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March 19, 2021

☕ Good morning out there. It's Friday!

Today's newsletter is brought to you by OnePlus! Once again, there's good stuff just a click or two away:sign up for notifications for the OnePlus 9 Series launch event and get your daily chance to win a free OnePlus 9 series device, a pair of Buds Z earbuds, and 5% off all OnePlus accessories. New winners every day, so get in early and keep trying for more chances to win! 

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LG lives!
LG Rollable Phone concept top pick

Good news: LG mobile is apparently doing just fine, thanks for asking!

What’s new is that LG’s Rollable phone, which appeared at CES 2021 and then sounded like it might not make it out of the renders, has appeared again:

  • The LG Rollable phone has appeared on the Bluetooth SIG certification site.
  • The certification was published on March 19, with the device given the name LG Rollable, and appearing to sport the model number LM-R910N.
  • It’s a tiny little nugget of information but it’s the first clear sign that the LG Rollable is still on course for an official debut at some point in the future.
  • Previous reports were stacking up with bad news, with details that suppliers were being asked to put developments on hold.
  • There were also ominous suggestions that LG was considering offloading its mobile phone business.

But will this be the next great phone?

  • Umm, that’s hard to say. Oppo’s attempt, the rollable Oppo X 2021 is in the hands of some reviewers ahead of a possible launch in June. 
  • You can see in Richard Lai’s recent hands-on for Engadget that the edge, after it rolls out to expand the screen, leaves a subtle mark: 
lg rollable engadget
Engadget / YouTube
  • Is it a crease? Or just a sort of dusty edge that leaves a false imprint?
  • Earlier in the vide, you can also see the display wobbling around as it rolls. It’s minor but it’s not great.
  • What I’m getting at is that it doesn’t look amazing, nothing like the smash hit LG might need to put some voltage into its mobile division.
  • But hey, let’s see — maybe it’ll be cheaper and better than expected?

📁 Leaked hand-on images show a foldable Xiaomi Mi Mix… sort of (Android Authority).

📲 OnePlus 9R confirmed — but only for India (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple’s new iPad Pro leaks ahead of rumored event: A Thunderbolt port and an M1 chip have reportedly been added to the iPad Pro (CNET).

🍏 iOS developer who drew attention to App Store scams is now suing Apple, which once tried to buy his company (The Verge).

🧠 Facebook has teased a futuristic wrist wearable that will let you control AR with your mind. (By the way, Boz insists it can’t “read your brain”) (Gizmodo).

🤔 Facebook is building an Instagram for kids under the age of 13: “We have identified youth work as a priority for Instagram and have added it to our H1 priority list” (BuzzFeed).

🥓 Also, Mark Zuckerberg was on Clubhouse — and aside from some talk about Apple’s privacy limitations and things, was asked about his favorite meme about himself, Zuck said the “smoking meats” memes. Sweet Baby Rays! (Business Insider).

🚀 NASA fired up its new rocket for 499.6 seconds on Thursday, and “the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built” seemed like it performed well in the test, with a small fire not unexpected, but lots of data to comb through. The first Green Run test was halted after just 67.1 seconds (Ars Technica).

ZoomEscaper allows you to sabotage your own work calls: a fun system creates effects and sounds such as delays, echoes, barking noises, wind, a man weeping, and so on, that you can use to excuse yourself from a call (

🏈 New NFL rights deal hands Thursday Night Football exclusively to Amazon, while ESPN Plus, Paramount Plus, Tubi, and Peacock are a part of the deal as well (Engadget).

🎮 Sony’s big PlayStation game giveaway is the perfect way to hide a precarious position (The Verge).

🛰 NASA and SpaceX agree to share data to avoid satellite collisions (TechCrunch).

🎞 “Which movie would end the fastest if all the characters behaved logically?” (r/askreddit).

Friday Fun
siberia fires 1

Dangerous “zombie” fires are a new problem stemming from climate change. 

  • The problem is where peat-laden areas catch fire during summer, igniting the peat. 
  • This can lead to very long-lasting, smoldering fires that continue through cold winters, then reignite large areas during summers, and go on for years. 
  • And, they constitute some of the world’s biggest fires.
  • (I have some experience seeing something like this — a spot not far from my hometown in Australia is called Burning Mountain (Wikipedia), where an underground coal seam has been burning at the top of a mountain for 6,000 years!) 

Anyway, it’s not really feasible to put out these underground fires with water because you need billions of gallons/liters of it, and in isolated regions that’s not easy. 

Some good news, though: Scientists found a “magical” solution to fight dangerous zombie fires. 

It’s a ways off being used by firefighters but it massively helps — via Gizmodo:

  • “… a product called Cold Fire, the study suggests, really works.”
  • “Cold Fire is a biodegradable “wetting agent”—or a substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid in which it’s dissolved—to add to water. These agents, also known as surfectants, are widely used in many applications. For instance, they’re often added to laundry detergents to improve water’s ability to soak clothes evenly.”
  • “Fighting peat fires uses an incredible amount of work, time, and water, and this biodegradable wetting agent could help everybody: fire brigades, communities and the planet,” said Guillermo Rein, who was a lead author on the study and runs the lab at Imperial’s Department of Mechanical Engineering where the research was conducted, in a statement. “This magical suppressant could make it easier to put zombie fires to rest for good.”

Have a great weekend,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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