Get ready to update graphics drivers on smartphones as well. Qualcomm and Google have released the Android GPU Inspector tool
Late last year Qualcomm announced that it would distribute GPU driver updates through the Google Play Store for all new SoCs, including the Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 765/765G. But it looks like this feature will also be available for some old SoC Qualcomm. At least last year's flagship SoC Snapdragon 855 will also receive support for graphics driver updates.
Qualcomm announced the first version of the graphics driver for the Adreno GPU, which is being developed together with Google and game studios. Among the first smartphones will receive it Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10 based on the Snapdragon 855.
Graphics drivers will be updated on compatible smartphones based on Qualcomm Snapdragon through the Play Store, similar to what is currently happening with applications.
As part of the initiative, a special Android GPU Inspector tool has been developed, which will allow developers to analyze in detail the use of GPU features in order to make the appropriate optimizations. What is interesting is that the press release refers to "mobile GPUs, including Qualcomm Adreno". Judging by the wording, Android GPU Inspector will be universal and support for other graphics cores is also planned, but so far no details on this issue.
All new Android 11 smartphones must support "Seamless Updates".
In Android 7.0 Nougat, released in 2016, Google has added a useful innovation - support for so-called "seamless updates or A/B updates". Pixel smartphones received it immediately, and then OnePlus, Samsung and some other manufacturers added support for this functionality in their models. Four years later, Google decided to include support for discreet updates in the list of requirements for new devices that will come to market with Android 11.
For those who hear about this feature for the first time, note that it works exactly as the logic suggests - as soon as a fresh firmware update appears, it is automatically downloaded and installed in the background, without interfering with continued use of the device. As for the technical details of this function implementation, a copy of the current operating system version partition is created in memory, where the update is installed. After installation the user receives a message saying that a reboot is necessary in order to switch to the new firmware. At the same time, this reboot takes the same amount of time as a regular reboot. And if during the upgrade process something goes wrong as it often happens, then instead of the "brick" you get a smartphone with a previous version of the operating system.
The obvious disadvantage of this feature is that it requires additional space to make copies of partitions and may be why many manufacturers have given up implementing it.
Anyway, with the release of Android 11, Google intends to make seamless updates mandatory for all new devices that claim to be licensed under the Google Mobile Service (GMS) license. This is indicated by the corresponding changes in the AOSP Gerrit code (setting up the Vendor Test Suite). That is, in practice, we will get more Android 11 smartphones that can update invisibly.
#HackCorona in Ukraine. During the week, Mintsifra has received almost 1000 ideas for services to combat coronavirus (the winners will be announced the day after tomorrow).
The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine (Mintsifry) has summed up the preliminary results of the competition of IT projects #HackCorona in Ukraine, launched last week as part of the overall efforts to combat coronavirus (other projects - applications "Breathe Blow" and online platform of free services for business).
During this week since the launch, organizers of the contest have received 899 different ideas for services and tools to help fight coronavirus more effectively. Mintsifra emphasizes that they carefully study each application in order not to miss any useful ideas. The organizers also say that they have found some very promising ideas. Alas, so far without specifics.
The finalists are promised to be announced the day after tomorrow, April 10. We would like to remind you that the total prize fund for the winners is UAH 4 mln.
Valve has analyzed the starting earnings of Steam games over the past 15 years - more and more commercially successful games recently
Valve constantly monitors the statistics of new games in Steam, publishing the results of the best newcomers every month. This time, experts have analyzed the situation deeper, finding that the number of commercially successful releases in Steam is increasing year by year, and the prospects for higher revenue are improving for most new games.
To begin with, Valve calculated the annual number of games with revenue in excess of $10,000 in the first two weeks after release, as it is the initial revenue that is a key indicator for many developers (free games were not included in the statistics). For reference - most recent games with revenue of about $10,000 in the first two weeks earned between $20,000 and $60,000 in 12 months after release.
The graph shows that the number of games corresponding to this success rate has grown steadily over time: the difference between 2018 and 2019 is 18%. This growth was not only due to the fact that more games are released - in 2019 the share of successful games increased by 11%. You can also see a jump in the chart between 2013 and 2014 - it reflects the increase in the number of games that have been accepted in Steam since August 2013. Many of them were not ready for instant release, so the effect of this increase was obvious only in 2014. By 2019, the number of new titles, which exceeded the $10,000 mark, more than tripled compared to 2013.
The dotted line on the second graph shows what the trend would have looked like if Steam had not increased the volume of games approved for release in mid-2013 and left the "manual" selection of games. Assuming that the trend is stable, the opening of the platform has more than doubled the number of new products with the mark of $10,000 annually.
To make sure that the analysis results are not random, Valve has also tested the thresholds above and below in different time periods. Similar regularities were found in all cases. For example, if we compare 2019 with 2013, we can see 4 times more games that earned more than $5 thousand in the first two weeks and 3 times more new products with revenue over $250 thousand.
During the analysis of the median revenue, it was found that compared to 2018, the median game released in 2019, earns 24% more in the first two weeks. In games outside the median, the conclusions were more mixed. On the one hand, a 75% game (which earned more than 75% of games per year and less than 25% of games per year) had a 56% increase in revenue in the first two weeks compared to 2019 and 2018. On the other hand, 25% of games earned 17% less. So it was found that in general the games that made 35% earned more money in 2019 than in 2018, and games below 35% earned less.
The Steam team expressed the hope that the research was helpful to the developers and provided more information on how the development of Steam has influenced the novelties both recently and in the past years.
We would like to remind you that this week Steam registered 24.5 million simultaneous users and more than 8 million people in games.
For Half-Life: Alyx, a new mod has been released that allows you to pass the whole game without a VR headset.
Modder under the nickname r57zone has published on GitHub the driver for Valve Half-Life's acclaimed VR-exclusive: Alyx, allowing you to play the game without a VR headset - the mod provides the ability to configure SteamVR and its controllers for keyboard and mouse.
Yes, it's not the first mod to do so. The main difference from the previous solutions - the new one allows you to pass the whole game without using a VR-set. It is worth mentioning at once that in this case it is unlikely to be able to fully enjoy the project and get those impressions and emotions, as in VR. This is impossible in principle for obvious reasons.
The author of the fashion wrote a detailed instruction to him and even made a video to make the setup as easy as possible.
As noted above, the driver allows you to adapt the control in the game to the keyboard and mouse, for example, teleportation moved to the space bar, and the right mouse button to do in response to the movements of the left controller. On the project page in GitHub there is a table with detailed information about which key is responsible for this or that action. We also have all the necessary console commands that you will need to specify in the Half-Life: Alyx properties for all the mechanics to work. For example, one of them allows you to pull up objects without movement, but only by pressing a button. Also r57zone advises to use console command for immortality - in mode without VR the use of first aid kit is not always triggered.
Modder has written separate instructions with a detailed description of how to go through complex areas. He recommends to be patient and warns that it will take time to catch up - interaction on the keyboard with the mouse is far from ideal. This can be clearly seen in the gameplay video.
Half-Life: Alyx was released on March 23rd and immediately received general recognition. Thanks to high ratings, the project was included in the top 20 most highly rated PC games in history according to Metacritic.
The first with a 144-hertz screen. Gamer smartphone Nubia Red Magic 5G comes on sale
ZTE's Nubia brand has announced the launch of a new top gaming smartphone, the Nubia Red Magic 5G. From today on, the online store will open pre-orders, and retail sales will start on April 21. Nubia Red Magic 5G is an international model and will be offered in different countries.
Recall that the Nubia Red Magic 5G gaming smartphone was introduced in China last month. Its main highlight was the 144-hertz screen - this is the first smartphone on the market with such a screen. Nubia Red Magic 5G has a number of other features, such as an active cooling system with a small fan and 300-hertz triggers on one of the sides. Also then was presented a special version of Deuterium Transparent Edition with a transparent back cover, but its release date is not yet reported.
The recommended price for Nubia Red Magic 5G for European retail is €579 and €649 for versions 8/128 GB and 12/256 GB respectively. In the US the price of Nubia Red Magic 5G is $579 and $649 depending on the version. The basic version is available in Eclipse Black and Hot Rod Red colors (to be released later), while the 12GB RAM and 256GB flash version is available in a single Pulse color.
At first glance, The Verge resource browser noted that the 144-Hz Nubia Red Magic 5G screen provides very smooth animation as usual, and the notification bar even has a barely visible 144 Hz indicator. At the same time, in games, the browser did not notice much advantage over rival models with 120 Hz or even 90 Hz screens. He also noted that hardcore gamers are likely to take advantage of the 240-Hz touch layer of the display.
The Ministry of Finance and the State Tax Service will launch a free software RFO from August 1, before that "RFO in a smartphone" can be tested for a month.
The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine together with the State Tax Service of Ukraine are finalizing the preparation for the launch of a free fiscal application for the software РРО (the registrar of settlement transactions). The application "RFO in smartphone" will soon start working in test mode.
It is noted that within a month representatives of the business will be able to get acquainted with the functionality of the application in the "Electronic office of the taxpayer". It will be possible to test the application and provide suggestions for its improvement. And from August 1, 2020, this software product will be available for full use by everyone. And as noted in the press service of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, the application will be available on a free basis.
The press service of the Ministry draws attention to the fact that the mandatory use of software PRO (for certain activities of individual entrepreneurs of II-IV groups) will be from January 1, 2021.
The Ministry of Finance argues that the introduction of programmed RFB is an important step towards the detenification of the economy and the creation of equal conditions for doing business. Additionally, entrepreneurs are promised that "software "RFB in a smartphone" will be a convenient and easy to use feature for honest taxpayers.
As for consumers, they will be able to check the availability of the issued check in the STS database in just a few minutes. In case of its absence and the receipt is issued in violation of the law, the buyer will be entitled to reimbursement of part of the cost of purchasing goods. The given possibility is provided by norms about so-called "cacheback". It was described in more detail in one of the previous materials.
Google Chrome 84 will silence false alerts, browser will be released July 14
Earlier this year Google announced a "quieter" notification interface in Chrome browser. According to the developers' idea, this will make requests on sites less annoying. The company now extends this feature to sites that abuse the sending of false notifications to users.
Google has announced that it will soon launch a new system to combat false alerts. It will be introduced on July 14th, along with the release of Chrome 84. Thus, the future version of the browser will display sites that send obsessive requests for notifications and the notifications themselves in the "quieter" interface. As a result, users will simply see a hint warning that the site may contain a fraudulent notification.
This is the case when sites are fraudulently or fraudulently soliciting permission from users. For example, to access a site's content, the user must first be given permission to receive the notification. Alternatively, sites may make misleading preliminary requests, fake messages that resemble chat messages, warnings, or system dialogues. Such notifications and permissions may also be used in phishing attacks to trick users into sharing personal information. Finally, sites can display notifications of malware on the system and recommend cleaning the system with special tools, which are actually the very malware that the user will download and install on his own computer after such notifications.
It should be noted that this tool announced by Google will only affect new deceptive and annoying notifications. It will not protect users who have previously given permission to display notifications to sites that abuse the notifications. However, the search giant promises to add such protection in the future.
Owners of sites that have abusive notifications will receive an email 30 days before Chrome 84 will implement this system, giving them time to fix bugs on their resources and bring them up to date with the new requirements. Google has also published a guide that will help site owners to fix notifications and submit the site for review after fixing problems.
Valve has launched Steam Cloud Play - in the future it should unite all competing gaming streaming services.
The other day Valve introduced a new service called Steam Cloud Play, which is actually a kind of branch of the already well-known Steam Link. It is a platform that allows you to play through the cloud by integrating with third-party gaming cloud services. Yes, Valve has created its own cloud platform, which, according to the idea, should unite all competing gaming streaming services.
Steam Cloud Play is currently in beta testing and only supports the NVIDIA GeForce Now cloud service. Google Stadia, Microsoft Project xCloud and others should join it in the future, but it is not clear when (or if at all) this will happen.
The goal of the Steam Cloud Play project is to give Steam users more options to play their favorite games without being tied to anything. Unlike Stadia and like GeForce Now, which allows you to launch games purchased from digital stores such as Steam, Epic Games Store and Uplay, there is no need to buy games separately. It would be very strange if it were different.
At the moment, the list of supported games is limited to a few shortcuts. How much it will be expanded in the future depends on publishers and developers - it's up to them to decide which games they want to make available on the service. And there is a potential problem with that. The library of the same GeForce Now has lost a lot of weight recently due to disagreements with copyright holders. Over the past couple of months, games from such renowned publishers as Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, 2K Games, Warner Bros., Xbox Game Studios, and others have disappeared from GeForce Now. Speaking of GeForce Now, developers have published an update with a list of games that will disappear from the catalog after May 31.
Official: Sony will hold its first game presentation for PS5 next week - June 4, 2020.
After a string of rumours and leaks, Sony has officially confirmed that it will hold its first presentation of games for the next generation PlayStation 5 console next week - June 4, 2020. The message appeared on the company's twitter.
During the event, which will last about an hour, the company promises to demonstrate "the future of gambling" and "a first look at games that users can play immediately after buying the PS5.
It should be noted that with a high degree of probability Sony will not show the console itself during the event - a full presentation of the device is expected closer to the end of summer.
Due to earlier leaks we already know that the first wave releases will include 38 games, including Rainbow Six Siege, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Battlefield 6, DiRT 5, Watch Dogs Legion and others.
So far, Sony has revealed only some features and capabilities (1, 2 and 3) of the new PlayStation 5, showed new DualSense gamepad and, of course, new logo. The key feature of the new PS5 is huge memory bandwidth. The console will receive a custom SSD of 825 GB at 5.5 GB/s, which, according to the head of Epic Games Tim Sweeney, is superior to anything on the market for PCs.
The developer of AppGet claims that Windows Package Manager was copied from his project
During the recent Build conference, Microsoft announced the Windows Package Manager (winget). This tool allows you to speed up the installation of necessary programs at the command line. Similar features have been available in other operating systems for many years, but Windows users have been deprived of this built-in tool, although they could work with third-party solutions such as Chocolatey.
And AppGet, the developer of such a third-party solution, claims that Microsoft copied its ideas when creating Windows Package Manager. In his blog on Medium, Cavan Badgey details this situation. He claims that Microsoft contacted him about AppGet, planned to hire him as an employee, invited him to an interview for a day and then did not contact him for 6 months. According to Baggie, the next thing he heard from Microsoft was the day before winget was launched. He was just notified that the team was going to mention AppGet on their blog.
Baggie was first contacted on July 3, 2019, and he introduced himself as Andrew. He provided copies of the e-mails, which showed that a Micosoft representative was planning to come to Vancouver and wanted to meet with Baggie. They met and discussed the work of AppGet, Baiji's plans for the future, etc. The meeting took place on August 20 and the next letter came on August 28.
It was then that he was told that Microsoft was planning big changes in the way that Windows software was distributed. He was also asked if he wanted to work for the company in Redmond. The plan was to acquire the skills and bring in the badge as an employee. However, the normal acquisition process was too long, so the plan was to simply hire him with some bonus and then transfer ownership of AppGet to Microsoft.
According to Baggie, he flew to Seattle on December 5, where he was interviewed all day and had several meetings with Microsoft. But after that, the company hadn't contacted him for six months. Only the day before the opening of Build did he receive an email apologizing for the work that had not worked out. The letter also said that AppGet would be mentioned on Microsoft's blog.
According to Baggie, he was not upset that he was not hired by Microsoft and that the company had simply copied his code. His concern is how the situation ended in "radio silence". He claims that it was from AppGet that most of winget's ideas were borrowed. He also claims
"Do you want to know how Microsoft WinGet works? Read the article that I wrote 2 years ago about how AppGet works".
Microsoft has indicated that they are investigating this situation. However, interested parties can compare the winget and AppGet repositories on GitHub. According to neowin, it is difficult to find similarities between them.
Take #2 - NASA and SpaceX will try to send Crew Dragon with the astronauts to the ISS. Online.
On May 30, late in the evening of Kiev time, NASA and SpaceX will make a second attempt to launch the first manned mission SpaceX Demo-2 - two astronauts on board Crew Dragon will go to the International Space Station. If everything goes well today, it will be the first launch of an American manned spacecraft since the closure of the Space Shuttle in 2011 and the first ever human space launch by a private spacecraft. The last time the launch was interrupted by the weather, the launch was cancelled 17 minutes before the scheduled launch.
Preparation for the launch has already begun and you can watch what is happening at Cape Canaveral in a live broadcast on NASA and SpaceX channels on YouTube (the broadcast window below). The preparation program is the same as last time.
The launch is scheduled for 22:22 Kiev time. The official weather forecast for the opportunity now provides a 50% probability of favorable conditions for the launch. As on Wednesday, the weather data will be constantly updated, so it may still change for the better or for the worse. If today's launch does not happen again, and the probability of that is very high, there will be another backup window for tomorrow, May 31, 2020. 19:00 UTC (22:00 Kyiv time).
In the meantime, you can read our detailed text on why this launch is a historic event.
Crew Dragon Demo-2. All about the manned launch of SpaceX.
Crew Dragon developed under the NASA Commercial Crew Program, which will send astronauts to the ISS without the use of Russian ships "Soyuz", and for much less money - now NASA pays about $86 million for one place. It is expected that on Crew Dragon one place will cost $55 million (with the possibility of further cheapening by reuse of Crew Dragon). The ship can take on board up to seven crew members (or four people and cargo).
The first unmanned launch of Crew Dragon took place on March 2, 2019, as part of the DM-1 mission, it successfully reached the ISS without a crew, made automatic docking, docked and successfully returned to Earth. But a month and a half later, it exploded during an emergency rescue system test. The cause of the explosion was a titanium blowback valve. As a result, engineers improved the fuel supply system by replacing the titanium valves in the boost tubes with rupture disc valves. In February 2020, SpaceX successfully tested the Crew Dragon manned spacecraft emergency rescue system during its flight.
The SpaceX Demo-2 should be the last test before the Crew Dragon is fully operational. In the future, SpaceX plans to use Crew Dragon not only for crew delivery to ISS, but also for tourist flights into space. To date, SpaceX has already announced two such missions (1 and 2) - both scheduled for 2021.