Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Tuesday, July 16, 2019!

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By the way, today marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the first manned mission to the moon, which landed on July 20. NASA has it all covered with events, and a live broadcast on Friday, and The Washington Monument will turn into a rocket to celebrate, too.

 

1. Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus: Your next Android flagship now goes faster

snapdragon-855-plus

Many of the world’s flagship Android smartphones run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC platform, with the latest chip, the Snapdragon 855.

  • The likes of the new OnePlus 7 Pro, Sony Xperia 1, Samsung Galaxy S10 series (international variants), and gaming phones including the Red Magic 3, all use the 855.
  • The fastest ever Speed Test G from Gary Explains was recorded on the S10 5G with a Snapdragon 855.

Now Qualcomm has announced a new variant, the 855 Plus. It’s a little unusual because Qualcomm has stuck with a one-flagship-chip-per-year strategy. But it’s not out of the blue: the new chip has the same hardware, but with more performance, via some overclocking from higher binned chips.

So, it’s still an eight-core, 7nm SoC – what’s changed?

Android Authority’s David Imel has the details:

  • “The primary change is the overclocked Kryo 485 CPU Prime core, now clocked at 2.96GHz. This is in contrast to the Prime core in the standard Snapdragon 855, which clocked up to 2.84GHz.”
  • Now, this is only a four percent improvement on the GHz numbers, and what will be interesting is to see how it impacts peak performance, battery life, and heat generation.
  • It’s not just the CPU, though: “Qualcomm says the Adreno 640 is getting a 15 percent increase in performance.”
  • David notes Qualcomm didn’t say anything about where that performance increase comes from. It’s possible that the default 585MHz clock rate in the Snapdragon 855 is now upwards of 670MHz – ~672-673MHz, but that’s just a guess.
  • “Snapdragon 855 Plus will raise the bar for elite gamers with the increase in CPU and GPU performance,” Kedar Kondap, Qualcomm vice president of product management, said in a press release.
  • As David mentions, this could increase FPS on games like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite even beyond 60FPS on devices that have faster refresh rates.
  • It’s for gamers, but it’s also for 5G – when paired with Qualcomm’s X50 modem, the Snapdragon 855 allows new devices to connect to 5G networks.

Devices:

  • Asus will be the first to use the 855 Plus chip, in its upcoming ROG Phone II, which is arriving as soon as July 23.
  • Could we also see the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, or the Google Pixel 4, with this faster spec chip? Will OnePlus go for some kind of OnePlus 7T Pro? Will other gaming phones try and make the most of the device?

2. It’s still Prime Day

The fifth (and longest) Amazon Prime Day continues into today with even more deals, if you or your wallet are not already exhausted.

A quick set of links with more niche picks:

More posts about Prime Day Deals


3. Sony WH-XB900N review: How much bass is too much bass? (Android Authority).


4. Microsoft to allow Alexa to integrate further into Windows 10 (The Verge).


5. Dish’s AirTV launches an $80 streaming stick for accessing Sling TV, Netflix & broadcast channels (TechCrunch).


6. TikTok took over VidCon, and YouTube is next (The Verge). Although as this piece explains, YouTube has long since trampled its rivals, even as they plot revenge (Bloomberg).


7. SpaceX says Crew Dragon capsule exploded due to exotic titanium fire (Teslerati).


8. Alan Turing: WWII codebreaker revealed as new face of £50 note in Britain, and the first openly gay man to be on a banknote (Sky).


9. We can’t get enough of audiobooks (The Guardian).


10. This must be one of the worst non-life-threatening things to ever happen on a flight. (Twitter).


11. Why did we wait so long for the bicycle? (rootsofprogress.org). (Great read, although the absolute mechanical genius of things like ball bearings and quality steel isn’t fully appreciated.)


12. “How do non buoyant things wash ashore?” (r/askscience).


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