Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Monday, May 11.

1. Snapdragon 768G: More mid-range power

Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 in hand

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

New for your Monday: Qualcomm has a fresh Snapdragon chip: the 768G. Well, newish:

  • The SoC in the mid-range 700-series is an overclocked Snapdragon 765G, which was already a moderately overclocked Snapdragon 765.
  • Qualcomm’s announcement was short but the facts are it has upped the speed of the fastest CPU core from 2.3GHz in the 765 and 2.4GHz in the 765G to 2.8GHz, and there’s 15% more performance out of the Adreno 620 GPU, likely meaning another 10-15% overclock too.
  • This is very much like the Snapdragon 855 to 855 Plus series upgrade from last year, but the 768G adds a few new features too.
  • This is the first SoC supporting Bluetooth 5.2 which features LE Audio and the new LC3 codec. More on the Low Complexity Communications Codec here.
  • It also features upgradable GPU drivers, which should mean GPU tweaking and updates over time, something not really part of smartphones, but common in PCs.
  • Already there’s a device with the 768G: the first phone to debut with the new chip is the Xiaomi Redmi 5G K30 Racing Edition, in China for now.

What it means:

  • A couple of points.
  • The problem for premium smartphones with Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865 is that they’re very expensive, partly due to the cost of implementing 5G for Qualcomm and the makers themselves. More costs, more margin impact, high prices, and no one has managed to avoid that from Xiaomi to OnePlus to Samsung.
  • But lo! The 768G will take what is a lower-cost option from Qualcomm and get somewhat closer to flagship performance: the A76 2.8Ghz core will probably help narrow the single-core CPU gap, but it’s still a generation behind the Snapdragon 865 A77 CPU, while GPU performance still won’t be close. (We await benchmarks…)
  • But the 768G represents a 5G future, and its integrated 5G modem helps save on both all-round costs and battery life for smartphones.
  • That 5G is global too, with support for both millimeter-wave and sub-6GHz frequencies for most regions at solid speeds.
  • Which makes it prime for upper mid-range phones and good enough for gaming, in a more affordable package overall.
  • Which is just what Android smartphones might need to offer almost-flagship-feature-sets, but hopefully at way less than $1,000.

2. Apple iPhone 12 could follow Android rivals with 120Hz screen (Android Authority).


3. Google Pixel 4 XL revisited: The good and bad after six months (Android Authority).


4. Google Pixel Buds 2 will get regular feature updates (Android Authority).


5. The Galaxy S line isn’t selling well anymore, and that could be a good thing (Android Authority).


6. Uh oh, there’s a Thunderbolt port hack issue: A new ‘Thunderspy’ attack requires physical access to an Intel PC with a Thunderbolt port, and a hack can take place in about five minutes, affecting Intel PCs (including MacBooks) made before 2019, not that it should freak you out. New PC vulnerabilities (that reportedly can’t be patched) are bad but most people should already realize a hacker can get high-level access if they have a physical device. But what’s more interesting is that Microsoft has long avoided offering Thunderbolt ports in its Surface line, citing security vulnerabilities. Is that now justified? (Wired).


7. Apple’s COO Jeff Williams recounts at a Corning/Apple press conference the mad scramble to switch the original iPhone from plastic to glass, at Steve Jobs’ absolute insistence, after its initial presentation (YouTube).


8. White House said to be in talks with Intel, TSMC for US chip factories (Engadget).


9. Thoughtful piece from Benedict Evans on ‘The VR winter’: breakthrough moments just haven’t been there despite VR improvements and investment, and promises that it will happen (ben-evans.com).


10. The Coronavirus is shaking air cargo to its core (Jalopnik).


11. “What are some places to explore online during quarantine to pass the time?” (r/askreddit). I suggest starting to explore this thread!


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