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Big Revolution - Have smartphones just become interesting again?

Welcome to Thursday's Big Revolution newsletter, and today I'm feeling excited by smartphone design a
February 21 · Issue #353 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Thursday’s Big Revolution newsletter, and today I’m feeling excited by smartphone design again for the first time in years.
– Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Major advertisers have suspended their YouTube campaigns after Wired reported that paedophiles were commenting on videos of children that were monetised with ads. The ads angle seems incredibly minor compared to the fact that this behaviour is going on in YouTube comments at all.
The big thought
The Samsung Galaxy Fold
Have smartphones just become interesting again?
So Samsung’s long-awaited foldable phone is here. And while I had dismissed phones with foldable screens as a pointless fad akin to that time a bunch of Android phones with 3D displays came out and were ignored by the public, I have to admit there might be something here.
First, it’s not got the ‘bendy’ screen some may have expected – it’s a small-screen phone that snaps open to reveal a mini-tablet inside. The impressive screen technology comes into play by hiding the hinge in the middle. So, it’s perhaps less foldable and more… flippable?
But far from being a mere novelty designed to get people excited about smartphone design again, Samsung might have hit on something here. The Galaxy Fold feels to me like the kind of phone Nokia would be making by now if it had managed to stay relevant post-iPhone.
Remember the Nokia Communicator range? Tell me the Galaxy Fold isn’t exactly what a Communicator would look like by now if Nokia still made them.
At $2,000 this is a luxury device, but there’s a strong market for high-end phones, especially ones that do something clearly, visibly new. I can see this being popular with a certain kind of early adopter. And given Samsung has updated its UI so the operating system looks more enjoyable to use, this might be a genuinely useful productivity device.
I’ll wait until the reviews come in to say for sure, but it does seem like Samsung might have just made smartphones interesting again.
One big read
“She Never Looks Back”: Inside Elizabeth Holmes’s Final Months at Theranos “She Never Looks Back”: Inside Elizabeth Holmes’s Final Months at Theranos
A good look at the chaotic end of disgraced blood-testing company Theranos, how its founder coped, and what she wants to do next.
“At the end, Theranos was overrun by a dog defecating in the boardroom, nearly a dozen law firms on retainer, and a C.E.O. grinning through her teeth about an implausible turnaround.”
One big tweet
Apple fans may still be waiting for the AirPower charging mat but in the meantime they can always use… a Galaxy S10? Samsung’s new flagship can act as a wireless charger, just as the next iPhones are rumoured to do.
Geoffrey A. Fowler
Here’s a Samsung Galaxy S10 charging an iPhone XS. Bless.
12:46 AM - 21 Feb 2019
That’s all for today...
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