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⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 174th and final edition of the year here, with the Huawei P50 Pocket launch, a first official look at the Xiaomi 12 series, the latest Galaxy S22 leaks, and more.
🎄 I hope everyone who celebrated yesterday had a very merry Christmas! I’m in a bit of a post-Christmas dinner food coma this morning, as it should be, and trying to choose which board game to dig out for family time later!
- The Huawei P50 pocket launched December 23: A $1,400 Galaxy Z Flip 3 rival with a pretty solid spec sheet including a 6.9-inch foldable OLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, a zero-gap design hinge, 4,000mAh battery, and the Snapdragon 888 4G SoC, powerful enough to tackle most tasks and games. It’s a China-only launch for now though, with no news on global availability yet.
- Samsung Galaxy S22 series could have faster wireless charging and come in some interesting new colors.
- A leaker says all Galaxy S22 phones will have glass backs, including the base model, but take this with a pinch of salt.
- Another leak claims the Galaxy S22 Ultra could gain a detail enhancer feature that could deliver more detail to 108MP shots, while a poster allegedly showing the Galaxy S22 Ultra also leaked this week, with the phone doing its best Note impression, detailing a revised camera design and S Pen.
- And a veteran leaker may have just revealed the Galaxy S21 FE launch date: It could arrive on January 11, according to Evan Blass. He also corroborated the 4,500mAh battery, but points to 25W wired charging support, as well as sharing a user manual confirming no charger in the box.
- We also saw a premature S21 FE unboxing video which tells us almost everything, from specs to design.
- Samsung One UI 4/Android 12 rollout paused in Korea to fix Google Play bugs: Not sure yet whether this affects the US rollout, and no word when rollout will resume in Korea.
- Also this week: Samsung’s 2022 TVs and monitors will support its new HDR10+ gaming standard, with features for gamers like automatic HDR color correction and variable refresh rates up to 120Hz.
- Google finally discontinues the Home Mini.
- And Google’s turning off the controls for OnHub routers at the end of 2022 — owners can get 40% off a new Nest Wifi.
- Meanwhile, Google’s Pixel Watch might usher in a revamped Assistant: It’s also possible it will run on a Samsung Exynos chip rather than a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.
- Plus, Pixel 6 and 6 Pro owners won’t be able to use two calling features for a while: Google’s temporarily disabled Call Screening and Hold for Me due to a bug in the December 2021 Pixel 6 security update, and no word yet when the bug will be fixed or features restored.
- And Google could bring per-app language settings to Android 13, so you could theoretically choose languages on a per-app basis. Android 13 leaks also reveal support for Bluetooth LE audio, major notification changes.
- The Realme GT 2 Pro was teased at a special event on Monday, but all we know for now is it’s coming soon — and Realme talked about “new” technologies coming to the series (or possibly just the Pro?) including a 150° ultrawide camera.
- OnePlus says the OnePlus 10 Pro is coming in January, a couple of months earlier than the OnePlus 9 series launch this year and way sooner than we expected.
- The Xiaomi 12 Series is coming on December 28 and we’ve got a first official look, plus MIUI 13 might be revealed then too.
- And the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge will soon launch in India with 120W charging: The official device reveal is on January 6.
- Next year’s iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will feature hole-punch displays supplied by LG and Samsung, according to The Elec.
- And a new report raises hopes for a new 27-inch iMac Pro with mini-LED display, but Apple hasn’t confirmed any rumors yet.
- The James Webb Space Telescope is now launching on Christmas Day due to weather.
- NASA’s Juno spacecraft “hears” Jupiter’s moon: The 50-second audio track was generated from a flyby of the Jovian moon Ganymede.
- A vacuum-sealed container from the 1972 moon landing will finally be opened, filled with samples of lunar soil and gas.
- There have been some amazing photos of space this year, but here are the best space photos of 2021.
- Honor’s first foldable, the Honor Magic V’s confirmed: could be a Galaxy Z Fold 3 rival, coming soon.
- This is our first good look at the Moto G Stylus 2022: New renders and a video posted showing a large flat display, three rear cameras, and an embedded stylus slot, and leakers claim a “sometime in mid-2022” launch.
- Check out our first look at the OSOM OV1, from the brains behind the Essential Phone — full specs to be revealed at MWC in February.
- Vivo Watch 2 launches with week-long battery life, eSIM smarts: pricing starts at 1,299 yuan in China (~$204).
- The Amazon Appstore’s finally working on Android 12.
- A bunch of companies have dropped out of CES 2022: Amazon, Meta, T-Mobile, and several press outlets, including The Verge and TechCrunch.
- Speaking of CES 2022, LG just released two new monitors in the build-up: The LG UltraFine Display (32UQ85R) and DualUp Monitor (28MQ780) are aimed at different audiences but designed for remote working or office use — the UltraFine has a unique 16:18 aspect ratio.
- And LG Display’s CES concepts show flexible OLED isn’t just for foldables, with its quirky Media Chair and Flexible Ride — that chair looks pretty comfy.
- Your mailbox could be replaced by a temperature-controlled smart box that receives deliveries by drone: The box is currently in development by Dronedek, with 4,000 planned for rollout over the next 18 months.
- Finally, US auto safety regulators NHTSA are opening an investigation into 580,000 Tesla vehicles over that feature that lets you game and drive at the same time.
- The Matrix Resurrections reviews are in and Mashable‘s got a great roundup.
- John Wick: Chapter 4 is officially delayed to March 2023.
- YouTube TV restores Disney-owned channels and monthly price goes back to $65.
- Spider-Man: No Way Home had the second-highest opening in history, and the best December opening of all time last weekend, with Friday ticket sales of $121.5 million — and Thursday’s previews bringing in $50 million.
- Check out the eerie trailer for Netflix’s new sci-fi series, Chosen.
- Don’t Look Up hit Netlix on Friday, and perfectly nails the frustration of being a scientist.
- The first trailer and poster for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness landed.
- LG announced its first gaming laptop, looks like a beast, but opts for an 11th-Gen Intel processor, also packs Nvidia GeForce 3080 Max-Q graphics, dual-channel memory, and an ultra-fast SSD.
- Some Halo Infinite players had to use Xbox dev kits at first major tournament: It seems like Microsoft is having as much trouble getting Xbox consoles as the rest of us.
- Speaking of Halo Infinite, the game’s being taken over by the cat club: the Cat Lovers bundle, which lets you add cat ears to your helmet, dropped this week and everybody’s buying it.
- But nobody’s buying Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon NFTs: Even the helmet with the 600-hour playtime demand isn’t seeing much action, seems like players aren’t big NFT fans.
- The long-awaited Final Fantasy 7 Remake port isn’t running well on PC — with a premium price tag of $70, we’d expect better than the reported stuttering and frame drops, but worry not, modders are on it.
- The Game Awards hit 85 million livestreams this year — a step up from last year’s record-breaking number of 83 million.
- And Hades becomes the first video game in history to win a Hugo Award: The Greek mythology-based roguelike won in the newly-created “Best Video Game” category.
- Finally, Rockstar’s giving PC owners of the GTA Trilogy remaster a free game: You can grab GTA V: Premium Edition, GTA IV: Complete Edition, Max Payne 3, LA Noire, or Bully: Scholarship Edition until January 5.
Instead of reviews this week, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorites, best-ofs, and things we missed in 2021:
- Android Authority: The Best of 2021 Awards — Phones, laptops, earbuds, wearables; we’ve got the best products of the year right here.
- Android Authority’s pick for best phone of 2021: Editor’s Choice — plus our runners-up.
- On Good Authority: Our favorite video games of 2021 — The Android Authority team’s top picks include one of my favorites of the year (technically released in 2020), Mafia: Definitive Edition.
- The biggest smartphone fails of 2021: From LG to Microsoft Duo.
- Missing in action: The smartphones we didn’t see in 2021 — The Galaxy Note 21, LG’s rollable, and more.
- 2021 smartphone mega shootout: This year’s best camera phones tested — Six phones go head to head (Android Authority).
- Giving a tablet to my toddler was both genius and a disaster: Kids can be too smart — “He discovered that he can get to YouTube via Apple’s Safari browser, which can’t be uninstalled” (Android Authority).
- How the poinsettia took over Christmas: A fascinating deep dive into the little red festive plant we all know and love (The Hustle).
- Lasers and molten tin: Inside Intel’s plans for the world’s most advanced chip-making process — Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is “theoretically precise enough to hit your thumb with a laser pointer from the moon” (protocol).
- Who Killed the Robot Dog? “The robotic companion was once a dream of techno-utopianism, but has instead become a terrifying weapon. What happened?” (Wired).
- Forget salt: some US cities are tackling icy roads with beets (Bloomberg).
For this week’s festive Weekly Wonder, I thought I’d share five geeky and tech-related wonders I found while browsing the web in an egg nog and chocolate-fuelled state this week.
Home Alone in the 2000s
First up: Home Alone. It’s one of the nation’s favorite Christmas films, and a must for me every year, but what would it look like nowadays?
BuzzFeed shared a great piece a few years back which is a little dated now, but you get the idea… smartphones, iPads, Zoom calls, Google translate. Kevin’s stay at home alone would look a lot different now from how it did in the early 90s.
And a couple of years ago Macaulay Culkin himself shared what Kevin might get up to these days, which, let’s face it, looks a lot like most of us over the holidays…
This is what an updated Home Alone would actually look like. pic.twitter.com/sGj86933LA— Macaulay Culkin (@IncredibleCulk) August 7, 2019
Tolkien’s letters from Santa
Between 1920 and 1943, The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote and illustrated Christmas letters from Santa to his children. Starting off simple, they grew more complex over the years, with Father Christmas’ token signature shaky handwriting, a polar bear sidekick and his hilarious antics, goblins, and snow elves. You can even buy the collection in a book, The Father Christmas Letters.
Next up: Ever wondered just how Santa keeps on top of his Naughty or Nice lists, manages billions of letters from children all around the world, and wraps and delivers his presents on time every year? This piece from Simon Pitt takes a pretty comprehensive look at the tech powering Santa’s operations.
Christmas dinner on the Apollo VIII
Whether you tucked into traditional turkey with all the trimmings yesterday, swapped the turkey out for duck, roast beef, or some other meat, or had a vegetarian or vegan option, we can all agree on one thing: Christmas dinner is the best!
It didn’t look that great for the crew of the Apollo VIII as they headed to the moon in 1968, though at least the key turkey, gravy, and cranberry-applesauce were there, even if it was thermo-stabilized turkey and freeze-dried sauce.
The first Christmas lights
What would Christmas be without strings of sparkling lights on our trees and houses — even if it takes some Clark Griswold-level effort to get them up sometimes?
- But did you know the first Christmas lights were invented by Thomas Edison? On December 22, 1880, Edison strung the lights around the ouside of his Menlo Park Laboratory, so those traveling past by railroad saw their first electric light display.
- In 1882, Edison’s friend, Edward Johnson, put together the first string of electric Christmas tree lights, winding them around his tree — which, by the way, also revolved.
- In 1923, US President Calvin Coolidge started an annual Christmas tradition when he lit the National Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve with 3,000 electric lights, on the Ellipse south of the White House.
- But electric lights were initially reserved only for the wealthy, with most families using candles to light their tree, a house fire waiting to happen. Wiring electric lights was expensive and required a “wireman,” what we’d today call an electrician.
- It wasn’t until 1903 that General Electric began offering pre-assembled strings of Christmas lights.
- There are some who say that prior to 1903, lighting an average Christmas tree with electric lights would have cost close to $2,000 in today’s money.
- December 22-January 5: Steam Winter Sale
- December 22-January 19: PlayStation’s holiday sale
- December 28: Xiaomi 12 series launch
- January 5-8: CES 2022
- January 11: Samsung Galaxy S21 FE launch?
- January 28: Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection comes to PS5
Tech Tweet of the Week
The perfect packaging doesn’t exi… hold up!! pic.twitter.com/F6GrsxPaNA— Frank ✌🏻 psa10.eth (@psa10memes) December 21, 2021
I’ll leave you with this:
Someone in my county set up a tree by her wildlife camera and caught these. Guess what I’m doing tomorrow? pic.twitter.com/EefTqJNkjd— Chris (@mama_c6) December 23, 2021
Hard to believe it’ll be 2022 the next time we meet.
🥳 Until then, wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.