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April 4, 2021
⚡ 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 here casting an eye over all things technology during this Easter, Passover, and Holi break.
Popular news this week
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
- A big week for Xiaomi, with a new flagship, new mid-range line, new foldable, new logo (sort of), and a new commitment to electric vehicles (EVs).
- The biggest announcement for the consumer tech world was the Mi 11 Ultra — a top-of-the-line smartphone with almost everything you could ask for in a 2021 ultra-premium flagship. Snapdragon 888 SoC, 6.81-inch 120Hz QHD+ OLED screen with Dolby Vision, IP68 rating, 67W wired and wireless charging, Harman Kardon-tuned speakers, and a ceramic body. Then the cameras, housed in a mighty bump with a big-size sensor via the new 50MP Samsung GN2, which is a 1/1.12-inch sensor. Add a 48MP ultra-wide snapper and a 48MP periscope lens and you can see why it’s an “Ultra” model retailing from €1,300 (~$1,526). Reviews coming soon.
- Xiaomi’s first foldable was also a notable reveal but as a China-only release it’s a little underwhelming. The Mi Mix Fold, goes for the Samsung-style of a thick phone with a 6.5-inch panel on the exterior that opens out to a tablet-sized 8.01-inch OLED display. It has all the specs you could want too: Snapdragon 888 SoC, up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, 5,020mAh total battery across two battery packs, and a camera system featuring a liquid lens with Xiaomi’s own chip doing the image processing work.
- Also: Mi 11 Pro but you can’t get it outside of China, and the Mi 11i which is effectively a Redmi K40 Pro Plus with a new name (starting at €649). Add in the Mi 11 Lite range in 4G and 5G options, the Xiaomi Mi Band 6, and that new rounded Mi logo, too.
- Oh, and don’t forget Xiaomi also announced a big investment in EVs, with a ~$1.5 billion initial investment, joining rumored and reported moves by Apple, Huawei, and others.
- Xiaomi is clearly gunning for the premium segment — its flagship plays are no longer branding explorations, and what has opened the door here is Huawei’s decline.
Google might really have a chipset?
- This is big enough for its own bullet point. A report out of 9to5Google very strongly suggests the Google Pixel 6 and 5a might really use Google’s own silicon, codenamed ‘Whitechapel’, model “GS101.”
- We’ve known about this for some time but detail that it may actually come to the Pixel line, ahead of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 780 (or similar SoCs) makes things wildly intriguing.
- 9to5Google suggests its deeply connected to Samsung and its Exynos expertise, it seems.
- Stay tuned!
- Sony set up an April 14th launch. Expect the next major Xperia devices including the Xperia 1 III, Xperia 10 III, and possibly the Xperia 5 III. I’m excited to see if Sony can keep maturing its flagship Xperia 1 series after the II was so well received.
- LG Mobile might be gone as soon as April 5. Sad. Read this Weekly for my thoughts on poor (but not actually poor) LG.
- Casio unveiled its first G-Shock smartwatch with Wear OS. $700 is a big ask, but it’s a classic brawny guy with a titanium back for extra durability, water-resistance down to 200 meters, always-on LCD, and sensors galore. No exact availability date, unfortunately.
- Hints that Samsung has a Galaxy Buds successor in the works.
- Niantic Labs CEO posted a teaser image of some AR glasses. Could be fun if they’re actually good.
- OnePlus Nord SE reportedly canceled — and this might be the pretty cool retail package the phone would’ve come in.
- Apple announced WWDC 2021 as an online event again (9to5Mac), while this week the in-person MWC 2021 lost Google. That’s the biggest name so far, with Nokia, Ericsson, Sony, and Oracle already out (The Verge).
Kris Carlon / Android Authority
- Huawei Mate X2 review: “The Huawei Mate X2 is poisoned perfection. Hardware heaven in a software purgatory.” Kris sure likes this foldable.
- OnePlus 9 Pro review second opinion: In more ways than one, the OnePlus 9 Pro is nearly caught up with the competition.
- Poco F3 review: Killer hardware brought down by sub-par software and an average camera.
- Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) review: Cheaper and sounds better than the original. The novel sleep function is interesting but will cost an unknown amount in 2022.
- “If I never see a phone with a mirror back again it will be too soon“. Agreed! Fun to look at for five seconds, then a smudge factory.
- OnePlus 9 vs older OnePlus phones: Should you upgrade?
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: 5 things we want to see
- What is SpO2? And why should you care? Good overview of blood oxygen saturation from the fittest Android Authority member.
- The foundations of AI are riddled with errors: AI learns what you tell it. But what if lots and lots of images were labeled wrongly? (Wired).
- April 6: Intel’s “How Wonderful Gets Done 2021” launch
- April 12: Nvidia GTC conference
- April 14: Sony Xperia launch
Tech Tweet of the Week
My fav April Fools’ joke::
Never step on a LEGO brick again! SmartBricks, coming soon… pic.twitter.com/enRuvdGYjP— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) April 1, 2021
All the best,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.
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