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June 2, 2021
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A Snapdragon-branded phone

All the way back in October last year, a report alleged that Qualcomm would not just be a supplier of smartphone components, but a full smartphone brand, too. 

ASUS I007D Vodka Render 3

Now, we might be seeing the first signs of the Qualcomm-Asus partnership:

  • China’s TENAA regulatory body certified a new phone, with images that show a Snapdragon-branded Asus phone. 
  • The image showing the back shows a Snapdragon name and logo in the center (zoomed in a bit, above), while an Asus logo is at the bottom. 
  • The regulatory filing helpfully also lists some specs, including a 6.78-inch OLED display, what sounds like a Snapdragon 888, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage, along with a 3,840mAh battery capacity. 
  • There are also camera details, including a triple rear camera setup with a 64MP lens and a 12MP selfie camera on the front. A headphone jack is listed as well.
  • Based on the initial reports, this phone should’ve been out months ago, and with Asus already launching the Zenfone 8 and the ROG Phone 5, it does suggest this isn’t another Asus listing, but something else…

Why Qualcomm is making a phone:

  • Qualcomm has made smartphones before, sort of. It has had some reference devices at its events and conferences, when announcing new chipsets. The reference devices allow for some immediate benchmarks.
  • This is quite different, though. It’s somewhat like Google getting itself into smartphones and Microsoft building its own PCs — each step risks upsetting their manufacturing and maker partnerships, but at the same time, Android and Windows are basically the only option, respectively.
  • Qualcomm may risk upsetting its partners as well, though again, it is close to being the only option in hardware so is unlikely to lose much by presenting their own device. MediaTek may sell more chipsets, but Qualcomm is the leader in processing power and modem connectivity. It also makes a healthy margin from each Snapdragon-branded chipset and packaged modem, whether it’s flagship or mid-range.
  • And if Qualcomm partners with a maker, and only puts out a specialized gaming phone rather than a super-competitive spec model for a price no one else can match, that might be nothing more than a small distraction to the likes of Samsung and Xiaomi.
  • Will many people actually buy one? Gaming itself is a niche, and Qualcomm has little front-facing consumer support, software updates, and so on, in its corporate history. Those are things that matter.
Roundup

📁 Google’s foldable phone is reportedly real and could arrive with Samsung’s ultra-thin glass tech (Android Authority).

👉 No OnePlus 9T Pro this year says a leak, but the 9T display specs look sharp (Android Authority).

👀 An HTC-made Pixel 2 XL prototype just sold on eBay, and only for $580 (Android Authority).

🍎 iPhone 13 lineup appears to feature significantly larger battery capacities (MacRumors).

📈 AMD triples Zen 3 CPU cache using 3D stacking technology, via TSMC’s SoIC Chip-on-Wafer manufacturing technology (Ars Technica).

🔊 Ikea’s Sonos-powered picture frame speaker is (or at least, was) on its website right now (The Verge)

🦊 Firefox 89: The latest Firefox design adds new floating tabs, and minimizes distracting notifications and messages (Engadget).

☁ Twitter teams with veteran climate journalist to launch local weather news service (Axios).

📦 Amazon Prime Day 2021 confirmed to start in the very early hours of Monday, June 21, ending at midnight on Tuesday, June 22, for a long 48 hours of deals (Android Authority).

⚖️ After 75,000 Echo arbitration demands set up by IT-savvy lawyers, Amazon had decided you can now sue it. Previously, Amazon’s terms said that the company would pay for private arbitration filing fees, which added up to millions even before any claims were processed. So, it has ended arbitration, and it’s unlikely to be the last big player to do so (Ars Technica).

🔫 EA will reveal the next Battlefield game on June 9th (Engadget).

🕹️ Nintendo is turning its old factory in Kyoto into a Nintendo museum, set to open mid-2024 (Vooks).

💔 eBay and PayPal finally break up for good, but early reviews are mixed (Gizmodo).

🔐 Ransomware hits a food supply giant — operations from Australia to the US and Canada were affected (Wired).

🔭 NASA delays the James Webb Space Telescope launch again: misses Halloween (October 31st) launch, but potentially only by a few weeks (Ars Technica).

🌋 Another drone flight over that volcano in Iceland, but this time it crashed and met a fiery end, while streaming live (YouTube).

🤔 “What’s a free resource available to everyone that most people don’t know about or take advantage of?” (r/askreddit).

Weirdness Wednesday

I love Weirdness Wednesday! Every week is a chance to explore more weird. And wonderful. It’s another exciting edition, this time thanks to an Instagram account called @depthsofwikipedia, which details weird stuff of Wikipedia, which is really just weird stuff of the world, with occasional absurdity. 

  • @depthsofamazon, by the same creator, is funny, but it doesn’t offer the true story/abruptly weird value of Wikipedia.

Look:

depthsofwiki saudi arabia

And:

hawaiian pizza

Anyway, Forbes, which I cautiously link to, has an interview with creator Annie Rauwerda, who is 21-years-old, where she discusses what it’s like to run an account like this.

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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