Handbags, magnets, and more Pixel in Japan
Instruction Set 2023/9/1
Welcome back to Multicore. This is Instruction Set for the week of Friday, September 1st.
I’m back in Japan and battling jet lag. In an ideal world I maybe wouldn’t have booked a 24-hour door-to-door flight plan that required me to get to the airport at 3am. Still, it is good to be back in the swing of things, even if these things are happening at unusual times of day.
Here’s what happened this week.
The IFA trade show is going on in Berlin, and a bunch of companies announced their first products based on Qi2, the new magnetic wireless charging standard that merges Qi and Apple’s MagSafe technology.
Here are rundowns from Belkin and Anker. The products are mostly similar to existing offerings from the popular peripheral makers, with the benefits dependent on support from phone companies. Apple, for example, could allow Qi2-compatible iPhones to charge wirelessly at up to 15W rather than the 7.5W it currently restricts Qi chargers to.
Android phone makers will hopefully adopt Qi2 as soon as possible. There hasn’t really been an Android answer to MagSafe; some companies have demonstrated proprietary solutions, but this is the sort of thing that will only work with the fragmented Android ecosystem if everyone can agree on a standard. Like the original Qi, as it happens.
Also from IFA, Harman announced a few JBL-branded speakers that achieve the voice-control holy grail of including full simultaneous support for Google Assistant and Alexa. Sonos notably promised this would come to its speakers and never delivered, though its recently settled patent litigation against Google might not have helped the situation.
Sonos speakers do offer you the choice between Alexa and Google, but you can only use one at once. The difference here is that you could ask Alexa to play a song on this JBL speaker and then pause it with a “Hey Google” command.
That’s probably a niche use case, but there are things that each voice assistant is better at — perhaps you use Google for most of your personal data but rely on Alexa skills to control certain smart home devices. Or maybe you just want a second opinion when you’re unconvinced by a trivia answer.
Oppo launched the Find N3 Flip in China, the follow-up to the excellent Find N2 Flip. Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5, which leapfrogged the N2 Flip in outer screen size, the N3 Flip is sticking to the same basic design here. The main difference is the inclusion of a telephoto camera, the first on this kind of flip phone.
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