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October 11, 2021

🍎 Good morning! Tristan here, back from the solar conference I was at in Munich, which saw significant increased consumer interest in adding batteries to residential solar installations. The next big thing?

Pixel Pass-outs
Google pixel 6 pro details 2
Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro cats are out of the bag completely, after UK retailer Carphone Warehouse published two overviews featuring basically all the marketing assembled by Google. 

  • The other bit of news that’s interesting is some leaks around a “Pixel Pass,” a subscription that might bundle a Pixel with a bunch of Google services.

First, the Pixel publishing problem:

  • It’s a tradition that some retailer somewhere will list a device before the launch date. It’s often smaller operations or retailers, or something slipping on Amazon from a third-party retailer, and so on. Usually it happens really close to the day of launch; this went down more than a week in advance of Google’s Pixel launch on October 19.
  • And it was pretty major: Carphone had it published for hours, and while leaker Evan Blass spotted it, anyone switched onto Pixel news probably got a glimpse of the live websites.
  • Bogdan Petrovan from the AA team summed it up well in this post which confirmed a bunch of stuff we’ve seen reported, including the use of Google’s Tensor processor, and gave details on very long battery-life claims, the Pro model with a 6.7-inch 120Hz LTPO screen, capable of dropping down to 10Hz, 30W fast charging, and much more.
  • The camera details were significant: The Pixel 6 Pro, for example, will have a 50MP wide lens, 48MP telephoto lens, and 12MP ultra-wide lens on the back. The Pixel 6 will have the same 50MP wide lens and an ultra-wide shooter too.
  • That new primary sensor will capture 150% more light than the main rear camera on the Pixel 5, plus loads of new features such as help to automatically remove certain elements (like a photobomber) from images.

Pixel Pass:

  • Google looks to be working on a Pixel Pass subscription service, with screenshots suggesting Google might be looking to bundle a Pixel phone purchase with premium Google services like YouTube Premium, Google One, Play Pass, and Google Fi.
  • The reference to Google Fi is significant: it makes what we see look like a US-only offer, which might be unfortunate for the big Google hardware/software fans in other regions.
  • No word on availability or pricing for this subscription plan, which is missing Stadia as an inclusion, by the way.
  • And, I suppose, not including unlimited photos/video storage in Google Photos feels like a miss.
  • By way of comparison, Apple has a bundle for its apps called Apple One, which includes music, TV streaming, gaming, and iCloud storage, and more, but it doesn’t include a phone which makes this a lot different.
  • Apple does have the iPhone upgrade program though, which is a monthly fee to get a new iPhone every year. It starts at $35.33 per month. Add the most basic Apple One subscription, which is $14.95 p/m, and that’s a total of $50 a month.
  • Given what Google is offering, maybe that’s in the ballpark?
  • That said, there’s less certainty with Google. With Apple, you know you’ll get the next iPhone on time, without any concerns about if it’s flagship or not…

👉 You won’t need to say “Hey Google” anymore for these Assistant commands once you get an update (Android Authority).

📲 OnePlus will launch the OnePlus 9RT, Buds Z2 this week in China, possibly China-only. Here’s the confirmed specs of the 9RT (Android Authority).

🔋 Samsung Galaxy S22 series’ charging speed could be its biggest weakness, with 25W charging the limit (Android Authority).

📂 Another review of the new Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, but better detail on the “stage mode” (Wired).

📸 A solid Fairphone 4 review shows that Fairphone has taken a major step forward, but there’s work to do on software optimizations, especially its camera. Miquel Ballaster did tell me Fairphone will be working on it, but right now it’s so-so (The Verge).

🍎 Google’s engineering lead for Apple platforms says, more or less, that Google will stop making its iOS apps look exactly like its Android apps, but develop more to iOS norms via UIKit (Twitter).

🔫 The Grand Theft Auto trilogy is getting remastered for PC and consoles, including Nintendo Switch (The Verge).

🚄 The construction of high-speed rail lines accelerated a brain drain from western regions of China to the major eastern cities: once connected, some cities are becoming darker at night after a station comes to town, and patent applications in western cities tended to drop significantly after a high-speed line was built in the area (SCMP).

⛔ There will soon be no more ads denying climate change on Google (Ars Technica).

🌋 A huge subterranean ‘tree’ is moving magma to the Earth’s surface (Wired).

🚀 NASA’s Lucy mission launches this week: What to know about journey to Jupiter’s orbit to explore asteroids (CNET). Also on rockets: Blue Origin delays William Shatner’s spaceflight to October 13 (Engadget).

🏭 Tesla opened its German Gigafactory doors to onlookers over the weekend — sadly, your correspondent didn’t jag one of the 9,000 tickets, but then neither did someone who’s owned a Tesla for five years, and I didn’t try the press pass route at all. Anyway, ol’ Musky said the factory might start making cars in November this year, but it’ll take a full year to get up to speed, and approvals are still required (Engadget).

🌞 A significant solar flare a few days ago is sending coronal mass ejections towards Earth, with a 35% chance of a moderate geomagnetic storm. Modelling suggests the most affected area will be on the 55º parallel to the North, which is at around New York City level, meaning Canada, Northern Europe, and Russia. It seems to mean no danger to satellites and power grids, but the auroras should be active (Spaceweather). More from NOAA here.

🧂 “Where does the human body get chlorine for gastric acid?” (r/askscience).

Monday Meme

Winner this week:

press x


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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