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The Weekly Authority: ✋ Pixel 7a hands-on, CES surprises
⚡ Welcome to the Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 226th edition here, with everything from CES 2023, a hands-on look at the Pixel 7a, the OnePlus 11 launch, some of the biggest video game releases this month, and more.
🤯 It’s the first Weekly Authority of 2023, and I started the year by watching Noah Baumbach’s latest movie, White Noise. If anybody can explain to me what on earth it is about, I’d be most grateful…
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Popular news this week
- Leaked video may give us our first hands-on look at the Pixel 7a, and it looks a lot like the current Pixel 7 lineup, with a matte camera visor, flat screen, and physical buttons on the right side. The biggest reveal is a refresh rate bump to 90Hz, plus higher-end features like the Tensor G2 chip, upgraded cameras, and wireless charging.
- The Pixel’s January software update has broken auto Bluetooth pairing for some.
- Google’s huge Vegas billboard tells Apple to stop dropping the ball.
- And Google’s bringing Android support to RISC-V, and that’s a big deal.
- Leaked press renders of the Galaxy S23 series colors show green, pink, and more.
- Samsung Galaxy A54 specs leak: Rumored Exynos 1380 SoC, 6.4-inch FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED display, and 5,000mAh battery with 25W wired charging.
- Plus: Samsung built an oven that can livestream your cooking.
- And Samsung’s new SmartThings Station is a hub, smart button, and wireless charger all in one, supporting Matter accessories out of the box, shipping to the US in early February 2023.
- Also: Samsung projects lowest profits in 8 years owing to weak smartphone demand.
- The OnePlus 11 finally launched on Wednesday, but China-only for now, with a global release set for February 7: It packs a 6.7-inch 120Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, up to 16GB RAM, up to 512GB storage, and a 5,000mAH battery with 100W SuperVOOC fast charging.
- Also, OnePlus might skip the OnePlus 11 Pro this year.
- Apple’s AR/VR headset will reportedly feature a physical dial for switching to a view of the real world, plus an outward-facing display to show a user’s facial expressions — will likely debut at spring media event or WWDC in June.
- Apple reportedly working on ‘AirPods Lite’ to compete with cheaper wireless earbuds.
- And Apple is increasing battery replacement service charges for out-of-warranty devices by up to $50.
- New year, new Twitter drama: Twitter sued for not paying San Francisco office rent — apparently, the company is $136,250 behind on payments.
- TikTok begins rolling out the ability for creators to restrict videos to adult viewers.
- And Snap Camera is being discontinued, so enjoy one last hurrah with your favorite filters.
- NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft returns to Kennedy Space Center.
- Brace yourself for the E3 comet’s closest approach to earth at the start of February, when the space rock and its green tail could be visible to the naked eye.
- Why 2023 should be dubbed ‘Year of the Lunar Landers.’
- This upcoming smartphone will hit the limit of USB-C charging speeds with 240W charging.
- WhatsApp can now let you bypass internet crackdowns.
- Fossil announces Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition with 2-week battery life.
- And Citizen’s new smartwatch uses NASA technology to help you reduce fatigue, expected to go on sale in March.
- You can now buy a wearable sleep tracker for your baby: Halo SleepSure provides customizable alerts and helps track a baby’s sleep at home or on the move.
- There’s a new Qi2 wireless charging standard coming in 2023, but does it mean MagSafe is coming to Android?
- Meanwhile, this dashcam of your dreams comes with T-Mobile connectivity and AI smarts.
- Eve’s newest smart home devices are launching with Matter out of the box.
- Microsoft and OpenAI are aiming for a ChatGPT-backed Bing version to compete with Google.
- Speaking of, New York City schools ban ChatGPT to head off a cheating epidemic.
- Also, Sam Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty in a New York federal court on Tuesday to the eight charges against him.
- Tesla’s stock plummeted more than 12% on Tuesday for the company’s worst trading session in two years.
- Plus: Companies can ‘hire’ a virtual person for about $14k a year in China — The digitized humans are created with a combination of animation, sound tech, and machine learning.
- Weekend watching, sorted: The best streaming shows you might have missed in 2022, plus the 15 best movies of 2022, and where to watch them.
- We’ve also got the best new streaming movies this week, from horror comedy Freaky to the hilarious satire Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul.
- Plus, check out Gizmodo’s roundup of the 28 best sci-fi, horror, and fantasy movies of 2022.
- Plex Discover will exit beta in Q1 2023.
- Netflix’s 1899 is the latest show to be mysteriously canceled after just one season.
- And Netflix hit Glass Onion’s Among Us scene is a big moment for gaming.
- We got a sneak peek at the new Gran Turismo movie.
- And Renfield trailer introduces Nicolas Cage’s Count Dracula.
- This is why we can’t have nice things: The person behind popular PS2 emulator AetherSX2 for Android has ceased development, citing death threats.
- Asus’ new Xbox controller rocks an OLED display and tri-mode connectivity.
- Alienware’s new gaming laptops include an 18-inch beast, and it also reveals its first 500Hz gaming monitor, coming in the next few months.
- The Razer Edge cloud gaming handheld lands on January 26, costing $400 for the Wi-Fi model, but you may have to pay an extra $200 for 5G connectivity.
- And Sony says the PlayStation 5 shortage is over.
- Here are the biggest video game releases coming this month, including Forspoken and the Dead Space reimagining.
- Microsoft gets its first union: Around 300 video game testers at the company’s ZeniMax Studios (Fallout), voted to form a union that Microsoft has officially recognized, and it’s the video game industry’s biggest to date.
- Good news for Hitman 3 owners: You can get the previous two games for free.
- Got a Switch for Christmas? Amazon and Best Buy’s Nintendo Switch Online deal brings a one-year family plan and a 256GB microSD card down to $50.
- Sony PSVR 2 hands-on: A massive jump forward from the original — “A huge upgrade from the PSVR in every way that matters.”
- TCL RayNeo X2 hands-on: Maybe the world is ready for Google Glass now? “These AR glasses have some really useful features.”
- TCL Nxtpaper Phone Concept hands-on: I’m in love — “Imagine an Amazon Kindle mashed with a OnePlus One and a Pixel 5. Yeah, I’d buy that.”
- Lenovo ThinkPhone hands-on: The business phone you might actually buy — “Is it the Motorola flagship of our dreams? Technically, no, but also yes.”
- What is the Titan M2 security chip in Google’s Pixel phones? “The Titan M2 chip makes Google’s Pixel phones more secure, here’s how it works” (Android Authority).
- Is cable TV dying? Here’s what streaming’s takeover might actually look like — “With cord cutting now the norm, can linear TV hold out much longer?” (Android Authority).
- Video games need better dinosaurs. Paleontologists can help — “WIRED visited the Geological Society of America conference to learn about the untapped potential of gigantic reptiles in gaming” (Wired).
- Police identified the Idaho killings suspect with DNA databases, multiple outlets report, and the practice is controversial — Some argue using the tech in this way is a violation of privacy (Business Insider).
- A drug to treat aging may not be a pipe dream — “New approaches to the biology of senescence can make lives longer and healthier” (Wired).
- Why free stuff makes us irrational — “When something is free, people feel a positive glow — and standard cost-benefit analyses go out the window” (The Hustle).
With CES 2023 drawing to a close this weekend, we’ve gathered together a few of the top reveals and launches from the world’s largest tech show, including all the Android announcements from Google…
- Samsung announced the budget-priced Galaxy A14 5G, packing a 6.6-inch display with 90Hz refresh rate and 64GB of onboard storage for $199.99, but no release date as yet.
- TCL launches 40 series phones, some coming to North America soon.
- Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon Satellite feature, a satellite-based service for emergencies and two-way communication.
- Qualcomm could be beaten to the punch, though: Bullitt Group, the company behind CAT phones, announced a two-way satellite messaging service, to debut on an upcoming Motorola Defy rugged smartphone.
- AMD announced Ryzen 7040 series processors with on-chip AI — the first devices utilizing the processors will be available in March.
- Lenovo announced the ThinkPad Plus Twist with a standard OLED display plus a 12-inch color e-ink display and also revealed the Lenovo Tab Extreme, a 14.5-inch tablet running Android 13 out of the box, coming sometime later this year.
- ASUS announced the 2023 Zenbook 14X, with a faster refresh rate and Raptor Lake CPUs.
- Dell announced the UltraSharp 6K monitor to rival LG’s and Apple’s best, with IPS Black technology, a 4K HDR webcam, and plenty of ports.
- Acer Swift Go notebooks bring OLED displays in light-and-thin chassis: There’ll be 14-inch and 16-inch models.
- The LG Gram Ultraslim notebook is the company’s thinnest laptop ever, measuring just 10.99mm when closed, plus LG announced new Gram Style notebooks in 14-inch and 16-inch versions.
- HP revealed the DragonFly Pro in Windows and Chromebook flavors.
- And Samsung made a laptop display that folds and slides at the same time: The Flex Hybrid.
- HTC announced the Vive XR Elite headset, offering support for both VR and XR content at a significantly cheaper price than the Meta Quest Pro.
- Sony’s Project Leonardo is a very different PS5 controller for gamers with disabilities.
- MSI announced a new version of its Titan GT77 gaming notebook, with the world’s first 4K 144Hz Mini LED display for a notebook, but no word on price or release date yet.
- From budget to high-end, Dell’s latest gaming laptops cover every need, all offering Geforce RTX 40 series GPUs.
- Speaking of Dell, it unveiled second-gen Concept Nyx, the gaming controller of the future.
- Razer unveiled its new generation of Razer Blade laptops, the Razer Blade 16 and 18, both using the latest 13th-gen Core i9 HX Intel processors.
- Gamers will also love Samsung’s new OLED S95C 4K TV with its 77-inch display and 144Hz refresh rate, plus its 75-inch QN95C 4K TV.
- Samsung also revealed the massive 57-inch Odyssey Neo G9 gaming monitor.
- Meanwhile, ASUS announced the Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip, made specifically for PC cloud gaming, with support for GeForce Now and more, though no word yet on release date or price.
- Samsung announced its new 2023 Neo QLED, MicroLED, and OLED TV lineup.
- New start-up tech company Displace showed off its 55-inch, 20-pound TV that’s completely wireless, launching late 2023 for $2,999.
- TCL announced its first 2023 smart TVs, and they’ll be sold in two model categories: The S-Series will be the new TCL budget TVs, while the Q-Series will include more advanced features such as QLED screens, with pricing and release dates yet TBA.
- Also: You probably can’t afford LG’s latest TVs — LG’s 136-inch micro-LED TV will set you back $250,000, while its new OLED TV costs $25,000.
- Plus: Roku to sell its own smart TVs this spring, with prices ranging from $119 to $999, OLED TVs to come later.
- These AirPods Pro memory foam tips promise a better fit than the originals.
- Focal launched its Vestia speakers, geared towards both movie and music setups.
- And Audio-Technica re-released its iconic Sound Burger turntable.
- TechRadar has a great roundup of the best fitness kit at CES 2023, including smartwatches, sleep trackers, and more.
- Yeelight Cube is a cool new stackable Matter-powered smart lighting device with three models: Spot, Matrix, and Panel, available in March.
- Roborock showed off its new flagship self-cleaning robot vacuum that can wash its own mop, empty its dustbin, and refill its own water tank, with a new air-drying feature that prevents mold growth and odors.
- TCL unveiled its own Glass-esque AR smart glasses: the TCL RayNeo X2, as well as showing off a concept device: the TCL Nxtpaper Phone.
- Ring announces car cam to give your car more security.
- Chrysler’s cockpit concept is a preview of our screen-packed, button-less future.
- German Bionic debuts its lightest powered exosuit to date, plus an ergonomics-monitoring safety vest.
- Ember’s new temperature-controlled mug will support Apple’s Find My.
- And Canadian startup Glüxkind revealed its new $3,300 Ella self-driving stroller.
- January 5-8, 2023: CES 2023 (Las Vegas)
- January 24: Forspoken releases on PS5, PC
- January 26: Razer Edge released
- February (date TBC): Samsung Unpacked (Galaxy S23?)
- February 7: OnePlus 11 global launch
- February 22: PSVR 2 launch date
Tech Tweet of the Week
The adventures of one woman’s AirTag-ged lost luggage (h/t Mashable):
I’d just like everyone to know that @united has lost track of my bag and is lying about it. My apple AirTag shows that it has been sitting in a residential apartment complex for over a day. Out back by the dumpsters, I have found other emptied United Airlines bags. pic.twitter.com/fcoq4nj3zb— valerie szybala. (@vszyb) January 1, 2023
Something extra: We hope you got some nerdy books for Christmas, but never fear if not, as Shift Happens, the history of keyboards, is launching via a Kickstarter next month, and it’s a beaut!
Have a great week!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.