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January 12, 2021
🎁 Good morning! What did I say about not being exhausted from CES while working-from-home? There’s a lot going on, and some really interesting things, too!
Tech so far:
qualcomm 3d sonic sensor gen 2 ultrasonic fingerprint reader

Keeping up with CES wasn’t meant to be easy, but here’s a try!

  • Qualcomm has a new second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint reader that’s 77% larger and 50% faster, is now compatible with foldables, and should arrive in “early 2021” — maybe the Galaxy S21 will have it? It took Qualcomm nearly two years to update its original, which is pretty slow going.
  • LG’s virtual conference included a bunch of new OLED TV announcements including next-generation EVO OLED technology, an extra-large C1, the brighter G1, and AI-driven features. We saw much more of the LG Rollable phone, a bendable OLED display, and more about the 2021 Gram laptops. LG also has an OLED monitor coming soon, a 31.5-inch 4K display, but not availability or pricing yet, and at least some legitimate concerns about burn-in given the nature of desktops, menu bars, start menus, and so on.
  • The main point from this perspective is: LG confirmed the LG Rollable is real and coming this year, not just a concept (Nikkei Asia).
  • TCL packed their presentation with new devices and tech as part of one of the biggest efforts by any company so far. What did we get? The TCL 20 series offers another set of affordable phones, with Pro models coming later in the year, and cheap Alcatel phones, and a tablet. The company also announced several new mini-LED, OLED, and QLED TVs that adopt the new Google TV UI, and updated its Roku-powered 6-series TVs at CES 2021, XL Collection of 85-inch 8K TVs.
  • On the tech front for new innovations not necessarily available yet, TCL announced its third-generation mini-LED backlighting tech labeled “OD Zero,” coming to its TVs soon, a rollable phone display concept that stretches from 6.7-inches to 7.8-inches if you need, wearable display glasses with little OLED screens that act like you’re close to a 140-inch display, and more. A big CES launch.
  • Lenovo announced a bunch of Intel 11th gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga devices in all sorts of form factors, from convertibles to a detachable and a traditional ThinkPad too. Lots of focus was on the thinnest ThinkPad in the new ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga at just 11mm thick. The X1 Carbon mostly just got a spec bump, but it’s close to best in class anyway for many people. Also: three new IdeaPad notebooks and a tablet.
  • Microsoft announced a new Surface Pro 7 Plus model: now offering Intel’s 11th-gen CPUs, LTE modem, removable SSD, and slightly upgraded battery. For some reason, this is only available for businesses and education, not for consumers.
  • Intel also announced a bunch: 12th gen Alder Lake CPUs, Rocket Lake S CPUs, 11th-gen Core H-series (at 10nm) for ultraportable gaming laptops and Core vPro for hardware-based security. The problem is a lack of certainty over when exactly we’ll be getting these: only 2021 was mentioned. Still, Intel’s announcements have been heralded as a comeback: four new processor families in total, and hybrid chips that will look to challenge Apple’s Arm-based M1 chips by utilizing BIG.little architecture, on an updated 10nm process. When Intel ships this is when it will really matter, though!
  • Sony’s Vision-S prototype car drove around Austria (Engadget), filmed by Sony’s brand new entrant to the drone game, with the new Airpeak quadcopter drone featuring Sony Alpha cameras. Coming in Spring 2021? No pricing yet, but can’t imagine this will be cheap (The Verge).
  • Samsung showed off three new robots, including the JetBot 90 AI Plus robot vacuum that says it “uses self-driving technology” (aka Lidar and 3D sensors), and a kinda cute looking butler robot (CNET).
  • Sony has promised streaming quality nearly as good as 4K Blu-ray on its new Bravia Core movie service, only available on Bravia XR TV sets (The Verge).

🤕 Uh-oh, the new OnePlus Band seems, well, terrible: rated in our review just 2.5/5, with terrible battery life and a barebones app. Ouch, what is OnePlus doing? At least the hardware is there, just everything else is unpolished… (Android Authority).

🙅‍♀️ Samsung Galaxy S21 marketing material confirms what’s not in the box (Android Authority).

🔓 WhatsApp in damage control mode after privacy policy backlash, but latest statements still confusing and don’t match policy terms? (Android Authority). (The memes are out of control, too via r/dankmemes)

🗣 Dolby has promised better call quality with Dolby Voice for PCs — Lenovo adopting the tech first (Engadget).

📈 The PC market just had its first big growth in 10 years (The Verge), while Mac shipments rose 30% in Q4 2020 amid all the overall growth (MacRumors)

🍾 PopSockets announced its MagSafe-compatible iPhone 12 accessories, including a wallet to carry cards that attaches magnetically — no release date yet (TechCrunch).

😬 Leaked location data shows another Muslim prayer app, Salaat First, tracking users and selling the data (Vice).

🍦 There’s an ice cream pod machine that also does cocktails, using cans the size of hard seltzer, but don’t need to be stored in the fridge at least (Gizmodo).

⚛ A “no math” (but seven-part) guide to modern quantum mechanics (Ars Technica).

Bad weather on Earth delays SpaceX: Cargo Dragon’s autonomous splashdown return from the ISS carrying tons of equipment was pushed back (Space).

🚀 NASA’s next big rocket’s time has come: SLS, Jan 17th (Axios).

🛠 Dig right into electronics: Amazon Echo Flex: Microphone mute button, real or fake? (It’s real but the process is worth a look) (Electronupdate)

💸 “What was the biggest waste of money that you don’t regret?” (r/askreddit).

Chart Tuesday

Someone on r/dataisbeautiful showed a chart that’s blown up with interest. It’s not the usual tech-ish kind of chart you’ll normally see here: but how 1,015 applications for eight warehouse jobs, hired between June – November 2020, were filtered down into actual hires. 

  • There’s a super amount of detail in the explanation post: from the 1,015 applications, about 60 people were offered an in-person interview, 19 were offered the job and agreed to hours and pay, but only eight applicants started work: no shows and dismissals happened in the first week. 
  • A huge number of applications were fake too, something that the hiring manager can’t explain other than COVID-related.
warehousing hires

All the best,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor


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