1. Buying Google’s new Chromecast before launch, and the streaming box wars
We’re all set for Google’s Launch Night In event tomorrow, where we’ll get the Google Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5, with pricing and availability being key interest points. (The leaks are probably right, but there’s still more to know.)
And, amongst other hardware to be launched, is a new Chromecast, which for some reason is already on sale (above via Reddit):
- The codenamed ‘SABRINA-ABBEY ROCK CANDY’ is being sold at certain unwitting Home Depot and Walmart stores.
- Naturally, people are already buying the unannounced Chromecast, and finding its a $49.99 dongle that uses a rebranded platform, Google TV.
- Look, here’s a gallery or two of pics showing it being set up and in use.
- $50 for a streaming dongle with 4K HDR, and remote, plus Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, and not needing your phone to use it…
- Yep, that’s a decent upgrade over the Chromecast Ultra, which didn’t offer HDR, nor a remote.
- The current Ultra does offer an ethernet port for a hardwired connection, though, which can be useful for 4K and for playing Google Stadia without overheating issues on the streaming device itself.
In terms of the competition in this space, it’s fierce:
- Roku just announced its Ultra box is finally supporting Dolby Vision in the new $100 version (Engadget).
- Roku doesn’t detail its specs beyond basics. Its new Ultra has more RAM, a better quad-core processor, better Wi-Fi range. The ethernet port remains 10/100, not yet Gigabit.
- Adding Dolby Vision was overdue, given the Apple TV 4K ($180) and Amazon’s Fire Stick 4K ($50), and the Fire TV Cube ($120) all have had it for years.
- There’s also the super adaptable Nvidia Shield TV ($150) for more Android-based flexibility and a bunch of cheaper devices with fewer features.
- There’s a new Roku Streambar, too, a soundbar with, er yep, Roku, for $130.
- I’m excited to see where the new Chromecast stacks up among all these.
2. Xbox Series X first look: Fast, powerful and quiet. Reviewers actually have the new Xbox with them, and first speed tests and insights are coming out. And it’s fast! (Engadget).
3. It’s official: We’re not getting a OnePlus 8T Pro, meaning the OnePlus 8T will be a single device launch and the 8 Pro won’t be superseded this year (Android Authority).
4. Dell updates XPS 13 laptops with 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs with Thunderbolt 4. Still no AMD options, no word on XPS 15 range yet either (Android Authority).
5. iOS and iPadOS 14 review: iPhone transformation, iPad iteration (Ars Technica).
6. Google is cracking down on apps on its Android App Store: now much more strictly enforcing a 30% cut and forcing app developers to use its in-app purchases billing system. Not just Apple, now. Netflix and Spotify had previously avoided Google’s cut. Expect to hear more! (NY Times).
7. For the last time, please don’t buy the Apple Watch Series 3 (Gizmodo).
8. Mercedes-Benz reveals driving footage of its fairly wild electric car prototype (Electrek).
9. I keep hearing how good the game Hades is, available on PC and Switch. Here’s a review that confirms it all (Wired).
10. The palm is the new fingerprint. Amazon is rolling out Amazon One which lets you pay with your palm, and it wants its palm recognition technology in stores, stadiums, and office buildings (The Verge).
12. It might just be that the Auroras kick into a higher gear this week. Here’s a little guide of how to watch the Northern Lights, potentially (Lifehacker).
13, Scientists find evidence of multiple underground lakes on Mars (Space)
14. Great pics from the best drone photography awards of 2020 (droneawards.photo).
15. ELI5: “What happens to the sweat you don’t sweat from your armpits because of ‘anti-sweat’ deodorants?” (r/explainlikeimfive).
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