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February 4, 2021

🏈 Good morning! Do I stay up really late for the Super Bowl this year? And The Weeknd at half time? Hmm.

Oppo Find X3 Pro: soon

One of the hits of 2020 for Android phones was the Oppo Find X2 Pro. It was fast, fashionable for most tastes, a great camera offering, and even the once-iffy Android skin is really getting there. It won awards.

Two big X2 Pro negatives though: wildly expensive pricing, and no US launch to speak of, making it limited to Europe/UK/Asia.

Now the Find X3 series is around the corner and given 2020’s performance, big things are expected. 

  • Oppo made it clear it will launch in March 2021. That’s around the same time as the X2 series launch last year.
  • Oppo also confirmed a bunch of the display features at its Inno Day 2020 back in November, such as “Full-Path Color Management System” related to 10-bit color depth and promised full DCI-P3 wide gamut support.

Aside from what’s confirmed, the specs leaks so far look about as you might expect for a 2021 Android flagship:

  • A Snapdragon 888 SoC powered flagship phone with 5G support, a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with 10 to 120Hz dynamic refresh rate, Quad HD+ resolution and 525ppi, and 10-bit color support. 
  • It’s looking like it’ll have a 4,500mAh battery that supports 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 charging and 30W VOOC Air wireless charging, plus black, and blue colors, moving away from the bright orange of last year.
  • Tipster Evan Blass has a bunch more details, including rear cameras.
  • Blass talks up the rear camera module as being unique and difficult to make, and it’ll run a pair of “as-yet-unannounced 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensors,” behind its primary and ultrawide cameras.
  • There’s a 25x zoom macro lens for “microscope” views.
  • And a fourth 13MP telephoto with 2x optical zoom.
  • Blass doesn’t talk about more standard extended zoom capabilities we’re seeing. It may be that we get a macro lens instead of the 5x/10x optical zoom in other Android flagships. The X2 Pro had the 5x prism telephone lens; it doesn’t really make sense Oppo would drop it. Hmm.

It definitely looks …unique at least?

The lack of symmetry would normally concern me, but it looks ok?

To round out the reports:

  • Two other Oppo Find X3 phones look set to launch: the Find X3 Neo and Find X3 Lite, the latter most likely a rebrand of the Reno 5.
  • The Find X3 Neo looks like a higher-end model.
  • No reports have emerged about Oppo taking this to launch in the US unfortunately, and the other major factor here is price. No leaks around this yet. The Samsung Galaxy S21 series fell in price, so you could reasonably expect that from Oppo too.

👉 Leak: Samsung’s next Galaxy F phone, the F62, to sport big screen, even bigger battery: 7,000mAh (Android Authority).

📂 Xiaomi wants to know if you’ll buy a $1,500 folding phone from it (Android Authority).

📺 Android TV is getting a big update with a new Discovery page, just like Google TV (Android Authority).

💪 After that brutal report about Amazon’s faltering efforts to make games, in response, Amazon’s next CEO said he’s committed to making video games: “Being successful right away is obviously less stressful, but when it takes longer, it’s often sweeter” (Bloomberg).

📦 The relentless Jeff Bezos (Stratechery).

🔧 In an “epically nerdy interview,” Elon Musk discusses Tesla build quality problems with Sandy Munro, an engineer who compared Model 3 to ‘a Kia in the ’90s’. So much car building talk, but here’s a tip from Musk himself: buy either really early production cars, when everything is done with utmost care, or buy once production is super well established, and not between (Jalopnik).

🍪 Chrome’s Cookie update is bad for advertisers but good for Google (Wired).

🤖 Boston Dynamics’ robot dog gets an arm attachment and self-charging capabilities, meaning it won’t ever have to wait for humans to feed it (Ars Technica).

🏙 The downside to life in NYC’s supertall tower: 432 Park, one of the wealthiest addresses in the world, faces some significant design problems; water leaks, elevator outages, “and walls that creak like the galley of a ship”, and more. And, other luxury high-rises may share its fate (NYTimes).

🚀 SpaceX launched and landed the first of its Starlink satellite missions. The next is scheduled for Friday, 5:14 am ET. Elon Musk rejoined Twitter after two days to comment on nailing the tricky landing out to see (Space)

Chemists create and capture einsteinium, the elusive 99th element (LiveScience).

Throwback Thursday

VLC turned 20 this week, the traffic cone icon that remains the killer video app all these years later. It will still play any video file you want, doesn’t cost anything, and since February 2005, it’s been downloaded 3 billion times — and loads more before that, when downloads weren’t even measured.

  • That’s in part because it’s run by a non-profit, with more than 1,000 volunteers contributing.
  • It started in 1996, was rewritten from scratch in 1998, and released under GNU General Public License on February 1, 2001 with authorization from the headmaster of the École Centrale Paris, a French graduate engineering school of Paris-Saclay University.
  • It was a project to play video over a network, explaining the name Video LAN Client, or VLC as we all know and love.
  • It’s still available in most places: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and tvOS, and a bunch of Linux distros.
  • Here’s the news from VideoLAN itself, and more on the team from a profile in 2019(Increment).
  • Final fact: the video cone icon is because the students who worked on the program had a collection of traffic cones! 


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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