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Will smartphones eventually ship with nothing else in the box? – Android Authority

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Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Roger Fingas

Roger Fingas

Opinion Post

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Apple made headlines in October 2020 when it decided to drop power adapters not just from the iPhone 12 lineup, but from all iPhones going forward. Samsung has joined suit with flagships like the S21, ensuring that the decision will have a wide impact. Could it be that these policies will quickly become an industry standard, forcing every new smartphone owner to buy basic accessories on top of increasingly expensive hardware?

First, let’s back up a bit and talk about motivations. During the iPhone 12 reveal Apple made a big deal about reduced environmental impact, which is undeniable. Electronics of any kind require minerals and plastics, which strips the Earth of finite resources, never mind the pollution generated by the supply chain. Fewer accessories allows for less packaging, which saves on resources like trees and makes shipping more environmentally efficient. This is offset to an extent by the extra material and supply chains needed for third-party accessories, but as long as people don’t ramp up those purchases, the logic checks out.

The reality however is that Apple and Samsung aren’t offering free adapters (or earbuds for that matter) to shoppers who need them. They’re charging full price, and not even discounting their phones to compensate. It’s obvious that profit margins are a major incentive for dropping bundled accessories, if not the primary motive.

Where are Apple and Samsung headed?

Yootech F500 Wireless Charger with iphone and accoutrements.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The decision to drop power adapters means the only thing included with Apple and Samsung phones at the moment is a connector cable. In the case of Apple, of course, it’s a Lightning cable, limiting usefulness further. Apple has resisted pressure to switch iPhones over to USB-C — which is perhaps the strongest argument against its environmental position. Proprietary ports mean customers have to buy separate, proprietary accessories.

Glancing a few years down the road, the speculation is that Apple will remove ports entirely. It showed the “courage” to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack with 2016’s iPhone 7, and has since made wireless charging standard, even if top-up times lag behind many Android devices. The Lightning port continues to serve several functions — CarPlay, accessories, faster charging, and iTunes sync — but it’s easy to imagine a future in which Apple claims wireless is all anyone needs. It would allow the company to remove all bundled accessories, slash component costs, and clean up the iPhone’s internal design space.

The best wall chargers: A buyer’s guide

Samsung has been imitating Apple for well over a decade, so it probably won’t be far behind if the iPhone does go portless. It’s unlikely to jump in with both feet, however. Much of Samsung’s mobile revenue comes from markets where people are inclined towards budget models and can’t necessarily afford to load up on wireless accessories. Expect premium phones in the Note and Galaxy S lines to go first.

Even Apple will probably try some sort of stepped approach, at least keeping an older Lightning-equipped iPhone around while newer models make the leap. It could theoretically reserve portless tech for Pro phones, but it might be easier to encourage adoption if every new model is onboard.

What about the rest of the smartphone market?

OnePlus Nord 2 showing the screen — bucking the trend to drop power adapters from the box.

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Because of budget-conscious demographics, it’s going to be difficult to sell the masses on phones without some bundled accessories, much less portless devices. The latter may require technologies like 5G and high-speed Qi charging to feel seamless — and those haven’t become universal in Europe or North America, forget the rest of the world.

Cost savings and the influence of Apple and Samsung are hard to resist, so the long-term trend is towards dropping accessories.

Even if Apple and Samsung lead the way, it will probably be years before the rest of the industry follows, and a total transition isn’t guaranteed. Bundles can be a competitive advantage, as evidenced by the OnePlus Nord 2, which bucks the trend to drop power adapters and other accessories by shipping not just with a USB-C cable and charger, but a case and screen protector. In France, it even comes with wired earbuds. Xiaomi doesn’t include a charger in China, but it does offer one at no extra cost and bundles the accessory with global versions of the Mi 11.

Cost savings and the influence of Apple and Samsung are hard to resist, so the long-term trend is towards dropping accessories. It seems safe to say though that by the time they all vanish, it won’t matter as much. Consumer reaction is going to slow the process, and hopefully wireless technologies will become better and more ubiquitous by the time the last cable is removed from a smartphone box.

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OpenAI Looks to Escape Copyright Lawsuit Over Open Source Code

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OpenAI Inc., the viral generative artificial intelligence company that’s drawn major investment from Microsoft Corp., moved to dismiss a wide-ranging lawsuit brought by open-source software developers claiming that the company’s “Copilot” AI program was trained with and reproduced their code without authorization.

OpenAI, which was sued alongside Microsoft and Github Inc.—companies that helped develop Copilot—said in court documents filed on Thursday that the complaint had major procedural problems and relied mostly on unspecific allegations.

OpenAI is the company behind other popular AI programs like the image-generating DALL-E and the chatbot ChatGPT; this month it received a $10 billion investment …

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Electronic Arts Spotlights Accessibility Features In Motive’s All-New ‘Dead Space’ Revival – Forbes

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In a blog post published this week, video game captain of industry Electronic Arts (referred to as EA henceforth) outlined several of the accessibility features included in Motive’s popular horror title Dead Space. The Redwood City-based EA’s announcement coincided with the release of the updated game late this week.

As noted on the game’s website, the story of Dead Space revolves around “the dark secrets behind the events aboard the USG Ishimura through the final logs of the ill-fated crew and your encounters with the few survivors that remain.” The new version of the game, available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, is a remake of the classic version with what the developer calls “jaw-dropping visual fidelity, suspenseful atmospheric audio, and improvements to gameplay.”

Dead Space is a classic that changed how horror games were perceived when it was released,” said lead senior experience designer Christian Cimon in a statement included in the post. “[It] made sense to revive that game and share it with a whole new generation. But the game came out 15 years ago, when accessibility features were less common. Things like subtitles, menu narration, control-remapping, and the like are pretty much expected now [by the disability community], so we wanted to make sure the remake aligns with today’s highest standards.”

EA notes Motive has made Dead Space more accessible and inclusive by building in a number of “customization options with some fine-grained control.” Amongst many others, they include colorblind settings, control customization, and aim assistance. There’s also the ability to have screen reader-like narration of menus, as well as options to reduce motion effects, enable subtitles for dialogue, and display content warnings in anticipation of more gruesome moments.

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There’s a video demoing accessibility in Dead Space on its YouTube channel.

All told, Motive is acutely aware that supporting accessibility is an evergreen endeavor that never finishes. The company is committed to making Dead Space even more inclusive going forward, with Cimon astutely noting the inclusivity ultimately benefits gamers yet also helps the business too. Accessibility features, he said, help the game feel more accessible and approachable by making it appealing to the widest possible swath of potential players. Ergo, more players means more business for the development studio to pour into future innovations.

As the axiom goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.

“[Working on accessibility is] about addressing and removing barriers that come between our players and games,” said EA’s program lead for game accessibility Morgan Baker in the post. “Accessibility improves experiences for people of all abilities and backgrounds, allowing for better products and ensuring that more players can have an enjoyable experience. And the work done by the Dead Space team shows that increasing accessibility continues to be a priority for us.”

For Baker, it’s heartening to see Motive so committed to accessibility.

“It’s so motivating to see a studio like Motive so invested in providing players more choices around how they consume horror content,” Baker said. “It’s inspiring. And we hope to see more studios consider the same. Because ultimately, when we can all play games, we all win.”

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Samsung Galaxy S23 series German pricing leaks

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Just a few days ago we got some detailed pricing info for the Galaxy S23 series in Germany and Spain, WinFuture is here with some more finalized sums for the German market.

Based on the latest info, the entry-level Galaxy S23 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage will start at €949 while the 256GB S23 model will go for €1,009. These sums are €10 less than the alleged Spanish pricing.

Galaxy S23+ will start at €1,199 in its 8/256GB trim while the 8/512GB model will go for €1,319. The 8/256GB Galaxy S23 Ultra starts at €1,399 while the 12/512GB model will go for €1,579.

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Germany
Galaxy S23 Galaxy S23+ Galaxy S23 Ultra
8/128 GB €949 N/A N/A
8/256 GB €1,009 €1,199 €1,399
8/512 GB N/A €1,319 N/A
12/512 GB N/A N/A €1,579

A closer comparison to the S22 series pricing reveals Samsung will be charging a €100 premium on the entry-level S23 and S23+ models. The base model S23 Ultra gets €50 price increase though the new model should arrive with 256GB storage instead of 128GB on its predecessor. The top-dog 12/512GB Galaxy S23 will be a cool €130 costlier this time around. Pre-orders from Samsung.com are expected to get the storage upgrade promos.

Source (in German)

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