⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 211th edition here, with loads of Google news, including a confirmed Pixel 7 launch date, Sony’s upcoming Xperia event, Apple event updates, a Rick and Morty God of War Ragnarok trailer, and more.
? My moving day has finally arrived, so next time I see you all will be on the other side, inside the box fort that will inevitably be my life for the coming weeks (or months, depending on unpacking motivation). But at least the internet’s connected at the new place — priorities!
Popular news this week
- At its Far Out event on Wednesday, Apple announced four new iPhones: the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, with the Plus model replacing the iPhone Mini. All pack satellite connectivity and lack physical SIM slots in the US, but only Pro models get Apple’s latest A16 Bionic chipset. Pricing starts from $799 for the iPhone 14, and pre-orders opened Friday, with general sales from September 16.
- Apple also revealed three new watches: the Apple Watch Series 8 with a temperature sensor and crash detection, Apple Watch SE 2022, and Apple Watch Ultra, a new rugged entry in the series. Pricing starts at $299 for the SE 2022, from $399 for the Watch Series 8, and from $799 for the Watch Ultra.
- We also saw the launch of the Airpods Pro 2, with a larger battery, improved noise cancellation, and wireless and MagSafe charging for the case, from $249.
- And Tim Cook says ‘buy your mom an iPhone’ when asked about RCS messaging support; Google responds.
- Even Steve Jobs’ daughter is mocking the iPhone 14.
- Country bans iPhone sales due to there not being a charger in the box — and a potential ~$2.3 million daily fine will be levied against Apple if it tries to circumvent the ban.
- Also: iOS 16 will be available on September 12, when Watch OS9 will also arrive.
- Finally: A programmer got the original Quake game running at 60fps on Apple Watch.
- Motorola brings its 200MP camera flagship to global markets: The Edge 30 Ultra also packs 125W charging, a 144Hz display, and the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip.
- Speaking of Snapdragon, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1, 6 Gen 1: Premium features trickle down.
- Meanwhile, Sony announced an Xperia event for next week, says it’s announcing a product for “pro gamers and streamers” but is it a gaming controller, or a gaming phone?
- Huawei Mate 50 series beats rivals to the punch with satellite support: The Mate 50, Mate 50 Pro, and Mate 50 RS are all powered by the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 Soc, with 66W wired charging, an IP68 rating, and 50W wireless charging.
- EU wants to enforce five years of security and three years of OS updates for all phones, while lawmakers also suggest smartphones and tablets sold in the EU should have repair parts available for at least five years.
- And Biden administration reveals details of its $50 billion chip investment plan: Looks like over half the funding will go toward advanced chip manufacturing in the US.
- Fitbit brings irregular heart rhythm notifications to over 20 new markets.
- More heatwave news: A utility company locked customers out of their smart thermostats in Colorado — around 22,000 Xcel customers enrolled in energy-saving program AC Rewards were affected.
- Razor EcoSmart Cargo blurs the line between e-bike and scooter, costs $1,099.
- Researchers in South Korea wirelessly transmitted power over 98 feet of thin air, using infrared laser light.
- We’re not quite sure about this: YouTube’s laser-powered lawn mower looks very cool, very dangerous.
- Speaking of YouTube, the site will let creators offer paid video courses next year, competing with the likes of Masterclass.
- Finally: Researchers create biodegradable battery out of crab shells — luckily, crustaceans don’t need to worry too much, as the chitin used can also be found in squid and fungi walls.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was Prime Video’s biggest ever premiere, with over 25 million viewers on its first day.
- In between episodes, why not stream one of these 11 shows like the Rings of Power?
- Amazon’s pausing reviews on all new content for three days to curb review bombing, following LOTR’s barrage of negative reviews.
- National Cinema Day’s $3 ticket promotion earned $24.3m across participating US theaters.
- Netflix’s Arcane became the first streaming series to win an Emmy for Best Animated Program.
- Speaking of, we crown our top 15 Netflix shows of all time — will your favorite binge-worthy show make the cut?
- And you can’t afford to miss our pick of the best new TV shows and movies to stream this week, including the adorable Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, season 5 of Cobra Kai, and Netflix’s superpowered The Imperfects.
- Did he or didn’t he? There’s been lots of speculation this week over whether Harry Styles actually spat on Chris Pine or not at the world premiere of Olivia Wilde’s thriller Don’t Worry Darling at the Venice Film Festival.
- Meanwhile, Nicolas Cage and Joel Kinnaman to star in action-thriller Sympathy for the Devil, which sounds a lot like Collateral but could be fun, though no announced release date yet.
- And Zazie Beetz joins Steven Soderbergh, Ed Solomon’s upcoming limited HBO Max series Full Circle.
- Do you remember 80s sci-fi flick Krull? It was one of the biggest flops of the decade, and it’s celebrating its 39th anniversary this year.
- Speaking of the 80s, this week marked 35 years since UK children’s VR TV show Knightmare aired, giving all us children of the 80s hope that VR was more advanced than it actually was.
- Check out this Rick and Morty commercial for God of War Ragnarok, which will either make you more or less excited for the game in November.
- Speaking of, new God of War Ragnarok footage shows elemental magic attacks.
- Elsewhere, new details of a canceled Zelda game for Wii emerge online: The spin-off game, starring a Sheikah warrior on a grand adventure, apparently wasn’t ambitious or well-thought-out enough to see the light of day.
- Meta scheduled its Connect Conference for October 11 at 1 PM ET, and we should see its new VR headset, plus information on the Horizon Worlds virtual reality app.
- CD Projekt Red is releasing its first major expansion for CyberPunk 2077 in 2023: Phantom Liberty will only be on new-gen consoles, PC, and Stadia — and Keanu’s set to return.
- Meanwhile, here’s what’s leaving Xbox Game Pass this month: A Plague Tale Innocence leaves on September 15 (so there’s still time to play it before Requiem lands), and Final Fantasy XIII’s a goner too.
- Also: Latest PlayStation 5 update brings 1440p support and a host of new features, including the ability to search YouTube using voice commands, a new Gamelists feature, and more.
- Speaking of, Sony’s releasing its Gray Camouflage collection soon — pre-orders open September 15.
- And PS4 and PS5 lead engineer Masayasu Ito is retiring from Sony after 35 years with the company: He oversaw the development of many products, including the PS3, PS4, and PS5, and also had a hand in the development of the PSP and PSVR.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
- Garmin Venu Sq 2 review: Squaring up to the competition — “The Venu Sq 2 brings a brighter display, better sensors, and even longer battery life to a line we already loved.”
- Xiaomi Mi Box S review: Outpriced and outperformed — “If the Mi Box S is one of your only options then it’s still worth a look, but similarly priced devices from Google, Roku, and Amazon are all better buys.”
- Oppo Find X5 Lite review — “An extremely competent all round mid-ranger, with a slim and light design, a competent camera, and speedy charging. However, it’s not the fastest, its display is nothing to write home about, and it generally lacks the single killer feature that its key rivals all have” (Trusted Reviews).
- Logitech G715 review — “If you’re in the market for a keyboard that’s a little less aggressively styled yet still retains full mechanical function, then this model could be for you” (Trusted Reviews).
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Admittedly I’m in the UK, not the US, but moving home and switching my internet provider got me thinking: Just how fast and reliable is our internet really? Since the pandemic, more of us than ever before are working from home, and there’s nothing worse than your Wi-Fi going down and relying on your phone’s hotspot for internet connectivity (though you could always invest in a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot).
Even when my internet is up and running, it isn’t always as fast as I’d like — and sometimes it’s downright flaky (usually whenever I’m trying to binge a favorite Netflix show). Of course, if you’re paying for high-speed internet (classed as 25Mbps download speeds or faster), you might want to check out our guide on how to increase internet speed on your router, as there are a few things worth trying.
- Data published recently by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shows over 97% of Americans can currently access a home internet service from three or more providers at download speeds of 25Mbps and upload speeds of 3Mbps.
- The growing consensus, though, is that these speeds simply aren’t fast enough for today’s needs, and I’m inclined to agree.
- FCC data also revealed that almost 30% of Americans have access to three or more providers at 100Mbps download speeds and 10Mbps upload speeds, with almost 40% able to buy service at that speed from two companies.
- These figures include satellite internet and fixed wireless service providers.
But is a choice of three providers representative of robust competition? Not really. In an interview with Axios, Angie Kronenberg, general counsel for trade group INCOMPAS, said, “You typically need four or more in order for there to be really robust competition.”
Things are very different when it comes to wired connectivity, too:
- FCC data shows only around 56% of Americans can access a wired home internet connection such as fiber, cable, or ADSL from two or more providers at speeds of 25Mpbs (download) and 3Mbps (upload).
- And only 11% of Americans have three or more options for wired connections at this speed.
- A Consumer Reports Survey in 2021 revealed 26% of Americans said they had only one choice for a wired home internet connection, with 32% having two choices, and just 16% saying three choices were available to them.
- This survey also revealed that the higher the number of available providers, the lower the cost of home internet.
- From my own experience here in the UK, I’d agree with that. Living rurally (around an hour from a major city) has seriously limited the number of internet providers I have to choose from, and speeds are not as high as I’d like, though I’m still paying a comparable amount to city-dwelling friends with speeds twice as fast as my own.
What’s the other side of the story?
According to Axios, trade associations for telecom and cable companies say these companies have invested billions in their networks, increasing competition in the industry.
- Cable trade group NCTA pointed to FCC data showing the percentage of Americans who can buy internet service from multiple providers at speeds of 100Mbps nearly tripled from 2016 to 2020.
- And trade association USTelecom says speeds have increased, prices have declined, and companies are continuing to invest in their networks.
How are things changing?
Technical improvements mean fixed wireless is becoming more of a competitive threat, delivering high speeds to homes using wireless networks.
- SpaceX satellite internet service Starlink has promised faster, more reliable internet service to rural parts of the country, though the FCC denied the company almost $900 million in funding, questioning whether the service can actually deliver the promised speeds.
- The recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide $42.5 billion in funding, to build internet networks providing speeds of 100Mbps (download) and 20Mbps (upload).
- Corning, the largest US manufacturer of fiber-optic cable recently announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Gilbert, Arizona. Expected to open in 2024, it will bring around 250 jobs to the area and ramp up production in response to a spike in demand for fiber-optic cable.
- Meanwhile, AT&T‘s fiber-first strategy aims to reach 30 million locations with fiber by 2025.
- Verizon and T-Mobile are planning on expanding home services based on 5G wireless connectivity.
- September 10 @ 9 PM CEST: Ubisoft Forward showcase
- September 12 @ midnight ET: Sony Xperia event on YouTube
- September 29: OnePlus 10T on sale
- October 6 @ 10 AM ET: Pixel 7 launch
- October 11 @ 1PM ET: Meta Connect Conference (new VR headset?)
- October 12 @ 10 AM PT: Samsung Developer Conference
- October 13: Pixel 7 on sale? (TBC)
- November 8: Skull and Bones release date on Xbox Series S/X, PS5, PC, Stadia, and Luna
- November 9: God of War: Ragnarok launches on PS4, PS5
- November 15-17: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit
- November 18: The Dark Pictures: The Devil in Me launches on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and PC
Tech Tweet of the Week
Are you as shocked as I am?
Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.