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The Weekly Authority: 📱 Foldable fun times
⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 207th edition here, with everything you missed from Samsung’s Unpacked event, even more foldables, Germany’s phone sales ban, and some good news for PlayStation Call of Duty fans…
🥵 Unbelievably, the Scottish heatwave continues, and most people have now either melted or burnt to a crisp. We Scots are just not cut out for this weather! If I’m still saying this next month, please send help.
Popular news this week
- Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Z Fold 4, Galaxy Watch 5 series, and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro at Unpacked on Wednesday. If you missed the event and watch to catch up, you can do that here.
- The Galaxy Z Flip 4 looks pretty similar to last year’s Z Flip 3, which might leave you wondering whether it’s worth the upgrade: Notable changes include the new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip, 12% larger battery, 512GB storage option, and faster charging — there are also some new colors in the mix this time around.
- Onto the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and again, a pretty similar-looking phone to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, with some notable upgrades: Slightly larger external and folding screens, thinner bezels, faster wireless charging speeds — and of course, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip, up to 1TB of storage, and a new 50MP main sensor, but the same 4,400mAh battery. Check out our thoughts on whether to upgrade before you make your decision.
- With the Galaxy Watch 5 series we saw the new Watch 5 and brand new Watch 5 Pro model (no Classic this time around). In a nutshell, both look pretty similar to the Watch 4 series, boasting most of the same health and fitness tracking features but adding a new infrared temperature sensor, sleep coaching feature, and Garmin-inspired training features. The Watch 5 comes in 40mm or 44mm sizes, while the Watch 5 Pro comes in a single 45mm option. The latter packs a bigger battery, larger dial, D-buckle strap, and titanium body. Both watches have Sapphire Crystal lenses, but neither has a physical rotating bezel — the Watch 4 Classic remains the go-to for users that want this feature.
- We’ve got thoughts on the Buds 2 Pro vs the original Galaxy Buds Pro coming up in our Reviews section, below…
- Pre-orders are open now through September 26, with general retail sales opening August 26 and you can nab some great pre-order goodies.
- Meanwhile, Samsung says its foldables will overtake the Galaxy S series, becoming its most popular phones by 2025.
- But for those still on the fence about foldables, Samsung just made screen repair so cheap it could change your mind.
- Google Photos Camouflage tool comes to Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, already available on the Pixel 6a.
- Google suffered a worldwide outage in over 40 countries Monday night, as users unable to access Google Search, Maps, and Gmail, though it’s not yet clear whether the outages were due to a software update as Google claimed, or tied to an “electrical incident” at the company’s data center in Council BLUffs, Iowa.
- And Google directly attacks Apple again over ‘green bubble’ nonsense.
- Germany has banned OnePlus and OPPO phone sales following a patent lawsuit — could other countries follow suit?
- Xiaomi launched its sleeker, cheaper Galaxy Z Fold rival, the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2, on Thursday, with big tweaks to the screen and camera array, but it’s a China-exclusive release for now.
- The Nothing Phone 1 brightness seems to have dropped by 40% from the original advertised brightness of 1,200 nits.
- According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, AirPods will switch to USB-C for charging alongside iPhone 15 in 2023.
- And Apple’s not expecting a drop in iPhone demand, despite slowing markets — asks suppliers to make 90 million iPhone 14 units.
- Also this week: Apple cracks down on websites sharing iOS 16 developer beta.
- SpaceX Polaris Dawn is planning its first crewed launch in December, with four people on board who will attempt a historic spacewalk.
- Meanwhile, SpaceX launches South Korea’s first moon mission, an orbiter named Danuri.
- Biden signs $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act: The package includes $52 billion to boost US domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
- Garmin adds another bright spot to its line of multisport watches with Enduro 2.
- And some bad news for those of you who own older Fitbits as a cool feature retires.
- India seeks to ban Chinese-made budget phones in a delicate balancing act.
- Musk will still buy Twitter if it can provide proof of real accounts.
- Meanwhile, Snapchat’s launching a supervision tool that will let parents see who their kids are chatting to, but not what’s being said.
- Facial recognition smartwatches to be used to monitor foreign offenders in the UK.
- And speaking of monitoring, Amazon’s Roomba deal is really about mapping your home.
- Meta is putting its latest AI chatbot on the web for the public to talk to, though it seems like it’s already bashing the company.
- Meta’s also asking you to trust Messenger as it tests end-to-end encrypted backups.
- Meanwhile, WhatsApp adds a critical security feature to view once messages, as well as silent group exits — and you’ll now get more time to unsend a message, up to 60 hours compared to the old 1-hour 8-minute limit. You can also appear offline (to everyone, or select contacts) with the long-overdue “online presence control” feature.
- Dozens of Whole Foods stores will soon let you pay with just a scan of your palm.
- It’s official: Oppo’s Color OS 13 is launching next week.
- And Oxygen OS 13, based on Android 13, is now in open beta for the OnePlus 10 Pro.
- Finally this week: Ford raises price of electric F-150 Lightning by up to $8,500 due to “significant” battery cost increases.
- Top Gun: Maverick passed Jurassic Park and Titanic to become the seventh-highest ever grossing film at the box office.
- She-Hulk: Attorney at Law premiers on Disney Plus August 18, and you can check out the trailer here. First though, here’s what to watch before you dive into the new series.
- Speaking of, Disney Plus and Hulu are getting steep price hikes in the US from December, with prices jumping from $7.99 to $10.99 a month to make way for a cheaper, ad-supported tier.
- Here are some upcoming shows and movies we’re excited for, including Andor, The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, and more…
- Speaking of shows we’re excited for, we’re a month away from season 5 of Cobra Kai, coming September 9, and some new season images dropped showing we can expect more from Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) plus the return of Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) from The Karate Kid Part III.
- We saw an official trailer for The Menu, Mark Mylod’s upcoming culinary thriller starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult, premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
- Meanwhile, an exclusive clip from Orphan: First Kill sees the return of creepy Esther (Isabel Fuhrman).
- Elsewhere, Google TV is apparently getting a ton of new powerful capabilities, including wireless audio features.
- And Android TV’s got a new competitor as TiVo introduces TiVo Stream OS and a plan to build smart TVs.
- It’s been a miserable quarter for video game giants, with Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all reporting a fall in quarterly video game sales, likely due to people spending less time playing and more time going out.
- Also: People spent much less time watching gaming streams this spring, according to a new report from Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet, down 19.4% from Q2 2021.
- Plus, it looks as though less than 1% of Netflix subscribers are playing its games: The service currently offers 24 games, but an average of 1.7 million people are playing them.
- Something more cheery: Here’s all the major fighting game news announced at Evo 2022.
- Speaking of Evo 2022, Fatal Fury finally gets a sequel after more than 20 years — and we saw the first trailer.
- Want to play more old favorites on Android? Here are the best emulators around.
- Activision confirmed PlayStation users will get access to this year’s Call of Duty beta first.
- And Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II multiplayer reveal set for September 15.
- Steam’s adding support for Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons as part of the newest beta update.
- Meanwhile, Blizzard will stop selling Overwatch loot boxes in August: when the current event ends on August 30, players will no longer be able to purchase loot boxes.
- Marvel’s Midnight Suns has been delayed a second time, now expected “later this fiscal year,” likely before the end of March 31, 2023, though Nintendo Switch players will need to wait longer.
- Finally: GamesHub has a review of the cutesy cult sim everyone’s talking about, Cult of the Lamb, just landed on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch. Plus, here are some tips you should know before you get started. Oh, and Nintendo Life called it “a bit more evil than Animal Crossing.” This is definitely one I’ll be playing!
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 hands-on: Polished for prime time — What’s new with the Galaxy Z Fold 4?
- Withings Scanwatch Horizon review: Diving into luxury — “This is, first and foremost, a health-focused hybrid built to catch glances.”
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Should you upgrade? Here’s what Samsung’s second-gen “Pro” buds really bring to the table.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 hands-on: Making the most popular foldable better — Check out our first impressions of Samsung’s latest foldable.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro hands-on: Still a classic? We spent a little time with Samsung’s newest wearables, and here are our thoughts.
- Should you buy a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 phone? “We tested the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 versus the 8 Gen 1, and the result is a big oof” (Android Authority).
- The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 convinced me that clamshells are the best foldables — “A year later, I’m still reaching for Samsung’s pocket-friendly foldable when I switch phones, and it hasn’t lost any of its charm” (Android Authority).
- Wired interviewed Meta’s new AI chatbot about … itself: “BlenderBot 3 learns by chatting with you and tries to ignore the trolls. Like so many of us, it’s very much a work in progress (Wired).
- This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting: “With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics” (MIT Technology Review).
- The hacking of Starlink terminals has begun: “It cost a researcher only $25 worth of parts to create a tool that allows custom code to run on the satellite dishes” (Wired).
Horror films have been on my agenda lately, with UK horror-fest FrightFest right around the corner (though sadly, I’m not going this year). The team over at The Hustle also got me thinking about horror movies and TV shows, and it seems like horror is good business for streaming services:
- Many of Netflix’s big hits are horror titles, or horror-adjacent shows, like Stranger Things, Archive 81 (why did they cancel it?!), Midnight Mass (and Flanagan’s other outings, like The Haunting of Hill House, Squid Game, and Fear Street).
- Prey, the Predator prequel, became Hulu’s most viewed premiere last weekend. It’s on my viewing list for this weekend.
- And horror’s also cheap to produce: The two most profitable films (comparing box-office to budget films) are found-footage The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity.
- The Blair Witch Project’s initial outlay was $35,000, but the real budget was somewhere between $200,000 and $500,000. It earned $249 million globally.
- Paranormal Activity cost $15,000 to make (and an additional outlay for sound plus reshooting the ending, taking the total to $215,000). The movie raked in $193 million at the box office.
Back to Netflix: The streamer’s most popular movie is apparently Red Notice, with horror flick Bird Box ranking third.
- Bird Box had a budget of just $19.8m (compared to Red Notice’s $200m). People talked about Bird Box for days, and it got 77% of the viewers for less than 10% of the cost.
- Horror movies are also great for sequels, reboots, merchandise…
- The latest Scream movie grossed $140m, but Scream’s not the biggest horror movie franchise out there.
- According to Movie Web, The Conjuring is the highest-grossing horror movie franchise of all time, taking $2.12B, closely followed by Alien at $1.72B (and think how many movies, series, and games the Alien franchise has spawned).
- It’s hard to say how many subscribers horror streaming service Shudder has, but AMC Networks, which owns Shudder, AMC+, and Acorn TV, had 9 million subscribers as of February 2022.
Yet Netflix is still canceling horror shows:
- Archive 81 reached Netflix’s number two spot in its top 10 lists, and stayed there for three weeks (in other countries, it even reached number one), yet the streamer announced it wouldn’t be returning for season two.
- French-language horror Marianne was canceled by Netflix after just one season, despite an endorsement by Stephen King.
- Most recently, teen vampire drama First Kill didn’t make it to a second season.
- Ultimately it seems like most horror shows just don’t bring in the viewer numbers needed for longevity.
- But at least we’re getting a second season of Squid Game.
Want more horror? Here are the best Netflix horror series to binge-watch this weekend.
- August 25: Last day for Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, Fold 4, Galaxy Watch 5 Series, Galaxy Buds 2 Pro pre-orders
- August 26: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, Fold 4, Galaxy Watch 5 Series, Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on sale
- September 1: OnePlus 10T pre-orders open (US)
- September 2-6: IFA Berlin
- September 10 @ 9 PM CEST: Ubisoft Forward showcase
- September 29: OnePlus 10T on sale
- October 6: Pixel 7 launch? (TBC)
- October 13: Pixel 7 on sale? (TBC)
- November 8: Skull and Bones release date on Xbox Series S/X, PS5, PC, Stadia, and Luna
- November 9: God of War: Ragnarok launches on PS4, PS5
Tech Tweet of the Week
French scientist Etienne Klein tweeted an image the James Webb Telescope had supposedly taken of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun.
It looks amazing, but look closer… Yup, it’s actually just a photo of a slice of Chorizo. It was a joke, apparently, but Klein said he’d also posted it to educate people about fake news.
Photo de Proxima du Centaure, l’étoile la plus proche du Soleil, située à 4,2 année-lumière de nous.
Elle a été prise par le JWST.
Ce niveau de détails… Un nouveau monde se dévoile jour après jour. pic.twitter.com/88UBbHDQ7Z— Etienne KLEIN (@EtienneKlein) July 31, 2022
Something extra: 10 years ago this week (August 9), a Jet Blue flight attendant quit their job in dramatic style, sliding down the plane’s emergency-escape chute with a couple of beers in hand. He forgot his luggage so had to go back, but even so, we sort of applaud his audacity.
Have a drama-free week!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.