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The not-good Microsoft Surface Duo, and more tech news you need to know today!
Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Friday, 11 September 2020.
1. Can the Surface Duo be saved?
The Microsoft Surface Duo finally has reviews out proper, and it seems the delays between early hands-on and final reviews were down to …bugs? Maybe?
The startling thing out of the reviews is how buggy it is:
- All reviewers pointed out significant issues, with lots of low scoring reviews. 2.5/5 from my colleagues at Android Authority, 6/10 from The Verge, 71 from Engadget.
- Privately, I’ve heard much less kind details about the software too.
- The Verge: “Microsoft is charging a starting price of $1,399 for the Surface Duo. Given its capabilities relative to other phones, it is absolutely not worth that price.”
- Microsoft is rolling out fixes, but it’s quite hard to understand why Microsoft pushed this from the original ‘Holiday 2020’ release to now, considering the software experience isn’t great.
- The main camera isn’t great. Some reviews thought the single shooter was acceptable and even good at times, others, including The Verge, said: “The Surface Duo’s camera is trash,” which isn’t good enough on a $300 device, let alone a $1,400 device.
- But there are positives! The reviews point out the new form factor has glimmers of hope for a new direction in the landscape, something closer to a portable tablet/booklet used as a miniature computer.
- But many, many comments said it’s not comfortable to use with the software bugs as it stands. Even a co-founder of Android said it’s “pretty disappointing”.
So, where to?
- Assuming Microsoft is committed to the device, and I do, and with generous allowances for a first-generation device, it’s possible that one of the biggest companies in the land with enough developers to fill a small city, should be able to continuously improve the software experience.
- That may mean, perhaps sometimes in early 2021, the experience is smoother, faster, with fewer bugs, and perhaps combined with a price drop too, this makes sense.
- For now, it obviously does not. And the surprise is Microsoft allowing the world to see it as it is.
- Bring on the Surface Duo 2. But only when it’s ready.
2. Android 11 Go is available now for entry-level phones, and it will launch apps 20 percent faster (Android Authority).
3. Moto G9 Plus launches with a Snapdragon 730G and hefty 6.8-inch screen (Android Authority).
4. The rumored OnePlus Watch may not actually be an Oppo Watch clone as it goes for circular design, not the Apple Watch copies we’ve seen from Oppo in the past (Android Authority).
5. Rumored ‘Apple One’ services bundle could be launching soon, with details spotted in Apple Music App code (Gizmodo).
6. Apple reportedly orders ‘large number’ of Samsung foldable display samples (MacRumors).
7. Bose announces $279 QuietComfort Earbuds, with 11 levels of active noise cancellation. 11! Available on September 29th, preorders now, as these go after ANC hard (Laptop Mag).
8. Dozens of AmazonBasics products could pose a safety risk, says a detailed CNN report. Amazon has pulled some items but continues to sell some named in the report (CNN).
9. Tesla to export Model 3 made-in-China cars, something Elon Musk said it wouldn’t do (Electrek).
10. TikTok could face a US ban if it doesn’t find a US buyer in the next five days (Ars Technica).
11. NBA 2K21 is a rich, deep baller’s fantasy come true. So was NBA 2K20 (Polygon).
12. It’s the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, and the tropics are bonkers (Ars Technica).
13. NASA wants to buy Moon rocks from private companies (The Verge).
14. ELI5: Why does squinting help you see a little better when you don’t have your glasses on? (r/explainlikeimfive).
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