We are now two years on from the launch of the first satellite in the Starlink system, and reviews for the beta test are rolling in. As with anything Musk has a hand in, there’s been a lot of talk about what Starlink can accomplish. Some are firm believers that the service will live up to its hype, while others insist Starlink is another case of Musk’s overpromising and underdelivering. As the latest reports have shown, Starlink could be shaping up for the latter rather than the former.
The Starlink Potential
The basic idea behind Starlink is that it will act as a faster and more reliable satellite internet service than any that came before. Directly, Starlink could be seen as a successor to systems like Anik F2, a high-throughput satellite that launched in 2004. Offering speeds up to 30 times faster than dial-up, at up to 1.5Mbps, these early incarnations held promise.
The only real issue with these early systems is that to achieve geostationary orbit they had to be placed around 36,000 km high. Even in perfect conditions, this distance would incur a latency (or round trip wait time) of approximately 550 milliseconds. While this could be useful for general browsing duty, more fast-paced and active uses such as movie streaming or online gaming were rendered unplayable with such delay.
To avoid this issue, Starlink has instead gone with an enormous net of satellites in three tiers, with the closest placed at 500km above the earth’s surface. To maintain orbit, these need to move extremely quickly, which is why Starlink is aiming to launch tens of thousands of satellites. The more added, the better the coverage. The outcome of this difference is a supposed eventual goal of 300Mbps bandwidth and a latency of 20 milliseconds.
In the beta tests, Starlink in action is far from living up to the dream. The major problems to arise have been found in two related areas; unreliable connections and the difficulty of dish placement. In simple terms, Starlink can only operate at peak effectiveness when it’s given a completely free field of view to the sky. Any surrounding trees, houses, or geography will diminish the dish’s ability to track satellites. Add shoddy reliability even in perfect circumstances, and the dream isn’t as great as many hoped.
Speeds in beta tests have tended to hover around a 90Mbps download speed, which isn’t too terrible, and latency still usually played under the all-important 100 milliseconds mark. However, without reliable connections, such speeds are practically moot. Speeds can vary wildly over a day, and with so many satellites constantly needing new connections, downtime can occur regularly and often. Dealing with a couple of hours of downtime a day might be acceptable if it can be planned around, but when it happens seemingly at random it becomes far less permissible.
As for what Starlink could be used for today, that much relies on luck. Consider two common uses, streaming movies online and playing online casino games. In streaming movies, quality could be fine for large chunks of a film, with constant interruptions where the movie has to pause, buffer, or drop to lower quality to ensure consistency. This is frustrating and could be a deal-breaker for some.
In accessing and playing on something like the best online Canada casinos, demands tend to be much lower than with systems like movie streaming. This applies to all facets of the experience, from browsing comparison websites to find bonuses and features to collecting deposit matches, and playing the games themselves. Each step here requires very little bandwidth, but each could also be broken by the low connection reliability. Safety features of these casinos mean a constant connection needs to apply at all times when playing games, where Starlink’s drops could render even small titles unplayable.
Proponents of Starlink are quick to point out that the growing net of satellites will improve coverage reliability, and this much is true to some degree. That said, the major benefits will only ever apply to those with completely unobstructed lines of sight to the sky. This is an unlikely scenario for most people, though in the right place at the right time, the potential is there.
Ultimately, the most profound benefits afforded by Starlink could apply not to general internet connections in developed nations, but rather as specialized systems for remote and developing areas. Having a satellite dish for high-speed internet in such places could introduce massive benefits in terms of education and communication opportunities. The results of such systems are untold improvements to ways of life, and in this, we have to have faith in what Starlink could accomplish.
With rollout increasing all the time, and a goal for integration into larger vehicles like ships and RVs stated somewhere down the line, we’re yet to see the peak of what Starlink can accomplish. Should it fail to measure up, however, its government subsidies could be cut, and the project could utterly fail. Though, should this occur, the lessons learned from Starlink are immense and might prove indispensable for satellite communications technology in the future. Either way, the Starlink experiment seems to have been worth the effort.
Samsung is already updating its Good Lock modules with Galaxy Z Fold 3 exclusive features – XDA Developers
Samsung is set to unveil the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 in a mega Galaxy Unpacked event next month. Both phones will undoubtedly bring along many hardware improvements across the board. They will also be the first to run the newest version of Samsung’s custom skin: One UI 3.1.1. Ahead of the official launch, Samsung has already started updating many Good Lock modules to support One UI 3.1.1 and Galaxy Z Fold 3/Flip Z 3.
New modules that have been updated (via TizenHelp) for One UI 3.1.1 and the new foldables include NavStar, MultiStar, Theme Park, and Nice Catch. Some of the newly added features will be exclusive to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3, including the new media volume muted history in the Nice Catch module, the ability to import icon packs in the Theme Park module, and so on.
The NavStar module has also been updated with a new Show task stock feature which will allow the Fold 3 and supported tablets on One UI 3.1.1 to quickly switch between apps from the navigation bar.
Although you can download these new modules right now on your Galaxy device, some features might not work until you update to One UI 3.1.1. We don’t know what kind of new features and improvements One UI 3.1.1 will bring along, but it’s safe to assume it will likely be a minor update. In any case, with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3 launch is just a couple of weeks away, we won’t have to wait long to find out what Samsung’s new skin has in store for us.
Screenshots courtesy: TizenHelp
OxygenOS 22.214.171.124 for OnePlus 7/7T series brings Widevine L1 fix, June patch – 9to5Google
OxygenOS 126.96.36.199 is now rolling out for the OnePlus 7 and 7T series with a notable fix for Widevine L1 issues plus the June 2021 security patch.
The OxygenOS 188.8.131.52 update was confirmed as rolling out on the OnePlus Forums(1) with this OTA providing quite a few fixes for common issues. With regard to the Widevine L1 problems, some OnePlus 7/7 Pro and 7T/7T Pro owners were unable to view videos in apps like Netflix at resolutions higher than 480p due to this issue. While this patch does resolve the problem, you might actually need to clear your device cache for it to resolve things. It’s annoying, but not quite as annoying as having to watch videos at low resolution.
Also included in the OxygenOS 184.108.40.206 update are fixes for battery and power consumption, better management of device overheating, and blurry viewfinders when launching the camera app in certain conditions. OnePlus has pushed the outdated June 2021 security patch here too, which is a bit disappointing to say the least. You can check out the full changelog below:
- Reduced Power consumption
- Improved overheating control management
- Fixed the issue of not being able to play high-definition videos on some video platforms
- Upgraded Android Security Patch to 2021.06
- File Manager
- Fixed the crash issue of the application
- Fixed the issue that the camera is blurred when shooting on fullscreen size
- Improved the stability
- Optimized the dialpad UI display effect
The OxygenOS 220.127.116.11 update is rolling out in stages with a small selection of users getting access first before a wider rollout in the coming days. If you are happy to sideload the update ZIP, then it may be worthwhile giving the excellent Oxygen Updater a try.
More on OnePlus:
Apple iPhone sales jump 50% despite chip shortage ahead of fall iPhone 13 launch – CNET
Not siding with Nvidia on Arm
2:57 p.m. PT
Graphics chipmaker Nvidia’s plannedhas been a touchy subject around the tech industry lately. In April, regulators in the UK spoke up against the acquisition .
Appleto for its iPhone and Mac chips, and it , so it’s no surprise the company may not be wholly supportive of the idea.
“I think that that acquisition has lots of questions that people are asking and I’ll sort of leave that up to everyone else,” Cook said.
Early innings of 5G
2:47 p.m. PT
That law of large numbers thing I mentioned earlier? Yeah, Cook says maybe forget it.
Despite the iPhone’s success, he believes “we’re in the very early innings of 5G.” He noted that most places around the world don’t have it broadly available, despite being “nine months or so into” the iPhone 12’s launch.
“We feel really great about the momentum, but at the same time we recognize that the 5G penetration is quite low around the world,” he added. “We’re at the front end of this.”
It’s not just Apple fans
2:39 p.m. PT
A popular trope about Apple is that its fans are rabid and willing to spend endlessly on the company. To counteract that perception, Apple’s highlighted how many new people are coming to its products. Worldwide, for example, the company said that even though the Apple Watch was first released six years ago, 75% of the people who bought one in the three months ended in June were new to buying one.
Apple didn’t offer similar data about its phones, but Cook said it was strong. “We had strong double-digit growth for switchers, and for upgraders, and in fact it was our largest upgrade quarter for Q3 ever,” he said.
Chip shortage isn’t so bad anymore? Or it’s worse?
2:31 p.m. PT
Apple warned in the past that Mac and iPad supply were dictated by how many chips the company could get hold of, setting up the possibility sales could underwhelm in the future. Instead, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said the company’s been able to set records despite those troubles. “It is remarkable that the last four quarters for Mac have been its best four quarters ever,” he said. “This exceptional level of sales success has been driven by the very enthusiastic customer response to our new Macs powered by the M1 chip, which we most recently brought to our newly redesigned iMac.”
Despite “significant” supply constraints during the quarter, he added, “we also started shipping our new iPad Pro powered by the M1 chip and customer response has been outstanding.”
He said supply constraints will be “higher” during the September quarter.
Apple CEO Cook said he’s “paying more for freight than we’d like to pay” but component costs continue, as an aggregate, to decline.
“In terms of supply constraints and how long they will last,” he said. “I don’t want to predict that today. We’re going to take it sort of one quarter at a time and, as you would guess, we’ll do everything we can to mitigate whatever set of circumstances we’re dealt.”
COVID-19 isn’t just going away
2:11 p.m. PT
Apple’s CEO kicked off the company’s conference call talking about how much people have turned to his company’s products. But he also noted that despite a positive spring and summer, things may be getting tougher again.
“As the last 18 months had demonstrated many times before, progress made is not progress guaranteed. And uneven recovery to the pandemic and the delta variant surging in many countries around the world have shown us once again that the road to recovery will be a winding one,” he said. “As we look forward to more in-person interactions in the future, we’re doubling down on innovation and doing all we can to help chart a course to a healthier and more equitable world.”
While Apple’s business appears to be humming, the rest of the world is decidedly less steady. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier Tuesday recommended that vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors again where transmission is “substantial or high,” for fearamong children who can’t yet receive a vaccine and the people who’ve opted against receiving one so far.
Even Apple has already told employees it’s delaying return-to-office plans until October at the earliest, mirroring moves from 2020 when companies began shifting schedules in response to worsening conditions.
Analysts and industry watchers will be watching for any signs from Apple about the future.
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