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April 1, 2021

✨ Good morning and welcome to April! A programming note that this newsletter will be off for Good Friday tomorrow, back Monday.

Sony, April 14

Mixed news today.

On the one hand, LG Mobile really looks like it has just days left. Nothing official yet, though.

On the other hand, the good news is Sony is pushing forwards, announcing an Xperia launch on April 14, likely to feature the likes of the Xperia 1 III, Xperia 10 III, and the Xperia 5 III.

Xperia 1 III:

  • The main detail leaked so far has been around the Sony Xperia 1 III, expected to be a true flagship.
  • It’ll reportedly mix specs like Sony’s standard approach of a 6.5-inch 4K OLED 120Hz display bearing a 21:9 aspect ratio, along with the Snapdragon 888 SoC, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, a 64MP main camera, 5,000mAh battery, and 65W fast charging.
  • Those specs come from one tipster via Weibo, and but another more detailed leak offered the same specs while also suggesting the 1 III will have a periscope camera, with a display that offers 4K HDR and 10bit color.
  • A price was suggested too: 8999 Chinese yuan, which is a hefty $1,369, a full 10% price hike from the previous well-received Xperia 1 II with improved cameras which started at $1,200.
  • While Sony has managed to smooth out problems with Sony’s cameras in its very latest flagships, it still can’t seem to price its models anywhere approaching value.
  • If its prices have ticked up again, phew, this thing is once again going to be for a Sony fan, of which there are many, or the niche buyer who wants to get away from top-offerings from Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and who no longer have LG as an option.

Xperia 10 III:

  • On the more mid-range front, we have seen renders of the Xperia 10 III out of Steve Hemmerstoffer, which suggested a kind of gentle evolution of the 10 II, keeping the 3.5mm headphone jack and front-facing stereo speakers.
  • That would be fine and provide some useful options if Sony stuck with the ~$399 price point, or even softened that pricing a little?

No word on availability yet — Sony has a bad habit of announcing devices only to release them months later, for some reason.

Roundup

⌚ Here’s why OnePlus didn’t use Wear OS on its watch: battery life (Android Authority).

🔜 Galaxy A82: Samsung A-series phone is coming with flagship-grade performance on board (Android Authority).

📈 These were the top 5 smartphone brands in each region in 2020 (Android Authority).

👉 “What the hell is happening with Android One?” — Google’s Pixel “a” line killed the need for Pixel lite phones (Computer World).

🚗 There’s a Google-branded Fiat 500 range now: Fiat 500 Family Hey Google, sadly available only in Europe for now (Engadget).

🍎 Apple adds two new Siri voices and will no longer default to a female or male voice in iOS (TechCrunch).

🥽 Microsoft gets contract worth up to $22 billion to outfit US Army with 120,000 AR HoloLens 2 headsets (TechCrunch).

🔇 Also, Microsoft is quietly shutting down the Cortana app on Android and iOS. Which hides just how much investment and hope the company put into Cortana, which is still present on Windows (Android Authority).

👉 On that note, Ted Chiang is always worth reading, though this is nonfiction: “Why computers won’t make themselves smarter,” or why the AI singularity won’t happen in the foreseeable (New Yorker).

⚡ This stick-on gadget solves wireless charging’s biggest problem: wires (Gizmodo).

🔧 TSMC to spend $100B over three years to grow capacity. Also, reports that TSMC is privately cutting volume discounts, and making orders non-cancellable for 2022, implying the chip shortage will stretch on (Bloomberg).

🌞 Apple commits to build “grid-scale” energy storage in California, using Tesla megapack batteries (Ars Technica).

🎶 Apple doesn’t care about album cover art (guilhermesimoes.github.io/)

😦 “Many of us haven’t been sick in over a year due to lack of exposure to germs (COVID stay at home etc). Does this create any risk for our immune systems in the coming years?” (r/askscience).

Throwback Thursday

For the second year in a row, Google canceled April Fools’ Day jokes. Which, let me explain, is totally ok.

  • My feels on April Fools’ Day are that it’s fine to do something fun and interesting, especially things that are semi-plausible, or Easter egg-based.
  • Straight pranks and borderline mean stuff is a hard pass.

Take Google’s greatest April Fools’ Day release: Gmail, which launched on April 1st, 2004. Actually it wasn’t a joke, it was just timing, but at the time it felt like a joke because it was scarcely believable — so much better than the competition.

razer toaster

And:

  • ThinkGeek has a long tradition of turning April Fools’ Day ideas into real products, like its Tauntaun sleeping bag.
  • The Razer Toaster went from a gag to an actual product, though it has been nearly two years since Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan confirmed the 2016 prank would be a real product.

In short, it’s good to be creative. And, it’s also ok to scare programmers (r/programming).

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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