What's new in tech this week? Thanks to the fierce momentum of the 24-hour news cycle, we rarely go a few hours without some new jaw-dropping announcement, but it does mean that it's easy to miss some notable stories on the way. (What? You're not on your phone every minute of the day?)
TechRadar's new weekly roundup of the best reads from our site's diverse channels – everything from computing and smartphones to home cinemas and fitness tech – will run you through the most significant stories from the past week.
Want to know what's going on in tech? This is the only article you need right now – though you can also check out the latest episode of our Noise Cancelling Podcast for in-depth commentary on the latest tech news too.
Amazon Prime Video is a success story in many ways. As a competitor to the leading TV streaming service Netflix, and a perk of an Amazon Prime membership – thrown in with one-day delivery, Amazon Music Unlimited, and more – the on demand TV service has taken a firm hold of our eyeballs in recent years.
With exceptional Amazon Originals such as The Boys or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, along with high-profile titles like The Farewell or The Handmaiden, it’s not hard to see why viewers have been drawn to the service – especially when a subscription will include all sorts of exclusive retail offers and faster delivery advantages alongside it. But there’s still a lot that needs to be improved in how users are forced to navigate the platform.
The main problem with Amazon Prime Video is that it was so clearly developed as an offshoot of the main Amazon Prime retail website, rather than a TV platform in its own right.
That’s led to a host of user experience issues, including the way that TV seasons are listed separately in Amazon search results, rather than being under a single banner – a continuation of the days when Amazon was shipping DVDs rather than streaming hit series.
Microsoft’s recent announcement that it was closing pretty much all of its Microsoft Store retail outlets (save for a couple of ‘Experience Centers’) is a sad, but not surprising, move.
During the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve seen a large number of bricks-and-mortar stores collapse, and if established stores that were popular before the pandemic are having to close, what hope did an unloved vanity project have?
If you’ve ever been to a Microsoft Store (and most people haven’t), then you’d have been instantly struck by how similar they are to Apple Stores. This is because they were basically rip offs. Microsoft clearly saw Apple’s classy and stylish (and popular) Apple Stores and thought, “we can do that.”
The problem was, Microsoft couldn’t. Apple is a brand that has a committed fan base. Many people love Apple and its devices (not me, I quite like some of its stuff, but I’d always choose a Windows 10 laptop over a MacBook). For some, using an Apple device is a status symbol. Others love their stylish design and excellent build quality.
The Nintendo Switch is a fantastic console but when it comes to the Switch's Joy-Con controllers, many players have experienced issues with something known as 'Joy-Con drift'. While this issue hasn't affected all players, there have been many reports of Switch users finding that their controllers sometimes register movement, without the analog stick having been touched.
Players have been reporting Joy-Con drift since the hybrid console's release back in 2017 and now, three years later, Nintendo has finally apologized for the issue.
During a Japanese Q+A meeting (via Nintendo Life), Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa finally apologized for the "inconvenience" caused by Joy-Con drift. However, due to an ongoing lawsuit around Joy-Con drift, Furukawa couldn't say any more.
The OnePlus Nord is official. After months of rumors and speculation, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer has confirmed the name of its upcoming, and much-teased, affordable phone.
The handset was originally rumored to be called variously the OnePlus 8 Lite and OnePlus Z, and the OnePlus Nord name also saw its fair share of leaks – and it's the moniker the firm has settled on.
In its announcement, OnePlus said that Nord is also a new product line for the company, which may mean the affordable handset – which the firm has confirmed is on its way – will have a name that's an extension of 'OnePlus Nord'.
Movie theaters are beginning to reopen. Despite plenty of public disagreement over when entertainment venues should be opening their doors, seats are being prepped, projector lamps are being struck and the smell of popcorn is filling the foyers once again.
The likes of Odeon and Vue cinema chains are the first in the UK, with the former open as of July 4 and latter sticking to a July 10 date, while competitor Cineworld (and AMC in the US) are pushing their openings back as far as July 31, amid uncertainty over audience members’ safety and their willingness to come back to movie theaters already.
It’s a brand new world for the industry to adapt to, as many countries attempt to return to normality after passing the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The fallout the cinema industry faces delves far beyond the simple plan of getting bums in seats and instead extends into many other facets that will no doubt have long lasting ripple effects for years to come.
More so than previous years, 2020 represents a time when everything old is new again. A fact that’s especially true for games. Major AAA publishers like Activision, EA and Square Enix appear all too happy to feed players’ nostalgia by way of total remakes or lightly-touched remasters, simply because repackaging an older game people already have a built-in fondness for tends to be less costly. It can also go a long way to fill the space in between new, blockbuster titles releasing.
This reliance on remakes and remasters is now being emphasized more than ever. However, another common route publishers can take is porting, which refers to a process that can be as simple as getting one game running on a platform it originally wasn’t intended for, all the way up to an aforementioned remaster that touts overhauled visuals and new quality-of-life features.
With ports having so much wiggle room, we thought it worth speaking to the teams behind them. And though you might think developing a game entirely from scratch is difficult, the act of adapting someone else’s work for a modern audience can be equally taxing.
Can't find the time to keep up with tech news? Looking for some awesome lockdown listening? We have you covered with the Noise Cancelling podcast, which is brought to you by TechRadar and our sister sites Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
We begin the show with this week's Big Question: which tech retailers could create a good experience space along the lines of Apple Store, and what do they need to do to draw you in?
We also discuss the ongoing Facebook ad boycott, whether the iPhone 12 is cheaper than the iPhone 11, and rumors of a new Harry Potter RPG. We take a moment to chat about the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, too.
Meanwhile, this week's Unpopular Opinions is that Apple shouldn't make AR glasses – you'll need to listen to the show to find out why we came to that conclusion.
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.