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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 172nd edition brings you the Moto Edge X30, Oppo's upcoming foldable, a roundup of The Game Awards, and more.
☕ The tree's up, the Christmas shopping is almost done, but I still haven't had my first gingerbread latte of the season. That's a must for this weekend.
- Moto Edge X30 launched in China on Thursday, the first phone packing the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, with a 60MP selfie camera, and 144Hz refresh rate — it’ll likely have a different name when it goes global.
- New Galaxy Tab S8 series renders show the Ultra’s tiny notch, and we get a first look at the Plus.
- Rumor suggests Galaxy S21 FE could have a leg up over other S21 models, could land with Android 12 out of the box.
- And the Galaxy S22 Ultra could have a Note-inspired name instead: According to a tipster, it could be the S22 Note.
- Plus, Samsung patents a rollable smartwatch: The design is capable of expanding and retracting.
- Meanwhile, Samsung has talked about how it will tackle the (continuing) chip shortage in 2022 — also the company is apparently slowly clawing back Apple’s wearables market lead.
- And Samsung announces plans to merge mobile and consumer electronics units to focus on chip production, naming two new co-CEOS.
- A user’s photos leaked after their Google Pixel 5a was sent in for repair — Google responded to say the incident “was not related to the device RMA.”
- Leaked images show the Pixel 6a looks very different from the Pixel 5a but take this with a pinch of salt.
- Google’s confirmed a weird Pixel 911 calling bug caused by Microsoft Teams, fix incoming, though you’ll have to wait until January.
- And you can now grab the first Android 12L beta on supported Pixels, meaning the Pixel 3a or later.
- Apple’s second-generation headset to launch in 2024 with lighter design, redesigned battery system, and faster processor, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
- Kuo also revealed we could see three new Apple wearables in 2022 — the Apple Watch 8 could be joined by the Apple Watch SE 2 and a rugged Apple Watch. Oh, and the iPhone SE 3 could land at some point next year too, with more or less the same design as the iPhone SE, and a minor spec bump.
- And AirPods Pro 2 will launch in Q4 2022, rumored to feature new chip to improve connectivity, and no more stem.
- Meanwhile, Apple won’t have to make app store changes yet — it’s been granted a delay until the Epic lawsuit appeals process concludes.
- Also: Apple CEO Tim Cook engineered a secret $275 billion deal with China back in 2016, leading to Apple’s rise in China.
- Good news for gamers: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 benchmarks suggest Apple-beating graphics, but still way behind Apple with CPU gains.
- Oppo Find N foldable leaked in full, showing a much smaller Galaxy Z Fold 3 rival with a roughly 4:3 display and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner — we’ll know more on day two of Oppo Inno Day on December 15.
- The Xiaomi 12 Pro was spotted passing through TENAA on December 7, dropping confirmation of its charging specs. According to the listing, it’ll support 120W charging and will be the brand’s first phone featuring the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
- And your next Xiaomi phone might pack more battery life for the same size, as Xiaomi announces new battery tech that’ll allow for 10% bigger capacity for the same battery volume, coming sometime in the second half of 2022.
- Amazon’s AWS US-East-1 outage on Tuesday took out services like Ring, Netflix, Disney Plus, Tinder, and IMDb, as well as McDonald’s self-service terminals and also caused delivery issues.
- China’s Yutu 2 rover discovered a strange cube-shaped anomaly on the far side of the moon, to be figured out over the coming months.
- “Potentially hazardous” asteroid will skim past earth this weekend, NASA says — Named 4660 Nereus, the asteroid “is 1,082 feet (330 meters) long and will break into Earth’s orbit traveling at 14,700 mph (23,700 km/h) on Saturday, Dec. 11,” passing closer to us than it has in 20 years.
- Another galaxy strangely appears to have no dark matter: AGC 114905 is roughly 250 million light-years from Earth, about the size of the Milky Way, and astrophysicists say it “may have had an unexpected formation and evolution.”
- OnePlus pulls Oxygen OS 12 update for OnePlus 9 series after users complained of bugs and missing features — a new update will apparently be issued “ASAP” though no word yet when that’ll be.
- Toyota will build its $1.29 billion battery plant in North Carolina, and similarly, EV startup Arrival is building a $11.5 million battery plant in North Carolina, too.
- More Tesla safety concerns as drivers are able to play video games in moving cars.
- Every WhatsApp message you send can now disappear if you want, as WhatsApp makes the disappearing messages feature available to set by default, but this won’t affect existing messages.
- Meanwhile, Telegram update brings several features WhatsApp should copy: deleting messages by date/date range, making group/channel content private, and more.
- And Instagram wants users to create new accounts to “keep up with a smaller group of friends” but could this really be about better ad targeting? The company also announced new safety features for teens, including pop-up reminders to “take a break,” and new restrictions meaning they can’t tag and mention others who don’t follow them.
- Family-tracking app company selling user data like crazy is about to buy Tile: Life360 sells a ton of user data — supposedly the company has no plans to sell Tile user data but it’s not making any promises.
- The Witcher season 2 lands on Netflix next Friday and IGN’s spoiler-free review’s in: “Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Geralt of Rivia continues to be the single best element of this adaptation, and it’s proven again in Geralt’s budding relationship with Ciri, which forms the emotional core of the season.”
- Speaking of Netflix, it’s canceled Cowboy Bebop after one season, supposedly due to poor reception, with reviews criticizing “weak pacing and cheap-looking costumes and sets.”
- Meanwhile, Google partners with Pluto TV to bring 300 free channels to Google TV: the new integration is set to be available “in the coming weeks.”
- And Apple Original Films will back Adam McKay’s Bad Blood, set to star Jennifer Lawrence as Elizabeth Holmes and portraying the Theranos founder’s spectacular rise and fall.
- Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, and Will Forte are starring in live-action/CG comedy Strays, now finished filming, and should be on screens next year.
- Fans of Shang-Chi rejoice! Director Destin Daniel Cretton’s returning for a sequel.
- Return to Hogwarts teaser offer a first look at the Harry Potter reunion special, available to stream in the US on HBO Max from midnight on New Year’s Eve, later on NOW and Sky in the UK.
- Here’s what to stream in December, including Jane’s Campions The Power of the Dog, The Expanse Season 6, and more.
- Halo Infinite was released on Wednesday on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC on Windows, and Steam, and you can play it on Xbox Game Pass on console, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Just make sure you play on Normal…
- First-person shooter Serious Sam 4 made a surprise appearance on Xbox Game Pass this week, while Aliens: Fireteam Elite lands on the service on Tuesday.
- New story content will be released for GTA Online on December 15, featuring Franklin from GTA V and Dr. Dre’s likeness, plus music from the legendary rapper.
- And Google Play Games is coming to Windows in 2022, allowing you to play Android games on your PC, directly from Google.
- Meanwhile, no one game swept the board at Thursday’s Game Awards: It Takes Two won Game of the Year, while Deathloop nabbed Best Game Direction and Best Art Direction. You can check out the full list of winners or watch the Awards here. The Verge has a good roundup of all the news, including Alan Wake’s sequel, and Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama’s Slitterhead, which looks so creepy I might not sleep tonight…
- The Matrix Awakens is an amazing demonstration of what Unreal Engine 5 can do, available now on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.
- Also this week, Ubisoft became the first major game publisher to include NFT items in its games. The company launched Ubisoft Quartz, its new trading platform for “Digits”, the first NFTs playable in AAA games — and on Thursday three limited-edition in-game NFTs landed in Ghost Recon Breakpoint: leg armor, a gun skin, and helmet, all resellable through Quartz.
- Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves on PS5 comes with a free ticket for the movie — the game’s out January 25, and if you already own physical or digital PS4 editions of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End or Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, you can upgrade for $10.
- Plus Wired has an interesting piece on why it’s okay to play one game forever…
- Samsung Galaxy S20 FE one year later: Is it still worth buying? Samsung’s cheapest flagship-level phone is still worth a look, even with the Pixel 6 offering similar value
- Sony Xperia Pro-I review: Not for ‘normals,’ best left to the pros — “Aimed at imaging and video experts rather than typical smartphone buyers, the Xperia Pro-I is an admirable attempt at crafting a camera replacement with smartphone capabilities, though it’s not without some notable flaws.”
- Motorola Moto G Power (2022) review: A real head-scratcher — Falls disappointingly short, with steps back in processing power, display, and wired charging.
- Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra review: A durable wearable waiting on promises — “Until this one receives Google’s promised software update, it’s a risk. It’s also not even close to the best bang for your buck.”
- Tile Slim (2022) review: Real slim, not so shady? It’s the best card-shaped Bluetooth tracker around, ’nuff said.
- What is Windows 11 SE? Microsoft’s Chrome OS competitor explained — key features, Windows 11 SE laptops, and how it shapes up vs Chrome (Android Authority).
- Smart home privacy: What data is collected, and how is it used? Which smart home platform has the best privacy? (Android Authority).
- What designers of video games understand about real cities — It’s not easy building gaming cities that feel immersive and “a game city can become not just a setting but a character in the narrative itself” (Bloomberg CityLab).
- How Snap is sidestepping the metaverse — “Snap has been quietly focused on two of the ideas that can actually bring the metaverse into existence: steadily improving its hardware every year or so, and attracting developers by giving away that hardware and offering them ways to profit from it” (The Verge).
- The Zodiac Killer’s Cipher is Finally Cracked After 51 Years: Here’s what the message sent to The San Francisco Chronicle in November 1969 said (Wired via @ Ars Technica).
Ever wondered what happens in an internet minute?
Visual Capitalist has this rather interesting Data Never Sleeps infographic about how much data is generated online every minute.
Some key facts
- TikTok users watch 167 million videos
- Six million people shop online
- Google conducts 5.7 million searches
- Amazon customers spend $283k
- Instagram users share 65,000 photos
So what’s the point of this data? Well, it reflects the increasingly huge role Big Tech companies play in our lives.
Visual Capitalist shares a new version of this infographic every year, and some areas have clearly experienced impressive growth:
- Netflix users streamed 404k hours per minute in 2020, compared to 452k hours in 2021.
- Twitter saw 452k Tweets per minute in 2017, up to 575k in 2021.
- And in 2016, Snapchat users shared 527k photos every minute, compared to 2 million in 2021.
Which services do we use most?
Every iteration of the infographic over the years has featured different services, but Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram are the only three services to feature every year. The infographic below shows the services that have appeared in the Data Never Sleeps wheel over time:
How much of the world has internet connectivity?
The internet’s rapid rate of adoption is also something worth thinking about here, as this graph demonstrates:
- Around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today.
- Compare this to 1995, when it was less than 1%.
- The total number of internet users worldwide grew by 500 million in 2021, a roughly 11% jump from 4.5 billion users in 2020.
- That’s 950 new users every minute…
- There are still plenty of countries with largely disconnected populations, like India where 50% of the population don’t have internet access, and Ethiopia, where a huge 81% of people can’t access the internet.
On a similar note, it’s interesting to see what data Big Tech is collecting, and who they’re sharing it with. Security.org has an interesting piece on this, with Google way out ahead in terms of the data they store on you, from your location to your browsing history and your activity on third-party sites.
The pandemic has definitely changed the way we engage with the digital world and it’ll be interesting to see how things have changed when the Data Never Sleeps wheel lands next year.
- December 12 (TBC): Xiaomi 12 series launch
- December 14: Aliens: Fireteam Elite comes to Xbox Game Pass
- December 14-15: Oppo Inno Day
- December 17: The Witcher Season 2
- December 22: The Matrix 4 release date
- January 5-8: CES 2022
Tech Tweet of the Week
More pizza, anyone?
The Pizza ParadoxOne 18-inch pizza has more “pizza” than two 12-inch pizzas (still trying to process this fact). pic.twitter.com/SVcUd9Ueys— Trung Phan 🇨🇦 (@TrungTPhan) December 10, 2021
Bonus: “The thing that killed” Twitter meme is doing the rounds, and it’s a good one…
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor