Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Wednesday, May 13.
1. Poco F2 Pro: Going without the Poco F1 magic
The Poco F2 Pro has been announced! It doesn’t quite capture what made the Poco F1 a super-intriguing device, but it does look like it’s going to tempt some buyers who want features but don’t need everything in a phone:
The fresh and cheap Poco F1 that was more or less heavily focused on speed (at €329) and little else, is now a grown-up Pro phone. The F2 Pro is now only cheap relatively: it sports a flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 with 5G support, starting at €499 ($540), although the €599 model has key higher-end specs. Most other mainstream Snapdragon 865 devices have been much more expensive. Xiaomi’s own Mi 10 flagship is €999. The lowest-spec OnePlus 8 starts at €699, the Samsung S20 offers Exynos-chips outside of North America. The F2 Pro has got a bunch of those little things that smartphone geeks will be after: headphone jack, IR blaster, pop-up camera with quad-camera on the back, a big 4700 mAh battery with 30W fast charging, and a screen without a notch. What’s the catch? It’s missing wireless charging, it has a 60Hz screen, and IP53 splash resistance means it’s not going to survive a dunking in water. Plus, only the €599 model has the fastest UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR5 RAM. It does pose questions from the Apple iPhone SE 2020, which in Europe starts at €479. Ok, it’s still cheaper, but the Poco F2 Pro does offer significant advantages in 5G, camera versatility, expected battery life, customization, screen size, storage, charging speed, in-display fingerprint sensor, and more. Not all of these features matter to everyone, especially given the Apple/iOS/Mac ecosystem and the fact that the iPhone SE will perform just as well. The iPhone SE makes most sense in the US. This is a non-North American focused device that matters.
Poco F2 Pro = Redmi K30 Pro:
Poco is a sub-brand from Xiaomi. Redmi is a sub-brand from Xiaomi. The Poco F2 Pro, the much-awaited sequel, is the Redmi K30 Pro under a different name, and slightly different looks, and a “global” release (that won’t include North America). The K30 Pro has only been released in China so far, so while it’s been out for more than a month, it hasn’t been widely reviewed or rated, yet. And, weirdly, Poco made no mention of India: no pricing, no availability. Despite the apparent focus from Poco on India, this phone is for global regions, while the Redmi-branding will reportedly be used in India. It’s just branding, but it’s also confusing: I spoke with my Indian-based colleagues who confirmed it wasn’t just me: the Xiaomi/Poco/Redmi split between regions, and branding, and the Poco relaunch only to rebrand another phone isn’t easily understood.
Months back I bet that Poco wouldn’t bring out a 5G smartphone or the F2, given its India-focus and the costs involved with supporting 5G. I mean, that reads like I’m wrong! I feel like I’m wrong! The F2 Pro certainly has 5G and the Snapdragon 865, which I figured wouldn’t emerge. But a non-Pro F2 wasn’t released. There is no Poco F2. Yet. So, maybe I’m off the hook? If you’re being kind? Maybe there will still be a non-5G F2? That was sort-of the case with the earlier Poco X2, which went for a mid-range phone without the ambitions of the Poco F1, and no 5G. I can’t see the Poco F2 Pro being the cult-classic that was the Poco F1, but reviews, within a week or two, will tell all.
2. Samsung’s rumored cut-price Fold 1 could be rebranded as the Galaxy Fold Special Edition, maybe for as low as $1099 (Android Authority).
3. Huawei, Qualcomm, Samsung back new format for 8K: MPEG-5 EVC vs HEVC (Android Authority).
4. Google Play Music being put to death this year. In its place: YouTube Music (Android Authority). And if you’re tired of relying on Google’s wavering support for its non-core apps: 5 best Google Play Music and YouTube Music alternatives.
5. Facebook will pay $52 million in a settlement with moderators who developed PTSD with little support in their jobs: at least $1,000 each for 11,000+ workers, which is good news (The Verge).
6. Reports are that Uber has been circling GrubHub for about a year, to attempt to consolidate food delivery in the US (CNBC).
7. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 will be remastered again in Sept 2020, but this time with every level, and create-a-park options that can be shared online and sounds awesome (Ars Technica).
8. Acclaimed musical Hamilton is coming to Disney Plus: July 3. I mean, it was always coming to Disney Plus, but it was moved from October 2021 to July 3. That seemed …fast? (Android Authority).
9. Satellite images show armadas of vacant cruise ships huddling together out at sea (The Drive).
10. You can carry this inflatable electric bike in a backpack. Hell yes. (Gizmodo).
11. Try your hand at docking with the International Space Station (SpaceX).
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