Weekly Authority: Android 12 Beta 3, OnePlus Nord 2 oddities, Steam Deck, more
OnePlus Nord 2: Next week’s OnePlus Nord 2 launch was teased as the company posted to its forums that it is pairing the Mediatek Dimensity 1200-powered device with a 50MP Sony IMX766 main camera sensor with OIS, upping the camera game from the Nord 1. Proof will be in the pics, though! Speaking of pics, also, OnePlus shared a weird sci-fi drawing of Nord 2 (seen above), which detailed the coming phone’s rear design, color, and helpfully confirmed previously leaked renders were correct. It’s a little bit fun that OnePlus is getting weird?
Android 12: Android 12 beta 3 has now landed, which provides native scrollable screenshots (finally!), on-device search, face-based auto-rotation, and better privacy indicators. It also tweaks things people have complained about in the previous beta modes, which is precisely the reason for the beta rollout. The stable version should be out more widely, launching in late August or early September.
Steam Deck: Valve announced its handheld PC gaming device called Steam Deck, coming in December and starting at $399. It’s a real debate starter: Is it like the Switch, or are comparisons just totally off track, given the differences? Should we be happy this is much cheaper than other niche options on the market already? Should you buy this, or a PS5 or Xbox Series X? Or just play Xbox games on this, given the flexibility? Far, far more to come here. Is this the start of a new platform emerging?
Xiaomi gains: Xiaomi becomes the second-largest smartphone OEM, according to one analyst firm, as it seemed to take what Huawei has lost. Global rankings top three: Samsung (19%), Xiaomi (17%), Apple (14%). Apple’s number may look bad, but it’s reportedly ordering 20% more iPhones to be made this year. So, things are fine in Cupertino, in case you were worried…
Netflix gaming: The Netflix of games really might just be Netflix, with the company announcing it had hired Facebook VP Mike Verdu to head up its games division. What that will be, what it might cost (if anything additional), how it will all work, are unknowns, though Bloomberg reports suggested a new genre on the streaming service, just like documentaries or comedy specials. In any case, don’t expect much for at least 12 months or so.
Windows 365: Microsoft dropped Windows 365, a cloud-based OS you can run on basically anything, meaning streaming Windows is almost here. Later in the week, we saw pricing: $31 per user per month for business users, starting August 2, with other tiers coming later. Microsoft recommends you run Windows 365 on Windows, which may seem odd. The idea is you might have a dodgy old enterprise machine, but can run a more powerful computer from your old computer, saving on asset purchases and so on. Will this catch on?
Space race: And of course, this week, Sir Richard Branson took a trip aboard his company’s VSS Unity rocket plane, reaching a height of 85km, or roughly 53 miles. Cynicism abounds, especially over Branson’s rental house kitchen (Indy100), but hey: Here’s why Richard Branson’s flight matters, really, why it actually does matter (Ars Technica). Jeffrey Bezos flies on the Blue Origin on July 20.