Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the latest news on the Galaxy S9, how the Note 8 is challenging the iPhone X, the latest Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL leaks, new details on the Nokia 9, Google’s smartphone deal with HTC, Huawei’s Mate 10 design goes large, OnePlus 5 finds a French fashion designer, and Microsoft gains more acclaim for Outlook on Android.

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).

The Galaxy S9 Awaits

While the world looks on at the new iPhone range this week, Samsung is likely busy locking down the final design of next year’s flagship. Details of the Galaxy S9 are starting to come out now on the strengths of the handset and the ambitions of the South Korean company. One area where the handset may score a mobile first is in slow motion video, with 1000 frames per second a possible goal. Paul Monckton has more:

Samsung’s sensor consists of a three-layer design with logic processing and fast memory built into the chip. The addition of on-chip memory enables the new sensor to store the video data locally at high speed before it is eventually saved by the camera app. However, this also means that the maximum duration of the slow-motion video is limited by the amount of memory built into the sensor and is therefore likely to span no more than a few seconds.

Samsung is also expected to carry on with the development of a fingerprint sensor that can sit under the main display. Unlike Apple, who can switch completely to facial recognition, Samsung is bound by Android;s requirements for a fingerprint sensor to gain certification, so it has to go somewhere!

Both the S8 family and the Note 8 handsets have placed the sensor in the rear of the device, allowing the maximum amount of screen to be used on the front of the device. That location remains problematic and it’s one of the pain points highlighted by many reviewers of the premium handsets. Returning the sensor to the front of the device would address this issue. Being able to place it under the glass in 2018 would allow the shrunken bezels to remain and make a strong statement about Samsung’s technical prowess.

More on the biometric challenge here on Forbes.

DJ Koh, Samsung President/Mobile Communications Business, speaks about the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as it was unveiled at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2017 event (Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

Galaxy Note 8 Faces Down The iPhone X

As expected, Apple’s new ‘Pro’ smartphone is going to be drawn into battle against Samsung’s Note 8 phablet. The South Korean machine will reach retails shelves long before the X in November, but is the gee-whiz of facial recognition enough of a counter for Cupertino’s handset? Martyn Casserly lines up the two handsets to find out:

Much depends on the Face ID technology though, so it’s too early to judge how the new layout and design will work day-to-day. The cameras look impressive, as does the OLED display, but the ‘bump’ might take some getting used to. Still, if you want the best iPhone around, and have £1000 to spare, then the new X is the one

After the disaster of the Note 7, Samsung shows real courage to return with another offering so soon. The Note 8 continues the excellent aesthetics that adorned the previous model, but now adds performance and stability, not to mention non-explosiveness, to the mix. It’s a thoroughly modern implementation of the Note series and as such will be a mouth-watering prospect for any fan of the series.

More at Tech Advisor.

A Closer Look At The Leaked Pixel 2 And 2 XL

The last of the ‘big hitting’ smartphones confirmed for this year is Google’s Pixel 2. Launching on October 4th, Mountain View’s ‘pure’ Android handset is expected to be packed with new design features. As the date approaches, more details are leaking out to confirm this view. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:

These show Google has stuck with its characteristic two tone glass and aluminium finishes but shrank the glass down considerably. Then again it is the front of the Pixel 2 XL where real interest lies.

One final detail Droid Life uncovered: the new Pixels will have slightly different colour options at launch. The Pixel 2 will come in Kinda Blue, Just Black and Clearly White (no more Really Blue) while the Pixel 2 XL will have Just Black and Black & White which also has a funky orange power button for love it/hate it appeal.

More here on Forbes.

HMD Global's Nokia 8 (image: Ewan Spence)Ewan Spence

HMD Global’s Nokia 8 (image: Ewan Spence)

Nokia 9 Specifications And Images Leak

Following on from the critically acclaimed Nokia (read my review here), the next Nokia handset from Finnish start-up HMD Global has leaked online. The source is a mix of the old faithful GFXbench and a classic leaked image. The details point to a thoroughly modern Nokia that has finally caught up with the current design trends. I reported on the details earlier this week.

The handset is listed as using the SnapDragon 835 system on chip backed up with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. The reported screen is a QHD resolution screen measuring 5.3 inches on the diagonal. The dual lens camera technology of the Nokia 8 is also listed.

But the headline spec is not the hardware, but the software. The Nokia 9 is listed as running Android 8.0 Oreo. The Nokia 8 comes with Android 7.1.1 out of the box, but HMD Global has put a lot of effort into signalling its intentions to keep Android up to date in terms of security patches and software updates. Launching with Android Oreo out of the box would not only magnify that statement to the public but act as an almost unique calling card to the geekerati on the strengths of the new Nokia package.

More here on Forbes.

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Google’s HTC Deal Keeps Taiwanese Manufacturer Close

Although a takeover or purchasing a partial stake in the company was mooted, Google’s smaller deal this week with HTC strengthens Mountain View’s hardware ambitions in the smartphone space without over-reaching its ambitions. The deal is for around 2000 HTC staff who will going Google, as well as a non-exclusive licence for access to HTC’s IP. It’s an approach  that is befitting a company that has already tried to buy a mobile manufacturer (Motorola) once before with delightful consequences. Dave Lee covers the news for the BBC.

Google knows this disconnect between its software and hardware is a massive problem. And so this curious deal with HTC, which falls short of the rumoured buyout, is about solving that problem. If it can have close control over key premium devices, it can be more ambitious with its software.

In some respects, this $1.1bn deal is like a good friend lending their pal a few quid to tide them over for a while. HTC needs Google’s money to keep going. And Google needs HTC’s expertise and manufacturing capability to remain competitive with its mobile devices.

More at BBC News.

Huawei’s Mate 10 Goes Face To Face With Apple

It might be gathering some easy headlines by suggesting its facial recognition will beat Apple’s, but Huawei’s upcoming Mate 10 is more than a response to the iPhone X. Thanks to the latest leaked images and details, the 6.1 inch phablet is going to challenge the new iPhone both on biometrics and minimal-bezel design cues. Rik Henderson reports:

According to [source Evan] Blass, the fingerprint sensor on “the chin” but there are few other clues in the pic to the specs or features of the phone. One thing is for sure though, if it does have the hotly tipped 6.1-inch screen the overall phone will be massive. We do like the slim side bezels, mind.

Previous leaks have suggested that the Huawei Mate 10 will have a full metal build and feel premium. Dual-rear cameras are almost certainly going to be present, while we’ve heard a fair bit about facial recognition of late. Huawei has even been taking digs at Apple online, suggesting its own system will be superior.

More at Pocket-Lint.

OnePlus 5's JCC version (image: OnePlus PR)OnePlus

OnePlus 5’s JCC version (image: OnePlus PR)

OnePlus Goes French For Fashion

Continuing its push into the world of fashion and design, Shenzhen-based manufacturer OnePlus has announced a collaboration with French fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac on a series of products, including a limited edition Castelbajac-styled OnePlus 5, as the company notes:

“We’re always looking to try new things with partners who embody the Never Settle spirit,” said OnePlus co-founder and Head of Global, Carl Pei. “It’s been great collaborating with an icon like Jean-Charles Castelbajac, who is continuously bringing game-changing ideas to the fashion industry.”

“I always like looking towards the future,” said Castelbajac. “To change the world, you always need to be creative and work with people who are ahead of their time.”

To kick off the “Callection”, OnePlus has teamed up with iconic fashion boutique, colette to host a pop-up event at its retail store in Paris on September 22nd.

More details, and the option to purchase the limited edition, can be found at OnePlus.net.

And Finally…

Microsoft’s Outlook for Android gets a little kick of appreciation this week in the New York Times, as JD Biersdorfer looks at the client and offers some hints and tips to his audience, stating with the popup menu in the UI:

Microsoft released its Outlook for Android email app in 2015 with a focus on managing your inbox and scheduling your day. While the app can display formatting in messages you receive, you can compose messages on your device only in plain text — which means no bold, italic, underline or other typographical styling.

If you press and hold your finger on text in a message you are writing, you get the options to copy and a few other common commands. If you would like to suggest that Microsoft add more commands, you can send the company a request from within the Outlook app.

More tips from the NYT here.

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!

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