Your good tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Monday, March 30. 

1. OnePlus 8 news, OnePlus Z leaks

oneplus 8 render leak 1WinFuture

The OnePlus 8 series has a launch date: April 14. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau hinted at it on Twitter over the weekend, and this morning the word went out: April 14th for the Pro series, at 11am ET.

We expected that would happen, with leaks and rumors gathering steam. What we didn’t expect was a new smartphone series, but I have some theories about why OnePlus might go down the road. More on that below.

OnePlus 8: Confirmed bits and bobs

  • New OnePlus phones are pretty hotly anticipated and OnePlus is pretty good at dripping out information in advance.
  • We already know the new flagship will be powered by a Qualcomm 5G chip, have a 120Hz refresh rate on the Samsung-supplied display, and improve Android animations to match that display.
  • Official launch date: April 14.
  • And here’s the poster for the “Lead With Speed” graphic:

oneplus 8 teaser cropped

What the leaks say:

  • Leaks over the weekend told us more much. The first was a set of new colours. Leaked OnePlus 8 renders via Winfuture.de hit the internet, the site claiming they are official marketing renders.
  • Those colors include “Interstellar Glow,” “Glacial Green,” and standard black: “Onyx Black.”
  • Interstellar Glow has a nice look, going for a color shift from purple to yellow.
  • Aside from those colors, the renders told us a few things. We can see the notch in the OnePlus 7/7T phones is gone, replaced by a punch-hole front-facing camera in the upper left corner.
  • And there’s a triple rear camera setup, and the previously revealed revamp of the company’s logo.
  • Adding to the camera news was that the OnePlus 8 Pro will apparently borrow from the stablemate Oppo Find X2 Pro and its cameras. The leak suggests the new Pro will include the same 48MP main camera and 48MP ultra-wide sensor, which means it will use the Sony IMX689 sensor and IMX586 ultra-wide camera sensors respectively.
  • The equates to class-leading main and ultra-wide cameras, on paper.
  • That tells me two things: a 5G phone with top the line cameras is going to be expensive and over $1000.
  • Even Xiaomi, known for value, had to price its new Mi 10 Pro with 5G at €999 or $1105.

Which brings us to the OnePlus Z:

  • A persistent rumor has been that OnePlus will offer another mid-range device into the new 8 series, and that was billed as the OnePlus 8 Lite.
  • But over the weekend noted tipster Max Weinbach suggested he’d been told the name OnePlus Z had matched the details of the OnePlus 8 Lite, and that OnePlus was launching a new series on the back of the old OnePlus X.
  • In case you weren’t across OnePlus back in 2015, the OnePlus X was $250 and packed a lot of value into a 5-inch device, even if it didn’t have all the shiny features and bells and whistles.
  • The X remained a favorite for many, and a OnePlus Z would instantly be interesting given that history.
  • Early reports are that it’d be closer to $500 at launch, and use a MediaTek 5G-enabled Dimensity 1000 chipset instead of Qualcomm’s more expensive flagship chipset.
  • Traditionally MediaTek has been seen by enthusiasts as something for value and budget devices only, but that may change with OnePlus getting on board.
  • And as I was saying, this might be OnePlus’ way of appeasing fans who want OnePlus to stick to its “flagship killer” roots, which meant performance and speed without the cost.

Again, we’ll find out much more come Tuesday, April 14th: 8:30 PM IST/11 AM ET/10 AM CT/8 AM PT.


2. US govt tracking citizens through mobile ads from the likes of Foursquare to study coronavirus spread (Android Authority).


3. Why camera sensor size is so important (Android Authority).


4. Do free language learning apps actually work? (Android Authority). My own experiences match this pretty closely: it helps, but fluency is another big step.


5. Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook, first seen in January, hits shelves April 6th (The Verge).


6. “In interviews with two dozen executives and employees at Facebook, Google and Twitter over the past few months, many described a tense atmosphere of careening from crisis to crisis to handle the newest tactics being used to sow discord and influence votes” (NY Times).


7. A Twitch streamer is exposing coronavirus cures and scams live (Ars Technica).


8. Roku is giving away 30 days of premium video (Engadget).


9. Former Amazon Studios Head of Strategy, Matthew Ball, has tracked COVID-19 impacts on Pay TV and streaming video, gaming and digital lives, and movie/theatre industries in three separate essays. Lots of insights and speculation, and I haven’t finished reading them yet. On Netflix: “…Netflix would prefer you watch 30 hours per month over 20, as this should positively affect your retention rate and its pricing power. However, it doesn’t want you to watch 90 hours in March as this consumption is likely to be pulled from April or May or June.” (matthewball.vc)


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