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⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 177th edition here, with a possible Samsung Galaxy S22 launch date, the OnePlus 10 Pro reveal, Horizon Forbidden West leaks, and more.
I've spent most of the week thinking it was still 2021, and that 2023 was two years away. Must remember it's now 2022!
- Here’s when the Galaxy S22 could launch, go on sale, possibly at a Samsung Unpacked event on February 8, with general sales on February 24?
- And the Galaxy S21 FE lands in India a little later than planned, pricing starting from Rs 49,999.
- We saw a complete leaked specs table for the Galaxy Tab S8 series, while leaks show the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra could be pricier than the iPad Pro.
- Samsung’s shut down the Tizen app store for smartphones, almost a week after Blackberry devices reached end-of-life status.
- Plus, report suggests lack of Galaxy Note 21 didn’t help Galaxy S21 sales.
- The OnePlus 10 Pro launched on Tuesday: but no base model (non-Pro), with a 6.7-inch LTPO 2.0 AMOLED display at 120Hz, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, a triple-camera setup, 5,000mAh battery, and some fast-charging specs including 80W wired and 50W wireless charging, though only with proprietary hardware.
- It’s China-only for now, though a global launch is confirmed — and looks like we could see regional variations: your OnePlus 10 Pro could be different from China’s one.
- And the OnePlus Buds Pro’s new firmware update brings Dual Connection, allowing pairing with two devices simultaneously, plus seamless switching between the two.
- Honor Magic V launched, essentially a bigger, thinner Galaxy Z Fold 3 but it’s China-only for now and no plans for a global release yet.
- Google launches Ripple, an open standard that could bring tiny radars to Ford cars and more:
- Google says it doesn’t want iMessage on Android, it just wants Apple to handle RCS.
- And Google Pixel Fold details are still emerging: could adopt a stubbier design than the competition.
- Google TV could get smart home, fitness integration later this year: possible also more free TV channels and Zoom support.
- Also this week: Android 13 info leaked, could make QR code scanning a seamless affair.
- Apple’s preparing for its first virtual event of 2022, supposedly in March or April, where we could see a new iPhone SE.
- Google calls out Apple for benefiting from iMessage green bubble bullying.
- Apple promises third-party payment options in iOS for South Korean users.
- And price leaks suggest the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max could get even more expensive, though it’s not the most reliable source, so take this with a pinch of salt.
- Rejoice! Apple’s $19 polishing cloth is back in stock. Will it sell out again?
- We’ve still no idea whether or not Apple’s working on a new iPad Pro with OLED screen, but South Korean site The Elec says the company’s working on a top-end tablet with an OLED screen, though we might not see it until 2024.
- Finally, Uber’s discontinued its Apple Watch app.
- Realme confirms GT2 Pro global release, teases more tablets and laptops: Our own Hadlee Simons interviewed Madhav Sheth.
- Realme 9 Pro renders, specs leak: Two steps forward, one step back? Looks like a 120Hz refresh rate and bigger 5,000mAh battery — but slower charging’s the trade-off.
- Also from Realme this week: The Realme Pad’s less than six months old, but won’t be getting OS updates, just security fixes.
- Amazon Alexa’s going to space with NASA’s Orion this spring.
- China’s Yutu 2 rover finally reached that mysterious hut on the far side of the moon, but it’s just a strangely-shaped rock.
- And NASA and ESA have completed deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope.
- The Sony Xperia 5 III is now available in the US, comes with a free pair of WF-1000XM3 true-wireless earbuds worth $200.
- Signal CEO Moxie Marlinspike (not his “real” name) steps down, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton to act as interim CEO.
- Meanwhile, the FTC’s antitrust suit against Facebook/Meta is cleared to move forward.
- Case closed: No evidence of censorship tools on Xiaomi phones, says German watchdog, following a claim by Lithuania that the brand’s phones came with censorship tools based on keyword filters.
- Wordle’s the perfect game for non-gamers, but iOS app clones are everywhere.
- We saw Ameca the humanoid robot’s first public demo, and it’s giving us sleepless nights…
- Something cute: Starlink’s self-heating internet satellite dishes are attracting kitties.
- 2015 Nvidia Shield TV getting Android 11 now, which is just nuts, and even the original Shield TV from 2015’s getting the update — but how is it that the seven-year-old Nvidia Shield TV is kept so up to date?
- Netflix raised all pricing across the US and Canada, taking the price of a Basic plan to $9.99 per month ($1 increase), Standard to $15.49 ($1.50 increase), and Premium to $19.99 a month ($2 increase), to allow it to “continue to offer a wide variety of quality entertainment options.”
- Speaking of, Netflix plans to make a Scott Pilgrim anime written and executive produced by series creator Bryan Lee O’Malley alongside Are You Afraid of the Dark? showrunner BenDavid Grabinski.
- Oscar-winning movie star Sidney Poitier died last week aged 94: Hollywood’s first black movie star and the first black man to win the Best Actor Oscar overcame enormous challenges and had a glittering career.
- And Spider-Man: No Way Home trounced The Matrix Resurrections at the box office, but thanks to piracy and streaming that’s a poor indicator of either movie’s success.
- How Yellowjackets Became TV’s Buzziest New Drama — I’m bingeing my way through this and it’s a 90s nostalgia trip with a soundtrack to match, but not for those who can’t handle gore.
- Fresh Prince reboot Bel-Air is coming to Peacock in February, and yes, Carlton’s finally going to be cool (and probably won’t do his famous dance) — check out our trailer breakdown.
- And you can save 20% on HBO Max for 12 months, but you’ll need to sign up by January 24.
- An early build of Horizon Zero Dawn reportedly leaked online ahead of its release next month: Images and footage shared to Twitter were later removed due to copyright holder complaints — neither Guerilla nor Sony have addressed the leak.
- Sony’s working on a 3D scanner that’ll allow you to put real-world items into video games: The patent was filed in June last year and isn’t granted yet, so don’t expect it in games anytime soon.
- And the Oculus Quest 3’s reportedly in development, rumored to have a uOLED display, supposedly arriving in 2023.
- Only a few weeks until Dying Light 2 is out, but it’ll supposedly take 500 hours to fully complete, though only if you want it to — following backlash from fans, the studio admitted the main story’s apparently only around 20 hours long. The final Dying Light Showcase is out too, detailing co-op gameplay.
- God of War launched for PC on Friday with 21:9 ultra-widescreen support — PlaystationBlog has some gameplay tips.
- And PUBG: Battleground goes free to play.
- Meanwhile, Fortnite’s returned to iOS and Android: It’s still not back on the app store but can be played via a workaround through Nvidia’s GeForce NOW service.
- Awesome Games Done Quick speedrunning event returned for 2022, running until January 16: If you missed the weeklong marathon you can catch up on YouTube to see games like Deathloop, Half-Life 2, Ratchet & Clank, and a blindfolded run of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
- Unpacking and Inscryption lead the nominations in the Independent Games Festival Awards (IGF).
- And Konami and GameStop have announced investments into the NFT space.
- Sony Xperia 5 III review: Small yet sumptuous — A few too many compromises to be a smash hit.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review: Too little, too late? Expensive pricing and market timing could prove the phone’s downfall.
- Roku Express review: Cut the cord and stream at a rock bottom price — Dip your toe into the device streaming market without breaking the bank.
- Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) review: Don’t sleep on this one — “Does a cheaper price tag, better audio, and sleep tracking make this a better buy than the original? You bet.”
- Amazon Smart Plug review: Plug-and-play for Alexa diehards — A solid solution for Alexa-based smart homes.
- OnePlus 9RT hands-on impressions: Straight outta the parts pile? “A little bit of Nord, a little bit of OnePlus 9, and a glaring lack of pizzazz.” (Android Authority).
- Why iMessage is such a big deal: A guide for the rest of the world — The green bubble phenomenon’s back in this week’s headlines, but what’s all the iMessage fuss about (Android Authority).
- Natural History, Not Technology, Will Dictate our Destiny: Ignoring the laws of nature is a grave mistake (Wired).
- The con artist who sold rich investors a fake country: Hark back to 200 years ago, when privileged Scotsman Gregor MacGregor pulled off a surprisingly brazen scam (The Hustle).
- Why scientists become spies: Scientists tend to believe knowledge should be available to all, which isn’t always a good thing (The New Yorker).
- Indicted Republicans and a dead Belarusian — What happened to Organic Fresh Coin? Behind the scenes of the doomed crypto project (Protos).
This week’s Horizon Forbidden West leak took everyone by surprise, but it’s not the first time a major game has leaked before its release. Luckily the offending material was removed due to a copyright claim, but now we have to spend the next month desperately trying to avoid any spoilers. The leak also got us wondering about some of the other notable game leaks throughout history.
Here’s our roundup…
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
The game itself wasn’t actually leaked online, but we knew it would be set in Ancient Greece thanks to a bunch of retail employees. Stores received deliveries of AC Odyssey keychains in advance of the game’s launch, with several employees sending anonymous snapshots to Kotaku.
Cast your mind back to 2012, when the future of the Fallout series was unknown. Kotaku received an anonymous tip including a script and casting documents for “Project Institute,” which later turned out to be Fallout 4. All the included info on setting and characters, plus the game’s opening scenes, was indeed accurate. We still have no idea how the documents fell into the wrong hands…
Bethesda actually did a pretty good job keeping Dishonored 2 under wraps until launch day. Unfortunately, somebody forgot to turn off their livestream, and the company accidentally went live on Twitch during E3 2015 rehearsals. Even worse, it was right at the point they were rehearsing Dishonored 2’s reveal, and though they didn’t mention the game’s name, news outlets and fans quickly realized what was up.
What’s the one thing games developers don’t want to leak online before a game’s release? The actual source code. The behind-the-scenes code for how the game was created and how it works. Oops — that’s exactly what happened with Valve’s Half-Life 2 back in 2003, when the source code was stolen and leaked online five months before the game’s release. It was the work of German hacker and Half-Life super fan Axel Gembe, and Ars Technica has a rather interesting follow-up on what happened to him ten years on.
In a story that’s almost too insane to be true, NeoGAF member krimsoncharge found himself sitting next to a developer on a plane on March 5, 2014 — a developer who just happened to spill all the juicy details of the next Assassin’s Creed game. Initially, the claims were met with doubt, but a couple of weeks later, Kotaku posted details and screenshots corroborating the story.
In fact, Assassin’s Creed Unity had several major leaks right up until its release on November 11, 2014.
Red Dead Redemption 2
On February 6, 2018, Trusted Reviews published an article in the lead-up to the Red Dead Redemption 2 release, including details sourced from a confidential internal document. Among other things, it claimed a battle royale mode in multiplayer, plus the ability to play the game in first person (both things that later turned out to be true). However, the fact the information was sourced from a confidential document got the British gaming site in hot water, leading to them paying out over $1 million in settlement, though the payment went to a charity chosen by Rockstar parent company Take-Two, rather than the developers themselves. The game actually had a bunch of major leaks, which you can check out over on Reddit.
The final tale on our list is one of the weirder ones. YouTube creator SupMatto leaked content for Borderlands 3 after finding thumbnails on Twitch and Reddit that he believed were in the public domain, and using these to create videos. Take-Two Interactive and 2K Games didn’t take kindly to this, filing two copyright claims. But the weirdest part was when two suited and booted private investigators, claiming to have been hired by the companies, showed up on SupMatto’s doorstep on July 25, to speak to him about his YouTube channel and livestream. To this day 2K has declined to comment on whether the PIs were actually hired by the company.
SupMatto’s Discord account was later terminated, and the backlash from the gaming community began, with #boycottborderlands3 trending on Twitter. The YouTube creator closed down his Twitter shortly after, later quashing rumors the video games publishers were behind his account’s disappearance.
- January 28: Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection comes to PS5
- February 4: Dying Light 2: Stay Human lands on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, and PC (plus a Cloud version for Switch).
- February 18: Horizon: Forbidden West launch on PS4/PS5
- February 28-March 3: MWC Barcelona
- February 8: Samsung Unpacked? (possibly Galaxy S22 reveal, with pre-orders from February 9?)
- February 24: Samsung Galaxy S22 on sale? (TBC)
Tech Tweet of the Week
The Matrix for cows…
A farmer in Turkey has fitted his cows with virtual reality goggles to make them think they are outside in summer pastures. Izzet Kocak found out the pleasant scenes make the cows happier and produce more milk.Future is metaverse! pic.twitter.com/DNZze8Wm5n— Shuja ul haq (@ShujaUH) January 8, 2022
Something extra: Sony’s made the strange decision to produce more PS4s in response to the PS5 shortage. Hmm, doesn’t really help those who want to play PS5 exclusives though, does it?