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March 7, 2021

⚡ 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 with you with a fresh streaming music service on hand. More on that below... Let's take a look at the week that was, first!

Popular news this week

Non-stop big stories for you this week. Let’s break it down:

  • Google stops third-party ad targeting: In a surprising move, Google will stop using your browser history for ad targeting. More on this below (Android Authority).
  • OnePlus: OnePlus announced it will announce something on March 8, which is likely the OnePlus 9 series’ launch day date — rumored to be March 23. Also, OnePlus 9 series pre-order details leaked. In other OnePlus news, a report strongly linked the OnePlus Nord 2 to a flagship-level chipset from …MediaTek. A first MediaTek chipset for OnePlus would surprise (Android Authority).
  • Oppo Find X3: The Oppo Find X3 Series launch date was announced — March 11 is the date (Android Authority).
  • Redmi Note 10 series: The super-popular Redmi Note series reaches 10 — the Note 10 series has OLED screens, a new Pro Max model, and more (Android Authority).
  • Realme GT: The Realme GT is now official: A 6.4-inch, Snapdragon 888, 120Hz display phone for under $450 (Android Authority).
  • iPhone 13: A whole bunch of iPhone 13 reports were picked up by the likes of MacRumors, showing that the 2021 iPhones look more like an “S” release. Same four device sizes, better specs and camera, and bigger batteries too. Probably the biggest change is a reduced notch with smaller Face ID sensors, and a 120Hz LPTO variable refresh rate display. That’ll make the next iPhones pretty solid and catch up to Android flagships in a big way. Will battery life suffer?
  • DJI’s first FPV drone: It’s fast, it’s furious, it can race, and it’s a motorbike of a drone. It’s not quite as adaptable as the DJI Mavic range, but it’s built for speed. Jonathan Feist from Drone Rush has more.
  • Nintendo Switch Pro: Fresh reports this week that Nintendo will release a new Switch during the holiday 2021 period, featuring a new 7-inch OLED made by Samsung Display. It’ll reportedly crank out a full 4K resolution when docked to TVs too. It does have the same 720p resolution in handheld mode though, but maybe that’s OK given Nintendo’s excellent exclusive games? (Android Authority).
  • LG V series: Uh oh. The LG V60 successor could be on indefinite hold. Reports out of LG Mobile continue to sound bad about getting another big LG flagship? (Android Authority).
  • Microsoft Mesh: Microsoft announced Microsoft Mesh, a promising-sounding mixed-reality platform, “which enables people to interact holographically with others.” It works on the HoloLens 2 along with other devices (The Verge).
  • Sonos: The Sonos Roam was revealed via an FCC filing, marking the second portable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker from Sonos. It’s coming in April for $169 (The Verge).

The team are about to have their work cut out, but in the mean time, there’s a good look at a new mid-tier Redmi Note, and a decent Bluetooth speaker, if you don’t already have one or two.


Samsung Galaxy S10 rear camera module
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 redux:  The S10 launched two years ago. How does it hold up in 2021 against modern smartphones? At the price, pretty, pretty well.
  • HMD interview: Juho Sarvikas on what’s next for Nokia brand in 2021. This one isn’t unmissable, but a quickfire 14 minute video interview, or the written summary, tells you more about what’s coming.
  • Interview with Luminar CEO Austin Russell (The Verge), the youngest “self-made billionare” in the US at least. Luminar claims to have a “functioning LIDAR that works at 250 meters, which is a breakthrough,” and supplies Volvo, Audi, Toyota, and others. The questions here are super great, Russell’s answers are a bit long, but there is meat there. 
  • We’re living on a planet of ants“: New book offers a fun sounding overview of ant life cycles, communication, and colony formation (Ars Technica).
Two thoughts: Huge month, and 🍪

1. Monster March

March is looking like an exciting month for the tech world.

  • Confirmed: Within a week we’ll see OnePlus announce its launch date and presumably its Hasselblad partnership, the Asus ROG Phone 5, along with the Oppo Find X3 series.
  • Rumored: There’s rumors suggesting we’ll aslo see the launch of the Samsung Galaxy A52, plus more limited availability devices including the supposed Xiaomi 10S and iQoo Neo 5
  • Launched: And that’s after we’ve already seen the Redmi Note 10 series, Realme GT, the Nubia Red Magic 6 with its 165Hz display and just earlier the Xiaomi Mi 11 series too.

What matters:

  • It looks like both the value hunters and those demanding premium flagships will each get something to play for here.
  • At the top end, the OnePlus 9 Pro (please let the Hasselblad partnership be more than just branding) and the Oppo Find X3 Pro with a rumored “microscope”, plus the ROG Phone 5 should be beefier than ever if non-stop gaming is your thing. All will be Snapdragon 888 beasts.
  • In the lower tiers will be the interesting sounding OnePlus 9R, the Galaxy A52, and something like a Find X3 Neo and/or Find X3 Lite from Oppo, offering Snapdragon 765G-type SoCs.

In any case, busy month. Which will come out on top?

2. Google, cookies, and why it matters

So, finally the cookie crumbles?

David Temkin — Google’s director of product management, ads privacy, and trust — suggests that the Big G won’t track users for advertising purposes once third-party cookies have been phased out. The question is: will that line be washed away in time, or will it stick around?

And why does it matter? I think more and more people are understanding that just because you browse a site that doesn’t mean you want your data sent to every advertiser and his dog.

  • What might’ve once been slightly interesting — getting a dog food ad when you visit a dog food site — has become creepy. It makes you feel watched, and preyed on. Your personal interests become monetized.
  • This should not be normal. You have a right to privacy!
  • And you have a right to open the door to those you would like to hear from, too. 
  • But the default shouldn’t be an open door.

So, is what Google is doing good? Well…..

The important quote:

  • “…[W]e continue to get questions about whether Google will join others in the ad tech industry who plan to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers. Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.”
  • Google said “72% of people” feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked online. “If digital advertising doesn’t evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web,” wrote Temkin.

So, what now?

  • Here’s a clue from the WSJ:
  • “Google says its ad-buying tools will use new technologies it has been developing with others in what it calls a “privacy sandbox” to target ads without collecting information about individuals from multiple websites. One such technology analyzes users’ browsing habits on their own devices, and allows advertisers to target aggregated groups of users with similar interests, or “cohorts,” rather than individual users.”

Google still wins:

  • Like Apple, Google’s first-party data remains in-tact for its properties and apps.
  • And, as the Washington Post points out, the catch is the web: “The changes do not apply to mobile phones running Google’s Android operating system, where the company still provides advertisers with a personalized ID for each user. Mobile Internet use is fast outpacing desktop browsers.”
  • So, via Android, and Google properties like YouTube, Gmail, Maps, and so on, Google has plenty of first-party data on you. Just like Apple does (Input).
Tech Calendar
  • March 8: OnePlus announcement — also this month: OnePlus 9 series launch?
  • March 8: Google Fit’s camera-based heart and breathing rate trackers arrive on Pixel devices.
  • March 10: Asus ROG Phone 5 launch.
  • March 11: Oppo Find X3 series launch.
  • Also in March: Rumored launch of the Samsung Galaxy A52 and Xiaomi 10S.

Tech Tweets of the Week

The legendary is back, with the involvement of original founder, Billy Chasen:

Thank you all so much! The love and support is amazing. It’s good to be back!
— turntable (@turntablefm) March 4, 2021

Buuut you need a password to get in. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

PW: Speakeasy.

A big week, and what a super week we have in store — thanks for reading, and catch you in the next one.

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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