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The Weekly Authority: 🎨 Flip out for Flip 4 colorways
⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 205th edition here, with Flip 4 colorways, Pixel camera leaks, Asus Zenfone 9 launch, PlayStation’s summer sale, and more.
📚 This week, I’ve been reading The Haunting Season, a collection of ghostly tales for long winter nights (perfect for hot summer ones too). Probably explains why I haven’t had much sleep.
Popular news this week
- Official Galaxy Z Flip 4 photos and colorways outed in new leak.
- Speaking of colorways, Samsung Galaxy S22’s new color, Bora Purple (literally “Purple Purple”) is revealed, available starting August 10 from $799.99
- The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4 may use batteries from three companies, could help keep costs down.
- And Samsung’s cool 10x zoom camera could return on Galaxy S23 Ultra, the same camera seen on the Galaxy S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra, but will the company improve image quality in other ways?
- Bad news for the budget conscious: New leak points to major price hike for Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, though you’ve still got plenty of other true wireless earbuds options.
- Samsung confirms it won’t discontinue Exynos, in fact, it just signed a deal with Qualcomm ensuring Snapdragon silicon will power Samsung Galaxy flagships globally, including the S23 “and beyond.”
- Meanwhile, Samsung’s new Repair mode for Galaxy phones means you don’t need to worry about your personal data while your phone’s out for repairs.
- Upcoming Pixel cameras may have leaked, from the Pixel 7 series to Pixel foldable and Tablet.
- Google Pixel 6a’s fingerprint sensor reportedly may have a big unlocking issue, but Google’s yet to address the issue. While you’re here, check out our Pixel 6a review ahead of the launch.
- Google is bringing back the Frequent Faces feature on Pixels after quietly disabling it.
- And Google Play celebrates its first decade with a new promo and a new logo.
- Meanwhile, Gmail rolls out new integrated design with Chat, Spaces, and Meet apps — and if you need help, check out our guide to using the service.
- And Google announced a bunch of new Chromebook features in time for the back-to-school season.
- Also, Google Store to ban copycat apps and games, as well as some in-app ads.
- Plus: Google Maps gets closer to its immersive view feature with its latest update.
- OnePlus reveals 10T colors, and confirms the alert slider and Hasselblad branding are gone — here’s why.
- From chip to battery: Motorola confirms several Razr 2022 specs, and a regulatory filing revealed a few more nuggets of information.
- It looks like Xiaomi’s first 200MP phone will be a Redmi powerhouse.
- Apple Watch Pro to feature a redesign and larger display, new sensors delayed.
- Apple and other companies reportedly bought gold from illegal miners in Brazil: Google, Microsoft, and Amazon among other companies named.
- And bad news for Apple Card holders as the company raises interest rates.
- Russia plans to pull out of the International Space Station after 2024, though it needs to provide one year’s notice and NASA’s yet to receive any official word — it’s not yet clear if the ISS can remain operational without Russia.
- This might be the weirdest-looking rocket we’ve ever seen: The EcoRocket Heavy from ARCA Space is powered by steam, wider than it is tall, and looks a bit like a giant wedding cake.
- NASA plans to find aliens by using spacetime warped around the sun: A solar gravitational lens (SGL) mission can zoom in to surface features of exoplanets, so if extraterrestrial life exists, this might be the key to finding it.
- Asus Zenfone 9 announced, packing lots of high-end hardware in a small phone — more thoughts in our review, below.
- Lenovo launched its first Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 laptop: The new Qualcomm chip promises a big boost over the previous generation.
- Meanwhile, Huawei launched new MateBook X Pro notebook and MatePad Pro tablet.
- And OnePlus Nord Watch reportedly leaked, takes inspiration from Apple Watch, and might be cheaper than 2021’s OnePlus Watch.
- Data breaches are serious business, so it’s good to hear T-Mobile will pay out $350 million to customers affected by 2021 data breach, and that it will spend another $150 million on security improvements, too.
- Amazon’s raising Prime prices in Europe due to “increased inflation and operating costs,” with France seeing the highest hike of 43%.
- Tesla doors are baffling Uber riders: The falcon-wing doors, which lie flush against the car’s body, are pretty confusing to open, so the Uber app’s sending instructions with each booking.
- Instagram rolled back its plans for a TikTok style feed: Adam Mosseri explains why.
- Chinese scientists show off a laser that can write words in mid-air — according to the South China Morning Post, it “uses extremely short, powerful bursts to turn molecules into light and can create any pattern desired,” and could be used for brain imaging or precision manufacturing in future.
- The Pentagon announced it’s opening an “anomaly resolution” department to study UFOs
- That’s weird: Saudi Arabia wants to build a bizarre, dystopian city called “The Line,” where residents won’t ever have to set foot outside.
- Iconic British actor David Warner died on Sunday, aged 80 — you probably saw him in Star Trek, The Omen, Titanic, Twin Peaks, and Tron.
- And Tony-nominated actor Paul Sorvino has died aged 83, probably best known for his roles as Paulie Cicero in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Detective Phil Cerretta in Law and Order.
- Following last week’s San Diego Comic-Con, Gizmodo’s got a roundup of all the trailers and teasers released: 35 in all!
- Marvel’s new Disney Plus “Daredevil” series arrives in 2024 — the new 18-episode show will see Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio reprise their roles as Daredevil and Kingpin.
- Meanwhile, we’ve got the best new streaming movies this week, including body horror Hatching, Paramount Plus’ Honor Society, and more.
- Speaking of horror, Mashable’s got a spoiler-free Nope review, in case you want to know whether Jordan Peele’s latest is worth seeing before you watch it.
- Reviews for Netflix’s The Gray Man are also in — Mashable says it’s hard not to feel like you’ve seen this spy thriller before, and we tend to agree.
- And if you enjoyed The Gray Man, here are 9 movies like it to watch next.
- Hard to believe it’s been 30 years since we saw Geena Davis and Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, but a trailer’s just dropped for Prime Video’s new take on the baseball classic, streaming August 12 — and here are some other great new shows on Prime Video and Freevee in August.
- Also this week: The NFL launched its new streaming service, NFL Plus, on Monday, offering live prime-time national games and in-market Sunday afternoon games to subscribers.
- PlayStation’s summer sale is on, with discounts on a whole range of PS4 and PS5 games, like Call of Duty: Vanguard, The Quarry (PS4), Assassin’s Creed Legendary Collection, and more, until August 3.
- Speaking of PlayStation, we got an official early look at the PSVR 2 user experience, including a peek at broadcast functionality, see-through view, and more.
- And the latest PlayStation 5 beta adds 1440p video setting and several other new features.
- Annapurna Interactive’s showcase teased a new game from Kentucky Route Zero creators, and more.
- There’s no time like right now to buy the Meta Quest 2, before the price is hiked by a not-insignificant $100 on Monday (August 1).
- Things are about to get more mature in Meta’s Horizon Worlds VR experience with content creators able to have an 18+ rating.
- Meanwhile, Microsoft’s speeding up Xbox boot times by up to five seconds on Xbox Series X.
- Love them or hate them, microtransactions ensured Diablo Immortal earned $100 million in its first two months.
- Grand Theft Auto 6 will reportedly feature a female playable character in its campaign for the first time, and about time too — though apparently, it’s not actually the franchise’s first female protagonist, according to @denkicolin on Twitter.
- The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is delayed a month before launch, for “a few months,” though no firm release date set yet.
- And highly-anticipated co-op shooter Warhammer 40,000: Dark Tide has been delayed: Originally set for a September 13 release, the PC version’s now landing November 30, 2022, with the console version coming to Xbox Series X/S soon after.
- Dystopian document thriller Papers Please comes to iOS and Android August 5.
- While you’re here, check out our pick of the best Android games to play on your phone or tablet this month.
- Aww: Stray modders are adding their real cats to the game.
- Asus Zenfone 9 review: Small in stature, big on personality — “It doesn’t quite pack in everything you’ll want at this price, but the pint-sized Zenfone 9 bundles enough of the good stuff into a compact and quirky package to be worthy of your consideration.”
- Sony Xperia 1 IV review: Simply outrageous — “A sky-high price comes with sky-high expectations.”
- Oppo Reno 8 Pro review: Looks and brains, but what about value? — “A powerful, good-looking smartphone that struggles to stay afloat in a sea of competition and is somewhat torpedoed by its high asking price.”
- Are the Google Pixel Buds Pro good enough to be Android’s AirPods Pro killer? — “A decent alternative to the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro.”
- Why I’m (reluctantly) ditching my Pixel 6 Pro: “Connectivity and overheating problems leave me yearning for a more reliable handset” (Android Authority).
- Synology built a Wi-Fi router for the connected home, and I love it: “It might lack the flash of competing devices, but it makes up for it with fantastic speeds and reliable software that makes it easy for even novice users to get up and running” (Android Authority).
- Ready or not, the Glassholes are coming back: “Is the world finally prepared for hands-free cameras?” (The Verge).
- BMW’s heated seats as a service model has drivers seeking hacks: “Connected car companies now charge owners to use physical hardware they already bought—but some are pushing back” (Wired).
- Logitech’s new ‘gender-inclusive’ PC gaming accessories come with the pink tax: though personally, I thought gaming accessories were suitable for all genders, and I’m not sure why a coral pink and white keyboard has anything to do with gender (The Verge).
In a week where we discovered iPhones were best for getting dating matches, I also stumbled across this interesting story from Vice, which suggests sending amorous texts was a thing long before SMS ever existed. But first, a mystery.
- The story goes like this: Between 1850-1855, a series of unusual ads were published in the British newspaper The Times.
- They appeared to be a totally random series of letters.
- But now, almost 200 years later, codebreakers have decrypted some of them.
- Turns out, they were encrypted messages from an Arctic Ocean rescue expedition.
We won’t go into the whole story here, but basically:
- Explorer Lord John Franklin set out on an expedition from England in 1845, on a mission to find the Northwest passage (a sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific through the Arctic Ocean).
- In 1848, Franklin, his two warships (Terror and Erebus), and his 129 men vanished without trace.
- In 1850, Richard Collinson, an English naval officer, traveled to the Canadian Arctic to see if he could find out what had happened to Franklin, or discover any traces of his expedition. For the next five years, he hunted in vain.
- Yes, that’s the same five-year time period the ads were posted in The Times.
Cryptography experts believed there may have been a relationship between the encrypted ads and the Franklin Expedition. Cryptography enthusiast Elonka Dunin, cryptography expert Klaus Schmeh, and journalist A.J. Jacobs set out to analyze the ads and figure out the encryption method.
- Two past decryption attempts in 1980 and 1992 had failed.
- Long story short, once decrypted, it was revealed the ads were actually messages sent back and forth from the Collinson expedition members to relatives and family in England.
- Because The Times could be bought in any city around the world, it made sense to place the ads there, so they could communicate no matter where the ship sailed.
- But it seems like the communications only worked once.
- In 1855, Collinson “was able to get some news from home” when he obtained four copies of The Times in the town of Banyuwangi, Indonesia.
Not all 50 messages have been decrypted yet, so if you want to help the team out, you can look at the ads on a newspaper archive website.
What happened to Franklin and his men?
The story’s a long one, and you can read all about it over at the New York Times.
- In 1859, an official naval record was uncovered in a stone cairn at Victory Point, located on King William Island’s northwest coast, some 150 miles above the Arctic Circle. There were two messages. The first ended, “All well.” But the second reported that Franklin was dead. The Erebus and the Terror had become stuck in ice, and the men abandoned ship on April 25, 1948, marching some 600 miles south to a trading post.
- Two of the men’s bodies were found in a frozen grave.
- Though we still don’t know what happened to the rest of the men, a series of modern scientific studies suggested they probably died of hypothermia, starvation, zinc deficiency, or lead poisoning, along with general exposure.
- The mystery has inspired countless artists and writers, including Margaret Atwood, Jules Verne, and Mark Twain. Iron Maiden even wrote a song about the sailors and their doomed expedition.
- Artifacts from the expedition continue to show up to this day, with over 400 of them on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England.
- You can dive deeper into the mystery of the Franklin expedition with the Atlas Obscura “Beechey Island Graves” episodes (there are two parts), available on your favorite podcast app.
During her talk at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference in Queens last weekend, Jacobs revealed some other ads that had been decrypted, which were actually messages between lovers:
One, from 1856, read: “I have the most beautiful horse in England, but not the most beautiful lady. Your silence pains me deeply. I cannot forget you.”
At least he had the horse, right?
You may not be quite as literary as this fellow, but if you fancy giving writing your own dating messages a go, check out our roundup of the 10 best dating apps for Android. No, you can’t just post a selfie and hope your good looks will win them over…
- August 2: Motorola Razr and X30 Pro launch (China)
- August 3 @ 10 AM EDT: OnePlus 10T launch
- August 10: Samsung Unpacked (Galaxy Z Flip 4, Fold 4, Galaxy Watch 5, and Watch 5 Pro?)
- September 2-6: IFA Berlin
- September 10 @ 9 PM CEST: Ubisoft Forward showcase
- 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
Next time you’re worried about failing, just take a look at this:
There’s a “Museum of Failure” in Sweden which highlights 150+ failed products. It’s meant to show that innovation requires risk-taking and failure.Here are 10 gems you may not remember:— Trung Phan (@TrungTPhan) July 21, 2022
Something extra: Love Calvin & Hobbes? This search engine lets you input almost any word or phrase (or a date) and it’ll show you which specific comic it features in.
Have a failure-free week!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.