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February 21, 2021
⚡ Welcome back to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority series that recaps the top Android and tech news from the week.
☕ Tristan Rayner with you again wrapping up a week that saw more touchdowns on Mars than the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
Popular news this week
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
- Android 12 is here: The first developer previews for Android 12 dropped on Thursday. The build is strictly available for Pixel devices and only recommended for use on phones you don’t really need to work perfectly, since they’re meant for testing, not daily driving. What’s new? A big section on that below.
- OnePlus got a tick: Some good news for OnePlus: people really liked OnePlus’ solution to selfies cams versus under-display options. Meanwhile, a new report speculated that OnePlus has reached a record high market share in the US via solid Nord N10 and N100 sales through carriers. The report was thin on details, but it’s still good news for one of the few China-made brands attempting to make gains in the US.
- Poco loco: The India wing of the Xiaomi spin-off revealed fresh branding and a “mad” devil mascot to go with it… and the internet piled on because it’s all a bit odd. Will it help sell phones? 80% of votes in the linked poll don’t like it.
- Nothing: Nothing bought Essential’s trademarks, though founder Carl Pei hosed down thoughts of any immediate revivals of that one-time Android smartphone company.
- Realme flagship: Realme set a March 4 launch date for its 2021 Snapdragon 888 flagship, revealed to be the Realme GT 5G. (Android Authority)
- Facebook banned Australian news: A big moment in Australia, as Facebook responded to proposed government regulations by banning the sharing of Australian news. It also removed all content on Australian news outlets’ Facebook pages. A big problem is that the Australian government’s proposed laws look misguided at best: World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee thinks the Australian law could make the internet “unworkable.” (The Independent)
- Nvidia addresses the GPU shortage: Nvidia is purposefully hobbling its new RTX 3060 GPU, specifically to disincentivize Ethereum cryptocurrency mining. The company also has a specific new product for mining cryptocurrency: a Cryptocurrency Mining Processor, which won’t handle graphics at all. A win for gamers, and miners, who no longer have to compete for GPUs. (The Verge)
- Perseverance landed on Mars: A lot of excitement about NASA sticking the landing of the most tech-spec’d rover ever on Mars. Now interest moves to the rover’s potential to take Mars soil samples to tell us more about microbial life. The test helicopter Ingenuinty’s first flight in the coming months will also be hugely interesting.
- Valheim: And if you’re PC gaming this weekend, Valheim is the game currently blowing up — a survival game that is tough, but with less tedium. More methodical surviving, less dull mechanics and grinding. PC/Linux only, for now. (PC Gamer)
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
A few reviews coming at you this week, including the last review of the trio of S21 phones:
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus review: Awkwardly squeezed between the capable and affordable Galaxy S21, and the leading S21 Ultra.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite review: It’s the simplest and of the cheapest streaming solutions, but it’s only got the basics. Stick to something higher end for your 65-inch 4K TV, we’d say.
- And an odd one: the Oppo X 2021 rollable phone already has a real-life review from a French YouTuber, somehow. It looks pretty amazing.
- Don’t miss some super-popular camera shootouts from Rob Triggs, who put the new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra through its paces versus the Google Pixel 5, and versus the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max. Both are informative and revealing.
- Why Samsung should ditch Tizen for Wear OS (and why it shouldn’t)
- Teracube 2e is a $200 eco-phone with a four-year warranty — but is it good enough to use as a daily driver?
- The most intriguing canceled smartphones, starting with some lost phones from Essential, and featuring the long-lost HTC Pixel 2 XL.
- What is Mini-LED and why is Apple adopting it?
- John Deere promised farmers it would make tractors easy to repair. It lied. (Vice)
- “Four work-from-home tech tricks I learned from Twitch streamers.” (Wired)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Full Android 12 coverage begins with Google’s release of the developer preview of what it’s calling a “more intuitive, better performing, and more secure” version of its mobile OS.
Here’s where to start:
- Joe Hindy with his Android 12 hands-on video, and Jimmy Westenberg with a detailed written explainer.
- Android 12 features: Everything confirmed and rumored so far.
- Google hid the big UI changes in Android 12, but screenshots of what’s coming are dropping.
- When can you expect Android 12 to actually launch for all? A helpful timeline!
- How to get the Android 12 developer preview on your Pixel (as long as you know it’s likely to be too buggy to use as a daily driver).
- And a feature worth consideration: Google is taking even more control over OS updates with Android 12.
- February 22: Huawei’s next foldable phone is officially coming.
- February 25: Xiaomi’s Redmi K40 launch date.
- March 4: Realme GT 5G launch.
- March 10: Asus ROG Phone 5 launch.
- Expected in March: Oppo Find X3 Pro launch.
Tech Tweet of the Week
Another fun week in tech — thanks for reading, and catch you in the next one.
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.
The Weekly Authority: Android 12 entices already, and more
The Weekly Authority
The Weekly Authority: Redmi K40, Apple Car potential, and more
The Weekly Authority