Good morning! I might need to change my dog’s name to Sparky after she tried to eat a box of matches earlier. Of all the tasty treats…
Duo but fixed?
The Surface Duo was a failure for Microsoft. Yes, it had some pretty serious hardware and software issues for a $1,399 device.
- Really, though, the failure was how strongly Microsoft pushed the device.
- In the end, and despite the launch getting pushed back many months, it was still way too much for a first-generation product. Reviews were not good. 2/5 from us is pretty bad.
- It had hardware problems despite Microsoft’s exceptional Surface line of laptops and tablets.
- And it had software problems that ranged from odd to unbelievable for a shipped product, despite Microsoft employing tens of thousands of engineers, though of course, not many work on Android devices.
- Microsoft did later cut the price to $999, and continued to patch and improve the software experience.
Still, that’s first-gen tech for you, and credit to Microsoft for trying. (No one was forced to buy it, after all.)
And, apparently, credit to Microsoft for trying again because now there’s a Surface Duo 2:
- The first leaked images of the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 landed yesterday, courtesy of an unknown YouTuber, as you can see above.
- So unknown is the YouTube channel Tech Rat that well, it’s hard to be certain if what we see is anything much.
- But, Windows Central stepped up to confirm the reports that suggested what you see is what’s expected to come out of Redmond. Editor Daniel Rubino said: “Let us clarify: it is a prototype, but also a near-final design. This is what they are going for.”
- So here we are — it seems real.
- Mostly, the leak shows a key new development, which is a redesigned rear, now housing a camera module.
- It’s still a prototype, apparently, but the original Duo didn’t have a rear camera at all. And while this version looks a lot more generic-smartphone-like and odd, if it does now sport three lenses, that’s likely a much-improved camera.
- That’s a good sign for one of the worst features of the Surface Duo, in that the camera struggled in lots of conditions, though things improved over time, just as OnePlus does with its own releases as well.
- The idea of the Surface Duo was that dual-screen glory of popping a workspace on one display, something else on the other, and being more productive, locked in, and able to work in different ways. Just like Samsung promises with the Galaxy Z Fold series…
- In any case, price, availability, and exactly what Microsoft has done to haul the whole Surface Duo line out of the mud, should all be interesting when the time comes.
Samsung mobile chief Dr. TM Roh confirms new Galaxy Z Fold, Z Flip, and S Pen, but on the Note… “Instead of unveiling a new Galaxy Note this time around, we will further broaden beloved Note features to more Samsung Galaxy devices.” Hm! (Android Authority).
The Realme Flash is set to be the world’s first Android phone with magnetic charging (Android Authority).
Nokia’s rugged XR20 phone is coming to US, UK, and other European markets, with three years of updates, four years of security updates, and a $550 price tag for a “lifeproof” build. I have this phone with me now. It’s definitely all kinds of solid, and weighs some 247 grams. It’s a little underpowered for my liking (Android Authority).
Intel had a big event, announcing its new foundry roadmap to lay out the post-nanometer “Angstrom” era. One big deal is a rebrand of its node sizes with new names to more easily approximate sizes versus TSMC. Given nanometer measurements don’t mean anything, as we’ve covered here before, this makes as much sense as anything else (Ars Technica).
And just to emphasize Intel’s newfound strength, Intel will make Qualcomm chips in new foundry deal, and provide chip packaging for Amazon’s AWS business (The Verge).
Samsung’s massive Odyssey Neo G9 is the new king of gaming monitors (Gizmodo).
Tesla scored record profit, revenue, and deliveries last quarter, even if you subtract its usual revenue from selling regulatory credits (Jalopnik). Tesla also rewrote its own software to survive the chip shortage (The Verge).
TikTok a year after Trump’s ban: No change, but new threats (Wired).
Netflix is reportedly developing a live-action Pokémon series (The Verge).
Blue Origin just straight-up offered NASA $2 billion in last-ditch/desperate attempt at lunar lander contract (Engadget).
“What’s a show that has never had a bad episode?” (r/askreddit).
This seems not good:
- The “good” news is that 2021’s climate crisis coverage has been a little better (Twitter).
- But we’re basically on the brink and still ignoring the path we probably have to take before it’s just normal for your local area to be flooded, on fire, in extreme drought, or blown away by winds. Or all at once.
- Sorry! I’m usually full of optimistic hopes about our ability to throw money at technology solutions. The UK government is spending a billion pounds on new ideas and longer-duration energy storage contests and so on (pv magazine). But it’s all so early-stage, whereas this climate thing is progressing, you might say…
Have a good one,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor