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January 3, 2022

👋 Good morning and Happy New Year! We're back, we're back! Hope it’s been a nice holiday season for you and yours, I hope it’s still going for you, and long may it continue.

 

💻 Regardless of the pandemic (or your vacation), CES 2022 will kick off the year in tech again both in-person and virtually, making for a big week to come…

CES 2022 begins
Authority Media Booth CES 2020

CES is all this week: less all than usual, with the show cut from four days to three due to the pandemic. It now officially runs from Jan 5-7, with keynotes all virtually broadcast and media days on Jan 3-4. 

  • Much of the trade press won’t be in physical attendance, including my Android Authority colleagues who had a raft of meetings and briefings planned.
  • Most have moved to virtual briefings and press releases.
  • Nevertheless, the Consumer Technology Association is still hoping for 50% attendance.
samsung micro led 2022 tv 1
Samsung

Samsung gets the ball rolling:

  • Samsung today announced its 2022 TVs across its MicroLED, Neo QLED, and Lifestyle series, its CES tradition of new TV tech. 
  • What’s interesting aren’t the displays so much this year. The already very-good displays are nudged forward: the Neo QLED TVs now include what Samsung says are the “first” 4K and 8K sets with 144Hz inputs over the previous 120Hz. There are also upgrades from 12-bit backlight to 14-bit for “more accurate brightness,” and the MicroLED line is now bezel-free, and features a slightly wider color range.
  • None of that is super major, and the focus is actually on software.
  • The big detail is that Samsung is introducing a new Smart Hub to its 2022 displays. The new software has added smarter content discovery and there’s a gaming hub that adds cloud gaming to the TV directly: supporting Nvidia GeForce Now, Google Stadia, and Utomik, plus YouTube Gaming, and more in the future potentially. There’s a Watch Together mode and a new home screen too.
  • There’s also the ability to add your NFTs to your TV, which is getting plenty of headlines this morning(Engadget) but doesn’t really make a difference?
  • As usual, Samsung hasn’t provided details around availability or price ranges — these usually come sometime in late February and some TVs ship the month after.
  • What’s missing is OLED: Samsung has been rumored to be buying LG OLED displays for its TVs but no news on that now.
  • We’d expect competitors will be talking about OLED, plus Mini LED backlighting, bigger screens than ever, more 8K support, and so on.
  • Also, Samsung’s Eco Remote, which could already harvest indoor or outdoor light to hold a charge, now also has RF harvesting capabilities via Wi-Fi, by “collecting routers’ radio waves and converting them to energy.” Not bad! (The Verge).
  • Also: Samsung brings 240Hz refresh rates to 4K monitors (Ars Technica).
  • And if you recall, LG Display tried a bunch of concepts and announced OLED EX for brighter OLED screens, but hasn’t revealed its 2022 TV lineup yet.
  • Another early CES announcement: Concept Nyx, which is Alienware’s take on a household gaming server (Ars Technica).

More to come from CES 2022:

  • Of course, we’ll have some smartphone, accessory, monitor, desktop and laptop news with new devices and concepts sure to emerge.
  • Also this year at CES, expect a lot more from automakers about their EVs and advanced driver-assistance systems, and smart home or smart devices elements for things like security, digital health, activity, wearables, smart home, sex tech, and so on.
Roundup

👉 ICYMI: Xiaomi launched the Xiaomi 12 series in China late last month, with the new family one of the first to be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 flagship chip, and pricing starting at a rough $600 for the base Xiaomi 12. But global availability and pricing may not be until late Feb/ early March (Android Authority).

👉 ICYMI Pt 2: The Samsung S21 FE is hotly anticipated to launch this month, and it was unboxed already. Now, one French retailer listed a €759 price tag for the 6/128 GB model, which might translate to around $699? Not cheap (Android Authority).

📸 Google Pixel patent hints at under-display selfie camera future (Android Authority).

🤔 Microsoft’s skipping Android 12 for the Surface Duo and going straight to Android 12L apparently (Android Authority).

🍎 What Apple could launch in 2022: iPhone 14 with a hole-punch notch, MacBook Air redesign with M2 chip, a new cheaper external monitor, rugged Watch to VR headset (Android Authority).

🧱 The quest to trap carbon in stone — and beat climate change (Wired).

🔜 2022’s list of upcoming stuff we want: 18 TV shows to wait for, 20 movies including John Wick: Chapter 4, and while we’re here, 18 EVs coming out in 2022 (Wired).

Square Enix’s president put out a letter noting it will be investing in decentralized blockchain games. It’s a sure sign of things to come: the idea of being able to earn stuff that has outsized value in a blockchain game is controversial, though (Engadget). That said, this explanation of the blockchain gaming scene tells us that a gaming economy where most players lose money is the only outcome eventually (Twitter).

🔋 Tesla delivered close to one million vehicles in 2021: 936,172 (The Verge).

🎈 Reusable “microballoons” could give satellites a run for their money (New Atlas).

🤷‍♂️ There’s loads of money for building new chip foundries, but finding staff is another matter: 70k-to-90k more workers are required (WSJ, $).

🕵️‍♀️ “Where does gut bacteria come from and how does it stay where it should be?” (r/askreddit).

Monday Meme

There’s two big memes doing the rounds right now: 

  • The first is Jeffrey Bezos and his partner Lauren Sanchez at their “crazy disco party with family,” with the picture being dragged around Twitter and so on:
bezos

The other is the ongoing Bored Yacht Ape Club scene, where people like Eminem are buying NFT Apes for hundreds of thousands of dollars ( in Ethereum), and others are losing their apes to scams and trusted friends.

  • It seemed to peak with a tweet from Todd Kramer saying “I been hacked. All my apes gone.” with a collection of 16 apes taken from his OpenSeas account. More on that here.
  • Anyway, people …are not kind:
stolen meme
  • What is interesting, though, is that OpenSeas did step in to freeze those assets: Kramer might not get them back, but they can’t be on-sold.
  • Which makes the whole blockchain scene more and more strange.

Cheers, 

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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