Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the new Galaxy S20 design, the release date for Samsung’s flagship, a new boss at Samsung Mobile, OnePlus 8 Pro camera and screen leaks, a new Nokia phone for America, Huawei replaces Google Maps, and Microsoft prepares dual screen guidelines.
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).
Flattening The Galaxy S20
Samsung’s curved edges on the Galaxy S flagships looks to have been cancelled. The iconic look of the older handsets was a love it or hate it styling. Some adored the curved style, others had trouble with reflections and protection Forbes’ Gordon Kelly looks at the debate this has sparked:
[“There] will be standard 2.5D glass, as seen on most ‘flat’ smartphones, including the iPhone 11 and Pixel 4 ranges. Having seen the Edge display at the forefront of Samsung’s marketing since the (appropriately named) Galaxy S6 Edge introduced it five years ago, this is a genuine shock.
“It’s also a decision which is splitting opinion. [Max] Weinbach himself states his disappointment at the news along with prominent render artist Ben Geskin. That said, I side with respected 9to5Mac writer Ben Schoon who writes that he “couldn’t be happier” with the news.”
Do We Have A Release Date For Samsung’s Flagship?
As well as the final details leaking out, we have a prospective date for the retail launch of the Galaxy S10, at least in France. That date is March 13th, with a pre-orders starting at the Unpacked event on February 11th. Which feels about right, as I reported the week:
“Until Samsung announce days it’s difficult to lock this date down in our diaries. With a month between launch and release feeling longer than usual for Samsung, there is an argument to be made that South Korean and the US could see a release date a week or two earlier than France. Historically, availability three weeks after launch is the norm.”
A New Chief In South Korea
Meanwhile, Samsung Mobile has a new head. Taking over from Koh Dong-Jin is Taemoon Roh. His first public appearance is expected to be at the Samsung Unpacked event on February 11th, where the Galaxy S20 family will be launched (and we may get our fist look at the Galaxy Z Flip). Steve Dent has more:
“Roh, who came on board with Samsung in 1997, helped develop the Galaxy device lineup and is supposedly a stickler for engineering and design. He’ll reportedly try to bolster Samsung’s reputation for quality after it stumbled over the past few years. Under Koh, Samsung was forced to kill the flammable Galaxy Note 7 and had to delay the Galaxy Fold due to issues with the display.
“Roh’s primary goals will be to shepherd foldable products into the mainstream and help Samsung expand in China and India.”
More OnePlus Leaks Confirm Camera And Screen
Following OnePlus’ confirmation of the 120Hz Fluid Display come reports on the screen that suggest the technology is heading to the OnePlus 8 Pro. But the leaks also have the knock-on effect of highlighting the selfie camera will be behind a punch-out hole rather than the 7 Pro’s pop-up lens. Ricky Villacrez reports:
“One thing the report is wary about is confirming that the OnePlus 8 Pro would even be able to display 120Hz above Full HD+ resolution (the OnePlus 8 Pro is expected to come a QHD+ panel). Above the display is a circular punch-hole selfie camera, as previously seen in CAD renders of the upcoming phone. OnePlus intends to drop the pop-up selfie camera this year. “
The Latest Nokia Phone Arrives In America
HMD Global has announced the Nokia 2.3 will be available in Best Buy stores for $129, with pre-sales under way now. The handset is running Android One, with the camera’s portrait mode and two-day battery life being emphasised. Chris Burns reports:
“This is a smartphone with a set of specifications that do not seem to match its price tag. Given the relatively massive amount of cash being charged for the highest-end smartphones in the world today, it would seem about time that the original big-name brand in low-cost phones brought some heat.”
Huawei Takes The Next Turn To Find A Map
Huawei is currently on the US ‘entity list’, effectively blacklisting the company from dealing with US companies. That means the Chinese company is building its own alternatives to the Google Mobile Services layer. A push on its App Store happened earlier this month, and now replacing the data from Google Maps has been addresses. Stephen Lambrechts has more:
“But now the Chinese company appears to have found a replacement for at least one of the search giant’s key services, confirming that it’s secured a Google Maps alternative by entering a partnership that will see navigation specialists TomTom provide maps, live traffic information and software for Huawei smartphones, as reported by Reuters.
“As TomTom is based in the Netherlands, Huawei is able to skirt the US government’s trade ban, which prevents the Chinese phone maker from dealing with American companies.”
Later this year Microsoft will be releasing its Android-powered Surface Duo. Of course with very few dual-screened Android devices out there, and Microsoft being very clear in having its own UI standard, it has taken this moment to define how these apps will work on its hardware, which could set the standard for the whole market. Tom Warren takes a closer look:
“By default, an app will occupy a single screen… Microsoft envisions that app developers will experiment with different ways to utilize both screens. Some of these include simply using both screens as an extended canvas, having two pages of a document shown at once, using the second display as a companion or dual view of something, or having a master part of the app on one display and details on the second.“
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!