Project Scorpio: everything we know about Microsoft’s 4K-ready Xbox

Update:  If you're curious about what Project Scorpio games might actually look like then a series of screenshots from a recent Microsoft tech demo might give you a better idea.

Original article continues below…

Consoles are weird right now aren't they? First we had the rumors, and then the release of the PS4 Pro and Microsoft's Xbox One S, a souped up 4K-lite version of the Xbox One.

And this year, with Project Scorpio, Microsoft is bringing yet another console to the table.

The console was announced at Microsoft's E3 briefing last year, and the company claims it's going to be the most powerful console ever built – and from looking at its specs compared to the PS4 Pro, it looks like Microsoft might be right about that one.

The motive for Microsoft's expediency is to attempt to keep up with the demands of gamers for emerging technologies like 4K, VR and HDR content. Another reason is that, should Microsoft wait any longer, high-end PCs that already support these technologies will only get further ahead in the race to reach that next high-fidelity visual plateau.

Check out our video below for a concise look at everything you need to know about Project Scorpio. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A new 4K-equipped Xbox One
  • When is it out? Microsoft line is 'end of 2017'
  • What will it cost? Expect it to be more than the Xbox One and Xbox One S

What’s powering Project Scorpio?

Although we haven't seen the console running for ourselves, Microsoft has released the full specs in an interview with Eurogamer's Digital Foundry

The headline feature of the new console is its GPU, which will pack a massive six teraflops of graphical performance. Scorpio's GPU has 40 compute units (compared to the original Xbox's 12) running at a clockspeed of 1172MHz (up from 853MHz), which is a big jump over both the original Xbox and the PS4 Pro. 

In particular its GPU is 4.6 times more powerful than the original Xbox One. 

Before you start celebrating, that's still a fair amount less than Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, which pumps out a whopping nine teraflops but, considering that high-quality VR only requires a GTX 970 to work properly, Project Scorpio shouldn't (in theory at least) have any trouble providing Xbox gamers with their first foray into virtual reality.

However, the console should be able to run very efficiently thanks to upgrades to its command processor, which has been upgraded to make use of Microsoft's new DirectX 12 graphics API, resulting in efficiency savings for the console of as much as 50% for titles running on the new API, according to Microsoft. 

Project Scorpio

Meet the Xbox One S, the other new system to join the Xbox family.

The rest of the console's hardware has also been improved. Its AMD CPU has seen its speed increase from 1.75GHz to 2.3GHz while retaining the same number of cores (a 30% increase in horsepower), and its Memory has been boosted by 60% over the original Xbox One. 

Even the motherboard has seen improvements, and will adapt its power delivery to match the specific characteristics of the individual console's chip. 

Audio processing has also seen improvements, with Dolby Atmos being included in the console. 

The console will use a vapour chamber to dissipate heat out of the back of the console. 

These improvements have been designed by a team of Microsoft engineers after analysis of hardware bottlenecks on the existing console and its graphics engines, and prototyped using hardware emulators. 

Excitingly, it's also been revealed by Eurogamer that the console will support adaptive frame-rate technology known as FreeSync. Project Scorpio will be the first console to support this technology as it's something that's more commonly found in PCs.

When a console drops below its target frame-rate of 60fps or 30 fps a graphical glitch known as screen-tearing can sometimes occur. Traditionally consoles use something known as V-Sync to prevent this happening but this sometimes caused lag and stutter which isn't great for fast-paced games.

Having FreeSync means that Scorpio should be able to prevent any screen-tearing without that telling judder or input-lag, something that will be particularly key when playing graphically demanding 4K games. Though Microsoft has said it will be available across all of the console's games, even backwards compatible Xbox 360 titles. 

Though this is great, one downside is that many Scorpio owners won't get to take advantage of the technology right away.  This is because adaptive sync will only be available on TVs equipped with HDMI 2.1 (a display standard that hasn’t yet been ratified) or computer monitors that support FreeSync over HDMI. It's unlikely that a majority of people will have access to these kinds of displays just yet.

However, we can expect the majority of TVs in the future to adopt the HDMI 2.1 standard so sometime in the future you're probably going to end up with a TV that will support FreeSync. 

All of this means that rendering in native 4K is a real possibility for the new console, which contradicts a Microsoft whitepaper published last year which suggested that the new console would make use of upscaling techniques called 'half-resolution' and 'sparse rendering'.

Half-resolution is a technique whereby graphically intensive effects are run at a lower resolution than the game as a whole, and are then upscaled to the full resolution. 

Meanwhile, sparse rendering is a technique that's similar to the PS4 Pro's 'checkerboarding' technique, which cleverly upscales games to 4K in a way that's almost indistinguishable from the native resolution. 

While Microsoft has said that it's targeting native 4K for its first-party titles, these techniques suggest that the Project Scorpio's games will run at different resolutions, depending on their developer's priorities. 

The other advantage Scorpio has is that, since the Xbox One runs Windows, it'll be easy for game developers to create games to work on both platforms.

"The capability to build a game that actually takes advantage of different hardware capabilities is part of any third-party dev ecosystem, or anybody who's targeting Windows and console at the same time," said Xbox head Phil Spencer speaking to Wired.

Microsoft also promises the console will be able to render visuals at 60Hz, which means silky smooth gameplay that's synced to your TV's refresh rate. Digital Foundry's video in particular showed off a port of Forza Motorsport running at 60Hz at 4K. 

Project Scorpio

Whose VR headset?

Xbox has recently announced that it will be bringing mixed reality headset support to Xbox One and Scorpio in 2018.

Xbox owners won't be limited to just one headset. Instead the console will support all Windows Mixed Reality headsets, which include models from Lenovo, Dell, Acer and HP.

Virtual reality is likely to also be one of the big selling points of Project Scorpio, but Microsoft doesn't have its own VR headset and won't be developing its own for now.

Yes, it has HoloLens, but that's for augmented reality and not VR. Instead, Microsoft will use an existing VR headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, though Spencer doesn't name any specific headsets as being partners.

The logical choice here might be Oculus Rift, as Microsoft partnered with the Facebook-backed company earlier in the year to launch every headset with an Xbox One controller. Plus, a more unified platform between PCs and Xbox could make it easy on developers to port existing Rift games to Xbox One without any extra work.

Here's the bad news: since Project Scorpio doesn't come bundled with a VR headset – at least not one that Spencer mentioned – expect to spend an additional $600-$800 (£499-£689) for one.

An improved gaming experience

One interesting revelation from Microsoft's E3 announcement is that all consoles in the Xbox One family, including Scorpio and the One S, will be able to play from the same library of games. Scorpio will also apparently support a select number of Xbox 360 games just like the Xbox One. However, more powerful consoles like Scorpio will feature better gaming experiences due to the more powerful components.

One example given by Digital Foundry was Forza Motorsport 6. They showed a screenshot of the game running in 4K while still maintaining 60fps, while still having plenty of GPU horsepower to spare. 

Most interesting was the fact that this game had been ported to Scorpio after just a couple of days of porting work. This ease suggests that we might see a lot of games being ported to the new console.

This suggests that 1080p Xbox One games should be able to run at 4K on Xbox One without too much trouble, and Microsoft has also said that it intends for games with a resolution of 900p on Xbox One to also run at 4K on Xbox One.

However, even if you're stick rocking a Full HD TV you should benefit from the Scorpio's ability to super-sample games from 4K down to 1080p, which should result in a boost to detail. 

If you're curious what games might actually end up looking like compared to their 1080p versions, then a couple of recent Microsoft tech demos might give you a better idea. 

Interestingly, despite the fact that Sony now requires that every PS4 game support the Pro in some way, this will not be the case with Project Scorpio. As revealed in a recent interview not every Xbox One game going forward will be required to support the new hardware. 

Ostensibly this is a good thing, since it will allow developers to choose how to best spend their limited resources, but it will be interesting to see whether this harms developer adoption of the new hardware.

Project Scorpio

"When a game like that runs on Scorpio it's going to run at maximum resolution the whole time," says Spencer speaking with The Verge.

But does maximum resolution always mean native 4K? Spencer has recently gone on record to say that the console will in fact be able to do native 4K, but the discovery of a whitepaper recently suggests otherwise. 

Although Microsoft is keen to assure developers that porting to the new console will be easy, there are still questions about whether developers will want to do so. According to a survey from the Game Developer's Conference, developers are concerned the new mid-generation console upgrades will create more work for them as they struggle to build games that support both systems. 

Potentially this means that the new console won't be embraced as fully as it could do, and this has the potential to prevent it from reaching its full potential. 

So far we've had confirmation of a number of Scorpio games including Forza Motorsport 7, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Call of Duty, FIFA, Madden, Battlefront 2, Middle Earth: Shadow of War and Red Dead Redemption 2. This is a strong opening lineup for the console's 4K abilities. 

How much will it cost?

Microsoft obviously hasn’t nailed down a price range for the upcoming console yet, though Spencer has dropped hints about it when speaking with The Verge.

He said, “We’re not ready to announce something right now, but you can imagine at the price point of Scorpio – which we haven’t actually said, but think about consoles and where they live in terms of price point – having something at six teraflops that will get millions of people buying it is very attractive to some of the VR companies that are out there already, and we’ve architected it such that something will be able to plug right in and work.”

If we take a look at what a VR-ready PC costs on the low end, about $800-$900 or about £600, I expect Project Scorpio to be around that price. That’s a lot of money for a console, especially compared to the just-announced Xbox One S which costs $299 (£249) for the base model.

Project Scorpio

Why announce it so early?

It's a bit odd for Microsoft to announce a new game console so early. Even Phil Spencer admits it.

"It's crazy to announce something this early, but when I put myself in the shoes of our customer, I want to be able to make a choice on what console I want to buy with as much information as possible," he says. "We want to give you the information to make that decision. We also want to go talk to the developers that are out there today, that are building games for next holiday, and say here's what you're going to have at your disposal on the console side."

It also makes sense to announce the console early to catch up to PlayStation's VR efforts. While the PS4 does support VR, it's an unquestionably inferior experience when compared to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, which require expensive computers to power them.

This is Microsoft's chance to show they're serious about VR, and hopefully that's enough to keep gamers from jumping to another platform.

There's a good chance we could find out more information about Project Scorpio even sooner than the Xbox E3 conference on June 11 too.

A recent report from Windows Central stated that "a major gaming outlet" is preparing to exclusively reveal the console's specs as soon as the second week in April. 

We're taking this window of time with a pinch of salt, but it is likely that the spec reveal will come sooner than E3 as in a recent interview with IGN, Xbox head Phil Spencer said that though the console will be at the show 'doing everything at E3 would be difficult' and as a result a separate hardware-focused event could happen beforehand, though final plans haven't been set. 

By featuring its hardware before E3, Xbox would then be able to spend more time showing exactly what it can do at the show in June. 

Welcome to TechRadar’s PC Gaming Week 2017

It’s that time of year when TechRadar’s editors get to explore their love of PC gaming with fun, insightful and original interviews, previews, reviews and even photo tours. 

Basically, we get to play a ton of PC games and talk to the people that make them as well as the machinery they’re played on, and you get to read all about it.

This year, expect grabbing reads, too, like a photo tour of one PC gaming’s greatest system builders, a feature revealing the games that inspire one of today’s top game developers and exhaustive looks at gaming mice and keyboards.

If this week’s selection of articles gets lost in the constant TechRadar content stream, just come back to this page, as we’ll be updating it daily as new articles are published.

You can also bookmark this tag page for later reference.

Also, stay tuned to our social media channels all week for exclusive, daily giveaways from top names in PC hardware, like Creative and Overclockers. 

You can enter the competition here, or use the links below to like and follow our social media accounts. Today’s prize draw offers you the chance to win a set of Creative Kratos S3 2.1 speakers.

Wednesday

Tuesday

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Welcome to TechRadar's 3rd annual PC Gaming Week, celebrating the almighty gaming PC with in-depth interviews, previews, reviews and features all about one of the TechRadar team’s favorite pastimes. Missed a day? Check out our constantly updated hub article for all of the coverage in one place.

11 best open world games on PC today

2017 is the year of the open world game. Every game franchise iteration that came out shoehorned an explorable environment into its hyper-polished murder simulation. often they added a bit of base construction and squad management too. Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid V, The Witcher III…

They joined a line-up that contains the best games around. Look at S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Shadow of Mordor, Batman: Arkham City, or the Far Cry series… all abandoned the traditional AAA linear level structures and emigrated to the wide uplands of the open world.

Even weird indie games have clasped the explorable environment to their bosom. The Long Dark, Neo Scavenger, Rust, Factorio, Subnautica, even Euro Truck Simulator – all of these would have had a shout in our list, if we'd had room for more than 10.

But we've picked our favourites out of the best wide worlds gaming has to offer. Disagree? Tell us about yours in the comments.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

Welcome to TechRadar's 3rd annual PC Gaming Week, celebrating the almighty gaming PC with in-depth interviews, previews, reviews and features all about one of the TechRadar team’s  favorite pastimes. Missed a day? Check out our constantly updated hub article for all of the coverage in one place.

I mean, you know what this is about. There isn't a gamer reading this today who isn't aware that Minecraft consists of; exploration and crafting in a blocky, bright 8-bit world. And when night falls or when you go deep underground, monsters come out… and that's not just on the multiplayer servers.

Though it's now on every last platform going, from iOS to Linux and even to Amiga, its fundamentals are the same – a large open world to explore, with no purpose beyond the one you which you create yourself. If you want to create a moving replica of Mark Hamill's face or the hanging gardens of Babylon or just a suburban house built exclusively of dynamite, Minecraft can do it.

If you're bored of Minecraft, you're bored of life. But if you really are bored (of Minecraft and/or life), either try the 2D Minecraft Terraria, its sci-fi sibling Starbound or wait for Subnautica. They're lifesavers.

Yes, Fallout 4 is the latest, most mechanically-complex and least ugly of the series, but Fallout: New Vegas is, for me, the best of the games. It brought back the weirdness and smarts of the original titles to post-apocalyptic America – perhaps because as many of the team members from developer Obsidian worked on Fallout 2.

The series always drops the player in an open world wasteland, where you must fight and talk to survive, often exploring the bizarre vaults beneath the desert or battling the mutated creatures that scrape by. Its combat system called VATS is divisive (i.e most people think it's rubbish), but it introduces tactical flexibility to an otherwise brutally-hard game.

In Fallout: New Vegas, you play as an anonymous Courier. Left for dead, you roam the strange wastes around Arizona, Nevada and California, hunting for your killer, or exploring weird side quests. Turning on the hardcore game mode also means that food, water and sleep are essential, making it into a classic open world survival game, like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

The first two Witchers were compelling and strange, but only mildly popular. The Witcher 3 was an absolute step up in quality, and probably the best all-round game of last year. You take the part of Geralt, a mutated monster hunter, searching for his adoptive daughter in a medieval world devastated by war.

The open world setting of the game is uniquely well-realized, knocking that of previous fantasy favorite Skyrim into a viking hat. Geralt can walk, ride or sail across the green, war-ravaged lands of the South or sail between the monster-riddled lands of Skellige in the North. He can forage for herbs, explore under the seas or the back alleys of cities, and encounter all sorts of folk tale creatures (and mostly kill them).

And the other elements of the game are spectacularly polished as well – limber, agile combat, a deep levelling system, and a storyline with some unusually-smart storylines.

We know that Grand Theft Auto V is one of the best open world games out there. It’s a huge pastiche of L.A. that you can drive across, or hop on a train, or a boat or a plane – an amazing achievement, and the fact it works in multiplayer is astounding.

Saint’s Row IV is more limited, we accept. But where GTA V seems to have a dislike for all its characters, Saints Row IV manages to love its cast. It’s also uproariously funny throughout, with throwaway jokes about Mass Effect, Prototype, Crackdown, The Matrix, and Metal Gear being built into ridiculous missions.

As the (criminal) President of the United States, you receive superpowers, fail to fight off an alien invasion, and end up exploring a simulation of your giant home city of Steelport where you must rescue your pals from their own personal hells.

The plot may have made less sense than a mumbling monkey with a mouthful of marbles, but Hideo Kojima’s swansong was a masterpiece of layered open world mechanics.

In its twin deserts of Afghanistan and Angola, your character Big Boss has a range of objectives to achieve. He traverses these areas on foot, horseback, or in a variety of ground vehicles. You can take either lethal or non-lethal weapons, and a variety of strange AI companions.

The world itself is believably bleak, weather-torn and heavily-guarded. Uniquely, it learns from your behaviour – overuse a particular tactic, and enemies will adapt. For example, rely too much on headshots and they’ll start to wear metal helmets.

Away from the frontline, you can develop Big Boss’ base, by building new facilities and airlifting enemy soldiers, prisoners, resources, vehicles, animals and anything else you want to from the battlefield.

Klei’s indie survival horror game takes the drawing style of Edward Gorey, the twisted monstrosities of the Binding of Isaac, and the crafting mechanics of Minecraft and creates an unholy, dark 2D world for players to explore. Suffice to say, it’s a joy.

As players explore the world, they encounter (and die at the appendages of) its various flora and fauna. Eventually, the player might have enough knowledge to not die from starvation, not to be eaten by monsters, not to die of thirst… and then they might learn how to survive winter.

Beyond that, Don’t Starve has tremendous replay value from unlockable characters, the Together expansion that allows for multiplayer survival, and the Shipwrecked expansion which introduces a whole new area to be eaten by monsters in.

The inaccessible indie open world game par excellence, Dwarf Fortress' world is open in space, but more importantly in time. Before you even start playing, the game's engine generates thousands of years of history for its huge fantasy world, then narrows in on a tiny slice of its history and geography.

Players can then either take control of a single adventurer, exploring this generated world or a caravan of dwarfs, setting off to found a colony in the history-saturated wastelands. Taking the latter mode, you have to establish supplies of food, beer, weaponry and a hundred other essentials for a comfortable dwarf dwelling.

Inevitably, they come under attack by hideous monsters, either wandering through the world or having been unearthed by Digging Too Deep. And then they all die or go insane.

If you're looking for a much more accessible version of the game, you could try Keeper RL – which allows players to take control of dungeon full of monsters attempting to wipe out humans, dwarves and elves.

An entirely text-based open world? In 2016? Well, sure. Failbetter’s Fallen London story world has been developing for seven years and by now probably has more text in it than the Bible. And it’s better written too.

Despite that, it was the Fallen London spin-off, Sunless Sea, that has won the studio plaudits. Failbetter has taken the same choose-your-own adventure model and built it into a game where you’re exploring an underground sea adjacent to Fallen London.

The shipping and combat is so-so, but the game is driven by its amazingly rich storyline, full of charming devils, malevolent icebergs and soul-filled great apes. There’s no peace in Sunless Sea’s dark waters, just endless storylines to explore – and you will.

From Software may have started their action-RPG series on the Playstation (with Demon’s Souls), but the best editions have been on the PC (though we accept that the PS4-exclusive Bloodborne is the best of the lot).

It’s an unusual open world in that, though you can roam across it, it often bottlenecks your options to gate access to later areas. And those bottlenecks tend to be manned by giant monstrous bosses that can kill you in two or three hits.

So, yes, roaming in Dark Souls is not really something you do, given the lethality of even the lowliest enemy, until you’re very, very confident in the game. And that’s exactly when your game gets invaded by a max level idiot with a giant sword…

Jonathan Blow’s game is unlike any other on this list. It’s a pacifistic, smart puzzler that breaks the frame every time it can. At core, it’s a simple set of logic puzzles that get progressively more complex as they layer on each other. These are represented as panels throughout its open world.

And what an open world. Players amble around a landscape that’s rich with history, with several generations of ruins and repair visible in the buildings and hills. Everywhere you go, there are strange figures, some hidden in the landscape.

Get on and strange secrets reveal themselves. Audio recordings, those strange statues, images in the world that can only be seen from one angle, under certain circumstances… The more panels you unlock, the stranger the game gets – and you will never forget that it’s a game.

No doubt a divisive entry considering the legal controversies surrounding it, No Man's Sky is still a game that resonates with us enough to justify its inclusion on our list. In fact, with over 18 quintillion planets to explore and every patch improving the game, No Man's Sky exhibits one of the most fully-realized open worlds even if the "game" component is notably lacking.

No Man's Sky is all about survival and exploration, giving you the power to name and document new species across, well, all the planets even though – as the developer puts it – "it will take you 585 billion years to see them all." Although there isn't much of an online portion of the game so far, there's more than enough content to keep you occupied for years in the single-player mode alone.

The experience is only bettered by the ambient soundtrack (courtesy of 65daysofstatic) setting the tone of the atmosphere. Sure, it gets repetitive from time to time, but No Man's Sky is a technical marvel if nothing else, and that alone may be worth the price of admission.

Smart bandages will use 5G data and nano-sensors to help doctors track a wound


Imagine a bandage that will report to a Doctor via 5G wireless on how well a wound being covered is healing. Swansea University in the U.K. will begin trials inside of the next year on this so-called smart bandage. Besides using next-gen wireless service to send reports on the wound to health care professionals, the bandages employ nano-sensors to track any improvements in the injury..

With the information from the bandages, Doctors will be able to monitor a wound and recommend a treatment plan based on how well it is healing. Doctors will also be able to track how active the injured …

Smart bandages will use 5G data and nano-sensors to help doctirs track a wound

Imagine a bandage that will report to a Doctor via 5G wireless on how well a wound being covered is healing. Swansea University in the U.K. will begin trials inside of the next year on this so-called smart bandage. Besides using next-gen wireless service to send reports on the wound to health care professionals, the bandages employ nano-sensors to track any improvements in the injury..

With the information from the bandages, Doctors will be able to monitor a wound and recommend a treatment plan based on how well it is healing. Doctors will also be able to track how active the injured person is. Wounds typically heal faster when the patient is exercising and blood is circulating near the injury. 

“That intelligent dressing uses nano-technology to sense the state of that wound at any one specific time. It would connect that wound to a 5G infrastructure and that infrastructure through your telephone will also know things about you – where you are, how active you are at any one time. You combine all of that intelligence so the clinician knows the performance of the specific wound at any specific time and can then tailor the treatment protocol to the individual and wound in question.”-Marc Clement, professor, chairman of the Institute of Life Science (ILS)

While nanotech experts would produce the sensors that “read” changes in the wound, the actual bandage would be made using a 3D printer to save money. Professor Clement said that there are 1 million people at the Welsh Wound Innovation Center who can help the school carry out tests.

source: BBC via Engadget

Wozniak: Apple, Google and Facebook will be bigger in 2075

Next weekend the Silicon Valley ComicCon will be held and the theme will be “The Future of Humanity: Where Will We Be in 2075?” We expect to be right here, writing about the Samsung Galaxy S66 and the upcoming Apple iPhone model. The three-day conference was partially created by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak last year. In an interview with USA Today, the Woz says that he expects that companies like Apple, Google and Facebook will be even more bigger and more popular in 58-years.

By 2075, Wozniak predicts that new cities will be created where deserts now exist. There will be no housing problems, and by donning special suits, people will travel from one domed structure to another. Artificial Intelligence will be everywhere, and people will be able to get diagnosis and prescriptions without having to see a doctor. The surviving Apple co-founder sees Mars colonized for heavy industry with the U.S. zoned for residential use. And while he doesn’t say whether ET has an iPhone that he can use to “phone home,” the Woz says that there is a “random chance” that humans will speak with those inhibiting another planet.

“Apple will be around a long time, like IBM (which was founded in 1911). Look at Apple’s cash ($246.1 billion, as of the end of its last fiscal quarter). It can invest in anything. It would be ridiculous to not expect them to be around (in 2075). The same goes for Google and Facebook.”-Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple

As for next week’s ComicCon, 75,000 to 100,000 people will attend the event which runs from April 21st to 23rd. Special guests include actors William Shatner and John Cusack, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin. There is an app for the event available from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. If interested in purchasing tickets, click on the sourcelink. The Silicon Valley ComicCon will be held at the San Jose Convention Center.

source: USAToday, SiliconValleyComicCon via CNET

Photo claims to show the rear cover of the Xiaomi Mi 6

Yesterday, we told you that a video teaser released by Xiaomi confirmed that the company’s new flagship model, the Xiaomi Mi 6, will feature 6GB of RAM inside. The phone will also come to market powered by the Snapdragon 835 chipset. This combination, according to the manufacturer, raises the bar among domestic handsets in China. The phone will feature an octa-core CPU and the Adreno 540 GPU. The phone is also rumored to sport a dual-camera setup in back.

Today, we want to pass along a photograph spotted on weibo, that claims to show the rear cover of the Xiaomi Mi 6. You can see the cutouts for the two cameras along with another cutout for the vertical dual flash. Speaking of dual, the back cover appears to feature dual curves. And the reflection in the photo is indicative of a ceramic material, which is what the Xiaomi Mi 6 is rumored to made from.

The Xiaomi Mi 6 will be unveiled on April 19th. We expect it to carry a 5.2-inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920. The 3.5mm earphone jack has been eliminated, and the unit includes a Type-C USB port. The Mi 6 should feature an IP67 or IP68 certification rating which means that it will be resistant to dust and water.

With the unveiling just days away, check in often for the latest rumors, news, photos and videos related to Xiaomi’s next flagship handset.

via XiaomiToday

Hip-hop producer makes beats on iPhone, gets Grammy nomination and feature on Kendrick Lamar’s new record

It may appear strange, but if you really know what you’re doing, you can make money, music, or both at the same time out of literally anything. Some people literally sell air. Others bang out beats on their cracked screen iPhone and do it well enough to get a Grammy nomination, a spot on Kendrick Lamar’s new record, ‘DAMN.’ 

We’re talking about hip-hop producer Steve Lacey, who literally uses an iPhone to come up with triple-A material. He made complete songs and beats for Lamar and his own Grammy-nominated R&B band with an iPhone, the Garage Band app, some recording gear and musical instruments. The smartphone lets him record ideas and make music anywhere he likes, using it as a portable recorder and digging for inspiration in GarageBand’s library of drums and other musical sounds.

It’s absolutely magnificent how technology has evolved to let a musical mind just grab their phone and get to work, immersed in the moment’s inspiration. And when the work is finished, use the same device to present it to the artist who will give them their big break. Lacy went to the studio with Kendrick Lamar, played him some beats and ideas on the iPhone, and well, the beat on track number 7 from ‘DAMN.’ – ‘Pride’ – is all his!

There was one hurdle Lacey had to deal with, though. And you’ll never guess what it was, can you? It’s the iPhone 7’s absent headphone jack! Because of it, Steve couldn’t hear what he was playing into the device until he got a recording interface with a headphone jack.

Check out the rest of the story with all the details on Wired, it’s a fascinating read!

source: Wired

T-Mobile to carry the Motorola Moto Z2 Force

Yesterday, when we showed you renders of the upcoming Motorola Moto Z2 Force, we told you that the handset might not be a Verizon exclusive. Now, Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) is confirming that the Z2 Force will be released on at least two major US carriers. More exactly, besides landing at Verizon, the Moto Z2 Force will also be launched by T-Mobile.

For now, details on timing and pricing are missing, but we assume we’ll hear more about this in the coming months. What’s probably a safe bet is that the new smartphone will be called Moto Z2 Force Droid Edition on Verizon, and simply Moto Z2 Force on T-Mobile.

Sprint may also offer the Z2 Force, but this hasn’t been confirmed yet (though the fact that we can see the phone’s logo on a yellow background does make us think that Sprint is indeed involved here).

Expected to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the Moto Z2 Force allegedly sports a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, and largely resembles the Z Force from 2016. However, the presence of a 3.5mm headset jack, plus the redesigned fingerprint sensor and dual rear camera, do stand out as noticeable differences.

Assuming Motorola will announce the Moto Z2 Force one year after the original Z Force, the new phone should be officially unveiled in June. Well, we’ll be waiting.

source: Evan Blass (Twitter)

Major Lazer and Nicki Minaj’s Run Up music video is all about twerking in a smartphone-obssesed world

If you are at all into hip-hop besides smartphones, please pause the new Kendrick Lamar record for a bit and check out whats’s going on in Major Lazer and Nicki Minaj’s video for ‘Run Up’. Hip-hop the song is not, but the video is all about smartphone obsession wrecking up the party of a lifetime, complete with a (fake) pause to buffer the video stream and Minaj delivering a verse through FaceTime. It’s like the video is based on actual events or something!

At least one of the party goers is probably thinking about the upcoming Android 7.1.1 Nougat for his phone while enjoying himself. …