Welcome to Tech Bytes! In this series, we bring the biggest news hitting the Tech and Gaming fields, getting them into a simple brief for you to quickly catch up on, so you’re up to speed over dinner and drinks.
The tech news blowout continues into October, with big names like Google and Razer among the companies with something to show this month. Announcements coming from the gaming space also supplement what is a big month for news. But rest assured! Our Tech Bytes roundup for October will show you what you may have missed.
Google unveils their newest Pixel 7 line
Google’s Pixel smartphone series is back again this year with the Pixel 7, this time packing the second-generation processor of their proprietary chip.
The new Tensor G2 chip enables a couple of new tricks on the software side. For filmmaker-wannabes, Cinematic Blur helps add a bokeh effect to videos to give that cinematic look. Photo Unblur is another that joins the previously available Face Unblur feature, this time using machine learning to help rectify blurry photos. Transcription also gets a level up, with transcription for audio messages and the Recorder app now recognises different speakers, labelling them separately.
For hardware, the Pixel 7 Pro gets an updated 5x telephoto lens, which helps achieve high-detail images shot from far. The feature is called Super Res Zoom, and Google has also implemented a stabilisation trick to ensure that you can easily focus on the subject.
Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are already available on the market, and Singaporeans can get the phones via Google’s Online Store starting at S$999 and S$1,299, respectively.
Apple Brings M2 to iPad Pro
Uncharacteristically, Apple has opted for a quiet announcement regarding the new launches of some products. Among the reveals were a new Apple TV 4K with an A15 Bionic chip and a redesigned iPad with a larger 10.9-inch screen and USB-C connectivity. But the biggest one has got to be the latest iPad Pro which now gets M2.
This new sixth-generation iPad Pro receives Apple’s most recent processor release, which made its first appearance earlier this year with the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch. Not only is it set to get a performance boost, but it will also get a “hover” feature with the Apple Pencil, which gives users a preview of what will appear before they make it.
The new M2 iPad Pro will be available come 26 October, with the 11-inch iPad Pro starting at S$1,249 while the 12.9-inch version will start at S$1,699.
Meta shows off the new Quest Pro
Virtual Reality is now more accessible than ever, thanks to the Quest VR system from Oculus (now streamlined to Meta). In addition, meta is now adding to its existing Quest 2 with the launch of a new VR system, the Quest Pro.
Quest Pro brings with it more features compared to the Quest 2. It will have a thinner lens system that allows you to have wider peripheral vision when using the VR system. There are also inward-facing cameras that can track your face and eyes, which enable several functions, such as generating facial expressions on your avatar. Lastly, outward-facing cameras allow for full-colour passthrough video, bringing a mix of VR and augmented reality to the experience.
In terms of hardware, Quest Pro is using the new Snapdragon XR2 Plus from Qualcomm, delivering 50% more powerful performance than the Quest 2. The LCD panel design is also advertised to give 75% more contrast and 10% more pixels per degree of sight. The motion controllers get some tweaks as well, now having cameras to track their motion which also helps to make them smaller.
Priced at US$1,499, this isn’t a headset for the general public. Instead, the system is aimed at businesses that might be keen to try out its mixed reality feature for the workplace. It is set to be released on 25 October for a select number of countries.
CD PROJEKT RED reveals new projects in development
The recent release of the successful Cyberpunk: Edgerunners anime series has restored some goodwill for developer CD PROJEKT RED, having been humbled following the botched launch of Cyberpunk: 2077. Keen to keep up the good momentum, the studio has announced its next line of projects to come out in the coming years.
First is the Witcher series. Their new game was first unveiled in March this year, but now it has a pseudonym attached to it — Project Polaris. Project Polaris is set to be the first of a new trilogy, but with the game still in pre-production, it won’t be expected to come out soon. Another Witcher project in the works is Canis Majoris, another full-scale open-world RPG title that will be separate from the new saga and is being worked on by an external studio. The last one is Sirius, developed by The Molasses Flood and will feature multiplayer gameplay.
CD PROJEKT RED will also continue working on the Cyberpunk franchise. In addition to the upcoming Phantom Liberty expansion, the studio plans to bring a sequel called Orion, a game they promise will “prove the power and potential of the Cyberpunk Universe”. Finally, CDPR is also developing a new IP called Project Hadar, distinct from The Witcher and Cyberpunk. Don’t expect it soon; the project is still in the conceptual phase.
The Razer Edge joins a growing handheld gaming list
Nintendo Switch has been the king of handheld gaming devices for the past few years, but its position is being challenged by the likes of Valve, with its Steam Deck device garnering much popularity. As a result, more companies are entering the mix, like Logitech with their G Cloud Gaming Handheld, and now another name is being added to the list — Razer.
At RazerCon 2022, the company debuted the Razer Edge, dubbed the world’s first dedicated 5G gaming device. Unlike the Steam Deck, this device is meant to be utilised for cloud gaming, streaming games through services like Steam Link, NVIDIA GeForce Now, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. It also comes as two components, a tablet and a detachable gamepad, the bundled-in Kishi V2 Pro.
Spec-wise, the Razer Edge has a 6.8-inch OLED screen that supports a 144Hz refresh rate. In addition, it is equipped with the G3X Gen 1 chip from Qualcomm, along with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Finally, the battery has a capacity of 5,000mAh, so the device should last for a proper gaming session.
The Razer Edge is set to cost US$399, and the Wi-Fi version is slated to arrive in January 2023, while the 5G model will come in early 2023. However, the device will only be offered in the US initially, so Singaporeans will have to wait until it becomes available.
Konami revives the Silent Hill franchise with new games
After the cancellation of Hideo Kojima’s highly anticipated Silent Hills, the Silent Hill series seemed to be one foot in the grave, especially considering Konami’s preference to focus on their pachinko business at the time. The company, however, appears to be making a welcome U-turn back to games recently, culminating with the return of Silent Hill.
Konami will release four new Silent Hill games. One of them will be a familiar sight to fans of the franchise, a remake of Silent Hill 2. The Silent Hill 2 remake will be helmed by Polish developer Bloober Team, who did The Medium and Layers of Fear. The game will also see designer Masahiro Ito and composer Akira Yamaoka help out with the title.
The next game on the list is called Silent Hill: Ascension. Ascension seems to be an interactive multiplayer game which teases some form of livestream experience. Unfortunately, whatever outcome that happens within the game also cannot be reset, which will add a level of tension. Silent Hill: Ascension is the third title, though not much is known about it other than Annapurna Interactive and NoCode Studios will be producing it.
Lastly, the most intriguing Silent Hill project is Silent Hill f. The game is set in 1960s Japan and written by Ryukishi07, who came to fame through his work on Higurashi. Given the psychological horror nature of Higurashi, Ryukishi07’s involvement brings some excitement, and it was teased in the trailer, showcasing a girl that’s creepily covered in fungus.
This marks 2022 October’s edition of Tech Bytes, and we hope this roundup gives you a little insight into tech to be excited about. Check with us again in November 2022, as we bring you more byte-sized news every month!
Visuals courtesy of Google, Apple Singapore, Meya, Razer, and Konami.