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The Weekly Authority: 🎧 Galaxy Buds 2 Pro peek
⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 202nd edition here, with a first look at the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, Pixel 6 connectivity woes, the latest on Musk’s Twitter deal, and God of War: Ragnarok launch date.
🎮 I’ve been making the most of my new PS Plus subscription: So far I’ve finished Spider-Man: Miles Morales and am now working my way through Wytchwood, which is a strangely satisfying little game.
Popular news this week
- Here’s our first look at what to expect from the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro — they look pretty similar to their predecessor.
- Samsung’s one step closer to releasing the Android 13-based One UI 5.0 on Galaxy S22 series, reportedly testing it amongst employees.
- New Gmail rolls out to everyone with all-blue color scheme, and you can now hide that big sidebar.
- And Google-backed Glance to launch in US within two months: the lockscreen platform serves casual games and media and current affairs content.
- You told us: You’ve experienced connectivity woes with the Pixel 6 series.
- On that note, Android Authority’s Rita El Khoury says, “The Pixel 6 Pro has the worst connectivity and reception of any phone I’ve used.”
- OnePlus could take the POCO approach, make Nord an independent brand, which could mean a bigger offline presence and more ecosystem products.
- Nothing’s announced an NFT giveaway but fans aren’t happy.
- Xiaomi 12S series launches: The first Leica-branded Xiaomi phones, China-only though.
- Mi Band 7 Pro brings all the goodies Mi Band 7 was missing.
- Apple has a new Lockdown Mode that’s unlike anything on Android, helping combat spyware on your device.
- Apple Watch Series 8 may be able to detect if you have a fever, with a body temperature sensor that will warn you to check your temperature with a thermometer or see a doctor.
- And extreme sports Apple Watch could feature an expansive 2-inch display, larger battery, and sturdier case.
- Plus: New patent suggests Apple could one day bring Touch ID to the Apple Watch — though it’s just a patent, for now.
- NASA targets late August to early September launch for Artemis 1 Moon mission, which will carry an Orion module around the Moon to see how space affects the human body.
- And NASA’s Capstone finally phoned home after a nerve-wracking silence: the probe was MIA for almost 24 hours, but all is apparently well.
- The Large Hadron Collider was switched back on for its third run on July 5 — more on that in our Weekly Wonder.
- Elon Musk’s killing his Twitter deal: Musk’s legal team’s taking steps to terminate the $44 billion deal to buy the company after it “appears to have made false and misleading representations,” (though the real reason’s more likely his plummeting fortunes after the market took a dive). But Twitter’s committed to seeing things through, so this could get messy.
- The EU just pummeled Big Tech again: Here are the newest rules reigning in Big Tech’s power and giving consumers more power.
- Our ASUS ROG Phone 6 review is in following its launch on Tuesday.
- And Transformers fans will love this Bumblebee Edition phone with themed accessories.
- Meanwhile, major ASUS Zenfone 9 leak reveals a compact flagship with gimbal camera.
- Now that Leica is out of the picture, here’s what HUAWEI is doing.
- Speaking of, Apple and HUAWEI would’ve been the only top players without US sanctions, according to a HUAWEI executive, who also dismissed Samsung as a “small” manufacturer in this scenario.
- WhatsApp could step into 1999 with the most basic of privacy features.
- Someone got YouTube videos to play on a 40-year-old computer that can only display green text.
- And Reddit launched a collection of “Collectible Avatars” which are basically NFTs that come with a unique blockchain identifier.
- There were no bids on Chevy’s first NFT, even though it came with a free Corvette Z06.
- Meanwhile, the first complete mammoth mummy has been found in North America: The well-preserved baby woolly mammoth is over 30,000 years old.
- Delta experiments with smart flight information boards that know who you are and where you’re going: “Parallel Reality” can simultaneously display travel info for up to 100 passengers; handy.
- And Amazon’s offering US Prime Members a free one-year Grubhub subscription after it bought a 2% stake in the company (with the option to expand it to 15%).
- Finally: Japan will start jailing people for online insults, and they can also be fined up to 300,000 yen (just over $2,200) if convicted — the new law came into effect Thursday.
- Thor: Love and Thunder hit theaters Friday, and here are the films leading up to it you need to check out before you see it.
- Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor James Caan died on Thursday, aged 82. Best known for The Godfather, Empire has an interesting rundown of his other great movies.
- The first trailer for Clerks III is here and it’s even more meta than the Jay and Silent Bob reboot. The movie’s set for a two-night US release event on September 13 and 15.
- A trailer also dropped for David O. Rusell’s romantic crime epic Amsterdam, with Christian Bale and Margot Robbie plus an all-star cast, out November 4.
- Amazon’s spending $465 million on season one of its Lord of the Rings series.
- Meanwhile, Minions: The Rise of Gru shattered July 4 records with $125.1 million debut.
- And Stranger Things 4 became the second Netflix show ever to surpass one billion hours viewed, beaten only by Squid Game.
- Speaking of, Netflix says a Stranger Things spin-off series and stage show are on the way.
- Also: It turns out, Stranger Things creators the Duffer brothers are working on a live-action Death Note, plus an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Talisman.
- Plus: Is there a Stranger Things season 5 coming to Netflix, and when will it launch?
- Been enjoying The Terminal List? Here are 7 similar shows to check out on Amazon Prime Video.
- Finally: Here are the upcoming streaming shows and movies we’re excited for, including The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, coming September 2 to Amazon Prime Video.
- We’ve finally got a release date for God of War: Ragnarok (I’m excited!): November 9, with pre-orders opening July 15 @ 10 AM ET — and there are cool Collector’s and Jötnar editions, plus, we saw a new cinematic trailer.
- But Square Enix’s Forspoken’s been delayed until January 4, 2023.
- Games with Gold will stop including Xbox 360 games in October, but you’ll still get the usual monthly offering of Xbox One games.
- And Zuckerberg gives up, will not require Facebook login for Oculus/Meta Quests, finally.
- Nintendo Switch Online subscribers can download Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle for free until July 12.
- Polium NFT console was announced during a massive crash in the NFT market, coming Q3 2024, but does anybody care?
- Meanwhile, Diablo Immortal is bringing in over $1 million a day in microtransactions, $49 million in estimated earnings so far.
- Ubisoft showed off its long-awaited pirate game Skull and Bones with the first cinematic trailer and gameplay trailer, and we finally got a release date: November 8 on Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 5, PC, Stadia, and Luna. There’ll also be a Ubisoft Forward event September 10 @ 9 PM CEST.
- Ubisoft’s also killing online support for 15 games from September 1, including Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood — and multiplayer-only titles like Space Junkies will become completely unplayable.
- KOTOR 2 on Switch is officially fixed for real now, sort of: The game-breaking bug’s sorted, but the fix has introduced other issues.
- Also this week: E3 returns to Los Angeles in person next year in June.
- Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro review: Form over function — “If you need a more durable phone built to last and care at all about speed, there are better options out there.”
- Google Pixel 5a review: Still great, but it’s not the Pixel 6 — “It takes the winning formula of the Pixel 4a 5G, adds a metal build and water resistance, and drops the price by $50, but the Pixel 6 is a much better buy for not much extra cash.”
- Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review: A solid budget buy — Delivers on the all-important basics, speedy, and looks great — but there are a number of excellent alternatives at this price point.
- Apple Watch Series 7 review: Minute upgrades — “The new Retina display is the Apple Watch Series 7’s biggest strength. Beyond that, there aren’t many improvements.”
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review: A watch built on promises — “An easy recommendation for most Android users, though those who own Samsung smartphones will feel a little more at home.”
- ASUS ROG Phone 6 buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know — Specs, features, and whether it’s worth your cash (Android Authority).
- I tried signing up for Google’s Pixel Pass, but it was too much of a hassle — “Google is offering a no-brainer service and locking it behind unnecessary restrictions” (Android Authority).
- I’ve been getting tons of ‘wrong number’ spam texts, and I don’t hate it? “…If I had to choose, I’d take these oddly literary text messages over any appeal to renew my car’s extended warranty” (The Verge).
- The world can’t wean itself off Chinese lithium: “China dominates the global supply chain for lithium-ion batteries. Now rival countries are scrambling for more control over “white oil” (Wired).
- The phone is terrible for cloud gaming: “ Cloud gaming on your phone is about as useful as the saw on a real Swiss Army knife” (The Verge).
Two major things happened this week: I finished the final two episodes of Stranger Things season 4, and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was turned on again on July 5, after a four-year hiatus for upgrades.
- The world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator is the size of a city, measuring 17 miles long (27km).
- It’s located at CERN near Geneva in Switzerland, buried 300 feet below ground.
- Over 12,000 scientists are involved in research there.
What does the LHC do, and why?
In simple terms, without getting too physics-y, CERN says:
“The LHC boosts particles, such as protons, which form all the matter we know. Accelerated to a speed close to that of light, they collide with other protons. These collisions produce massive particles, such as the Higgs boson or the top quark.”
The LHC has had two previous runs, from 2009-2013 and 2015-2018.
- During those initial runs, particles collided at around one to two trillion electronvolts.
- This time around, upgrades mean increased compactness, so particle beams are denser with particles, plus energy range is spiked, which increases the probability of a collision, providing the potential for more particle interaction.
- Scientists want to smash protons together at up to 13.6 trillion volts on this run (record-breaking levels), in the hopes of producing particles we’ve not yet observed.
- This run is expected to last for four years, after which the LHC will again go offline for upgrades, with the next cycle beginning in 2029.
What have we discovered so far?
- The LHC has led to the discovery of over 50 new subatomic particles.
- Most famously, on the last run in 2012, scientists discovered the Higgs Boson particle, also known as the “God particle,” which gives all other particles their mass. At the time of its discovery, the name “God particle” led to some conspiracy theorists believing the LHC could rip a hole in the fabric of the universe, create alternative realities, or even end the world. And that’s still the belief of many people today.
- On this run, we’ve already discovered three new exotic particles: a pentaquark and two tetraquarks.
Will the LHC end the world?
It’s unlikely, and most people who think so might have just watched too much Stranger Things.
Scientists are hopeful that future LHC research will shed light on antimatter and dark matter by discovering as-yet-unobserved particles known as axions.
- These are ultralight particles that are so far thought to be what provides dark matter, a substance that makes up around 27% of our universe, but which has never been seen by scientists.
- Astrophysicist Dr. Katie Mack calmed fears online that we could be heading for an Upside Down-style scenario: “Allow me to reassure you: even though the LHC is the most powerful particle collider on Earth, it is barely a game of marbles on the cosmic scale.”
But the conspiracy theorists persist, and here are just a few examples:
Stranger Things Season 4 Part 2: 😝On July 5 at CERN “The large Hadron Collider will be colliding particles at the highest energy we have ever done before” pic.twitter.com/LLUUKpcwga— Danielle Elwood (@Danielle_Elwood) June 28, 2022
Me waking up in 2065 in a different dimension because I drank on the 4th of July after y’all told me not to because of CERN. pic.twitter.com/S6hM50hYJJ— virginia finkle (@finKlEiNhoRN22) July 3, 2022
Some folks over on Reddit are also getting quite stressed that we’re going to see more Mandela Effect scenarios.
- July 12: Nothing Phone 1 launch @ 4 PM BST (11 AM ET)
- July 12-13: Amazon Prime Day
- July 13: Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro and Galaxy Tab Active 4 Pro launch
- July 19: Stray lands on PS5, PS4, PC
- July 28: Pixel 6a launch
- August 10 (TBC): Samsung Unpacked? (new Galaxy foldables, Galaxy Watch 5 series?)
- September 10 @ 9 PM CEST: Ubisoft Forward showcase
- November 8: Skull and Bones release date on Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 5, PC, Stadia, and Luna
- November 9: God of War: Ragnarok launches on PlayStation 4 and 5
Tech Tweet of the Week
when the API documentation isn’t clear pic.twitter.com/gM7Mx5f6Fj— Trung Phan (@TrungTPhan) July 6, 2022
Something extra: Check out the scariest near-crash on Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta yet.
Have a sunny week!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.