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August 2, 2021
📚 Good morning! My dog has been chewing the baseboard/skirting board and is firmly in the bad books! Though in the cute chapters of those books.
5G really just depends

5G still feels like the next big thing, even though we’ve been talking about it for years, and even Apple got on board with the iPhone 12 a few years after early Android attempts.

The problem is, 5G just doesn’t fare well in your city, most likely:

  • Ookla, the owner of old faithful tested 5G availability and 5G speeds in 30 global cities, including New York City, Seoul, Amsterdam, Abu Dhabi, Vienna, Warsaw, Rome, Paris, Beijing, and Berlin.
  • That was part of its Global 5G Benchmark Report Q1-Q2 2021 white paper, which is freely available.
  • There were three main measurements made to assess the progress of 5G rollouts: 5G download speed, 5G upload speed, and network availability.
  • It looks like this:

The good news on speed:

  • 29 of the 30 cities had median download speeds of over 100Mbps (only Warsaw in Poland missed out).
  • 13 of the cities showed median 5G download speeds above 200Mbps.
  • For uploads, again, almost every city achieved median upload speeds between 15 Mbps and 40 Mbps.
  • Which is all pretty good though you have to sift through the data to see the better download speeds in Seoul, the Middle East, and limited parts of Asia.
  • Plus Helsinki. Thanks to Nokia being a local company, I’d guess.

The bad news on availability:

  • But if 5G isn’t available, even in these major cities, is there any point talking speeds?
  • Only two cities had above 50% availability, meaning “…that a majority of users in that city were able to spend a
  • majority of their time on 5G networks.”
  • Those two cities were New York and Amsterdam, while Seoul was next best at 48%.
  • That’s all down to how hyperlocal 5G was, is, and will remain for the near future.
  • Take this example where my colleague C. Scott Brown drove just five minutes from his house into the heart of Yale University to test Google Stadia on 5G for AT&T. That story is all about 5G availability problems.
  • As for me in Berlin? Heh. If you look at the graph above, you’ll see Berlin with just a few percent of availability, and one of the lowest speeds when available, too.
  • Curiously, Singapore, that tiny island city nation and bustling metropolis, ranks worse. It seems SingTel there only got going on 5G in early 2021, and won’t be finished covering the country until 2025.
  • Convincing people to pay more for 5G is a chicken/egg situation: Who will pay more when availability is that bad? Why would networks build 5G if they can’t extract more money, somehow?
  • So, here we are…

💵 Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 leak spills tech specs and pricing information: $149-169? (Android Authority).

📸 Honor’s got Google Mobile Services, and the first new flagship, the Honor Magic 3, could cram five rear cameras into a bulbous array (Android Authority)

⛔ Got an ancient phone? You won’t be able to sign in to your Google account soon (which is probably a good thing for security) (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple Watch titanium models are largely unavailable as supplies seem to have just run out as a new Watch is likely around the corner… (Engadget)

💰 Square has agreed to buy out buy now pay later (BNPL) pioneer Afterpay (Reuters), an Australian tech company, for $29 billion, or about a quarter of Square’s worth. CEO Jack Dorsey liked the growth trajectory of Afterpay. There’s a but, though. I’ve followed this pretty closely for years: the somewhat sad reality of BNPL has been escaping conventional financial regulators, while clipping the ticket of both online and offline transactions, taking up to 6% off merchants. More troubling is that it’s questionable whether it’s good for the world: paying off something you buy in installments sounds great, but lots of people have fallen into debt traps (Choice).

👀 Zoom agrees to pay $85M to settle a class-action lawsuit over alleged user privacy violations and Zoombombing (BBC).

📘 There’s another ‘+’ on the market: Pearson+, the new wannabe Netflix for college textbooks (Gizmodo).

🤔 The Invisible Tech Behemoth: “How has Microsoft escaped the scrutiny of reinvigorated antitrust regulators?” (The Atlantic).

⚓ Over 100 warship locations have been faked in one year (Engadget).

💨 IKEA’s first smart air purifier is also a side table, starting at $129 for a free-standing model (Engadget). Also, how to keep your indoor air quality under control (Wired).

🥕 Heading into August, the dam finally broke on COVID-19 vaccine mandates (The Verge).

⚾ “All they had to do was check and they didn’t do it(Deadspin).

🏎️ “What is LMDh and why are we so excited about sports car racing in 2023?” (Ars Technica).

🔋 Electric cars have much lower life cycle emissions, new study confirms (Ars Technica).

📈 The first mainstream 8K rip has appeared on BitTorrent and it’s the 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony: 135GB (TorrentFreak).

👨‍🍳 “Chefs of Reddit, what’s one rule of cooking amateurs need to know?” (r/askreddit).

Monday Meme

A huge day for memes: a meme came true!

meme reality
  • That’s Brazilian swimmer Bruno Fratus, who won a bronze this week in the 50m freestyle.
  • Fratus, by the way, is kissing his wife and coach, Michelle Lenhardt, who was also a top-level swimmer for Brazil.
  • Fratus made it to the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, where he missed out on medals, and reportedly went into a bit of a tailspin and considered quitting the sport. 
  • At Tokyo, he scored his first medal and boy, he was loving it.
  • It’s fun that the meme happened but it’s brilliant that he got a medal!

Bonus: The Hong Kong Museum of Memes added a great one.


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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