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New SD Express card spec is nearly four times faster than the current one

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The SD Association, the group that sets the standards for memory cards, announced a new SD 8.0 specification for SD Express memory cards today that will allow the cards to transfer data at a rate of nearly four gigabytes per second, in large part thanks to utilizing PCIe 4.0 and NVMe interfaces commonly found in solid-state drives. That faster transfer rate could be useful as new technologies, like 8K video, create ever-larger files, which in turn require faster throughput if you want to transfer data in a timely manner.

Specifically, the 8.0 specification allows for transfer speeds of up to 3,938 megabytes per second, according to an SD Association white paper. That’s a significant jump from the maximum transfer speeds of 985 megabytes per second you’d find in cards built to the SD 7.0 and SD7.1 specs, which utilized the slower PCIe 3.1 interface. The new specification will be available on SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC memory cards, says the SD Association, which means it could theoretically be used on a 128TB SDUC card, which is currently the highest amount of memory supported by an SD card.

Although the spec was announced today, that doesn’t mean you can run to Best Buy and pick up a new card with the SD 8.0 specification — you’ll have to wait until memory card makers actually implement the specification into upcoming products. You’ll also need devices that read the cards on the hardware end — like laptops, cameras, and card readers — to support the spec, a process that’s likely to take quite a while.

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A new Motorola Razr could launch this year with 5G

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A new version of the Motorola Razr foldable could launch this year, and it might have 5G, a bigger battery, and improved cameras (via 9to5Google). Those could address some of the many criticisms of the original model, which came out in February.

Surprisingly, this apparent new version of the Razr may have been revealed by an executive from Lenovo, which is owned by Motorola, reports Android Authority. Lenovo’s South Africa general manager Thibault Dousson appeared on the Reframed Tech podcast and said a new Razr could be coming around September.

“There’s a new iteration [of the Razr] coming out. From what I understand, there’s one in September, I think, coming out,” he said shortly after the 18-minute mark on the podcast. “A whole new Razr,” he continued.

That new Razr may be powered by Qualcomm’s 5G-capabale Snapdragon 765 processor, and it might have an 2,845mAh battery, up from the 2,510mAh battery in the first-generation Razr, according to specs posted by XDA Developers. And the new version’s outer camera is rumored to be 48 megapixels, which could be a significant jump from the current version’s 16-megapixel camera, with a 20-megapixel inner camera, up from 5 megapixels. The phone may also have 8GB of RAM, up from 6GB, and 256GB of internal storage, up from 128GB.

While these are all welcome improvements in the specs department, it’s unclear if this rumored new Razr will feature any changes to its signature folding mechanism — like a less creaky hinge, changes to prevent bumps and lumps from appearing on the screen, or improvements to stop the screen from peeling away from the laminate layer.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Plus renders suggest a slightly bigger screen and much bigger camera bump

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Last year’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus was truly a thing of beauty, with an amazing screen and superlative industrial design. And, judging by some high-quality (and completely unofficial) renders of the Galaxy Note 20 Plus, it looks like Samsung won’t be changing too much in 2020. The only major difference is a new, bulkier camera module on the rear of the device.

These renders come from noted leaker @OnLeaks in collaboration with phone-case maker Pigtou. As with all renders based on leaked CAD drawings, they should be taken with a pinch of salt, but the design they suggest for the Note 20 Plus seems reasonable enough.

The most obvious feature is the big, nearly edge-to-edge display, with curved bezels, sloping sides, and a small, central hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera that’s near identical to the 2019 design. The top and bottom edge also look the same as that of the Note 10 Plus, with speaker grille, charging port, and space for the signature S Pen stylus.

In terms of size, the Note 20 Plus will reportedly be slightly bigger than the 10 Plus, with a 6.9-inch display instead of last year’s 6.8-inch AMOLED screen, and slightly longer but thinner dimensions, with the same overall width (165mm long, 77.2mm wide, and 7.6mm thick, according to leaks).

The most noticeable change, though, is the camera module on the rear of the device, which is much bigger than that of the 2019 Note Plus, according to the renders.

In the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus this module was a pretty slim oval containing three lenses, while the flash module was positioned to one side, flush with the case (in the 10 Plus there are two additional divots that supply the phone’s depth-sensing capabilities). But the Note 20 renders show a larger, more rectangular module that apparently integrates all these components — lenses and assorted gubbins — into a single raised unit.

This looks extremely similar to the camera system on this year’s Galaxy S20 Ultra, which was very much designed to show off Samsung’s photography abilities. The S20 Ultra’s module contained five lenses sporting up to 108 megapixels, and a 4x optical zoom that offered solid results up to a 10x zoom with the help of software. There’s a lot to say about that camera system, but check out our full review from February for more information.

If the Note 20 and 20 Plus are anything like previous iterations in the series, they’ll contain the best, biggest, and brightest of Samsung’s smartphone specs. So it’s not unreasonable to expect some high-end camera hardware. We’ve not seen any leaked specs for the 2020 Notes, though, so will have to see what surfaces in the months to come.

Reports suggest that Samsung will be launching the Note 20 in August, though this will likely be an online-only event as a reaction to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

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Sony’s Xperia 1 II ships in the US on July 24th for $1,199

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Sony’s new flagship smartphone, the Xperia 1 II (pronounced “mark two”), will ship in the US starting July 24th for $1,199, the company announced. Pre-orders start on June 1st. And if you pre-order by June 28th, you’ll get a free pair of Sony WF-1000XM3 noise canceling earbuds.

A major feature of the Xperia 1 II is its 12-megapixel triple-camera array, which Sony says can shoot up 20 fps in burst mode, make AF/AE calculations up to 60 times per second, and autofocus on the eyes of humans and animals for portrait shots, among other features. The phone also comes with the Photography Pro and Cinematography Pro apps, which give you more manual control over the camera settings for your photos and videos.

The Xperia 1 II has a 4K HDR OLED screen that’s 6.5 inches and has a 21:9 aspect ratio, making it taller than many other phones. The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor, has a 4,000mAh battery, and supports wireless charging. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack, if you want to plug in headphones.

Sony also said it has “plans to develop” the Xperia Pro, a new phone that supports mmWave 5G, which typically offers faster speeds than sub-6Hz 5G but has a more limited range. But to help you find service when you’re using the Xperia Pro, Sony says the new phone will show you the direction of an mmWave 5G connection and your transmission and reception speeds. The Xperia 1 II will be 4G only in the US, but its Europe variant supports 5G.

The Xperia Pro.
Image: Sony

The Xperia Pro will also have a micro HDMI cable so that you can connect it to cameras with an HDMI output. That means you can use the Xperia Pro as a monitor for some DSLR cameras and professional camcorders as well as transmit data captured by a camera over the phone’s 5G connection, according to Sony.

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