As we approach the end of another action-packed week in tech, it is also time we sift through the top tech news that dominated the technosphere to pick our winners and losers for the week that went by. While there were no major smartphone launches this week, two companies dominated the news-verse this week - chipmaker Qualcomm which made significant announcements at their 2020 Tech Summit - and of course, Apple - which until recently was still basking in the glory of its new M1 chip.
Before we talk about these two massive corporations and their newsworthiness for this week, let us also rummage through some of the other news-pieces that we thought were headline-worthy.
Before Qualcomm stole the thunder from literally everyone else, its Taiwanese archrival MediaTek was in the news after its upcoming processor showed significant performance gains against the Snapdragon 865 SoC. The latter, as you know, until recently, was the fastest chip for Android smartphones. The new MediaTek SoC – which is likely to be part of MediaTek’s Dimensity range for next year, still promises outstanding performance for ‘affordable flagships’ of 2021 and will definitely remain in the reckoning for smartphone enthusiasts.
Then we had major news from Samsung, which started the rollout of its OneUI 3.0 to Galaxy S20 users in the US. Based on Android 11, One UI 3.0 promises a host of new features and updates. Expect One UI 3.0 to roll out for more Samsung devices in the weeks to follow.
Facebook also made a significant announcement last week when it said it would start removing misinformation about coronavirus vaccines. The move came shortly after the UK announced that it has approved the use of a new Covid-19 vaccine in the country.
Winner of the week: Qualcomm and the Snapdragon 888 chipset
Perhaps the biggest tech announcement of the week, the new Snapdragon 888 SoC from Qualcomm will form the basis of almost all the significant flagship-grade smartphone releases for 2021. While chips from both Exynos and MediaTek have made significant ‘catching up’ against Qualcomm, at the announcement of the 888, Qualcomm did make some really bold claims which, if true, will cement its position as the leading player in the Android smartphone chipsets space for the foreseeable future.
The new Snapdragon 888 - thanks to the new Cortex-X1 CPU core, claims a 23% increase in performance over last year’s Cortex A78 core. The brand new Adreno 680 GPU claims an even bigger performance boost – up to 35% - which is also the biggest generational performance leap in, well, ages. Surprisingly, this is also the first time that a flagship Qualcomm SoC uses an integrated 5G modem. To top this all, the new Snapdragon 888 is based on the super-efficient 5nm manufacturing process.
Loser of the week: Apple after being rapped on the knuckles by regulators in Italy, Brazil
After being the literal ‘Apple of the eye’ for every tech reviewer out there thanks to the amazing performance gains that the new M1 chip, this week was a huge fall in grace for Apple, which found itself on the wrong end of the regulators in not one - but two countries.
In Europe, Italy, to be precise, a competition watchdog fined Apple EUR 10 Million after it accused the company of making misleading claims in its advertisements. The fine concerns the company’s claims about the iPhone’s water resistance capabilities. According to the regulator, Apple, despite advertising these phones as ‘water-resistant’ did not honour warranty claims made for phones with water damage. The watchdog also blamed Apple of misleading consumers about their phones’ actual water resistance capabilities and said Apple had left out important details about the same in their promotional material.
In Brazil’s Sao Paulo state, Apple was directed by a consumer protection agency to start bundling chargers with the iPhone 12 models. Apple, as you might recall, stopped shipping the iPhone 12 series models with chargers and claimed it was a move to reduce carbon emissions. The Brazilian agency, however, was unsatisfied with Apple’s response and told that the company did not ‘satisfactorily demonstrate the environmental gains’ that will come out of removing chargers from the boxes. Apple was also found to be in violation of Brazil’s Consumer Defense Code by not providing a charger – which the agency considers to be an essential part of a smartphone.
Do you agree with our pick for the winners and losers of the week? Let us know in the comments below!