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October 21, 2021

🍕 Good morning! Hello! I’m back from the land of espressos and pizza, and the wildest driving/traffic I've seen in Europe.

👏 Thanks to Nick and Paula for keeping up with the news, and there was a lot of it. Today continues the stream of launches but Huawei’s launch today of a new phone is likely to be fairly muted compared to Apple and Google...

Samsung unpacks nothing much
Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition composite
Supplied by Samsung

Yesterday’s Samsung Unpacked event was offbeat to the maximum: it only went for 20 minutes, and there were no new phones.

  • The tech media were largely nonplussed given no new devices were unveiled as such. 
  • The message from Samsung, between the lines, is that it has such confidence in its foldables to keep pushing them this hard: an event just for new color options is pretty unusual.
  • A more cynical view is that Samsung saw Apple and Google doing something this week and needed to join in? But I’m not entirely convinced that makes sense.


  • The event was centered around “Galaxy Bespoke,” which launched at the same time, and gives US consumers control over 49 possible color combinations for the Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition and the Watch 4.
  • On the Z Flip 3, that means choosing different colors for the hinge and two sides.
  • It’s an additional $100, meaning the Z Flip 3 BE is now $1,100. Again, US-only.
  • On the Watch 4, there are new faces and gestures.
  • The highlight was the launch of Galaxy Bespoke, or the ability to customize the colors and design of certain Samsung products. At the moment it’s limited to the Watch 4 and Z Flip 3 but it could roll out to more devices.

…and that’s it. A quiet little event!

Meanwhile: Huawei re-launches its Nova line, with a big event in Vienna. No big surprises given it launched in China already, and it’s unclear if the general public has much interest in the line-ups without Google Mobile Services…


🔨 OnePlus has reacted to the Pixel 6 series launch and aggressive pricing by dropping the RRP on its OnePlus 9 series: now $600 for the base and $800 for the 9 Pro (Android Authority).

🤔 “Change my mind: The Pixel 6 design is amazing, actually(Android Authority).

Fossil Gen 6 review: Fighting with one hand behind its back (Android Authority).

😶 Brave browser gives Google the finger, replaces it with Brave search engine (Android Authority).

👉 Microsoft has released the first preview version of its Android apps support in Windows 11, and this piece takes a first look at how you get apps from the Amazon Appstore and run them. Initial reactions are that it’s surprising how well it works. Some 50 apps including Kindle, Apple Music, and Signal are available at the moment (The Verge).

👀 Mark Zuckerberg has not settled on a new name for Facebook, which could be announced as early as Monday. is currently owned by Zuck, and the @meta username on Twitter is owned by Facebook… (Platformer).

🍎 Here’s a take: “Apple’s product design has improved since Jony Ive left,” which cites the shift from form to function, less thin-above-all. I agree, but the problem is Ive left in 2019, and you have to think his design thinking was for products years in advance, so it’s possible we haven’t really seen an Ive-less design yet? (Bloomberg).

🕳 Elon Musk’s Boring Company gets green light for Las Vegas tunnel system as public transport. Only in Vegas… (The Verge).

😬 Erm: Trump is launching a new social network dubbed Truth Social, in 2022 (CNET).

🚗 Tesla posts a wildly profitable Q3 despite difficult car market, and will triple size of Supercharger network within two years (Engadget).

🔧 Intel slipped — and its future now depends on making everyone else’s chips as a foundry (Ars Technica).

🌏 The era of climate sickness has arrived (Gizmodo).

🍫 The best Halloween candies of 2021 (ranked by portability), part of an ongoing Halloween sugar-based power ranking setup (The Takeout).

🌈 “The number of colours a human can distinguish is estimated to be in the range of one million colours to 100 million. How is this range estimated?” (r/askscience)

Throwback Thursday
tennis for two

Tennis for Two turned 63 this week, which isn’t much of a significant number but it’s a pretty neat little game from 1958 that remains one of the first video games ever, if not the first. There’s a little video showing the basic gameplay here.

Two passages from the Wikipedia entry are fun:

  • “The game was very popular during the three-day exhibition, with players lining up to see the game, especially high school students. It was shown again the following year with a larger oscilloscope screen and a more complicated design that could simulate different gravity levels. It was then dismantled and largely forgotten until the late 1970s.”“[Inventor American physicist William Higinbotham] later recalled his intentions were that ‘it might liven up the place to have a game that people could play, and which could convey the message that our scientific endeavors have relevance for society’.”


  • Under some definitions Tennis for Two is considered the first video game, as while it did not include any technological innovations over prior games, it was the first computer game to be created purely as an entertainment product rather than for academic research or commercial technology promotion.”


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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