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TikTok parent ByteDance is reportedly making a smartphone

ByteDance, the company behind video app TikTok, is reportedly building its own smartphone too. According to two unnamed sources in a Financial Times report, the phone would come preloaded with ByteDance’s many apps — which include the news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, the ubiquitous TikTok, and according to some rumors, an unreleased streaming music service.

The Financial Times says that ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming has “long dreamt” of building a smartphone full of preloaded apps. The Beijing-based company confirmed a deal with phone maker Smartisan early this year, saying it had acquired a patent portfolio and hired some Smartisan employees. ByteDance claimed this would...

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Asus goes all in on touchscreen trackpads with new ZenBooks and VivoBo

Last year’s ZenBook Pro wasn’t a very good laptop, but we found ourselves pleasantly surprised with its key selling point. The ScreenPad, a smartphone-like screen that replaced the traditional trackpad, turned out to be less of a gimmick than one might have expected, and so Asus is going all in on the idea for its 2019 lineup of mainstream laptops.

Basically, the ScreenPad 2.0 works a lot more like a smartphone. Asus has revamped the interface with Android-style menu buttons and icons, and it’s easier to switch in and out of regular trackpad mode than before.

I spent a while using the ScreenPad 2.0 and found it to be mostly pretty cool. I doubt I’d use it most of the time, but there are certain use cases where I’d be glad it was there,...

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Asus announces two portable monitors: one for 240Hz gaming, one for to

Asus was one of the first companies to release portable USB-C monitors, and at Computex this year it’s releasing two unique new designs.

First up is the ZenScreen Touch (pictured above), a 15.6-inch 1080p touchscreen designed to be hooked up to smartphones or laptops. The primary use case demonstrated at an event ahead of Computex Taipei this week was for productivity-focused smartphone apps with complex UIs that are easier to operate on a larger canvas.

The ZenScreen Touch has a 7,800mAh battery, comes with a protective case that folds up into a kickstand, and it also has Asus’ trademark hole in the corner that lets you prop the screen up with a pencil in a pinch.

The ROG Strix XG17 is another portable 1080p monitor, but...

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Asus put two 4K screens on its extravagant ZenBook Pro Duo laptop

Asus always likes to use its hometown trade show of Computex, which also happens to be the world’s biggest computer hardware event, to show off a wide and occasionally wild lineup of new products. And it’s really outdone itself this time — the headline announcement is one of the most decadent laptops ever created.

The ZenBook Pro Duo has not one, but two 4K screens. (At least if you’re counting horizontal pixels.) There’s a 15-inch 16:9 OLED panel where you’d normally find the display on a laptop, then a 32:9 IPS “ScreenPad Plus” screen directly above the keyboard that’s the same width and half the height. It’s as if Asus looked at the MacBook Pro Touch Bar and thought “what if that, but with 32 times as many pixels?”

Unlike the Touch...

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Asus unveils leather and gold laptop to celebrate its 30-year annivers

Asus is celebrating its 30-year anniversary with a special edition laptop. The Asus ZenBook Edition 30 includes a white leather lid cover and an 18-karat rose gold logo that looks a lot like Star Trek’s starfleet insignia. Asus hasn’t gone full leather like HP’s leather Folio tablet / laptop hybrid, but that does mean this latest ZenBook is a traditional laptop through and through.

“Every piece of genuine leather is hand selected,” explains Asus chairman Jonney Shih. “Each panel cover is maticulously sewed by a master tailor.” Asus is also supplying special accessories for this leather laptop, including a pearl white mouse and leather sleeve. This isn’t the first time Asus has experimented with leather on laptops, though. Asus first...

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Apple could bring dual Bluetooth audio connections to future iPhones

For better or worse, wireless audio is slowly becoming the norm for mobile phones and tablets. This has caused a lot of annoyance, but there are benefits, too. One is the ability to send audio signals to two separate Bluetooth devices simultaneously. Some Samsung phones can already do this, and according to a rumor from Japanese blog Mac Otakara (spotted via Mac Rumors), Apple might be bringing the feature to future iPhones as well.

Being able to connect to more than one Bluetooth device can be helpful in a range of scenarios. You might want to connect your phone to your car’s audio system to give GPS instructions while also playing music through earphones, for example. (A situation suggested by Mac Otakara.) Or, you and a friend might...

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ARM announces Cortex-A77 and Mali-G77 for premium smartphones in 2020

<em>Xiaomi Mi 9.</em>

ARM, the blueprint maker and instruction set designer for all the mobile chips we enjoy using in our smartphones today, has unveiled its latest set of premium mobile designs, slated to feature in 2020 devices. This includes two main components: the Cortex-A77 CPU core and the Mali-G77 graphics part.

The immediate highlight with the A77 is a 20 percent improvement in IPC (instructions per clock) performance, which should translate into a tangible acceleration in completing complex tasks. Most system-on-a-chip designs, from the likes of Qualcomm, Apple, and Samsung, operate with two or four beefy cores like the Cortex-A77 and then a smattering of more power-efficient cores alongside them for basic tasks. With each A77 core being that much...

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Nvidia announces RTX Studio laptops aimed at creators

Nvidia has kicked off Computex Taipei by launching a new software-hardware initiative aimed at creators, along with an extensive lineup of laptops to support it. Nvidia Studio is a collection of APIs, SDKs, and drivers for Nvidia RTX GPUs designed to boost performance and efficiency in creative software.

Nvidia says its Studio Drivers, which are being renamed from the existing Creator-Ready Drivers, are tested against software from the likes of Adobe, Epic, Autodesk, Unity, and Blackmagic Design. App developers can make use of CUDA-X AI software for automation of certain tasks like image upscaling or video color matching.

Seven PC manufacturers will be announcing 17 RTX Studio-branded laptops between them...

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AMD’s Navi GPU is coming to PCs this July as the Radeon RX 5700 seri

This is not Navi. It’s the existing Radeon VII.

Slowly but surely, it feels like AMD is tracking towards building a graphics card that can truly compete with Nvidia for your high-end gaming dollars, and hopes are pinned on Navi — the next-gen graphics architecture that got a substantial vote of confidence when Sony chose it for the upcoming PS5 game console.

But Navi is coming to PCs too, and the company has just revealed when and where: a new desktop GPU family called the AMD Radeon RX 5700 series, coming this July. That’s the word from the company’s Computex 2019 keynote in Taipei this evening.

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Huawei chief would be ‘the first to protest’ China retaliation to

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has been doing a round of interviews this past week, responding to his company’s placement on a US ban list. In speaking with Bloomberg, he’s made the assertion that he neither expects nor hopes for a retaliation from the Chinese government against the Trump administration’s ban. A resolute Ren says, “That will not happen, first of all. And second of all, if that happens, I’ll be the first to protest.”

Notoriety swirls around Huawei’s name in the United States, with American security agencies calling it out as a national security threat and urging consumers away from buying Huawei devices. Other allegations of intellectual property and trade secret theft also mar the company’s reputation, even if hard...

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