April Smartphone Shipments Up 17% in China; Twitter Adding Labels to Misleading CCOVID-19 Claims; AirPods Studio Features; LG Looks to ‘Wing’ Smartphone Design

In a glimmer of good news regarding the pandemic and its effects, government data from China shows smartphone shipments in China up 17% in April compared to April 2019. Reuters.com reports that the numbers point to an early domestic rebound for makers like Huawei and Apple…at least in China. Phone makers shipped 40.8 million handsets in April 2020, up from 34.8 million in the same month of 2019. This is according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology…a state-backed think tank. Private research firms like Canalys, IDC, and Counterpoint Research all reported first quarter shipments of Apple devices in China declined in the low single digits, while Huawei managed to stay flat for the first quarter. We’ll have to see how May numbers stack up to see if 2nd quarter shipments in China hold up and really indicate a recovery.

Twitter is…thankfully and at long last…going to label Tweets with misleading COVID-19 claims. Engadget.com reports that they will say ‘disputed or misleading information.’ This is an expansion of the warnings already in place since March applied to ‘fake and ineffective treatments’ and other coronavirus hoaxes. The new label will include a link to a Moment curated by Twitter or an external site that includes facts about COVID-19. In some cases, you will also find a blurred out Tweet with the warning “conflicts with guidance from public health experts regarding COVID-19.” You will have to click through to view those Tweets.

Info about Apple’s over ear headphones, which may be called ‘AirPods Studio,’ is trickling out. 9to5mac.com says that…unlike the AirPods ear detection, which auto-pauses when you take them off…the Studio will actually sense if the headphones are on your head or your neck. When you drop them around your neck, they will pause music, but stay on and at the ready for use again. Another unique sensor will detect left and right ears…so there will be no having to look at the ‘cans’ to see which side is right or left…the Studio will detect that, and route the left channel sound to your left ear and right sound to your right! They will have Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode, as do most higher line headphones. Pairing them with a Mac or iOS device will automatically unlock your custom equalizer settings, too! Apple will apparently offer at least two versions…one with leathers and another with lighter materials for fitness use. They are also testing modular interchangeable magnetic ear pads, like the Master & Dynamic headphones already have…a feature I highly approve of! There will be at least two color options, and it looks like they will be priced competitively with other higher line wireless headphones at around $349.

LG was big back in the feature phone days, and even did ok during the early years of smartphones….then pretty well fell off the charts. Now, 9to5google.com reports that they are looking to a radical ‘wing’ design to regain a foothold in the smartphone market. The phone pivots in the middle to make what is basically a T-shape. The upper part that you then hold horizontally is the main dlsplay, and the one that swivels to the bottom can be sued for editing tools, browsing info, and a keyboard. The wing reportedly would run on a Snapdragon 765 chip, and would have a 6.8 inch main screen with the 4 inch part of the ’T’ the aux display. Estimates put the pricing at around $800. No release date has been leaked yet, but it’s expected later this year.



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