Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Tuesday, July 28.
1. Analogue Pocket: Why and what gives?
Last year the Analogue Pocket was announced for 2020, er, well now it’s coming in 2021 thanks to the supply chain problems in our world.
Now we know it’ll be $200, and it’s either blowing your mind or it’s a curiosity: why would anyone pay $199 for a handheld console that just plays old games?
Well my friends, let’s take a look.
What it is:
Analogue is a long-standing handheld console maker, offering retro gaming in rather beautiful hardware.Where it’s clever is its use of field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips. That means hardware emulation is used as an all-in-one retro device that can play Game Boy, Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color and Atari Lynx games, with an adapter required for the last three.The device itself is a 3.5-inch LCD at 665ppi, with Gorilla Glass protection, USB-C charging, and a 4,300mAh battery with between 6-10 hours play time. There’s multiplayer, wireless play, a hard case, and more.That display is therefore about 10x more pixels than the Game Boy, and there’s customization of the visual experience called ‘Original Display Modes’, which mimic display profiles of some devices, along with quirks, warts and all. Also, rare vertical games can be played.The Analogue Pocket will launch for $199.99, while the optional dock to let you play games on your TV, will be $99.
Why it matters:
The Analogue Pocket is likely to be very nice, but you can still buy working Gameboys second-hand, and that’s not exactly a hugely hot market.But older games still matter, many of which are timeless which only date based on screen resolution rather than the gameplay itself.The real winner here is that the Pocket is using a FPGA chip for hardware emulation, which means games running on it are not using software emulation.The reason that matters is that it recreates the console experience perfectly, including all the same ticks and flaws, like random slow downs during big moments and microstutters. It’s weird, but when old games run too fast they don’t feel right, and that’s an experience shared by casuals and the hardcore retro gamers.For $200, opening up your gaming world to games like Link’s Awakening, the Golden Sun titles, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Super Mario Land 1, 2,3, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2(!), and good old Mario Golf: Advance Tour and countless Pokemon games either makes perfect sense to you and you’ll pre-order, or you’ll enjoy keeping $200 you have put aside for tech and gaming devices for modern gaming.For me? It’s a soft no, given just getting your hands on cartridges is hard, but I like what I see.Hopefully, the Pocket can live up to being a quality new device for those that have already smashed that pre-order button.
2. Xiaomi is eyeing the ability to store earbuds inside your smartphone. Nice idea, another example of innovation, but not sure it’ll go anywhere (Android Authority).
3. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 leaks in hands-on video: Watch it here! (Android Authority).
4. Google officially extends its work from home policy through to July 2021. Given Google has, y’know, some data, this is significant (Android Authority).
5. Quick Charge 5: Qualcomm’s 100W+ charging will go from 0-50% in 5 minutes (Android Authority).
6. The Alexa app, a hot mess, has now been redesigned. Interestingly, third-party voice apps have been dropped way down the order, meaning Amazon is signalling that ‘skills’ are struggling (TechCrunch).
7. Rumors: New Intel iMac coming as soon as this week, redesign unlikely (9to5Mac).
8. Big leadership shakeups at Intel in response to huge delays: Dr. Murthy Renduchintala to leave, Dr. Ann Kelleher to lead push for 7nm and 5nm processes (Engadget).
9. A cyberattack on Garmin disrupted more than workouts: aviation services, flight planning and mapping (Wired).
10. Vertical farms could grow all the wheat we need—but at a crazy-high energy cost, and with many unanswered questions (Earther).
11. Lollapalooza 2020 is streaming a special four-day broadcast for free on YouTube this year (YouTube).
12. Google is building a new private subsea cable between Europe and the US (TechCrunch).
13. Airbus’ self-flying plane just completed successful taxi, take-off, and landing tests (Business Insider).
14. “Has anyone else been on their phone for hours just switching between apps and trying to find something to do without actually doing anything? Is this the new normal?” (r/nostupidquestions).
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