Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes bad news for Galaxy Note 10 fans, the problem with the Galaxy S-Pen, Apple’s payment to Samsung, reviews of the OnePlus 7, Nokia 9 PureView secrets, latest Pixel 4 leak, the privacy of your location data, and Huawei versus America.
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).
Bad News For Galaxy Note 10 Fans
Samsung may be preparing for a flagship launch of the Galaxy Note 10, but as more details of the phablet come out, the specifications – while high – seem to be falling a little bit short of the competition. The latest ‘just missing the bullseye’ is the screen. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
…the Note 10 will miss out is the real eye-catching innovation of 2019: a high refresh rate panel like the 90Hz one seen in the OnePlus 7 Pro. High refresh rate panels bring far greater fluidity to the everyday animations you see on your phone, like scrolling, swiping and zooming. And since phone displays are mostly in motion, that’s an improvement which feels a lot more impressive in hand than another fractionally brighter screen.
More here on Forbes.
The One Key Weakness Of The Note 10
What’s causing issues such as a smaller battery and slower screen in the Glaaxy Note 10? One theory is that the standout feature of the Note series – the S-Pen – is using up so much physical volume that the Note series is lacking internal space to expand. Gordon Kelly reports on discussions with the Engineers:
[Twitter analyst Ice Universe] states that the engineers told him the space required to house the S Pen has cut a massive 800 mAh off the size of the Note 10’s battery (roughly 20% in a year Apple is increasing capacity 20%). That it has stopped the company from using “aggressive cameras” and forced Samsung to fit the Note 10 with larger bezels than needed.
Battery life, camera performance and design – given performance is virtually guaranteed these days, they are the three pillars of modern smartphone success. And the Note range, and the Note 10, in particular, appears to be competing with one hand tied behind its back.
More here on Forbes.
Apple’s Extra Payment To Samsung
Still, Samsung has topped up its balance sheet thanks to the retail performance of the iPhone… or at least the lack of it. By missing its sales target Apple missed its minimum order of OLED panels from Samsung Display – and the balancing payment is 800 billion won ($683 million). Tim Hardwick reports:
Apple originally said it would buy a certain number of the display panels from the South Korean company, but disappointing iPhone sales meant it was unable to live up to the agreement. The payment was made in the second quarter of this year.
The figure, quoted by Reuters, came as Samsung on Friday forecast a plunge in its second-quarter operating profits, but one-off gains like the payment from Apple helped it beat analyst expectations.
More at MacRumors.
Reviewing The OnePlus 7
The focus has been on the flagship OnePlus 7 Pro, but this Srping the Shenzhen-based manufacturer also launched the OnePlus 7. If the 7 Pro was a new vision from OnePlus, the 7 is the natural evolution of the premium OnePlus form. Damien Wilde reviews the handset, starting with its place in the OnePlus portfolio:
Previously, during our short hands-on time with the OnePlus 7, nothing particularly stood out from the OnePlus 6T. That definitely feels harsh in hindsight, as the chassis hides a much-improved device that proves to be better in almost every measurable metric.
If the OnePlus 6T was an iterative update over the OnePlus 6, then the 7 has to be considered an iteration of an iteration. Although, when you consider there has only been 12 months between the release OnePlus 6 and the OnePlus 7 that doesn’t seem quite as shocking.
The full review is at 9to5Google.
Secrets Of The Nokia 9 PureView
Following its debut in India, the secrets of the multi-camera Android flagship that is the Nokia 9 PureView has been showcased by manufacturer HMD Global, as noted by Nokia Power User. The video presentation picks out the design, innovation, and the five Zeiss lenses.
Google Pixel 4 Camera Leak
Following the leak of the new Google Camera app, reverse engineering the code has revealed a number of details that suggest the Pixel 4 smartphone – expected to be launched later this year – will feature a new telephoto lens at the rear. Mishaal Rahman reports:
While looking through the code, we spotted changes to “Sabre,” Google’s internal code-name for Super Res Zoom. A new field called “SABRE_UNZOOMED_TELEPHOTO” immediately caught our attention, which then led us to another interesting discovery: new Google Camera sensor IDs. We confirmed that these new fields are not present in Google Camera 6.2.
…If the Google Pixel 4 does have a secondary rear telephoto camera, then all we can really say is that it’ll support some kind of non-digital zoom. We can’t make an estimate of the optical zoom without knowing the focal lengths of the telephoto and primary sensors. We can guess that Google will complement the zoom from the telephoto lens with its digital Super Res Zoom technique, though. I doubt we’ll see results on par with the OPPO Reno 10X Zoom or Huawei P30 Pro, but Google could surprise us once again this year.
More at XDA Developers.
Why Your Location Data May Not Be Private
Should an application be able to access your location, even if you have turned off that permission in Android? Common sense would agree with the former, but this does not appear to be the case. Alfred Ng reports:
Researchers from the International Computer Science Institute found up to 1,325 Android apps that were gathering data from devices even after people explicitly denied them permission. Serge Egelman, director of usable security and privacy research at the ICSI, presented the study in late June at the Federal Trade Commission’s PrivacyCon.
“Fundamentally, consumers have very few tools and cues that they can use to reasonably control their privacy and make decisions about it,” Egelman said at the conference. “If app developers can just circumvent the system, then asking consumers for permission is relatively meaningless.”
Google has said that these issues will be addressed in the upcoming release of Android Q, expected to be available to manufacturers before the end of 2019. More at CNet.
Take note of the recent spat between Huawei and the US Trade Department. While it was placed on the Entitiy List, Huawei’s access to the Google Play ecosystem was limited and there was a notable impact on retail demand. That issue may be reserved, but it has highlighted a potential point of pain in the future that will need to be hedged against. Holly Ellyatt reports on comments to CNBC from Hans-Paul Burkner, chairman of the Boston Consulting Group:
“Ideally, we keep a level playing field and we are able to work with each other and compete with each other around the world. But there is the possibility that we will really have two tech worlds, a Chinese one and a U.S. one, hopefully it will not come to that but it’s not impossible.”
The 18-month long trade war between the U.S. and China has been widely seen as a battle over tech. Indeed, a defining motive for Trump is what he sees as China’s unfair trade practices and theft of American intellectual property. The restrictions placed on U.S. tech sales to Chinese companies ultimately helps China, however, by forcing it to progress its own innovations.
More at CNBC.
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!