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May 5, 2021
👋 Good morning and happy Cinco de Mayo!
Google does it again

At this point, Google leaking its own products in advance seems more like “leaking” and a marketing strategy rather than a continual series of mistakes. 

This time, Google from its own official Android Twitter account published (then deleted) an announcement of its new Pixel Buds A-Series which is expected to be a cheaper and just-as-cheerful new edition of its Pixel Buds.

Anyway, the new Pixel Buds A-Series — first, here’s the tweet before it was removed:

And here’s the other leak, which was the German version of Google’s store also publishing some details before taking it down, and basically says add them to the waitlist, in an ad:

pixel buds a series
Catchys Blog

So, leaked accidentally or not, but still not given away beyond confirmation.

What we know now: 

  • Google promises “quality sound” as well as simple setup through the latest Fast Pair experience on Android. 
  • The design colors are different but the design is the same — existing Pixel Buds have a black and white design, these are all white, but other leaks have told us there’ll be multiple colors. 
  • And the Fast Pair experience should work with all phones that run Android 6.0 Marshmallow and later, so even if you’re still using a 2015 phone, you’re good to not deal with Bluetooth’s occasional difficulties.
  • And not mentioned here is that these will lack gesture controls of the current model.
  • The other detail here I’m more interested in is how well the connection holds up. Bluetooth has been hit and miss with the Pixel Buds, cutting out more than competitors. Coincidentally, Digital Trends’ editor Andrew Martonik gave up on his set last week (Twitter), and others have said the same, though Google says it has been working on firmware upgrades.

📈 Chromebooks are fast becoming the star devices in the PC market, registering crazy growth rates (Android Authority).

🤭 Samsung inadvertently teased the mid-tier Galaxy A82 5G, via a security updates page (Android Authority).

🆕 Evidence galore that Xiaomi is working on a powerhouse tablet range (Android Authority).

⚖ Fresh out of Epic vs Apple: Epic CEO Tim Sweeney emailed Tim Cook personally to call for open app sales after WWDC in 2015, Cook asked internal people via email: “Is this the guy that was at one of our rehearsals?” (Ouch. Sweeney, all things aside, is a game developer legend.) (The Verge). Also, new emails show Apple’s conflict with Facebook goes back a decade to 2011, with Steve Jobs calling it “Fecebooks” (CNBC). And, Walmart’s Project Storm was revealed, the company’s cloud gaming service that may or may not ever be launched (The Verge).

🏙 Oppo’s Infinity Loop tower in China is quite the undertaking (Dezeen).

⚔ Disney offers a very brief glimpse of a working lightsaber, I mean without the dangerous stuff, and it looks pretty dang good (Engadget).

🥽 HTC may announce two new Vive VR headsets on May 11th (The Verge).

😬 This dystopian biker airbag crash vest only saves you if your subscription is paid up (Jalopnik).

📚 The Martian author Andy Weir has a new space thriller: Project Hail Mary. His new novel riffs on his usual ideas of science-hacking solutions, but goes further. Sounds great! By the way, I’m reading The Three-Body Problem right now and it is a masterpiece of ideas (CNET)

🛰️ SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet orders reportedly already exceed 500,000 (Gizmodo).

🧬 “Would a taller person have higher chances of developing cancer, because they would have more cells and therefore more cell divisions that could go wrong?” Yes. But why don’t huge mammals like elephants and whales get cancer fast? (r/askscience).

Wednesday Weirdness
bidens carters

The Bidens met the Carters in Plains, Georgia, this week. And while the Presidential families seemed to be having a nice time, many questions were asked. 

  • Like, just how big are the Bidens??

It looks weird as heck. And it’s not just a wide-angle lens used that’s throwing everything off. Look at (96-year-old!) Jimmy Carter’s feet — he looks like he’s wearing size 21 shoes. 

Something’s off. What is it?

  • PopSci has the slow, calm explanation that while the wide-angle is at work, it’s more likely that perspective distortion is doing work here too.
  • “Now consider the picture of the presidential families … that photographer is almost certainly right up against his subjects due to space constraints, so they have to use a wide-angle lens to fit all the people into the frame. Rosalynn Carter is clearly farther away than any of the other subjects, which is why President Biden looks like a giant next to her. Just look at his foot—it’s almost even with Jimmy Carter’s. It’s the relationship between the objects and the distance from the photographer that matters here.” 

And now with this knowledge, what can you do with it?

  • Well, other than boring your friends with the differences between optical and perspective distortion, it could help you take better pictures. That includes selfies. If you hold the camera too close to your face, you’ll exaggerate the distance between your features, which could make you look bad. Try holding the camera a little farther away and then zooming in. Or just lean into it.

Lean into it indeed. Make your friends giant, or tiny!

All the best with that,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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