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Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 is official: It’s $2,000 and ships 9/18



The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G was sort of half-announced alongside the Galaxy Note 20 last month, and today Samsung made it the rest-of-the-way announced with a second event, an official spec sheet, and a price. Between the first half of the announcement and various leaks, we already knew nearly everything about the Fold 2 except a price and a ship date. So the big news today is that the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is $1,999—a whole $10 more than the original Fold—and it ships September 18 in the US.

The rest of the event is official confirmation on specs that were already leaked. The Fold 2 has a Snapdragon 865+, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage, and a 4500mAh battery. The phone supports wireless charging, it has a side-mounted fingerprint reader, it runs Android 10, and if you can get it, supports sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G. There is no Exynos version internationally—all Folds in all regions will run the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+.

The giant screens are the star of the show. The inside is a folding 7.6-inch, 2208×1768 OLED display, which, this year, gets a major upgrade to a 120Hz refresh rate. The outside screen is a 6.2-inch, 2260×816 OLED display, which is dramatically bigger than the 4.6-inch display on the Galaxy Fold 1. The display has way smaller bezels compared to the ridiculous front of the Fold 1, but with a 25:9 aspect ratio, it’s one of the tallest, skinniest displays we’ve ever seen. This screen is still 60Hz , so you’ll be quickly switching between a 60Hz outer display and a 120Hz inner display, which will be odd.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is serving as a bit of a do-over for the Fold line after the disastrous Galaxy Fold 1 launch. Samsung wanted the Fold 1 to be a revolutionary device, but instead, the delicate plastic display and strange construction meant it died in the hands of Samsung’s early hand-picked reviewers. Samsung ended up delaying the launch for five months while it reworked the device. Samsung Electronics CEO DJ Koh called the whole fiasco “embarrassing,” and when the reworked Fold finally did come to market, it was with a whimper. This was not the triumphant release Samsung wanted.

The Fold 2 is learning from some of the mistakes of the Fold 1. Instead of the all-plastic interior screen cover, the phone now ships with Samsung’s “Ultra-Thin Glass” cover on the inside, just like the Galaxy Z Flip. Samsung’s “flexible glass” is actually a plastic and glass sandwich, and with the plastic on the outside, it doesn’t feel as nice as bare glass. It also isn’t scratch-resistant. The inner glass layer does give the display cover some rigidity, though, which is better than a shishy all-plastic display.

Samsung has done away with the huge notch on the interior of the device, and instead the Fold 2’s interior uses a single hole punch camera that is a lot less noticeable. Just like the Fold 1, the Fold 2 overall has a whole bunch of cameras. There’s a 10MP hole-punch camera on the outside, that 10MP hole-punch camera on the inside, and three cameras on the back: a 12MP wide angle, a 12MP main camera, and a 12MP telephoto.

The hinge is different this year, too, and the new design again borrows from the Z Flip. Instead of a spring-loaded opening and closing, the hinge can stop halfway, making the phone stand up like a mini laptop. Like on the Z Flip, this means that some apps will trigger a split-screen mode and logically spread out the UI across the top and bottom halves of the display. The non-springy hinge also means you’ll need to be more deliberate when you open and close the device, since the hinge won’t provide as much help as before.

Galaxy Z Fold 2 pre-orders are going up today and tomorrow through Samsung and the three (yes there are only three now) participating major carriers.

Listing image by Samsung

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Lenovo gives up on its dream of Android gaming phones



Android manufacturers occasionally try to push this idea of a “gaming smartphone”—usually, these companies try to extend the “PC gamer” design motif to smartphones, with RGB LEDs and aggressive marketing. Since Android games are mostly casual pay-to-win tap fests, though, we often have to ask, does anyone want a gaming smartphone? If you’re Lenovo, the answer is apparently “no,” as Android Authority reports Lenovo is killing the “Legion” gaming phone business.

The site quoted a Lenovo spokesperson:

Lenovo is discontinuing its Android-based Legion mobile gaming phones as part of a wider business transformation and gaming portfolio consolidation. As a leader in gaming devices and solutions, Lenovo is committed to advancing the gaming category across form factors, as well as focusing on where it can bring the most value to the global gaming community.

While gaming phones often seem like a product without a market, we are a bit sad to see Lenovo pack it in since the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 was the most extreme version of the idea. That phone had what must have been the most powerful cooling system ever fitted to an Android phone, with two internal cooling fans, copper heat pipes, and loads of graphite pads. While most passively cooled Android phones would quickly throttle in a graphics-intensive game, this was one of the rare phones with what looked like sustainable cooling. Of course, it didn’t fit into a normal smartphone body—the phone’s center (in landscape) was about twice as thick as normal, but it was a neat product.

Lenovo packed a lot of other interesting additions into its gaming phone: it had six touch-sensitive buttons on the back: four on the top edge of the phone, replicating L1/R1 L2/R2 design of console controllers, and two on the back of the phone for your middle fingers. It also had two USB-C ports: one in the usual location, but since that would be blocked during landscape gaming, a second port was on the side of the phone, so it would point downward during landscape gaming. You could charge from either port, but you could also charge with both ports simultaneously, which Lenovo called 90 W “ultra-fast double charging.” The included charger had two USB ports on it.

Lenovo was right to focus on cooling because while PC gaming computers can prove their worth with premium parts, there’s no such thing as “better than flagship” parts for smartphones. The Duel 2 had the same Snapdragon 888 SoC as every other flagship device, but at least it could run without throttling. The other things that exist for PC gaming and don’t exist for Android are games, or at least games that would encourage buying enthusiast-grade hardware. Even if you found a faster-than-normal phone, there would be few apps that could take advantage of it other than an emulator.

Listing image by Lenovo

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After two years, Autodesk Maya and AutoCAD become Apple Silicon-native



Enlarge / A woman uses AutoCAD on a MacBook Pro in this promotional image from Autodesk.

It has been two years and four months since the first Apple Silicon Mac hit the market, and now Autodesk has finally updated some of its massively popular professional applications (AutoCAD and Maya) to run natively on M1 and M2 chips.

The availability of AutoCAD for Mac 2024 was announced in a blog post on Autodesk’s website on March 28. Like other major AutoCAD updates, it adds new features like expanded automation tools and easier workflows, but the announcement that “for the first time, AutoCAD for Mac 2024 and AutoCAD LT for Mac 2024 now run natively on both Intel and Apple Silicon architectures, including M1 and M2 chips in the M-series chips” is clearly the headlining feature.

Autodesk claims that Apple Silicon support “can increase overall performance by up to two times” compared to the 2023 version of AutoCAD.

AutoCAD is widely used in various industries and trades, including architecture, city planning, and industrial design.

A day later, on March 29, Autodesk revealed the 2024 update for Maya, its 3D modeling software chiefly used in game development, film production, and visual effects. Maya 2024 brings native Apple Silicon support in addition to a slew of new features, including the LookDevX material editor, Hydra support, and so on.

But in contrast to many other makers of widespread professional software in similar industries, such as Adobe and Unity, Autodesk’s efforts to support Apple Silicon—which were announced two years ago—have been ongoing for an interminably long time. Even open source Maya competitor Blender beat Autodesk to the punch.

The Intel versions of both Maya and AutoCAD worked OK in Rosetta, but some Mac users have become understandably frustrated over the past couple of years, and Autodesk never really clarified why it was taking so long.

Nonetheless, it’s here now. We were able to download Maya 2024 for no additional charge on an existing subscription and confirmed that it is running as an Apple Silicon app on an M2 Max-equipped MacBook Pro.

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Apple will host WWDC 2023 in person and online June 5 through June 9



Enlarge / Apple’s first promotional image for WWDC 2023.


Apple will host its 34th annual Worldwide Developers Conference at its Cupertino, California, headquarters from Monday, June 5 through Friday, June 9, the company announced on Wednesday.

The conference will kick off with “a special all-day event,” inclusive of the customary keynote presentation and the platform State of the Union talks. The language on Apple’s website suggests that like last year, some or all of those will be presented in prerecorded video form rather than as a live on-stage presentation.

After that first day, Apple will likely host various panels on how developers can work with the company’s developer toolkits and APIs to support new and old features across the various Apple platforms.

Members of Apple’s developer program who want to attend essentially sign up for a lottery to see if they are chosen, as the event cannot host enough people in person to meet demand. That said, the entire conference will also be available online to developers. In either case, the conference is free.

The main purpose of the WWDC keynote each year is usually to announce and explain new features coming to the next versions of Apple’s various platform operating systems—in this case, iOS 17, iPadOS 17, tvOS 17, watchOS 10, and macOS 14.

That’s almost sure to be the case this year as well. Sometimes Apple announces new hardware or consumer services at WWDC, too—but not always.

There have been many reports from reliable sources over the past few months that Apple hopes to provide a first look at its long-delayed mixed-reality headset and related software at this WWDC. If so, we expect that to be a big part of the keynote.

Even if that’s the case, the headset probably won’t be released this June. It’s much more likely that Apple will outline what to expect from a release further down the road (possibly in September alongside the new flagship iPhones, but maybe even later) so that developers can begin work creating applications, games, and experiences for the new platform.

WWDC also coincides with Apple’s Swift Student Challenge, a coding competition for students. The deadline to apply for that challenge is April 19.

Ars Technica will cover the announcements as they come in on the day of the keynote.

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