Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Alpha is almost entirely made of screen

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix series has always pushed the boundaries of phone screens and form factors, from the original model that kicked off the bezel wars to last year’s sliding, notchless Mi Mix 3. Now, just as we’re starting to see “waterfall” displays with extreme curved edges, Xiaomi is taking this to a wild new level with the Mi Mix Alpha.

The “surround screen” on the Alpha wraps entirely around the device to the point where it meets the camera module on the other side. The effect is of a phone that’s almost completely made of screen, with status icons like network signal and battery charge level displayed on the side. Pressure-sensitive volume buttons are also shown on the side of the phone. Xiaomi is claiming more than 180 percent…

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Author: Sam Byford

Indiana Jones 5 Update: “We’re Still Trying,” Writer Says

A fifth Indiana Jones movie starring Harrison Ford and directed by Steven Spielberg is on the way, but little has been heard about it for some time. From the sound of it, the movie appears to still be in the early stages. And now, writer David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible) has shared more insight on how it’s coming along.

Koepp told Den of Geek that he’s back on Indiana Jones 5, but what he had to say does not exactly inspire total confidence about the film. “I’m working on it again. We’re still trying. And I think we’ve got a good idea this time. We’ll see,” he said.

Koepp was originally attached to write Indiana Jones 5, before Solo: A Star Wars Story writer Jonathan Kasdan later came on to contribute. The movie was delayed to 2021 due to “story problems,” according to Collider, and now Koepp has returned to apparently help get the story right.

Spielberg, who directed all the previous Indiana Jones movies, is coming back to direct, with Ford returning as well to play the the iconic archaeologist. Indy’s son Mutt, played by Shia LaBeouf in 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, will not return in the new movie.

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull might not have enjoyed the best reviews, but it grossed more than $786 million worldwide to stand as the most successful Indiana Jones movie ever. Altogether, the series has brought in nearly $2 billion at the global box office across all four releases.

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Author: Eddie Makuch

Xiaomi announces Mi 9 Pro 5G with 30W fast wireless charging

Xiaomi has announced the Mi 9 Pro 5G, a new variant of its generally very good Mi 9 with faster chips, connectivity, and charging. It’s based around a Snapdragon 855+ processor with 8 or 12GB of RAM, has what sounds like the same 6.4-inch 1080p OLED display but now with “professional” calibration, and of course a 5G modem that Xiaomi says offers full coverage for China’s three major carriers.

Xiaomi is one of the only Chinese phone makers that supports wireless charging at all, and the Mi 9 Pro 5G should be a leader in that area: it can be wirelessly charged at 30W on a dedicated stand, filling its 4,000mAh battery in 69 minutes. Wired charging is up to 40W and should give you a full charge after 48 minutes.

The Mi 9 Pro 5G also has 10W…

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Author: Sam Byford

Samsung’s new camera sensor has the tiniest pixels ever

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Samsung has announced a new image sensor for smartphones that it claims has the “smallest pixel size in the industry.” After introducing 0.8μm pixels on its 48- and now 64-megapixel sensors, which have seen widespread adoption from Chinese smartphone makers throughout 2019, Samsung is now producing the world’s first image sensor with 0.7μm pixels.

The ISOCELL Slim GH1 is a 43.7-megapixel (7,968×5,480) sensor designed to offer high resolution in a small physical size. Samsung says it offers “the optimum solution for slim full-display devices,” suggesting it’s intended for selfie cameras; the company currently offers a 32-megapixel 0.8μm sensor that’s often used that way.

If you know…

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Author: Sam Byford

Huge Black Ops 4 Update Adds Tanks For Battle Royale Mode And Lots More

Even with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare releasing next month, Activision continues to support last year’s game, Black Ops 4, with new updates and more content. The newest wave of new content is out now in the form of the Operation Dark Divide update–and it’s a big one.

For the battle royale mode, Blackout, the update restores the map to its normal look from the previous refresh that sets the stage for a new mode. The new mode is Heavy Metal Heroes, and it is a vehicle-focused mode that encourages players to jump into armored ARAVs, ATVs, and motorcycles, while a new vehicle, the tank, has been added.

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The tank is … a tank. It is equipped with a mighty powerful weapon that Activision says will “decimate” anyone found in its sights. The tank supports a drive and a passenger who sits in the gunner position. To call in the tank, players must find it on the map or use the flare gun to call it to your location on the map.

Elsewhere in Blackout, the Dark Divide update adds two new weapons taken from the Zombies mode: the Savage Impaler and Winter’s Fury.

Outside of Blackout, the Dark Divide update introduces new Elixirs (Secret Shopper, Power Vacuum) and a new Perk in the form of Blaze Phase. This allows you to transform into a “charging fireball” to scorch your enemies or knock them back.

Those who have the Black Ops Pass, meanwhile, are getting the final chapter in the Zombies Aether storyline; Tag Der Toten is available now. It sees the crew of the Victis travelling to Siberia to fight off even more zombies as they uncover secrets.

For standard multiplayer, the Dark Divide update adds a new map called Lair. This map is set on a volcanic island featuring a laser that players can activate to torch their enemies. A second “new” map is “Launch,” which is a reimagined version of the original Launch map from the first Black Ops.

Go to Activision’s blog to learn more about what’s new in Dark Divide. The update is available now on PlayStation 4 with releases for Xbox One and PC to follow.

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Author: Eddie Makuch

Samsung Galaxy S10 gets DeX support and Note 10 camera features

dexPhoto by Chris Welch / The Verge

A new Galaxy S10 software update is bringing headline features from the Note 10 to Samsung’s other flagship phone line. SamMobile reports that the update is rolling out in certain regions right now for the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10E, and includes support for DeX PC connectivity, Live Focus blur effects in video recordings, and other camera features. It also includes this month’s Android security patch

Samsung revamped its DeX concept with the Note 10, letting you access your phone’s apps from any computer rather than requiring a separate monitor setup. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that it’s still a pretty inelegant solution, as these things tend to be. But edge-case functionality stands a better chance of working for anyone when…

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Author: Sam Byford

Fortnite Is Adding Bots, Here’s What That Means

The popular battle royale game Fortnite is introducing bots. In the game’s next seasonal refresh, Epic Games will introduce bots with the aim of helping newcomers learn the ropes.

The bots will behave similarly to humans, Epic said in a blog post. These bots will populate matches in all playlists except Competitive. Over time, the game will recognize when a player’s skill improves, and in turn, the number of bots in your match will decrease. Currently, Fortnite matches are populated 100 percent by other humans, so this is one of Fortnite’s biggest changes ever.

Epic says the new bots system will evolve over time as the studio iterates and updates the feature, though no specific plans were divulged.

The bots will operate alongside the new matchmaking system that Epic is rolling out in the upcoming 10.40 update. Due to the fact that the “range of player skill has grown considerably” since release, Epic is making changes to the “matchmaking logic” for Fortnite’s core modes to help match players of similar skill together.

“You will be more likely to match with players of similar skill, and as you get better, so should your opponents,” Epic said in a blog post explaining the changes. “We will slowly roll this out to all regions across Battle Royale core modes as we test and monitor how it performs. We’re excited to get this out for everyone to play with and will continue to update the system.”

Fortnite is currently in the midst of a Batman-themed event to celebrate the character’s 80th anniversary. For more on that, check out GameSpot’s guide to all the Fortnite Bat Signal locations.

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Author: Eddie Makuch

Facebook acquires neural interface startup CTRL-Labs for its mind-reading wristband

Using CTRL-Labs’ wristband prototype required intense concentration, but not actual muscle movement. CEO Thomas Reardon, left, led development of the Internet Explorer browser before co-founding CTRL-Labs in 2015. | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Facebook today announced that it will acquire neural interface startup CTRL-Labs, a company that makes a wristband capable of transmitting electrical signals from the brain into computer input.

The deal, which CNBC reports is worth around $1 billion, is the most substantial acquisition Facebook has made in the last half decade, since it paid $2 billion to acquire virtual reality company Oculus VR in 2014. It also marks a substantial increase in investment in Facebook’s growing hardware ambitions, as the CTRL-Labs tech will be put to use in future augmented and virtual reality projects at the social network.

Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, the head of AR and…

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Author: Nick Statt

Xbox To Be First Carbon Neutral Game Console With Test Program

Video game companies are rallying together to try to save the planet. The United Nations Environment Program has announced a new “Playing for the Planet Alliance,” which sees 21 major game companies–including Sony and Microsoft–work together to share best practices for becoming more environmentally friendly. The companies are also quickly putting their words into action, as Sony’s PlayStation 5 will be more environmentally friendly as part of the initiative, while Microsoft is launching a pilot program to make 825,000 carbon neutral Xbox consoles.

In total, the efforts undertaken by the 21 game companies is estimated to result in a “30 million ton reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030.” Additionally, “millions” of trees will be planted, while game companies will enact practices to do better in the areas of “energy management, packaging, and device recycling.” A press release from the UN also mentions how some future games will be designed specifically with new “green nudges.” It’s unclear what this means, however.

The participating companies and platforms include Sony, Microsoft, Google Stadia, Rovio, Supercell, Sybo, Ubisoft, and Wildworks. Nintendo is the only major platform-holder that is missing.

Nintendo does, however, already operate an Environment Committee at the company’s headquarters in Japan, while each of its overseas subsidiaries have their own committees that look into environmental impact in their regions.

“The video games industry has the ability to engage, inspire and captivate the imaginations of billions of people across the world. This makes them a hugely important partner in addressing the climate emergency,” United Nations Environment Program executive director Inger Andersen said in a statement. “We are encouraged by the commitment of these gaming companies, which shows recognition that we all must play our role in the global effort to lower carbon emissions and effect real change towards sustainability.”

As for the carbon neutral Xbox, Microsoft says it will produce 825,000 of the consoles, though it’s unclear what version of the system this might be. Whatever the case, these will be the “first gaming consoles to be carbon neutral.” This is only a test program, Microsoft said, but the company is also looking to see “what we can do to further reduce and neutralize carbon across devices in the future.”

Microsoft’s business operations have been carbon neutral since 2012, so the new effort on a carbon neutral Xbox is an extension of that program.

The United Nations Environment Program said in its statement that it is possible for educational games to reach the masses, even if it hasn’t happened yet. In response to this, the UN said some of its Alliance members will host “design-jams” where developers will explore ideas to make games that are both fun and educational regarding environmental impact.

Here is what some of the member companies will do to help save the planet:

  • Sony — The PS5 will have a “low power” suspend mode, which is one part of Sony’s plan to have more energy effience technology overall. Sony will also “assess and report” their carbon footprint.
  • Microsoft — The company will make 825,000 Xbox consoles that are carbon neutral as part of a pilot program. These will be the first game consoles in history to have no carbon impact on the earth. Additionally, Microsoft is releasing a “Built the Better World” program in Minecraft to help people learn more about what they can do to help the cause.
  • Google Stadia — There will be a Sustainable Game Development guide for developers to help them implement “green nudges” into the gameplay; but again, it’s unclear what this means.
  • Supercell (Clash of Clans) — Will work on carbon impact initiatives to help offset the carbon impact of players charging their mobile devices.
  • Wild Works (Animal Jam) — The studio will “integrate restoration elements” in their games. They will also plant trees around world.
  • Green Man Gaming — Will also plant trees.
  • Ubisoft — The company will launch in-game “green themes” in unspecified titles, and will also look to source materials from “eco-friendly” factories.
  • Sports Interactive (Football Manager) — Will starting using a recycling alternative for future Football Manager games that will eliminate 20 tons of plastic packaging.
  • Creative Mobile — Their game ZooCraft will transition to becoming a “conservation-focused game”
  • Reliance Games (Little Singham) — The studio will offer in-game events across India.
  • iDreamSky — The studio will put “green nudges” in their games.
  • E-Line Media (Never Alone), Strange Loop (Eco), and Internet of Elephants (Safari Central) — The companies will “share their expertise of making high impact environmentally oriented games into the Alliance.”
  • Twitch — The company says it will use their streaming service to “spread this message [about climate change] to the global gaming community.”
  • Niantic (Pokemon Go) — Will “engage their community to act around sustainability issues.”

Full list of Playing for the Planet Alliance members:

  • Creative Mobile
  • E-Line Media
  • Google Stadia
  • Green Man Gaming
  • iDreamSky
  • Internet of Elephants
  • Microsoft
  • Niantic Inc
  • Pixelberry
  • Reliance Games
  • Rovio
  • Space Ape
  • Sports Interactive
  • Supercell
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Strange Loop
  • Sybo
  • Twitch
  • Ubisoft
  • WildWorks
  • Playmob

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Author: Eddie Makuch