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Daily Authority: Amazon Astro early verdicts

Updates on Amazon's $1,450 robot, Snapdragon 5100 leaks, and more tech news you need to know today!
By
February 23, 2022
Amazon Astro
Amazon

Good morning! Looking forward to flying to Barcelona tomorrow not looking forward to the 4:30am alarm!

Amazon Astro is really wheeling about

Remember Amazons Astro home robot? The $1,450 wheelie-guy that Amazon announced back at its Fall 2021 hardware event, and caught all kinds of flak after Amazon sources called it a disaster well, its out now, and its bringing people beer:

amazon astro
Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

The Verge found a bunch of YouTube videos from seemingly regular people showing what the robot actually does in the house. And that doesnt include throwing itself down a flight of stairs as was originally warned.

How does Astro look outside of Amazons glossy studio? Cute, funny, but limited.

  • One report from a fifth-grade teacher in Florida via Bloomberg says that he controls the robot from his phone and when at work, it can be driven over to the family dog to chat. Kinda cool.
  • The teacher said Its like your little own R2-D2 My friends and family think its hilarious. They say: This thing follows you?!
  • They also said it was a little overpriced, though the pricetag was $999 via Amazons early deal: its now $1,450. The teacher thinks $700 would be a better price point.

Video evidence:

  • Based on the videos, I 100% think Astro is cuter than anticipated, but probably about as useless as foreshadowed.
  • Yes, itll bring you a beer, but only if someone puts beer in it.
  • Anyway, the revelation I have from watching the videos is that Astro responds ridiculously slowly. The delay between asking it a question and responding seems to be longer than three seconds or so.
  • (Maybe Im used to my dog responding to anything at the drop of a hat with crazy excitement.)
  • Anyway, unfortunately for Amazon and for those that really do want a useful robot running about the house, the videos make it look like a novelty. I bet friends and family do think its funny, but at $999, thats like $100 per chuckle? I dont know.
  • Id rather the money. Sorry!

Roundup

Details here for new Snapdragon Wear 5100 chipsets for next Wear OS watches: next-gen hardware (Android Authority).

OnePlus is readying a new Nord product and its not a phone: earbuds? (Android Authority).

.末 Sony finally released a first look at the upcoming PlayStation VR2: looks pretty similar to the Meta/Oculus Quest but thats not a bad thing. What really matters: the gaming ecosystem to come (Android Authority).

Vivo sub-brand launches iQOO 9 Pro flagship for $870, India-only for now? (The Verge).

Fraud at Samsungs chip division under investigation after huge order loss: seems like Samsung Foundry didnt address yield issues because execs fabricated data about it being better than it was, now its 3nm production has lost Qualcomm orders (SamMobile).

Spotify Car Thing is finally out: a $90 thing that plays Spotify in your car. You pair it to your phone over Bluetooth, and to the car via either 3.5mm cable or Bluetooth. If your counter argument is just use your phone, I hear you. This is a little more hands-free, I guess? (Ars Technica).

Huh: The Call of Duty series is reportedly taking a break in 2023 theres been a new game every year since 2005 (The Verge).

Netflix tests its TikTok-like comedy feed on TVs: Fast Laughs (Engadget).

Bethesda will shut down its PC launcher in May, pushing purchases over to Steam (Engadget).

This $4,700 retro digital watch only displays the time for a few seconds when you push a button, aaannnnnd its sold out (Gizmodo).

Intel has joined the Bitcoin mining ASIC game. It showed off its slightly older, first-gen Bonanza Mine System which offers 40 THash/s at 3600 Watts, which is not bleeding edge. The second-generation product, the Bonanza Mine 2, is coming later this year, and will want to do better (Bitcoin Magazine).

Weirdness Wednesday

Sonys World Photography Awards are a highlight each year, as one of the biggest in the world.

  • In 2022, maybe its just me but the shortlisted Professional category in the contest has the pros pulling out all the stops to grab interesting shots from surreal to weird to pandemic-appropriate to climate-change arresting, to more.
  • Pros submit a body of work, not just a single shot.

The shortlist includes just hands-down some of the most amazing compilations.

  • Unknown world below the ground by Martin Broen features the most crazy cave diving shots in the Yucat獺n Peninsula, shot from a distance, with a shot from it featured below.
martin broen world awards
  • (Full caption: Labyrinth of Speleothems. A diver navigating his underwater scooter through a chamber full of stalactites and stalagmites, showing the raw nature and amazing textures of the flooded caves in Mexico. Martin Broen, United States of America, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards.)
  • The Wildlife & Nature entries are astonishing, too. They all are! Architecture, Still Life, wow.
  • Check them all out here.

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor