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April 15, 2021
🚲 Good morning! Going to give the pushbike a service today with some hope that it gets a bit warmer here where I am! Now, on with the news...
TCL’s new phones
TCL 20 Pro 5G design 14
TCL

TCL debuted the TCL 20 series yesterday, its follow up to the TCL 10 series, and adding on to the previously launched TCL 20 and 20 SE.

The new devices don’t tell you a whole lot in the names: the TCL 20 Pro, 20L Plus, and 20L, but in that order, they run from mid-range to budget devices.

The highlight of the TCL 20 series is the TCL 20 Pro:

  • This is a 6.67-inch flat AMOLED display, with quad-lens mainly featuring a 48MP main shooter, and 16MP wide-angle, 5MP macro and depth sensor.
  • It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G chipset with 5G support, 6GB RAM/256GB storage, and a 4,500mAh battery, with extras like microSD slot and 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • TCL is rolling this out widely, but it is starting sales in some parts of Europe first at €549 (~$657). US pricing will be interesting.
  • The 20L Plus drops the display to LCD, drops the quad-cam setup, and goes budget-oriented Snapdragon 662, without 5G. 
  • Accordingly, it is priced at €269 (~$322), while the weaker again TCL 20L, which cuts back on camera and RAM, goes for €229 (~$274).

Those phones will be interesting to review. The TCL 20 Pro looks the hardest sell depending on the pricing, competing with a ton of good options in that price range. 

  • Last year’s 10 Pro was good without being great, but a welcome entrant.
  • If the 20 Pro can go a step up, and justify the price tag, that’ll be a big achievement.

TCL concept:

Possibly getting more attention is TCL’s latest concept device: a phone, phablet, and tablet all at the same time. The 3-in-1 prototype adds a rollable element to a foldable. Think unfolding a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold, and then for an even bigger screen, it rolls out to expand further.

  • At this stage, though, TCL may have shown one too many concepts and one too few actual innovations.
  • I’ve gone hands-on with a bunch of interesting TCL hinge designs and foldables, which is great and all, but the teases haven’t come to market.
  • This is a nice idea, but until we see any sort of indication folks can buy it, or even just produced as a real-life device (and not a render), this is an idea only.
  • Release it. I dare you.
Roundup

📲 More Android 12 features and tweaks just leaked: expect new emojis, new permissions, and the ability to trigger Assistant via the power button (Android Authority).

🔜 Samsung’s extra-thin Galaxy Book Pro laptops leak ahead of Unpacked (Android Authority).

📸 Google Photos prepares new search tools to help you find that exact pic you’re after (Android Authority).

👉 Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review: More gimmick than gimme (Android Authority).

📺 LG’s rollable OLED R TV is available in the US, if you can afford one. No price, but it sounds like it’s around $90k (Engadget).

🍎 Australian cybersecurity firm unlocked iPhone for FBI after 2015 San Bernardino shooting, report says. Apple is suing the company (CNET).

Comparing the actual US grid to the one predicted 15 years ago: demand flat, carbon emissions 40 percent down (Ars Technica).

🦟 Interesting story about how the locust plague in Africa was stopped in 2020 using cheap, cheerful, but complex tech (NY Times).

🤖 Europe eyes strict rules for artificial intelligence: Some examples of AI it seeks to outlaw include, “systems determining access to or assigning people to educational institutes, recruitment algorithms, those that evaluate credit worthiness, those for making individual risk assessments, crime-predicting algorithms”. That seems good (BBC)

🔋 The Q4 E-Tron is Audi’s best shot yet at selling a lot of EVs (The Verge).

🛸 Navy acknowledges weird footage of unidentified objects flying around its ships is …real. Huh. (Gizmodo).

🌊🐎 “What is up with the seahorse? It looks like nature hit the random button during critter creation. Where did it evolve from? What other sea critters is it related to?” (r/askreddit).

Throwback Thursday
Apple logo Apple iPhone 11

Tomorrow marks 44 years since the Apple II and the Commodore PET 2001 were launched with the same chipset. But that’s not the interesting thing today — have a read of this tidbit from thisdayintechhistory.com:

  • “April 16, 1977: On the same day at the first annual West Coast Computer Faire, both the Apple II and Commodore PET 2001 personal computers are introduced.
  • Both computers used the same processor, the MOS 6502, but the companies had two different design strategies and it showed on this day. 
  • Apple wanted to build computers with more features at a higher price point. Commodore wanted to sell less feature-filled computers at a lower price point. 
  • The Apple II had color, graphics, and sound selling for $1298. The Commodore PET only had a monochrome display and was priced at $795.”

Isn’t it something that this has remained Apple’s approach?

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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