Tech round-up for April 17: Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, Sony's next-gen PlayStation, Apple vs Qualcomm ends, Respawn's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, all litigation worldwide between Apple and Qualcomm has ended. Plus, details about the next PlayStation console and Respawn’s next game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. But first, Microsoft has a new, disc-less console in the Xbox One S.

New Xbox One S is disc-less, arrives on May 7

This week, Microsoft revealed a new Xbox One game console that has no optical drive. The All-Digital Edition Xbox One S is just like the other Xbox One S but with a 1 TB hard drive.

The console supports 4K video playback, gaming upscaled to 4K, and high-dynamic range video. It costs $300 and comes with three games: Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 3.

The digital experience is supported by Microsoft’s cloud storage features for saves and backups, and you can pre-install games so that they are playable immediately on release. No waiting.

You can combine the new console with the Xbox Game Pass, which is a subscription model that gives you access to more than 100 games for $12 a month. You can combine the Game Pass with the benefits of Xbox Live Gold for US$15.

Here’s what we know about the next-gen PlayStation console

It’s probably going to be called the PlayStation 5, but Sony won’t confirm that name. But the company has revealed a lot of what’s going to be in the next game console.

In an interview with Wired, Sony system architect Mark Cerny explained that it will support PlayStation 4 games and 8K graphics.

The new system will have an entirely new architecture, with an eight-core CPU from AMD, and a custom graphical processing unit (GPU) from AMD Radeon which will allow for ray-tracing graphics, which provide much more accurate renderings.

But the biggest change might be to a unique solid-state drive (SSD) that can reduce load times dramatically. Cerny demonstrated a reduction in wait time on Spider-Man from 15 seconds on a PS4 to less than one second.

The new PlayStation isn’t expected before the end of 2020 so there’s lots of time for things to change. But game developers already have kits in their studios so they can be making games for the new system.

For my part, I’m looking forward to the next Horizon game on the PS5.

The battle between Apple and Qualcomm has ended

Apple – maker of iPads, iPhones, and Mac computers – and Qualcomm – maker of semiconductors, computer chips, and smartphone modems – have been engaged in multiple lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions since 2017. It all ended on Tuesday.

The settlement agreement dismisses “all litigation between the two companies worldwide.” Apple is making an undisclosed payment to Qualcomm as part of the settlement. Also part of the deal is a six-year “global patent license agreement”.

This all started back in 2017. Apple claimed that Qualcomm was using its dominant position as a supplier of smartphone components to charge high licensing fees for those products.

It’s something that Qualcomm has been accused of by other companies and regulators in other jurisdictions, including one brought by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States. The company has paid more than a billion dollars in fines over antitrust practices.

Qualcomm fought back by accusing Apple of patent infringement, and working to get iPhones banned, which worked in Germany (Apple pulled iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 from German shelves earlier this year) and China.

Apple has used only Intel modems in iPhones since the iPhone 7. The settlement means that Qualcomm’s 5G modems, which are already available, can be used in new iPhone designs. Intel, which had been providing the modems for all iPhones, has announced its decision to exit 5G smartphone modem business.

Some analysts are suggesting that Apple will buy Intel’s mobile modem IP so that they can manufacture their own.

Respawn reveals its new Star Wars game

Respawn Entertainment, a studio owned by Electronic Arts, surprised gamers last month with the existence of Apex Legends, a free-to-play, battle royale game like Fortnite and Player Unknown Battlegrounds.

On Monday, Respawn revealed details of another game in development: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

The third-person action adventure will be released for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One on November 15.

The story is set during the time just after the events of the film, Revenge of the Sith, when the Emperor attempted to slaughter everyone in the Jedi order.

In addition to Apex Legends, Respawn created Titanfall and Titanfall 2, shooter adventures in which traversal and movement have been integral, and these mechanics will be part of the new Star Wars game, which will have platforming and puzzle solving aspects.

Players will also be fighting using both a lightsaber and Force powers.

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