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Can Tesla’s stock rally pay for Twitter?

Plus, SoftBank sells off key assets in the fight for survival and the $600mn debt deal that was set up to fail

Layoffs during a jobs boom: the paradox of the US labour market

Worker shortages have coincided with headcount reductions at a time of low unemployment

US poised to negotiate drug prices despite fierce pharma lobbying

Makers of blockbuster drugs including Eli Lilly, AbbVie and AstraZeneca face new curbs

Endgadget

The Morning After: First impressions of Samsung's newest foldable phones

While leaks meant there weren’t many surprises, Samsung officially revealed the latest evolution of its foldable phones and smartwatches. With the company’s fourth-generation foldables, each increasingly offers something a little different. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 continues the spirit of the Galaxy Note series, with a new taskbar to better manage multi-window apps, Samsung’s best mobile cameras and a whole lot of screen. Oh, and it works with a stylus.

Meanwhile, the clamshell Z Flip 4 makes more of its unusual form factor and keeps costs around the $1,000 mark. Compared to last year, Samsung hasn’t particularly shaken up the design of either phone, but it says it’s made further durability enhancements. We love to see it. I have more news from Samsung below, but all of the new devices are available to pre-order now.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

Disney+ ad-free streaming price increases to $11 per month in December

Facebook still has trouble removing white supremacists, study says

SpaceX successfully completes static fire test of Starship's Super Heavy booster

Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer improved audio and ANC for $230

Do you want a smart standing desk with a built-in display?

Boeing delivers its first 787 Dreamliner after pausing for over a year

Samsung's 1TB T7 Shield SSD drops back down to $100

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 hands-on

A design that works.

TMA
Engadget

Next to the Galaxy Z Fold series, the clamshell Z Flip phones are not as thick, not as big and not as expensive. While Google’s Android team is still getting to grips with the bigger-screened foldables, when it comes to the Galaxy Z Flip 3, Samsung just took the smartphone interface as we know it, and, well, folded it. We get better cameras, a bigger battery, faster charging and a ‘90s camcorder grip style.

Continue reading.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro hands-on

Barely there updates (and one new design).

TMA
Engadget

Compared to last year’s model, the Galaxy Watch 5 seems a little boring. The biggest change is a new skin temperature sensor, which won’t work at launch, while the other upgrades, like improved durability and curvature, aren’t immediately obvious either. There is a new Pro model, with a substantially larger battery and a layer of Sapphire Crystal glass. If you can’t wait till reviews are out, you can already pre-order the Galaxy Watch 5 starting at $280 (Bluetooth only; $330 for LTE) or the Pro for $450.

Continue reading.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 hands-on

Refinements and increased durability.

TMA
Engadget

The biggest changes for Samsung’s new Z Fold are improved cameras and Android 12L — an interface designed for larger and foldable displays. The company says the Z Fold 4’s internal display is now 45 percent stronger than the last generation, but the most noticeable change may be the relocated taskbar, which Samsung has moved to the bottom of the page instead of the sides.

Continue reading.

US Justice Department is reportedly poised to sue Google over its digital ad dominance

The DOJ may file its antitrust lawsuit in September.

According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is gearing up to sue the tech giant as soon as September, after a year of looking into whether it's been using its dominant position to illegally control the digital ad market. The Justice Department first filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company back in 2020, accusing it of having an unfair monopoly over search and search-related advertising.

Continue reading.

FCC rejects Starlink request for nearly $900 million in broadband subsidies

Officials aren't convinced SpaceX's outfit can fulfill its promises.

The FCC has rejected the SpaceX unit's bid to receive $885.5 million in aid through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The broadband provider "failed to demonstrate" it could deliver the claimed service. FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said Starlink had "real promise," but suggested her agency couldn't justify 10 years of subsidies for "developing technology" that requires a $600 satellite dish. She added that the FCC needed to make the most of "scarce" funding for broadband expansion.

Continue reading.

Moto's Razr 2022 foldable gets the flagship processor it deserves

Motorola's last Razr was a nifty folding smartphone and $1,500 fashion statement, but the weak hardware kept it from flagship greatness. Now, the company has responded with the Razr 2022 that might live up to that promise and price, thanks to a true flagship-class Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, Engadget Chinese has reported. 

The Razr 2022 carries a new design along with the new chip, with the curved chin and top camera notch eliminated in favor of an all-screen design and punch-hole camera. That removes the classic Razr look, but it also drastically increases the screen ratio. 

It's equipped with a third-generation "Star Trail" hinge that offers a flatter crease and is more seamless when closed, but is also stiff enough to stop at any angle. It weighs 200 grams, and is just 7.62mm thick when open. There are now two rear cameras instead of just the one on the previous model.

Moto's Razr 2022 finally packs a flagship processor
Motorola

On top of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, you get up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, along with a much larger 3,500mAh battery (compared to 2,800mAh before). The 6.7-inch FHD+ OLED display runs at up to 144Hz, while the secondary, 800 x 573 OLED display can do nine functions including call notification, camera, weather, navigation, fitness tracking and more. 

The cameras look solid too, with a 32-megapixel interior camera, a 50-megapixel OIS main camera and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera. The Razr 2022 is going on sale in China with prices ranging from 5,999 - 7,299 RMB ($890 - $1,380), but there's no word yet on US availability. As a reminder, the last model was sold in the US as a Verizon exclusive for $1,500. 

Moto's Razr 2022 finally packs a flagship processor
Motorola

Along with the Razr 2022 Moto also unveiled the X30 Pro and S30 Pro, successors to the Edge X30 and S30, and probably destined mainly for the Chinese market. The X30 Pro is the most interesting, as it also packs a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip. It also comes with Samsung's impressively pixel-dense 200-megapixel ISOCELL HP1 sensor, along with a 50-megapixel ultra-wide angle, 12-megapixel 2x telephoto and 60-megapixel selfie camera. 

Other features include a 6.67-inch FHD+ 144Hz OLED display, a 4,600mAh battery (with up to 125-watt wired, 50-watt wireless charging and 10-watt reverse wireless charging). It offers up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for a starting price of 3,499 RMB ($519). 

The man who built his own ISP to avoid huge fees is expanding his service

Given a choice between settling for pathetically slow internet speeds from AT&T or paying Comcast $50,000 to expand to his rural home, Michigan resident Jared Mauch chose option "C": starting up his own fiber internet service provider. Now, he's expanding his service from about 70 customers to nearly 600 thanks to funding aimed at expanding access to broadband internet, Ars Technica has reported. 

Last year, the US government's Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds allocated $71 million to Michigan's Washtenaw county for infrastructure projects, with a part of that dedicated to broadband expansion. Mauch subsequently won a bid to wire up households "known to be unserved or underserved based on [an] existing survey," according to the RFP.

"They had this gap-filling RFP, and in my own wild stupidity or brilliance, I'm not sure which yet, I bid on the whole project [in my area] and managed to win through that competitive bidding process," he told Ars

He'll now need to expand from 14 to about 52 miles of fiber to complete the project, including at least a couple of homes that require a half mile of fiber for a single house. That'll cost $30,000 for each of those homes, but his installation fees are typically $199.

Customers can choose from 100Mbps up/down internet speeds for $55 per month, or 1Gbps with unlimited data for $79 a month. The contract requires completion by 2026, but he aims to be done by around the end of 2023. He's already hooked up some of the required addresses, issuing a press release after the first was connected in June, with a local commissioner calling it "a transformational moment for our community." 

Running an ISP isn't even Mauch's day job, as he normally works as an Akamai network architect. Still, his service has become a must in the region and he even provides fiber backhaul for a major mobile carrier. "I'm definitely a lot more well-known by all my neighbors... I'm saved in people's cell phones as 'fiber cable guy,'" he said. Check out the full story at Ars Technica

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