Best of Android Mid-2020 winner plus your vote, and more tech news today

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Monday, July 20.

1. The Best of Android: Mid-2020 winner

OnePlus 8 Pro camera macro 1

The OnePlus 8 Pro was the Editor’s Choice winner for the Best of Android: Mid-2020 edition, beating out the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus.

  • The OnePlus 8 Pro topped the results for best display, best performance, and was second for value, and grabbed third in overall camera testing.
  • On specs alone it was a top contender, but for more subjective details it was top-ranked across the things that help make a phone great, like quality of software and support, build quality, availability, customer service, and more.
  • But the OnePlus 8 Pro will still be a $999 phone for many people and so arguments will emerge around cheaper phones, mid-range offerings, or just what suits you. Like a phone with a headphone jack.

You can vote:

  • Cast your vote now! Right now all phones that hit the top ten in any category make the cut, where you can vote for what you think was the best phone of 2020, thus far.
  • This is a preliminary vote: the top four in this list will then go into a run-off for the ultimate winner.
  • The likes of the OnePlus 8 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, and LG V60 ThinQ are top contenders at the moment, but get your votes in to help.

2. GPT3- Excitement

GPT-3 is lighting up social media, the third generation of OpenAI’s Generative Pretrained Transformer.

Asking for a simple answer to what is GPT-3 is probably more easily answered by watching videos of how it works, but here’s a brief attempt at what it is:

  • GPT-3 is a pre-trained program that tries to pattern match words via machine learning, providing answers and responses to questions and queries using predictive text.
  • The idea is it can understand queries and respond in a manner that makes sense and satisfies a vast array of problems from simple answers to generating code to being able to hold a sensible free-form discussion.
  • It’s fascinating because it’s probably the best kind of language bot we’ve seen in these early days. But just don’t say it’s AI…

Things to know:

  • First, it’s not yet publicly available, but access has been given to a select few.
  • Those people have found some incredible things. I was amazed at it turning words into lawyer speak, for example. Here’s a conversation about god, here’s someone making a search engine on top of GPT-3, and a bunch more examples via Twitter threads.
  • It’s exciting because it’s clearly extremely capable, across different languages, demands, and understanding of natural language.
  • It’s not AI and by no means sentient. But it is pretty good at playing that kind of role.
  • But it doesn’t understand, as such. It just knows that a certain word can match to other words. It’s not thinking, it’s finding a path between words as only a machine can.
  • To achieve that, GPT-3 is trained on 175 billion parameters, and the impressive previous model, GPT-2, was made up of 1.5 billion parameters, making GPT-3 easily the most powerful language model built to date.
  • (A parameter is a calculation in a neural network, and the > one trillion parameter mark is expected to be beaten within years.)
  • One key detail missing here: we don’t know what it will cost to use GPT-3, yet.

Here are a variety of early views on what it means:


3. Great reporting here: Hackers tell the story of the Twitter Attack from the inside (New York Times). Twitter has posted more detail here, if you missed it (Twitter).


4. Galaxy Fold 2 could cost more than Samsung’s first foldable phone (Android Authority).


5. Google Chrome is testing a ‘download later’ feature to manage large downloads: here’s how to enable it (Android Authority).


6. Has OnePlus overhyped the OnePlus Nord? (Android Authority).


7. Dyson Pure Hot and Cool HP04 Air Purifier Review: Clean air, pure flair (Android Authority).


8. Seven ‘no log’ VPN providers accused of leaking – yup, you guessed it – 1.2TB of user logs onto the internet. “Maybe it was the old Lionel Hutz play: ‘No-logging VPN? I meant, No! Logging VPN!’� (The Register).


9. Disney has reportedly paused its spending on Facebook ads. Why does that matter? Disney spends the most: “Disney spent about $210 million for Disney Plus ads on Facebook in the US in the first half of 2020, the WSJ reports� (The Verge).


10. United Arab Emirates launches ‘Hope’ mission to Mars on Japanese rocket (Space).


11. Comet NEOWISE: 10 big questions (and answers) about the icy wanderer (Space). Some tips for capturing what is a photographer’s dream (CNET).


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The DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun. Plus! Rotating daily fun for each day of the week, like Wednesday Weirdness. Join in!

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