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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. Dishing up the 157th edition, right here...
🎮 Paula Beaton taking the reigns from here on out, giving Tristan Rayner more time to play on his new PS5. Still can't wait to get my hands on one!
🔥 All the hottest stories for you, coming up.
- Samsung: Major device reviews dropped this week, with Eric Zeman’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 review explaining exactly why it’s worth taking a chance on, while Jimmy Westenberg’s Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review finds a lot to like. A healthy 800,000 pre-ordered Samsung’s new foldables in Korea alone: the Z Flip 3 accounts for 60% of those pre-orders. Both the Z Fold 3 and the Z Flip 3 are now available to buy outright — plus the Watch 4 and Galaxy Buds 2. But you might need to wait as Samsung is emailing those who’ve already pre-ordered warning of shipping delays. In some cases, this could mean mid-September before devices arrive. Speaking of mid-September, it looks likely that’s when Samsung’s One UI 4 beta might begin on Galaxy S21 phones. Finally, Samsung Group’s expansion plans include hiring 40k people over the next three years at a cost of $205 billion.
- Gaming: Gamescom’s opening night mid-week finally gave us launch dates for Halo Infinite, landing on December 8 and Horizon Forbidden West, now delayed until Feb 22, 2022, with pre-orders beginning September 2. Meanwhile, Amazon’s MMO New World gets closer to leaving the studio with its open beta emerging on September 9, and the new trailer for Death Stranding Director’s Cut showcases next-gen improvements. Also in gaming, Netflix began beta testing its gaming platform that links from its app to games in the Play Store. Xbox consoles are getting xCloud this holiday, with over 100 Game Pass games available to stream before you download. And VR fans can pick up the 128GB Oculus Quest 2 for $299, the same price as the original 64GB model.
- Google: More confirmed specs on the Google 6 series landed this week. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are rumored to launch in fall — though that depends on the chip shortage situation. Both will feature Google’s custom Tensor chipset, which promises “the best photo and video results of any Pixel phone.” The battery hasn’t been confirmed yet for either phone but is rumored to be a 4,614mAh for the Pixel 6, with a 5,000mAh battery on board the 6 Pro.
- Chip shortage: With preorders for the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Fold 3 already facing lengthy shipping delays, that fall release date for the Pixel 6 series might be affected by the global chip shortage, too. There have been reports of older and cheaper handsets being out of stock with many carriers, OnePlus might not launch the 9T and is citing a shortage of certain devices, with demand for Qualcomm chips outstripping supply, and even Apple itself is warning of shortages. The chip shortage means continuing car shortages with more manufacturers slowing production. Also this week, TSCM flagged a price hike of up to 20% in 2022, which could mean price rises for new devices.
- Elsewhere: Apple settled a class action with developers by giving away minor changes to US developers, while Microsoft won’t stop you installing Windows 11 on older PCs after all the controversy from a few months ago.
- Movies/TV: Candyman, the sequel to the 1992 movie of the same name, finally hits theaters this weekend on August 27. Set in a now-gentrified Cabrini Green in Chicago, Tony Todd reprises his role as Candyman; Nia DaCosta directs. Also this week in movies, the Matrix 4 title was revealed as The Matrix: Resurrections. Meanwhile, He’s All That, the reboot of the classic 90s teen romance She’s All That sees mixed reviews on Netflix. Finally, coming soon to Netflix is the Cowboy Bebop live-action series, an adaptation of the Japanese anime series, landing on November 19.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review: “Some things are worth taking a chance on and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is one of them.”
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review: “Even if you aren’t a huge Samsung fan, you’ll find a lot to like.”
- OnePlus Buds Pro review: They’re no stand-out, but should satisfy most needs.
- Google Nest Doorbell review: Only worth it for Google fans who don’t already have a smart doorbell.
- Which should you get? Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch 3 — the key differences.
- What we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: possibly a 4,500mAh battery and a cheaper price than the S20 FE? Watch this space.
- Why Kanye West’s name change could make him richer: In case you haven’t heard, he’s changing his name to “Ye.” Yay! No, that’s how it’s pronounced. Yup, really (Forbes).
- How social media sleuths solved a thrift story mystery: A hidden 1870s marriage certificate finally found a place to call home. (Washington Post)
- Who’ll make the next million-dollar NFT? Cute wins out, it seems (The Verge).
Our own Robert Triggs’ piece about how Android came to be Android got us thinking about the words we use for the tech we all rely on — and we wondered: When did we first start using the word “smartphone”?
- Even though most of us didn’t use or hear the word “smartphone” until Apple launched the first-gen iPhone in 2007, the first true smartphone landed 15 years earlier, back in 1992 — the year AOL went public (CNBC).
- IBM’s Simon Personal Communicator, or “Simon”, a hybrid cell phone and PDA was a not-so-portable brick costing $899 (around $1,435 today, for which you could — almost — bag a new Galaxy Z Fold 3) (Business Insider).
- With Simon’s 4.5 x 1.4-inch monochrome LCD touchscreen and stylus, you could send emails and faxes, or page someone with a number code or text message on your handy porta-brick. Amazing. (r/90s)
- September 8: Lenovo Tech World 2021
- September 13: Android 12?
- September 15: Xiaomi Launch Event @ 5AM PT/8AM ET/1PM BST (possibly Xiaomi Mi 12, Mi 11T, Mi Pad 5, Mi Note 11)
- Also in September: As many as three Apple events? (iPhone 13, Watch Series 7, MacBooks, AirPods 3, more)
Tech Tweet of the Week
First: @Gallowboob is back, this time coining the term “brailing”. Turns out there’s a railing on a gazebo in Naples, Italy with braille describing the view for blind people. Wonder what it says?
Second: What’s new? Oh, not much, just this rat playing a harmonica. Not sure why, but it’ll definitely brighten your day.
— Living Morganism (@ok_girlfriend) — August 27, 2021
Have a great week!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor