Author Archives: Nelson Adam

Qualcomm’s New Powerful Platform

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A couple of weeks ago, Qualcomm launched their new Snapdragon 888 platform which will be present in premium smartphones next year. The promise is to take the high-end of  Android smartphones to levels of performance they’ve never seen before. Ever since Apple broke up with Qualcomnn months ago, the two have started competing with each other and this rivalry between two companies is resulting in some impressive advancements on both sides.

Coming to the main platform itself, the Snapdragron 888 will be able to provide:

Better 5G

The availability of bandwith in many locations have proved to be pretty disappointing. As it involves the connectivity of cell sites which are still being upgraded. The pandemic has clearly slowed the rollout, but looks like by the middle of next year we should finally be seeing the benefits in most areas we have been promised. The Snapdragon 888 will feature Qualcomm’s X60 modem, so between the new 5nm architecture and the power efficiency gains from an integrated modem, the new chip seems likely to offer some substantial battery improvements when it comes to 5G usage.

Photography Improvements:

These cameras have something called “staggered HDR” which can click three pictures simultaneously: one underexposed, one overexposed, and one appropriately done. The camera then merges them to bring out all of the hidden detail in the picture. The new cameras have the ability to take 120 images per second, allowing for incredible slow motion shots and pictures without a flash in as little as .1 Lux, which translates to one-tenth the light of candle one meter away on a one-square-meter surface.


Gaming is definitely another area that will see huge improvement. The popularity of Esports on mobile devices have been taking off, and at the premium-end of the market, smartphones are going to get a substantial increase in performance and battery life. This performance increase is definitely going to favour the one billion people currently gaming on their smartphones. “QuickTouch” is a new feature that removes the touch-screen latency and allow smartphone gamers who use these new phones with the 888 platform to be far more competitive. Qualcomm also uses a technology called VRS to increase performance by 30%, while reducing GPU load by 40% since GPU’s are nortorious for pulling a ton of power. New phones will handle up to 90 frames per second with HDR enabled, and the lowest latency ever on a smartphone platform.

Artificial Intelligence:

Qualcomm’s TOPS (trillions of operations per second) technology currently has over one billion user’s devices enabled with 15 TOPS (performance levels). But by next year, the new AI should jump to 26 TOPS levels. A boost with natural language processing  (NLP) will allow you to better interface with your phone’s features via voice, which arises the possiblity to do translations in real time, even if your phone does not intially know the language.

Another unusual aspect of the camera that Qualcomm showed off, is the infared’s ability to anlayse your image and help you pick better make-up or even diagnose an illnes, which can be agrued to be beneficial especially during the pandemic times.

Sensing Hub Feature:

Qualcomm’s sensing hub feature aggregates the phone sensors and then actually uses the data to answer specific questions like, “where the hell did I leave my car?”. A feature that would baically help you retrace your steps if you lost something and needed to recover it. This feature makes a smartphone increasingly aware of its surrounding, it could automatically call for help if you were injured, provide warnings to stay away from dangerous locations, and during a disaster it can guide you to safety which can potentially be life saving.

To conclude, I would like to say that it is inevitable for the next generation of smartphones to be far more smarter, faster and useful to us. Qualcomm is certainly setting an example not only for now, but for many years. I think Qualcomm does really well in providing their chips to smartphones that are affordable to the average consumer, but more importantly, helping smartphones have the possibility to keep us safe and save our lives with such implemented technology. I am really looking forward to what the year of 2021 has in store for us both environmentally and technologically.


Is Auto X paving the way for the future?

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A world filled with fully autonomous cars has been in the works for several years. But in China, one company has just got even closer to making it a reality. AutoX is a Hong-kong based company that focuses mainly on building hardware and software integrated technology for autonomous vehicles or in other words “a self-driving car technology”. The company has conducted test drives in different cities all over the world to train the AI driver to adapt to different road conditions, weather patterns and driving styles. It has also been claimed that the AI driver can drive many different types of vehicles such as SUVs, sedans, trucks and electric vehicles.

The city of Shenzhen is aiming to become the city of the future, the residents have already seen the city convert it’s entire bus fleet to electricity. And now with the help of AutoX, the residents will get to see driverless cars which will be known as “RoboTaxis” on the streets. All made possible by a four-year-old startup backed up by Alibaba, MediaTek and Shanghai Motors, which is deploying a fleet of 25 unmanned vehicles in downtown Shenzhen, marking the first time any autonomous driving car in China tests on public roads without safety drivers or remote operators. AutoX is currently the only China-focused company, to hold a permit for driverless robotaxis in California, which is also known as the “highest standard permit in the autonomous driving industry.” The other two holders are automotive firms Waymo and Nuro.

There is a list of competion in the autonomous taxi service industry ranging from, Baidu and WeRide, all of these companies have already deployed robotaxi programs in different cities. Other companies, like Momenta, are mainly focused on building and selling software for self-driving taxis to partners, which may enable even more robotaxi fleets to launch. The Chinese government has created several large funds for industries including autonomous driving, 5G and artificial intelligence, as it tries to balance the economic impact of the coronavirus. AutoX also has plans to build out it’s Robotaxi service in Europe but in the meantime the service will only be available for bookings through Shanghai-based taxi fleet Letzgo’s app.

A representative from AutoX came out with a statement basically saying that this year, the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the need for contactless services, which encouraged the government to move faster with autonomous technology. AutoX’s move is the latest example of Chinese autonomous driving companies stepping onto the global stage in the race for dominance in driverless mobility. AutoX is seeking to leapfrog over it’s domestic rivals and WeRide, both of which have reached the 1 million-kilometer fully autonomous test drive mark in November. China has certainly recieved a head start when it comes to experimenting and testing with this idea as they emerged out of the lockdown much earlier than the U.S whose companies in a similar field were forced to shut-down all of their outdoor tests due to the pandemic and they had to rely almost entirely on simulation for their experimentations.

To sum up, I think that having an autonomous taxi service especially during a pandemic and with all the social distancing going on, it can be very beneficial not only to the public but to the society as a whole. Evidently, the risk of getting infected is definitely having an impact on our transportation choices, so with no driver on board the passengers have one less potential risk or safety issue to worry about. On the other hand, I wouldn’t 100% recommend it because there is always a possibilty of something going wrong software-wise or the sensors might fail to detect incoming vehicles from approching different directions. Therefore, the service can be prone to accidents but apart from that I think that this is definitely a step towards the future, so companies should just keep perfecting this idea to make it flawless when put to test.


Rakuten’s New 5G Architecture.

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When Rakuten Mobile exploded onto the telecom industry scene in Japan, they made it very clear to the public that this was a company planning on doing things differently. They were planning to keep reliance on traditional RAN hardware to the minimum which would lead to a far cheaper rollout. The main aim of the company is to enable a complete transformation in the telecom infrastructure buildout, not only for Japan, but the entire world. In April 2020, Rakuten Mobile launched their end-to-end fully virtualized cloud-native mobile network with a later announcement of the availability of their commercial 5G service in certain areas across six prefectures of the country.


The service, initially offered via Non-Stand Alone (NSA) 5G architecture, is already available in parts of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Hokkaido, Osaka and Hyogo. Rakuten is hugely popular for offering cheap contracts to their citizens, and is become one of the lead investors in the venue launched by AST & Science which is developing revolutionary space mobile technology. This basically means that every corner of the planet will have 100 percent coverage using space networks so any phone located anywhere in the world will have the possibility to connect, regardless of where it is. These rural networks and rural locations will have the same service that you get in capital citites or metropolitan areas.

Rakuten are innovating and bringing this to the market at a accelerated pace, they have introduced to the world just one single carrier plan which offers unlimted data within Rakuten network areas and unlimited domestic calls with the use of “Rakuten Link” which is the communication app developed by them. And for the first year, their “UN-LIMIT” plan which they like to call it will be free for three million subscribers, and from the second year onwards the company will start charging them 2,980 YEN per month excluding taxes. As new spectrum frequencies are assigned and more bandwidth becomes available, Nippon Electric Company (NEC) and Rakuten Mobile plan to upgrade and expand the 5G radio units. “The base technology will be similar, but there will be more things to work on in terms of performance, which is largely governed by the hardware” says Rakuten’s senior vice president Nozomu Watanabe.


With 5G, the focus is to not only improve convenience for their users, but also to utilize the technology in a variety of fields and create new business opportunities to solve social issues and support regional development. As for Rakuten’s rivals, and the global telecom market in general, it is the operator’s approach to its network and operations that will be of prime interest, such economies enable Rakuten to price its services lower than its rivals, while also claiming to benefit from a more adaptable, automated, agile, flexible network that can be more quickly and easily managed.

As the company moves forward to expand 4G and 5G coverage, it aims to reduce the household cost of mobile services, which in return encourages customer spending across various other goods and services, contributing to the sustainable growth of Japan’s economy. Rakuten cannot take all the credit for this resurgence, but its high-profile plans have certainly drawn attention to what Japan has to offer. As the e-commerce firm plots a bigger networks role globally, Japan’s tech firms are likely to be willing accomplices.

On the other hand, I’m worried about the negative aspects of 5G as it is more likely that carriers will target bigger cities with larger populations and then slowly expand to outer areas, so in this case people living in a rural setting will not necessarily benefit from the connection. Another downside would be complaints by users that their phones become increasingly hot when using 5G, it was later proven that 5G has a significant impact on the battery drain of a phone. Also, physical obstructions such as buildings, walls, trees or towers will either absorb, block or disrupt high frequency signals, and well the telecom industry is really working hard to fix this problem by increasing existing cell towers to extend broadcast distance. So, these are definitely things to consider before switching to a 5G connection.


Yes, Rakuten will converge its 4G and 5G cores

Facebook’s New Virtual Reality Headset

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The Oculus Quest 2 is pretty much a less-expensive, but improved version of the original Quest headset released in 2019. Virtual reality has existed in some form for the past few decades, and the initial experience of the Oculus Rift was literally mindblowing as you had the ability to set up a high-quality VR experience in your own home. The 2019 Oculus Quest was so popular that it was nearly impossible to get your hands on it for months after its release, and well Oculus went straight to work on their successor to the original headset and were able to cut down the manufacturing costs as well. The Oculus Quest 2 retails for $299.99 which is $100 cheaper than the predecessor and it’s definitely an improvement over the original in every way that matters.

If you’re looking for the closest thing to a self-sufficient VR gaming console, The Oculus Quest 2 is right up there. For me personally, I find VR or gaming to be a kind of escape from reality for a brief amount of time, it could also be a good workout if you think about it. Also, developers for the Oculus have the option to make their games run at 90Hz which provides crisp, smooth gameplay with increased comfort and realism while playing. Hand tracking is also impressive, though clearly is still a work in progress at times.

The VR headset comes with two controllers with double the battery life of the predecessor, and hundreds of other games sold seperately of course. The Quest 2 offers a bit of a social experience as well, with a facebook account set up you can play with your friends whether through online avatars or physically in the same room thanks to Google Cast where you can cast whatever you’re viewing on the headset to a nearby display.

However, on the other hand getting a good tight fit to make the screen clear can be claustrophobic and a little uncomfortable. There’s still a chance that you’ll experience a degree of motion sickness after continous hours of usuage, which is unavoidable for most headsets. So if you can get over these hurdles, there’s really nothing quite like the thrill of virtual reality and those problems are not largely specific to the Quest 2, but all VR devices.

Finally, the price. Well, the Oculus Quest 2 comes in two models, one with 64 GB of storage and another 256 GB version, both are priced 299$ and 399$ respectively. It’s certainly not cheap, but considering it’s a contained individual experience that doesn’t require a computer, console or even an additional screen to function, it represents great value. So in conclusion, I would say that the Oculus Quest 2 isn’t perfect but it’s the closest to perfect we’ve come so far in terms of VR, and in a age of social isolation, turning Youtube VR into your own personal IMAX screen is a welcome distraction from all the madness going on outside in the world.





Is the PS5 Digital Edition Really Worth it?

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Finally after all the hype, speculation and leaks. The successor to the PS4 has arrived, sony’s long-awaited Playstation 5 is set to hit the stores in select countries such as the US and Japan markets from the 12th of November 2020 and the rest of the world will be able to get their hands on the console from the 19th. Something more unusual about the launch of the PS5 is that there’s going to be more than one console releasing this year, a digital edition of the PS5 which is essentially a streamlined digital-only console without a disc drive.



The price you may ask? Well, The PS5 and PS5 digital edition costs 499$ and 399$ respectively. Honestly if you ask me, it’s probably wise to save up and spend the extra 100$ on the standard edition with a disc drive because I think buying the digital edition is a huge commitment to Sony. Let me elaborate, so for example you buy the digital edition and you save the additional 100$ for buying your favourite game, so the only way you can purchase or gain access to a game is through the Playstation Store, there’s no other way. So you’re basically falling into “Sony’s trap” here because in case you didn’t know the Playstation Store is notorious when it comes to overpricing video games to the point where it doesn’t make sense for the consumer to even consider it. In my opinion, the most important benefit of having a disc drive in your console is the ability to swap, borrow, loan and trade physical game discs with friends and exchange stores for a fraction of the original price. Also, there are a lot of video game collectors out there who love collecting physical copies of a game to add to their exquisite collection so I’m pretty sure they won’t be the target audience for the Digital Edition.

Now for the juicy bit, the specifications. Well we’re looking at 8 cores/16 threads x86-64-AMD Ryzen Zen 2 processor which has a variable frquency upto 3.5 GHz with an AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based graphics engine which is capable of a whopping 10.3 teraflops. Both the editions of the PS5 come with an Ultra HD Blu-ray opitical drive with 3D audio, GDDR6 16GB/448GB/s bandwidth. Historically, this is the first ever Playstation console to have an inbuilt SSD(825GB).


So what does the future of gaming look like?

Well, I think the future is bright and colourful as manufacturers have finally realised the importance of implementing an inbuilt SSD which can significantly reduce game load times and provides a much smoother gaming experience. It’s definitely a step in the right direction and I see this as a permanent addition to future consoles as well. To sum up, if you’re an avid gamer without the finances to make the big jump to the top-tier PS5, then by all means go for the digital edition, it’s still a next generation console after all. But always keep in mind that there is a gray area in the digital ownership, be it music, films or games because you don’t actually own a title in perpetuity. Yes, online elements of modern games means that patches come regularly and can sometimes be required before even a game will work. But if Sony’s servers ever get taken down due to unpredictable circumstances, its not quite as reassuring to have a solely digital game collection compared to a physical one.