Big tech is getting ready to talk about new products again
As we settle in to the new reality of a locked-down, socially distant world, big tech is getting ready to start talking — and maybe even releasing — new consumer tech products. We've got rumors of the new flagship Motorola phone, a new speaker operating system from Sonos, and more. Sony's going to try to one-up Microsoft's recent Xbox Series X specs reveal with a "deep dive" today.
It all feels a little tentative, nobody really knows yet what's going to happen when days cooped inside turn into weeks and — in all likelihood — months. Will bored people buy more gadgets? Will everybody blink and hold their releases for sometime in the future, when things seem a little more predictable?
I don't know the answer and the question is far, far, far from being the most important one right now. But as time goes on, we'll start to see a bunch of companies take a shot at answer it anyway. I'd say it will be instructive to see how they announce their products, but we're all so far in uncharted territory here that it's impossible to know what's a one-off and what's a precedent.
Settle in and find yourself a multi-hour video of animals in nature to put on your TV (we've got some suggestions below). Here's yesterday's biggest tech stories.
Switching to a new OS will result in expanded capabilities, according to Sonos. Sonos S2 will allow for higher-resolution audio, whereas, right now, the company's speakers are limited to CD-quality lossless audio. The revamped software underpinnings could let Sonos go hi-fi in the same way as Amazon's Echo Studio. It could also finally result in Sonos adopting Dolby Atmos for home theater sound in the next Playbar, Playbase, or Beam.
┏ New leak is the clearest look yet at the Motorola Edge Plus. A much better look, and "it confirms some previous details such as the 108-megapixel camera, curved hole-punch display, and 3.5mm headphone jack," Jon Porter notes. The headphone jack is back, baby! I'm more worried about that 108-megapixel sensor, though, given my experience with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. If Samsung couldn't wrangle the new sensor into focusing quickly, I'm not sure Motorola can, either.
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 get into the originals business. Essentially, don't think of it as a competitor to Disney Plus, Netflix, Apple TV Plus, or Hulu.
┏ The reMarkable 2 promises a better giant E Ink tablet. Really great concept and really great feature set. Unfortunately, still not a really great price, $399. That's $100 cheaper than the first one, but still more expensive than an entry-level iPad and an Apple Pencil. I love E Ink, but I don't know if I love it that much.
┏ Movies Anywhere's new Screen Pass feature will let you loan your digital movies to friends. Unfortunately, you can't actually do anything with this yet, but being able to lend movies like this will be a boon when it sees wide release. Strangely, it doesn't look like they've created a system so your family can actually see what you have in your library. ...Which severely limits the utility of this program, and I can't help but wonder if that's by design. It's such an obvious feature, leaving it out feels intentional.
If you want a new TV, but don't want to spend upwards to $1,000, this 55-inch Toshiba 4K TV with Amazon's Fire TV software built-in is $380 right now. It normally costs $450, and it's a great deal if you're looking for a TV that can run all of the major video streaming apps (including Disney Plus, Hulu, Prime Video, and more) all by itself.
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Pandemic news and reporting
┏ Coronavirus testing shouldn't be this complicated. Nicole Wetsman gets very deep into the various methods of testing for a virus. In theory, a fast bedside test is possible. In practice, well, read her piece it's going to be a lot of work to get there.
The agency has permission to use the data, which the Shin Bet has collected from Israeli carriers since at least 2002, for the next 30 days. By directing individuals who may have come into contact with the virus to quarantine themselves immediately via text message, the government could greatly speed up the isolation process. The agency has not made public precisely what data it collects, but experts told the Times that the Israeli government can use it to track almost anyone's location.
these things are good, but the bottom line is: I don't want us to just rely on their generosity. We need a nationwide plan for addressing the digital divide. I like their kindness. I want to clap for it. I want to support it. But I think, as a nation, we need a policy that addresses how we're going to connect all of us. What are the plans we want in place to make sure it happens?
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You are reading Processor, a newsletter about computers by Dieter Bohn. Dieter writes about consumer tech, software, and the most important news of the day from The Verge. This newsletter delivers about four times a week, at least a couple of which include longer essays.