Diablo Immortal brings Diablo universe to mobile

After five long years of anticipation and marketing hype, “Diablo: Immortal” was announced earlier this week at Blizzcon, developed by NetEase in partnership with Blizzard for mobile devices exclusively. An MMO Action-RPG described aimed at gamers on the move. Diablo Immortal will recreate the franchise’s traditional multiplayer point and click action gameplay with optimizations for touchscreen controls. It may not be the Diablo fans were expecting but could potentially keep fans entertained until Diablo 4‘s eventual release. Early details regarding Diablo Immortal confirm that the mobile game will feature six different classes at launch: Barbarian, Monk, Wizard, Crusader, Demon Hunter, and Necromancer. More classes post-launch is planned, with developers hinting at Diablo 2‘s Assassin and Diablo 3‘s Witch Doctor. Each class will have a unique selection of 12 or more different skills to choose from.

As for how Diablo Immortal fits into the greater Diablo universe, Diablo Immortal’s storyline will take place between Diablo II and Diablo III. 20 years passed in the Diablo Universe between those two games which were released in 2000 and 2012, respectively.The story in Diablo Immortal focuses on the aftermath of the destruction of the Worldstone in Diablo II with demonic invaders trying to bring back a rule of terror. Players will work out of Westmarch, a social hub where players can meet and show off their armor. Through Westmarch, players will visit 9 different outdoor zones, hunting corrupted fragments of the Worldstone and the demons left in their wake.

The gameplay uses a virtual thumb stick on the left side of the screen and an ability cluster on the right. When using abilities that require precise aiming, holding down the button will let you draw where you want to aim. Despite being a fast-paced action game on a phone, the controls seem to work pretty well.

The Diablo Immortal announcement received a mixed response that Blizzard didn’t expect. Blizzard has been teasing a Diablo-related reveal for Blizzcon ever since the convention was announced. Fans were quick to express their disappointment on forums and social media, and at Blizzcon, one attendee’s had to ask if the game was “an offseason April Fool’s joke.” Fans were so lead on to believe that Diablo 4 would be announced and Blizzard went out of its way to inform fans that there would be no Diablo 4 at Blizzcon 2018, but confirming that it was in development, fans were still surprised. Other rumors had swirled prior to the event regarding both a potential Diablo and Diablo 2 remaster. The NetEase mobile exclusive Diablo Immortal that was announced instead was a surprise on all fronts. While no release window has yet been announced for Diablo Immortal, players can visit the game’s official website and google play store to pre-register and potentially be invited to future beta tests.

Diablo Immortal is planned to release “when it’s done” exclusively on iOS and Android devices.

Review: P20 Pro

660 US, might sound like a lot for a Chinese smartphone, but exceptional battery life, flagship specs and one of the best mobile cameras in the market are some of the reasons why we think you should look into the Huawei P20 Pro. Glass and metal have become synonyms for premium design in the smart phone industry and the P20 Pro is no exception, if you can get past the notch the luminescent color progression make this is one of the best looking smart phones this year. The Twilight colorway features a reflective back that transitions from purple to blue, while the Pink Gold version totes a similarly interesting pearlescent finish, The phone also comes in black and Midnight Blue if you prefer a more subtle finish. The pronounced chin with a traditional fingerprint censor has us questioning the notch but between no fingerprint censor and a larger chin bar, it is definitely the latter. The proximity to the on-screen navigation buttons runs the risk of unintentional triggers from time to time, as it doubles as a capacitive home button. Noticeably absent is a 3.5mm headphone jack, Huawei does include a dongle in the box, but with phones like the LG V40 Thin Q around, seems unnecessary and backward. The metal grill besides the USB C port hides dual down firing speakers and a microphone. The audio is loud and crisp, making general media consumption a delight. The phone IP67 rated for dust and water resistance and oddly comes with a screen protector installed. We recommend getting rid of the same as the screen guard itself holds onto minor scrapes and makes an otherwise premium phone look a little tatty.

Display

The Huawei P20 Pro has a 6.1 inch FHD+ OLED Display, with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio, which means better contrast, deeper blacks, punchier colors and lower power consumption. The screen does get bright enough and outdoor visibility is decent but not exceptional. As mentioned earlier, there’s a small notch at the top of the screen which didn’t feel like much of a nuisance. That said, I can certainly see how it could be a bit of an eyesore for some users. Huawei has an option that lets users conceal it. Once enabled, the space on either side of the notch is occupied by a black bar, creating the illusion of a notch-free screen. The screen itself has a resolution of 2160 x 1080. It is set to the vibrant color profile by default, content does run the risk of looking oversaturated. You can adjust the color balance to suit your personal preference by diving into the Settings menu where there is a variety of options to play with. The Huawei P20 Pro offers full support for HDR10, the leading standard for high dynamic range visuals it can stream HDR content from supported sources such as Netflix, delivering a viewing experience that can only really be rivaled by the likes of Samsung’s latest flagship.

 

Performance & Interface

The Huawei P20 Pro is wonderfully fast. With the Kirin 970 SOC at its heart, coupled with 6GB of RAM (2GB more than the standard P20) the phone feels responsive and fluid. It handled every task we threw its way with ease, remaining composed while switching between applications and streaming a YouTube video over 4G while running a game using the phone’s split-screen multitasking functionality. Huawei P20 Pro scored a respectful 1921 in the single-core and 6837 in the multi-core test on Geek Bench 4

 

Huawei’s infamous Emotion UI (EMUI) has managed to resolve most of the flaws that affected the previous builds and the latest version delivers outstanding performance, switching between applications and launching sub-menus in the bat of an eye. It also includes a number of useful assistive features. The P20 Pro ships running Android 8.1 Oreo, skinned with a much-improved version of EMUI. Face recognition is all the rage nowadays, and the Huawei P20 Pro has you covered. There’s 2D face recognition is a lot faster but isn’t as secure as the 3D depth-based alternatives found on the iPhone X or Oppo Find X.

Huawei has introduced useful knuckle Gestures which make screenshot n quick open much more effective.Double knocking with the single-knuckle take a full screenshot while making a loop with a knuckle takes a selection section shot. The selected screen shot can be saved into four shapes, the one user creates with their knuckle, rectangle, round and heart shaped. Double knocking with Two-knuckles start and stops the screen recording. 

Using your knuckle to draw a letter opens some apps. By default, drawing “C” opens camera while drawing “M” open the music app. The shortcut letters can be changed in the settings. Swiping the knuckle, left to right or vice versa enters the split-screen mode.

We have been using the gestures for quite a while now n they come in handy more often than expected. Specially the screenshot and screen recording gestures are the one I use on daily basis. For apps it’s not very feasible as sometimes it might mix-up what a user drew. Split screen feature is also something that can be a lot useful especially if you are constantly moving between two apps.

Private space is another very useful feature that the Huawei P 20 Provides it enables you to create a completely different profile can be used in situations where multiple users have access to a single device (mostly work phones), using secondary profile for personal business, or just using a secondary profile to keep private data. This feature can b enabled in the security section of the settings. To enable the private space, user must enter a pin completely different from the main pin code, cannot use ascending, descending or repeated pin codes like 1234, 4321 or 1111. The separate finger scan must be linked to the new profile.

The Huawei p20 pro includes a Dark mode, which turns all the system apps dark which is easy on the eyes and helps conserve battery.

 

HiTouch is a great feature for online shoppers. While surfing if you come across a picture of a product that you like, just press and hold the picture with two thumbs. The phone will search for that product on amazon with the help of amazon assistant. This is a great feature especially if the picture has no details about the product. We hope to see more improvements to this feature in coming years with better support for online stores besides Amazon.

Camera

The Huawei P20 Pro is the first smartphone on the market to offer a triple camera setup: a whopping 40-megapixel primary ‘Light Fusion’ RGB sensor (with an f/1.8 aperture), a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor (with an f/1.6 aperture) and an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor (with an f/2.4 aperture) work in conjunction to supercharge the camera module’s photographic capabilities.

At launch, Huawei explained that only, the 8-megapixel telephoto lens included OIS (optical image stabilization) whilst the 20 and 40-megapixels sensors relied on the performance of the phone’s NPU (the neural processing unit that serves as part of the Kirin 970’s makeup) to deliver additional AI enhanced stabilization.

All three sensors, fine-tuned by the German optics titan Leica, work together with each being assigned a specific role. The 40-megapixel sensor captures the colors in the scene, the 20-megapixel monochrome sensor ensnares additional detail, as well as texture and depth data for a bokeh effect (when required), whilst the 8-megapixel telephoto sensor helps zooming in. But that’s not the best bit. Huawei has invested a lot of resources into further developing the AI engine that debuted on the Huawei P10, with the feature now offering frame-by-frame optimization – in the default Auto shooting mode – for a host of different scenarios, including action shots, night shots, and close-ups.

Still, shots taken in both daylight and low-light are crisp and full of detail. The same can also be said for images captured by the 24-megapixel front-facing shooter. Video, on the other hand, quite as perfect – the super slo-mo feature, which lets you shoot a 0.2-second burst of slow-motion footage at 960 frames per second, often distorted the subject. The auto-manipulation, which is powered by the aforementioned AI engine, works in the camera’s favor, making colors pop, even in the darkest of settings. Having tested the Galaxy S9 Plus, iPhone X, and P20 Pro, the latter comes out on top. It’s a lot more reliable in low-light environments, and takes exceptional photographs in well-lit conditions. The same, once again, can be said for the front-facing camera – which is clear and crisp and loaded with features to play with too.

Android P

There’s a lot happening under the hood in Android P, so well break this into two sections, a list of our favorite features and performance review. For those wondering why the image above has a HTC One M8 with the Android P screen. We tested an ASOP build on the same.

Gesture Navigation

Google has redesigned the way you navigate the OS by introducing Gesture Navigation in Android P. Instead of three buttons set on the home screen, there is an option to use a new single home button that allows you to swipe up to view recent apps along with a UI that suggests apps you might use. Sliding too far left and right across the device would showcase recent apps and lets you quickly switch between them.

Wind Down

Many of us spend hours on our phones at night before we actually fall asleep. Wind Down will help you curb this habit by switching on Night Light and turning on the Do Not Disturb mode at your chosen bedtime.Just select the time at which you would like to go to bed, and Android P will fade the screen to grayscale to help you remember to sleep at the selected time.

App Actions

App Actions is another great feature in Android P that helps you better navigate through the day by giving smart suggestions based on your habits. It can automatically anticipate your next action based on the current action.For instance, if you connect your headphones to your smartphone, App Actions will ask if you’d like to continue listening to your favorite playlist on Spotify, thus allowing you to skip several steps in the process.Such actions show up throughout the OS such as Smart Text Selection, the Play Store, Launcher, the Google Search app and the Assistant.

Adaptive Battery & Adaptive Brightness

Google is relying more and more on AI to enrich user experience and its latest example is ‘Adaptive Battery.’ As per the company, it has partnered with DeepMind to get inputs on how to use machine learning for the best battery performance.It learns to prioritize battery power by observing apps and services you use the most, thereby helping you get the most out of your battery, and make it last for a longer time.To further improve your battery saving experience, improvements have been made to battery saver feature. Now Android Pie doesn’t wait for an app to be idle and puts an app in standby mode more aggressively. Also, background apps don’t have network access and the limits are applied to all apps–it doesn’t matter if they target Android P or not. Google is aiming at making smartphones smarter by making it learn from your habits and adapt according to your preferences.So Android 9.0 now sports a new mechanism called ‘Adaptive Brightness’ that learns your preferred levels of brightness in different surroundings.By tracking user adjusted brightness, it will automatically set the screen brightness levels for you.

Slices

‘Slices’ is one of the best Android P features which comes in handy at several places. It lets you perform basic application activities outside the app.Let’s say you search for ‘Lyft’ in Google Search. An interactive Slice appears on screen that displays price and time for a trip to work so that you can quickly book a ride.In short, Slices are fully functional UIs that can be embedded externally in other applications to provide a variety of options to the user. This feature, just like tons of other segments in Android, performs a deep analysis of your inputs and contexts to show you the best parts of the apps you use most of the time. It can surely send a chill down your spine.

Performance Upgrades

Bluetooth

Android 8.0 Oreo added the ability to connect to two different Bluetooth speakers at the same time, giving you the tools you need to give yourself homemade stereo sound. Android 9.0 Pie is going three better, with the ability to chain together up to five different Bluetooth speakers at once, essentially giving you the option to build yourself a surround sound system. Incoming calls will be sent to any one of the speakers capable of handling calls.Android 9.0 Pie now also remembers the volume at which you left each Bluetooth speaker, and will resume at that volume the next time your phone connects.Most excitingly for users of Bluetooth headphones, Android 9.0 Pie now comes with a setting that attempts to end the delay between your device and your earphones. If your earphones support Google’s new “sound delay reporting,” any lag between devices will be reported back to Android. Your phone will then offset any video content by that same amount of time, hopefully eradicating any syncing issues between the two devices.

Android Runtime Enhancements

One significant change in Android 9.0 Pie is behind the hood: Android 9.0 Pie will feature some major Android Runtime (ART) enhancements. These ART enhancements allow apps to rewrite their own execution files on the device, meaning they’ll launch faster and use less memory. Android P also gives apps expanded access to Google’s neural networks system for advanced types of machine learning, creates a more effective system for the universal autofill process introduced in Oreo, and provides substantial improvements to the underlying systems that allow apps to operate. Apps on Android P should use less memory, be more power efficient, and be faster-loading than what we see now.

Security

Then there’s all the system-level privacy and security stuff, which is a story in and of itself. Among other things, Android P will bring about more controlled access to your device’s camera, mic, and sensors; better encryption for backup data; more privacy with network connections; stronger protection from unsecure traffic; better protection of your unique device identifier; and the advent of user-facing warnings that’ll help you avoid using apps that ignore the latest (and thus most advanced and secure) systems for interacting with your data. Android 9.0 Pie features a number of new options to make your phone more secure. Perhaps the most exciting security update has to do with encryption. Android 9.0 Pie will now perform client-side encryption. Any data encryption or decryption that takes place will now happen on your phone and will require authentication from your phone (password, PIN, pattern). Since Google backs up all of your information to the cloud, this change will make it much more difficult for hackers or other prying eyes to access your information from a computer.Each time you access a network, your device shares its unique MAC address with that network. Android 9.0 Pie offers a new feature that will allow you to create randomized MAC addresses for each network you access. While Android 9.0 Pie will create a random MAC address for each network, the address will not continue to change each time you access the network.

Privacy 

Google may not have the best track record when it comes to user privacy, but the company is working to improve that. The new operating system version will restrict access to the phone’s microphone, camera, and other sensors. When an app is idle or running in the background, it will be unable to access any of the phone’s sensors (other than GPS). If an app does need to access a sensor while running in the background, it will have to show a persistent notification on your phone.

 

With the Pebble


Pebble just launched the pebble steel which certainly helps those who want a smart watch that isn't ugly. Before I put down $249, I wanted to see if I actually would use the pebble. So here's what I think after a week’s use. The pebble is incredibly light, at only 38 grams, it's the most comfortable smart watch I've tried. The Strap is ideal for the sporty but isn't particularly dressy. It doesn't feel cheap but it isn’t going to increase your style quotient either. On the bright side the E-paper display is amazing in bright sunlight, perfectly readable and still manages to provide 5-6 days of use. Having tried the pebble with iOS and Android, I must say that I prefer the Android experience. The pebble kept disconnecting itself from the iPhone and the App store is considerably slow. Pebble recently launched the 2.0 Firmware update, the update process is fast and simple although they were no add-ons. Besides the App store we can expect great support from pebble in the future. The pebble uses an ARM Cortex-M3 at 80MHz, which doesn't sound like much but is perfectly capable of powering the device. The only hardware limitation I ran into is the inadequate memory on the pebble. I was able to use up the internal memory within minutes although there isn't much I could have done with it anyway. But the pebble is an ideal tool in keeping you connected, like when you receive texts while driving, changing music tracks at the gym, keeping you notified during a sport. These are just a few of the many reasons why I’d like to own a pebble. On the contrary the pebbles’ proprietary charge cable renders the device useless if you forget to charge it. The accelero-meter isn't the most accurate one I've ever used and the buttons need to be a bit more tactile and responsive. The pebble does what it’s supposed to do very well, but it needs a lot more apps to reach its ultimate potential. Personally I'm not going to buy a pebble just yet, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for a smart watch.

For more information visit https://getpebble.com/discover

Is the S3 still relevant?

I have been fiddling around with my old Samsung Galaxy S3, mostly because I was bored with iOS. I'm using Blisspop ROM on the standard kernel and clockwork recovery ROM. The phone has been my secondary device for over a month now and the ROM is very usable. The S3 runs smooth and handles android lollipop very well. The OS itself is very polished and clean, there is a sense of quality in the interface. Things are not just flat and light toned. Third party apps are still behind and tend to favor iOS. The S3 is slower to boot on this ROM as it tends to optimize apps at every boot or so it says. I may have had 2-3 hard reboots but I faced this glitch with every phone I've used, even iPhones'. The battery life is pretty decent, I get a day and half on light use and a full day or normal to heavy use (Not watching videos on 3G). I've had no network issues, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth works well too. There are no camera bugs like most ROM's and all third party apps I tried have been working perfectly even apps that require root access. So, if anyone's interested and isn’t shy to root their phone, here's the link.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-s3/development/rom-blisspop-team-bliss-t3010596