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August 5, 2021
🌞 Good morning! August is becoming the biiiig month in tech (again)! Launches galore, including at least four big smartphones next week! Plus Buds. Everyone has new earbuds.
Galaxy Buds 2

Samsung has had varying levels of secrecy over the years. The initial Fold was pretty well hidden; this year’s Fold, less so, with plenty of details emerging. 

The coming Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are probably on the lowest tier of secrecy in the company: someone in Egypt just went and bought the Buds 2, and showed them off on Twitter, while another channel opened a similar olive green version on YouTube, almost a week ahead of the launch.

Anyway, to the Buds 2 revelations:

  • The Buds 2 are being positioned as an entry-level option, a step back from the Pro version.
  • Ahmed Qwaider in Egypt first published a short video on Twitter of an olive green pair, with nice dramatic music too.
  • Then The Mobile Central, a channel out of the UAE on YouTube, showed off a more classic unboxing video, running through the bits and pieces.
  • In some respects the leaks have been so good already that there’s not a lot of damage to Samsung: it’ll still almost certainly launch the Buds 2 next week, and there’s not any obvious big tech changes that it might want to hide from competitors until the last minute.
  • What we do have is a square charging case, the Buds 2 themselves, a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, spare ear tips, and paperwork.
  • We see they’ll come with ANC with up to 20 hours of battery life, and the case has a USB-C port. No word on IP rating yet.
  • There’s some brief discussion of sound and fit quality, basically boiling down to: they’re good. We’ll wait for our old friends SoundGuys to give us the low-down on overall quality.
  • WinFuture reported that the Galaxy Buds 2 will cost €150, and something like ~$149 in the US, but we’ll find out next week where Samsung will land these, and how they might influence its Galaxy Buds Pro pricing and what the core differences between the two are.

📸 What to expect from the Google Pixel 6 cameras with all their new hardware, and adapted algorithms (Android Authority).

👉 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE comes to the US: All the info, with starting price from $530 (Android Authority).

🥽 Some PSVR 2 headset details have emerged from a “private” developer conference, and point to hybrid games, better OLED display with 2,000 x 2,040 resolution per eye, wider field of view, flexible scaling, haptic feedback, and more (Android Authority).

📦 Amazon does something after backlash following completely crazy revelations that found it was destroying millions of unsold products: 130,000 per week. Not sure this truly solves much… (Android Authority).

👴 Still rocking a Huawei phone? Harmony OS 2 is now available on 65 models (Android Authority).

🧼 There’s some kind of plumbing-free countertop dishwasher coming out after years of waiting: Heatworks Tetra (Gizmodo)

📚 Elon Musk says Walter Isaacson is writing his new biography, a follow-up to his 2015 official biography (CNET).

📈 Robinhood is now a stonk: It rushed higher yesterday, then was halted, plummeted, and back. The reasons why are more hypothesis, but include higher stock price targets (TechCrunch).

💰 Google+ class action starts paying out $2.15 for G+ privacy violations (Ars Technica).

⛔ Facebook suspended NYU researchers (and their personal accounts) yesterday, which sounded like it was for privacy to block a scraper. Good, right? Well, Facebook’s reason for banning researchers doesn’t hold up (Wired).

Microsoft paused free Windows 365 cloud PC trials after ‘significant demand’, meaning it ran out of servers … which was probably crypto-related? (The Verge).

🏨 Disney has a Star Wars hotel. It’s $4,809 for two nights (The Verge).

🐟 “How did the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal affect the local ecosystem in their area?” There’s a name for this: Lessepsian migration, named after the French diplomat who was pivotal in the Suez Canal construction… (r/askscience)

Throwback Thursday


I was speaking to Derek, one of the Android Authority founders this week about webcams of all things: his no-name webcam was playing up, and I was insisting to him that webcam technology is more than 25 years old, but couldn’t quite remember the story.

coffee empty

Here is that story: The first camera broadcast to the web was set up in a computer lab in the University of Cambridge, England to see if a pot of coffee was full or not — called the Trojan Room coffee pot. The image above is a capture from that stream, though the pot was sadly empty at the time!

Here’s the summary I’m mostly quoting via Wikipedia:

  • The 128 × 128px greyscale camera was connected to the laboratory’s local network through a video capture card. 
  • Researcher Quentin Stafford-Fraser wrote the client software, dubbed XCoffee. His colleague Paul Jardetzky wrote the server program.
  • In 1993, web browsers gained the ability to display images, and it soon became clear that this would be an easier way to make the picture available to users. The camera was connected to the Internet and the live picture became available ( via HTTP in November of the same year
  • It grew into a popular landmark of the early web as the first webcam.



Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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