As we continue looking into Android 10 and prepare for announcements from IFA 2019, some other stories of the day include gaming on Android, new hardware from Roku and Fire TV, USB4, and more.
About After Hours: In this daily roundup, we cover some of the more minor stories regarding Android and Google from the day with some additional commentary. To catch up on everything we publish, check out some of the biggest stories of the day below and listen to 9to5Google Daily every morning.
New soundbars from Roku and Amazon work just like the JBL Link Bar
Soundbars and set-top boxes are a big part of many living rooms, and recently hardware makers have been combining the two into one. Today both Roku and Amazon – the latter with its partner Anker – announced new soundbars that offer built-in Roku and Fire TV operating systems.
Roku’s 32-inch Smart Soundbar costs $180 and supports 4K HDR, the full Roku suite of apps and services, as well as an optional wireless subwoofer for an extra $180. The new Nebula Soundbar from Amazon and Anker is slightly bigger at 36-inches and costs $230. It doesn’t have a wireless subwoofer available, but does have “built-in subwoofers.” This soundbar runs Amazon’s Fire TV platform with Alexa and the company’s growing app store, including YouTube.
Roku Smart Soundbar (left) and Nebula Fire TV Soundbar (right)
If you pay attention to Google’s TV platform, this should all sound familiar. Just recently, the JBL Link Bar hit the market with Android TV on board, but for a much more expensive $399 price tag.
‘LEGO Star Wars Battles’ is coming to Android next year
Who doesn’t love LEGO Star Wars? If you’ve ever wanted to take the popular franchise on the go, the new game “LEGO Star Wars Battles” is coming to Android in 2020.
The new game lets you collect and lead an army of LEGO Star Wars characters into real-time, player-versus-player battles in iconic Star Wars locations. Over 40 characters will be available.
USB4 brings 100W charging and faster transfers
USB-C is finally mainstream at this point, and this week the USB 4.0 – or USB4 – spec was signed off on. As CNET reports, USB4 is capable of twice the speeds of USB 3.2, the current standard that few users have. It’s capable of 40Gbps speeds. On top of that, the updated spec is capable of charging devices at 100W speeds. It’s also a requirement that any USB4 device supports USB Power Delivery.
Beyond the faster speeds and charging with USB4, branding will a big push for USB-IF with this new standard to ease confusion. More than likely, devices with USB4 will start arriving sometime in late 2020 and beyond.
Samsung’s Game Launcher gets Discord
After teasing it with the Galaxy Note 10’s launch, Samsung today launched a tie-in with Discord to make voice chat on Android a bit easier. A Mobile Overlay feature will be added to Samsung’s Game Launcher to enable quick access to voice chat controls without leaving games such as Fortnite. The functionality is available first on Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ and will extend to other Samsung devices soon.
People can now use Galaxy Note10 and 10+ along with Discord to connect effortlessly with friends who play games across multiple platforms and devices. This functionality integrated into the Game Launcher will allow users playing games on Galaxy smartphones see their Discord friend’s mobile gaming status, making it easier to know when and what their friends are playing. There will also be the option to instantly join friends’ voice chat using the Discord overlay
Samsung has a new SoC with integrated 5G
The world is preparing for 5G connectivity, and this week Samsung revealed the first SoC with 5G built right in. The new Exynos 980 processor will enter production later this year with a Mali G76 GPU and 8nm manufacturing process. As Samsung explains:
The new mobile processor’s powerful modem supports 5G to 2G networks, providing a fast gigabit downlink speed in 4G LTE and up to 2.55-gigabits per seconds (Gbps) in sub-6-gigahertz (GHz) 5G. The modem also supports E-UTRA-NR Dual Connectivity (EN-DC), which combines 2CC LTE and 5G connectivity to maximize mobile downlink speed of up to 3.55Gbps.
Having the 5G modem built-in should lead to reduced battery consumption and also a bit of extra space within the device. As ArsTechnica points out, though, the bigger story with the Exynos 980 is the more efficient 8nm process rather than the 5G, at least right now.
OnePlus teases the image processor in the OnePlus TV
Later this month OnePlus will release its new OnePlus TV based on Google’s Android TV. Today, the company’s CEO Pete Lau revealed that OnePlus is using a custom image processing chip in the device, the “Gamma Color Magic” processor. Apparently, it will help the TV offer a wider color gamut.
I am proud to share news about the dedicated picture processor for the #OnePlusTV. We built the Gamma Color Magic processor to bring you best-in-class image quality on our customized #QLED TV panel with widest color gamut. Can't wait for you to experience it! pic.twitter.com/DlQS8Y8jhn
— Pete Lau (@PeteLau) September 4, 2019
Today’s Top Stories:
- Google Pixel 4’s Soli-powered ‘Motion Sense’ will likely work in most countries
- Android Auto will get a dedicated app for ‘Phone Screens’ soon
- Google and Saint Laurent tease ‘CIT-E Backpack’ with Jacquard
- Acer launches four new Chromebooks from $249 w/ Intel Celeron, Google Assistant
- Google fined over violating children’s privacy, YouTube implementing changes
- OnePlus 7 Pro w/ Android 10: ‘Fixing’ the back gesture, hiding Dark Mode, more
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