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⚡ Welcome back to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that casts an eye back across the top Android and tech news from the week.
🚢 Tristan Rayner on deck here, and once again, glad I wasn't on deck here.
What a week! Launches galore, reviews as well, and a host of new phones, ideas, and comparison points, plus a new Qualcomm processor that looks like a healthy upgrade to the mid-range.
- OnePlus revealed the OnePlus 9 Pro and the OnePlus 9, along with the OnePlus 9R and OnePlus Watch.
- Motorola’s G100: The first Moto G phone with a Snapdragon 800-series chip.
- Poco F3 and X3 Pro launched: Affordable flagships starting under $300
- Vivo X60 Pro Plus was rolled out globally as one for camera enthusiasts.
- The Realme 8 Pro launched but didn’t review well — more on that below.
- The Black Shark 4 series launched too, though only in China for now.
- Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 780G, the next-gen up from the popular Snapdragon 765/765G found in the likes of the Pixel 5 and 4a and OnePlus Nord and LG Velvet, and built on a 5nm process, too.
- Dyson’s new V15 Detect vacuum uses lasers (The Verge).
- One of the biggest things to happen this week was a huge Android apps crashing debacle, at the hands of a bad Google update to its Android System WebView developer component. That broke a huge number of Android devices and many people just thought their devices were broken — my colleagues here had to visit their families in some cases to help. What a disaster.
And other than launches — more news:
- Intel announced it will invest $20 billion into new factories, will produce chips for other companies too (The Verge).
- On that note, Xiaomi heavily implies global chip shortage could increase cost of its phones.
- And some intrigue here: Apple’s HomePod Mini has a built-in yet dormant temperature and humidity sensor (MacRumors). Which could be useful, and slightly weird, given it isn’t in use wasn’t mentioned by Apple anywhere.
- And Xiaomi is now reportedly planning to make EVs, working with Chinese car maker Great Wall to hasten the process.
Obviously the biggest two reviews this week were the OnePlus 9 Pro review and the OnePlus 9 review, both super interesting phones for different reasons.
- The Pro came out swinging with its Hasselblad-stamped camera chops and upgraded performance, but at $969 faces the biggest name in the land, in Samsung, and its very good Galaxy S21 for only $30 more.
- And the OnePlus 9 is $240 less. It does take a backseat on camera specs and loses telephoto, drops fast wireless charging, and mmWave 5G, and is slightly smaller ….but does any of that really matter? Display and performance are the same, the 5G rollout continues to falter, and if you go with T-Mobile, you get an IP68 rated OnePlus 9. I don’t know.
- But it feels like a genuine question, and I think that’s a good thing! Too often I only would consider the top-spec device because the gap to the vanilla model is such that it’s more-or-less wrecked.
A couple of others:
- The Realme 8 Pro was reviewed and it has some big problems, least of all the competition.
- Vivo X60 Pro Plus review: Vivo’s software, for years a problem, is much better but good luck getting your hands on the X60 Pro Plus, availability is scarce.
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 review: Low cost, high value
- Amazfit T-Rex Pro review: Rugged and respectable, but no third-party apps
- Huawei P40 Pro one year on: It’s nearly a year since the Huawei P40 Pro launched and was quickly dismissed for its lack of Google apps. What’s changed?
- TSMC: How a Taiwanese chipmaker became a linchpin of the global economy (Ars Technica).
- Augmented reality contact lenses are a step closer, with a new circuit design that allows very low power (IEEE). It processes images to allow zoom, contrast enhancement, and edge detection to aid those with low vision
- March 29: Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro, Mi 11 Ultra launch — with new battery tech?
- April 6: Intel’s “How Wonderful Gets Done 2021” launch
- April 12: Nvidia GTC conference
Tech Tweet of the Week
Here’s what happened to the Ever Given:
AIS tracking of Ever Given running aground @steffanwatkins pic.twitter.com/o10KAKrvI6— Eric Moreno (@KingNeptune767) March 27, 2021
All the best from your recently vaccinated tech enthusiast
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.