As we settle into the new reality of a locked and socially distant world, big tech is about to start talking – and maybe even publishing – about new consumer technology products. We have rumors of the new flagship phone from Motorola, a new speaker operating system from Sonos, etc. Sony will also be trying to update the recent specs for Microsoft’s Xbox Series X with “deep diving” today.
It all seems a little hesitant, no one really knows yet what will happen when the days inside are transformed into weeks and, in all probability, into months. Will bored people buy more gadgets? Will everyone blink and keep going out in the future, when things seem a little more predictable?
I do not know the answer and the question is far, far, far from being the most important right now. But over time, we will start to see a group of companies trying to respond anyway. I would say it will be instructive to see how they advertise their products, but we are all so far into unknown territory here that it will be impossible to know what is unique and what is a precedent.
Sit back and find a video of several hours of animals in the wild to put on your TV (we have some suggestions below). Here are the biggest tech stories from yesterday.
The biggest technological news (without coronavirus)
┏ Sony to unveil new details for PS5 in ‘deep dive’ today. It starts at 9 a.m. PT / noon ET.
┏ Sonos to launch new speaker app and operating system in June. Chris Welch details the new system. The big big question for me is Dolby Atmos, and while this update may make it more likely, Sonos still acts like saying that the “Dolby” world out loud would summon a demon.
The move to a new operating system will result in expanded capabilities, according to Sonos. Sonos S2 will allow higher resolution sound, while at the moment the company’s speakers are limited to sound without loss of CD quality. The redesigned software foundations could allow Sonos to switch to hi-fi in the same way as Amazon’s Echo Studio. It could also lead to Sonos adopting Dolby Atmos for home theater sound in the next Playbar, Playbase or Beam.
┏ The new leak is the clearest of the Motorola Edge Plus. A much better look, and “this confirms certain previous details such as the 108 megapixel camera, the curved perforation display and the 3.5 mm headphone jack,” notes Jon Porter. The headphone jack is back, baby! However, I am more concerned about this 108 megapixel sensor, given my experience with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. If Samsung couldn’t convince the new sensor to focus quickly, I’m not sure Motorola can either.
┏ Fox buys Tubi for $ 440 million as it tries to join the wars of streaming. 25 million subscribers! At best I would have guessed a third of that. No wonder it costs so much.
The company is also looking to expand the type of content that Tubi can provide to subscribers through national and local news, alongside sports programming. Tubi is not going to suddenly start trading in originals. Essentially, don’t consider it a competitor to Disney Plus, Netflix, Apple TV Plus or Hulu.
┏ Google Translate real-time transcription functionality now available for Android. This is a really important feature, even if it arrives just in time for nobody to use it because nobody can travel.
┏ The reMarkable 2 promises a better giant E Ink tablet. A really great concept and a really great feature set. Unfortunately, it’s still not a very good price, $ 399. It’s $ 100 cheaper than the first, but still more expensive than an entry-level iPad and an Apple Pencil. I love E Ink, but I don’t know if I like it that much.
┏ Samsung PC-to-phone game streaming service to end later this month. Samsung really wants to build its own service ecosystem, but it is absolutely not the core business of the business. I don’t know what essential service Samsung could provide that wouldn’t be better managed by Google or Microsoft or Dropbox or … anyone … but that is certainly not the case.
┏ Movies Anywhere’s new Screen Pass feature lets you lend digital movies to friends. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do with it yet, but being able to lend movies like this will be a boon when it is released widely. Strangely, it doesn’t seem like they have created a system for your family to actually see what you have in your library. … which greatly limits the usefulness of this program, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s by design. This is such an obvious characteristic, to leave it aside seems intentional.
Things to do
┏ Fortnite now has helicopters.
┏ Soothing live animal webcams to watch while you’re stuck at home. I realized this morning that I was a complete idiot because I was sitting in a room with a big blank television all day long and I could have WATCHED THE FROLIC WRESTLERS.
┏ Popcorn Time, Netflix, once popular for pirating, is back.
┏ Here is a list of games that you can grab and save money in the process.
┏ Nintendo just announced that a bunch of new indie games are coming to the Switch.
┏ … Pray that it won’t happen again: Nintendo’s Switch Online service was interrupted a bit yesterday. Nintendo! If this happens again during the Animal crossing there will be … well in fact there will be nothing but to complain about it on Twitter because we cannot leave our homes.
News and reports on pandemics
┏ Coronavirus testing shouldn’t be as complicated. Nicole Wetsman explores the different methods of screening for a virus. In theory, a quick bedside test is possible. In practice, well, read his play – it’s going to take a lot of work to get there.
┏ The European Union closes all its external borders for 30 days.
┏ Apple will keep retail stores outside of China closed indefinitely.
┏ Tesla said to shut down plant in California to fight coronavirus.
┏ Israel uses cell phone data to track coronavirus. Unprecedented times, unprecedented measures. However, I would feel better about it if it were some kind of voluntary citizen participation. Much better.
The agency is authorized to use data that the Shin Bet has collected from Israeli carriers since at least 2002, for the next 30 days. By ordering individuals who may have been in contact with the virus to quarantine immediately by SMS, the government could significantly speed up the isolation process. The agency has not released the exact data it collects, but experts have told The Times that the Israeli government can use it to track the whereabouts of almost anyone.
┏ FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wants to stay connected during a pandemic. It is good for broadband providers to lift the data caps, but those caps really shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
These things are good, but the bottom line is: I don’t want us to rely solely on their generosity. We need a national plan to tackle the digital divide. I like their kindness. I want to applaud him. I want to support it. But I think as a nation, we need a policy that deals with how we will all connect. What plans do we want to put in place to make sure that happens?