Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for August 9, 2019!


1. Huawei announces HarmonyOS, says it’s ready for smartphones

harmonyos

On early Friday morning, at its Huawei Developer Conference in China, Huawei announced HarmonyOS, its new operating system that has been hotly anticipated over the past months in the fallout following the Trump administration’s decision to put Huawei on the Entity List.

Huawei’s CEO of the consumer business group, Richard Yu, made the announcement (on his birthday, too). And, as expected, he revealed the new platform can replace Google’s Android – but it won’t, just yet.

  • Yu said that HarmonyOS can replace Android on its smartphones “at any time,” but that it will stick to Google’s platform.
  • “If we cannot use Android in the future, then we can immediately switch to HarmonyOS,” Yu explained to attendees, adding that migrating from Android to the new platform “is not that difficult.”
  • In a later press release, Yu explained further that the OS does it all, which is the future: “We’re entering a day and age where people expect a holistic intelligent experience across all devices and scenarios. To support this, we felt it was important to have an operating system with improved cross-platform capabilities. We needed an OS that supports all scenarios, that can be used across a broad range of devices and platforms, and that can meet consumer demand for low latency and strong security.”
  • He added: “HarmonyOS is completely different from Android and iOS.”

Why it matters:

  • This is Huawei’s backup plan, in case Android is taken away from it and consumers using its smartphones.
  • Harmony OS is a new platform in the consumer space, which does make it important.
  • It’s not based on the Android Open Source Project or AOSP, but something entirely new – not Android, not iOS, not Samsung’s Tizen, not Windows Mobile.
  • HarmonyOS will be used on smart devices initially, and Huawei is saying that HTML5, Linux, and Android apps will be compatible.
  • It’s “the first microkernel-based distributed OS for all scenarios,” per Huawei, meaning this OS will work on all platforms including mobile phones, wearables, laptops, and televisions.
  • The first device to use HarmonyOS in public will be the Honor Vision TV set, which will be launched in China tomorrow (August 10).

Questions:

  • We know a lot less about HarmonyOS than we know about it, and the questions we had before the announcement remain, further details are emerging.
  • In a two-player world of iOS and Android, can Harmony work?
  • Microsoft gave up after spending billions on Windows Mobile, and Samsung isn’t willing to try moving away from Android despite its work on Tizen
  • Is it more likely this will just be a China-only OS while it matures?

2. DGiT Intelligence: Top 3 best portable drones

DJ Mavic Air tucked awayDJI Mavic Air, via DroneRush

After the considerable amount of interest we saw a few weeks ago in drones, we asked Jonathan Feist from DroneRush to come back. And he did!

Here are the best portable drones – because the best drone is the one you can carry around wherever you need.

  • Feisty: “Many of the top camera drones out there are large beasts, requiring their own backpack for transport, but we’ve got a list of our favorite small form factor machines. Smaller drones that fold down to easily fit in your bag, or even your pocket, without much compromise in their capabilities.
  • 3. The DJI Spark (review) was close to a tie with the Yuneec Mantis Q (review), but the stabilized camera on the Spark took the win. This tiny drone offers up about 16 minutes of flight time, shoots 1080p video and can be controlled by remote, with your phone or just with your hands. Practice those Jedi mind tricks for basic flight functions. Best of all, the DJI Spark is just around $300. There’s also a Fly More combo deal for around $500 with more goodies.
  • 2. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom (review) share a spot again, and we saw these a couple of weeks ago. The same applies: they are twin devices, only the camera differs. The Pro has the best-in-class Hasselblad camera sensor, while the Zoom has a 2X optical zoom, and both shoot 4K video in their compact form. The starting price is around $1249 for the Zoom$1499 for the Pro.
  • 1. More often than not, the DJI Mavic Air (review) is the drone we recommend to most potential pilots. It is a compact drone, but then it folds down small enough to fit in a pocket. Its remote control was the first consumer product from DJI to offer removable joysticks as well, making for one of the most portable 4K camera drones you’ll find. With 21 minutes of airtime at over 40 mph, and a new level of hand-gesture controls, the DJI Mavic Air is an easy recommendation at around $700. Again there’s a Fly More combo, this time for $999.

Also:

  • Please remember, most countries around the globe have strict drone laws. In the United States, you must register your drone before you can fly and airspace restrictions may limit where you can take to the sky.
  • For more info on these and many other drones, the laws and some helpful piloting tips, visit me over on DroneRush.com. Fly safe!”
  • Oh, and Tristan here again – DJI has just put out new drone racing gear, including first-person view (FPV) gear and controllers. And it looks pretty wild.

3. Samsung is hiding its ads that made fun of Apple’s removal of headphone jack (Android Authority).


4. “Samsung Galaxy Note 10: Haters gonna hate” — an opinion piece that sums up much of the problem with hardcore fans who want everything (Android Authority).


5. Android Q: Google says Android users prefer ergonomics of classic three-button navigation over gestures, but gestures are more efficient and show more content. So now we have gestures (The Verge).


6. Ahead of the Pixel 4 launch, Pixel leader leaves team for new Google gig (Android Authority).


7. Here are the first photos shot with a 64-megapixel phone camera (The Verge).


8. Facebook is courting publishers with multi-million dollar deals to launch its news tab this fall (The Next Web).


9. Uber lost $5.2 billion in just three months, although the real loss from ongoing operations was more like $1.3 billion. Growth is slowing, but Uber Eats keeps going. More here: Why Uber’s stock just fell 10% (TechCrunch).


10. Google Flights will refund the difference if prices drop unexpectedly, for a limited time (Engadget).


11. Two of Berlin’s popular shopping streets will go car-free in a trial (CityLab).


12. Hotel for plants takes care of your greenery while you’re gone (CNET).


13. NASA’s Curiosity Rover stumbles upon a strangely complicated Martian rock (Gizmodo).


14. “People who downloaded their Google data and went through it, what were the most unsettling things you found out they had stored about you?” (r/askreddit).


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