Your tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Tuesday, January 28. 

1. First Motorola flagship phone in years has a launch date


Motorola at the Snapdragon Tech Summit 2019.Qualcomm

Motorola still sells a lot of Moto devices — I see the $89 Moto E5 (from 2018!) is consistently in the top ten of Amazon’s Best Selling unlocked cell phones. The market is strong for cheap, basic, functional devices for many people.

But flagships are the big money, and along with the Moto Razr (which is less flagship and more interesting old-is-new-again form factor) Motorola is back with a 5G flagship, and the next in the G-series, the Moto G8.

  • Motorola has started sending out press invites to a press conference at MWC 2020 next month, booking in Sunday, February 23, at 7PM local time.
  • Motorola President Sergio Buniac previously said in December at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit it plans to launch premium flagship phones in early 2020.
  • With only a vague schedule, he also promised the “fastest 5G phone on Qualcomm’s flagship platform,” meaning the new Snapdragon 865 chipset.
  • That also will compliment at least one other new Moto device using the Snapdragon 765 platform, according to Buniac.
  • Reports have consistently suggested it’ll be called the Motorola Edge Plus.

Why does it matter?

  • The Lenovo-owned Motorola Mobility last put out a clear flagship — the Moto Z2 Force, in August 2017.
  • Since then, it’s been a mix of mid-range and value devices, which still serve a purpose, but have let the likes of Apple, Samsung, and OnePlus dominate the US flagship market.
  • Given the US hasn’t had Huawei, Oppo, or Xiaomi devices disrupting that market, there’s still room for Motorola and the presumed Motorola Edge Plus.
  • A dedicated fanbase of Moto fans is still out there, and depending on the price, value, and support from carriers, a new contender into the mix would be welcome.
  • It’s probably not going to go for a song, though: if it is on the Snapdragon 865 platform, that implies a 5G device, and a significant upfront cost just for the chipset.
  • But it’s likely going to be a taste of a more affordable flagship at less than the cost of a Samsung S20 or perhaps event the next OnePlus 8 with the Snapdragon 865.
  • Where it fits exactly will be intriguing.
  • Oh, and last week there was a hint of another Motorola device with a stylus, taking on Samsung’s Note series.
  • Moto is turning it up to 11 if this is all to be believed.

G8 news:

  • Leaks galore! We also saw some leaks around the Moto G8 this morning, including supposed renders.
  • Confusingly, the Moto G8 Plus edition is already out (and lacking polish according to reviews), and the Moto G8 Play, but the vanilla G8 hasn’t yet been seen.
  • There wasn’t a lot of exciting detail, with the G8 to share several G8 Plus features, such as a punch-hole display, triple camera, a Snapdragon 665 SoC, and with a new sized 4,000mAh battery, and a physical fingerprint scanner, possibly embedded in the rear Motorola logo
  • It’s also said there will be a G8 Power variant with a much bigger battery at 5,000mAh, plus a fourth camera sensor.

2. Deal:$40 Amazon’s Echo Buds, first major offer on the new earbuds (Android Authority).


3. You can now get official Android tech support on Twitter: tweet your issue using hashtag #AndroidHelp  (Android Authority).


4. Lots of 10 years-since-the-iPad pieces yesterday. Just a few I thought were notable: Happy 10th, iPad: Steven Sinofsky reflects on Microsoft’s perspective (ExtremeTech), The iPad awkwardly turns 10 (“Software is where the iPad has gotten lost,” at Daring Fireball), and this historical run-through of the iPad’s career thus far: A look back at the iPad’s first decade (Wired).


5. Reports showing how Avast, an antivirus company, tracked everything its users clicked online are alarming (Motherboard).


6. Ring app shares personal data with Facebook, other unlisted trackers, says EFF (Gizmodo).


7. “The ‘Race To 5G’ is a giant pile of lobbyist nonsense” – a good point about a race that should never be, but a touch too ranty (TechDirt).


8. An AI Epidemiologist sent the first warnings of the Wuhan virus (Wired).


9. Bird confirms acquisition of Berlin scooter rival Circ. In Berlin that leaves Lime, Tier, Voi, Jump, which explains why the money ran out (TechCrunch).


10. Coronavirus death toll passes 100, a grim milestone (CNET). Also, Apple braces for disruption as the new novel coronavirus affects its supply chain (Bloomberg).


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