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February 22, 2021
☕ Good morning! Two things happening today: Huawei’s latest folding phone, the Mate X2, is launching in China as I hit send, and NASA should be releasing footage of the Perseverance landing, too!
Samsung AR concepts
samsung ar glasses lite
Samsung l

One of the big stories going around this weekend was via CNBC, with the spicy headline: “The tech industry is looking to replace the smartphone — and everybody is waiting to see what Applecomes up with.”

  • That article looking at the stop-star progression of augmented reality, following recent Apple-AR project rumors, along with a look at ideas like Project Aria from Facebook, Google Glass, HoloLens, and more.
  • The idea itself of wearing a set of glasses that can superimpose useful information onto the real world does make a lot of sense. Especially in the realms of sci-fi where real technology challenges can be ignored, but for now, things like battery life and lasers, projectors and waveguides keep us somewhat limited. For now.

There’s also plenty of good discussion around the idea that smartphones can even be supplanted:

  • Yes, the smartphone game has reached a sort of black-slab homogeneity, though there’s still plenty of differences in the overall experiences.
  • The folding/rolling/sliding display revolution is both here, and not quite here. Still expensive, still a little clumsier and more fragile than just a flat smartphone, for now.

So, can AR get us beyond the smartphone with current technologies? Samsung is playing with ideas around and devices.

  • We’ve seen Samsung talk about and even demonstrate basic AR devices before, but now a leak from WalkingCat on Twitter, who’s pretty reliable, tweeted out two new videos that show concepts in action, in similar styles.
  • The first shows off “Samsung Glasses Lite”, which detail a kind of projection of a virtual screen from some chunky-looking glasses, showing a display at a fixed distance away from the wearer moving as you move. That lets you play games, or use the display as a giant monitor, or hook into a flying drone for a first-person view.
samsung glasses lite
  • The second video shows “Samsung AR Glasses” and this a little more like a 3D holographic display. Closer to what the Microsoft HoloLens is trying to be, this device seems to project digital objects within the real world both near and far, and can be manipulated as you look around. I liked the touch that showed a mostly empty house actually full of digital projections. (That would make furnishing a house easier?)
samsung ar glasses
  • Both are absolutely and clearly renders and animations of devices that definitely can’t do what’s shown. There are really nice ideas here though! For example, using a smartwatch to navigate to different apps and use cases (like, switching from gaming to a movie) while still wearing the glasses, rather than waving your hands or speaking to a digital assistant.
  • I don’t think anyone will be excited for the glasses designs here but it’s the concepts that matter here.

🎧 Leak: Coming third-gen Apple AirPods could adopt the Pro’s design, new case (Android Authority).

🗞 LG’s rollable phone project has been put on hold, according to reports from Korea (Android Authority).

📂 Report: Samsung moving full-steam ahead with S Pen for Z Fold 3(Android Authority).

🖊 Speaking of: why is there no real competition to Samsung’s S Pen? (Android Authority).

🔎 Samsung Galaxy SmartTag review: A clever Bluetooth tracker with one major flaw: the exclusivity to Samsung’s ecosystem (Android Authority).

👉 “Mark Changed The Rules”: It appears Facebook didn’t do anything by the book, just by feel, when considering if right-wing figures crossed the line. This report says Zuckerberg and Joel Kaplan, the vice president of global public policy, made these calls (BuzzFeed).

🔻 Dozens of Boeing 777 planes grounded in US and Japan after Pratt & Whitney engine failure (The Verge).

👿 Diablo II Resurrected tops BlizzCon 2021 announcement flurry — coming to just about all platforms (Ars Technica).

🎸 Also, Blizzard had Metallica stream a live show which rocked out, except the official Twitch stream replaced the audio after a few seconds… with, well, whatever this is. It’s very likely a copyright problem — Blizzard paid for the rights, but Twitch may have realised that all the re-streamers would get DMCAs, so Twitch likely made a choice here (Gizmodo).

🧠 The brain’s “background noise” may be more meaningful than first thought (Wired).

🚀 FAA ends investigations into SpaceX’s recent Starship launches (and crashes) (Engadget).

🦎 “What’s a cool fact about dinosaurs you know?” (r/askreddit).

Monday Meme

First, no, Firefox didn’t kill off the Fox despite what a viral tweet suggested (Twitter).

And as for a good meme, well this is as old as time but the sun is just starting to angle in towards my winter setup …which means I’ll need a new spring setup:

  • (Big microfibre cloth guy here, too!)


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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