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Eric Zeman / Android Authority
😎 Good morning! This time next week I’ll be in Barcelona for MWC, and most important: it will be approximately three times as warm as Berlin. Yes, please!
S22 reviews drop
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
A week after Samsung’s major S22 release, reviews are out. My colleague Eric Zeman put together a handy 7,000 words or so breaking down the Galaxy S22 Ultra in a full review. It’s worth that many words for what is undoubtedly the peak performer of Android, that’s now attempting to merge the best of the S series with the Note series.
I do think it’s worth your time to dive into a great review of one of the more important devices of the year, maybe over your weekend.
It is much more likely that at the $1,000+ price point, the S22 and S22 Plus devices are the bigger sellers, and possibly more important to know about for more people.
But the Ultra is where everything is thrown in; every last feature and bit of technology.
So, what does Eric think?
In short, Samsung has nailed the software experience including longer-term Android support, the camera setup has improved just enough over the S21 Ultra, and competes well with the Google Pixel 6 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the top-competition.
The display is brilliant and Eric thinks the S Pen has good improvements over the Note 20 Ultra of the past, making it the best stylus experience on a smartphone other than the Galaxy Z Fold 3 — which has nowhere to stow it — but the S Pen is a tiny bit short, perhaps.
By the way, compared with the Z Fold 3, the S22 Ultra is a curious competitor: the S22 Ultra has a better camera, longer software support, and the stylus housing probably suits better. My takeaway is the Z Fold 4 is well worth waiting for, now.
Otherwise, there’s no issues with top-line performance, though there’s certainly not a big jump from the S21 Ultra’s performance.
This brings us to the battery, which is… okay.
One of the hottest topics emerging for the S22 series is the battery life. It’s not that it’s terrible on the S22 Ultra, but it’s only okay. Fine. About average.
The challenge for Samsung without the level of control over its complete hardware and software is that it can’t make jumps like Apple keeps managing with the iPhone.
For Apple with the iPhone 13, battery life improved across the entire series. For Samsung, there’s not a pleasing improvement in battery life over the S21. It’s just about the same.
It depends a little if you buy the Snapdragon-powered S22 Ultra that you get in the US, India, and other countries, or the Samsung chipset in the Exynos 2200, which has a little less performance but reportedly, a little more battery life.
How the mighty have fallen: in the post-Google era for the device, HUAWEI just keeps making mistakes.
The problem isn’t with hardware, or cameras, which are good again — but software.
In his P50 Pro review, my colleague Rob Triggs absolutely smacked the P50 Pro down from the high perch it should be on, and not just for the lack of Google apps or GMS support.
Ouch. Why, HUAWEI?Roundup
Tristan Rayner / Android Authority
It’s been a rollercoaster week so when you need fun, what’s better than reliving something we can all enjoy, like going back to again watch a Finnish guy blow up his Tesla Model S with dynamite.
Our Finnish friend did it because: a) fixing the Tesla would’ve cost a lot and b) explosive experts were on hand.
And, why not? Many of us have owned something we’d rather just blow up than deal with. My nomination would be almost any inkjet printer.
Anyway, a Tesla is worth a little more, but if you can’t fix your car and just want a new one, this is one way to do it.
The glorious bangs start at 5:12.
You're reading Daily Authority: 👉 S22 Ultra Reviews
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority
☕ Good morning! Some days I feel like I could use a new lightweight operating system…
In short, your PC or Mac is better running Windows and macOS until it can’t, and then a Chromebook-like setup might be better.
Google is pushing this as being useful for education and perhaps enterprise as well to make IT management of different devices simpler (ie. more limited for them kids, but easier to manage).
The other answer to the question of why is that Google bought this product already. It bought Neverware and the CloudReady product back in 2023, now, Flex is the Google-official renamed version.
I don’t know how many people knew about CloudReady in the first place, so it was worth the fresh announcement.
You can boot Flex with just a USB stick, and most older laptops will have a USB-A port, though of course there are somewhat rarer USB-C thumb drives around as well.
Given it’s a beta and in early access, there is a limited compatibility list of laptops and devices that are supported, and not a lot that are given the full green tick of “verified to work” status, though it does go back to older devices up to 13 years old, so that’s useful for some people.
Some features may be limited depending on the hardware.
Game changer, but limited:
I was a little bit interested in this but in the release, Google says, “Google doesn’t currently have plans to add Google Play Store and Android Apps to Chrome OS Flex,” so it really is just a web browser on offer, which is disappointing and means it’s not at all the Chrome OS experience. (TechCrunch noted a Google spokesperson said: “But of course, we’re continually evaluating how to improve Chrome OS Flex for the future,” the spokesperson said.)
And a lot of tech-minded folks might say just install a lightweight Linux environment on an older device rather than Flex.
But Flex probably bridges the gap between Linux being thought of as too complicated while still being lightweight.
And it’s easy enough to quickly try on an old device to see if it becomes useful again for someone.
The Sony LinkBuds are out and being reviewed and Sony’s weird headphones have two largely agreed upon takes:
They’re a weird but really interesting solution to listening to something while hearing the outside world, open-style. They’re comfortable, too.
But for $180 they’re sort of a bit limited: expensive, battery life is so-so, and maybe the next generation will solve some software problems.
Really the problem is first-world: you might want a pair of earbuds with ear tips and noise cancellation for travel and offices and for drowning out the noise.
And when you’re walking on the street or you want to hear the doorbell if it rings or whatever, you might actually want to hear some outside noise, which is where these come in.
Sony’s hook with these is to combine earbuds with AR mobile gaming, with a tie-up with Pokemon Go maker Niantic, but that may be a stretch.
Anyway, as Input Mag said, “Sony being weird Sony is such a Sony thing to do,” while Gizmodo heaps praise on the Wide Area Tap feature which lets you tap anywhere near the earbud, not the earbud itself, to control things like volume
The big American push for homemade chips
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
The United States is on a mission to strengthen local semiconductor manufacturing amidst rising tensions with Beijing. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act, with $52 billion squared away to boost domestic chip production in the country. It’s an ongoing effort to circumvent China’s technological dominance amid the global chip shortage. Yesterday marked a very important step towards the US realizing its chip manufacturing goals.
TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip maker, hosted a tool-in ceremony for its first factory in Phoenix, Arizona, on December 6. The event was attended by President Biden and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The sprawling facility is currently being fitted with production equipment and hopes to start churning out chips in the US by 2024.
Apple has already committed to sourcing iPhone and MacBook chips from TSMC’s US factory. The company currently relies on chips produced overseas. “Now we’re going to do more of their supply chain here at home,” said Mr. Biden.
Apple will first buy iPhone 14 Pro processors from TSMC. AMD and NVIDIA will also put in orders with the facility.What the future holds
It’s clear that the Biden administration doesn’t want US tech companies to source chips and other components from China.
Apple was recently warned against sourcing iPhone 14 memory chips from a controversial Chinese semiconductor manufacturer.
US lawmakers also want to make it harder for China to secure cutting-edge technology from US companies.
HUAWEI is a prime example of how the country is putting that into practice. NVIDIA was also recently told it would need special licenses to sell AI processors to Chinese companies.
This is why the Arizona TSMC factory is a feather in the cap for the US, something that signifies the country’s ambitious plans to become a tech superpower.More chip production in the US
Once both factories are fully functional, TSMC’s total output in Arizona will be 60,000 wafers per month, triple its original plan of 20,000.
Besides TSMC, other chip makers are also betting big on US manufacturing.
Intel is pumping in $20 billion to expand its Chandler manufacturing site, which will be operational in 2024.
Intel is also building what it calls the world’s largest silicon manufacturing site in Ohio.
Memory and storage chip maker Micron will be spending $100 billion to set up a “megafab” in New York.
Samsung is also investing $17 billion to ramp up chip production in Texas.Roundup
A new study has revealed how the color of a bowl can impact the taste of the food it holds.
47 volunteers were split into two groups based on their responses to a food-pickiness questionnaire.
Food was then served to the two groups in red, blue, or white bowls.
While the color of the containers made no difference in perceived taste for non-picky eaters, the picky eaters reported changes in their taste based on the color of the bowl.
Samples of salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips were also given to all of the participants to eat from the differently colored bowls.
Volunteers were asked to rank them based on their desirability, saltiness, and flavor intensity.
While the bowl color didn’t seem to have any influence on flavor intensity, there were differences in the other two categories for picky eaters.
So weird, but I’m definitely trying this with my kid today!
Adam Birney / Android Authority
⚡ Good morning! Keep reading for weird collabs!
Microsoft’s cloud game streaming device
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
The hot news of today is Microsoft’s Xbox streaming device: and that it’s not following the path documented by rumors.
At the same time, Microsoft confirmed those rumors. Let’s take a look.
The low down:
Some kind of Xbox streaming device stick/puck/box/accessory has been a pretty substantiated rumor for a few years now.
It was given a little more of a push when Microsoft clearly said that it wants people to play Xbox games on any device, not just an Xbox itself, and last year it announced it was making streaming devices.
A key pillar to that is its GamePass and Xbox Cloud Gaming service.
Microsoft calls this Xboxless-gaming “Xbox Everywhere,” and it’s something like watching Netflix on whatever device you have, but you’re gaming.
And now, a device is confirmed — it’s just that we won’t be getting it.
The latest is that a “Keystone” codename device was on its way but a Windows Central report reveals things are changing.
Microsoft reveals in a statement that it’s a real thing but that it needs more time.
Quotes from a Microsoft spokesperson: “Our vision for Xbox Cloud Gaming is unwavering, our goal is to enable people to play the games they want, on the devices they want, anywhere they want. As announced last year, we’ve been working on a game-streaming device, codename Keystone, that could be connected to any TV or monitor without the need for a console.”
“As part of any technical journey, we are constantly evaluating our efforts, reviewing our learnings, and ensuring we are bringing value to our customers. We have made the decision to pivot away from the current iteration of the Keystone device. We will take our learnings and refocus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to more players around the world in the future.”
Okay! So nothing coming out soon, it would seem.
Whatever pivot is going on here might be something to do with hardware or software, we don’t know, but this will need to be a better launch than poor old Google Stadia.
Other hints I’m seeing suggest that this doesn’t mean we’ll wait another few years, but just that Microsoft is iterating and trying to get things right over the months to come.
It’s not clear what OS it would run or the UI involved, yet. (Probably not Windows 11!)
The next Xbox launch comes on June 12, where a showcase of Xbox and Bethesda games will be on display, though …maybe not a lot of Starfield and Redfall, given their recently announced delays?
And while you’re here, consider this dive into if 8K gaming is even worth it, with TCL talking TVs and next-gen gaming. (Though clearly TCL hasn’t signed an NDA with Sony/Microsoft, as the article points out.)Roundup Friday Fun
Ever since Samsung did the limited edition Poké Ball x Galaxy Buds 2, and then Leica switched teams from HUAWEI to Xiaomi, I’ve been thinking about brand collabs.
And now there are fresh collaborations that make little sense to me but here we are:
First, Oura and Gucci have partnered on a “luxury” wellness ring, which is the normal Oura Gen 3 but for $950!
It features black-coated titanium, the Gucci logo …and the same features and sensors as a standard Gen 3.
That’s about $600 more than the normal titanium metric tracker but you apparently also get a lifetime Oura membership. That normally costs $6 a month. So if you plan to wear one for 100 months or just over 8 years, it’ll pay itself off?
Also: Incredibly, Gucci built a persistent town inside of Roblox.
And then there’s VW and its ID Buzz electric vans which did a collab with Star Wars and the new Obi-Wan TV series, a Disney Plus show which dropped a little earlier than expected with two episodes on the platform out now.
For whatever reason, VW made a dark side and a light side edition of the vehicles (that you can’t buy):
So, while we have heard about a Switch Pro many times in the past, this does track with the last time we reported on this back in August 2023, when Bloomberg suggested a 2023 Pro edition of the Switch.
The current Switch is 6.2-inches, the Switch Lite is 5.5-inches in size.
The Pro model will stick with the current 720p resolution despite the larger 7-inch size.
Which is somewhat controversial — it will be useful for extended battery life, but many hope a jump up to 1080p would provide a crisper gaming experience.
But while docked, the Switch Pro will output a full 4K resolution, which should see much more crisp gaming on the bigger TV sets everyone is buying.
Will the OLED panel hold out? I don’t think burn-in is such a concern on latest panels, and the Switch naturally lends itself to different games. …But if you play 400 hours straight of the next Breath Of The Wild, which is now on the horizon, could you expect some issues?
Per Bloomberg, Samsung Display will reportedly mass-produce the new panel, with an initial monthly target of just under a million units. Production starts in June.
It seems most of the reporting here is out of Samsung Display information, so the focus there is on that company shipping the panels from July, allowing stock to be built up ahead of shipping dates towards November/December.
The real questions:
Will Nintendo bump up the current $300 price for the Switch Pro? That seems likely.
Will it keep selling the older Switch?
Will enough be made? The early pandemic times in 2023 saw a real paucity of devices — I had friends struggling just as hard as people are struggling to buy a PS5 or new Xbox at the moment.
But, in theory, with vaccine rollouts, we may not be as stuck inside… in theory.
And, will the joy-cons be better? Few people have been able to avoid drift problems with the joy-con controllers, so this is a chance for Nintendo to get it right.
Other wishlist items that may clash with the Nintendo ethos which is part kid-friendly-first even if it annoys adults: Better online communication such as audio chat (probably not, given the kid-friendly-first aspect?)
And one I don’t think we’ll get: Bluetooth support for headphones.
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
On this day back in the year 2000, the Sony PlayStation 2 launched in Japan, later heading to North America on October 26, 2000.
It was a pretty weird launch. Sony had problems exporting the device out of Japan, with the government worried the chips could be used for weapons guidance. (Which, was largely considered nonsense by military experts… but Japan)
And when it finally hit North America 7 months later, it only had 29 titles at launch in the US, many of them Japanese curiosities, and basically none of them high-powered system sellers.
It took until late 2001, and the release of Grand Theft Auto III (October 22, 2001), Final Fantasy X, Devil May Cry, and Metal Gear Solid 2, to really bring must-play games to the platform.
My colleague, Hadlee Simons, read this, and said: “How dare you downplay launch titles like Fantavision, which I actually own… and it was basically a fireworks simulator.”
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.
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No one quite knows what the iPhone 13/2023 iPhones will be called, but Kuo says Apple is preparing the next-gen release to include the same range and sizes as the current phone. That means the 5.4-inch Mini survives after iffy sales, along with two variants at 6.1-inch, and the high-end Pro Max at 6.7-inches, with no change from the Lightning connector, despite plenty of hope for a USB-C connection.
So, that all stays the same or near enough.
The biggest changes sound like a smaller notch at the forehead of the phone. Apple’s retained the same giant notch since the iPhone X, and despite the usefulness of Face ID (pre-pandemic!), Android flagships have largely transitioned away to punch-holes, pop-ups, and the first under-screen selfie camera too.
Along with more screen real estate, Kuo believes the new iPhones will have larger batteries and next-gen 5G modems: “thanks to space-saving design choices such as integrating the SIM card slot with the logic board and reducing the thickness of some Face ID components. The larger batteries will make all iPhone 13 models slightly heavier.” (MacRumors). That modem is likely Qualcomm’s X60 5G chip, now fabbed on a 5nm process.
The other big feature is 120Hz refresh rates on the iPhone 13, via a low-power LTPO display technology for adaptable refresh rates without crushing battery life.
Kuo also expects iPhone 13 Pro models to offer an upgraded wide-angle camera lens, with an ultra-wide ƒ/1.8 aperture and autofocus, compared to the current ƒ/2.4 on the iPhone 12 range.
No word on the next processor, but you’d expect Apple to be releasing its next-gen A-series Bionic chip too.
What does it all mean?
These sound like “S” models in the iPhone release cycle. Rather than new designs and size adjustments and treatments, Apple bakes in minor new features that are often very useful, turning the previous good flagship into a better one.
Battery life improvements will be great, and the iPhone world experiencing high-refresh rates will undoubtedly be pleasing and make older iPhones seem dated.
And it will catch Apple up to some of the better Android flagship features around fuller displays with high-refresh rates, while the shift to higher quality ultra-wide is already there in the Galaxy S21, for example, sporting an ƒ/1.8.
No word on the return of Touch ID.
Kuo says “some 2023 iPhones” will drop the notch in favor of a ‘punch-hole’ display
There’s also word Apple won’t drop a refreshed iPhone SE this year, but release a third-gen model in 2023.
And what I feel is the most speculative report out of Kuo’s wide-ranging note: “Apple could launch a foldable iPhone with 7.5–8 inch display in 2023.”
Bonus: The Unc0ver team of hackers has released a new jailbreak tool for almost every iPhone (TechCrunch).
📈 Less than an hour after I ran through what to expect from OnePlus in March, OnePlus announced it will announce something on March 8 — likely its launch day date, rumored to be March 23. So, an announcement for an announcement. Also, OnePlus 9 series pre-order details leakedfor those who grab the OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro (Android Authority).
📸 Ari Partinen has joined Microsoft’s Surface camera team: the prominent engineer, previously at both Nokia and Apple, might be working on Android-related improvements for the Surface Duo line, traditional Surface devices, or both (Android Authority).
😬 Report: The LG V60 successor could be on indefinite hold (Android Authority).
🔜 Google Pixels got a new update with security updates, bug fixes, and small feature drop too (Android Authority).
💻 A bunch of Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 reviews dropped, with very consistent 8/10 scores and much better battery life over the previous Galaxy Chromebook. The Verge say it’s less expensive yet better than before, Engadgetsays exactly the same, and CNETagrees: “It’s rare that a second-gen device is better than the original because there’s less to it, but that’s what you get…”.
🏷 Google restarts updates for some iOS apps after long pause triggered by lack of privacy labels (TechCrunch).
🏎 EA delays the next Need for Speed to focus on Battlefield 6 (Polygon).
🥽 “I spent two weeks working in VR and now I’m not sure what’s real” (Wired).
😷 Why N95 masks are still hard to get, even though production is up (Ars Technica).
🔴 A 1990s iMac processor powers NASA’s Perseverance Rover. Why? Reliability (Gizmodo).
🥵 Gatorade’s new Gx Sweat Patch tests your sweat for “smarter hydration”. $12.50 each for a one-time use makes these… pretty weird. I guess most people should just drink water but it could offer insights for serious athletes with money to burn? (The Verge).
💡 Scientists have invented light-up OLED tattoos(Gizmodo).
💊 ELI5: “Why do the vitamin names go A, B, C, D, E, and K? And why are there 12 different Bs instead of other letters?” (r/explainlikeimfive).
This data via Gallup focuses on US adults and how they identify — It does say it in the title but just to emphasize, the left-axis is birth year.
In essence, one in six adults in Generation Z consider themselves LGBT, with more than half of those identifying as bisexual.
All the best,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor
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