Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Monday, Feb. 18, 2019.

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1.Ever wanted a foldable phone that’s also a smartwatch?

CNET has worked on a nice scoop, tracking patent image filings and renders for a new set of potential foldable devices from TCL, including a hybrid smartwatch and foldable phone that looks impressive:

  • TCL’s gadgets, if these five different renders are accurate, show a variety of potential foldable devices that might just be nice enough to consider owning.
  • At IFA last year we saw Nubia show off a very early smartphone/watch called the Nubia Alpha (Android Authority).
  • The Nuba Alpha wasn’t much more than a prototype, and not particularly attractive, but a sign of things to come.
  • TCL makes a huge range of electronics, from TVs to appliances and smartphones, including the revived BlackBerry line and value-focused Alcatel line of smartphones, so it is fully capable of bringing out something good.

What’s new?

  • Five different options show us what TCL and other smartphone manufacturers are toying with – from two different fold-out tablets to horizontal folding smartphones, to a foldable phone/watch hybrid, which is the most striking.
  • That device is getting a few people excited around the gadget space: it may be a little more cumbersome than your standard smartwatch when folded, something like a bracelet or bangle.
  • But if it’s a smartphone it’d offer cellular connectivity, higher-end performance and storage, and potentially better battery-life as well.
  • CNET points out that a TCL executive told the publication just last month that the company will release its first foldable device in 2020.
  • It’s been a while coming. Some folks highlighted the Nokia Morph (back in 2008) was a concept just like this (YouTube), while Lenovo had a similar concept in 2016 (YouTube).
  • Will TCL’s concept actually emerge from beyond the leaks and rumors stage?
  • Well, LG news suggests it’s not all roses. The South Korean giant appears to have put its foldable phone on hold, focusing on “optional” dual displays instead (Android Authority).
  • “Management didn’t see the market as becoming very favorable for an expensive, first-gen foldable smartphone,” an LG spokesperson said.
  • Also: LG lost $700m in 2018 on its mobile division (Android Authority), so being aggressive may not be part of its 2019 plans.
  • More on foldables from MWC next week!

2. Here’s our first look at the LG V50: 5G, triple camera, and a 4,000mAh battery (Android Authority).

3. These are the best Android phones for power users (Android Authority). Until next week?

4. Here’s a fill in the blank smartphone quiz (Android Authority). 7/10 for me, but that wasn’t easy and I did get lucky once or twice.

5. A 16- to 16.5-inch size MacBook Pro with all-new design expected in 2019, says reliable Apple source Ming-Chi Kuo (MacRumors). Plus a large 6K external monitor, and more.

6. A $10 accessory proves smartphones are too big (WSJ – paywall). Spoiler: It’s a PopSocket.

7. “Stop saying, ‘We take your privacy and security seriously’” (TechCrunch).

8. Collections of curated lists hosted on Github are becoming more popular. Here’s the ‘Awesome’ list (Github) (it’s more focused towards developers)

9. The tech whiz behind Vine and HQ Trivia made millions in his 20s. He was dead by 34 (WSJ – paywall). Superb long read told with compassion.

10. In 1973, a photo of a Swedish Playboy model named Lena was used to engineer the digital image format that would become the JPEG. Yet the now 67-year old model herself remained a mystery — until now (WIRED).

11. “I’ve used Dvorak for 10 years, and I’m here to tell you it’s not all that” (The Verge).

12. DJI makes drone safety improvements with new 3D geofence (BBC).

13. Watch a harpoon successfully spear a piece of space junk (MIT Technology Review).

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