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).
10. You can carry this inflatable electric bike in a backpack. Hell yes. (Gizmodo).
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