Weekly Digest - 2020.32


Samsung Unpacked

This week Samsung held the Unpacked event and unveiled couple of new devices.

Samsung Galaxy Note  20 & Note 20 Ultra

New flagships have been announced and this is how they look like:

  • 6,7” (2400 x 1080 px) Super AMOLED in Note 20
  • 6,9” (3200 x 1440 px) Dynamic AMOLED 2X 120 Hz in Note 20 Ultra
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus CPU
  • 8GB or 12GB of RAM,
  • 256 or 512 GB of storage
  • Hole-punch 10 Mpix selfie camera,
  • Tripple rear camera
  • 12 Mpix + 64 Mpix (telefoto) + 12 Mpix (ultrawide) in Note 20
  • 108 Mpix + 12 Mpix (telefoto) + 12 Mpix (ultrawide)  in Note 20 Ultra
  • Fingerprint sensor built into the screen,
  • Dual SIM: SIM + eSIM
  • 5G capabilities
  • 4300 mAh battery in Note 20 & 4500 mAh battery in Note 20 Ultra,
  • Phones will be available in August starting  at $999.99.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung still pursues the fold concept and announced the successor to famous Galaxy Fold phone.  The biggest change a full-size 6.2-inch screen that covers the entire front of the phone. This is really huge improvement  from is tiny external display that Galaxy Fold had. The main display is also bigger, at 7.6 inches and runs up to 120Hz. Also, the screen  doesn't have huge notch for camera, instead there is  a small hole-punch camera that takes up far less space. Internals of the device also have been upgraded and Z Fold 2 is powered by Snapdragon 865 Plus processor. Unfortunately we still don't know pricing or a release date.

Galaxy Watch 3

Samsungs also announced a new Watch, that has a heart-monitoring electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), which has been cleared by the FDA similar to Apple Watch. It will be available for purchase starting on August 6th from $399.99.

Big companies fight Apple's AppStore policies

It looks like, Apple is under heavy fire not only from indie developers, but big tech giants as well. All rally agains Apple's AppStore policies.

Microsoft, after announcement that xCloud wouldn't be coming to iOS, fired back at Apple accusing them of treating gaming apps unfairly compared to other apps.

Facebook launched gaming app on iOS, but it doesn't have any games. All thanks to an App Store policy which bans streaming gaming services.

It doesn't look very good for Apple, especially when AppStore Policies are under investigation regarding antitrust concerns and anti-competitive behavior.

Apple updated iMacs

Apple updated the iMac lineup. The biggest change is Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake processors. The most awaited change is 1080p HD webcam, hopefully this upgrade will be introduced in other macs. Also,  SSDs are now standard across the line.

Also, iMac Pro has been refreshed. Now, the base model has the 10-core 3.0 GHz Xeon W chip that was previously an upgrade option.

Weekly Digest - 2020.07


Samsung Unpack

This week Samsung held its Unpacked event and presented new phones:

Samsung Galaxy S20 & S20+

The successors to S10 model have following specification:

  • 6.2-inch 120Hz QHD+ OLED display in S20,
  • 6.7-inch 120Hz QHD+ OLED display in S20+,
  • Snapdragon 865 CPU,
  • 12GB of RAM,
  • 128GB of storage + microSD in S20,
  • 128 or 512 GB of storage + microSD in S20+,
  • 10MP Selfie camera,
  • Triple (12+64+12MP) rear camera system,
  • 5G compatible,
  • 4000mAh battery in S20 & 4500mAh in S20+.

Samsung Galaxy S20 starts at $999,  and S20+ starts at $1199. Both will be available on March 6th.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung also revealed the premium model in S20 lineup.

  • 6.9-inch 120Hz QHD+ OLED display,
  • Snapdragon 865 CPU,
  • 12GB or 16GB of RAM,
  • 128GB or 512GB of storage + microSD in S20+,
  • 40MP Selfie camera
  • Triple (108+48+12MP) rear camera system with additional depth camera,
  • 5G compatible,
  • 5000mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra starts at $1399, and will be available on March 6th.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Samsung presented another foldable phone -  Galaxy Z Flip,  but it's not a successor to Galaxy Fold. Here is the spec:

  • 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED main display,
  • 1.1-inch Super AMOLED cover Display,
  • Snapdragon 855+ CPU,
  • 8GB of RAM,
  • 256GB of storage,
  • 10MP Selfie camera,
  • Dual 12MP rear camera system,
  • 3300mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip costs $1,380 and launched on February 14th.

Xiaomi Mi 10

Despite of the Coronavirus outbreak in China, Xaomi managed to launch, at online-only event, the new flagship phones - Xiaomi Mi 10 & Mi 10Pro. Here is the spec of presented devices:

  • 6.67-inch 90Hz AMOLED display,
  • Snapdragon 865 CPU,
  • 8 or 12GB of RAM,
  • 128GB or 256GB of storage in Mi 10,
  • 256GB or 512 of storage in Mi 10 Pro,
  • 20MP Selfie camera
  • Quad (108+12+8+20MP) rear camera system in Mi 10,
  • Quad (108+12+2+2MP) rear camera system in Mi 10 Pro,
  • 5G compatible,
  • 4780mAh battery in Mi 10 & 4500mAh in Mi 10 Pro.

Xiaomi Mi 10 starts at ~$575 and will be available in China from February 14. Xiaomi Mi 10Pro  starts at ~$715 and will be available in China from February 18.

$450 production cost of PlayStation 5

According to Bloomberg manufacturing costs of the PlayStation 5 are around $450 per unit. The biggest reason for higher cost is limited supply and high prices of DRAM and NAND flash memories.


Image credits: Samsung

Weekly Digest - 2020.06


Faking trafic jam on Google Maps

Google Maps monitors traffic data using various sources, including phones with location services turned on.  Sam Wecker tricked Google Maps and created virtual traffic jam by walking through empty streets of Berlin with 99 second-hand phones loaded on a small wagon.

Google is aware of this flaw and, in response to 9to5Google, stated that they liked the idea, and hope that it will somehow improve the service.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip leaked

A video showing upcoming Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip has been shared on Twitter. Phone itself looks more like a traditional flip phone that folds up into a compact device. There is not much information about this phone, but here is what we know so far based on the leaks:

  • It will have 6.1- inch foldable main screen,
  • Smaller screen on the back for clock & notifications,
  • Front facing camera built into the main screen,
  • Double camera system on the back.

The Galaxy Z Flip is expected to be revealed at Samsung's Unpacked event on February 11.

GeForce Now finally released

Nvidia's game streaming service -  GeForce Now - left the beta and is finally available for everyone. At the moment, players can choose one of two tiers:

Free

  • Play session is limited to 1 hour,
  • Raytracing is disabled.

Founders

  • Costs $4.99 a month,
  • Unlimited play time,
  • Priority access to servers,
  • Raytracing is available.

GeForce Now allows to play already purchased games from Steam, Uplay, and Epic Store. The list of compatible games is impressive.

At the moment, the client is available for Windows, macOS i Android, but Nvidia also plans to release the PWA version.

Microsoft forgot to renew a certificate, again

Microsoft Teams went down for nearly three hours after Microsoft forgot to renew a critical security certificate. Teams users couldn't sign into the service because the app was failing to establish an HTTPS connection to Microsoft’s servers.

This is not Microsoft's first incident with expired certificate. In 2013,  Microsoft Azure was not available for couple of hours.

AMD Powered macs?

New beta of macOS 10.15.4 Catalina continues to reference the AMD processors. Those references could mean one of couple of things:

  • Apple is just playing with AMD's hardware and there is nothing more to the story,
  • AMD's CPU and GPU will power rumored gaming computer,
  • Apple is going to replace Intel's chips with AMD ones in future iMacs and MacBooks.

Image credits: Google Maps

Weekly Digest - 2020.03


Samsung Galaxy S20

XDA Developers leaked the photos of the successor to Samsung's flagship phone - Galaxy S10. What's interesting, Samsung is not going to just increment the number to S11, instead they are going to jump ahead to S20. Probably Samsung is naming is based on current year.  Other visible differences are:

  • front facing camera cutout is closer to the center of screen,
  • rear camera has 4 lenses:  regular wide, an ultra-wide, portrait, and a macro,
  • body is less curved.

For the rest of the spec, we'll have to wait until February 11th.

New iPhones and iPads with faster 5G

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, this year iPhone will support both sub-6GHz 5G (slightly faster than LTE) and faster mmWave 5G (closer to WiFi transfers). Previous reports suggested only the the former, so this week rumor is a nice surprise. Of corse, it is possible that faster 5G will be available only in selected models of iPhone.  That would line up with  last week rumors,  that new iPhones might have staggered rollout.

Also, according to DigiTimes, upcoming iPads will get faster 5G as well.  Although, this feature might be limited only to iPad Pro lineup.

New MacBooks coming soon

Apple has register portable and unreleased Mac in Eurasian Economic Commission database. Common sense indicates that might be new 13-inch, or maybe even 14-inch, MacBook Pro with a scissor keyboard. Regardless, of the screen size, new Mac will be released within couple of weeks.

Windows 7 is dead

After 11 years, Microsoft is officially ending support for Windows 7. Although, users should not get any bug fixes or feature updates, Windows 7 will share the fate of Windows XP, and Microsoft will be releasing critical security updates for couple more years.

New Microsoft Edge is out

Microsoft has finally released the stable version of the Edge browser based on the Google's Chromium web browser project. New Microsoft Edge is available on both Windows and macOS.

Cyberpunk 2077 delayed

Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed by 5 months.  In the special statement,  CD Project Red (CDPR) announced that the released date has been moved to September 17th.

Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most anticipated games of this year, and it is not a surprise, that CDPR want to polish the game and release the best game possible. CDPR did similar move with Witcher 3, which also was delayed for 3 months and turned it to be one of the best RPGs ever. So, there is nothing to worry about, all we need to do is be patient.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch Escape Demonstration

On Sunday, SpaceX performed the final test of the Crew Dragon. The goal of this mission was to verify the escape mechanisms of the Crew Dragon capsule.

Less than one and half minute after Falcon's 9 launch, Crew Dragon separated from the booster. Seconds later rocket itself was destroyed. Meanwhile, Crew Dragon achieved safe distance and parachuted in the ocean.

The test looked to be successful. If the telemetry confirms that, it means that SpaceX will be in the home stretch to send first astronauts into space.


Image credits: XDA Developers

Weekly Digest - 2020.01


Apple Gaming Computer

According to Taiwan's Economic Daily News Apple is going to announce a gaming computer during this year WWDC. The report claims that new machine may be a a laptop or all-in-one desktop with a price tag of up to $5,000. So basically it could be a new MacBook or an iMac.

This rumor is so sketchy on so many levels. First of all Apple, just released a brand new, large-screen, laptop that is arguably gaming capable. Second, both iMac and iMac Pro are long overdue for an update, so they might get a hardware upgrade around WWDC. Also, iMac Pro is VR capable, so, without a doubt, newer hardware will be more powerful.

Beside that, Apple is focusing on Apple Arcade, which has small Indie games. Those, compering to AAA titles, are not that demanding, and most of today's computers could run them easily.

So as you can see, I take this rumor with a grain of salt. But in every rumor there is a little bit of truth, and I believe we might get updated iMacs. But the updates will be related more with VR than traditional gaming.

Emoji engravings on AirPods

Since last year, customers could engrave their AirPods with custom text. This year Apple extended this option with emojis. Unfortunately the number of emojis is very limited, but it includes the most popular ones:  smiling face, thumb up, heart, dog, alien, and even poop.

This feature is very silly, but I have to admit that those emojis look pretty dope on the charging case.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite

Samsung announced the budget versions of 2019 flagships. They offer some the of premium features at more affordable price points, which at the moment are still unknown.

Here are the specs:

Galaxy S10 Lite

  • 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display (2400 × 1080),
  • CPU: Snapdragon 855,
  • 6GB or 8GB of RAM,
  • 32-megapixel f/2.2 front camera,
  • Tripple lens rear camera:
    • 5-megapixel f/2.4 macro lens,
    • 48-megapixel F2.0 wide-angle lens,
    • 12-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide with a 123-degree angle lens,
  • 128GB of storage,
  • 4,500mAh battery.

Note 10 Lite

  • 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display (2400 × 1080),
  • CPU: Samsung’s Exynos 8895,,
  • 6GB or 8GB of RAM,
  • 32-megapixel f/2.2 front camera,
  • Tripple lens rear camera:
    • 12-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide lens,
    • 12-megapixel f/1.7 wide-angle lens,
    • 12-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens,
  • 128GB of storage,
  • 4,500mAh battery,
  • SPen for hand writing and controlling the phone.