Issue 746

Wednesday, 17th October 2018

In This Issue


Google stops forcing Android OEMs to bundle their apps to get access to Play Store

Back in July, Google was fined 4.3b euros for abusing its market dominance with Android by forcing smartphone OEMs to include Chrome and other Google apps pre-installed to access to the Google Play store. Now that Google can't do that in the EU, OEMs have to pay pay Google to license the Play Store and Chrome becomes a free optional extra. Google will also allow OEMs to ship the Google Play Store on their devices, but not Google's apps. In theory this means you can get a Samsung phone, with Google Play installed, but without Maps or YouTube or Gmail. Samsung could load it up with Samsung's variants instead (and they'd all suck). I wonder if this would encourage Microsoft to make a forked version of Android pre-loaded with Microsoft apps and nothing from Google except the Play Store - that would be radical.

Telstra's making way less money than it used to thanks to the NBN

Telstra chairperson John Mullen made a startling remark at their AGM yesterday - by the time the NBN is complete, some time in 2020, NBN "will have reduced Telstra's net profit after tax by close to a half" and that Telstra is losing such a big chunk of its business due to the NBN, the loss is "approximately equivalent to a company the size of Qantas". Telstra's response to this NBN-related decline in profits is demanding a huge price cut to access the NBN, as they don't want to increase prices for customers. The NBN is so fucked - if they lower wholesale access to the level Telstra want, there's no way they'll recoup the cost building the NBN. If they don't lower access costs, it'll just egg Telstra on to sell 5G wireless internet and push customers towards 5G plans instead of NBN plans. The future post-2020 is obviously a huge write-off from the government and selling the NBN off for a third of what it cost to build. Awesome.

Huawei's new Mate 20 Pro sounds good on paper

Huawei's got new flagship phones - the Mate 20 Pro and Mate 20 X (a 7.2" behemoth). At its core is a custom SoC, the HiSilicon Kirin 980, that uses a 7nm process and going by preliminary benchmarks (take Huawei's with a grain of salt), is the fastest Android SoC by a huge margin. A "SuperCharge" feature that when used with the correct charger, will take the Mate 20 Pro's battery from 0% to 70% in 30 minutes. It'll also act as a reverse Qi charger, so you can stick a Mate 20 Pro and an iPhone X together and the Mate 20 Pro will charge the iPhone. The fingerprint sensor is built-in to the display so you don't have to give your giant phone a reacharound. Huawei's EMUI 9 bastardised version of Android includes SMB support, so you can back your phone up to a NAS on your network. Wish my iPhone could do that. Huawei did a Sony and invented its own removable storage format - Nano Memory. It's not backwards compatible with microSD and the Mate 20 Pro does not have a microSD card slot, just NM. Ugh. There's 3 cameras on the back, which on paper sound amazing. I look forward to the hands on reviews.

Big dump of Tesla news

Here's a slab of Tesla news dumped into a single paragraph:

Google Maps adds EV charger locations & info

Google Maps is adding locations of EV charging stations directly into the app. Each station will have the type of chargers available, charging speeds & how many ports. Businesses can also add they have an EV charger to their Google Maps profile. Handy for deciding where to grab a meal or go shopping. Google seem to only be pulling info from Tesla, Chargepoint & Chargefox in Australia right now, nor is there any way to see all the chargers on a specific route, or filter out chargers your car can't use, so I wouldn't go ditching PlugShare any time soon. PlugShare's really well updated and maintained by the community. Also related to EV charging stations, the NRMA has been busy lately, opening the 5th of 40 planned fast charging stations around NSW.

Not News, But Still Cool

Two tweet storms from former Google employees about the shady stuff they saw

Two former Google employees have dumped massive Twitter threads about their time there, in totally unrelated parts of the business. Morgan Knutson shares his wild time as a designer working in the (now winding down) Google+ team, which was headed by big swinging dick Vic Gundotra, who forced Google+ onto everyone Google wide. It's a very long rant, but worth the read to get an insight into how Google operates at the product level from the view of someone just trying to do their best. Vijay Boyapati digs up emails and conversations from his time working as a Google News engineer around 2006 (Google quit the Chinese market in 2010 and is now changing its mind), showing how Google would constantly cave in to China's demands to censor news and how enthusiastically Google employees did it.

Dell's new 49" monitor is pretty much 2x 27" monitors smushed together

Dell's new UltraSharp U4919DW is a 49-inch display that's basically two 27" WQHD monitors glued together in a single panel. It's decent quality too, using IPS tech and supporting 99% sRGB (which is more than fine for everyone not doing colour critical work). A 3800R curve means you can hopefully get most of the 5120x1440 pixels in your field of view. There's even a KVM switch built in (so you can plug two computers in to the one monitor and switch between them) and there's USB-C ports that'll output 90W and charge practically every laptop with USB-C charging. This is an excellent solution for anyone who likes running dual monitors, but doesn't like having the "middle" of the two displays as a bezel. This way you can sit in the middle of the monitor, have what you're working on in the prime real estate, then have shit to the left & right as accessories. I love the concept, even if the price tag is US$1,699 (almost A$2500 RRP, maybe $2000 on sale).

Cheap Red Dead Redemption 2, 480GB SSD, GTX1080, iPhone XS, AirPods, Optus SIMs

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Silverchair - Pure Massacre