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The Weekly Authority: 📱 Pixels get Android 14 beta
⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 240th edition here with the first Android 14 beta for Pixel owners, Pixel 8 display news, the ROG Phone 7 launch, over 20 minutes of FFXVI gameplay, and more.
🌞 This week I’ve been trying to plan a trip somewhere sunny, as the spring weather seems to have deserted Scotland. So far I’ve got Italy or Spain on the list, but I’m open to suggestions in Europe!
Popular news this week
- The first Android 14 beta is now available for anyone with a Pixel to try.
- And Android 14 will let you disable those pesky full-screen notifications.
- Speaking of, when is the Android 14 release date?
- Pixel Tablet leaks again showing a newly added hardware switch.
- The Pixel 8’s display could be even smaller than expected, Pixel 8 Pro could stay the same.
- Latest leak shows off all the Pixel 7a color options.
- Google hints at solving unwanted calls by injecting more AI into Call Screen.
- Google debuts auto-archive feature that reduces the need to uninstall apps, available to users and developers.
- And Google Messages gets a new trick to speed up photo sharing, likely applies to RCS messaging.
- Google offers Dropcam and Nest Secure owners an upgrade as support ends soon.
- Meanwhile, Google ceases software support for third-party Assistant smart displays.
- Plus: Google says Fitbit account migration is starting this summer.
- YouTube Premium users can now see ‘extra crisp’ videos compared to others.
- Finally: Chrome update makes browser 30% faster on high-end devices, but with a catch.
Oppo & OnePlus:
- The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is officially launching next week, on April 18, and we have a vague idea what to expect from the design.
- Xiaomi 13 Ultra leaked renders show it’s more camera than phone with that huge blocky camera island.
- And the Xiaomi 13 Ultra could solve a big issue with one-inch cameras thanks to variable aperture tech.
- Also: This Xiaomi 13 Ultra accessory could almost make it a point-and-shoot camera.
- No thank you, bloatware: Some Xiaomi phones now have 3 (!) pre-installed web browsers.
- Plus: Mi Band 8 with redesigned straps gets a debut date — April 18, expected to debut alongside the Xiaomi 13 Ultra.
- Speaking of, you can wear the Mi Band 8 like a pendant, though some features may not work.
- Several more companies are suing Twitter, claiming it owes them around $230,000 in unpaid bills and they don’t know if they’ll ever be paid.
- Elon Musk makes big investment in generative-AI project at Twitter.
- Twitter introduces 10,000-character long tweets for Blue subscribers.
- And Twitter “no longer exists” as a company, merges into Musk’s X Corp.
- Also: NPR leaves Twitter due to misleading ‘government-funded media’ label.
- Meanwhile, you might soon need to pay to use Snapchat’s dark mode on your Android phone.
- Google creates ‘experiment updates’ page to disclose changes to Bard, so you can see the what and the why for any tweaks made.
- Developer creates “regenerative” AI program that fixes bugs on the fly: Wolverine uses GPT-4 to edit scripts when they crash and explain what went wrong.
- Fancy making anywhere from $200 to $20K? OpenAI will now pay you if you find a bug in ChatGPT.
- Also: OpenAI confirms ‘no plans’ for GPT-5 training in the immediate future.
- And surprising things happen when you put 25 AI agents together in an RPG town.
- Intel and Arm join forces with the intent of toppling Samsung.
- New app replicates a Pixel Launcher feature you can use on any Android phone.
- And there’s now an app that makes Nearby Share work between Android and macOS.
- FBI comes right out and says it: Don’t plug your phone in at airports or you could be at risk of juice jacking, a hacking method that skims data from your phone.
- Cyber crooks can charge up to $20k to hack Android phones via Google Play Store.
- And WhatsApp to bolster user security with automatic security codes and device verification.
- Sad news for Heardle fans: Spotify’s shutting down the song-guessing game on May 5.
- Worldwide PC shipments plunged by a third in the first quarter, Apple hit hardest.
- HUAWEI brings its most unique-looking ANC earbuds to global markets: The Freebuds 5 boast a “waterdrop” design.
- Meanwhile, Garmin’s Instinct 2X Solar series lights up the lineup (in more ways than one).
- It’s not your imagination: Smartphones are getting brighter.
- Also: Cambridge University scientists create robotic hand able to hold objects.
- Plus: Biden proposes toughest auto emissions rules yet to dramatically boost EV sales.
- And you might remember the advert for a “rat czar” in NYC we shared a few months ago: Well, the city’s just appointed its new director of rodent mitigation, with a $155K salary.
- Google TV adds over 800 free TV channels, revamps Live tab.
- Meanwhile, HBO Max becomes ‘Max’ with new plans: Here’s what it means for subscribers.
- Speaking of HBO Max, Harry Potter series adaptation officially ordered, will feature entirely new cast.
- And The Conjuring TV series is in development over at HBO Max, too.
- We saw a trailer for Star Wars: Visions Volume 2, a nine-episode anthology.
- The Pirate Bay TV drama goes into production this fall.
- We’ve rounded up this week’s best new streaming movies, including rom-com Ticket to Paradise, black comedy Flux Gourmet, and Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel.
- We’ve also got the 34 best Indian original series to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
- Whether you’ve binged Beef on Netflix yet or not, Mashable‘s got a nostalgic guide to the show’s retro music.
- Cannes Film Festival 2023 lineup revealed: Wim Wenders, Steve McQueen, The Weeknd, and a record number of female directors.
- Finally, we saw a teaser for The Penguin spin-off series, starring Colin Farrell.
- PlayStation history: From console neophyte to all-conquering veteran — “From the mid-1990s to the cutting-edge PS5, we chart Sony’s console history.”
- The ASUS ROG Phone 7 and ROG Phone 7 Ultimate launched Thursday with the latest hardware, an updated selfie cam, and some new software tricks, though other than the processor and camera, there aren’t many upgrades over last year, and US pricing’s still unknown.
- Nintendo Live 2023 Seattle announced, with “fun gameplay, live stage performances, exciting gaming tournaments, memorable photo ops, and more.”
- And the final pre-launch trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom dropped on Thursday.
- Redfall locked to 30fps on Xbox Series X/S at launch, 60fps Performance mode to be patched in later.
- Ubisoft+ Multi Access comes to Xbox consoles, with the latest Ubisoft day-one releases, plus DLC and classic games.
- Microsoft is experimenting with a Windows gaming handheld mode for Steam Deck-like devices.
- PlayStation Plus Game Catalog lineup for April announced: Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Doom Eternal, Riders Republic, The Evil Within, and more.
- Meanwhile, over 30 games will leave PlayStation Plus in May, including Spider-Man.
- ASUS ROG Phone 7 review: The competitive edge — “Looks may be familiar, but cutting-edge performance is enough to lease the ROG series another life.”
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus vs S8 Ultra: Which tablet has the best value? “Which of these premium tablets is worth your money?”
- Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: The most powerful buds in Samsung’s Galaxy — “Samsung’s flagship true wireless earbuds offer the best features, but not the best value.”
- The Withings Sleep is the sleep tracker you’ll forget you’re in bed with: “Wear only what you want to bed.”
- Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4: Which should you buy? “Choose which device is right for you from Fitbit’s most popular lineups.”
- I really miss phones with pop-up selfie cameras: “Under-display and punch-hole cameras are interesting innovations, but pop-up cameras were way cooler” (Android Authority).
- The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is king of the hill, but the small S23 has my heart: “Striking that near-perfect balance between portability, performance and value” (Android Authority).
- The first ‘Easter eggs’ were an act of corporate rebellion: “When Atari’s video game designers were stiffed on credit for their work, they expressed their dissatisfaction through hidden messages” (The Hustle).
- Lunar laws could protect the moon from humanity: “Some space law experts want to treat the moon like a national park. Here’s why” (Popular Science).
- The Fortune Cookie Industry Is in Upheaval. “Expect Big Changes Ahead”: Could ChatGPT soon be used to write the fortunes in our cookies? (TWSJ, $).
This week we finally saw a launch trailer for Horizon Forbidden West’s Burning Shores expansion.
- The expansion will be priced at $20 and lands April 19, so not long to wait!
- Though Horizon Forbidden West is out on PS4, the DLC will only be available on PS5, and picks up right where the base game left off.
- You’ll need to have completed the main quest in HFW before playing the DLC, though.
- Expect a challenging new location in dangerous, untamed wilds, new characters, and plenty of new machines.
- This time around, Aloy will be exploring the ruins of LA, destroyed by “millennia of volcanic eruptions and violent seismic activity.”
There’s still time to pre-order the DLC and grab the two digital bonuses on offer, the Blacktide Sharpshot Bow and Blacktide Dye Outfit.
You’ll need to be quick though, as Burning Shores lands on Wednesday.
If you’re not an Aloy fan, you might be excited at news from Thursday’s PlayStation State of Play.
- We saw 25 minutes of Final Fantasy XVI gameplay which answered the question about whether Clive will be the only controllable character.
- We also got a glimpse of the menus, including the map screen and ability upgrade screen.
- And some side characters like Karen and Mid were introduced, along with the game’s main theme song, written and performed by Japanese musician Kenshi Yonezu.
- The game lands June 22.
- April 18: Xiaomi 13 Ultra launch (plus Mi Band 8)
- May 5: Hogwarts Legacy lands on PS4 and Xbox
- May 9: HUAWEI Mate X3 and P60 series Europe launch
- May 10: Google I/O 2023
- June 5: Apple WWDC (Reality One or Reality Pro mixed-reality headset?)
- June 8: Summer Game Fest
- June 11: Xbox Games Showcase
- June 12: Ubisoft event
Tech Tweet of the Week
me: *trying to focus on work*the outdoors on the first nice week of spring: pic.twitter.com/B6CavEbKrg— The Hustle (@TheHustle) April 11, 2023
Something extra: A museum in New York unveiled a giant Donkey Kong arcade cabinet that’s almost 20 feet tall — and once it’s installed on June 30, you can play it!
Have a great week!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.