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SpaceX splashdown, Pixel 4a drops soon, and more tech news you need to know

SpaceX and NASA's success, Pixel 4a out today hopes to be a success, and more tech news you need to know today!

Published onAugust 3, 2020

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Monday, 3 August 2020.

1. Splashdown!

A great moment yesterday, as the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft returned to earth safely and on time at 2:48pm ET, after landing in the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola, Florida (Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls))

The moments where the drogues cut away to the four-parachutes opening were a little bit heart in mouth but everything was nominal and smooth for a comfy splashdown.

  • Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley waited out a long moment with boats surrounding it on the fairly still waters of the Gulf, before emerging.
  • Behnken and Hurley spent 64 days in space, and were taken out of the Crew Dragon by wheelchair, as is the normal precaution when returning to Earth’s gravity.
  • I say normal, but this was the first splashdown for American astronauts since Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Donald “Deke” Slayton landed off Hawaii back in 1975, so it’s been a while between normals.
  • Crew Dragon was lifted onto the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship shortly after for inspection.
  • That said, it wasn’t all smooth. Here’s a funny moment as the Crew Dragon was being hauled in, and more seriously, random recreational boaters crashed the splashdown (Space), hoping to get a glimpse of the spacecraft from up close, and get on TV.
  • NASA’s chief said ‘we need to do better,’ and SpaceX itself hinted the Coast Guard probably won’t let that happen again.

The moment: A SpaceX mission controller told the Crew Dragon: “Welcome back to Planet Earth, and thanks for flying SpaceX.”

2. Pixel 4a today

At the time of publish, Google hadn’t yet unleashed the Google Pixel 4a. Given it’s in Mountain View, maybe it’s more of 9am or 10am PT release?

A few more things to know:

  • Multiple reports have now indicated it’s a single Pixel 4a configuration, and it will go for US$349, but I haven’t seen solid leaks around pricing in £, €, rupees, or other country pricing yet, nor wider availability, nor RAM/storage.
  • There were some juicy leaks about 5G Pixels reportedly coming in fall, including the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5 (also 5G), but those won’t be today? (Android Authority).
  • I mean, Google may surprise, but it’s unclear re: the 4a 5G model, which is meant to be bigger.
  • In any case, usually I’d have a how-to-watch entry here but there’s nothing from Google in advance. It’s possible this will be a launch without an event, with just some Google fanfare through pre-shot videos, web pages, and social media.

3. Amid a flurry of news, the latest on TikTok, the US, and Microsoft: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke directly with President Trump and Microsoft confirmed it will “move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance” to explore a purchase of TikTok by Sept. 15. Any purchase will cover its operations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand ( Interestingly excluding the UK, and Europe.

4. OnePlus needs to get camera software right BEFORE the phone ships (Android Authority).

5. How the prices of Samsung Galaxy Note phones have changed over the years (Android Authority).

6. Apple reportedly eyes turning iPhones into payment terminals (Gizmodo).

7. A reminder why rich companies stay rich, and why asking doesn’t hurt: Apple asks UK retail landlords to cut rent by 50% and offer a ‘rent-free period’ due to COVID-19 (9to5Mac).

8. The Genki Covert Dock is a clever portable Switch dock, but it’s expensive (The Verge).

9. Google’s latest Chrome extension shows detailed ad-tracking data. Google’s own moves on ad transparency only help Google, overall (Engadget).

10. Tesla is reportedly close to making a more affordable Model Y (Engadget).

11. Profile of the 17-year-old Twitter hacker: from scamming on Minecraft to cryptocurrency to joining hacker forum OGUsers (NY Times).

12. The custom ringtone industry paved the way for the app store and then vanished (OneZero).

13. Here’s what it looks like inside a tire when you drive (Jalopnik).

14. A US travel firm was hacked. You can read the open chat between the hacker and the company, as they negotiate a $4.5M ransom (Twitter).

15. What do we continue to use after it is broken? (r/askreddit).

The DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun. Plus! Rotating daily fun for each day of the week, like Wednesday Weirdness. Join in!

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