Week 50

Google Home Mini with an iPhone on a table surface

Rollables? TCL displayed a foldable and rollable phone during the DTC 2021. Although only a concept, it would bring new meaning to the term "phablet" — flexing from phone to tablet in a matter of seconds. It most likely won't find its way into consumers' hands any time soon (if at all), but it's fun to consider the possibilities.

Futurespective. A panel of experts were polled on what the smartphone might look like in 10 years. Their replies are thoughtful and grounded in ongoing trends, some of which you might not have considered yourself (I hadn't). It will be interesting to look back 10 years from now to see how accurate some of the predictions were.

Smart Standards. Speaking of the future, this interview covers the path forward for smart home standards. Also available in podcast format, Tobin Richardson, CEO of the Connectivity Standards Alliance, discusses the current state of smart home devices (spoiler: it's messy) and what Matter, the proposed standard, hopes to achieve. All I want is for my devices to play nice together regardless of platform or OEM.

Mobile Marketing. Here are five campaigns that integrated a variety of hot new tech this year. As much as I've tried, I guess there's no avoiding mention of the "metaverse," especially when it comes to mobile tech. But I prefer to think of it more in terms of coolness that AR brings and, well, I can't help but appreciate creative marketing ideas (although there was at least one campaign that made me raise an eyebrow).

12L Beta. The first public beta for Android 12L dropped last week. Along with a refresher on the features that 12L will bring (layout optimization, split-screen mode, multitasking bar, etc), the post also includes a roundup of helpful links for both the design & developer side. And if you can't get your hands on a 12L eligible device, there are setup instructions for the Android Emulator as well (although I'd happily take a Lenovo Tab P12 Pro for Christmas!).

From the desk of…

A buddy of mine at work lent me a Samsung Galaxy Fold3 that he managed to procure as a test device (I need some of his swagger to rub off on me!). I've had it for a little over a week now and, I must say, it lives up to the hype. I still need a solid day (or 30) to really get an idea of daily use, but here are my thoughts so far.

It's about as heavy as I would imagine, maybe even slightly heavier, but it feels solid like quality hardware should. The outer display is a lot narrower than I expected, but it's also slightly taller than both my Pixel 4a and my iPhone 12 Pro. I've carried it around in my pocket for a few days and it doesn't really feel that much different (but then again, I typically carry around both phones because I'm a nerd like that).

On the software side, it feels very slick. It moves the current app seamlessly from the outer display to the inner (unfolded) display. Using split-screen didn't seem create any lags, with scrolling in Twitter and Google News remaining buttery smooth. It's still new enough as a form factor that, as you might've guessed, not all apps are optimized for the larger screen size. What did surprise me was that not all apps supported split-screen view either (basically just two phone widths side-by-side).

That being said, if I were an active Android user, the Fold3 would be my next phone. Hands down. In fact, I may have already looked into using my Pixel as a trade-in (but for whatever reason, the 4a wasn't on the list boooo!!!). It will be interesting to see what additional improvements come with the full public release of Android 12 L.

P.S. Samsung's not the only one in the foldable game (just too bad Oppo doesn't have any retail partners in the US).




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