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 Note 20 leaks, OnePlus 8 Pro camera’s x-ray vision, Huawei launches a new Google-powered phone, the Nokia 1.3’s UK launch, Motorola confirms Edge Plus updates, and Qualcomm’s new 5G gaming chip.
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).
Fast And Slow Options For The New Galaxy Note
Although Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 has lost the faster 120 Hz screen due to cost, the larger Galaxy Note 20 Plus will come with the technology that allows users to move between a faster more fluid refresh rate of 120 Hz, or the power saving ‘standard’ 60 Hz. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
“The good news is Young states that an LTPO (Low Temperature Polysilicon Oxide) panel will be used in the Galaxy Note 20+ and this supports refresh rates from 1-120Hz. This means the flagship Note not only supports 120Hz, but it can be extremely efficient by slowing the refresh right down when it is not needed. This could be a game-changer, especially with 120Hz support for the iPhone 12 Pro now in doubt. “
…And An Improved Fingerprint Scanner
Instead of the faster screen, the Galaxy Note 20 is going to pick up an improved fingerprint scanner across all of the models. Qualcomm’s advanced 3D Sonic Max reader was expected to show up in the Galaxy S20, but it was nowhere to be seen at the February launch. Now Samsung users will be able to use the tech in the upcoming Note series:
“The 3D Sonic Max was expected to launch in the Galaxy S20 lineup but didn’t make the cut, with Samsung instead sticking with Qualcomm’s heavily criticised gen-one ultrasonic reader used in the Galaxy S10. Unsurprisingly, reviews pinpointed the unlocking experience of the S20 phones as one of their worst attributes. Considering how often you unlock a phone every day, this is a fundamental flaw which the Note 20 range will fix. “
OnePlus 8 Pro’s X Ray Vision
The fourth camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro is the colour filter camera, which allows more artistic lighting and color effects to be added to photos. It’s been added with a view to supporting fun photography on networks such as Instagram. Thanks to the processing, it also has the side-effect o seeing through certain dark plastics to highlight what is behind the layer. Which everyone is naturally calling “an x-ray camera’. Ben Geskin on Twitter:
“One of the best examples… #OnePlus8Pro Color Filter Camera can see through some plastic.”
Huawei Sneaks Out A New Google Smartphone
Huawei has announced the P30 Pro New Edition handset. Effectively this is the same handset as last year, but comes with Android 10 out of the box… and Google Mobile Services. Thanks to the P30 being certified before Huawei has added to the US Entities list, Huawei can continue to receive support from Google for this handset. Jon Porter reports:
“Huawei is rereleasing its flagship phone from last year as the P30 Pro “New Edition.” The device now ships with Android 10 preinstalled, and it’s got a new silver color option that was previously only available on the P40 Pro. Otherwise, this is an identical device to last year’s phone, meaning it has a 6.47-inch OLED display, four rear cameras, and, crucially, comes with a full suite of Google’s apps and services.”
Nokia 1.3 UK Launch And Review
HMD Global has launched the Nokia 1.3 in the UK this week. An entry-level smartphone costing £80 it’s an Android Go powered handset geared towards those looking for a more rounded experience at featurephone price levels. XX has reviewed the phone, including the Android Go approach to mobile apps:
“Google Go, on the other hand, is an interesting concept. Instead of going to the Play Store, installing an app and consuming media, news or games on it, Google Go is supposed to deliver all of those content to you instantly via web apps.
“The advantage is significantly reduced data consumption as well as a quick overview in a curated catalogue. The disadvantage? An obvious reduced selection of available games, news, and other content.”
Motorola Confirms Two Updates For Edge Plus
Earlier this week, Motorola spoke to Wired on the upgrade path for the new Edge Plus; “While we don’t have an absolute commitment to numbers of upgrades, Edge consumers can expect security updates every other month and an upgrade to Android 11 OS this year.” That started debate online about the speed and number of updates. Motorola has confirmed that the Edge Plus will move to the accepted industry practice of two major Android versions. Hadlee Simons reports:
“Fortunately, the company has made a U-turn and is now promising two major Android updates. “We’re excited to share that all Motorola Edge Plus consumers will enjoy a clean Android 10 experience and are expected to receive at least two Android OS upgrades,” the company told Android Authority in an emailed announcement.
“…Firmware updates aren’t the be-all-and-end-all for smartphones, but a lengthier commitment period only makes sense when you’re dropping $1,000 on a phone.”
Qualcomm has announced its latest 7xx series SnapDragon system on chip. The SnapDragon 786G is geared towards gaming-focused smartphones. With a more cost-effective chip compared to the flagship SnapDragon 865, the hope will be more gaming phones pick up this overclocked version of the 765G. Jon Fingas reports:
“The 2.8GHz Kryo 475 CPU is estimated to run about 15 percent faster than the 2.4GHz part in the 765G, while the Adreno 620 graphics promise a similar performance boost (including 120Hz support at 1080p). This is also the first Snapdragon 700-series chip to support upgradeable GPU drivers, letting you fine-tune the visual performance almost like you would with a gaming PC.”
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!