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The Weekly Authority: 📱 Samsung's self-repair, Nothing's April Fools'
⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 188th edition here, with Samsung’s self-repair scheme, Nothing’s April Fools’ prank, and more.
🎮 I started the week with joystick drift on my PS5’s DualSense, which has now gone to PlayStation hospital for a repair. I’ve got a spare, but hope it’s back home soon!
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Popular news this week
- Samsung and iFixit will help you self-repair your phone, which means you can order genuine Samsung parts for your phone/tablet and make repairs — including battery repairs — yourself, but no name or planned launch date for the service yet (Android Authority).
- Samsung (accidentally?) praises a rival’s foldable on Twitter: The Tweet concerned the OPPO Find N foldable, and it’s not yet clear if it was a mistake.
- Samsung’s new M8 4K smart monitor has a magnetic wireless webcam, undercuts the Apple Studio Display.
- The OnePlus 10 Pro launched globally on Thursday.
- OnePlus 10R leaked specs suggest it’s a realme in disguise, with leaked renders looking pretty familiar.
- Google Docs is getting more markdown support, using its autocorrect feature to convert Markdown format.
- And almost 14 years after its initial release, Chrome version 100 arrives with refreshed logo too.
- Motorola’s 2022 roadmap leaked, looks like at least 19 phones incoming, with tipster Evan Blass leaking details of at least four upcoming handsets, codenamed Frontier, Miami, Dubai, and Dubai Plus.
- Nothing mocks current Android phones with an obvious April Fool’s Day joke, promising the Nothing phone will be “unlike anything else.”
- Xiaomi’s commented on claims that its devices throttle games but not benchmark apps, essentially confirming it slows down performance, but explaining it still offers various performance modes.
- Apple may release its next iPad Pro this fall, supposedly with MagSafe inductive charging and the rumored-but-as-yet-unannounced M2 chip.
- And Apple reportedly slashes iPhone SE (2022) production by about 20% due to low interest.
- Meanwhile, Apple’s fines in Dutch antitrust case hit 50 million Euros.
- And Apple stores will now decline to repair iPhones reported as missing, should help to reduce number of stolen iPhones brought to Apple for repair.
- Also: Apple rushes out patches for two zero-days threatening iOS and Mac users, with five zero-days already this year.
- vivo announced it’s unveiling a new foldable as specs and renders leaked: The vivo X Fold is coming April 11, though China-only launch for now, and no plans set for a global release.
- Specs look decent though: Rumored as an 8-inch LTPO QHD+ OLED screen with ultra-thin glass (UTG), ultrasonic fingerprint scanning, 66W charging, and 50W wireless charging, powered by the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC.
- UNC business professor Jim Kitchen blasted off to space and returned safely on Blue Origin’s fourth crewed mission on Thursday.
- Companies will have another chance to compete to build a lunar lander for NASA.
- And NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei returns to Earth in Russian space capsule.
- Someone made an Android phone with a lightning port, for some reason.
- The Redmi Note 11 Pro Plus launched globally, offering 120W charging for under $400.
- And Dyson launched Zone, its air-purifying Bluetooth headphones that will make you look a bit Bane-like thanks to the visor design.
- Meanwhile, Intel announced its new Arc A-series GPUs for laptops, with dedicated ray-tracing hardware and support for DirectX 12 — launch begins with Arc 3, designed more for creativity than gaming.
- WhatsApp voice messages got better with six new features, including listening to a voice message out of a chat, and a handy pause/resume recording feature when recording voice messages, rolling out to all users in the coming weeks.
- And LG killed its phones and propelled Motorola to the top three of the US market in 2021.
- Plus, it sounds like a Xiaomi and Leica partnership could be in the works.
- Windows 11’s dumbest problem is finally getting fixed: It’s now a one-click process to change your default browser.
- Seems people are getting spam texts from their own numbers: Mostly affecting Verizon customers — Verizon’s responded, saying it’s aware that “bad actors” are responsible for the spoofed messages, but that there’s “no indication that this fraudulent activity is originating in Russia.” The company is actively working with law enforcement to find out who’s responsible and put a stop to the messages.
- Speaking of Russia, Russian developers are creating their own alternative to the Google Play store: NashStore (“OurStore” in English).
- And TikTok’s testing a Watch History feature so you can finally find that video you were sure you saved.
- Amazon Glow’s now available to all consumers in the US, following its invite-only launch six months ago.
- Finally: Want a burrito delivered by drone? For residents of Granbury, Texas, that could soon be a reality — Flytrex, an Israeli startup, is already delivering meals by drone in North Carolina under its pilot program, now expanding to Granbury, just outside Fort Worth.
- Everyone’s talking about that Will Smith/Chris Rock moment — definitely an unexpected addition to this year’s Oscars — and you can read Smith’s apology here.
- CNN Plus launched, the new streaming service from the cable news giant, with Reddit-like interactive Q&As.
- And Bruce Willis is stepping away from acting following Aphasia diagnosis.
- Reviews are in for Moon Knight: Mashable’s Alexis Nedd says, “Moon Knight is original and exciting in a way that has much more in common with the better seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones — both shows that added much-needed grit and originality to the Marvel franchise at the time.”
- Need some new shows to watch? Here’s what’s new on Amazon Prime Video in April, including Chris Pine’s All the New Knives, and season 2 of Undone.
- Coda made history for Apple TV Plus at last weekend’s Academy Awards, winning Best Picture — if you liked it, here are 9 other titles to watch.
- Meanwhile, Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon finally has a release date on HBO Max: August 21 in the US and other HBO Max territories, with UK viewers able to watch from the morning of August 22 on Sky Atlantic and Now TV.
- Sony announced its PlayStation Plus service, a competitor for Xbox Game Pass — Available from June, with three tiers: Essential, Extra, and Premium, starting from $9.99/month ($24.99 quarterly, $59.99 yearly), but falls short as new games won’t launch on the service at the same time as retail release, unlike Xbox’s Game Pass.
- Meanwhile, Microsoft’s reportedly launching an Xbox Game Pass family plan later this year, will allow five users to access the service using one subscription.
- Speaking of, Xbox won’t stop you sharing clips to Twitter from your console after all: Microsoft’s latest Xbox beta software means you’ll no longer have to use your phone to share content.
- Death Stranding Director’s Cut landed on PC on Wednesday, available via Steam and the Epic Games Store, including the “Ruined Factory” location, extended storyline, and new stealth missions, plus soon to feature support for Intel’s new XeSS graphics technology.
- And Breath of the Wild sequel is delayed to 2023, Nintendo apologizes: “…we have decided to extend our development time a bit and change the release to spring 2023.”
- Speaking of Nintendo, a new overview trailer for Nintendo Switch Sports landed this week.
- E3 2022 is canceled: We already knew the in-person event was off this year but now the digital version’s nixed too, with ESA promising a triumphant return to Los Angeles in 2023.
- The second annual Meta Quest Gaming Showcase is set for April 20 — we’re hoping to hear about GTA: San Andreas as well as some new games from Vertigo Games, plus Among Us VR and Cities: VR are also confirmed.
- Enjoy mowing the lawn? Now you can do so on your console with the zen-like Lawn Mowing Simulator, which landed Thursday for PS4 and PS5 and for a while had more Twitch viewers than Call of Duty: Warzone.
- Finally: Horizon Forbidden West patch makes the game less shimmery — the massive patch for PS4 and PS5 also fixes over a dozen quests.
- OnePlus 10 Pro review: A lukewarm response to blazing competition — Feels like a lukewarm alternative to the Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy S22 Plus, with a lack of attention to detail and curious omissions.
- Motorola Moto G Stylus (2022) review: A super-sized sidestep — “If you desperately need a budget phone with a built-in stylus, the Moto G Stylus 5G is a smarter buy.”
- Motorola Edge Plus review: Not perfect, but on par — Attractive, and performs well across the board, but held back by the display and Verizon exclusivity.
- HUAWEI Matebook E review: Surface-level — “Huawei’s Surface rival is a powerful tablet, keyboard, and stylus package that’s let down by poor battery life.”
- Eufy Video Doorbell Dual review: The perfect pal for package protection hounds — Great for knowing when boxes arrive, but a hard sell for the everyday smart home enthusiast.
- If the Nothing Phone 1 isn’t cheap, it will fail: “Nothing will need to offer competitive pricing if it hopes to make a major initial impact” (Android Authority).
- Bubbles could be Android’s best chat feature, if Google fixes it: You’re not alone in your love/hate relationship with the feature (Android Authority).
- The global computer chip shortage explained: What it means for you and your tech — “With component supply shortages continuing, smartphones could soon become as hard to buy as consoles and graphics cards” (Android Authority).
- Inside Big Tech’s race to patent everything: “The industry’s obsession with accumulating IP has led to a huge uptick in employee inventors — and some outlandish patents” (Wired).
- People Are Experimenting With ‘Digital Drugs’ Delivered Via Sound… And It’s Weird: Could binaural beats alter minds? (Science Alert).
- It’s easy to blame mental health issues on tech. But is it fair? “A popular narrative says devices make us depressed. Research with remote Amazonians adds more depth to the story” (Wired).
Friday, April 1 was April Fools’ Day, and we’ve rounded up some of our favorite weird and wonderful tech pranks from the past decade:
Most of us know Waymo as the provider of fully autonomous taxi rides in major cities worldwide. But in 2019, the company pranked us for April Fools’ Day by announcing pet-exclusive taxis. “If pets could travel in self-driving cars, where would they go?” Good question!
Ever wondered what the inside of an Egyptian tomb smells like? Google Nose. In 2013, Google Nose Beta promised to offer a “scentsational” new search experience by allowing you to search for almost any scent. The “Google Arombase” had over 15 million “scentibytes” from around the world, inhaled and indexed by its Street Sense vehicles. We actually wish this one was real…
OnePlus Warp Car
In 2019, One Plus announced its Warp Car, a modular electric supercar created using SLS 3D and ABS 3D printing that you could build on at home. The car had no steering wheel, instead relying on swipe movements on your (OnePlus) phone to steer, and using the phone’s flashlight for headlights. You could apparently drive up to 270 miles on a 20-minute charge, but needed 20 Warp Chargers to top up the battery. You also had to be between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches to use it.
Samsung’s Internet of Trousers
In 2016, Samsung issued a press release for its “Internet of Trousers” smart pants. These included features such as heart rate monitoring, a reminder to stand up more, and “Wi-Fly” which notified you if your pants were unzipped for more than three minutes. The pants were also able to detect if the waistband felt tight, at which point they would automatically alert your refrigerator to lock, only allowing it to be opened by an authorized person.
This year: Some favorites we spotted included Razer’s HyperSense haptic suit, the Dyson Zone headphones — oh wait, those weren’t an April Fools’ prank — and the OPPO Gotcha, a tiny device with a 1,422Hz refresh rate and “very clicky button.”
- April 5: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga lands on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S
- April 11: vivo X Fold unveiling (China only)
- April 20: Meta Quest Gaming Showcase @ 10 AM PT
- May 9-11: Qualcomm 5G Summit (San Diego)
- May 11-12: Google I/O 2022
Tech Tweet of the Week
No one cared who I was until I put on the vacuum cleaner https://t.co/jiTIrUdp42— Stephen Warwick (@StephenWarwick9) March 30, 2022
Something extra: The first floor of Paris’ Eiffel Tower was completed on this day in 1888, and you can dive deep into the details of the construction here.
Until next week,
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.