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August 13, 2021
🔋 Hi there! I’m off to the Formula E here in Berlin tomorrow. Weirdly, heading into the final two races, 18 drivers could still win the championship which is pretty crazy. It's a whacky old series even after 7 years of racing.
A touch of Huawei magic?

Honor, the not-at-all-Huawei-affiliated-we-swear, launched its Honor Magic 3 series yesterday, its first post-Huawei flagship.

  • There’s the Honor Magic 3, Honor Magic 3 Pro, and Honor Magic 3 Pro Plus.
  • All share a 6.67-inch OLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate, 4,600mAh battery, 66W wired charging, the Magic UI 5 skin, and full Google Mobile Services support, thank-you-very-much.
  • The Pro Plus goes all out, offering the latest Snapdragon 888 Plus chipset, quad rear camera setup in a fancy (though borderline unappealing) design, IP68 rating, and a “Nano Crystal Shield” sheen of protection on the front for drops. 
  • They’re also definitely coming outside of China, at least to Europe, but at a high-price: the Pro Plus starts at a pretty wild €1,499 (~$1,759) for the only configuration, which is a 12GB RAM/512GB storage device.
  • And in some confusion, Honor had to update outlets including Android Authority that it’ll bring two rounds of Android updates to the Magic 3, meaning Android 12 which is due in a few weeks or so, and Android 13 after that.

Huawei roots:

  • Here’s what my colleague Hadlee Simons wrote about this device being a close-but-not-quite a Huawei P50 Pro with a new badge. Notably, it’s how close the camera systems are: “The P50 Pro and the Honor Magic 3 Pro Plus both offer a 50MP main camera (and it looks like Huawei’s phone has an IMX700 too), a 64MP periscope lens, and a high-resolution monochrome camera (albeit 64MP versus the P50 Pro’s 40MP). We even see the same wired and wireless charging speeds on the Pro devices, while the standard Magic 3 and P50 share the same 66W wired-only charging.”
  • “This similarity suggests the Honor phones were in the works prior to the split from Huawei, which makes sense given the long development time for smartphones in general.”
  • “This could be the closest we’d get to new Huawei phones with Google support.”
  • So, as Hadlee points out: this looks like it’s all of Huawei’s hardware excellence, build quality, and camera imaging … but with the Honor brand, 5G models, Google Mobile Services, and wider availability than China.
  • That said, Honor has said before that it had to develop its own imaging algorithms, unable to take those from Huawei, apparently. And the Huawei tie-ins may not last beyond a generation or two.
  • Still, it’s almost as if the US trade ban on Huawei has been mitigated (Twitter). Who would’ve thought?

🔜 Samsung Galaxy S21 FE emerges from certification: Hints at original launch date for August 11, but we’re still waiting to see it emerge (Android Authority).

📈 Galaxy A52S: A new Samsung mid-ranger could be the $500 5G phone to beat (Android Authority).

🔜 A Fairphone 4 is confirmed on the way with Android 11 and 5G connectivity (Android Authority).

🎮 This new gaming handheld combines Android and a Switch-style design (Android Authority).

😬 AMD RX 6600XT review: A sad trombone noise of a “$379” 2021 GPU (Ars Technica).

🧮 Windows 11 is getting updated snipping tool, calculator, and mail apps(The Verge).

💍 Amazon moves Lord of the Rings production from New Zealand to UK (The Verge).

🤖 Huh: Nvidia revealed its CEO was computer generated in a keynote speech and no one noticed! Which sounds wild and crazy, but actually, the CGI part was only 14 seconds long — and it’s at least fake enough that I really don’t know if it’s a surprise — it looks intentionally like CGI or greenscreen trickery, rather than a frightening view of the future? Anyway, the actual impressive thing was a part where the real CEO was in a CGI kitchen that looked very real (VICE).

🕸 This engineer has come closer to creating real-life Spider-Man web shooters than anyone (Gizmodo).

😎 A series of tests showed all makes of cars with driver-assist, semi-automated systems, including Tesla, are pretty easily fooled. My favorite, hilariously, is a pair of the classic novelty glasses with eyeballs fooled GM’s system (Car and Driver, YouTube)

👩‍🚀 Russia’s space program just threw a NASA astronaut under the bus to … try and take the attention away from a near-disaster two weeks ago? (Ars Technica).

🤔 “Humans swat flies because they annoy us, not for food. Do any other animals kill other species for reasons other than food or defense?” (r/nostupidquestions). 

Friday Fun

The first full motion-captured football match between La Liga’s third-tier rivals, Atlético Sanluqueño and CD Gerena, might end up being “the most influential 90 minutes of football ever played.” Why? How could it be? Well, it’ll redefine EA’s FIFA series, writes Wired


  • “It was only by capturing 22 players over 90 minutes that EA could generate enough animation, 8.75 million frames, to power its new ‘HyperMotion’ technology. Machine learning then kicks in.”
  • “Previously, when a player approaches the ball to perform the next action — a shot, pass or dribble — we’ve picked an animation from our database,” Eaves explains. “But it doesn’t know the context. All this data trains the network and helps blend animations.”
  • “Their movements were immortalised that night. They’ll soon be experienced by upwards of 30 million gamers worldwide. It’s why it mattered so much to both sides.” 
  • “One of the goalkeepers faced a hard shot right at him and the ball slipped through his fingers,” remembers Eaves. “He was absolutely devastated — the emotion was real. I couldn’t help but think he probably didn’t want us to put that animation in the game.”

In other words, the FIFA series might stop being the same game over and over. (And, your microtransactions paid for this level of tech…)

Have a great weekend,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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