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April 3, 2023

🥱 Good morning, and welcome to the Daily Authority. Thanks to an early-morning start for the Australian GP this weekend, I’m running low on sleep. Thankfully, I have a mug of very strong coffee to fix that problem temporarily.

We’re looking at another short week, but today, we’re bringing you the flagship smartphone camera shootout you’ve been waiting for, a rant and rave about AI taking over the world, a look back at an important event in tech history, and a meme about the awkwardness of video meetings. But first, let’s get into our feature story today. Let’s talk OnePlus.

Glimpses of the old OnePlus

Undoubtedly, OnePlus has lost its way in the smartphone world. In recent years, we’ve seen the company drop its value flagship-killer attitude in favor of competing against the smartphone elite head-on. This strategy hasn’t paid off. However, my colleague Dhruv Bhutani believes that one recent phone could mark a return to form for the company. But there’s one problem…

oneplus 11r screen on
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
  • OnePlus somewhat pioneered the idea of a flagship killer — a phone that made you question whether upgrading to a premium smartphone is required or desired.
  • Since its merger with OPPO, OnePlus has struggled to produce these devices. Long-term fans sought alternative solutions.
  • Interestingly, it doesn’t seem that OnePlus has lost its way everywhere.
  • In India, the company has produced its R-series, a phone line geared toward the same disillusioned fans it once served.
  • “However, it is only now, with the launch of the OnePlus 11R, that it has managed to deliver a product that drives home the old-school OnePlus focus on great value and all the performance you need,” writes Dhruv.

So, what makes the OnePlus 11R special? Dhruv argues that it trades cut-throat specs for sensible balance. It makes all the right compromises.

Herein lies the problem

  • You can’t buy one unless you’re in India.
  • Sure, you might consider the Pixel 7 a better phone for photography, but the OnePlus 11R excels elsewhere for less.
  • In that sense, the phone should be a compelling option for those in Europe and North America.
  • “The perfect marriage of performance and value was OnePlus’s root and the OnePlus 11R is a great opportunity for the brand to truly embrace its origins and own that niche,” write Dhruv.

🤔 Also, seeking an alternative? The Xiaomi 13 Ultra could be the next camera king with this camera setup (Android Authority).

🎧 The big sound-off continues: Should you still buy a phone with a headphone jack in 2023? (Android Authority).

😟 AI is taking over the world, but I’m not ready for it: “A quintessentially millennial rave and rant about AI, large language models, and the feeling of being overwhelmed” (Android Authority).

🎶 Embracing metadata: Why can’t more music apps be like Apple Music Classical? (The Verge).

📱 Will we get a successor to ASUS’ compact flagship in 2023? Here’s everything we know about the Zenfone 10 (Android Authority).

🛵 Paris votes to ban e-scooters, thanks to a mounting number of injuries involving the mode of transport (BBC).

Today in tech history

Martin Cooper DynaTAC
Martin Cooper holds the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, the world's first cell phone.

Are you reading this newsletter on your phone? Well, you’re enjoying the future that was imagined 50 years ago today. Half a century ago, Marty Cooper, an engineer working for Motorola, made the first cell phone call in history and likely enjoyed one of the first “got em” moments, too. Here’s the story (via BBC).

  • On April 3, 1973, Cooper rang his counterpart from Bell Laboratories while standing on a street corner in New York City.
  • According to Cooper, the call recipient was likely gritting their teeth.
  • Bell Labs focused on developing a car phone, but Cooper believed a fully portable device made more sense.
  • It’s safe to say that the now 94-year-old was right.
  • The device that placed the call was called the DynaTAC 8000X and weighed a cool 1.1 kilograms — around six times heavier than today’s flagships.
  • Despite stories suggesting Cooper’s inspiration for the device was Captain Kirk’s communicator, it was Dick Tracy’s wrist phone.
  • If you want to learn more about the moment and Cooper’s predictions for the future, here’s a great interview from the Radio Club of America.

Monday meme

It’s a short week for many, but we all need some levity to get through it. It was a tough choice between this clear April Fools’ Day prank and this oddly accurate meme about nostrils. Nevertheless, it was this beauty that won my heart.

It’s even better when the recording doesn’t end immediately!

Have a great week!

Andy Walker, Editor

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