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⚡ Welcome again to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 170th edition's here with a quick roundup of Black Friday deals, Pixel 6a leaks, and the possible demise of the Galaxy Note series...
I'm feeling pretty tired from all the Black Friday madness and sustained by tea and chocolate biscuits, but I did pick up some great game deals in the PS store — including Deathloop and puzzle-platformer Hoa!
Black Friday deals:
- In case you missed Nick’s Friday roundup — and your bank account isn’t empty yet — we’ve rounded up some great Black Friday weekend deals on phones, wearables, and more.
- Samsung’s allegedly done with the Galaxy Note series: Aa rumor from Korea suggests Note 20 production will cease before the end of this year, while other rumors say there are no new Note plans at all.
- Meanwhile, Samsung plans to build a $17 billion chip-making factory in Taylor, Texas.
- Exynos chips could land in way more Galaxy phones next year, as the initial claim Samsung was drastically increasing the production of Exynos chips was corroborated by EE Times.
- And Samsung launches Expert Raw camera app for photo enthusiasts: Multi-frame RAW support, and you can export RAW profiles to Lightroom, only on the Galaxy S21 Ultra running Android 12 for now.
- Some Google Pixel 6a specs leaked: Looks like it’ll have the same Google Tensor SoC as the other Pixel 6 phones.
- Meanwhile, the Pixel 5 almost had Google’s Tensor processor, but what happened? “…with Covid and the supply chain issues and a bunch of things getting in the way, at the last second they kinda had to bail on that,” according to YouTuber Marques Brownlee.
- And future Chromebooks might protect you from prying eyes: Google’s apparently working on a new snooping protection feature that reportedly uses a dedicated “Human Presence Sensor” to determine whether somebody’s looking at your screen.
- MediaTek’s planning to build a chipset for Windows on Arm, as Qualcomm’s exclusivity deal with Microsoft for Windows on Arm is set to expire.
- And a leak says the Dimensity 9000 could be cheaper than Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, though it’ll supposedly be twice as expensive as the Dimensity 1200.
- Apple announced it would repair faulty iPhone 12 and 12 Pro speakers for free.
- The company wants to debut a fully driverless electric vehicle by 2025.
- Apple’s reportedly switching to its own iPhone modem design in 2023, as the Qualcomm saga ends.
- Also, Apple’s suing Israeli spyware firm NSO Group for allegedly targeting iPhone users with a hacking tool.
- And Apple will now let you know when sophisticated, state-sponsored hackers have targeted you.
- Plus, Apple’s AR headset is coming next year with “Mac-level” power.
- An incident with the James Webb Space Telescope means the launch date has slipped to December 22.
- Meanwhile, NASA launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), a way to manage huge asteroids that could threaten earth, Armageddon-style.
- The upcoming Oppo Reno 7 series will reportedly feature the world’s first Sony IMX-709 cat-eye lens, based on a Sony IMX709 32MP sensor that uses an RGBW array, and should mean better selfies.
- The Asus ROG Phone 5S and 5S Pro are finally available in the US, but stock’s likely very limited due to the global chip shortage.
- And Motorola could one-up its rivals with first 200MP camera phone, but Xiaomi could follow suit next year.
- Speaking of Xiaomi, the company could have its own at-home repair service on the way.
- Qualcomm confirmed Snapdragon rebrand: the chipsets will be renamed, but no names disclosed yet.
- Intel started shipping Alder Lake processors to manufacturers, and rumors say we could see them as soon as January.
- Also this week: WhatsApp now lets you create your own stickers — and an update on how message reactions will work.
- Meanwhile, Spotify removed the shuffle button from all album pages so tracks play in the original artist’s order.
- Gizmodo’s making the Facebook Papers public, releasing them in batches.
- Finally, Rolls-Royce’s all-electric airplane smashed records with a 387.4mph top speed.
- Check out the trailer for The Gilded Age, by the creator of Downton Abbey, landing January 24 on HBO.
- This week Hawkeye debuted on Disney Plus: it’s off to a strong start, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, according to The Verge.
- TikTok’s TV app is now out for more devices in the US and Canada, including Google TV, other Android TV devices, LG smart TVs, and Samsung smart TVs.
- Animated Netflix series Arcane was renewed for a second season, but no release date yet.
- Meanwhile, Amazon Studios is reportedly nearing a deal to create a TV series based on Mass Effect, Electronic Arts’ sci-fi game franchise.
- New World players are review bombing the game after last week’s “Into the Void” update made its endgame harder.
- Battlefield 2042 is now one of the worst-rated games in Steam history, with over 29,000 negative reviews, but there are at least two updates on the way…
- And GTA Trilogy fans think they’ve found a clue about GTA 6: A picture of a mystery house in the San Andreas remaster seems to suggest the next GTA could return to Florida.
- Meanwhile, Sony may start selling custom PlayStation 5 faceplates after securing a new patent: no information on specific colors, but black would be a winner.
- Star Citizen has raised over $400 million in funding since 2012, but still no updates on when the multiplayer space sim might launch.
- And Pokémon’s partnering with Converse to create limited-edition themed sneakers featuring Jigglypuff, Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and more of your favorites, out December 10.
- OnePlus 9 Pro review: A compelling alternative to Samsung — “The OnePlus 9 Pro is going head-to-head with the big boys.”
- Samsung Galaxy A32 5G review: A is for awesome — Competent cameras, solid speeds, and a flagship-style design, but it’s a slippery beast.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review: Last Note standing — “If you value the built-in stylus above all other features, then the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is about the only choice left in the market.”
- Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review: More gimmick than gimme — The upgraded version of the Mi 11 delivers a more complete experience, but is overpriced.
- Google Nest Cam with Floodlight review: Great but overpriced, as usual — A Nest Cam strapped to a floodlight system, essentially, and competitors offer more for less money.
- Apple’s self-service repair program sets the bar for Android OEMs: “The right to repair movement isn’t new, but it has never been this relevant” (Android Authority).
- How do NFC tags and readers work? Here’s everything you need to know: Types of NFC tags, smart tags, how to read and write data, and more (Android Authority).
- The Greatest Unsolved Heist in Irish History: Whatever happened to the Irish Crown Jewels? (Atlas Obscura).
- Amazon’s Dark Secret: It Has Failed to Protect Your Data — “For years, the retail giant has handled your information less carefully than it handles your packages” (Wired).
- Will Glow-in-the-Dark Materials Someday Light Our Cities? — We might use persistently luminescent substances to light our streets, sidewalks, and buildings (Smithsonian Magazine).
“There’s a snake in my boot!”
Yup, this week in 1995 — November 22, to be exact — Toy Story had its first screenings. What has that got to do with tech news, you’re probably wondering?
Well, back in 1993, less than half a dozen feature films used computer graphics. By 1995 things had changed: Hollywood was embracing digital enhancements. But most movies using digitally created cinematic imagery only used the technology for a small portion of their run time. Movies like Jurassic Park (6 minutes) and Caspar (40 minutes) were groundbreaking, but they weren’t fully computer animated.
- Toy Story was the first feature-length computer-animated movie ever made — everything was virtual
- It was a joint venture between Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, chaired at the time by a young Steve Jobs.
- Pixar landed a $26 million deal for three computer-animated feature-length films: but so far nobody had pulled off a single one.
- Wired has a good deep dive into the making of the movie, including some interesting tech-y facts.
Pixar followed Walt Disney’s lead in incorporating the latest technology into its work. Ed Catmull, then a software engineer and later Pixar and Disney Animation President, worked with computer scientists at Pixar to build their own software used to design the films
- The movie used a total of 1,560 shots, all created on Silicon Graphics and Sun workstations by a team of artists.
- Each shot was edited with Avid editing systems, then painstakingly rendered using RenderMan software designed by Catmull and his team.
- This process consumed 300Mbytes per frame, provided by 117 Sun SPARCstation 20s.
- It took four years and 800,000 machine hours to produce the final cut.
Time’s 2015 piece on Toy Story at 20 looks at how it changed movie history. Nowadays we don’t think anything of seeing a fully computer-animated feature-length movie, and the majority of blockbusters incorporate some form of digitally created cinematic imagery, but Toy Story was groundbreaking.
Looking at a timeline of computer animation in film and TV is actually pretty interesting, with movies like The Abyss getting a mention for having the first digital 3D water effect back in 1988, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999) listed as the first movie to use computer graphics extensively for backgrounds, vehicles, crowds, and more, across thousands of shots, and Avatar (2009) mentioned as “the first full-length movie made using performance capture to create photorealistic 3D characters and to feature a fully CG 3D photorealistic world.”
I wonder what that timeline will look like in another 10 years?
And a final Toy Story nod: Here are some things about Andy’s room you never noticed…
- Now until November 30: Steam Autumn Sale
- November 30-December 2: Snapdragon Tech Summit (Snapdragon 888 successor?)
- December 6-8: RSC-V Summit
- December 8: Halo Infinite release date (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC)
- December 14: Final Fantasy XIV’s Endwalker expansion (December 3 for pre-orders)
- December 22: The Matrix 4 release date
Tech Tweet of the Week
Another unreal vid from this TikTok account: “How Aladdin was made”— Trung Phan 🇨🇦 (@TrungTPhan) November 26, 2021
A little something extra: Lego’s new most expensive set, the AT-AT from its Star Wars collection, will set you back $800 and has 6,785 pieces, which should keep you busy…
Sleepily signing out,
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor