Rollable smartphones start now, Google Maps updates, and more tech news


Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Tuesday, 17 November 2020.

1. Oppo X 2021

Oppo Inno Day 2020 resize

Oppo has a rollable phone that looks ready for 2021, and actually cool? I doubt affordable will be an adjective that goes with the device, but it is going to be fun.

What’s new:

  • The display rolls out from one side as a motorized function, no manual pulling or pushing required.
  • Oppo detailed technologies and mechanical features to ensure the display is supported as it rolls out, and a caterpillar track-like resistance as the display extends or retracts.
  • Oppo is calling the concept device the Oppo X 2021, and claims there’s no crease in the screen at all, as you might see along the folded line in current foldable phones.
  • It’s unclear if Oppo has equipped the screen with protective glass or if it’s made out of plastic as we’ve seen with the first Galaxy Fold.
  • And there’s no word on when this becomes a commercial reality.
  • It’s entirely possible Oppo is more about the technology concept than risking a launch —it’s been more than a year since it showed off its in-display selfie camera tech, and only ZTE has been willing to chance that tech in its ZTE Axon 20 5G, not Oppo.
  • Given that neither Oppo’s founder and CEO, Tony Chen, nor Oppo vice president Levin Liu had it in their hands on stage to show off, it made me think it’s a little early, and not ready for the always stressful live demo
  • But Oppo did post some short video to Weibo, and then a bunch of tech people at the event in China posted various images and gifs, like the below, so maybe hands-on time did happen and it is more ready!

Anyway, it actually looks …pretty awesome:

  • What’s on show is clearly a best-case scenario where the transition from smartphone to the wider tablet view is likely rendered to be that smooth on the display. But the motorized function looks great.
  • Speculation is that it’s all thanks to Samsung Display technology that Oppo is working with here, though no details have emerged.
  • LG is working on a rollable phone of its own, with a design leaked out in September, with Korean media reporting a March 2021 launch. LG has its own capable display technology.

We’ve asked Oppo for more details regarding the X 2021’s display and the chances of a commercial release, but hadn’t received a reply at the time of hitting send.


2. It’s finally been done: Huawei has sold Honor under ‘tremendous pressure’ from US sanctions (Android Authority).


3. Former Essential team to offer privacy-focused products in 2021 (Android Authority).


4. Save up to $110 on the Sony WH-1000XM4, and more headphone deals (Android Authority).


5. You can now buy a one-year Disney Plus subscription to gift friends and family, just in time for Christmas? (Android Authority).


6. Apple is likely testing foldable phones for a future iPhone — this report says Foxconn is allegedly testing folding iPhone, with a projected release in September 2022. That’d be around the iPhone 14 release should the usual conventions apply. Fun tidbit: “Foxconn will be conducting over 100,000 opening and closing tests for the folding iPhone.” (Apple Insider).


7. New Google Maps updates help you cope: Better COVID overlay, public transport crowds, and takeout tracking (blog.google).


8. Amazon Pharmacy: Amazon is now in the pharmacy business with online prescription fulfillment, free delivery for Prime members (TechCrunch).


9. Airbnb has filed its IPO and the S-1 is a great read (SEC.gov) — a breakdown here of what the published financials mean (TechCrunch).


10. Github has a great, detailed explanation of a new approach it will take in standing up for open source developers who come under attack from often harmful, dubious, or even troll takedown requests. It’s putting $1M into a developer defense fund to help protect open source developers, donating to the EFF and Software Freedom Law center for legal assistance (Github).


11. On that note: Tired: Open Source Coders — Wired: The open source movement runs on the heroic efforts of not enough people doing too much work (Wired).


12. How the US military buys location data from ordinary apps — including a super popular Muslim prayer app (Vice).


13. Seamless car charging comes to Electrify America with Plug&Charge: the car handles the authentication and billing, no extra cards and fussing about. Also known as ISO 15118, less excitingly (Ars Technica).


14. The $35,000 Tesla Model 3 is dead again. But, Tesla was admitted to the S&P 500, at least? (The Verge).


15. Zoom is lifting its 40-minute limit for all meetings globally for Thanksgiving: from 00:01 on Nov. 26 through to 6am (ET) on Nov. 27 (Twitter).


16. Now the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is looking good, too! Best news is that it doesn’t need super cold refrigeration (BBC).


17. The Crew-1 astronauts have arrived: SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule docks at space station. Lovely video of the excitement (Space).


18. “What myth is still widely circulated as truth?” (r/askreddit).


The DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun. Plus! Rotating daily fun for each day of the week, like Wednesday Weirdness. Join in!

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