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⚡ Welcome back to another edition of The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that casts an eye back across the top Android and tech news from the week.
🌞 Tristan Rayner with you again, and I've been planning all week to have pancakes today. Mmmh.
- LG smartphones died this week: LG’s mobile arm was extinguished after years of losses, despite a late surge of quality flagships and interesting innovations. In somewhat amazing news, LG promised three years of Android updates for existing premium phones. This surprised us because LG could never do this when actually releasing phones. Anyway, we’re all poorer for LG no longer being in the game — here are the six best LG phones ever made.
- All-virtual Google I/O is officially happening next month: May 18 through May 20, everyone’s invited.
- Samsung’s latest Galaxy A phones arrived in the US this week: the popular Galaxy A52, along with A42, A12, and the A02 — but no A72, mind you. The A52 5G goes for $500.
- Also, the first Galaxy S21 FE renders emerged, looking very close to a vanilla S21, but without an accented rear camera module, and 6.4-inch size over the S21’s 6.2-inch. August release?
- HMD Global has overhauled the Nokia phone line to include just three series: X, G, and C. G is true mid-range but Nokia’s new top-spec X is far from flagship level, while the C range is pretty basic. While there’s no longer a flagship range, this at least makes more sense than the decimal point numbers for the series names.
- Lenovo’s second-gen Legion gaming phone launched packing dual cooling fans and a super divisive design. There’s a pop-up camera, which is cool, but only for landscape photos? Whacky!
- Heh: Google confirmed the Pixel Buds A by sending out a mass email to some users which “accidentally” included the name of the new earbuds along with an image. Classic.
- Even Apple is losing out to the global chip supply crunch: MacBook and iPad production delayed as supply crunch hits (Nikkei).
- Also, Apple launched an app for testing devices that work with Find My to help third-party accessory makers get moving. One of the first adding functionality was VanMoof, to its fancy e-bikes. Nicely done. (TechCrunch).
- Last bit of Apple news: Tim Cook talked Apple Car this week, all but confirming Apple’s not just exploring how to do software but the full package.
- 533 million Facebook users’ phone numbers and personal data leaked (Insider). Facebook sort of waved its hand and said it wouldn’t notify the people who had their data stolen because… reasons. Here’s what happened at Facebook (Wired).
- Red Magic 6 review: Great gaming hardware with challenging software, and an uncertain software update policy.
- Xiaomi Mi Band 6 review: A clear winner with more features like blood oxygen tracking, but the same affordable pricing.
- I’ve been weirdly intrigued by our phone car mount review series, there are at least seven different mounts reviewed, and only two look subpar. Here’s the good: Logitech Plus Trip, iOttie iTap Magnetic 2, Scosche MagicMount Dash, and Aukey Car Magnetic Phone Mount, while the Loncaster Silicone Car Phone Holder is fine, but the Topgo Cup Holder Phone Mount and Mpow Car Phone Air Vent Mount are decent but bottom of this pack.
- The state of Android Auto in 2021: Test driving Google’s app in the VW ID.4.
- What you should really expect from Google’s custom Pixel 6 processor — it’s not the CPU or GPU that matters most here.
- It’s getting really hard not to support Samsung: a massive commitment to updates, better affordable options, solid foldables — what’s not to like?
- SpaceX landed a rocket on a boat five years ago, and it changed everything (Ars Technica).
- How to surive a killer asteroid: get to a deep cave (maybe in India), bring at least six years of food supply to stand any chance, and don’t freeze. Right. (Wired).
- Bill Hwang had $20 billion, and lost it all in two days (Bloomberg).
Friday’s Google Pixel 5a 5G news was really unusual.
- First of all, sympathy towards industry colleagues at Android Central, which dropped the big news that the Google Pixel 5a 5G was canceled, only for Google to quash that within an hour, releasing a statement saying that wasn’t the case, and to expect the Pixel 5a 5G later this year.
- AC was right, but just not quite right enough.
Google’s issued statement was both exacting, confirming the existence of the Pixel 5a 5G for the first time, denying the cancellation, and odd:
“Pixel 5a 5G is not cancelled. It will be available later this year in the U.S. and Japan and announced in line with when last year’s a-series phone was introduced.”
- So, obviously, the sources were close. Google isn’t explicit here about global launch countries, but it would seem to be that it is either delaying or cancelling the Pixel 5a 5G in regions where it did release the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Taiwan, and the UK.
- India is another huge market not mentioned, where 5G phones are less marketed right now.
- Overall, the implication is that Google may be struggling along with its consumer electronics rivals with the ongoing chip shortage. So, it has the phone, but can only supply a few important markets, not all. But even then, it’s not clear what might eventually happen.
- Google says the Pixel 5a 5G is coming “in line when last year’s a-series phone was introduced.”
- To jog your memory, that was August 3, 2020, for the Pixel 4a, and September 30 for the Pixel 4a 5G.
- Original expectations for the Google Pixel 5a and possibly the Pixel 5a 5G would’ve been an announcement or launch in May at Google I/O 2021, so throw that away.
- However, Google’s style isn’t to say nothing, but to pre-hype its devices. With the Pixel out of the bag, maybe we will see some details announced at the show about what’s going on and what to expect.
- April 12: Nvidia GTC conference
- April 14: Sony Xperia launch
- May 18-20: Google I/O 2021
- May 19-20: Qualcomm 5G Summit 2021
Tech Tweet of the Week
my fridge has a screen so sometimes I get bored and photoshop myself to make it look like im in there pic.twitter.com/F21x8g7xbh— Hurt CoPain (@SaeedDiCaprio) March 10, 2021
One more too: this tweet didn’t go well for OnePlus.
All the best,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.