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Samsung last week unveiled its much-anticipated Galaxy Fold smartphone, which starts at $1,980 in the United States. If that’s not expensive enough for you, Huawei has you covered with an even pricier $2,600 foldable smartphone that has your name written on it.
Costing nearly three grand, the new foldable smartphone from Huawei is a thinner, pricier rival to the Galaxy Fold. Announced yesterday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the Mate X is a phone with a 6.6-inch OLED display that unfolds into an eight-inch tablet.
By comparison, Samsung’s device is 7.3 inches unfolded.
The smartphone is equipped with a stretchable hinge design—they’re calling it “Falcon Wing”—which dissolves into the device for a smooth and flat finish on both sides. The firm and durable design ensures the screen will not overstretch while folding or bulge in unfolding.
The stretchable hinge dissolves into the device for a smooth and flat finish on both sides.
The Mate X is powered by Huawei’s new in-house designed Balong 5000 system-on-a-chip with an integrated 5G modem. The company claims that the Balong 5000 is the world’s first 7nm processor, but that title actually belongs to Apple’s A12 Bionic chip from 2023. The Huawei phone is 11mm thick when folded and just 5.4mm when unfolded, which is really, really thin for a device of this class—it’s even thinner that the iPod touch media player.
Huawei integrated a fingerprint scanner into the power button.
According to Huawei, the Mate X features a fingerprint sensor built into the power button and a 4,500 mAh dual battery that can recharge from zero to 85 percent within 30 minutes (Apple’s fast-charge feature currently gets you from dead to fifty percent within 30 minutes).
The device sports a 4500 mAh dual battery that works as one.
Moreover, Mate X folds in the opposite direction of Samsung’s device so the screen is on the front and the back in folded mode. Like Samsung’s device, Huawei’s foldable smartphone will allow customers to run multiple apps at once in split screen tablet mode.
Both Samsung and Huawei devices feature a 5G modem.
The stock Photos app in tablet mode.
The stretchable hinge also happens to house a camera system. This has allowed Huawei engineers to get rid of the notch, as opposed to the punch-hole display on the Galaxy Fold.
There are multiple onboard cameras, including a 40-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 16-megapixel ultra wide angle lens and an 8 megapixel telephoto lens. An additional fourth sensor is present but will be enabled via a future software update.
The Leica camera system built into the hinge lets you take selfies and rear-facing images of the same quality.
Huawei describes mirror shooting:
Mobile portrait photography is now a real collaboration between the photographer and their subject. The dual screen design allows them to preview the shot in real-time from both sides and contribute their creative ideas to produce a stunning portrait.
The phone will go on sale in June or July, Huawei has said, giving Samsung’s device—scheduled to begin shipping in late April—an early lead. All the aforementioned perks will set prospective customers back 2300 euros in Europe, or about $2,600 in US dollars.
Like Samsung’s device, the Mate X does split screen multitasking in tablet mode.
I know what you’re thinking of those prices, but it is actually beneficial to the industry at large that companies like Samsung and Huawei are willing to explore folding screen technology.
There may never be a viable market for these kinds of devices, but didn’t people use to level the same argument against Samsung Note which popularized larger-screened phones?
Remenber when high-end phones used to start at $1,000? Good times.
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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 official: Foldable refined
Samsung has a new foldable Android phone, and it thinks you’re really, really going to be convinced by the Galaxy Z Fold 2. If the original Fold felt like a prototype-made-real – complete with rough edges – then the Galaxy Z Fold 2 feels ready, maybe not for mass-market primetime, but certainly more in keeping with what you’d expect from its $2k price tag.
The original Galaxy Fold’s launch was not, of course, smooth sailing. Screen issues forced Samsung back to the labs to improve the hinge design, among other tweaks: even so, when the dust settled on the subsequent relaunch, there were still some frustrations about the core design.
They’re mostly addressed with the new Galaxy Z Fold 2. The name may have adopted the same “Z” nomenclature as the Galaxy Z Flip, but this is absolutely the original Fold refined as Samsung finds its feet once more. Headline features are a more streamlined folding mechanism and a much larger outer display, rather than the paltry panel the original Fold made do with.
The concept remains: a decent sized smartphone phone that opens out into a small tablet. Everything about the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s design looks to have been elevated in some way, however, from the Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze finish up.
On the outside there’s a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen: that’s actually the same size as the Galaxy S20’s display, in fact. It has a hole-punch camera for selfies, and should make using the foldable when it’s closed up much more practical. That’ll pay dividends if you’re trying to quickly browse for something one-handed, and experience the original Fold’s much smaller outer screen hardly made easy.
Inside, meanwhile, is a 7.7-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, that as before can crease down its center as the Galaxy Z Fold 2 clamshells closed. The old Fold’s big camera notch has been replaced with a much smaller hole-punch camera, which trades fewer lenses for a more discreet look. It also uses Samsung Ultra Thin Glass, as on the Galaxy Z Flip, for a glass-like feel. Underneath, it’s been reinforced to make it feel more resilient, and hold up better to everyday use.
The main cameras are on the back, a Galaxy Note 20-esque rectangular cluster of three sensors and an LED flash. Inside, there’s a 4,500 mAh dual battery.
Like the Galaxy Z Flip, the hinge can now be left opened at multiple angles, with a new double-cam mechanism. There are over 60 components in the hinge, Samsung says, and it means you’ll be able to prop it up for selfies, stand it for video consumption, or basically leave it at whatever angle you please.
Beyond the sheer sci-fi-geekery appeal of a folding screen, there are some legitimate reasons why you might want a phone like this. Android tablet sales haven’t exactly been igniting in recent years, as users discover larger and larger smartphones do the job; the Galaxy Z Fold 2, though, should be a nice reminder of why a slightly bigger screen can be more productive.
Then there are Samsung’s integrations with Microsoft, something we’ve seen the company double-down on with the new Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. That includes tighter synchronization with the Your Phone tool on Windows, which should allow you to access more phone apps on your desktop, simultaneously. Samsung DeX, meanwhile, is getting a fully-wireless upgrade, connecting without cables or docks to a Miracast-enabled smart TV.
You can reserve the Galaxy Z Fold 2 now.
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Huawei Matebook Pro X
A fantastic screen and excellent performance make this one stand out.
Any review of the Huawei Matebook X Pro has to start off with a comparison to Apple’s MacBook Pro. The two machines share features every step of the way, from the sparse packaging to the computer’s aluminum body and short-travel keyboard. You could almost call the Matebook X a knockoff—if it wasn’t so excellent.What is it?
Huawei’s flagship laptop is designed to compete with other ultra-thin computers on the market. It’s just over a half-inch thick when closed, which makes it about the same size as other slim machines like the HP Spectre 13 and the Dell XPS 13.
Huawei packed the Matebook’s aluminum chassis with high-end guts, like a 1.8 GHz Core i7 processor and 16 GB RAM, as well as an Nvidia GeForce MX150 card to handle graphics processing. It’s fast, but it’s not meant to compete with super-powerful gaming laptops like the Razer Blade. The Matebook is meant to handle everyday tasks, as well as more power hungry jobs like photo editing, and even light video work.Display
The 13-inch touchscreen screen is one of this machine’s biggest draws. It follows the trend of trying to completely kill bezels, filling more than 90-percent of the display area with actual screen image. It also uses an unusual—at least in 2023—aspect ratio of 3:2 instead of the wider 16:9 displays to which many laptop users have grown accustomed. I actually prefer the slightly taller screen because it matches the aspect ratio of the 3:2 photos that come out of my DSLR cameras. It also makes editing documents and articles in a content management system simpler because you get more vertical screen space.
The screen itself is rather glossy, which means you’ll fight some reflections in some locations, but none more than the usual. Its 3,000 x 2,000 pixel resolution is just shy of 4K, but by an insignificant amount, and it produces surprisingly accurate colors right out of the box.Feel
From a design standpoint, the Matebook X Pro is also impressive. It weighs just under 3 pounds, which makes is slightly heavier than some of the other ultra-slim laptops, which typically check in around 2.5 pounds. It is, however, a few fractions of an ounce lighter than a comparable MacBook Pro.
The keyboard feels very much like typing on a current model MacBook Pro, and it depends on your outlook about whether that’s a positive or a negative. The keys have a short travel distance and produce a pronounced “clack” sound when you push one. The Huawei keys seem a little quieter than the MacBook Pro’s, though. I personally enjoy the sensation of typing on this machine.
The circular power button below the screen on the right acts as a fingerprint reader which worked perfectly every time I tried it when logging in. It is good placement, but the lack of a traditionally placed webcam (more on that in a moment) takes logging in with the facial recognition component of Window’s Hello feature impractical.Performance
There are plenty of hard numbers out there if you want to see exactly how fast this machine handles arbitrary tasks, but I always default to my typical torture test of a long photo editing session in Adobe Lightroom, a program that’s notorious for soaking up lots of resources and running sluggishly, even on super-fast machines.
While the Matebook X Pro didn’t handle rending full-size raw photo files quite as quickly as the current 15-inch MacBook Pro, the difference was remarkably small. We’re talking fractions of a second. It handled opening 100-megabyte raw files in Photoshop without choking, and chewed through some light HD video editing as a speed that’s very respectable for a machine of this size.
The battery life promises 11-hours of runtime, and while I didn’t time it with a stopwatch, I did get a full workday of typing, editing, light photo editing, and general internet foolishness in without the need for a charge.
Huawei MateBook X Pro webcam
This was not my experience with the webcam placement.Ports
The right side of the computer has a single USB 3.0 port, while there is a pair of USB-C inputs on the other side, one of which I typically used to charge the battery. It’s a typical collection of ports, but in 2023, it’s worth celebrating when ultra-slim laptop makers don’t take away as many inputs as possible and send us into dongle hell.That stupid webcam
By almost all accounts, the design on the Matebook X Pro is excellent—with the exception of its webcam. To save space on the display and avoid the need for making a notch in the screen, Huawei put this laptop’s webcam inside of a spring-loaded key in the keyboard. Pressing it is actually rather novel and feels surprisingly sturdy. The problem, however is that the webcam then sees you from a very unflattering upward angle that makes you look like something out of a horror movie.
Ultimately, the hidden webcam is like a cat in a top hat—cute, but ultimately pretty useless.Should you buy it?
At $1,500 (as reviewed here, starting price is $1,100), this laptop sits in a fat part of the ultra-slim laptop market that’s chock full of competition. After a week of steady usage, however, it’s hard to find a reason not to recommend it. The battery life is long, the screen is beautiful, and the performance was even better than I expected.
Two years ago, then MIT graduate student Caleb Harper built a fully networked farm of tomatoes, lettuce, and broccoli inside a fourth-floor lounge at the school’s famed Media Lab. He hoped to prove he could use data science to optimize crop yields, boost nutrient density, and trim water consumption by 98 percent compared with traditional dirt farming, all of which he did. But there was no meaningful way to share his data with the world. Despite an ongoing boom in agricultural technology, no one cared about his findings or dared to share theirs. This September, he launched the Open Agriculture Initiative, the first open-source platform for global agriculture and food hackers.Popular Science: How is agriculture not open-source? Don’t we pretty much know how to grow a tomato?
Caleb Harper: No. Traditional agriculture is closed and opaque. It’s understood by very few people at a production scale. How do I find nutritional-uptake studies on lettuce? Where can I get data on crop yields in Ghana? We want people to research this stuff, share it online, and grow healthier food and more of it around the world. There’s a huge appetite for this.PS: So who is hoarding all the useful information?
CH: Right now, there are 20,000-foot indoor farms popping up all over the world. But no one shares anything because they think their IP is so valuable. One place called PlantLab in the Netherlands has a warehouse full of little pods where they create microclimates, which in turn create a novel flavor, a novel shape, and specific nutrients in the plants. And then they patent their processes. To be fair to them, they’re doing awesome work. This stuff can take a lifetime to figure out. But they are creating all this knowledge and then scooping it under a black box. We want to create plant-growing recipes that look like Wikipedia.PS: How do you propose to do that?
CH: One thing we’re developing is a shipping-container farm modified with networked sensors and growing environments. It can be used by other research institutions and by corporate cafeterias. So we’ll all be connected to each other’s data. Another cool thing is the Personal Food Computer. We released it for testing in September. It’s a 2-by-2-foot cube with microsensors, an LED light bar, and an irrigation system. We can change the temperature, the CO2 level, the amount of nutrients in the water, the water temperature, mineral fertilizer—all this stuff.PS: It sounds like the state of 3-D printing 10 years ago, when the open-source RepRap helped create a huge community of printer hackers.
CH: Exactly. Our Personal Food Computer is an open-source bio bot, a food bot for maker enthusiasts to create a community. What’s been holding agtech back is that none of the black boxes and systems can talk to each other.PS: So what can you do with it?
CH: People always want me to answer that. I dunno. It’s like personal computers in the ’70s. The extensions are endless. You can be an idiot and have fun, or revolutionize how tomatoes are grown. It could become a personal pharmacy. We can all be sequenced, and grow the food best for us. That’s one of a thousand stories waiting to be written.
Hungry for more? Check out our future of food feature from the October 2024 issue of Popular Science.
The First Black Hole Image Is Here Two BU astronomers, hundreds of collaborators, eight telescopes together glimpse a supermassive black hole for the first time
The first direct visual evidence of the supermassive black hole in the center of Messier 87 (M87) and its shadow. The shadow of the black hole seen here is the closest we can come to an image of the black hole itself, a completely dark object from which light cannot escape. Photo courtesy of EHT
For the first time, scientists have captured an image of a black hole. And it looks, perhaps unsurprisingly, exactly as scientists predicted.
“That does not happen very often,” says Alan Marscher, a Boston University professor of astronomy and a scientist on the team that captured the historic image. “Most theories are challenged by observations. There might be some disappointment among some of the astrophysicists when they see the images, saying, ‘Darn, that’s what we predicted.’”
Although black holes have never been seen before, astrophysicists have been mathematically certain, based on Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, that the presence of these cosmic magnets—exerting extreme gravitational pull from the center of galaxies—explains the swirl and trajectory of stars, planetary bodies, and space dust.
“This is confirmation that black holes exist,” says team member Svetlana Jorstad, a BU astronomy department and Institute for Astrophysical Research senior research scientist.
Collecting data from eight radio telescopes in different remote locations around the world, the EHT collaborators essentially created a planet-size telescope. This technique allowed them to achieve a telescopic resolution powerful enough to read a newspaper in New York from a sidewalk café in Paris. The telescopic network’s power is capable of cutting through the cosmic haze to magnify the EHT team’s namesake, a boundary known as the event horizon, the final point beyond which no light or anything else can escape from a black hole’s maw.
For the last several years, EHT has been working to image two supermassive black holes: Sagittarius A*, located in the center of the Milky Way, and one in the center of Messier 87 (M87), a galaxy in the constellation Virgo. That faraway region in M87, located 55 million light-years from Earth, is where scientists from EHT succeeded in taking the only direct image of a supermassive black hole and its surroundings ever captured.
“We knew there was something very compact at the center [of M87], but until you make an image of a black hole, you’re not sure,” says Marscher.
The black hole itself is, well, black—but is surrounded by a ring of light many times brighter than the sun. The light, created by high-energy particles swirling and heating up near the black hole, bends around the dark center before traveling as microwave light toward radio dishes here on Earth. In the center of the arcing light, the dark circular region is nicknamed the “black hole shadow.”
Despite the name, supermassive black holes are relatively tiny, compact astronomical objects, but with enormous mass. The supermassive black hole in the center of M87, for example, has a mass estimated at six billion times the sun but a size that is only about as big as our solar system.
Seeing the ring of light and the black hole shadow is only possible with a technique called “very long baseline interferometry,” or VLBI, which combines signals from cosmic objects taken by high-precision radio dishes scattered around the Earth. Marscher and Jorstad’s research group at BU has been using VLBI and other techniques to investigate whether or not blazars, the most luminous objects in the universe, are powered by supermassive black holes. Blazars are found at galaxy centers, when matter being sucked into a black hole creates jets of high-energy particles that radiate intense light.
Marscher and Jorstad were invited to join EHT by its project director Shep Doeleman of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The two worked with about 30 other scientists at Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative Center tasked with deciding which imaging techniques EHT should use to make high-quality pictures of the supermassive black hole.
Both Marscher and Jorstad plan to continue working on EHT data, with hopes of imaging the region farther from the black hole, where the jets of high-energy particles originate. Another goal, Jorstad explains, is to use the existing EHT data to see the structure of the magnetic field near M87’s supermassive black hole.
They, and the rest of the EHT collaboration, also hope to produce the first image of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole swirling at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy, a hidden monster just 26,000 light-years from home.
Key funding for the EHT collaboration was provided by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the EU’s European Research Council (ERC), and funding agencies in East Asia.
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GOG, once known as Good Old Games, has been a game distribution platform since 2012. Comparable to sites like Fanatical and Green Man Gaming, GOG sells PC games through an online storefront.
However, unlike many of its competitors, GOG deals in completely DRM-free games and has its own standalone distribution platform, similar to how Steam works.
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GOG Galaxy, GOG’s distribution platform, recently entered its second software iteration, which brought a very interesting change—it now allows the integration of games from competing platforms.
GOG Galaxy 2.0 has been a bold shift towards creating the most complete digital game library for gamers, so let’s take a look at what is GOG Galaxy and how it works in this article.What Is GOG Galaxy?
For users familiar with Steam, understanding the concept of GOG Galaxy should be simple. In 2014, CD Projekt Red announced that GOG would be releasing a standalone client on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Much like Steam, the client would have three main purposes: to sell games, to allow users to organize and download their purchased games, and to allow GOG users to interact.
One of GOG’s core selling points is that they’re a DRM-free storefront. As such, the Galaxy client is completely optional. All games sold by GOG can be downloaded as individual software, without installing the client, which is not something that competitors such as Steam can say.
In 2023, GOG announced the Galaxy client’s support for cloud saves. Cloud saves are another feature first offered by Steam, and this would be Galaxy’s first major non-QoL feature. At the launch of cloud saves, 29 games were supported, allowing users to access save files across any other device.GOG Galaxy 2.0
June 2023 marked the start of the closed beta for GOG Galaxy 2.0, a completely revamped version of GOG’s client.
The main objective of this new client was to serve gamers as a one-stop game library, allowing them to catalog and launch games from Steam, Origin, Uplay, the Epic Games Store, as well as support for console integration with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox Live network.How to Connect GOG Galaxy 2.0 To Other Platforms
Upon downloading, installing, and launching GOG Galaxy 2.0, the application starts in a tutorial mode that helps explain the features of GOG’s new client. At the top of the main window, users should see an Add games & friends button, which will allow them to do just that.
Each connection will require that the user log in with their respective credentials. This is completely safe and none of the information is passed directly to GOG’s servers.
Once complete, the connected platform will appear on the client’s left-most menu, under the Games heading, labeled as whatever platform the user has linked—in this example, Xbox.
Linking either a PlayStation or Xbox account to GOG will obviously not allow those games to be played via PC, but it does allow players to see their achievements and other stats within the Galaxy client.
Linking any of the PC platforms, such as Steam or the Epic Games Store, will allow users to launch games from within Galaxy.
Not only that, but connecting Steam, Origin, Uplay, or the Epic Games Store will allow the user to download and directly install to those platforms from within Galaxy’s interface. This means that users can effectively replace all other library platforms, because GOG has full support to manage them from within its own client.
Galaxy also has robust organization options, allowing users to tag games or even rate them from between one and six stars. For users with massive collections, this can be an extremely useful way of sorting and sub-categorizing games. There is also a search field that allows users to search through their entire collection.Why You Should Use GOG Galaxy 2.0
With Galaxy 2.0, GOG has introduced a very unique resource for gamers to completely consolidate and replace their handful of PC game library platforms in favor of just one. While native clients such as Steam do have their benefits, like the Inventories and Groups systems, for gamers who are only interested in organizing and playing their games, GOG Galaxy 2.0 is definitely a great all-in-one solution.
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