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July 30, 2021
🛶 Hi there! Has it been a week of the Olympics already? I had some genuine tears-in-eyes moments watching competitors in the more random events like canoeing, and that was on replay, not even live! I’m way too invested…
Hello Edge 20
Motorola Edge 20 series family photo
Supplied by Motorola

The Motorola Edge 20 series is here. Sort of, depending on where you live.

Catch up:

  • The Edge 20 series comes with an Edge 20 Pro, an Edge 20 Lite, and a middle-tier edition just called Edge 20.
  • The three models are a worldwide release, though that’s everywhere but China and North America.
  • There’s a later launch in China, for August 5.
  • And in the US/Canada, what seems to be coming to the region is a fourth model, sometime later: “Motorola is excited to share its commitment to deliver a new 5G Edge family device in North America this fall,” was the company’s statement. 

Edge 20 lineup

  • All three stick with a single design approach: a 6.7-inch display, triple cameras, big batteries, and what looks like reasonable pricing for each tier, though each tier has its own competitors, of course. There’s also no curved screen this time around, with flat panels.
  • And while the Edge 20 Pro is Motorola’s flagship within the company, it’s not quite a complete top-of-the-line model; it skips the Snapdragon 888 for the Snapdragon 870.
  • The Pro packs a 6.7-inch 144Hz OLED, that 870 SoC, a triple camera including 5x periscope lens, and a 4,500mAh battery. That looks decent for the £650/€700 price tag.
  • The Edge 20 standard version drops a few high-end features, including switching to a Snapdragon 778G chipset, and it loses the 5x lens, but it does keep the 144Hz OLED. It goes thinner than ever before for a 5G Motorola phone, at 6.99mm, which downsizes the battery to a 4,000mAh pack, but it is now a £430/€500 buy. I wonder how the battery life will hold up with the 144Hz display… 
  • The Lite edition skimps harder, with a Dimensity 720 chipset and a 6.7-inch 90Hz OLED screen — and the triple camera has less top-line features. It does tick up to a bigger battery at 5,000mAh, though and starts at £300/€350.
  • One other compromise for the family: Motorola said its phones will only receive only two Android OS updates, and two years of security updates. 
  • That’s sub-par given Samsung, OnePlus, Nokia, and Google are all offering much longer software servicing.
  • Edge 20 sales in Asia, the UK and other European markets, should start on August 19.

📈 Xiaomi is just shy of becoming the world’s largest smartphone maker, as it came within a single percentage point of Samsung in Q2 2021, per Canalys (Android Authority).

📸 Here’s everything you need to know about the Huawei P50 and P50 Pro which launched in China yesterday (Android Authority).

🔋 Dark mode study: Most conditions show only a 3-9% battery saving, but savings do get bigger and better at 100% brightness (Android Authority).

🎧 Nothing Ear 1 reviews are out: Wired UK gave them 8/10, Gizmodo says “Nothing’s overhyped earbuds are actually extremely good,” and The Verge opted for 7/10 and mentioned some bugs that are apparently being ironed out. While you’re all ears: “The head of design at Nothing explains how their [Ear 1] product could take on Apple’s all-conquering wireless earbuds, at a fraction of the cost,” writes Wired.

👓 Facebook’s next hardware product will be “smart” Ray-Ban glasses — Zuck: “[The Ray-Bans will] have their iconic form factor, and [let] you do some pretty neat things,” but no details about those “neat things” (Ars Technica).

💵 Scarlett Johansson has sued Disney over ‘Black Widow’ streaming release: the short version, I think, is that stars can be paid more if movies go big at the box office. But if the box office is compromised because someone like Disney puts it on Disney Plus, people don’t go to cinemas, and the box office figure falls, even if Disney Plus subscriptions do well. Now, Johansson is suing because the report says she might be owed $50M! (WSJ, $).

🎮 Stanley Parable and Gone Home devs team up to form Ivy Road studio (Engadget).

📦 Amazon reported slightly lower revenue than expected in Q2: Amazon’s earnings show why Andy Jassy is now in charge, because Amazon Web Services remains a bright spot (The Verge).

🚀 Russian module suddenly fires thrusters after docking with space station: “That. Was. A. Day.” (Ars Technica). And, that means NASA and Boeing have delayed the Starliner ISS launch to August 3 after the ISS mishap (Engadget).

🧠 Elon Musk’s brain-computer startup Neuralink raises $205M (Bloomberg, $).

🤔 “Why do IDs expire? I’m still the same person” (r/nostupidquestions).

Friday Fun
Google Pixel 3a XL Camera Review Low Light restaurant

I enjoyed this read titled: “What I learned surrendering my life to algorithms for a week” over on CNET, where StitchFix decided the clothes, Yelp decided the food and activities, offered algorithmic movie recommendations, and Apple Music algorithmically generated playlists. It went ok, it seems.

But anyway, this is the key point:

  • “…the biggest lesson I learned from this week-long experiment was that the degree to which these algorithms are able to figure out my desires and act on them is largely dependent on three things: who is developing them, why they’re being developed, and the data that goes into it.”
  • “The more specialized the service and the more data it gathered about me, the better it seemed to work.”

This means: if you want good suggestions, you either need to actively put in data (and tie yourself to an app like Yelp), or your more natural, non-forced, usage grants information. 

  • Advantage: Apple Music or Spotify, the Netflix algorithm, Google, and so on.

Have a great weekend feeding whichever algorithm you choose,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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