Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the leaked Galaxy Note 10 design, weaker batteries in Samsung’s phablet, OnePlus priming the story pump, more Nokia handsets for America, Huawei beats Apple in market share, Google Pixel 3a leaks, and reviewing the popular wireless earbuds.
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).
New Galaxy Note 10 Design Leaks
For many, the upcoming Galaxy Note 10 is a simple bit of polish on the S10 family. Perhaps in previous years, but not in 2019. Samsung is changing the design ethos and the go to word for the phablet looks to be ‘symmetry’. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
In a pair of teasing tweets, [a popular Samsung insider] has revealed the Galaxy Note 10 will be perfectly symmetrical. In the first, he notes Da Vinci [the Galaxy Note 10’s codename] “is symmetrical” and in the second he posts Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, the iconic image of perfect proportions. And this has significant design consequences.
The Galaxy S10 range is most recognisable for its asymmetric punch-hole design. Consequently, it looks like Samsung is either centring it or removing it altogether in the Note 10 thanks to the company’s upcoming New Infinity display. Either would be a smart move as it gives the Note range (which is bigger than ever this year) a clear visual differentiator.
More here on Forbes.
But The Note 10 May Be Slow In One Area
It was probably inevitable that a phone that promised so much – as the Galaxy Note 10 has – would have to compromise somewhere, and the latest leaks suggest one area where performance will be ratcheted back… charging the battery. Gordon Kelly has the details:
…It comes courtesy of acclaimed Samsung insider Ice Universe, who has revealed the handset may no longer get its much anticipated faster charging.
“I take it back, but I can’t say more” explained the tipster, who said his previous claim that the Galaxy Note 10 will have all-new 25W fast charging had sent out “the wrong message”. This would be a significant blow because battery life for the Galaxy Note range has fallen significantly from the gold standard it once set, and Samsung’s 18W charging speeds are already way behind rivals.
More on the charging story here.
Samsung Electronics President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division, DJ Koh, speaks during the Samsung Unpacked product launch event (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
OnePlus Primes The Story Engine
Although the launch and reveal of the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro handsets is still over a week away, OnePlus has been hard at work setting up the story lines that will no doubt drive the discussions around the new smartphones. Take the origami based invitation to the May 14 launch event:
It’s an origami construction that allows two information cards to pop out of the central housing. Given the expectation of a pop-up selfie camera to feature on the OnePlus 7 Pro this prepares the ground – lets call it Chekhov’s Invitation – for the audience to ‘go wild’ when it slides up in the presentation.
…the benchmarking of the screen:
The OnePlus 7 Pro screen has been tested by the widely respect team at DisplayMate, and while the full results will be published as the device is launched, its “exceptional” scores in color gamut and temperature calibration, as well as better filtering of blue light to protect eyes during a prolonged use.
…and the sample shots from the new camera hardware:
Historically OnePlus handsets have been designed to offer flagship performance at more affordable prices, but with the OnePlus 7 Pro expected to cost significantly more than previous models, it remains to be seen whether these camera improvements will be enough.
As quoted in the report, [Wired’s] Simon Liu doesn’t seem certain:
“I think we have a shot at competing with the first tier phones,” he says. “I don’t think we can beat them, but the imaging world is always subjective.”
If the narrative is driven by leaks, then OnePlus is again doing its best to stay ahead of the geekerati.
More Nokia For America
HMD Global keeps the refresh rate high on its handsets, but is breaking new ground where it can. The Nokia 4.2 is a good example both of a refresh to handset, but also exploring new territories. It was announced this week that the AndroidOne powered handset will launch in the US for $189. Joe Maring reports:
From a design point of view, the 4.2 looks like a lot of other Nokia phones we’ve seen over the last year. It has a 5.71-inch HD+ display with a resolution of 19:9 and a very tiny waterdrop notch which houses an 8MP selfie camera.
The frame of the phone is made out of polycarbonate, whereas the back features 2.5D glass. This is also where you’ll find the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and 13MP + 2MP dual rear cameras.
More at Android Central.
Huawei Beats Apple In Smartphone Share
Although Apple’s woes (particularly in China) have seen iPhone sales fell in the first calendar quarter of 2019, both Samsung and Huawei have increased their overall smartphone market share rise… and Huawei has overtaken Apple to reach the #2 spot. Vlad Savov reports:
IDC and Strategy Analytics have released their latest smartphone shipment numbers, and the clear winner of the last few months has been China’s Huawei, at the expense of incumbent global leaders Samsung and Apple, both of which lost ground.
Huawei has been flirting with the position of world’s second-largest smartphone vendor for a while, having taken over from Apple for the first time in 2017, before switching back and forth in 2018. The company’s improvement in 2019, however, appears to set it up with a firmer control of the second spot: Huawei jumped from 39.3 million phones shipped in the first quarter of 2018 to 59.1 million shipments in Q1 2019, as noted by both IDC and SA
More at The Verge.
Details Of Google Pixel 3a Leak
It’s now expected to be ‘purplish’, the price will start at $399, and the 5.6 inch version will be supplemented with a 6-inch version. Google’s Pixel 3a and 3a XL have well and truly leaked. Jon Fingas reports:
You can also expect squeeze sensors, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of baseline storage, a 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8MP selfie shooter. The battery life could be healthy. While the promos don’t confirm the use of Snapdragon 670 or 710 chips, those combined with 3,000mAh (on the base 3a) and 3,700mAh (on the XL) power packs might get you through the day relatively easily. Earlier leaks pointed to a 2,160 x 1,080 screen on the smaller phone and 2,220 x 1,080 on its larger sibiling.
More at Engadget.
With the loss of the 3.5mm headphone jack as standard, smartphone users are being pushed quickly towards wireless options, and that means an increasing number of wireless earbuds on the market need to be compared. What differentiates the leading contenders? Samuel Gibbs as a listen, starting with the Samsung Galaxy Buds:
The Galaxy Buds sound pretty good too, with reasonable sound isolation and a well-rounded tone most will like. They’re fairly balanced, not overly dominated by bass or treble, with good separation and punch where needed. The buds are capable of uncomfortable volume levels when cranked right up and there’s a limited EQ available in the Galaxy Wearable app. Audiophiles might turn their noses up, but they sound good compared with the competition at this price.
Find out who wins at The Guardian.
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!