The official news today are non-existent yet again, but listen, isn’t that usually the case when we’re gearing up to new phones? For now let’s talk about OPPO and their next flagship. We’ve been getting a bunch of leaks for the OPPO Find X5 including the specs and the design but now we get some leaked images that give us more details on the camera. On the hump, it says “Powered by MariSilicon” which is the company’s own NPU announced last month. Where it gets interesting is when you look at the bottom right corner where there’s now a Hasselblad logo. Yes, now that OnePlus is officially a sub-brand from OPPO, it looks like the Hasselblad partnership has carried over to the Find X Series. We’re expecting this phone to bring a 50MP main sensor from Sony with OIS, a 50MP secondary and another 13MP sensor. I wasn’t a fan of the OnePlus 9 Pro’s photography but I did enjoy the Find X3 Pro so, which was an irony considering the 9 Pro had a better primary sensor. Let’s see what OPPO does with Hasselblad, especially since they have that MariSilicon branding on the top. Maybe it’s also a hint that the OnePlus 10 Pro could be good. We’ll see.
Let’s move the spotlight on to Apple and the iPhone 14 Series and I feel like I’m becoming a broken record even if it’s so early. Well over the past week, there was a huge back and forth on what we’d be getting for the display, with a report mentioning that all models would bring 120Hz ProMotion capabilities. Well, 5 days ago, Ross Young posted a picture of the new panel that’ll reportedly bring both the pill and the punch hole, and over the weekend, someone asked him on his expectations for the non-Pro iPhones to bring ProMotion this year. To this, Ross replied by saying no, since BOE does not have the LTPO capacity and have yet to begin shipping any LTPO panels. Apparently it would be quite risky for Apple to try and deliver these for the regular models and that it might happen in 2023. Of course, it’s still very early for anything to be set in stone just yet but, that also brings more skepticism to those 6 Gigs of RAM coming across the board as well. Let’s see what other sources have to say in the next few months.
Moving on with a bit more Apple, let’s talk about an event that’s happening earlier, and I’m talking during the Spring. We have a new report from Mac Otakara, claiming that Cupertino is planning to launch the 5th Generation iPad Air but, it might not be what we thought. See, instead of a major overhaul it looks like this is going to be somewhat of a spec bump. It is rumored to bring similar internals as the latest iPad Air, with the A15 Bionic processor, 5G Support, a new 12MP ultra wide selfie shooter with Center Stage and more. The reason we’re making this the hottest news is because, it also goes along with a Mark Gurman report that said that Apple’s first event of 2022 would happen in either April or March, where we could expect a new iPad Air, and the latest iPhone SE. It’s been a while so in case you missed it, half of the rumors claim we’re getting a redesigned iPhone Xr with Touch ID in the power button, and the other half claims that we’re getting the same iPhone 8 design with a new processor and 5G support. Which design would you prefer out of both?
And finally, for the hottest news today, let’s talk about Samsung and the Galaxy S22 Series. Bare with me here, it’ll start a bit boring, but just wait for it. Pretty much everything we thought we knew should’ve been already set in stone up until now, and let’s just say most of it remains the same. For example, we have some new renders from 91Mobiles that look like official images, showing off the Galaxy S22 Plus model. From these we can see that the design is pretty much the same to the Galaxy S21 Plus, at least with the Black color variant and of course it also looks like the Galaxy S21 FE. The leak mentions that the S22 Plus might bring the Exynos 2200 in the UK, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the rest of the world. But alright, where this all takes a dramatic turn is when we talk cameras. We’ve always known more or less what to expect with the Ultra, but what if the regular models brought a dramatic leap closer? This report claims that both the S22 and S22+ would bring a 50 megapixel primary sensor, but apparently these would include an Adaptive Pixel Technology which uses two modes to capture photos, one being an 108 megapixel remosaic mode, and a 12 megapixel nona-binning mode, and that photos would be captured in 12-bit color. I know, I’m as confused as you are, because it all sounds like pixel oversampling to get a larger shot, but then why do nona-binning of that resulting photo? As for other specs, the battery of at least the plus would be of 4500 mAh, but then go Ultra on charging with 45W speeds so long as you buy the charger.
Google TV Gets Its Profiles
Google TV, the slick TV-focused operating system skin from Google that runs on its cute little Chromecast with Google TV dongle, is getting profiles this week. You may be thinking that sounds familiar, and well yeah, that’s because profiles were announced in October of last year. They are really here this time, though, we think.
In October, because Google told us to expect profiles “soon,” we explained them this way and told you how setup would work:
With profiles on Google TV, Google is giving each person recommendations based on interests and preferences, access to an individual watchlist, and recommendation help from Google Assistant, again, based on your personalized tastes. So going forward, when you fire up that little baby Google TV remote, you’ll be able to choose your own account to get to watching.
To setup a new profile, you should be able to swipe over to your account icon (top right), and then add another account, just like you would if you were trying to add a kid profile.
Fun! So when exactly can you get profiles up and running? Google would only commit to begin rolling out today, with rollout taking place to all users “over the next few weeks.” You may see the option today or it may be weeks out. Either way, rollout has apparently started.
Galaxy Watch 4 Owners, Google Assistant Arrives
Samsung and Google took their time, but Google Assistant is now available on the Galaxy Watch 4 series (So much for this summer?). After almost a year of waiting, Google Assistant arrives as an app that can be installed on either Watch 4 model to then be accessed as a voice assistant from the wrist.
The introduction of Google Assistant after all this time does not mean that Samsung’s Bixby is going anywhere. Instead, the two companies are talking about how you will be able to access both Bixby and Google Assistant.
Using Google Assistant from a Galaxy Watch 4 means getting help with on-the-go questions and “access to fast, more natural voice interactions,” according to Samsung. Let’s just hope it works more seamlessly as a stand-alone app than it does on all of the other non-Samsung Wear OS watches who have had pretty lackluster Assistant experiences over the years.
As far as availability, rollout begins today in 10 markets: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, The UK and USA.
At the time of this post, we still aren’t seeing Assistant available to our Galaxy Watch 4 units. Once it shows up and we have a better understanding of how to get it up and running, we’ll share those details. Verizon slipped a month ago and showed a potential setup guide, which you can still view here.
Google Play Store Gets a Massive Design Update
Making a stop through Google Play’s web store this morning on my commute presented me with quite the surprise. Look at this new web layout!
Google Play, for those who haven’t visited the web experience in some time, hasn’t been properly updated in more years than I keep track of. It is as dated as a web experience can get from a company as large as Google and who typically tries to push design ideas across the tech landscape. It has needed an overhaul for a while.
In the new layout, we’re getting a lot of white and empty space when expanded onto a large screen. The experience now starts on a “Games” tab like the Play Store on your phone or tablet, with categories at the top for “Apps,” “Movies & TV,” “Books,” and “Kids” next to it. There are quick controls to switch between phones, tablets, TVs, and Chromebooks as well, and you have to wonder if a Watch option might be there soon enough.
Once you navigate to an app or game listing, there’s more white, but also a modernized look. App icons are now a borderline squircle with shadow, instead of just a box because the app developer only made a square logo. You don’t have to scroll much to see similar apps or to contact the developer, plus the “Install” button is much more prominent. The actual install pop-up, where you select a device, is still the old UI for now.
Maybe most importantly, the recently “Updated on” date isn’t buried at the bottom of the listing and is now just below the app’s description. Now, when you find an app and wonder if it’s an outdated mess or properly maintained before installing it, you won’t have to dig very far.
Should you need to access your library, payments and subscriptions, activity, offers, Play Points, Family settings, etc., you’ll do so by clicking on your profile button in the top right. This matches up to most of Google’s apps at this point and should be a familiar place to look for most of you.
Overall, I’d consider this a clean simplification of an outdated layout. Gone is the sidebar that weirdly pushed you to “Entertainment” for years; in is a straight-forward, online app store that would rather you find games over movies.
To access this, Google likely has to have pushed it to your account. The current default URL for it is play.google.com/store/games. My personal Gmail account is seeing it, while my GSuite account unsurprisingly isn’t.
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