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December 11, 2020

🚀 Good morning!

Disney Plus multiplies its Marvel and Star Wars offerings

Disney had a big day yesterday at its Investor Day 2020, with a presentation and 111 slides running through everything the company is planning for Disney Plus. Here’s the short version:

  • Disney is all-in on Disney Plus, and is promising as many as 50 new Marvel, Star Wars, Disney and Pixar series, shows and movies over the “next few” years.
  • That includes: 10 new Marvel series, 10 Star Wars series.
  • For Marvel, we’ll see WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, She-Hulk and Hawkeye, all due in 2021, plus animated series What If?. Other new series announced for 2022 and beyond: Ironheart, Armor Wars, and Secret Invasion, with Samuel L. Jackson. And there’s some kind of Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special for 2022.
  • On the Star Wars front, that includes two new spin-offs from The Mandalorian, Rangers of the New Republic, Ahsoka, Star Wars: Lando, and a series of shorts made by Japanese anime creators, plus The Acolyte, a new series by Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland, set in the High Republic era or the golden age of the Jedi.
  • Hayden Christensen returns as Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • And, the next new Star Wars feature film, titled Rogue Squadron, will be directed by Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins.
  • And and I can’t keep up even hours later — just to show you how much content was announced, I haven’t even mentioned the Pixar, live action, and other animated Disney content — there’s a new Indiana Jones movie, too, Chris Evans will star as Buzz Lightyear in a new Pixar film about the man, not the toy in 2022… yeah, there’s a lot going on.

Other Disney Plus bits:

  • Disney Plus now has 86.8M subscribers, Hulu has 36.6 million subscribers. That means Disney Plus added 25 million subscribers in Q4 2020. 100M by mid-January?
  • Disney is introducing a new bundle offering: Disney+, ESPN+, and ad-free Hulu for $18.99 a month. ESPN+ will also be directly integrated into Hulu’s interface in 2021.
  • And Star is the answer to the international Hulu question: For non-US subscribers, Hulu hasn’t been available, and the new Star brand and Star Plus app will roll out, starting in Canada and parts of the EU on February 23.
  • Also, Disney is raising the cost of Disney Plus to $7.99 per month, up from $6.99, starting in March 2021.

Questions:

  • So, will $1 a month hurt anyone? Probably not. Disney Plus is still cheaper than Netflix.
  • Will an almost definite oversaturation of Marvel and Star Wars hurt Disney? While Marvel has always been about the Universe and has the comics to rely on for eons, Star Wars seems like it’ll now be split across a thousand different timelines and shows.
  • Mystery has been the way of Star Wars since 1977, and there are a lot of carefully curated oddities (Mashable) through the announcements for fans to dig into, possibly until 2022.
  • Keeping up with both universes at once will become a career.
  • Also, instead of feature films, it’s all TV. Thank Netflix (and The Mandalorian).
  • It’s no secret that The Queen’s Gambit was going to be a feature film before it was split into episodes for TV. When it’s good, it works, and when it works, it keeps a few million more subscribed.
  • In any case, with all the trailers and new information out there, expect every frame to be analyzed for the ultra fans to figure out storylines.

🔎 Electrochromic glass could be coming to more phones in 2021, after OnePlus teased the tech back at CES a long, long time ago. Well, only January this year, but you know what I mean… (Android Authority).

🔨 Microsoft finally brings x64 app support to Windows on Arm(Android Authority).

🕹 New Samsung app GameDriver promises better performance, fast driver updates. Literally a game changer? (Android Authority).

🔌 We asked, you told us: Most readers own plenty of smartphone chargers(Android Authority).

🎧 Super early Apple AirPods Max thoughts — too early to really know enough is the feeling I got from The Verge, but CNET is a bit more eager, while Daring Fireball is focused on the 385g weight and, well, the $549 price tag doesn’t escape scrutiny. I’ll wait for our buds at SoundGuys to know more.

🍎 Apple is developing cellular modems of its own to replace Qualcomm chips, which is not a surprise given the company paid $1B for Intel’s modem tech, but the reports are Apple’s talking about it internally at its Town Hall meetings, it may not be far away? (Bloomberg).

Facebook hit with another antitrust probe for tying Oculus use to Facebook accounts (TechCrunch).

Visa and Mastercard ban P-rnhub over abusive videos (Ars Tecnica).

📈 Airbnb stock took off like a rocket after IPO, a day after DoorDash did the same (CNBC).

🤔 ELI5: “Why do hands get an itchy/tingly sensation when doing something with high vibrations like riding a bike, or weed whacking?” (r/explainlikeimfive).

Friday Fun 💡
space-spiders

And, it’s just a light source! Gizmodo explains:

  • “Spiders are capable of building typical webs in microgravity, so long as they have access to a light source, according to new research published in Science of Nature.” 
  • “In the absence of gravity, and hence a sense of up and down, a light source provides a frame of reference for the spiders. When a light source is available, spiders will weave their normal asymmetric webs and wait near the top for prey. Without light, however, they build symmetrical webs, which isn’t normal behavior. It’s a surprising discovery, highlighting the relative unimportance of gravity for spiders when weaving their webs.”
  • You can watch a spider in space called Esmerelda build a web, from cameras that took photos once every five minutes back in 2011, but I wouldn’t say it’s the most thrilling streaming of 2020.
  • It’s all pretty cool stuff, and intriguing. But sad to say, if gravity is eliminated any time soon, it seems the spiders will still win. Good luck to you all if that happens!
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