Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the latest Galaxy S21 leaks, a review of the Samsung Dex, Google’s new products, changes to Play Store payments, OnePlus’ missing smartphone, Xiaomi’s Mi 10T and 10T Pro, and the compromises in Microsoft’s Surface Duo.
Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).
Latest Galaxy S21 Ultra Leak
Next year’s Samsung flagship, the presumptively named Galaxy S21 Ultra, looks to have picked up a new Chinese certification. That offers some more details around the specs of the upcoming smartphone. Domink Bošnjak reports:
“[this leak is] coming out of China, i.e. Chinese telecom authority 3C. The documentation concerns a battery carrying model number EB-BG998ABY. Which is a pretty unambiguous reference to the SM-998, previously identified as the Galaxy S21 Ultra. According to this particular source, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will feature a non-removable battery with a rated capacity of 4,885mAh, amounting to a typical capacity in the ballpark of 5,000mAh”
Reviewing The Samsung Dex
Samsung’s DeX system allows you to use your Samsung smartphone as the driver for a ‘desktop-like’ experience by hooking the phone into an HDMI monitor, and a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. That’s the theory, how does it work in practice? Zaeem Sawar decided to find out:
“Samsung did a pretty good job with the user interface overall. Everything is nicely laid out and the overall feel is very similar to Chrome OS. I was able to connect my Apple mouse and keyboard pretty easily and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a lot of the shortcut keys worked with Samsung Dex. I could adjust the brightness, volume, and playback controls directly from the keyboard.
“In terms of issues, I had a couple. For some reason, the scroll gesture didn’t work on my Magic Mouse and I experienced slight lag while typing things. Both things can easily be fixed with a software update I believe.”
Google’s Winter Wonderland Of Products
Previously trailed at the launch of the Pixel 4a, Google has announced the Pixel 5. Once more Google has dodged the flagship end of the market, instead focusing on the capable mid-range space with this years portfolio. Nathan Ingraham reports:
“The most notable design change for the 4a was its no-notch screen, which included a pinhole front-facing camera. The same style screen is here on the Pixel 5 — as expected, it’s a 6-inch, 2340 x 1080 screen that sits between the 5.7-inch display on the Pixel 4 and the 6.3-inch one on the 4 XL. (Speaking of the XL, there isn’t one this year; there’s just one Pixel 5.) It also includes the faster 90Hz refresh rate Google introduced in last year’s Pixel 4.”
Damian Wilde picks up on the Pixel 4a 5G, an already mentioned second model in the 4a family. As the name implies, this is the handset that sports 5G connectivity, although I’m not ready to forgive “putting the G in 5G.” Damien Wilde looks at the update:
“As the largest of the 2020 Google smartphone lineup, the Pixel 4a 5G measures in at 6.2 inches. The display comes with an upper-left punch hole notch, while the OLED panel has an FHD+ 1,080 by 2,340-pixel resolution at 413ppi. The Gorilla Glass 3 display is capped at 60Hz, unlike the 90Hz panel found on the Pixel 5. It also has a slightly larger chin and forehead than it’s more premium stablemate.”
Google also took the opportunity to reveal its move away from ‘Google Home’ to ‘Google Nest’ for its smart home products. Although not strictly Android, the newly announced Google Nest Audio speaker ties in tightly with your Google account, while belting out a solid sound. Becky Roberts has a listen:
“As the Nest Audio’s name suggests, Google has worked to improve the sound quality over the original – which we’re pleased to hear, as we described the Google Home’s sonic performance as “average”.
“The result of 500 hours of tuning, the Nest Audio supposedly goes 75 per cent louder and can deliver 50 per cent stronger bass. Its 75mm mid/bass driver and 19mm tweeter makes for a rather different driver array, too, with the Home sporting a 2in driver and twin 2in passive radiators.”
Google Forcing In App Payments Through Google
Google has “clarified the language in our Payments Policy” for developers using the Google Play Store, and will be requiring all in-app purchases to use Google’s own payments system exclusively from September 30 202. Developers will also be under similar restrictions to Apple’s App Store and be barred from providing informing in the app telling customers of alternative payment routes. Abner Li explains:
“Today, Netflix, Spotify, and other big services do not use Google Play In-app Billing. Consumers directly enter their credit card information with that third-party. As such, those services get the entire cut of the payment/subscription. Google says this is the case with “less than 3% of developers with apps” on the Play Store.
“The alternative (with In-app Billing) sees users give their payment information to the Play Store, which acts as a middle party. The big advantage of this approach is that customers do not have to repeatedly enter their billing information and can cancel services from a consolidated “Subscriptions” page in Google Play. However, companies have to forgo a percentage to Google for facilitating the transaction.”
As Google notes elsewhere, that percentage is the same thirty percent rake as Apple implements:
“For apps and in-app products offered through Google Play, the service fee is equivalent to 30% of the price. You receive 70% of the payment. The remaining 30% goes to the distribution partner and operating fees.”
OnePlus Confirms The OnePlus 8T Stands Alone
With OnePlus’ announcement of the OnePlus 8T, many wondered where equivalent T upgrade was for this summer’s OnePlus 8 Pro. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has confirmed that there is no 8T Pro coming. Hadlee Simons reports:
“Lau directs users wanting a “Pro-level” phone to get the OnePlus 8 Pro instead. The machine-translated text also suggests that OnePlus felt they couldn’t deliver a major upgrade from the OnePlus 8 Pro by offering a OnePlus 8T Pro.
“For what it’s worth, last year’s OnePlus 7T Pro wasn’t a major upgrade from the OnePlus 7 Pro at all. However, the OnePlus 7T earned critical acclaim for gaining several major upgrades over the OnePlus 7, such as a high refresh rate screen and a telephoto rear camera. So it seems like the company doesn’t want to repeat the OnePlus 7T Pro situation of launching a Pro model for the sake of it.
Xiaomi Goes Down The ’T’ Route
One ‘T ‘ that has been announced is Xiaomi’s mid-range version of the popular Mi10 family. They share the name with the premium line, but these are definitely in the mid-range price with high-end ambitions category Max Weinbach has the details on both the Mi 10T and the Mi 10T Pro:
“Both phones run on the Snapdragon 865. They support WiFi 6 and 5G MultiLink — a software feature that Xiaomi uses to connect to 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 5G network at the same time to boost download speeds. They also have higher-quality LRAs for haptics, dual speakers with Hi-Res Audio certification, and a 5,000mAh battery with 33W fast charging (a compatible charger will be included in the box). The lack of fast wireless charging is disappointing, especially after the seeing it go up to 55W on the Mi 10 Ultra.
“The Xiaomi Mi 10T’s starting price is €499, as previous rumors had insinuated, while the Mi 10T Pro starts at €599.”
Microsoft’s new Surface Duo is the new Android kid on the block, and there reviews of the dual-screened device are coming in. Like many, Matthew Millar notes the compromises that he has to make in his workflow, and there are too many to make the Duo meet his needs:
“One would think the Surface Duo would be perfect for a person like me who spends many hours a day on a phone. Prior to the coronavirus lockdown, I was commuting two hours a day on a train, traveling for business monthly, using Microsoft products for work (Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, and OneNote), and using my phone as my secondary computer. Things have changed a bit with remote work, but even then there were a few of my standard practices over the past three weeks that are compromised on the Surface Duo, and for more than $1,400 I’m not ready to make those compromises.”
Android Circuit rounds up the news from the Android world every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future, and of course read the sister column in Apple Loop! Last week’s Android Circuit can be found here, and if you have any news and links you’d like to see featured in Android Circuit, get in touch!
Got any signal up here? Nokia to build mobile network on moon
Finland’s Nokia has been selected by NASA to build the first cellular network on the moon, the company said on Monday.
The lunar network will be part of the U.S. space agency’s efforts to return humans to the moon by 2024 and build long-term settlements there under its Artemis program.
Nokia said the first wireless broadband communications system in space would be built on the lunar surface in late 2022, before humans make it back there.
The Finnish company will partner with Texas-based private spacecraft design firm Intuitive Machines to deliver the network equipment to the moon on their lunar lander.
After delivery, the network will configure itself and establish the first LTE (Long-Term Evolution) communications system on the moon, Nokia said.
“The network will provide critical communication capabilities for many different data-transmission applications, including vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video,” Nokia said.
The first Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra images show redesigned camera bulbs – The Queens County Citizen
With the ulation rumors that Samsung may launch its S21 series by January, we naturally hope to get more details on the upcoming flagships. Okay, thanks for the latest set of renders leonleaks This gives us our first look at the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra. In addition, the source supports the January launch rumors.
Both phones come with a flat 6.2 “panel with S21 with centered punch hole cutouts like their predecessors, while the Ultras comes with a 6.7-6.9 curve with a more pronounced curve.
Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra
On the back, the two phones come with a completely different design. The S21 camera bump has increased compared to the S20 and is now wrapped around the frame of the device. We have three vertically stacked cameras, but the flash is now kept separate from the camera bump.
Elsewhere the design does not change much until the button is placed. We can locate the dual-microphone holes above and the dimensions listed on the phone are 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm (without camera bump).
The S21 Ultra gets a more substantial camera bump on its back with four lenses. Like the Vanilla S21, it is stretched to fit with the phone side frame.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The dimensions listed for the S21 Ultra come in at 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9mm, adding another 2mm to the overall thickness of the camera bump. Rumors of an S-Pen turned out to be in addition.
In addition to the new renders, both the S21 + and its Ultra counter are featured in China’s 3C certification database. Useful bit of information from the lists is that both phones come with 25W charging.
Samsung Galaxy S21 + and S20 Ultra Charger Lists
Upcoming Galaxy S models will feature the “EP-TA800” charger, which was also confirmed last week when the Galaxy S21 was seen with the same charger on the 3C listing.
First Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra images show redesigned camera bumps – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com
With speculation looming that Samsung may launch its S21 series as early as January we’re naturally expecting to get more details on the upcoming flagships. Well, we got just that thanks to the latest set of renders from @onleaks which give us our first look at the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra. In addition, the source backs up the rumors of the January launch.
Both phones come with centered punch hole cutouts like their predecessors with the S21 sporting a flat 6.2” panel while the Ultra’s comes in between 6.7-6.9” with an even more pronounced curvature.
Around the back, both phones come with a radically different design. The S21’s camera bump has grown compared to the S20 and now wraps around the frame of the device. We have three vertically stacked cameras while the flash is now housed separately from the camera bump.
Elsewhere the design remains largely unchanged down to the button placement. We can spot dual-microphone holes on the top and the phone’s listed dimensions are 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm (without the camera bump).
The S21 Ultra gets an even more substantial camera bump around its back with four lenses laid out. Like the vanilla S21, it wraps around the side of the phone with the frame extending to blend in.
The listed dimensions for the S21 Ultra come out to 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9mm while the camera bump adds another 2mm to the overall thickness. The rumored addition of an S-Pen seems to be all but confirmed wrong.
In addition to the new renders, both the S21+ and its Ultra counterpart were spotted on China’s 3C certification database.The only useful bit of information from the listings is that both phones will come with 25W charging.
The upcoming Galaxy S models will feature an “EP-TA800” charger which was also confirmed last week when we saw the Galaxy S21 in a 3C listing with the same charger.
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