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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 178th edition here, with Microsoft's big purchase, Samsung's new chip, and Wikitrivia, the game keeping us all entertained while we wait for the day's Wordle...
🎨 This week as well as gaming and hunting down the week's tech headlines, I've been learning to make things out of resin: coasters, candle holders, you name it. Strangely satisfying!
- Microsoft announced plans to buy Activision Blizzard for a cool $68 billion, which would make Microsoft the third biggest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony — and Activision Blizzard titles will come to GamePass. As Sony’s stock dropped 13% on Wednesday, following the announcement, we’re wondering whether Call of Duty games will stay on PlayStation.
- The Exynos 2200 launched: Here’s what to know about Samsung’s AMD-powered chipset.
- Samsung confirms Unpacked next month, bids farewell to the Note, and says the “Most Note-worthy” S series will launch next month.
- Another Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra leak gives away practically everything: Could be more like a Note 22 Ultra, with 5,000mAh battery, 6.8-inch AMOLED display, 45W wired charging speeds, and a choice of four colors.
- Samsung leaks Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra on support page, notch in full view.
- Speaking of the Tab S8 series, Samsung’s got the entire lineup listed with specs and images.
- And we got an early taste of the Samsung Galaxy A53 specs and design.
- The OnePlus 10R leaked, with Dimensity 9000 allegedly under the hood, 120Hz display, and at least 128GB storage, likely in India and China only, sometime towards the end of Q2 2022.
- OnePlus could be readying affordable phones with flagship chips: Leaks suggest the company’s working on a new phone line focused on performance and gaming, with a flagship processor, and a flat screen — doesn’t necessarily mean the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in theory, but we’ll have to wait and see.
- OnePlus product timeline tipped: OnePlus 10 Pro in March, Nord N20 in February?
- Google’s building an AR headset, Project Iris, which won’t require a tethered connection to a power source, supposedly running on custom silicon, expected shipping in 2024.
- Google Play Games launches on PC, but not for you (unless you live in Hong Kong, South Korea, or Taiwan): The limited beta works on Windows 10 and 11, with “more than 25” games available.
- More bad news: Google’s taking all your old free G Suite accounts as hostages. All G Suite legacy free users will be migrated to paid Google Workspace accounts, with no option to fall back to a regular Gmail account — and you’ve got until May 1 to select a plan and until July 1 to add a billing option.
- Also this week: Google sued for allegedly forcing DJs to lie about how great the Pixel 4 was in paid ads, could face fines of over $24 million.
- The P50 Pro and P50 Pocket are coming to Europe on January 26, at the company’s Flagship Launch Event.
- Oppo Find X5 Pro apparently spotted in the wild with Hasselblad branding, suggests Oppo’s following in OnePlus’ footsteps by teaming up with Hasselblad. And camera specs leaked this week too: Bye-bye micro lens?
- Oppo outlines possible battery-free future powered by cellular, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi signals.
- The new Motorola Frontier leaked, could have a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus chip, 200MP main camera, plus 125W wired charging, though no word on battery capacity yet.
- Apple hits a bump in plans to redesign iPad Pro with MagSafe.
- Apple’s VR/AR headset may be delayed until 2023, may retail for over $2,000.
- And Apple will let dating apps in the Netherlands offer third-party payment options, but it’s appealing the regulators’ decision.
- Meanwhile, leaker says Apple’s replacing 13-inch MacBook Pro with 14-inch ‘M2’ model.
- Also this week: Apple’s offering less than ever before for Android trade-ins, so why would we switch?
- NASA raises issue of dwindling astronaut numbers: Its current corps consists of just 44 astronauts following a peak of almost 150 back in 2000.
- Radian announces plans to build one of the holy grails of spaceflight: Radian Aerospace is designing a single-stage-to-orbit space plane that can take off from a runway, ignite its rocket engines, spend time in orbit, and then return and land on a runway.
- And Saturn’s “Death Star” moon might have a secret internal ocean.
- The Redmi Note 11 series will launch globally later this month, on January 26.
- And the Xiaomi 11T Pro launched in India: Plenty of phone for Rs 40,000.
- Meanwhile, Realme’s launching a Pro Plus phone for the first time.
- Here’s why your flagship phone doesn’t have a telephoto camera (probably): it likely all comes down to cost.
- And WhatsApp’s readying ability to import chats from Android to iOS — no word on a timeline yet, but it’s already possible to transfer chats from iOS to Android.
- The UK Government is reportedly preparing a PR blitz against end-to-end encryption over fears it could hamper child exploitation online.
- We’ve all been playing Wikitrivia this week — but haven’t forgotten about Wordle, and now the developer of a five-year-old app sharing the same name’s donating his sudden windfall to charity.
- Annual subscriptions for YouTube Premium/Music now exist, but they’re tricky — monthly subscribers can’t just migrate to an annual plan and will need to cancel their subscription first.
- And Amazon’s launching its first physical fashion store: Amazon Style’s first location will be in Glendale, California, promising a high-tech shopping experience where customers use their smartphones to browse available stock.
- Godzilla’s headed to Apple TV Plus: The as-yet-untitled live-action show is set after a battle between Godzilla and other Titans, and will reveal the monsters’ relationship to a secret organization called Monarch.
- Y: The Last Man is officially dead — Following its shock cancellation before the end of its first season last year, showrunner Eliza Clark tried to get another platform to pick up season 2, but it’s not going to happen, sadly.
- The Aristocats live-action movie is in development at Disney, written by Will Gluck (Onward) and Keith Bunin (Peter Rabbit).
- What to expect from Vikings: Valhalla on Netflix — The spinoff from the 2013 series Vikings launches February 25.
- Scream dethrones Spider-Man with $43M holiday debut. And here are all 5 Scream movies ranked, but where does the latest title land?
- Tired of Netflix after the latest price rises? Here are 14 great alternatives to try.
- Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings prequel series Rings of Power is going to be all about… well, the Rings of Power — here’s what you need to know.
- And more Squid Game’s in the works: Netflix co-CEO says there will ‘absolutely’ be a second season.
- If you can’t wait that long for your next dose of Korean drama, All of Us Are Dead, South Korea’s high school zombie series, hits Netflix January 28 — and the trailer makes it look like a cross between Train to Busan and Battle Royale.
- Sekiro speedrunner finishes the game in two hours, blindfolded.
- Someone got PS1’s Tomb Raider running on a Game Boy Advance.
- Meanwhile, somebody bid over $26,000 for a Castelvania NFT — the digital map of Dracula’s Castle from the original Castlevania was part of Konami’s Memorial NFT Collection created to celebrate the game’s 35th anniversary.
- But gamers aren’t happy about NFTs — so they’ll be delighted to hear Ubisoft’s in-game NFT sales have stalled.
- Rainbow Six Extraction launched on Thursday for PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Stadia, and Luna. Reviews are in, with IGN calling it “one of the boldest games in recent Ubisoft history,” even if the premise wore on the reviewer quickly, and Polygon complaining it’s “all grind and no payoff.”
- Archosaur Games revealed a first look at Avatar: Reckoning, its new MMO mobile shooter, coming later this year.
- And Square Enix is resuming sales of Final Fantasy XIV on January 25 — the game was temporarily delisted due to surging popularity.
- Finally, the Kingdom Hearts series comes to Switch Feburary 10, but playable via cloud-streaming only.
- OnePlus 9RT review: A lackluster return to value flagships — “While the base offering is decent enough, the phone does little to differentiate itself amongst a sea of worthy competitors.”
- Xiaomi TV Stick 4K review: Small step for streaming, giant leap for Xiaomi — An exceptional sequel and a great, reasonably priced buy for anybody looking for a simple, Android TV-powered 4K streaming stick.
- Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge review: 120W charging on the cheap — There’s more to like here than lightning-fast charging, including a premium design and dependable performance.
- Backbone One review: “The Backbone One made cloud gaming on the iPhone feel natural” (Engadget).
- Asus ROG Fusion II 500 Review: “A fantastic gaming headset, offering marvelous build quality and crisp and clear audio” (Trusted Reviews).
- Android 13 features: Everything we know so far — Name, release date, design changes, and more (Android Authority).
- Did you know you can still use Android’s cute yellow blob emoji? Bring some yellow blobby magic to your chats with the turtle blob or cheesy blob (Android Authority).
- Is Clubhouse dead? Not if you are in South Asia: “The frenzy around Clubhouse may have subsided, but many in South Asia are sticking to the app for unique reasons like reciting Urdu poetry and getting stock market tips” (restofworld.org)
- The Gritty, Underground Network Bringing Japan’s Arcades to the US: Japan’s arcades are in crisis, but when they close, machines are sold off by distributors to support exploding Western demand (Wired).
- What it’s like to make $100k+ walking dogs — A great deep-dive into dog-walking as a career move (though probably not one we’re destined for) (The Hustle).
On Tuesday, January 4, 2022, BlackBerry discontinued service on its classic phones (including any devices not running on Android). And this week, on January 19, the BlackBerry celebrated its 23rd anniversary.
But the original BlackBerry devices weren’t phones. The BlackBerry 850 launched on January 19, 1999, a two-way email pager with that iconic QWERTY keyboard. Way back when, owning a BlackBerry was considered a status symbol, and BlackBerry addiction wasn’t unheard of. The devices became known for their physical QWERTY keyboards and BBM, BlackBerry’s instant messaging app that was around long before WhatsApp.
During its peak from 2009-2010, BlackBerry owned almost 20% of the global smartphone market, selling over 50m phones a year. But with the advent of the iPhone, BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion, reportedly lost more than half its market value in two years.
In 2016, the company announced it would no longer be making devices. TCL picked up the license, but this ended in 2020, with Onward Mobility taking it on. IN 2021, Onward Mobility teamed up with FIH Mobile.
We thought we’d take a nostalgia-fueled trip back through the years and dive into some things everyone who owned a BlackBerry will remember. Did you own a BlackBerry 850, a 7100, or a Pearl? We’d love to hear your BlackBerry-related memories…
Nowadays if your friends/crush/girlfriend/boyfriend isn’t texting you back, the best you can do is send another text, check your read receipts, and hope they reply. But BlackBerry owners could send a PING!!! It was more like spamming your friends with messages which read “PING!!!” and literally made their phones buzz loudly. We’re sure this was responsible for the demise of more than a few relationships.
What’s your Pin?
Remember BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)? Before WhatsApp and Signal, before Facebook Messenger, BBM was the way to keep in touch with your friends, share stories, and chat. To contact someone you just needed their eight-digit BBM pin (and later a scannable barcode). Speaking of BBM, it’s not dead yet, as BBM Enterprise is available on Android and iOS — but it’s no match popularity-wise for WhatsApp and other messaging apps.
Smartphone addiction seems commonplace in the world we live in, but BlackBerry phones were probably the first phones people became addicted to. The brand’s devices were even dubbed “CrackBerry” due to their addictive nature.
Remember when taking a screenshot was fun? Nowadays we take screenshots all the time, without even thinking about it. In the heady days of BlackBerry’s peak in 2010, the Screen Muncher app took a screenshot of your screen, complete with a cute munching pink monster and accompanying sound… and that sound was loud. The above video should bring back some memories, good or bad — you can thank us later!
Let’s finish up with five things you (probably) never knew about BlackBerry:
- Research in Motion (RIM), the original maker of the BlackBerry, started out in an office above a pizza shop in Waterloo, Ontario.
- The name “BlackBerry” was actually chosen as marketing experts thought the QWERTY keyboard resembled berry seeds.
- RIM used to give out BlackBerry devices for free at industry conferences, to promote the phones to business people.
- RIM’s wireless network was one of the few to remain intact during September 11, 2001.
- Perhaps the most famous fan of BlackBerry was former US President Barrack Obama, though he supposedly only had 10 numbers on his contacts list — we wonder who they were?
- January 26: Huawei P50 Pocket and P50 Pro launch in Europe
- January 26: Redmi Note 11 series global launch
- January 28: Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection comes to PS5
- February 4: Dying Light 2: Stay Human launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, and PC (plus a Cloud version for Switch)
- February 8: Samsung Unpacked? (possibly Galaxy S22 reveal, with pre-orders from February 9, and the S Series)
- February 18: Horizon: Forbidden West launch on PS4/PS5
- February 24: Samsung Galaxy S22 on sale? (TBC)
- February 28-March 3: MWC Barcelona
Tech Tweet of the Week
Great not just for the picture, but for the associated Octopus-related knowledge we never knew we needed:
note to self: make a baby and put them in an octopus onesie pic.twitter.com/O6TnF9kVib— Rob N Roll (@thegallowboob) November 15, 2021
A little something extra: Robot Spy Hippo keeps an eye on hippos from a (mostly) safe distance.
Until next week!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor