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The Weekly Authority: Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard

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⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 178th edition here, with Microsoft’s big purchase, Samsung’s new chip, and Wikitrivia, the game keeping us all entertained while we wait for the day’s Wordle…

🎨 This week as well as gaming and hunting down the week’s tech headlines, I’ve been learning to make things out of resin: coasters, candle holders, you name it. Strangely satisfying!

Popular news this week

xbox series x review controller on top

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Microsoft:

Samsung:

OnePlus:

  • The OnePlus 10R leaked, with Dimensity 9000 allegedly under the hood, 120Hz display, and at least 128GB storage, likely in India and China only, sometime towards the end of Q2 2022.
  • OnePlus could be readying affordable phones with flagship chips: Leaks suggest the company’s working on a new phone line focused on performance and gaming, with a flagship processor, and a flat screen — doesn’t necessarily mean the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in theory, but we’ll have to wait and see.
  • OnePlus product timeline tipped: OnePlus 10 Pro in March, Nord N20 in February?

Google:

  • Google’s building an AR headset, Project Iris, which won’t require a tethered connection to a power source, supposedly running on custom silicon, expected shipping in 2024.
  • Google Play Games launches on PC, but not for you (unless you live in Hong Kong, South Korea, or Taiwan): The limited beta works on Windows 10 and 11, with “more than 25” games available.
  • More bad news: Google’s taking all your old free G Suite accounts as hostages. All G Suite legacy free users will be migrated to paid Google Workspace accounts, with no option to fall back to a regular Gmail account — and you’ve got until May 1 to select a plan and until July 1 to add a billing option.
  • Also this week: Google sued for allegedly forcing DJs to lie about how great the Pixel 4 was in paid ads, could face fines of over $24 million.

Huawei:

Oppo:

Motorola:

  • The new Motorola Frontier leaked, could have a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus chip, 200MP main camera, plus 125W wired charging, though no word on battery capacity yet.

Apple:

Space:

Elsewhere:

Movies/TV:

  • Godzilla’s headed to Apple TV Plus: The as-yet-untitled live-action show is set after a battle between Godzilla and other Titans, and will reveal the monsters’ relationship to a secret organization called Monarch.
  • Y: The Last Man is officially dead — Following its shock cancellation before the end of its first season last year, showrunner Eliza Clark tried to get another platform to pick up season 2, but it’s not going to happen, sadly.
  • The Aristocats live-action movie is in development at Disney, written by Will Gluck (Onward) and Keith Bunin (Peter Rabbit).
  • What to expect from Vikings: Valhalla on Netflix — The spinoff from the 2013 series Vikings launches February 25.
  • Scream dethrones Spider-Man with $43M holiday debut. And here are all 5 Scream movies ranked, but where does the latest title land?
  • Tired of Netflix after the latest price rises? Here are 14 great alternatives to try.
  • Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings prequel series Rings of Power is going to be all about… well, the Rings of Power — here’s what you need to know.
  • And more Squid Game’s in the works: Netflix co-CEO says there will ‘absolutely’ be a second season.
  • If you can’t wait that long for your next dose of Korean drama, All of Us Are Dead, South Korea’s high school zombie series, hits Netflix January 28 — and the trailer makes it look like a cross between Train to Busan and Battle Royale.

Gaming:

  • Sekiro speedrunner finishes the game in two hours, blindfolded.
  • Someone got PS1’s Tomb Raider running on a Game Boy Advance.
  • Meanwhile, somebody bid over $26,000 for a Castelvania NFT — the digital map of Dracula’s Castle from the original Castlevania was part of Konami’s Memorial NFT Collection created to celebrate the game’s 35th anniversary.
  • But gamers aren’t happy about NFTs — so they’ll be delighted to hear Ubisoft’s in-game NFT sales have stalled.
  • Rainbow Six Extraction launched on Thursday for PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Stadia, and Luna. Reviews are in, with IGN calling it “one of the boldest games in recent Ubisoft history,” even if the premise wore on the reviewer quickly, and Polygon complaining it’s “all grind and no payoff.”
  • Archosaur Games revealed a first look at Avatar: Reckoning, its new MMO mobile shooter, coming later this year.
  • And Square Enix is resuming sales of Final Fantasy XIV on January 25 — the game was temporarily delisted due to surging popularity.
  • Finally, the Kingdom Hearts series comes to Switch Feburary 10, but playable via cloud-streaming only.

Reviews

OnePlus 9RT showing back of the phone on a box

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Weekly Wonder

BlackBerry Pearl

On Tuesday, January 4, 2022, BlackBerry discontinued service on its classic phones (including any devices not running on Android). And this week, on January 19, the BlackBerry celebrated its 23rd anniversary.

But the original BlackBerry devices weren’t phones. The BlackBerry 850 launched on January 19, 1999, a two-way email pager with that iconic QWERTY keyboard. Way back when, owning a BlackBerry was considered a status symbol, and BlackBerry addiction wasn’t unheard of. The devices became known for their physical QWERTY keyboards and BBM, BlackBerry’s instant messaging app that was around long before WhatsApp.

BlackBerry 850

During its peak from 2009-2010, BlackBerry owned almost 20% of the global smartphone market, selling over 50m phones a year. But with the advent of the iPhone, BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion, reportedly lost more than half its market value in two years.

In 2016, the company announced it would no longer be making devices. TCL picked up the license, but this ended in 2020, with Onward Mobility taking it on. IN 2021, Onward Mobility teamed up with FIH Mobile.

We thought we’d take a nostalgia-fueled trip back through the years and dive into some things everyone who owned a BlackBerry will remember. Did you own a BlackBerry 850, a 7100, or a Pearl? We’d love to hear your BlackBerry-related memories…

PING!!

Nowadays if your friends/crush/girlfriend/boyfriend isn’t texting you back, the best you can do is send another text, check your read receipts, and hope they reply. But BlackBerry owners could send a PING!!! It was more like spamming your friends with messages which read “PING!!!” and literally made their phones buzz loudly. We’re sure this was responsible for the demise of more than a few relationships.

What’s your Pin?

Remember BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)? Before WhatsApp and Signal, before Facebook Messenger, BBM was the way to keep in touch with your friends, share stories, and chat. To contact someone you just needed their eight-digit BBM pin (and later a scannable barcode). Speaking of BBM, it’s not dead yet, as BBM Enterprise is available on Android and iOS — but it’s no match popularity-wise for WhatsApp and other messaging apps.

“CrackBerry”

Smartphone addiction seems commonplace in the world we live in, but BlackBerry phones were probably the first phones people became addicted to. The brand’s devices were even dubbed “CrackBerry” due to their addictive nature.

Screen Muncher

Remember when taking a screenshot was fun? Nowadays we take screenshots all the time, without even thinking about it. In the heady days of BlackBerry’s peak in 2010, the Screen Muncher app took a screenshot of your screen, complete with a cute munching pink monster and accompanying sound… and that sound was loud. The above video should bring back some memories, good or bad — you can thank us later!

Let’s finish up with five things you (probably) never knew about BlackBerry:

  • Research in Motion (RIM), the original maker of the BlackBerry, started out in an office above a pizza shop in Waterloo, Ontario.
  • The name “BlackBerry” was actually chosen as marketing experts thought the QWERTY keyboard resembled berry seeds.
  • RIM used to give out BlackBerry devices for free at industry conferences, to promote the phones to business people.
  • RIM’s wireless network was one of the few to remain intact during September 11, 2001.
  • Perhaps the most famous fan of BlackBerry was former US President Barrack Obama, though he supposedly only had 10 numbers on his contacts list — we wonder who they were?

Tech Calendar

  • January 26: Huawei P50 Pocket and P50 Pro launch in Europe
  • January 26: Redmi Note 11 series global launch
  • January 28: Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection comes to PS5
  • February 4: Dying Light 2: Stay Human launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, and PC (plus a Cloud version for Switch)
  • February 8: Samsung Unpacked? (possibly Galaxy S22 reveal, with pre-orders from February 9, and the S Series)
  • February 18: Horizon: Forbidden West launch on PS4/PS5
  • February 24: Samsung Galaxy S22 on sale? (TBC)
  • February 28-March 3: MWC Barcelona

Tech Tweet of the Week

Great not just for the picture, but for the associated Octopus-related knowledge we never knew we needed:

A little something extra: Robot Spy Hippo keeps an eye on hippos from a (mostly) safe distance.

Paula Beaton, Copy Editor

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