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Latest revision as of 19:10, 23 March 2020

Mobile World Announcements
Number 3724
Broadcast Date FEBUARY 24, 2020
Episode Length 29:50
Hosts Tom Merritt, Sarah Lane, Roger Chang

Just because Mobile World Congress has been cancelled, it doesn’t mean there aren’t phones that need announcing. Plus, new GPU info on Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X and new search box for Google?

Quick Hits

Saturday, Samsung confirmed an employee had contracted the COVID-19 Coronoavirus. Samsung's factory in Gumi, Korea was shut down until Monday morning and the floor where the infected person worked will remain shut down until the morning of February 25. Co-workers who came into contact with the infected employee will be self-quarantined and tested for infection. The Gumi factory makes a small number of high end Samsung phones for the Korean market.
Google published a support article stating that any Huawei devices released after May 16, 2019 lack Play Protect certification, meaning any "sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably." Devices released before May 16 will continue to receive support and security updates "as long as permitted."
The Wall Street Journal's sources say that NBCUniversal is in talks to buy Vudu from Walmart. If acquired, Vudu may reportedly be merged with Fandango Now in a move to help bolster NBCU's digital-video presence ahead of the launch of its Peacock streaming service. The Information reported back in October that Walmart was looking to sell Vudu.

Top Stories

Search Engine Land reports that Google rolled out an updated search engine result page in the EU that highlights alternative directory sources for a search query. These show up in a "directory box" in search results, labeled "find results on..." with links to services like Yelp, Yell, and Cylex. These aren't labeled as ad units, and appear to be algorithmically selected by Google. Search Engine Land says the system was being tested in Germany but now appears to be live in at least the UK, Belgium, Spain, Greece, and France. It doesn't appear too different from Google's "Rival Links" remedy which was proposed in 2013, criticized as ineffective by Yelp and rejected by the European Commission.
Microsoft announced the GPU in the upcoming Xbox Series X will be capable of 12 teraflops of performance, double the performance of the Xbox One X, and more than 8x the original Xbox One. Microsoft previously said the console will use a custom AMD Zen 2 APU, but now says the graphics will use the Radeon RDNA 2 architecture, which includes hardware ray tracing functionality. Microsoft also confirmed the console will support Variable Rate Shading, which lets a game shade an area of pixels at a different rate than the typical 1:1, and a Quick Resume feature to let multiple games be suspended at once. Microsoft confirmed the console will support HDMI 2.1, which includes variable refresh rates and auto low latency modes as part of the specification.
The ChilledCow YouTube channel was mistakenly terminated for violating terms of service over the weekend, ending the channel's LoFi hip-hop live stream. This resulted in a video over 13,000 hours long with over 218 million views. The channel was reinstated less than a day later, and YouTube's support Twitter account tweeted it “shared feedback with our review team to prevent similar errors from happening in the future.” ChilledCow and other music streaming channels do not own the rights to the music played, but get permission from artists and labels to play them, which doesn't stop a party submitting a Content ID claim on the channel.
A new note from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple will release an ARM-based Mac in the next 12-18 months. The chip will reportedly be built on a 5nm process and is expected to be used in the upcoming 2020 flagship iPhone models. The switch to ARM is said to give Apple more flexibility with hardware updates, which currently depends on Intel's development pipeline. In 2018, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported on an early stage Apple initiative to transition Macs to ARM, reportedly named Kalamata.
Last Friday, security expert Bruce Schneier announced he joined Tim Berners Lee's Inrupt company as Chief of Security Architecture last summer in stealth mode. Schneier previously worked with Inrupt CEO John Bruce at Counterpane and Resilient. Inrupt is the company trying to bring the Solid technology of distributed data ownership to market. Solid is an open source project to create a container of your personal information that gives you control over what companies can access what parts of your digital information. Schneier calls Inrupt the Red Hat to Solid's Linux.

Discussion

Sony announced the Xperia one mark II (Xperia 1 II) smartphone, featuring a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED with a 21:9 aspect ratio, a Snapdragon 865 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage with microSD card slot, a 4000 mAh battery, IP68 water resistance, wireless charging and a headphone jack. Even though it has 5G it does not support millimeter wave service. For all of you who hate notches and don't mind bezels, here's your phone. Symmetrical bezels on the top and bottom house the camera and the speakers. The device has three rear 12-megapixel cameras and a time of flight sensor, including a 24mm lens on the main camera, 16mm ultrawide and a 70mm telephoto. Sony says the camera can hit 20fps in burst mode, supports eyetracking autofocus on humans and animals, and calculate exposure and focus 60 times a second. The phone comes to Europe in late spring with the Qualcomm X55 modem for 5G for €1,199.
Huawei announced the Mate Xs foldable and MatePad Pro 5G tablet at a private event in Barcelona. The Mate Xs features the same 8-inch display when unfolded as the original Mate X, but Huawei claims its 80% stronger, and features an enhanced Falcon Wing folding mechanism. When closed, the device features a 6.6-inch front display and 6.38-inch rear display. Inside is a Kirin 990 5G chipset, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of internal storage, and a 4,500mAh battery. Pricing starts at €2,499, to be released later in 2020. The MatePad Pro 5G is an Android tablet with a 10.8-inch AMOLED display, the Kirin 990 5G chipset, either 6 or 8GB of RAM, 256GB of internal storage, a 7,250mAh battery which can act as a 7.5W wireless charger, with a dual rear camera system. The tablet launches in April with a WiFi model starting at €549, and 5G models starting at €749. Both devices run EMUI 10 atop Android 10 featuring the Huawei AppGallery for services. An optional M-pencil (€99) and detachable keyboard (€129) will be sold separately. Huawei also updated the MateBook X Pro with a green color option and Intel 10th gen processors with options up to the Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage, otherwise the design is the same. It's arriving in April starting at €1,499. The MateBook D budget lineup also gets 10th gen Intel processor options.
Realme, a subsidiary of BBK which also makes Oppo and Vivo phones, announced the Realme X50 Pro. The Not pro version of the phone was announced last month with 5G and a 120Hz display. The new Pro version has the Snapdragon 865 chipset for wider 5G compatibility and WiFi 6 along with LPDDR5 RAM. It also adds 65W fast charging, better in-display fingerprint reader and improved camera and audio. Notably the display in the pro is a 6.44-inch 90Hz AMOLED display, a drop down from the non-pro's 6.57-inch 120 Hz display. The RealMe X50 Pro launches in Spain in April starting at €599 and maxing out at €749, with more markets to come.

Thing of the Day

Would you quit over barcodes? One UK man did. Find out what other fun stuff is coming up on the next Tech's Message podcast with Nate Lanxon.

Mailbag

Vijay was surprised that Tom made the argument that a politician using deep fakes to reach a certain linguistic demographic could be thought of as a natural extension of accessibility. He felt like it was important to understand the nuances of regional languages in a diverse country like India and how closely tied it is to cultural biases.

Vijay writes

Indian politics has always rooted in populism for gullible masses and pandering to the unique differences of each community. So, it’s an unfair advantage for a politician to use technology to trick their electorate into thinking he is one of them and can speak their language. More so because there is a lot of emotional rhetoric used which becomes very potent and effective when delivered as a deepfake. Even more problematic is that the delivery method is WhatsApp groups. The recipient has no way of verifying the deepfake and will instantly believe what they see in their very own echo chamber.

Roger rightfully made the case for this not being a natural extension of accessibility with subtitles and dubbing being more appropriate ways to do it.

YouTube

Links



Preceded by:
"Now You're Speaking my Language"
Mobile World Announcements
Followed by:
"How do you like them Amazon Apples?"