Oppo is the latest company to get caught cheating on benchmark tests

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Last month, Huawei was caught cheating on benchmark tests for several of its phones, including the P20 and P20 Pro. But it wasn’t the only phone company that was trying to game the system: two of Oppo’s devices, including its flagship Find X, have been delisted from 3DMark’s benchmark leaderboard for the same reason.

The phones were programmed to recognize the publicly available 3DMark app from the Google Play Store by name and then allocating system resources to ensure a better score. UL, the company that makes 3DMark, tested the devices again with a private version of 3DMark and found that the Find X and F7 were scoring to 41 percent higher with the publicly available app than the private one, even though the benchmarking tests were...

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Facebook hires former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to run global affairs

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As the threat of data privacy regulation looms across the world, Facebook has hired former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg as its global affairs and communications team head, according to the Financial Times.

Clegg, 51, will be headed off to Silicon Valley in January to succeed Elliot Schrage, who announced his departure from the company this summer. Clegg was a member of the UK parliament until last year, having led the Liberal Democrats party in a coalition with David Cameron’s Conservatives for five years.

Clegg has served as a European Commission trade negotiator which in the past few years has served some of the Valley’s most...

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Google app suite costs as much as $40 per phone under new EU Android deal

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Android manufacturers will have to pay Google a surprisingly high cost in Europe in order to include Google’s Play Store and other mobile apps on their devices, according to documents obtained by The Verge. A confidential fee schedule shows costs as high as $40 per device to install the “Google Mobile Services” suite of apps, which includes the Google Play Store. The new fees vary depending on country and device type, and it would apply to devices activated on or after February 1st, 2019.

But phone manufacturers may not actually have to shoulder that cost: Google is also offering separate agreements to cover some or all of the licensing costs for companies that choose to install Chrome and Google search on their devices as well,...

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The companies behind Affinity and Procreate aren’t worried about Photoshop on the iPad

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Adobe announced its plans to bring a full Photoshop app to the iPad this week, and the news was received with mixed reactions. While some people are looking forward to having a more robust version of Photoshop on their Apple tablets, others were unmoved by the news, having already adopted other editing tools for the iPad. Apps including the Affinity suite and Procreate have already established themselves as reliable (if not better) Photoshop alternatives, and, most importantly, they can be bought through a one-time purchase rather than a subscription. While developers say they welcome the competition, history indicates that their reliance on one-off purchases could mean they’ll struggle to survive in the long term.

Affinity Photo and D...

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Elon Musk’s Teslaquila is actually a good idea

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“Teslaquila” started as part of an April Fools’ Day joke — a troll holiday celebrated only by amateurs and engineers. (Amateurs usually aren’t funny and engineers have a very specific sense of humor. But as engineer humor goes, “There are many chapters of bankruptcy and, as critics so rightly pointed out, Tesla has them *all*,” is pretty damn funny.)

Anyway, Musk posted a photo of himself propped up by a Model 3, saying he’d been...

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Apple Watch embraces USB-C with new charging cable

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Continuing its move towards embracing USB Type-C, Apple has released a charging cable for the Apple Watch that uses the new connectivity standard, via Apple Insider. Using the new charger means you’ll be able to charge Apple’s wearable by plugging it into a modern MacBook, or any other laptop that’s made the switch to the more slimline port.

The new charger costs $29 / €35 / £29 with a cable that’s 0.3-m long. There’s no mention of a longer 1-m or 2-m variant being available like you can get with the USB Type-A charger. Charging time and power delivery are unlikely to be affected given that the induction charger appears unchanged.

The release comes just over a week before Apple is expected to release a new iPad Pro on October 30th...

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Oppo O-Free review: the $100 AirPods for Android

     <p id="z5wNxk">There are <a href="https://www.theverge.com/this-is-my-next/2018/8/3/17645534/best-wireless-earbuds-airpods-jabra-samsung-sony-anker">a lot of wireless earbuds</a> on the market at this point, but none have quite matched the experience of Apple’s AirPods yet. The combination of well-designed case, excellent battery life, and seamless software (with iOS, at least) makes them the wireless earbuds to beat.</p>

Almost every competitor has aimed to take on the AirPods indirectly by focusing on their weak points — the one-size-fits-most-ish design and the lack of sound isolation. Oppo’s new O-Free earbuds, however, go further than any other in attempting to play Apple’s game. These are the closest thing you can get to the AirPods-on-iOS experience without owning an iPhone, with similar hardware design and sleek software integration.

They’re not quite as good,...

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Botnets adapt in wake of Twitter crackdown

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Twitter botnets are having to adapt their behavior in the wake of the platform’s crackdown. NBC News reports that on Thursday the platform suspended hundreds of accounts acting in a network to tweet messages of support for Saudi Arabia in the wake of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Experts quoted in the report said that the bots operated in a way that allowed them to “fly under the radar” to avoid Twitter’s bans.

Turkish investigators have claimed that Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents associated with the Saudi prince Mohammad Bin Salman during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Saudi government vehemently denies these allegations, and it’s this version of events that the botnet was amplifying. Twitter...

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How WhatsApp is undermining Facebook’s war on election interference

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About a month ago, the New York Times revealed the existence of a conference room inside of Facebook devoted to fighting election interference. But this was no ordinary conference room ... this was a war room. Then under construction, the war room promised to provide a hub for all of Facebook’s efforts to fight election interference around the world. At the time, I mentioned that I would be amenable to visiting the war room, should an opportunity ever present itself.

Reader, it did.

On Wednesday morning, I joined a couple dozen or so other reporters at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, and after an introductory briefing about the purpose of the war room, got to poke my head inside:

On one hand, the war room is just one of many...

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You can now preorder the iPhone XR

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The iPhone XR, Apple’s new lower-priced iPhone option that starts at $749 for a 64GB model, is now available to preorder online (apple.com or the Apple Store app) or by walking into an Apple store. It comes in six different colors, including black, white, red, yellow, blue, and coral. Just for the iPhone XR, Apple’s selling a clear case for the first time, so you can show off the new colors while still protecting the glass back.

The iPhone XR offers a lot of the same specs as the iPhone XS, namely the same A12 Bionic processor and primary camera, but has a 6.1-inch LCD screen instead of an OLED screen. It also doesn’t have 3D Touch, nor the secondary telephoto camera and the stainless steel frame of the iPhone XS and XS Max, but it does...

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Tesla is now selling a cheaper Model 3 with a 260-mile battery starting at $45,000

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Tesla has announced a new mid-range version of the Model 3, one that’s cheaper than the long-range version that Tesla’s exclusively sold up until this point. It’s still not the $35,000 base model that’s been delayed until 2019. But the new mid-level option offers 260 miles of range and starts at $45,000.

The new option, which CEO Elon Musk tweeted about this afternoon, is built with the same battery back as the 310-mile long-range Model 3, but uses fewer cells, which accounts for the lower price and shorter range. Now, instead of a top range of 310 miles on a single charge with a top speed of 145 mph and a 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, the new model gets you 260 miles on a charge with a top speed of 125 mph and a 0-60 mph of 5.6 seconds.

A...

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Verizon’s Pixel 3 won’t work on other carriers unless activated on Verizon first

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The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones being sold by Verizon will not support SIM cards from other carriers unless they are first activated on Verizon’s network. A Verizon spokesperson confirmed this to The Verge, pointing to a new policy that the carrier implemented earlier this year to dissuade thieves from targeting its own retail stores and those of authorized resellers.

Once a Pixel 3 (or any of Verizon’s other current phones) is activated, the carrier will automatically unlock the device “overnight” that same day, according to the company. So there’s not much of a wait to get around this, but there is a wait all the same. Remember that Verizon is the exclusive carrier partner in the United States. So your only alternative — and the one...

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Vape flavors can make nasty new chemicals in your e-liquid

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We hear a lot about how the ingredients in vape juice might be bad for us: the nicotine is addictive, for example, and the flavorings could be bad for lungs. But new research says that there are chemicals in e-liquids that we didn’t even know to worry about, because they form in the e-liquid bottle or pod after all the ingredients are mixed together.

Scientists have discovered that cinnamon, vanilla, and cherry flavors react with propylene glycol, a main ingredient in many vape juices, to create entirely new chemicals, according to a study published today in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Those same chemicals carry over into the vapor that people inhale, the new study says. Early investigations led by Sven-Eric Jordt, a...

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Tech reckons with Saudi cash after journalist’s brutal murder

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Last week, news surfaced that Saudi Arabian officials were suspected to have killed US journalist Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly torturing and dismembering him inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Across Washington, officials are now discussing ways to penalize the country for the killing, whether through sanctions or other methods. But that reaction could create unexpected problems for US tech companies, which have received billions in investment from Saudi Arabia in recent years.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has poured money into American tech companies both directly and indirectly, as part of an initiative to diversify the country’s oil-dependent economy. It’s called Vision 2030, and the Saudis hope to invest at least $2 trillion...

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Google is unbundling Android apps: all the news about the EU’s antitrust ruling

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In July 2018, the European Commission ruled that Google had exhibited “anticompetitive behavior” in its dealings with Android partners. The Commission said that Google should not have required Android phone and tablet makers to install Chrome and search in order to install the rest of Google’s apps. And the Commission also said that Google should not have barred its partners from building devices based on forked versions of Android.

Google is appealing the ruling. But for the time being, the company has to make changes to how it licenses its suite of Android apps and services in Europe. That means charging a fee for its base suite of apps — Gmail, YouTube, and critically, the Play Store, among others — and allowing companies to add those...

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This political thriller brings murder to the Moon

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I’ve always found Kim Stanley Robinson’s futures intriguing. In recent years, he’s published some of my favorite science fiction novels: New York 2140, about a water-logged New York City contending with climate change, and Aurora, which follows the crew of a generation ship looking to expand humanity’s presence in the cosmos. This month, he’s back with a new novel called Red Moon, and we have an excerpt for you to read.

Set in 2047, the US and China have returned to the Moon, establishing permanent settlements on its surface. An American named Fred Fredericks is sent to the Moon to deliver a quantum-enabled phone to the head of the Chinese Lunar Authority, Chang Yazu. But after shaking the man’s hand, Yazu is poisoned and dies, and...

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Weather Channel continues its terrifying mixed reality campaign with wildfire segment

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The Weather Channel is at it again: after terrifying viewers with a graphic that drove home the dangers of flooding during Hurricane Florence, the network has aired a new clip that highlights how climate change is making natural disasters even more devastating.

This one demonstrates the astounding speed of a wind-whipped inferno burning its way up a mountainside. In the video, meteorologist Stephanie Abrams starts out in an idyllic forest. But she points out that the key ingredients for a raging fire are in the scene, too: dry brush, hot air, and strong winds. Just a spark — which comes from people more than 80 percent of the time — “could ignite a firestorm,” Abrams says. “Fires like this one can consume up to a football field every...

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Apple’s content filter for kids is still letting pornographic and violent search results through

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Apple’s parental controls in iOS 12 are rather inconsistent: certain sex-related terms are blocked, but other troubling results — such as alt-right websites and support for terrorism — are allowed, sex education site O.school spotted.

The settings are found under Screen Time, which Apple introduced last month in iOS 12. Using Screen Time, parents can set an iPhone to hide inappropriate content from children. But according to O.school’s findings, and as confirmed by The Verge, the filter doesn’t allow for searches like “safe sex,” “sex assault hotline,” and “sex education,” but it does allow searches for bombing, poisoning, and even joining a terrorist group. (Results for “sexual assault hotline” are still shown.) Apple simply bans sites...

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To see this gorgeous new Into the Spider-Verse footage, you must endure Post Malone

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I’m sorry to direct Verge readers to a Post Malone song, but the grubby musician has made his latest music video hard to pass up: “Sunflower” is a collaboration with Swae Lee that the pair wrote and recorded to accompany Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the gorgeous upcoming animated film that follows Miles Morales (and basically every other Spidey that ever existed).

What we’ve seen in the trailers thus far have racked up early praise — The Verge included — for its unique visual style, which mashes up a comic book aesthetic with contemporary CGI. Technically a lyric video, “Sunflower” incorporates the song’s lyrics — which are just okay — with more impressive footage from the film, including, no doubt, extra animation specifically...

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Tweetbot for iOS now includes an OLED-optimized dark mode and GIF support

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There’s a new version of Tweetbot for iOS today, and this release will be especially appreciated by iPhone X, XS, and XS Max users. It comes with an optimized version of dark mode that’ll take advantage of OLED panels’ high contrast levels. (Apple previously listed 16 apps that offer “pure black mode,” so maybe Tweetbot wants to make it onto the second version of that list.) The app already featured a dark mode, but this new version should be slightly nicer on the eyes.

The update also includes GIF support in the compose view; redesigned profiles; redesigned tweet status details; new iconography and app icon; haptic feedback support; auto video playback (that you can turn on or off); and the ability to add descriptions to images....

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