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 - 2020.05


One connector to rule them all

EU lawmakers voted overwhelmingly (540-40) in favor for rules that would establish a common charger standard for mobile devices. It has not been decided which connector is the chosen one, but proposed charging ports include Micro-USB, USB-C and the Lightning connector. Looking at the already wide adoption of the USB-C, it's rather safe to say that it will be chosen. Fortunately, we won't have to wait long for the decision, the European Commission should adopt new rules by July.

Apple wants to make SMS one-time codes safer

Apple's WebKit team published a proposal to change the format of SMS one-time passcodes. The idea is to make the two-factor authentication process more secure. The proposal describes two ideas to achieve that:

  1. SMS one-time passcodes would be associated with a URL. It would be achieved by simply adding the website's URL to the SMS itself,
  2. Standardized format of two-factor authentication SMS code would allow applications to detect passcodes; automatically extract them, and complete the login process without further user interaction.

Here is an example of such SMS message:

011970 is your Brain Archives authentication code.
@brainarchives․com #011970

So far Apple and Google have backed the proposal.

iOS 14 to support the same iPhones as iOS 13

According to French website iPhonesoft, iOS 14 will be compatible with all iPhones supported by iOS 13,  including:

  • iPhone 11,  11 Pro & 11 Pro Max,
  • iPhone XS & XS Max,
  • iPhone XR,
  • iPhone X,
  • iPhone 8 & 8 Plus,
  • iPhone 7 & 7 Plus,
  • iPhone 6S & 6S Plus,
  • iPhone SE,
  • iPod touch (7th generation).

As for the iPads, iPhonesoft informs that iOS14 will drop support for the iPad mini 4, and will support following devices:

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro,
  • 11-inch iPad Pro,
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro,
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro,
  • iPad 7th, 6th & 5th   generation,
  • iPad mini (5th generation),
  • iPad Air (3rd generation).

iPad turned 10

This week is the 10th anniversary of the original iPad announcement. iPad supposed to become the "post PC" device that would replace personal computers. 10 years later, we know it hasn't done that yet, but current generation of iPads and iPadOS is closer than ever. Although, tablets hasn't become as popular as smartphones, iPad helped Apple take over this market.

Google's new business communicator

According to report from The Information Google is working on a new communicator for workplaces, that will combine the part of GSuite functionality, like Gmail Google Drive & Hangouts.


Image credits: Lucian Alexe

Weekly Digest - 2020.04


Photos of the Xbox Series X leaked online

Photos of the next-gen console has were posted on NeoGAF and Twitter. It’s unclear how legitimate those photos are, but if this they are, it's the first time we can see the console with all the ports:

  • HDMI Out,
  • 1x front USB Type-A port,
  • 2x rear USB Type-A ports,
  • Ethernet port,
  • Optical port
  • Diagnostic port

Microsoft has not commented on the leak, so we will have to wait, probably till E3 2020, for official news.

iPhone 12 in new sizes?

According to report from Macotakara, this year iPhones will have new dimensions:

  • 5.4-inch model will have a height that is midway between the iPhone SE and iPhone 8,
  • 6.1-inch model will be midway between the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Max,
  • 6.7-inch model will be slightly taller than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.  Also, it will be thinner, 7.4mm instead of 8.1mm.

Disney+ in Western Europe

Disney announced that its streaming service, Disney+, will launch in Europe on March 24th.  It will be available in selected countries:

  • Ireland,
  • France,
  • Germany,
  • Italy,
  • Spain,
  • Austria,
  • Switzerland,
  • United Kingdom.

Belgium, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland will get access this summer. Unfortunately, Eastern Europe will have to wait till the first half of 2021.

Google I/O 2020 announced

Google revealed that its annual developer conference will take place from May 12th to May 14th. The conference dates were reveled through a puzzle game.

It's still unclear what Google is going to announce during the conference, but the preview of a new Android is a safe bet.


Image credits: NeoGAF

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