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The Weekly Authority: 📱 Pixel 7 Pro leaks
⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 200th edition here, with Pixel 7 Pro news, Samsung’s stock problem, a peek at the ASUS ROG Phone 6, and much more…
☀️ It was the June solstice on Tuesday, which means summer is officially, astronomically here — and Scotland has been seeing a heatwave (which means about 24 degrees centigrade for us!)
Popular news this week
- Pixel 7 Pro leak suggests Tensor 2 might lag behind once again.
- The Pixel 7 Pro may have a much brighter display than its predecessor: could be higher in both normal and high brightness modes.
- Here’s how the new ‘Nearby Unlock’ feature might work on the Pixel Watch.
- And Google Reminders could be sunsetted soon.
- It’s also the end of the road for Android Auto on phones; only available for car screens.
- Pixel June feature drop update adds a music maker and much more.
- Google uses a Drake song to argue against green bubbles in iMessage.
- Plus: Google warns of new spyware targeting iOS and Android users, in Italy, Kazakhstan, and Syria so far.
- Low demand could leave Samsung with large smartphone stock problem.
- Samsung Pay no longer works on non-Samsung phones, which is just silly.
- And Samsung’s latest Galaxy Z Fold 3 deal brings down its price to just $599.
- You told us: You’re vehemently against Samsung killing off Fan Edition phones.
- The Samsung Galaxy S23, S23 Plus could gain an overdue selfie camera upgrade.
- And Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, Watch 5 Pro prices revealed in fresh leak.
- Plus: Samsung’s latest 200MP sensor is smaller than the Pixel 6’s 50MP camera — It’ll make camera modules smaller, but likely some sacrifices to performance.
- And Samsung could start beta testing Android 13 on the Galaxy S22 soon.
- Also this week: Samsung admits to making misleading water-resistance claims about seven phones, now has to pay $9.7m fine.
- POCO F4, POCO X4 GT announced: Powerful Redmi phones in disguise.
- Hands-on video with Nothing Phone 1 shows off many of its secrets, including the “Glyph interface,” aka the light-up features on the back.
- And more Nothing Phone 1 news: Will be sold via invite system, just like the first OnePlus phones, but won’t be sold in the US.
- Also: Nothing opens Phone 1 waitlist if you must have it at launch.
- Former Apple engineer details why the first iPhone didn’t have copy and paste: there wasn’t time for that.
- Apple’s AR/VR headset could release in January, analyst predicts: Ming-Chi Kuo’s specific month listing is a show of confidence.
- And custom MacBook Pro 13-inch M2 laptops delayed for months, some won’t ship until August.
- Plus: You can already have Apple’s new CarPlay experience today.
- Amazon’s creepy feature makes Alexa mimic the voice of a dead person, with just one minute of audio, but do we really need that?
- Finally, speaking of: Amazon announces its first fully autonomous mobile warehouse robot — uses “advanced safety, perception and navigation technology” to avoid humans.
- And here are the best early Amazon Prime Day 2022 deals so far.
- The potential for larger — and brighter — Starlink satellites has astronomers worried.
- What’s this strange spiral of light in the night sky: aliens or SpaceX?
- And SpaceX achieves incredible feat of three launches in 36 hours.
- ASUS ROG Phone 6 images, specs appear online: Here’s what we know ahead of the July 5 launch.
- ZTE Axon 40 Ultra launched in the US: A flagship with under-display camera.
- And MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus launched: Its power level is (technically) over 9000 — phones with the Dimensity 9000 Plus set to launch in Q3 2022.
- Meanwhile, spiritual successor to Essential Phone is up for preorder, ships early 2023.
- Plus Xiaomi Mi Band 7 goes global for $52.
- Huge swaths of the internet were down Tuesday during a Cloudflare outage, including Medium, Discord, Fitbit, Peloton, and DoorDash, but things were back up and running within a couple of hours.
- Meta aims to eventually develop a VR headset that can pass a “visual Turing Test,” i.e. create a virtual world indistinguishable from our own — and we got a glimpse at future generations of VR displays from Meta, but you’ll never be able to try any of them.
- Instagram can now verify your age with your face with new AI technology.
- And Elon Musk continues to delay Twitter buyout, and has three reasons why.
- Telegram Premium launched: Here’s everything you need to know.
- Also: Reddit celebrated its 17th birthday on Thursday.
- Senators call for a common charger standard in the US.
- As cryptocurrency tumbles, prices for GPUs continue to fall, great news for gamers, but more interesting for big data crunching and machine learning.
- Meanwhile, EVs now average over $60,000 as Tesla, Rivian, Ford raise prices.
- And spray-on plant coating could replace wasteful plastic food wrap, but it might be a while before we see it in use.
- Finally, you can now use your Chromebook to quickly access your phone’s pictures.
- Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis hit theaters on Friday, and could be streaming from August 8 if you miss it on the big screen.
- The Black Phone also landed Friday, based on Joe Hill’s short story, and Empire‘s review calls it “horror, delivered with considerable heart.”
- Lightyear didn’t go to infinity, or beyond, as Jurassic World Dominion hung onto the top box office spot last weekend.
- Check out Mashable’s ‘Spiderhead’ review (Watched it at the weekend, and have to agree!).
- Meanwhile, Netflix cuts 300 more staff amid ongoing financial struggles.
- And Netflix confirms it’s working on an ad-based tier, could be unveiled later this year.
- A Game of Thrones spinoff series based around Jon Snow is in early development at HBO, with Kit Harington reprising his role.
- And The Lazarus Project’s currently streaming on NOW/Sky Max, but don’t check out Empire‘s review of the eight-part sci-fi thriller until you’re finished it.
- New Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 trailer is full of action and dread.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi was aces, but can Star Wars get out from under its own shadow?
- What to watch this week: The best new streaming movies on Disney Plus, Netflix, and more.
- Summer Games Done Quick kicks off Sunday: check out the schedule or keep up with what’s happening on YouTube.
- Xbox Summer Game Fest Demo event started on Tuesday, running until Monday, June 27, with over 30 playable demos of upcoming unreleased games like psychological thriller Broken Pieces and Batora: Lost Haven.
- Gaming Chromebooks are reportedly coming, with game streaming support.
- And did we just get a first look at Valve’s wireless VR headset, Deckard in a recently published US patent?
- Meanwhile, the NFT.NYC conference, the 4th annual industry NFT event, kicked off on Monday.
- Diablo Immortal has reportedly earned $24 million since release, from eight million downloads.
- Fall Guys is now to free-to-play in time for release on Xbox and Switch (already out on PlayStation and PC) but has been de-listed from Steam.
- Sonic Origins was released on Thursday for PC, Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox.
- Plus, FIFA 22 was added to EA Play and Game Pass Ultimate subscription services on Thursday.
- And Skull and Bones release finally looks likely: Ubisoft’s much-delayed pirate game has been rated again, could be approaching launch date ten years after development began.
- Developer admits there’s no way to complete KOTOR II on Switch due to bug, with no ETA on a fix, though only some players affected.
- Also: Sifu motion control mod lets you play your very own kung-fu movie.
- A YouTuber built his own PS5 Slim that’s less than an inch thick, with even better cooling systems.
- Plus: Check out the best PS5 indie games, chosen by yours truly.
- Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review: Mid-range mastery — “Takes the best parts of its predecessor and (mostly) improves on them, while also lowering the price tag.”
- Vivosmart 5 review: Good, but not enough big strides — A good basic fitness tracker with a few key improvements, but Garmin hasn’t quite knocked it out of the park.
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review: The all-rounder Android phone to beat — “The Galaxy S22 Plus is one of Samsung’s very best and the top Android phone to beat for those who don’t need a stylus.”
- Samsung Galaxy S22 review: The best, in a small package — “A strong contender for the best small flagship, maybe ever, though the weakened battery life is a painful Achilles’ heel.”
- Samsung Galaxy A12 review: Sluggish but stylish starter smartphone — “Samsung gave its budget-friendly range a solid boost with the Galaxy A12, adding a larger display, better camera, and a comfortable textured finish.”
- Google Maps should have a way to block businesses: “No, Google, I don’t want to go to that place. I never want to go to that place. Ever” (Android Authority).
- Samsung Galaxy S23 series: Everything we know so far and what we want to see — from features and specs to release date (Android Authority).
- No one knows how safe new driver-assistance systems really are: “Tesla’s Autopilot and other automotive safety features are involved in plenty of car crashes. But thanks to spotty data, it’s still not clear how many, or what to do about it” (Wired).
- ‘Is this AI Sapient?’ is the wrong question to ask about LaMDA: “The bigger problem is what happens when we act as if AIs are conscious, and how that could be used against us” (Wired).
- The power of tea: “It turns out tea — all types of it — is great for you, with benefits that touch everything from your brain to your gut to your immune system” (Axios).
It seems strange to think that this week in 1946 saw the first delivery of mail by air. A jet plane took off from General Electric Air Research Lab in Schenectady, New York, on June 22 that year, as part of an Army Air Force demo, carrying a small quantity of mail to Washington DC and Chicago.
We say strange, as these days we’re on the brink of receiving parcel deliveries by drone. Last week, Amazon announced that customers in Lockeford, CA, would be among the first to receive drone deliveries later this year.
- This is the first time Amazon’s made drone deliveries available to the public.
- Drones will have the ability to fly beyond line of sight, meaning they can operate beyond the normal sight of the drone pilot.
- The drones will drop deliveries at homes of customers in the town — which has a population of 4,000 —for residents who live within four miles of the planned drone facility.
These are bigger than your average drone though:
- Amazon’s drones are 6.5 feet wide, four feet tall, and can deliver packages weighing up to 5lbs.
- It costs Amazon $146k to build the current generation of drone, though it plans to cut this to $60k for the next generation.
- The current generation of drone has a 5km range, but the next generation could triple that to 15km.
The size of these drones leads many people to ask, how safe are drone deliveries?
Drone delivery safety
Not all residents of Lockeford are pleased at the news. Some say that drones are an invasion of their privacy. Others are worried they could spook livestock.
- Amazon says residents’ feedback will help shape the Prime Air service and future scaling.
- But are they right to be concerned?
- As of May 2022, Amazon had eight drone crashes in the past year, with one starting a brush fire in Oregon.
- This has reportedly led to clashes with FAA inspectors after Amazon supposedly moved crash evidence and was slow to hand over data.
- In the past, drones have injured people — in 2015, a photography drone knocked a woman unconscious at the Seattle Pride Parade, and this was much smaller than Amazon’s drones, weighing under 3lbs.
- Research carried out by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University team reported that test drone models weighing over 15lbs had a higher than 50% risk of inflicting serious head and neck injuries if they fell on people.
But there are logistics issues to consider too:
- There’s no safe landing area for packages: porches are covered, there are often pets in back yards, and mailboxes are inaccessible to drones.
- Options could include installing a drone delivery pad or delivering to a secure “smart locker” that the recipient accesses via code.
Not to mention security:
- Amazon will need to ensure its drones are impervious to hackers, not only to prevent theft, but also to ensure there’s no risk to property, people, or even other aircraft.
- If drones are hacked or malfunction and fall from the sky, their size and weight could pose a serious risk.
See also: The best drones you can buy in 2022
Are drones saving Amazon money?
It currently costs Amazon from around $4.50-$5.50 to deliver a package through third-party delivery partners, or $3.47 per package through its own logistics network
- Delivery by drone through Prime Air will cost $63 per package in 2025, according to internal projections viewed by Business Insider.
- But Amazon’s going for scale here and plans to strip back this cost as more locations are added and the number of drops to customers increases.
So are drones the future of e-commerce delivery? If Amazon’s initial rollout is successful, then you could be receiving drone deliveries sooner than you think.
- June 26-July 3: Summer Games Done Quick
- June 28: HTCLog In To The Future launch event (Metaverse phone?)
- July 5: ASUS ROG Phone 6 launch @ 8 AM ET
- 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?)
Tech Tweet of the Week
Rainbolt is a pro Google Maps player.He can guess the location of a Google Street View after seeing it for 0.1 seconds. You may have seen his ridiculous skills in viral TikTok videos.Here’s how he does it🧵 pic.twitter.com/9eCZL5Q8Zh— Trung Phan (@TrungTPhan) June 15, 2022
Something extra: China says it may have received signals from aliens (an interesting read).
Have a great week!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.