Issue 1284 - Friday 15th January, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Samsung's new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra

Hey look, a new Samsung Galaxy smartphone. The S21 and S21+ are alright, but the S21 Ultra is the flagship devices with baller specs. They've all got HDR10+ rated SAMOLED screens with a 120Hz refresh rate, bigger batteries an under-screen fingerprint reader, 5G and ultra wideband radios. The camera gets a boost as usual, and the Ultra has four of them, with the main camera supporting 8K24p video and 108MP photos. The Ultra also supports WiFi 6E (which I think is illegal in Australia) and has a Wacom digitiser to support the Note's S-Pen, but without anywhere to stash it internally. Oh and there's no headphones, USB-C to 3.5mm adapter or USB charger in the box. Cutting down on e-waste apparently.

Tesla forced to do a recall of Model S & X vehicles with unfit for purpose flash memory

Tesla has been forced by the USA's NHTSA to do a recall on defective touchscreens in over 150,000 Model S & X vehicles. They used a consumer-grade 8GB eMMC NAND flash memory chip in the car's infotainment system, which have a low read/write cycle limit that means the screen, which has functions like "the backup camera and window defogging are lost, too, as are audible alerts for other onboard safety systems", won't work when the flash chip dies - something the NHTSA claims is a safety risk. Tesla tried to patch it in software to do less reading & writing and prolong the life of the flash memory, but the NHTSA doesn't think it's enough and wants Tesla to replace them for all owners.

Google & Fitbit confirm acquisition despite regulators not yet approving it

Google and Fitbit have wanted to get business-married for a while, but regulators around the world have been skeptical about giving Google full control over a competitor in the wearable device market. The happy couple don't seem to give a shit about regulator concerns though, as they've both put out announcements saying Fitbit is now officially part of Google. For all those regulators worried about anti-competitive conduct, chill out! There's a "series of binding commitments that confirm Fitbit users' health and wellness data won't be used for Google ads and this data will be separated from other Google ads data". If there's anyone you can trust not to reverse a promise made in a press release, it's Google!

Something I Saw On The Internet

Philips made a special series of LED bulbs for the Dubai government and doesn't sell them outside Dubai

Ever heard of the "Dubai Lamp", a collaboration between Philips and the government of Dubai to supply them with an LED bulb designed to their specs? I only learned about it today via a video on bigclive's YouTube channel. Apparently most LED manufacturers overdrive their lights, so the claimed lifespan of 10-15-20 years is often bullshit. The Dubai government wanted LEDs that last and are efficient, so they gave Philips a 5 year deal to exclusively supply any Dubai government buildings with LEDs that meet their specs. The result is the most efficient LED bulbs on the market that also happen to last decades. Shame they can't be purchased outside Dubai. There's a bit more discussion about the Dubai Lamp on Reddit.


The End

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