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The Weekly Authority: 📱 Ooh, Google I/O
⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 194th edition here, with a Google I/O catchup, Sony Xperia 1 IV launch, a first look at Samsung’s next-gen foldables, and more.
🥚 This week I’ve discovered a new favorite breakfast: miso butter with eggs on toast. Did someone say yum?
Popular news this week
- A packed two-hour keynote at Google I/O on Wednesday shared lots of exciting stuff, but I’ll try to stick to the main news:
- Pixel 6a launched: A 6.1-inch screen, Google Tensor chip (same as the Pixel 6 series), 128GB storage, 6GB RAM, 4,410mAh battery, but disappointing 18W wired charging and only a 60Hz refresh rate — pre-orders open July 21, on sale July 28 for $449.
- And Google confirmed controversial Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor is not inside the Pixel 6a.
- We got a preview of the Pixel Watch: The company’s first flagship wearable arrives this fall alongside the Pixel 7, with a sleek, round watch case and rotating digital crown (no rectangular option), plus customizable bands, with support for Google Assistant, relaunched Google Wallet, and the Google Home app, plus “deep integration with Fitbit” — oh, and it’s not compatible with iPhones.
- Plus a glimpse of the Pixel tablet: Google’s first Android tablet in almost seven years, running Google’s Tensor silicon, likely the second-generation version which we’ll see inside the Pixel 7 this fall. We know it’ll be on the “larger side” according to Rick Osterloh, Google SVP of Devices and Services, with a camera centered in the middle of the landscape bezel, a single rear camera, and USB-C port flanked by two speakers. No word on price yet, and we’ll see a full reveal and release in 2023.
- And a sneak peek at the Pixel 7, coming in fall, with a next-generation Tensor SoC and Android 13, plus we got some glimpses of the phone — and Google said it would have soft-touch glass, then changed its mind.
- We also saw the Pixel Buds Pro, Google’s first Pixel buds with ANC, plus a more powerful chipset, available July 28 for $199.
- Plus, some pretty cool AR glasses, and no, they’re not Google Glass 3, but they do have a live translation feature that overlays real-time subtitles when speaking to somebody face to face.
- And there was loads of software news, including Immersive View in Google Maps, which lets you pan around popular tourist destinations and even look inside buildings, the relaunch of Google Wallet, and a bunch of Wear OS news.
- Also this week: Android 13 beta 2 dropped for Pixel phones, starting with the Pixel 4 series.
- And Google announced Health Connect, its bid to improve health data sharing between apps on Android.
- Plus, almost 900,000 abandoned Android apps could get removed from the Play Store soon.
- The Sony Xperia 1 IV launch on Wednesday was light on details, heavily focused on interviewing creatives across imaging and audio, but here’s what we do know: Packing a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, 256GB storage, 5,000mAh battery, 3.5mm headphone jack, 4K 120fps video recording, new front-facing camera with bigger sensor for better low-light performance, and a new mode for audio recording.
- Plus, you’ll be able to livestream mobile games from the built-in game enhancer app, remap controls, and send video directly to streaming apps
- Gaming peripherals for the phone are also apparently in the works, launching later this year.
- Pre-orders are open now, with the phone on general sale September 1, but it’ll set you back $1,600, plus pre-order now and you’ll get Sony’s WF-1000XM4 true wireless noise-cancelling earbuds for free.
- We also saw the Sony Xperia 10 IV, small and light with a 6-inch display and 5,000mAh battery, supposedly the lightest 5G phone ever.
- Surprisingly, we didn’t see the Xperia 5 IV — maybe Sony isn’t doing it, or perhaps it’s just delayed.
- This week Sony also launched its WH-1000XM5 headphones, available to pre-order now for $399.
- Samsung’s prepping huge price hikes on components, in some cases as much as 20%, so the next device you buy could be considerably more expensive.
- We got a first look at the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.
- And here’s a first glimpse of the Galaxy Z Flip 4.
- It turns out the Galaxy Z Fold 4 may not be Samsung’s fastest charging phone, but that’s okay: may not come with 45W charging, but the Z Flip 4’s getting an upgrade to 25W.
- Plus, Samsung showed off first multi-rollable phone prototype.
- We have confirmation: The Nord 2T’s officially launching on May 19.
- But first: Unreleased OnePlus Nord 2T gets an early unboxing, confirming most rumors.
- And OnePlus brings super-affordable OnePlus Nord Buds to the US.
- We got a possible first look at the Motorola Razr 3 as alleged live images leaked, and the phone may undergo a complete redesign.
- Leak says we must get ready for a Moto’rolla’ble phone: Codenamed Felix, the rollable phone rolls out vertically to become a regular-sized phone, rather than rolling out horizontally into a tablet-sized device.
- Apple is finally retiring the iPod Touch, ending the iPod’s 20-year run.
- Want Apple CarPlay in your Tesla? You’ll need Android for that.
- And trusted leaker says Apple’s lightning could finally die next year for USB-C.
- Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports Apple’s already testing USB-C iPhones.
- Time spent in space changes the structure of astronauts’ brains.
- NASA’s InSight detects ‘monster quake’ on Mars.
- Check out the first image of our galaxy’s central black hole.
- Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase is on hold: He’s apparently waiting on “details supporting” that spam and fake accounts do make up less than 5% of Twitter’s active accounts, as stated in the company’s recent financial report.
- HONOR Magic 4 Pro launches in UK with a Galaxy S22 Plus price, available for pre-orders now.
- 5G Summit: Qualcomm reveals what’s next for 5G smartphones — better Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, standalone mmWave, and more.
- DJI Mini 3 Pro announced: Redefining mini, with 4K video at up to 60fps, 34 mins of flight time, and 249g weight.
- Following the lawsuit over Fitbits overheating, we polled our readers: Most of your Fitbit devices don’t overheat, but some do.
- Tesla halted most production in its Shanghai plant Tuesday due to problems securing parts, plans to produce fewer than 200 cars compared to its usual 1,200 a day production target.
- And Android Auto is getting a major UI update.
- Instagram started testing NFTs with select creators, with support for Ethereum and Polygon at launch, Flow and Solana coming soon.
- Terra’s Luna plunged 87% in 24 hours, from $54.36 on Monday to a low of $3.71 Tuesday.
- And worryingly, thousands of websites can see what you type even before you hit submit…
- HBO leaks Westworld season 4 trailer and launch date: June 26, so not long to wait.
- Alex Garland’s gory horror Men is “a thousand arguments waiting to happen,” according to Polygon’s review, in US theaters May 20.
- And Netflix ads and password sharing blocks coming much sooner than expected: could launch by end of this year.
- Director Jonathan Levine promises Dirty Dancing Sequel Won’t “Ruin Your Childhood,” filming later this year, with Jennifer Grey reprising her role as Baby — releasing 2024.
- Hayden Panettiere joins the next Scream movie, with shooting kicking off this summer, though we don’t yet know if Courtney Cox and Neve Campbell will reprise their roles.
- And here are some upcoming streaming shows and movies we’re excited for, from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power in September to Knives Out 2 on Netflix later this year.
- Plus, check out the trailer for Hustle, Adam Sandler’s latest jaunt telling the story of down-on-his-luck basketball scout Staley Beren, landing on Netflix June 10.
- Starfall’s delayed to 2023: Xbox’s biggest upcoming exclusive slides to the first half of 2023, alongside Redfall.
- Gotham Knights is no longer coming to Xbox One and PS4, instead releasing on PC, Xbox Series consoles, and PS5 in October.
- And images leaked on Friday for alleged new Silent Hill game, Konami takes them down.
- And FIFA’s changing its name: FIFA and EA Sports are ending their partnership after nearly 30 years, softer this year’s Fifa 23, the game will be called EA Sports FC
- Meanwhile, Microsoft could soon launch an Xbox game streaming stick, meaning you could use your Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription on your big screen, no console required.
- The latest Steam Deck update includes per-game performance settings.
- And Nintendo revealed it now has over 100 million annual playing users as part of its fiscal year financial results, up from 87 million between April 2020 and March 2021.
- Speaking of, Nintendo’s latest Indie World Showcase revealed several new games including Gunbrella, Another Crab’s Treasure, Mini Motorways, and more.
- Electronic Arts has a new deal to make a Lord of the Rings mobile game.
- Finding a PS5 might get easier this year: Sony’s forecasting sales of 18 million this fiscal year, a dramatic rise, could mean supply issues are improving.
- Finally: Live-service action-RPG Babylon’s Fall’s player count dropped dramatically last week — meet the only person keeping the game alive.
- HONOR Magic 4 Pro review: Obsoletely fabulous — HONOR’s first western flagship in years is a powerhouse smartphone at a competitive price, but for every one thing it does right, there’s a frustrating caveat.
- Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) review: Affordable Galaxy S22 Ultra alternative — The best budget phone with a built-in stylus out there, but doesn’t deliver the same value as other sub-$500 phones.
- Motorola Moto G Stylus (2022) review: A super-sized sidestep — “Ultimately a confusing sidestep where the welcome upgrades are canceled out by questionable downgrades and legacy issues.”
- Sony Linkbuds WF-L900 review: Hear everything but your music — “Plagued by all the same issues as other unsealed earbuds.”
- ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED review: A dual-screen laptop that works — “Finally, form and function in one” (The Verge).
- Google Pixel 6a buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know — Specs, camera, battery, performance, and more (Android Authority).
- Reliving the good old days: Google I/O 2022 felt like a flashback — “What’s old is new again at Google I/O 2022” (Android Authority).
- The internet gave rise to the modern multiverse movie: “From the new Doctor Strange to Everything Everywhere All at Once, stories of infinite universes serve as metaphors for our many identities, online and off” (Wired).
- Happy 22nd birthday to the most adorable website you’ve never heard of: “In 2000, a third-grader created a website dedicated to her made-up planet. Nobody has the heart to delete it” (inputmag).
- Can social media be redeemed? “WIRED’s spiritual advice columnist on Jack Dorsey’s remorse for his role in creating a centralized internet and what it signals for the rest of us” (Wired).
A look back in tech history this week, to May 11, 1999. On this date, Sony introduced AIBO to the world. Some of you (myself included) are old enough to remember the little robotic dogs pretty well, some of you were lucky enough to have one, and some are probably wondering what I’m going on about. So, let’s reminisce a bit about AIBO…
- AIBO was the creation of Dr. Toshitada Doi, who believed robots would be commonplace in our homes by 2010 — though the closest we seem to have come so far is robot vacuum cleaners.
- The name “AIBO” comes from the Japanese word aibō, meaning “pal” or “partner.”
- The first consumer model, ERS-110 was available for sale on May 11, 1999, costing $2,500.
- New models were released yearly until Sony announced it was discontinuing the robot in 2006, then an 11-year-hiatus followed, before AIBO returned in 2017.
- In 2006, AIBO also earned its place in the Carnegie Mellon University Robot Hall of Fame.
You can dive deep into each model’s tech specs, see the original AIBO commercial, find out more about what we could learn from robot pets, or carry on reading to find out where AIBO appeared in popular culture…
AIBO in popular culture
AIBO appeared in its fair share of TV shows, music videos, and even video games over the years, but here are some of the more memorable appearances:
- In an episode of Frasier, Frasier gives an AIBO to his dad to keep him company and we see Eddie playing with the robot (above).
- AIBO appeared in Janet Jackson’s music video for “Doesn’t Really Matter.”
- The Futurama episode “Jurassic Bark” saw Bender with a robotic dog that resembled AIBO.
- And you can spot the ERS-210 model in the title sequence of the 2017 TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
- May 19: OnePlus Nord 2T launch
- June 6-10: Apple WWDC 2022
- June 10: The Quarry released on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
- June 12: Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase @ 12 PM CT
- June 26-July 3: Summer Games Done Quick
Tech Tweet of the Week
You might need to be from the UK to appreciate this:
Pyramid Head might be making the trek up north to Gateshead, or maybe he’ll pop down south to see Big Ben and all the other sights.https://t.co/xBL0pbCvyr— TheGamer (@thegamerwebsite) May 13, 2022
Something extra: This train station video is pretty interesting, but what makes it special?
Enjoy the weekend!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.