Trending February 2024 # Daily Authority: 🎁 S22, Ultra, Tab S8 # Suggested March 2024 # Top 8 Popular

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Eric Zeman / Android Authority

☕ Good morning! Whew, lots to consider this morning with Samsung’s generous bonus offers…

Galaxy everything

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung took the wraps off its Galaxy S22 series and its new tablets in the Tab S8 series and I really liked what we saw from Samsung in nearly every way.

S22 Ultra:

The new S22 Ultra looks great, just like a Note, and sits at the level for those who want the absolute most out of their Android phone.

It’s huge, it has the S Pen, 5,000mAh battery, the new Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with variable refresh from 1Hz-120Hz looks amazing, and the spec sheet is top-shelf and basically flawless.

I’m intrigued to see how the camera system works out: not a lot of changes from the S21 Ultra, but the main 108MP is said to be improved and capture more light with wider aperture, and better image stabilization, Samsung quoting a very specific “48% shake reduction”.

It’s interesting that this is where the Note ended and how Samsung merged it with the S line. It now starts at $1,200 and that probably means a limited audience. (Also the various Fold devices are somewhat in competition as well, at $1,700 minus any discounts/deals).

That’s for the 8GB/128GB Ultra though, and so really you’d be wanting the $1,300 option which jumps to 12GB/256GB and is the one I’d recommend.

S22, S22 Plus:

These are probably more important than the Ultra for a lot of people given more accessible pricing.

Some are calling the S22 and S22 Plus the “S” version of the S21: an interaction and refinement, rather than a revolution, with the same camera cutout, button placements remain the same, with a slightly better, smaller display. I’m fine with that, it makes sense and typically “S models” have been the ones to get in most years.

And that said, all these phones have new features along with their spec bumps.

The upgraded 50MP main camera is a big deal for the S22 and S22 Plus, and both now get new features like better night photography and video shooting, plus improved cooling to reduce thermal throttling.

Also, Samsung now has 45W charging on the S22 Plus and Ultra, which is a handy speed boost — if you pony up to buy the fast charger, since it’s not in the box. The S22 is stuck at 25W.

Samsung was also keen to talk about its new display with Vision Booster, which offers crazy high brightness along with dynamic tone mapping, but the S22 and S22 Plus miss out on LTPO screens, likely meaning higher battery drain than the Ultra.

Compared to the S21 models, they’re more flat, the design can’t be easily split between the S22 and S22 Plus and reverting back to a matte glass back seems to give them that hand-feel that people like.

They start at $799 and $999 respectively, for the 8GB RAM/128GB storage option.

But, like the Ultra, I’d absolutely always recommend the 256GB option over 128GB, which is only $50 more! I like that.

Pre-orders vs waiting for reviews

Once again, Samsung is dangling huge carrots for trade-ins and bonuses on its phones.

For example, one of my colleagues found that Samsung is offering $800 off the S22 Ultra, if they trade in their Note 20 Ultra, plus additional bonus rebates, making the new Ultra just $350 out of pocket. I think there’s bonus earbuds too.

But pre-ordering right now means missing out on the detailed reviews, which reveal all those little details about execution, software, and so on.

There were a few pre-order hitches, though, with Samsung’s site struggling for many to actually take a pre-order, though the process was working for me this morning.

The problem is that Android still ain’t much on larger screens, with iPad software still much better.

But again I’m tempted. The Galaxy Tab S8, S8 Plus, and S8 Ultra offer premium big screen devices and Samsung really has just gone for it with the massive Ultra: 14.6-inches, making the S8 Plus and its 12.7-inch display look small!

It’s obviously a kind of hybrid tablet-laptop.

The Tab S8 and S8 Plus have minor upgrades from the S7 tablets, and most of the talking points around are about the Ultra.

I look forward to reviews to see what kind of value for money we’re getting here.

Other stuff:

I really don’t mean to be overly positive here about Samsung but the new Samsung promise of four years of Android updates for the Galaxy S22 series, Tab S8 series, S21 series, Z Flip 3, and Z Fold 3, up from the standard three years, is great news.

The weaknesses might be in the Exynos processor, we don’t know yet, but stay tuned for benchmarks.

I’m really interested in battery life vs the S21 series as well with the 4nm process on both the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chips and the Exynos series. The S22 and S22 Plus actually dropped around 8% of listed battery capacity.

Roundup

“Variety has learned that the streaming service has ordered 20 new episodes of the adult animated sci-fi comedy series. The revival hails from David X. Cohen and Matt Groening. Cohen developed the original series with Groening, the series creator.”

Original series cast members Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman will all return. John DiMaggio, who voiced Bender and several minor characters, is not currently attached. According to an individual with knowledge of the project, the producers are hopeful DiMaggio will return. Should that not happen, Bender will be recast.”

I have no idea, but based on DiMaggio’s retweet of this and a tweet from himself, it sounds like he’s holding out for cash rather than some kind of artistic disagreement?

You're reading Daily Authority: 🎁 S22, Ultra, Tab S8

Daily Authority: Xiaomi’S Marketing 📉

To keep costs down, Xiaomi skimped on the IP rating, went for a cheaper plastic build, left out wireless charging, and started the base model with 8GB/128GB at €649 (~$650, before tax).

Depending on your region, it does battle with the likes of the vanilla OnePlus 9 ($649), Motorola Edge ($699), iPhone 13 ($699) and the Galaxy S21 FE, whenever Samsung finally launches that in the next few weeks or so.

Reviews are out already and they’re only ok. 

The 11T Pro looks like a powerful set of components that don’t quite stack together thanks to a middling camera and cheap build feel.

Verdict: “Xiaomi aimed high with the 11T Pro, but didn’t quite reach its target. The phone has plenty going for it, such as a gorgeous display, top performance, and blazing fast charging, but the cameras are middling and there are several missing features that hurt its overall appeal.” 

The non-phone weirdness:

The proximity of the launch to Apple’s event by a day made Xiaomi’s already clumsy marketing feel wildly off-piste.

Xiaomi is odd in that it is really really good at solid, value-packed smartphones, and flagships that tick plenty of boxes.

But marketing is not at all its strength. Its best marketing efforts are its prices, not its launches. 

Xiaomi confusingly showed more than half a dozen short films. 

It said the word “Cinemagic” (Cinema Magic) more than a dozen times as its tagline for the 11T series.

Xiaomi showed off a collaboration with French fashion editor Carine Roitfeld.

Supermodel Coco Rocha posed with the Mi 11 Lite NE in a one-minute long video.

None of it really felt like it belonged or worked cohesively.

I spent a lot of time wondering why this was Xiaomi’s approach. Obviously, Xiaomi is going for the marketing effect of brand aspiration; it’s not focusing exclusively on Hollywood moviemakers and fashionistas and so on to buy its phone.

A basic marketing tenet is to associate with glamor, to make people start to believe your phone is better and more valuable. 

It’s social psychology, celebrity effect, and so on.

So, Xiaomi thought to associate its brand with Hollywood and fashion; not so much the nerds and geeks wondering if a phone has an IP rating.

Apple manages this without feeling like it’s trying. 

Xiaomi felt like it was much wider off the mark.

Also: Xiaomi’s new Pad 5 tablet has gone global, will launch in Europe for €349.

Roundup

💵 Apple’s premium smartphone success in the $800+ and $400+ market is leaving Samsung behind (Android Authority).

🍟 Specs of Tensor chip in Google Pixel 6 sound like they’re here, but if so they’re confusing due to a mix of new and old CPU cores. Speaking of chips, Google sold potato chips in Japan for a moment (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple’s iPhone 13 event that barely mentioned 5G: 90 seconds in 80 minutes, despite last year’s major highlight of 5G. It proves how rocky it’s been (CNET).

📉 Hints that Oppo is struggling: Oppo has merged operations with OnePlus as we know, but it has downsized by 20% and cut key divisions (Bloomberg).

🛵 Electric scooter startup Gogoro, which has that swappable battery infrastructure, is going public via SPAC (The Verge).

🎸 Marshall unveils its first true wireless earbuds with ANC: $129 Minor III (Engadget).

💸 App Annie fined $10M in a case that shows how data was promised to be secret but ended up being “non-aggregated and non-anonymized data,” which in turn, allegedly allowed App Annie to make much better estimates by simply … knowing the answers despite saying it definitely wouldn’t do that (Gizmodo).

🤑 Also in insider trading scandals: A guy working at the biggest NFT marketplace bought NFTs he knew would feature prominently (The Block).

🥅 Google is getting caught in the global antitrust net (Wired).

🎮 Ex-Ubisoft devs open new studio, immediately diss Ubisoft (Kotaku).

🚀 SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has flown four more people — all private citizens — into space (Ars Technica).

👃 Wikipedia states: “The human nose is extremely sensitive to geosimin [the compound that we associate with the smell of rain], and is able to detect it at concentrations as low as 400 parts per trillion.” How does that compare to other scents? (r/askscience)

I mean, we’re still in that era, sorry.

But things are getting better! 

News that Microsoft accounts can now go fully passwordless means we might finally be seeing a catalyst driver towards moving on.

Microsoft has been working toward a passwordless login and we’re finally here.

“Today is a major milestone for Microsoft’s passwordless ambitions, after the company enabled security keys in 2023 and made Windows 10 passwordless in 2023,” writes The Verge. 

“We have been rolling this out at Microsoft and nearly 100 percent of Microsoft is now passwordless,” says Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president of Microsoft security, compliance & identity. More than 200 million people are already using passwordless options.”

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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Daily Authority: 🍎 The good and bad from Apple

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Daily Authority: 📱 It’S Pixel 7 Event Day!

Our Hadlee Simons weighs in on why you should wait: “Google’s phones have had a history of issues at launch, with the Pixel 6 series being the most recent example of this. The Pixel phones launched with extremely slow and inaccurate in-display fingerprint sensors, for starters. But this wasn’t the only Pixel 6 problem on day one.”

He continues, “The Pixel 6 range also had bugs which saw calls automatically being declined, Wi-Fi randomly shutting off, and the refresh rate being stuck at 60Hz. Most of these have been fixed via subsequent firmware updates, but we still have persistent problems like the overheating Tensor chipset and wireless connectivity being horrible after all this time.”

And earlier Pixel phones weren’t without their issues either. The Pixel 5 had issues including the on-device sensors on some devices not working, while the Pixel 4 saw issues such as the screen switching to 60Hz when below 75% brightness. Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 models also saw battery swelling.

Not just a Google problem

We’re not picking on Google here — plenty of other manufacturers have seen launch window issues recently too:

Those who bought the recently launched iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max experienced issues with the main camera rattling and shaking in third-party apps. Apple’s since addressed the problem with a firmware update.

And recently, some Galaxy S22 series models (Exynos variants) suffered from no GPS signal — not great when you need to use apps like Waze or Google Maps.

Then we saw issues where some Galaxy Z Flip 3 owners reported their foldable screens cracking for no good reason.

Google’s likely to offer some enticing preorder bonuses, if previous years are anything to go by, but if you can resist, we’d definitely recommend waiting. As Hadlee says, “The Pixel 6 series nevertheless represents perhaps the nadir of launch window issues on Android. So we’d caution against buying or preordering the Pixel 7 series at launch until the extent of these bugs is clear. After all, the last thing you want is a smartphone that struggles with cellular and Wi-Fi connections.”

🎨 Google shares over a dozen new wallpapers just in time for the Pixel 7 (Android Authority).

⌚ Pixel Watch retail listing points to same thickness as Fitbit Sense, 41mm size (9to5Google).

👋 Amazon Glow is no more: Amazon kills off the interactive video-calling device, launched just last year, and it’s only really been available to buy for about six months (TechCrunch).

🚀 Crew Dragon launches safely, carrying first Russian from US soil in 20 years (Ars Technica).

🪐 Meanwhile, the FCC’s rules on space junk just got stricter: This could slow the growing orbital litter problem, that’s if people actually abide by it (Wired).

🚢 Cozy management sim Spiritfarer comes to Netflix Games this month, alongside Nailed It! Baking Bash, both available through the Netflix app on Android and iOS — and if you’re looking for more games to play on your phone, check out our best Android games roundup (Netflix, Android Authority).

Thursday Thing

This week isn’t just Google event week, it’s also Fat Bear Week! Say what?

From October 5 through 11, Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska holds its annual playoff-like competition for the fattest bear around.

The brown bears in the park have spent all summer gorging themselves on 4,500-calorie salmon. Yum.

Live-streamed webcams show the bears in all their glory as they pile on the pounds.

Some of these huge bears can weigh over 1,000 pounds.

During Fat Bear Week, you, the public, get to vote which bear wins!

The competition is looking pretty tough this year, including Bear 747, a former Fat Bear Week champion and the largest bear many rangers have ever seen.

But our money’s on Bear 480, Otis, the 2023 champion and a famous face on the park’s streaming webcams.

Mashable‘s following all the latest ursine activity.

Daily Authority: 🎮 Game Over For Gaming Phones?

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

🍩 Good Morning, Daily Authority readers. Wednesdays are usually the sweet spot in the week. The Monday rush is over, and Friday is just around the corner. I quite like the day, especially because I get to compile this newsletter for you guys.

Today we have another smartphone brand leaving the game for greener pastures, or as Lenovo puts it, “a wider business transformation.” To be clear, the company will continue making Motorola phones, but it’s the end of the road for the Legion brand of gaming phones. This and more in today’s Daily Authority.

Game over for gaming phones?

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

The dedicated gaming phone space hasn’t been receiving a lot of attention of late. Things are also not looking good for gaming phones out there. Is their time up? Does anyone really need a dedicated gaming phone with powerful Android devices out there in general?

Lenovo has already backed away from the game. The company confirmed to Android Authority that it’s shuttering the Legion Gaming phone line for good.

Lenovo’s decision comes on the back of a wider gaming portfolio consolidation.

But let’s face it, the dedicated gaming phone industry isn’t ripe for the picking right now.

With Lenovo gone, there are only two brands left in the game: ASUS with its ROG phones and Nubia with its REDMAGIC devices. Razer was wise enough to stop making gaming phones a long while back.

What about Xiaomi-backed Black Shark? Well, the company laid off hundreds of employees recently. It’s reportedly having trouble paying out salaries. There’s also word going around that Black Shark devices are off the market.

A quick look at the Black Shark website in different parts of the world shows that none of the phones the company makes are available to purchase. They are out of stock everywhere, including last year’s Black Shark 5 series.

Gaming phones KOed?

Let’s face it, you don’t need a dedicated gaming phone to play games.

There are plenty of powerful handsets out there that are great for gaming, including the Galaxy S23 Ultra, iPhone 14 Pro, and even cheaper devices like the Poco F4 GT, the newly launched Redmi Note 12 Turbo, realme’s GT Neo 5, and more.

Gaming phones also don’t bring all the goods that regular flagships do. Often users have to make compromises in areas like photography, design, software updates, and more.

They do bring dedicated features for mobile gamers, but that’s not a big enough draw for consumers looking for all-rounder flagships that they’ll stick with for at least a few years.

So is it time to sound the death knell for gaming phones? Well, I wouldn’t want to discourage companies still in the game, but it looks like, eventually, they too might have to surrender their weapons.

Roundup

Breath of the Wild featured Stasis and Magnesis, two abilities that allowed players to bend physics and move stuff around.

In Tears of the Kingdom, players will get at least two brand new tricks like those, one called Fuse and another known as Ultra Hand.

Players can also create their own weapons from items around them in the game world.

Link is also getting a new mobility trick to swim up through any space with a ceiling.

TechCrunch has done a great job of summing up the new preview. You can read that take here.

The game’s out on May 12, and from what we can see, it looks pretty wonderful!

Daily Authority: 🤝 The Galaxy S23’S Best New Feature?

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

😁 Good day, Andy here once again! With Hadlee in Barcelona for MWC 2023, I’m again taking over the reins. Thanks to an early power cut, I had a late start to the morning, but we’re back for a few hours at least.

No one wants to spend the entire day setting up a smartphone.

For us, we go through this process many times a month when a new device drops.

Thankfully, Google is finally extending its Fast Pair service’s capabilities to encompass the entire smartphone setup process.

The process improves

Fast Pair is baked into Android and uses a combination of Bluetooth Low Energy and software to initiate a pairing response between two devices.

Initially, this was limited to accessories like headphones or earbuds. Now, those capabilities include smartphones.

So, how does it work?

When setting up a new phone (in our case, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra), a prompt will appear on your existing phone with a QR code.

“Scanning the QR code on the phone popped open Samsung’s Smart Switch utility, after which it was a simple matter of choosing the apps and files I wanted to carry over to my new phone,” says Dhruv.

For older Android phones, you’ll need to jump through a few more hoops.

“The QR code and prompt to set up a new phone will still be there, but what they do is fast-forward Android’s regular setup by automatically connecting your new phone to your Wi-Fi and importing your Google accounts without making you type those,” notes Dhruv.

From there, you’ll still need to enter your Google password to enter Android’s usual restore process.

So what’s the verdict?

The new Fast Pair improvements are a welcome addition to the Android toolkit, especially since most Android OEMs have their own data transfer utility.

Fast Pair merely acts as a trigger for these utilities, but buyers who aren’t necessarily tech-savvy are immediately pointed in the right direction.

Dhruv is full of praise for these upgrades, but it’s also thanks to Samsung’s own software.

“The app not only moved my existing applications but also maintained the sign-in signatures for most of them. All my files were also copied and placed in the same location where they were before.”

For now, the new Fast Pair system is only available on Samsung’s latest smartphones, but keep an eye out for the adoption of the improvements across more major brands in the coming months.

Roundup

Remember all those eventually-identified balloons found floating across North America just a few weeks ago? Japanese authorities have encountered something even stranger (h/t The Guardian).

What’s described as a large iron ball measuring about 1.5 meters across was found sunbathing on Enshu beach, Hamamatsu.

Although initial fears were that the ball was a weapon, X-rays suggest it’s entirely hollow.

There are also no indications that the ball was involved in North Korean or Chinese espionage activities.

Of course, there’s a boring theory of its origin.

Two raised handles on either side suggest that it’s part of a buoy mooring that somehow worked itself loose.

Alternatively, some people think it’s one of the Dragon Balls.

Others think it was a UFO that fell from the sky.

Well, we should know in the coming days exactly what the strange iron ball really is (when aliens come looking for it, of course).

Have a great Thursday,

Andy Walker, Editor.

Daily Authority: Hasselblad And Oneplus 9 Pro, And More

The almost legendary Hasselblad brand, I think, last had a smartphone arrangement as a Moto Mod adding optical zoom.

It’s a big-time serious camera operation, known for medium format cameras and lenses and while the competition in this space is fierce with Leica and Fujifilm, I asked a friend who owns a body who says Hasselblad is in every high-end professional studio for portraits and fashion shoots and art, and not really at all used for action or sports, as such.

The cheapest Hasselblad camera body you can buy, right now, sells for $5,750.

So, it’s a big serious expensive brand with a track record that OnePlus is tying up with, and it gives the camera fresh interest.

It may explain why reports have suggested the OnePlus 9 Pro won’t offer a periscope lens for optical zoom. It’s possible Hasselblad isn’t about that, and instead has committed to working with OnePlus on perfecting its most-used photography modes.

We previously saw Hasselblad partner with Motorola for the optional True Zoom Moto Z mod, with 10x optical zoom via a telescopic lens. 

And the Swedish company also teamed up with (now-defunct) luxury phone maker Vertu for an $11,000 phone back in 2014.

Aside from the camera, there is more to the leaks. We also see these reported leaked photos showing a curved display instead of the flat screen we’ve seen on leaked renders of the OnePlus 9, and a glossy finish to the phone rather than the matte finish of recent OnePlus flagships.

All of that is fine, normal, and part of the new phone game. The possibility of a very good camera system, though, is much more exciting.

DJI hands on this?

By the way, Hasselblad’s status as Swedish company may be a slight misnomer, too? I mean, it is headquartered there, but like Volvo, isn’t Swedish owned.

Chinese drone maker DJI acquired a minority, and then majority stake in Hasselblad; announced at CES 2023.

DJI drones have included Hasselblad branded sensors since then.

In any case, is this Hasselblad wanting to get into the smartphone game, as we’ve seen with Leica? Or all just prototyping that won’t come to a flagship?

We should find out within a month or two, based on previous OnePlus timelines…

Roundup

👉 Samsung Galaxy F62 to launch in India next week with Galaxy Note 10 chipset (Android Authority).

🤐 This smartphone mode could save you from drunk-texting (Android Authority).

🆚 Deep dive: The Snapdragon 888 vs The Exynos 2100: Cortex-X1 & 5nm — Who does it better? (AnandTech).

🍎 Remember when Hyundai spilled the beans that Apple was in talks about developing an autonomous electric vehicle? Yeah, that ended as predicted: Apple Car talks break down between Apple and Hyundai/Kia (Bloomberg).

🎵 On that note: a musician talks about what it’s like to work with Apple on product announcement videos. While he’s mostly kept in the dark, here’s one good part: “For obvious reasons they were very protective about any potential leaks and or the possibility of someone breaking into my studio and taking my gear. I am very careful with stuff like that though, so it was never a problem. I had to encrypt my HD for any projects where I had images or video of the project I was working on. I even had to buy blinds for a problematic window…” (r/apple).

🥊 Intel has finally clapped back at Apple after months of silence, trying to take down Apple’s M1 chip with a flurry of benchmarks about its 11th-gen Core i7 processors. Here’s a look at each claim, one-by-one (PCWorld).

📈 Reddit bought a five-second Super Bowl spot that none-too-subtly celebrated GameStock. (Just don’t ask if Reddit beat Wall Street, because…) (Reddit).

🤑 Speaking of, Robinhood is still planning to IPO in H1 2023 (WSJ, $).

📺 Also, two-minute packed The Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailer probably won the Super Bowl for Marvel/Disney. Coming March 19th (Gizmodo).

🦜 NASA is shipping the James Webb Space Telescope from California to Kourou in French Guiana for launch, including travelling the Panama Canal. Therefore, it won’t publish shipping dates for fear of pirates, despite a Navy escort (Twitter).

☄ What dust from space tells us about ourselves (Wired).

Meme Monday

Super Bowl memes from last night’s game, The Weeknd’s memeable moments from his half-time show are doing the rounds. To start, The Weeknd’s show was fun but the sound mixing seemed off, and somehow he spent $7 million of his own money* to be memed.

The main point was a passage in an illuminated gold funhouse of mirrors that was pretty funny:

Good Memes:

me trying to follow the hostess to my table at the Cheesecake Factory chúng tôi

— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) February 8, 2023

BuzzFeed has the rest.

*I have not investigated this claim. But apparently the NFL pays mostly in exposure, not money, for performers?

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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