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What to make of a cheaper Google Nest with Soli radar, and more tech news today

A great thermostat getting cheaper is a win, but what's this about Soli radar? Plus more tech news you need to know today!

Published onOctober 9, 2020

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Friday, 9 October 2020.

1. New Google Nest Thermostat with Soli

Google Pixel 4 XL Teardown Soli Radar

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is usually hot on the heels of Apple news. Or, is busy talking about the Los Angles Lakers. But he had a Google scoop late yesterday: the company looks close to releasing a new, cheaper Nest Thermostat.

  • Now this isn’t A1 news because, you know, thermostats.
  • The original Nest Thermostats are a little bit special to me. I recommended them early on to some friends and colleagues, and each one raved about it more and more.
  • It became a challenge to find someone who didn’t absolutely love the improvement over old-style thermostats.
  • Being in Germany and stuck with incredibly terrible thermostats again, you come to appreciate what Nest created. Before Google stepped in and snapped them up, of course.

Anyway, Google is stepping in again to make Nest great for more people:

  • Per the reports, the company is set to launch a Nest Thermostat that will cost $129, almost half the price of the premium third-gen Nest thermostat, and $40 cheaper than the Nest Thermostat E, which is generally considered the best of the best for price/features.
  • It will have a plastic casing like the E model, rather than the metal touch and glass display of the flagship version.
  • But what’s cool is that it will use the Soli radar system that Google has been working on, and put into the flagship Pixel 4.
  • On the Pixel, it had some use but wasn’t exactly a superb new inclusion. It’s now missing in the Pixel 4a line and the Pixel 5, but Google did say it’d come back at some point.
  • If indeed it comes to the Nest line, and an FCC filing a few weeks ago now matches up with that perfectly, it could be useful. Maybe?
  • Bloomberg says: “The component reads a user’s hand gestures, so they can swipe their hand up or down near the device to control the temperature or move their hand toward or away to navigate menus. A Google spokesperson declined to comment.”
  • The idea of using the force to control the temperature sounds cool! It may be less cool in person trying to do it, rather than just reaching a bit further and touching. But these Nest devices already only turn on their displays when you get close, so it’s all coming together?

2. From yesterday, here’s what came of the Samsung Galaxy F41 launch. It does look like the M-series with better cameras for now, but here’s hoping the F-series grows to be something more (Android Authority).

3. Google Pixel 4a 5G unboxing and hands on: The Goldilocks Google phone? (Android Authority).

4. POCO confirms ‘true successor’ to POCO F1, addresses rebranding (Android Authority).

5. Black Friday vs Amazon Prime Day — should you wait to shop? Comparing to see which is best for your shopping (Android Authority).

6. PocketBook Color review: Is color E ink finally ready? (The Verge).

7. Microsoft is bringing xCloud to iOS via a web solution. Can’t have an app? It’s browser-based to beat the App Store problems (The Verge)

8. Apple is extending some Apple TV+ subs through February 2021 for free, which is either generous or needed because Apple TV+ isn’t going that well. Hm. (Android Authority).

9. AMD revealed its new Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 processors, including the ‘world’s best gaming CPU’. Arriving Nov 5 (The Verge).

10. If AMD’s big Zen 3 claim is true, Intel’s in trouble (Gizmodo).

11. The 14 juiciest quotes from the House Antitrust report (Wired).

12. There are two games that are pretty good now: Fallout 76, more recently, and No Man’s Sky, which took longer but has been pretty solid now for a long time and is free on Game Pass. Here’s why Fallout 76 is now good. (Kotaku).

13. NASA gets ready to land on asteroid Bennu as new studies confirm it is a rich source of carbon (ABC).

14. Driverless Waymo rides are opening to the public. Elon Musk isn’t so impressed, which prompted a little back-and-forth on Twitter (Jalopnik). The Waymo going public news itself could’ve been the top news of the day, but it’s not happening for a few weeks yet, and I’m waiting to see it from the public perspective.

15. “Which apocalypse would you like to see end humanity?” (r/askreddit).

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