been true for a long time.
This is one of the reasons for which many have questioned the future of the Galaxy Note series, but by giving the S Pen additional features, Samsung seems to be doubling down on its commitment to the device, at least for now. To further enhance its appeal, Samsung has packed a host of other features and improvements into the Galaxy Note 9, most notably a 4,000mAh battery, which is 21 percent bigger than one of its predecessor.
As far as other specifications are concerned, the Galaxy Note 9 will be powered by the Snapdragon 845 SoC (2.8GHz + 1.7GHz) in markets like the US, while countries like India will receive the Exynos 9810 (2.7GHz + 1.7GHz) version. Samsung has announced two variants of the smartphone – one with 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 128GB of storage, and the other with 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 512GB of storage. The built-in storage can be supplemented with a microSD card of up to 512GB capacity.
At the back, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a dual-camera setup with OIS on both sensors similar to what we saw on the Galaxy Note 8. The wide-angle super-speed dual-pixel 12-megapixel (f/1.5-f/2.4) autofocus primary rear camera is paired with a telephoto 12-megapixel (f/2.4) autofocus secondary camera that gives you 2x optical zoom and up to 10x digital zoom. On the front, you get an 8-megapixel (f/1.7) autofocus sensor.
Samsung has packed in a host of new software features. The Camera app’s new scene optimiser can automatically detect 20 different types of scenes and apply settings that are optimal to the conditions. Samsung is also claiming improved HDR and live focus in low light conditions.
Perhaps most interestingly, the Galaxy Note 9 now has enhanced “flaw detection” that is capable of detecting typical conditions that ‘ruin’ an image, such as someone blinking at the wrong time, image blurs, lens smudges, and even strong light behind the subject. We saw Samsung demo a scenario where the Camera app highlighted that “someone may have blinked” after an image was clicked, letting you carry on regardless or take a fresh image.
Samsung is also touting a bunch of Bixby improvements with the Galaxy Note 9, but it will be interesting to see how many of these will actually be available in India.
In terms of design, the Galaxy Note 9 looks a lot like its predecessor, though it’s marginally wider, thicker, and heavier than the Galaxy Note 8. We look forward to seeing how that impacts us in day-to-day usage, especially considering we highlighted the weight of the Galaxy Note 8 as a problem in our review.
Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for a full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
Oppo Find X’s cameras are tucked into a hidden slider
It will be available in the country starting August 3
The smartphone comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage
The Oppo Find X is the Chinese company’s latest flagship in the Find series, and it was launched in India on Thursday. Oppo Find X’s most unique and interesting feature is a camera slider that allows its front face to be completely dominated by the screen. This marks the comeback of Oppo’s Find series, which has not been refreshed since the launch of the Oppo Find 7 and Find 7aback in 2014. The Oppo Find X is the most expensive model in Oppo’s India lineup. The Oppo Find X price in India is Rs. 59,990 for the model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and there are no other configurations. A limited Automobili Lamborghini Edition was also announced at the event but is not coming to the Indian market as of now.
Key specifications of the Oppo Find X include a flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and the unique camera slider that houses the selfie camera as well as the dual rear cameras. This smartphone, much like other offerings in Oppo’s lineup, runs ColorOS 5.1 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo. The phone will be available exclusively on Flipkart online, but also across Oppo’s offline stores. It is one of the most unique smartphones available right now, but can it compete with flagships such as the iPhone X (Review), Samsung Galaxy S9 (Review), Huawei P20 Pro (Review), and OnePlus 6 (Review)? We spent some time with the Oppo Find X and here are our first impressions.
We got access to a Chinese unit of the handset, as the Indian units are not yet available for testing. With a large 6.42-inch edge-to-edge AMOLED display, the Oppo Find X looks sleek. The 19.5:9 aspect ratio means that the resolution is 1080×2340 pixels, making this phone taller than usual. There is no notch, which gives the phone a seamless design. The Find X comes with iPhone X-like gestures. These include swiping up from the bottom (in the middle) to go to the home screen, swiping up and pausing to open the app switcher, and swiping up from a corner to go back.
At first glance, there is nothing of interest on the back of the Oppo Find X. There is no fingerprint sensor, which means you are stuck without any other biometric unlocking solution. You will have to use a passcode or pattern to unlock the phone quickly. The rear cameras are also hidden thanks to the camera slider. There is, however, an Oppo logo and “Find X – Designed by Oppo” branding. On the left of the smartphone are the volume control buttons, and the lock/ power key is on the right. The USB Type-C port and SIM card tray, which supports two Nano SIM cards, are on the bottom.
The design is one of the highlights of the Oppo Find X. It comes in Red and Blue colour options, both of which are extremely glossy and great to look at. It feels slippery in the hand, but the width is just right. This might not be the most power- and feature-packed phone on the planet, but it’s definitely one you’d love to show off.
The camera slider is triggered when trying to unlock the phone using facial recognition, and also slides out when using the stock camera app or any third-party one. It does not snap out, and vibrates while it is sliding into place. It goes back in slowly and you might have to wait a couple of seconds before putting the phone back into your pocket. The front of the slider houses the 25-megapixel selfie camera and sensors for the O-Face 3D face recognition technology, which Oppo claims is similar to how Face ID works on the iPhone X. The rear of the slider sports the 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel rear camera combo. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for our full review in which we will extensively test the performance of all the cameras on Oppo’s 2018 flagship.
At its core, the Oppo Find X is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, which is now the primary choice for premium flagships globally. The Oppo Find X has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, so performance shouldn’t be much of an issue. Initial impressions suggest that this phone is quite snappy, and we didn’t experience any lag in the few minutes that we got to spend with a sample unit at the launch event. We will soon be able to test the Indian version of this phone in real-world conditions to see how well it performs.
The Oppo Find X runs the heavily customised ColorOS 5.1 UI on top of Android 8.1 Oreo. As stated earlier, the unit we tested was the Chinese variant, and it did not have common Google apps including the Play Store. Instead, we found dozens of preloaded Chinese apps, including WeChat, Ctrip, Taobao, Alipay, 58Life, Weibo, Amap, and Baidu. We will have to wait till we receive the Indian unit for testing to comment on the preloaded apps and the amount of bloat in the software.
Let’s talk about some of the software features that this phone brings to the table. The first one is 3D Omoji, which makes use of the 3D facial recognition sensors on the handset. There are 5-6 animal characters but users can create their custom avatars as well. Initial impressions suggest that the AR-based emoji characters read face movement well but perform poorly when detecting lip movement. Interestingly, Oppo India’s website does not mention this feature, so it might not be supported on the Indian units.
Face recognition with the Oppo Find X is pleasant enough. Setting it up is extremely easy; it takes a few seconds to register your face and the phone gives you a choice of activating face recognition when you press the lock button or after you swipe up. Either way, it accurately reads the saved facial pattern. While the camera slider opens up pretty quickly, we would have liked it to be instantaneous. Additionally, there seems to be no way to manually push out the slider. Also, it’s worth noting that Oppo is not advertising any sort of waterproofing on the Find X, which sets it apart from other phones at this price level.
The Oppo Find X also features a large 3730mAh battery that should be enough to last through an entire day. If not, the Find X comes with Oppo’s VOOC charging technology, and the company claims that you can get two hours of battery life with just 5 minutes of charging. We will also test the phone’s battery performance in our full review, coming up soon.
Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for an extensive review of the Oppo Find X’s performance, battery, software, and cameras, and to find out whether or not this phone is worth the Rs. 59,990 price tag.
Are Vivo Nex and Oppo Find X revolutionary phones or overpriced prototypes? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.
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In line with US President Donald Trump’s “Space Policy Directive 1”, NASA has sought partnership with the US industry to develop the first element of the Gateway, which will become the orbital outpost for robotic and human exploration operations in deep space.
NASA has released a draft solicitation seeking commercial and international partners via the Board Agency Announcement (BAA) this week to US industry to acquire an element for the Gateway.
The Gateway will support exploration on and near the Moon, and beyond, including Mars, NASA said in a statement.
The draft seeks a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway’s position as well as move it between lunar orbits as needed.
It will also provide power to the rest of the Gateway, controls and communications, the statement said.
“We believe partnering with US industry for the power and propulsion element will stimulate advancements in commercial use of solar electric propulsion and also serve NASA exploration objectives,” said Michele Gates, Director (Power and Propulsion Element) at NASA.
Through the upcoming solicitation, industry will be asked to participate in a public/private partnership, which includes a flight demonstration of the power and propulsion spacecraft.
Following this test lasting up to one-year in space after launch, NASA will have the option to acquire the spacecraft for use as the first element of the Gateway in lunar orbit.
The power and propulsion element is also expected to enable high-rate, reliable communications between Earth and deep space, which will be important during spacewalks in deep space, human exploration of the lunar surface and more.
To meet current Gateway development planning, NASA is targeting launch of the power and propulsion element on a partner-provided commercial rocket in 2022, the statement said.
In addition to the draft BAA, NASA will host an Industry Day on July 10 prior to issuing the final BAA.