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The Weekly Authority: Samsung Unpacked
⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 181st edition here, with the lowdown on Samsung Unpacked, Android 13, and the OnePlus Nord CE 2 launch date.
📱 I’ve been having fun playing Hidden Folks on Android this week — sort of like “Where’s Wally?” but much more addictive!
Popular news this week
- Samsung Unpacked was on Wednesday and we finally saw the long-anticipated S22 series. Some people watched in the Metaverse, and Bridgerton made an appearance. Not sure what we’re talking about? You can catch up here.
- Samsung explained it’s using abandoned fishing nets to build the Galaxy S22 flagships and also confirmed five years of security patches and four Android upgrades for the new S22 series, surpassing even Google.
- The S22 Ultra‘s the top-of-the-line handset, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 5,000mAh battery, S Pen, and Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with variable refresh from 1Hz-120Hz — and it looks amazing, now starting at a Note-worthy $1,200 for the 8GB/128GB version, $1,300 for the 12GB/256GB version which is the one everybody most likely should go for.
- The S22 Plus and Ultra got a 45W charging boost too, and pricing starts at $799 for the S22, $999 for the S22 Plus (8GB/128GB models), expect to pay $50 more for the 8GB/256GB option.
- Find out all you need to know about the S22 series in our buyer’s guide, or see what we thought about the S22 and S22 Plus. Plus, here’s which markets are getting the Qualcomm or Exynos variants: India’s confirmed as receiving the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
- Pre-orders are open now with delivery for launch date on February 25, but some reported a few pre-order hitches on Wednesday.
- Samsung’s also pushing ads for the Galaxy S22 on the S22 Ultra, months after announcing it was halting ads in its stock apps.
- Also at Unpacked: the Galaxy Tab S8 series goes official with iPad-killing Ultra model — All models pack the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, bundled S Pen, and 45W charging.
- Samsung confirms Galaxy Watch 4 (and future smartwatches) will receive four years of updates.
- Meanwhile, Samsung might be saying goodbye to the Galaxy S21 Ultra: the phone has vanished from Samsung’s US site and the US version is no longer available from Amazon…
- Google launched the first public iteration of Android 13 — a developer preview — and it’s our first taste of what Android 13 will look like. Looks like Google’s done trying to keep codenames a secret too: Android 13 is codenamed “Tiramisu,” though it likely won’t publically land as such.
- And though we wouldn’t recommend using it for your primary phone due to bugs and other major issues, here’s how you can install the Android 13 developer preview.
- Also this week: Some Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro users are reporting their phone’s Wi-Fi shuts itself off after most recent update, and that toggling Bluetooth on knocks out Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s not a widespread issue, but no word from Google yet.
- Would you buy a OnePlus tablet? Leak says it’s coming in the first half of this year.
- And OnePlus will launch a new Nord next week: the long-rumored Nord CE 2 is coming, but probably not in all markets at launch.
- Also: OnePlus officially announces Oxygen OS 13, which isn’t supposed to exist…
- Mark your calendars! Motorola’s next flagship is going global on February 24.
- And the Motorola Edge 30 Pro could have stylus, but won’t be a Galaxy S22 Ultra rival: the phone itself won’t store the stylus, so you’ll need a separate case.
- An outward folding flip phone could be a thing for some reason: It sounds pretty strange, but Motorola has reportedly filed a patent for an out-folding Razr, which would theoretically mean an external screen without a separate external display, but would also expose the folding screen to scratches and damage.
- iPhone SE 2022 release date leaked: On or near March 8, and a new iPad Air could be revealed too.
- Apple’s acquired AI Music, a company using A.I. to generate adaptive music and personalized soundtracks: for example, adjusting a tune to match a user’s heartbeat.
- And Apple’s “realityOS” for rumored AR/VR headset has popped up in source code.
Meanwhile, Apple debuts Tap to Pay feature that turns iPhones into contactless payment terminals.
- Meta’s stock continued to drop this week as investors reacted to the decline in daily Facebook users.
- Meanwhile, Meta threatens to shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe, citing European data regulations that prevent the company from ingesting Europeans’ data on American servers.
- And Meta’s rolling out a personal boundary in Horizon Worlds and Venues to stop avatar harassment: It’ll create the equivalent of four virtual feet around avatars, but this may be customizable in future.
- This week 35 years ago, astronauts Bruce McCandless and Bob Stewart completed the first untethered spacewalk while wearing a 300-lb Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).
- Extreme Hubble photo shows a galaxy ripping solar systems from another galaxy.
- And a geomagnetic storm may have effectively destroyed 40 SpaceX Starlink satellites, which could come crashing back to earth over the next few days: one’s fiery death was captured on video.
- The Redmi K50 has an official launch date: February 16.
- Lots of new OPPO Find X5 Pro and X5 series leaks this week too.
- And Sony’s strange doughnut-shaped earbuds look a bit odd: the LinkBuds WF-900 true wireless buds have a hole in the middle of the speaker designed to let ambient sound in.
- It’s official: NVIDIA calls off $40 billion deal to buy Arm.
- And Spotify has deleted over 100 Joe Rogan episodes, though not the controversial one.
- Meanwhile, Western Digital lost over 6.5 billion GB of flash storage after contaminated materials were used in flash storage chips, ruining at least 6 exabytes (6.5 million terabytes) and up to 16 exabytes of storage, 10% of the total market consumption in the quarter, will definitely lead to flash memory price hikes, according to Bloomberg.
- Subscribers to the Daily Authority probably already read Tristan’s take on the NYC couple charged with laundering billions in stolen crypto. There’s quite a lot to take in, including a rap video…
- On Wednesday, UK-based JET laboratory made a major breakthrough in developing practical nuclear fusion lasting five seconds, more than double the previous record for generating and sustaining nuclear fusion, putting us a small step closer to fusion power.
- Futurama’s back! A Futurama revival has been announced for Hulu, with most of the original cast, but sadly John DiMaggio won’t be returning as Bender — and the revival’s already dividing fans.
- There’s a new trailer for Stephen King’s Firestarter, in theaters and streaming on Peacock May 13.
- And the first trailer for Jurassic World: Dominion has some familiar faces, including Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum.
- Meanwhile, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power images finally tell us something about the show: Characters, plot points, and more.
- Speaking of, want to own the Lord of the Rings film rights? You’ll need a spare $2 billion, though.
- Netflix’s The Power of the Dog tops Oscar nominations list with 12 nominations, and overall, streaming services dominated in the main acting and best picture categories, with Amazon’s Being The Ricardos also snagging nominations for actors.
- Google TV could soon bring homescreen upgrades for kids and adults alike, including a new “Restricted Mode,” a kids’ profile watchlist, and “Google TV channels.”
- The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics enters its first full week but Olympic viewership is way down, with 16m viewers tuning into the opening ceremony on NBC across TV and streaming, down 43% compared to 2018’s Winter Games — so why aren’t people watching?
- And this: According to Morning Brew, “Village Roadshow Entertainment, co-producers of The Matrix Resurrections, sued Warner Bros. yesterday for allegedly hatching a plan to pad HBO Max’s numbers by releasing the film simultaneously in theaters and on the streaming service.” The movie’s grossed a measly $37 million in US theaters since its December 22 release date.
- Finally this week: Hooked on Pam & Tommy? Here are some similar movies and shows to watch.
- Following Dying Light 2’s huge launch last week, the game racked up 274,983 concurrent players on Steam over last weekend, and its creators have promised five years of support.
- Amazon’s Lost Ark (originally released in Korea in 2019) hit western markets on Tuesday, attracting more than 500,000 concurrent players on PC on release day, with the free-to-play version now available.
- And Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us is getting a second season in 2023 (woop!): Check out the new trailer here.
- Meanwhile, No Man’s Sky was announced for the Switch at Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct.
- And Ubisoft’s turning a planned expansion of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be turned into a standalone game code-named Rift, possibly a throwback to earlier AC titles, smaller and focusing on stealth, for release later this year or in 2023.
- New action game Sifu ages your character every time you die — and once you’re in your 70s it’s game over and you’ll have to start again.
- The latest PlayStation 5 update’s rolling out to beta participants, and includes some great Xbox Series X features like new party chat options, and voice commands, but still no variable refresh (VRR) support or 1440p support.
- Also this week: Body tracking could be added to the Oculus Quest 2, with the most recent release of the Software Development Kit (SDK) including an option for “body tracking support,” but no official word from Meta yet.
- Finally, Wordle’s “best” starting word has been found, and ruined, by Math. And also this week in Wordle news (it’s starting to feel like we may need a “Wordle” section!) Wordle saved an elderly woman from kidnapping.
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra hands-on impressions: A Note in all but name — “The Galaxy Note is back! Wait, no it’s not. Well, it sort of is, depending on your point of view.”
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 review: Budget streaming star — Top tier build quality, punchy speakers, and a wide display with thin bezels earns the Galaxy Tab A8 its place amongst the best affordable Android tablets.
- Redmi Note 11 review: Setting the bar for entry-level phones — With strong performance, an appealing screen, and solid build, the Redmi Note 11 is a solid competitor for other budget phones.
- Garmin Fenix 7 review: Greatness comes at a price — With solar charging and battery life upgrades, touchscreen displays, and new training features, the Garmin Fenix 7 won’t disappoint, but it’s expensive.
- OnePlus Buds review: A good deal, but poor fit (On sale!) — Reasonably priced given their impressive feature set, but what’s the point if they won’t stay in your ears?
- Which Galaxy S22 color is right for you? Are you a burgundy fan or more of a Green person? (Android Authority).
- Android 13 features: Everything we know so far — From name and release date to design changes, functionality improvements, and more (Android Authority).
- Welcome to Miami, where all your memes come true! “The city is trying to lure in Silicon Valley types, hyping the promise of sun, sand, and seed rounds. Does it want Silicon Valley’s problems too?” (Wired).
- Is the mysterious “Space Diamond” for real? An investigation into the potentially extraterrestrial gem, “the Enigma” (Mashable).
- Reselling gig work is TikTok’s newest side hustle: It’s as shady as it sounds — resellers hunt down cheap labor on freelance platforms then flip services like copywriting, for profit (The Verge).
- Head of Xbox downplays fears of Game Pass price hike: Phil Spencer talks exclusivity and price hikes (Kotaku/Axios).
Fed up hearing about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in gaming? It feels like NFTs are everywhere these days.
There’s been plenty of debate over whether NFTs are a total scam, what their point is, and why people actually want to buy them, but you can’t deny the fact that they seem to be taking over, from gaming to the art world.
Now things have gone too far though and NFTs are more than just apes on a page — they’ve invaded the real estate market. Say what? That’s right, what’s thought to be the first US real estate NFT transaction is happening this week as a house in Gulfport, FL goes up for auction. Bids start at $650,000 ether.
The sale’s being handled by Propy, a real estate tech company that previously sold an apartment in Ukraine owned by Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, as an NFT just last year.
- The NFT replaces the property’s deed by “representing a limited liability corporation that owns the property rights.”
- This in effect means that the winning bidder receives an NFT of a company that owns the house. So you’re buying a company, and the company owns that house. But what are you really buying?
Leslie Alessandra, founder of a decentralized finance company, is the Gulfport property’s current owner and wonders whether NFTs are just hype, or if there’s a real-world application, going on to explain that the auction is designed to stimulate conversation surrounding this. But critics worry traditional real estate law and crypto’s volatility could make NFT-linked real estate a risk in future.
- Technically, nothing much is changing in the sales process. All the standard-issue paperwork and deeds plus title transfers are handled in the same way, alongside the digital sale. So this is really just a gimmick, for now anyway.
- It’s important buyers ensure that their digital purchase confers legal ownership of a home through traditional means, though.
- And there could be legal concerns about who’s on the other end of the deal. What exactly have you taken ownership of? What if real estate taxes aren’t up to date, or if you’re sending payment to somebody in Iran, or other sanctioned countries?
- Buyers will need to do their due diligence or risk things going wrong — or even face a higher tax bill, depending on how the NFT sale is structured.
This could just be the start. In future, NFTs could be used to sell off pieces of a home’s ownership, or the sale of an NFT could convey the right of first refusal to buy a property, giving buyers the option to purchase a property at a set, agreed-upon price for a specific time period.
- February 16: Redmi K50 series launch (China)
- February 17: OnePlus Nord CE 2 launch
- February 18: Horizon: Forbidden West launch on PS4/PS5
- February 24: Motorola’s next flagship global launch (Edge 30 Pro?)
- February 25: Samsung Galaxy S22 on sale
- February 25: Steam Deck hits markets for pre-orders
- February 25: Elden Ring launches for PS4/PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC
- February 28-March 3: MWC Barcelona
Tech Tweet of the Week
Remember what we said about some people watching Unpacked in the metaverse? This brings back memories of Second Life (remember that?).
Hello! I’m going to be covering today’s #SamsungUnpacked event happening at the Samsung 873X place in @decentralandThis is part of Samsung’s efforts in the #Metaverse, I’ll be sharing my thoughts over at @CNET after pic.twitter.com/ahEzK4FhOv— Russell Holly (@russellholly) February 9, 2022
A little something extra: The winners of Minnesota DOT’s Name a Snowplow contest are in. Betty Whiteout takes the prize, with Ctrl Salt Delete 😂 and The Big Leplowski in close second and third place.
Until next weekend (When I’ll finally be playing Horizon Forbidden West)!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.