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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 162nd edition here, bringing all the hottest stories to your inbox.
🍁Back to reality after my week off and it's finally Fall here — Seven degrees centigrade this morning. Brr!
- Amazon’s Fall hardware event saw the launch of the new Echo Show 15, a new Amazon Smart Thermostat, and much more — though the star of the show was undoubtedly Astro, Amazon’s little Wall-E-type robot.
- Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro series has been experiencing some issues with its 120Hz refresh rate in third-party apps, and we’re still waiting on a fix for the bug. It may be that Apple is making developers use certain APIs for its LTPO tech to avoid battery drain…
- Meanwhile, Apple Watch Series 7 is rumored to hit stores mid-October, so not long to wait, and new Macbook Pros and Airpods could be coming at Apple’s next event, possibly on 12 October.
- The next MacBook Air may not be released until 2022, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
- It looks like the Galaxy S21 FE may be heavily delayed or even canceled due to the global chip shortage, according to Korea’s Digital Daily.
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 specs reportedly leaked for the budget tablet, rumored to launch in India this month.
- The Galaxy S22 could arrive later this year, and revised renders have leaked showing a more aesthetically pleasing design, although it could sport a smaller battery.
- Samsung’s future smartwatches could include solar charging tech, mounted in the watch strap.
- Android 12 stable release date is right around the corner on October 4, while Android 12.1 features leaked this week.
- This week also saw some Pixel 6 price leaks that were lower than expected.
- Newly discovered Android Trojan “Grifthorse” signs you up for subscription payments — here are the known affected apps to uninstall.
- The Vivo X70 series launched in India on Thursday.
- China’s energy crisis saw several key Apple and Tesla suppliers halt production at some of their Chinese facilities, according to The Nikkei Asia.
- Tesla started rolling out a Full Self Driving beta button for those who can pass a test, but the company’s already being sued by Texas cops after an Autopilot accident.
- This week in science news, scientists 3D printed the first-ever living brain cells, while engineers figured out how to cook 3D printed chicken with lasers.
- Babylon 5 is getting rebooted with J. Michael Straczynski at the helm.
- We saw the first official image from The Last of Us TV show which is pretty exciting.
- The house from The Conjuring is for sale, if you have $1.2 million to spare, that is.
- Meanwhile, The Guilty is in cinemas on limited release and landed on Netflix October 1 too. Or you could check out the original German (subtitled/dubbed) version on Amazon Prime Video.
- Fans of Flight of the Navigator can watch the original 80s sci-fi on Disney Plus ahead of the gender-swapped reboot.
- Nintendo’s OLED Switch lands on October 8 and is already receiving praise for its larger, brighter screen, though it’s said there are no plans for a 4K Switch Pro.
- Amazon’s MMO New World was released on Tuesday and players faced queues of up to 20,000 for popular servers.
- Netflix acquired its first game studio, Night School Studios, the indie developer behind 2016’s Oxenfree – and also released VR game Eden Unearthed on App Lab for Oculus Quest, for free.
- Vivo X70 Pro Plus review: Is addressing the complaints about its predecessor enough?
- Samsung Galaxy A12 review: Cuts some corners, but one of the better sub-$200 phones around.
- Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro review: These earbuds sound great on paper but fail to deliver the goods in person.
- Flexispot Sit2Go fitness chair review: Workout while you work, but not if you’ve got really long legs…
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Series — All the rumors in one place: Essentially a Galaxy Note, with an early-2022 release date?
- Samsung One UI 4 — Hands-on with all the new features for Android 12: From home screen customization to notifications tweaks and more.
- In a tiny Arctic town, food is getting harder to come by: The devastating effect of rising water temperatures on life in Igloolik (Wired).
- Is Facebook leading us on a journey to the metaverse? Soon we could live, shop, and work virtually (The Guardian).
- Behind the scenes — How Twitter decided to open up its image-cropping algorithm to the public: An AI ethics team set out to find bias in the algorithm (Morning Brew).
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know Amazon Games’ MMORPG New World finally launched on Tuesday, after a lengthy delay. You might even have been among the 20,000 players queueing for server access this week.
New World is Amazon’s “biggest video game hope yet” according to The New York Times. But it isn’t the game studio’s first foray into gaming by a long stretch.
- Amazon Games’ (formerly Amazon Game Studios) first announced its foray into video games in 2014.
- It revealed its first three PC games in 2016: Breakaway, which was canceled in 2018, Crucible, which launched in 2020, and New World, its latest release.
- After a delayed launch, Crucible was put back into closed beta last July, and servers shut down last November as the development team moved to work on New World.
The company was also involved in the development of a Lord of the Rings MMO game but this was canceled in spring 2021.
Amazon already has three development studios in Seattle, Orange County, and San Diego. In March 2021 it opened a new studio in Montreal, headed up by former Ubisoft Montreal members who worked on Rainbow Six: Siege.
- It seems New World is storming the charts too, becoming Steam’s most-played game of the year, with 700,000 concurrent players on launch day.
- That popularity came at a cost: Server queues were still in their thousands even the day after launch.
New World’s many styles
New World has already come under fire for being a mishmash of ideas and art styles inspired by other MMORPGs. There’s more to it than that though, and some of the inspiration behind the artwork makes for really interesting reading.
Set in the world of Aeternum — which would arguably have made a better name for the game — New World takes place in an alternate 17th century, aptly known as “the age of exploration.”
- You’ll do a lot of exploring in New World, though your first questline focuses on making some basic tools and gathering crafting materials and resources.
- Figuring out what to do first is part of the fun of an MMORPG, but plenty of guides and gameplay walkthroughs have sprung up online if you need a nudge in the right direction.
Is New World any good?
If you can get past the server queues, you might just find out. First impressions are positive though:
- IGN gets “strong Witcher 3 vibes” and mentions the “downright gorgeous” graphics in its review in progress.
- Over at PC Gamer, Fraser Brown, UK online editor can’t decide if he’s having a great time or downright bored…
- Meanwhile, reviews over on Steam are mixed as 53% of players award the game a positive rating.
New World is available on Steam and Amazon for $39.99 (£34.99) for the standard edition or $49.99 (£43.99) for the deluxe edition — and no subscription is needed to play.
Have you battled through the server queues and been playing New World? We’d love to hear what you think of the game so far.
- October 4: Android 12 stable release date
- October 5: Google event (MagSafe compatible chargers and accessories, new Nest, Maps?)
- October 7: Far Cry 6 release date (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, XSX, Stadia)
- October 8: Nintendo OLED Switch release date
- October 12: Back 4 Blood release date (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, XSX, PC)
- October 19: Possible Pixel 6 release date?
- October 21: Huawei event in Vienna, possibly P50 series launch
Tech Tweet of the Week
First, this utterly genius moment:
modern accidental renaissance pic.twitter.com/PyfowCDUUO— Rob N Roll (@thegallowboob) September 30, 2021
Second, for those playing New World right now…
did I write about this largely — perhaps even entirely — because I thought it’d be funny for it to appear in the washington post? yes https://t.co/1LmDmB9Opo— Nathan Grayson (@Vahn16) September 30, 2021
Have a wonder-filled week!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor