Welcome back to another edition of The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. Happy July 4!
This is a great fact via NASA: If you were to stand on the surface of Mars on the equator at noon, it would feel like spring at your feet (75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees Celsius) and winter at your head (32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius), due to the incredibly thin atmosphere.
Popular news this week
- MWC: This week’s Mobile World Congress 2021 in Barcelona was different to the usual gala, but still came with announcements and new product launches.
- Samsung took to the stage to reveal its One UI Watch experience for wearables, the skin on top of Wear OS 3.0. It also confirmed a “summer” Samsung Unpacked launch event for its coming Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series.
- Lenovo released a bunch of new Android tablets in its Yoga range that look powerful and promising. It also announced a new Smart Clock 2.0 with Google Assistant smarts.
- Qualcomm’s big announcement was its new Snapdragon 888 Plus chipset, which adds a modest performance boost, and provides something to upsell us all on. It also finally named Cristiano Amon as its CEO (Reuters), after having the odd title of Qualcomm CEO-elect since January this year.
- Samsung foldables: The leaks continue around Samsung’s next-gen foldables, highlighted this week by a bunch of 360-degree videos of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. The leaks gave plenty away, confirming some earlier detail from renders of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, including an under-display camera. A fresh Galaxy Z Fold 3 leak had plenty more renders to look at too, plus some camera specification leaks told us the cameras will be similar to the Fold 2, though there’s more to find out yet.
- Windows 11 first build: The first official build of Windows 11 was launched as a Windows Insider preview (read: early beta) by Microsoft this week, launching with a full suite of big visual UI changes, widgets, multitasking features, and more. It also launched with a few known issues, which is fair for a beta, and was missing some features, including the new ability to run Android apps. We can’t wait to see that in action.
- Windows 11 controversy: A hot topic showing no sign of cooling down was Microsoft’s unusual decision to exclude so many systems and CPUs from being officially supported by Windows 11. That meant mass confusion about upgrade compatibility. While Microsoft showed some signs of relenting by opening the Insider preview to any system to examine data being returned, our colleague, Gary Sims, is among those leading the charge against Microsoft’s decision. Gary posted three Gary Explains videos this week explaining the Windows 11 drama, calling Microsoft unrepentant, and helpfully offering alternatives to Windows 11 as well. Will Microsoft walk back these decisions?
- LG’s mini-LED TVs: LG announced it is finally launching its mini-LED display TVs in July. LG’s QNED TVs come in 8K and 4K variants, in a range of typical large-screen sizes, although pricing wasn’t announced. B&H Photo put up pre-order pricing later: $1,997 for the QNED90 65-inch 4K model, 75-inch at $2,997, 86-inch $3,997. The higher-end QNED99 8K TVs start at $3,497 for the 65-inch model.
- Taking flight: Some big news this week was a flying car making a flight between airports, cruising at about 170km/h or 105mph in the air, using a BMW engine. Surprisingly awesome! (BBC). And in billionaire battles in space, Sir Richard Branson will attempt to go to space on July 11, in a move attempting to one-up rival billionaire Jeff Bezos and his launch to space planned for July 20 (Ars Technica). It’s all very silly, but it is a big month for space tourism.
- And just when you thought you were safe: TV-style commercials are coming to console games, with “a first-of-its-kind in-game advertising platform” company signing deals with companies like EA, “to try to bring TV-style commercials to their console games,” for reasons that hopefully no one will tolerate? (Kotaku).
- Sony WF-1000XM4 review: The one true AirPods killers
- Fitbit Luxe review: Good, fine, pretty, but not as many functions as you might expect for $150.
- Realme Buds Q2 review: Active noise-cancelling made affordable, shame about the build quality…
- Why you shouldn’t wait for a Snapdragon 888 Plus smartphone.
- Android apps on Windows gives us what Google promised all along.
- Tested: 160W fast charging that won’t melt your phone.
- How on-device machine learning has changed the way we use our phones.
- The Internet is rotting (The Atlantic).
- Robbing the Xbox vault: Inside a $10 million gift card cheat, after a junior Microsoft engineer figured out a nearly perfect Bitcoin generation scheme. (Bloomberg).
- July 19-23: Games Developer Conference (GDC).
- July 31-August 5: Black Hat USA
- Early August: Samsung Unpacked event?
Tech Tweet of the Week
Here’s an interesting discussion about why there are no physical QWERTY phones anymore, from one of the gems on Twitter, Tren Griffin. I’m including his reply to the OP, not the OP itself.
You are free to start a business that manufactures TotL keyboard phones at any time. That’s how a market works. To produce a phone at an attractive price point that consumers will buy requires volumes you don’t understand. That you are right about this business plan is doubtful. pic.twitter.com/j8xQ0SfqkJ
— Tren Griffin (@trengriffin) July 1, 2021
Another week in the bag!
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.