Here’s your quick, fun, sometimes serious, and always interesting daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Wednesday, April 10, 2019!

1. Oppo Reno launches: 10x zoom lens, sharkfin selfie camera

Oppo is the fifth largest smartphone maker in the world, and although it doesn’t have much presence in the US, Oppo isn’t holding back on its ambitions in China, Europe, and wider.

That culminates in the new Oppo Reno, which was announced today in China, ahead of a global launch.

Oppo Reno

Oppo’s announcements:

  • Two new phones – a standard Oppo Reno and a new Reno 10x Zoom Edition.
  • Both phones share a 48MP f/1.7 primary camera (with Sony IMX586 sensor), but 10x Zoom Edition features a 13MP periscope zoom camera as well as an 8MP ultra-wide shooter, with a 120-degree field of view.
  • It looks like the 10x zoom is a hybrid, offering 5x optical zoom.
  • If you’re thinking that sounds very similar to the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro, with its 5x optical zoom camera, you’d be dead right.

Oppo Reno

The shark-fin:

  • Both models sport a 16MP f/2.0 pop-up selfie camera which, true to the rumors, is a shark-fin setup, popping up on one side, as you see above.
  • This follows the Oppo Find X which had an unusual elevating camera setup.

Pricing and specs:

  • The flagship 6.6-inch full HD+ OLED 10x Zoom Edition offers true flagship specs, backing the display with a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 4,065mAh battery, and 4K/60fps support.
  • The standard model is a touch smaller at 6.4 inches, and delivers a Snapdragon 710 chipset, a 3,765mAh battery, and 4K/30fps support. It also has a headphone jack.
  • Both offer in-display fingerprint sensors, VOOC 3.0 charging, and NFC.
  • The 10x Zoom Edition will start at 3,999 yuan (~$595) for the 6GB/128GB version, with higher-spec models also available.
  • Oppo’s standard model starts at 2,999 yuan (~$447) for the 6GB+128GB model.

Thoughts:

  • Without a hands-on, there’s not a lot to say about how far Oppo is pushing these new Reno devices. We don’t yet know overall performance, quality, and so on.
  • But we do know Oppo is a quality manufacturer.
  • And these Oppo Reno phones look cheap. Under $600 for a latest flagship, with specs to boot and a trick optical zoom feature is enticing.
  • Although the 10x Zoom Edition is unlikely to get close to Huawei’s strengths in its camera, it’s hundreds of dollars cheaper.
  • And touching on that, it’s fascinating that Oppo first demonstrated its periscope camera technology back in 2017, at Mobile World Congress, along with partner Corephotonics.
  • (Samsung purchased Corephotonics back in January, this year.)
  • Yet, despite Oppo’s earlier public reveal, Huawei beat Oppo in releasing a flagship smartphone with this technology by about a month.
  • The big challenge is less about the hardware prism lens system, which my colleague Rob Triggs explained here, but the data processing to combine images for hybrid zoom at different levels from 1x to 10x. That creates difficulties. Huawei proved it could get it right.

2. LG G8 ThinQ review: “LG chooses to blend in rather than stand out” (Android Authority) (Android Authority).


3. Google indicates at its Google Cloud event that it will have new Pixel laptops and tablets to come, after all (9to5Google).


4. Now AT&T has unveiled real 5G in cities including LA and SF, but these tiny zones in more cities doesn’t equal less limitation – you can only use a Netgear 5G hotspot, for now (AA).


5. Google Pixel 3 is apparently snatching users from Samsung, not so much Apple (AA).


6. The best Apple whisperer in the business says Apple will use mini-LEDs for their LCD-panel iPad and MacBook displays, coming in 2020/2021. Not as good as OLED, but perhaps useful improvements in contrast without the expense (9to5Mac).


7. Amazon’s refreshed base-model Amazon Kindle now has a backlight, but the reviews say its low-resolution screen doesn’t cut it: just get a Paperwhite (The Verge).


8. Google’s founders haven’t been at any of the company’s Friday Town Hall meetings this year, and their absences have become conspicuous (BuzzFeed).


9. The world’s most used font has had its first redesign in 35 years: Helvetica Now (CreativeBoom)


10. Declassified U2 spy plane photos expose hidden archaeological sites (Gizmodo).


11.  Remember the GPS rollover event we talked about on Friday? It happened, and flights were delayed, and cancelled after issues (Ars Technica)


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