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November 16, 2021
☕ Good morning! Back to co-working space mud coffee! *gag*
No Pixel Fold?
Google Pixel 6 Pro fingerprint reader partial print failed detection with screen protector on
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
Traditional glass screen protectors mess up the fingerprint recognition.

The news is: maybe no Pixel foldable phone anytime soon.

That isn’t soo surprising, though Google has been exploring a foldable device for some years, mentioning efforts to explore the form-factor back in 2019: 

  • “We’re definitely prototyping the technology. We’ve been doing it for a long time,” said then-Google Pixel chief Mario Queiroz to CNET in May 2019. However, Queiroz added a qualifier: “I don’t think there’s a clear use case yet.” 
  • Other little bits of evidence include mentions in the Android 12 beta and the existence of Android 12L.
  • It’s possible Google has been more aggressively testing its foldable prototypes on Android or, if you like, testing Android on its foldable prototypes.

Anyway, the report is Google isn’t diving in to launch a Pixel Fold any time soon, if you listen to the sometimes-accurate Ross Young, co-founder of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC).

  • In short, Young, who has a bead on the display market, says Google has allegedly canceled orders for materials that would be necessary to produce the foldable on a large scale.
  • Young reckons there’re two reasons: one is the materials shortage making life hard, and the other is Google might’ve had the hardware, but couldn’t figure out the marketing to sell a competitive option — no cheaper than Samsung, no better than Samsung.
  • It doesn’t mean Google has given up, it’s just going to let the market continue to develop.

By the way: For the first time I had hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. I’ve played with the Fold 3 a little before this, but the Flip 3 really is an awesome feeling device, with a hinge that inspires confidence in build quality and strength.

Android 12 hits the Galaxy
samsung one ui 4 android 12 update customizations

Samsung has finally got its act together and is rolling out Android 12 at unprecedented swiftness via One UI 4, coming to the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra right now.

  • That’s only a month or so since Android 12 was officially released, handily beating Samsung’s previous efforts.
  • Android 11 came out to the Note 20 series on December 12, and Android 11 was released a month earlier (September 2020) than Android 12 (October 2021), so this is about two months faster summed up; a big improvement.
  • Our post here details what’s new and different, from color palettes to widgets to Android 12’s privacy dashboards, plus updates to the Samsung keyboard app, and more.
  • As for the rest of Samsung’s devices? The company says One UI 4 and Android 12 will “soon” be available for previous Galaxy S, Note, and Galaxy A devices, plus other foldables and tablets. 
  • The Galaxy Note 20, Z Flip 3, and Z Fold 3 can already enroll in their respective One UI 4 beta programs.

📸 Is the Google Pixel 6 Pro camera actually better than the Pixel 5? Yes. Is the Pixel 6, though? (Android Authority).

😬 Google launched a ‘Fortnite Task Force’ after Epic skipped the Play Store (Android Authority).

🤔 Huawei may have a plan in motion to sidestep the US ban, which involves a licensing situation (Android Authority).

🍎 The new MacBook Pro: Why did Apple backtrack on everything (and why that was the right thing to do) (AppleInsider).

🔧 Valve provides a deep dive into Steam Deck’s custom hardware design, detailing balancing performance versus battery (Ars Technica).

🎮 It’s been twenty years of Xbox! Here’s one interview with Phil Spencer touching on Game Pass, the Red Ring Of Death, and what 2041 might look like for Xbox, in another 20 years (Axios). Also a surprise: Halo Infinite’s free multiplayer mode is available right now!

💡 Surprise: Amazon has four new smart switches, but exclusively via Alexa (The Verge).

💿 Why did China keep its exascale supercomputers quiet? (The Register).

🔫 The Polish simulator company gamers love to hate (Wired).

💥 Wow: Russia appears to have intentionally blown up one of its defunct satellites in an ASAT test. That created as many as 1,500 new bits of debris, which forced the ISS astronauts to cower in spacecrafts for hours (Gizmodo). NASA’s chief said: “I’m outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action. With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts. Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board.”

🤔 “What is a terrible trend found in new home design?” (r/askreddit). Wow, “Open concept bathrooms” are a thing??

Chart Tuesday

Here’s the Rotten Tomatoes ranking of movies by Marvel Studios, in release date order, via r/dataisbeautiful:

marvel release
  • In short, it shows the latest release, Eternals, is more or less bombing as hard as any Marvel movie, though the audience score isn’t too bad.
  • And it’s doing “bad” in the box office: “‘Eternals’ debuted with the lowest US box office for a Marvel Studios movie in 6 years,” writes Variety, but it’s different, and different isn’t always what the fans want!
  • The Verge said it is “big, beautiful, and empty”. Like me when I’m hungry.
  • That reminds me I haven’t seen Dune yet, and probably should before long…


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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