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The Weekly Authority: 📱 Snappier Snapdragon chip
⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 195th edition here, with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, Pixel Watch specs, HUAWEI’s Mate XS2 global launch, and Rockstar’s upcoming Red Dead Redemption remake/remaster.
Popular news this week
- Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset on Friday, with a claimed 30% efficiency improvement for the CPU and GPU, which, theoretically should result in notably longer battery life compared to standard 8 Gen 1 devices, and a number of other improvements, plus manufactured by TSMC rather than Samsung.
- It also announced the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1.
- We did benchmark the 8 Plus Gen 1 chip too.
- Last weekend, a report said the Google Pixel Watch runs on the same chip as the 2018 Galaxy Watch: a 10nm Exynos 9110, not the greatest news.
- This week, a big leak of Google Pixel Watch specs: Seems it could have the Exynos 9110 but also a smaller, less powerful secondary processor, which “could perform remedial tasks to save the main processor from hogging the battery,” plus 32GB of storage, and 2GB plus of RAM.
- Google’s phone market share increased 380% in North America, which is bonkers.
- Also, is the Google Pixel 6a just a little too expensive?
- Personal G Suite users can fully retain custom domain and services without cost, but you’ll need to tell Google you’re in.
- And YouTube Music on Wear OS finally gets streaming support
- Plus: YouTube’s player gains new features including Most Replayed, Video Chapters, Single Loop, and more.
- Good news: The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 may have a much larger battery, after all, may sport a 3,595mAh battery capacity, and likely a more power-efficient processor than its predecessor.
- Speaking of foldables, Bill Gates reveals he uses a Galaxy Z Fold 3.
- Samsung put Galaxy Buds 2 inside a Poke Ball, sells out in a flash, only available in Korea though.
- Samsung phone is again America’s favorite, but the company lost some love.
- The HUAWEI Mate XS2 launched globally: On sale in Europe from June, but will be about €600 more expensive than the Z Fold 3 at €1,999 (about $2,100)!
- Plus: HUAWEI Watch GT 3 Pro, Watch Fit 2 launch globally.
- Apple could be testing color e-ink displays for the outside displays of foldables.
- A report from The Information details Apple’s mixed reality headset project challenges and delays.
- Meanwhile, Apple’s board of directors reportedly tried out its upcoming AR / VR headset: hints that it could be coming soon, but probably not at WWDC?
- And Apple reverses remote work policy after machine learning head decamps to Alphabet.
- Plus: Lawsuit alleges Amber Alert on AirPods caused life-long hearing damage to a user.
- Citizen scientists help discover more than 1,000 new asteroids.
- Here’s everything you need to know about NASA’s Artemis Moon Landing Program.
- And UAPs (the new name for UFOs!) went to Congress for the first time in 50 years: Pentagon has 400 reports, but nothing suggests aliens…
- Plus: Rocket launches could be polluting our atmosphere in new and unexpected ways.
- Vivo X80, X80 Pro launch globally but still waiting on final pricing in more regions.
- New leaks suggest that DJI might have an indoor-friendly FPV drone en route.
- And Xiaomi shared images of the Mi Band 7 along with launch date: May 24 in China, wider release likely soon after.
- Here’s how it’s going with Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase: Did somebody say buyer’s remorse?
- Also, from The Hustle, Tesla was removed from the S&P 500’s ESG Index due to allegations of discrimination and failure to provide details on its carbon removal strategy. Elon Musk responded by tweeting, “ESG is a scam.”
- And next-gen NVIDIA RTX 4000-series GPUs are reportedly coming in the next few months.
- Meanwhile, smartphone sales are mixed: A new Canalys report shows that in Q1 2022, 39 million smartphones were shipped, up 3.7% year-on-year, with Google, Apple, and Samsung all doing well. Elsewhere Xiaomi posted its first-ever decline in revenue, falling 4.6% from the previous year.
- Plus, GrubHub’s free NYC lunch promotion on Tuesday was a disaster, with glitches, delays, and overwhelmed restaurant workers.
- Netflix is reportedly looking into live streaming: it’s cheaper than scripted TV, for starters.
- Meanwhile, a cheaper Apple TV is rumored to be launching later this year, predicts analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
- The official trailer for The Boys season 3 is finally here: the new season premieres June 3 on Prime Video.
- And Volume 3 of Love, Death + Robots landed on Netflix on Friday, plus the new tongue-in-cheek episode Exit Strategies, available to stream on YouTube.
- Also, the trailer for historical Predator prequel Prey landed this week, coming to Hulu August 5 (US) and Disney Plus Star (other regions).
- Plus, Marvel’s She-Hulk release date may have been leaked by Disney: Could be August 17.
- Meanwhile, Star Wars content flurry confirmed: New Disney Plus series, film updates.
- Speaking of Disney Plus, here’s how it will implement its ad-supported plan later this year
- The 75th Cannes Film Festival started on Tuesday in southern France, running until May 28 — check out the films of the Official Selection.
- You’ll also want to check out the best new streaming movies this week, including John Ford’s classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Shudder’s The Found Footage Phenomenon documentary, and more.
- Finally, with Jurassic World Dominion’s June 10 release date, Gizmodo tells us why Jurassic Park still rules almost 30 years later.
- According to Rockstar Games insider and journalist Chris Kippel, a next-gen port of Red Dead Redemption 2 and a remake/remaster of Red Dead Redemption for current platforms are in the works at Rockstar.
- Meanwhile, Death Stranding 2 is in development, according to Norman Reedus.
- And The Witcher 3 PS5 and Xbox Series X release window narrows to Q4 2022.
- Apparently, Stardew Valley has sold more than 20 million copies, including 13 million copies on PC alone.
- Upcoming cozy slice-of-life Sim Spirittea takes inspiration from Stardew Valley plus Studio Ghibli films Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro — no release date yet, but you can sign up for the closed beta.
- PUBG: Battlegrounds is earning a lot more money after going free-to-play.
- And Fall Guys is going free-to-play and coming to Nintendo Switch and Xbox June 21.
- Sony’s listed dozens of games that will be included in its new PS Plus multi-tiered subscription service, and Extra members will have access to Ubisoft+ Classics, offering new Ubisoft games to subscribers on release day.
- Meanwhile, Xbox Game Pass gets Vampire SurVivors, one of the best games of the year, plus Jurassic World Evolution 2, loses Resident Evil 7 and Knockout City.
- OnePlus 10R review: A realme in all but name — Not a great package unless you need to be on the bleeding edge of charging specs.
- HUAWEI Mate Xs 2 hands-on impressions: The outward-folding foldable returns — “HUAWEI is taking another stab at the ‘outie’ form factor and has made several improvements to enhance durability.”
- Samsung Galaxy A52s review: Jack of all trades — “A modest upgrade over the already great Galaxy A52 5G, very easy to recommend, but we think the newer Galaxy A53 is the better buy for those willing to spend a bit more.”
- JBL Charge 5 review: Large, loud, and luggable — “A great speaker, but not worth the upgrade if you already own the Charge 4.”
- Acer Chromebook Spin 714 hands-on: The next step in pro Chromebooks — “Our first impressions are favorable. It’s got the right combination of specs, design, and flexibility to be a fine Chromebook for the home or the office.”
- Ode to the Apple iPod: The golden era of portable music — Tissues at the ready for our nostalgic trip down iPod memory lane (Android Authority).
- As mentioned: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 benchmarks score big points, but does it address the overheating issues? (Android Authority).
- How 10 Skin Tones Will Reshape Google’s Approach to AI: “For years, the tech industry has relied on a six-shade scale to classify skin tones. The search giant’s open-source alternative could change that” (Wired).
- Invisibility cloaks are not just possible, but are becoming reality: “Long a staple of science-fiction and fantasy, the ability to become invisible would be a revolutionary technological development” (Freethink).
- These Nanobots Can Swim Around a Wound and Kill Bacteria: “Researchers have created autonomous particles covered with patches of protein ‘motors.’ They hope these bots will tote lifesaving drugs through bodily fluids” (Wired).
We spoke last week about Samsung prepping huge price hikes on components due to the chip shortage, which will likely mean your next electronic device will be more expensive. This got us thinking — just how much have component prices risen lately, and how has the pandemic affected production and prices?
- According to the Institute for Supply Management, semiconductors are predicted to remain scarce through 2023, which could mean further price hikes on our electronics.
- And industry sources say chip prices increased between 10% and 40% in 2021 — market intelligence platform Supplyframe’s Q3 Commodity Intelligence Quarterly report revealed component price hikes as high as 40% compared to the previous quarter, due to increases in manufacturer input costs, labor costs, and logistics costs to move products globally. Not to mention the pandemic and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine causing supply chain issues.
- We’ve already seen Xiaomi’s global shipments of smartphones slump 17.8% last quarter, mirroring falls by OPPO and vivo — check out Tristan’s dive into smartphone sales in Friday’s Daily Authority for more on this,
The global impact of China’s zero-covid policy
For some of us, it may feel like the pandemic is over, but that’s far from the truth, with its impact still being felt worldwide, China’s zero-covid policy has led to strict lockdowns in many of its major cities, with a global impact on the manufacturing and supply of electronic goods.
- China produces over one-third of the world’s electronic goods.
- From 2020-2021, the UK imported £7.3bn of telecoms and sound equipment from China
- And 24% of all machines and electrical products in the US are imported from China.
- Shanghai produces around one-third of all China’s computer chips.
- Earlier this month, several companies supplying components for Apple, including Pegatron, Compal Electronics, and Quanta Group, had to close their factories in Shanghai due to lockdown.
- According to an analyst at investment firm Wedbush Securities, the production of three million iPhones had already been affected in April 2022, “with more to come if this continues.” Production of iPads and MacBooks may also be affected.
- And fewer goods being manufactured means fewer goods traveling through Shanghai’s port: As of May 2, the port reported handling 23% less volume than on March 12, prior to the lockdown.
Even once the lockdown in China ends, the sudden surge of shipments could overwhelm US ports, which could mean weeks or even months of delays, adding to rising inflation.
Price hikes for consumers
It seems price hikes are inevitable, fuelled largely by the Chinese lockdown and the rising cost of components caused by the chip shortage. We’re already seeing devices launch with a higher-than-expected price, like the global launch of the HUAWEI Mate XS2 this week, which will cost you €1,999 (about $2,100) when it hits markets in Europe in June.
But if you’re losing sleep over price hikes and chip shortages, spare a thought for those looking to get their hands on IBM’s first electronic computer, the Model 701.
- Announced this week in 1952 (May 21), the device signaled IBM’s move into the computer business.
- But to rent one of these computers would have cost you a whopping $12,000 a month — around $117,000 today.
So I guess things aren’t really that bad?
- May 24: Xiaomi Mi Band 7 launch (China)
- May 24-27: Computex Taipei
- June 3: The Boys season 3 hits Amazon Prime Video
- June 6-10: Apple WWDC 2022
- June 10: The Quarry released on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
- June 10: Jurassic World Dominion in theaters
- June 12: Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase @ 12 PM CT
- June 20-23: Collision (Toronto)
- June 26-July 3: Summer Games Done Quick
Tech Tweet of the Week
Cannes moderator asking about the dangerous stunts in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: “You risk your life, monsieur. Why do you do it?”Tom Cruise: “No one asked Gene Kelly, ‘Why do you dance?’” pic.twitter.com/STuceTvJVj— Isaac Feldberg @ Cannes (@isaacfeldberg) May 18, 2022
Have a sunny week ahead!
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.