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Xiaomi Intros Mi 5s Flagship

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Xiaomi announces an incremental update on the Mi 5 flagship smartphone-- the Mi 5s, a 5.5-inch handset featuring a metal body together with the a Snapdragon 821 chipset and an ultrasonic fingerprint reader.

Xiaomi Mi 5sAccording to the company, the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor was meant for the Mi 5, but the technology only ready for mass production on July 2016. The technology allows companies to build a fingerprint reader underneath the glass covering the display, although the Mi 5s has a little dent to help users guide their fingers to the sensor.

As mentioned earlier a 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU powers the device, together with 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, up to 128GB UFS 2.0 storage and 3200mAh battery. The rear-facing camera gets a boost with a 12MP Sony 1/2.3-inch IMX378 CMOS sensor, f/2.0 aperture lens, dual-tone LED flash, phase detection auto-focus, auto HDR and video recording reaching up to 4K resolution at 30fps, as does the 4MP front-facing selfie shooter with an f/2.0 aperture 80-degree lens.

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Digitimes: VR-Enabled Smartphones to "Soar" in Q4

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Digitimes Research points out a sales opportunity for the holiday season-- the penetration rate of VR-enabled smartphones and tablets is to "soar" in Q4 2016, at least when compared to other devices.

mobile VR headset Helping smooth the way for VR-enabled smartphones is the successful H1 2016 launch of VR video-enabled Samsung flagship handsets. In the meantime Google and ARM are expected to update VR video applications with reduced algorithm requirements in Q4 2016, fostering the further development of enabled mobile devices.

According to Digitimes Research shipments of VR video-enabled smartphones are to reach 70 million units in 2016, accounting for 5% of overall global smartphone shipments.

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Google to Launch Chromecast Ultra?

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The Google event taking place on 4 October 2016 will surely see the search giant reveal a smartphone or two, but both Android Police and VentureBeat claim the company has another surprise in store-- a 4K-capable Chromecast.

Chromecast UltraReportedly dubbed the "Chromecast Ultra," the device will supposedly be sold alongside the current Chromecast dongle. Being 4K-capable the device carries more powerful hardware, allowing it to stream higher resolution content from mobile devices to HDMI-equipped displays. Android Police adds the 4K dongle was originally meant for a 2015 release, but the launch was scrapped for an unknown reason.

Interestingly, if one is to check the latest version of the Chromecast firmware (currently available in beta form to members of the Chromecast Preview program), the Chromecast logo appears no more in the software. Replacing it is the Google "G" logo, the same VentureBeat claims will adorn the Chromecast Ultra hardware.

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Best Buy Sets Space to Startup Projects

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In what is perhaps a sign of the times Best Buy launches Ignite-- an initiative dedicated to promoting products from startups and smaller companies, including crowdfunded devices.

Best Buy IgniteThrough Ignite Best Buy will hook up select startups with multinational product innovation company PCH, providing help with product development, marketing, packaging and inventory management. Once the products are finished they will appear on a section of the best Buy website dedicated to startups, a move similar to Amazon's Launchpad initiative.

In addition, the Best Buy store in Silicon Valley has an Ignite space housing a selection of crowdfunded gadgets-- including the Tangram Smart Rope, Flic smart button, RoBo 3D printer, Zuli smart plug and the Noke Bluetooth padlock. Also making an appearance is the Under Armour UA Healthbox fitness wearable, the Muzik connected headphones and the Bragi wireless earpods.

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A Wireless Controller for the Apple Anniversary

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Retro-style controller maker 8bitdo celebrates the 40th anniversary of Apple with a cute accessory-- the AP40, a wireless controller designed to look like the classic rainbow Apple logo.

AP40 controllerThe controller is compatible with PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices, as well as old game consoles when paired with the company's Retro Receiver adapter. Looks-wise it is similar to the SNES controller, if with the addition of a pair of analogue sticks, and the package comes complete with a little green leaf for plugging into the USB port when not in use and a stand modeled after the Apple II computer.

Speaking of old Apple computers, 8bitdo is also working on a version of the Retro Receiver compatible with the Apple II and IIc, meaning customers will be able to play games on a 1970s computer using a wireless controller modeled after the old Apple logo from 2016. Truly, what a time to be alive.

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