Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes new Samsung Galaxy S22 leaks, Pixel 4a vs Pixel 5a, Tensor Chip teased, looking through the RedMagic 6S Pro, Xiaomi extends support, MediaTek taking on Qualcomm, Fairphone 3 discontinued, and what to do about James Bond’s Nokia.
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).
Samsung Galaxy S22 Details Leak
With no Galaxy Note launch this year, Samsung is using the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 to carry the flagship banner into the winter. While the Galaxy S21 Fan Edition will also be released, the next big step will be the Galaxy S22. Expected in very early 2022, the team at SamMobile have put together everything we currently know about the family, including the all important camera:
“The Galaxy S22 series might be Samsung’s first to adopt sensor-shift camera technology similar to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. This technology stabilizes the camera’s sensor instead of the lens, which leads to improved image quality and better stabilization. In addition to this, the Galaxy S22 might be the company’s first flagship series to feature cameras that were developed with the help of Japanese optics manufacturer Olympus, though the exact purpose of this alleged collaboration — if it exists in the firs place — is unclear.”
Pixel 4a vs Pixel 5a
While we wait for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Google’s Pixel 5a 5G has been catching attention – even though it is currently only available in the US and Japan. The obvious comparison is with the Pixel 4a 5G, so what’s the difference?
“The only real differences between the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5a with 5G are down to the external hardware. All of the internals are identical but the 5a with 5G comes with an improved chassis and finish but even so, feels very familiar in your palm. If you want a colorful handset, then unfortunately you choose between two shades of black. However, the Pixel 5a with 5G has some deep green tones in certain lighting that might make it slightly more attractive.”
When Do We Get Our New Chips?
When will the Pixel 6 family be launched? Google has given us the incredibly specific ‘this fall’ in a teaser video published this week, but that video also highlights what will be one of the key selling points… the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will come with Google’s own design of System on Chip, the Tensor Mobile, and leverage the AI engine that will be hard-coded into the silicon:
“Google also snuck in a look at its new Tensor SoC in the video that will power the Pixel 6 series. In the teaser, Google asks, “What if smartphones weren’t just smart?” and “What if your phone saw you for who you are?” The Pixel 6 will seemingly be the answer to that with its “learning,” “evolving,” and “adapting” capabilities.:”
Looking Inside Your Gaming Phone
RedMagic continues to expand its range of gaming-focused smartphones with the release of the Redmagic 6S Pro Ghost. Pitched as a more exclusive and stylish handset, it features a transparent casing to expose the various cooling features in the handset, including the active cooling fan; alongside the top of the line SnapDragon 888+ and 720 hz touch sampling.
“With the 6S Pro the transparent back is available on the standard model (though it is tied to the choice of memory). And if you get the transparent one, the cooling fan will have four RGB LEDs to add some flair. This transparent colorway is called “Ghost”. The other option is black, which skips the LEDs (since they aren’t visible from the outside).”
More Support For Your Smartphone From Xiaomi
Xiaomi has extended the duration of upgrades and security updates it offers on its premium handset. The Chinese manufacturer has promised three years of Android updates with a further year of security updates for a total of four years. this brings it into line with offerings from Google and Samsung in terms of duration. With the Mi11t and Mi 11t Pro expected to launch soon, the increase is welcome and should offer consumers more peace of mind.
“Long term support is an important topic. And today, September 9, Xiaomi announced that its upcoming Xiaomi Mi 11 T and 11T Pro smartphones will receive three major Android updates and will receive security patches for four years. As a reminder, the duo of these affordable flagships will debut on September 15th. Xiaomi will be the third company after Samsung and OnePlus to release security patches for their devices within 4 years.”
Chip Wars For Everyone
There’s a growing battle for the high-end of smartphone ‘system on chip’ assemblies. Qualcomm is arguably the best known brand, but MediaTek is build up cachet with manufactures. News of the upcoming Dimensity 2000 series moving to a 4nm node will be noted. Presumably the presumptively named SnapDragon 895 will follow a similar path.
“The news arrives from Weibo tipster @肥威 who stated that the upcoming next generation flagship Dimensity 5G SoC will be quite power efficient since it will be based on TSMC’s latest 4nm process node. He further added that the specifications of this chip will be notable thanks to its ARM V9 architecture, which will enable it to offer better performance over the previous generation.”
Gone But Not Forgotten
Ethical smartphone company Fairphone has discontinued it’s 2019 smartphone, the ritual Fairphone 3. In fitting with the company ethos of sustainability and repairability (and including a screwdriver in the box instead of a USB charger), replacement parts are still on sale for users, and it continues to receive software support. Now you could buy the new modules and upgrade it to the Fairphone3+ (which is still on sale), but you might want to wait, give a Fairphone 4 5G has been certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, presumably for a launch later this year.
“First launched in 2019, the mid-range Android smartphone is one of only two handsets to score a perfect 10 on the iFixit repairability index. But writing on the Fairphone blog, CEO Eva Gouwens confirmed that the phone is no longer being sold. She’s quick to point out this doesn’t mean an end of life for the handset, though, as Fairphone offers five years of software and hardware support. And as it’s a modular phone, owners can continue to upgrade and replace different parts such as the camera. An upgrade to Android 11 is also planned for next year.”
As the world waits for the latest James Bond film ‘No Time To Die’ to finally make it to the screen, one of the subtle questions is how HMD Global’s Nokia handsets will be portrayed. If the film had made it’s original date it would have debuted a new Nokia flagship, more than likely the Nokia 8.3 5G. That original date was April 2020. Now, eighteen months later, which phone will be on show?
“By watching the latest trailer, you can see a tiny bit of the Nokia smartphone that James is using. That phone doesn’t differ from the one seen in the official trailer released in 2020. The LED flash is visible in the image, and it seems to be positioned inside the camera module. The only new device that has LED placed there is soon to be announced Nokia G50, but somehow I don’t think that James Bond wants a midrange phone as a daily driver.”
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!