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🚀 Good morning! It’s Mi Mix 4 launch day today, and we’re expecting one of Xiaomi’s more top-spec phones in a long time.
August 10, 2021
Z Roll?

Samsung’s going to launch a bunch of foldable stuff tomorrow, but it is clearly thinking seriously about rollable phones.

  • A detailed patent document was unearthed by LetsGoDigital, which includes 32 pages of info from a German filing.
  • We’ve already seen trademark filings for Samsung with the Galaxy “Z Roll” and “Z Slide” being secured.
  • Now we have a bunch of info, including helpful renders that provide an impression of Samsung’s tech.

The details:

  • Llike the Oppo X 2021, and LG’s cancelled rollable, Samsung’s patent imagines a rollable phone with a display that extends outwards. Once extended, the display becomes 40-50% larger, and the UI adapts automatically. 
  • Huawei is also working on a rollable, using magnets to prevent creases showing in the rolled-out phone.
  • Samsung’s avoiding creases by using “multiple flexible/elastic carrier films,” together with a clever mechanical hinge structure to support the folded-out display, along with a supportive flat plate.
  • There’s also talk of an under-display camera with the model.
  • The robust documentation appears to suggest Samsung has developed the technology here, not just patents of ideas. But there’s still, usually, a long way to go between prototyping, production, and a commercial release.
  • According to our own Dhruv Bhutani, even rollable prototypes seem to make more sense than foldables, when he wrote: 
  • “My time with the Oppo X 2021 has me convinced that rollable phones have distinct advantages over foldables.”
  • “Having tried out almost all the foldable smartphones on the market, I can safely say that the Oppo X 2021 gets the closest to combining a smartphone and tablet experience in a singular device, and that’s largely due to how usable the phone is.”
  • That said, people who own foldables do seem to love them. Stockholm Syndrome when paying big money, or actual utility?
  • Glad you asked! There’s a great piece at Gizmodo that cautiously enthuses about the Fold 2, with the one (fairly significant) downside being dust bubbles with the screen protector.
  • Will that be fixed with the Fold 3?
Roundup

Samsung just announced a new Exynos wearables chipset, coming to the Galaxy Watch 4 to be announced tomorrow, is a pretty big leap for Wear OS smartwatches: from 26nm to 5nm, better power efficiency, 20% faster CPU, and 10x more graphics (Android Authority).

🔐 Google’s VPN service for higher-tier Google One subscribers is now available outside the US, adding Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and the UK to the list if you pay $9.99 or so a month (Android Authority).

💵 We asked, you told us: Here’s what you’d pay for the Pixel 6 Pro (Android Authority).

🔜 Asus ROG Phone 5S tipped for launch: adds the Snapdragon 888 Plus (Android Authority).

🎧 Beats Studio Buds review: Apple’s Android olive branch (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple released an FAQ and had a call with reporters, saying it will refuse government demands to expand photo-scanning beyond CSAM (Ars Technica). But the hits keep coming: Stratechery has a post called “Apple’s Mistake” which neatly questions why Apple didn’t stick with cloud storage scanning, and went on-device, saying: “It’s truly disappointing that Apple got so hung up on its particular vision of privacy that it ended up betraying the fulcrum of user control: being able to trust that your device is truly yours.”

🔑 Google’s new Titan security key lineup won’t make you choose between USB-C and NFC, only USB-A vs USB-C. $30/35, on sale today (The Verge).

🎮 Gamescom 2021 gets officially underway on August 25th, and Microsoft has announced an event on August 24 (Engadget).

🔋 A new Lamborghini Countach is coming, and for the 50th anniversary, the famous Lambo might add a battery (The Verge).

💪 The squishy, far-out new experiments headed to the ISS (Wired).

🛰️ SpaceX is buying an Internet of Things smallsat company (Engadget).

Chart Tuesday

Here’s how the marathon world record has changed over the years, as competitors keep trying to get past the two-hour barrier (in legal conditions, i.e. not including the successful sub-two hour experiment staged by a British multinational chemical company — though more power to Eliud Kipchoge for getting that cash!):

marathon
  • Kipchoge’s incredible record is 2:01:39.
  • Most of the narrowing of the record time has been Kipchoge’s efforts, who lives a life of running in a small community in Kenya.
  • In the New York Times there’s this remarkable quote: “A millionaire, Kipchoge is known to live an ascetic lifestyle while training with his running group at altitude in Kenya: living apart from his family, chopping vegetables for communal meals, cleaning toilets, hand-washing his gear, and drawing water from a well.”
  • But “while training” doesn’t really cut it – Kipchoge seems to always be training.
  • Performance coach and author Steve Magness wrote on Twitter: “Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest of all time… in ANY sport. His domination in a major sport in the modern era is unprecedented.”

Amazing! Have an inspired Tuesday,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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