Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes new Note 20 leaks, Samsung confirming Galaxy launch date, more details on the OnePlus Nord, Huawei’s potential path forward, Microsoft’s new Android team, Qualcomm updates SnapDragon 865, and Google leaks Android launch date.
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 Leaks Galaxy Note 20 Features
Thanks to a leaked image (on Samsung’s own website), an exciting details on the upcoming Galaxy Note 20 has been revealed. The flagship phablet’s new design and liveries have been confirmed, and that gives more information on the camera. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
“So what do we learn? Aside from confirming the design leaks were right (and every bit as impressive as hoped), the big news is the overhauled rear cameras. Unlike the monstrous, and somewhat tasteless, camera slab on the Galaxy S20 Ultra (complete with tacky 100x optical branding), the Note 20 Ultra has implemented a sleeker, branding-free design which also integrates a dedicated focus sensor in a new rectangular cut-out below the flash.”
Note 20 Release Date Confirmed
As previously discussed, Samsung is bringing its launch event earlier in the calendar to make August the month of the Note 20 launch. The South Korean company has confirmed the phablet will be revealed on Wednesday August 5th.
“Join us for a virtual Galaxy Unpacked event on August 5 to explore our latest Galaxy Devices ecosystem designed to empower your life. Live streaming of the event will be available at Samsung U.S. Newsroom and Samsung.com at 10 a.m. ET.”
The other date, that of the actual release, is expected to be later in the month. Picked up on Twitter by IceUniverse, SamMobile’s Adnan Farooqui takes a closer look at the dates and devices:
“Pre-orders will likely begin the same or the following day. The device will hit shelves a fortnight later on August 21.
The Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra won’t be the only devices that Samsung unveils on August 5. The Galaxy Fold 2 and the Galaxy Z Flip 5G are going to be launched as well. South Korea will get 5G-only variants of the Galaxy Fold 2 and Galaxy Note 20 lineup, the report mentions.”
OnePlus On The March
Following last week’s confirmation of the mid-range OnePlus Nord, a significant number of leaks around the device have shown up, from the hastily deleted launch date, through the inclusion of OIS in the camera, to a snap of the specs sheet. OnePlus has also been talking on the record about the Nord, and I caught up with its Head of European Strategy. The big question? Is this actually a new strategy?
“Anyone familiar with the history of OnePlus will know that the Shenzhen-based manufacturer did not start out manufacturing premium handsets that sat squarely in the same price point as the competitions’ flagships. Surely this is just a move back to what made OnePlus a success?
“When OnePlus started the idea was to do flagship device,” points out Lampen, but with a kicker, “but in those days flagships themselves were more affordable. The demands from consumers on what they want from their device has risen. Now we have another great opportunity to bring our best in class user experience to a more affordable price point.”
The Potential Of A Wounded Huawei
Thanks to its inclusion on the US Entities lie, Huawei is facing a life without Google Mobile Services that leaves some territories at a disadvantage, notably the US and Western Europe… at least in the short term. Now it has been forced to look at alternatives, there are some interesting options for Huawei to pursue. Ashkay Jain looks at the potential:
“After such a gut-wrenching attack on your company, if you still sustain all your profits then you are the real legend. After one year of the ban, Huawei is still the second biggest phone manufacturer right now and profits are just increasing day by day. Meanwhile, Donald Trump on Huawei’s performance after the ban is like, “Am I a joke to you?”
“They have made their own services to replace Google Play Services and have made their own Huawei AppGallery with the number of apps increasing consistently. They don’t have all the apps on their platform right now but the platform is expanding at a rate so unexpectedly rapid. They have also collaborated with Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and other Chinese brands to persuade developers to develop apps for this platform.”
Microsoft Bolsters Android Dev Team
As we all know, Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Duo will run Android, and the team have been working with external partners at Movial to integrate Android on the device. From now on, there’s going to be a substantial internal team of former Movial employees. Zac Bowden reports:
“According to my sources, up until now, Microsoft had contracted the OS work out to third-party vendors such as Movial, who had the expertise required to bring Android to life on Surface Duo.
“Movial is a software, services, and design engineering company that was working closely with Microsoft on Surface Duo during its prototype and development stages. Microsoft has now acquired the local operations of Movial in Romania, Taiwan, and the USA, and is bringing on-board all the Movial employees that were working on the Surface Duo as full-time employees at Microsoft.”
Qualcomm’s 865 Upgrade
The mid-year update to Qualcomm’s flagship system on chip for smartphone is here. The SnapDragon 865+ promises “to deliver increased performance across the board for superior gameplay and insanely fast Qualcomm ‘Snapdragon Elite Gaming’ experiences, truly global 5G, and ultra-intuitive AI” according to the manufacturer. The CPU clock sped has been raised, the GPU has a ten percent lift in rendering, and Wi-Fi connectivity is improved. Chaim Gartenberg has more, including the update that is not present:
“It’s a similar refresh to last year’s Snapdragon 855 Plus model, which offered improvements to CPU and GPU performance for gaming compared to the regular 855. It also means that Qualcomm isn’t using the midyear refresh to add the most anticipated upgrade to the Snapdragon 865: integrating the Snapdragon X55 modem into the main chipset instead of requiring a separate component within the phone (which takes up more space and can impact battery life). Unfortunately, it seems like that improvement will have to wait for Qualcomm’s 2021 flagship, at the earliest.”
During a Google presentation at the Google Smart Home Summit, the launch date of Android 11 may have been mistakenly revealed as September 8. That would put the launch slap bang in the same window as the iPhone 12. Ryne Hager reports:
“The date is clearly visible on the header on one of the presentation slides (above and below). While the overall context of the video at this point has to do with ensuring Assistant-compatible smart home device makers are ready for that date, the slide itself seems pretty clear. Barring any delays or changes, I think we can expect the Android 11 launch on September 8th.”
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!