Tech Digest daily roundup: Is the Google Pixel 7A the best midrange Android phone available?


Google’s latest mid-range phone brings high-end features down to a reasonable price
, including the firm’s top chip and class-leading camera. The Pixel 7a costs £449 (€509/$449) – £50 more than the initial price of last year’s 6a but £150 cheaper than the Pixel 7 – while offering almost the same features. In fact, it looks almost identical to the 7, just ever so slightly smaller. It has a nice and bright 6.1in OLED screen with an upgraded 90Hz refresh rate to keep things smooth when scrolling. The phone is a good size and easy to fit in a pocket but with a big-enough screen for watching video on the commute. The Guardian

Google Bard, the search giant’s ChatGPT rival, is already available in 180 countries and territories. But even though it’s been widely available for months and was the centerpiece of Google’s recent I/O event, it’s missing one big region. The 450 million people living in the European Union are still unable to access Bard, or any of the company’s other generative AI technologies. It’s a move that has surprised lawmakers, and even Google won’t say why it’s holding back. Brando Benifei, the MEP leading the negotiations on Europe’s new artificial intelligence rules, is not sure why the bloc had been excluded. Wired 

A preview of Android 14 was strikingly absent from last week’s Google I/O developer conference. But what Google did announce was a feature called Ultra HDR. Compatible apps on Android devices running Android 14 will be able to show photographs with a wider range of colors and brightness. And since the supporting technology to run Ultra HDR is already found on flagship Android phones, as long as you update your device to the latest Android build in August, you’ll have this new feature on your phone. Phone Arena 

Home surround sound systems offer better quality audio to movies and shows than ever. But sometimes the sound of explosions, gunfire or even heavy-handed background music can make you miss the all-important dialogue, forcing you to rewind or — worse — turn on subtitles, breaking the immersion. If Prime Video is your streamer of choice, you’re in luck. Amazon has rolled out Dialogue Boost, an accessibility feature to amplify speech in select movies and TV shows. It’s more effective than simply turning up the volume, because it only targets speech and not the soundtrack or background noise. Living Etc

In office blocks in cities across Africa, tens of thousands of workers scroll away, checking countless images, reading transcripts and watching videos. This little-known tech army, in hubs such as Accra in Ghana and Nairobi in Kenya, represent the brain power that has helped create the uncannily human responses of artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT. Thousands of jobs have been created across the continent as data labellers – digital labourers who spend hours checking whether an AI bot has correctly identified whether an image of a dog is a dog, and not in fact a cat. Telegraph 

The Irish Times has apologised after it published an opinion article that was generated by artificial intelligence. Editor Ruadhan Mac Cormaic said his paper was “genuinely sorry” after it published the comment piece called “Irish women’s obsession with fake tan is problematic” on Thursday. In the article, which was supposedly written by a 29-year-old healthcare worker Adrianna Acosta-Cortez, there was an argument suggesting the use of fake tan by Irish women was cultural appropriation. However, by Friday, people were questioning whether the author’s name and photo were real. Sky News 

Chris Price
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