Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Samsung’s S Pen Pro confirmed, keeping the Galaxy cool, Galaxy Watch 4 leaks, the smartphone battleground for Christmas, Nokia’s short-lived leak, the potential OnePlus Nord 2 specs, Pixel 6 details, OnePlus’ benchmark discussion, WhatsApp everywhere, and turning off 3G in the UK.
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’s Surprising S Pen Pro Is Confirmed
Thanks to the ever reliable FCC approval process, support for an S Pen Pro in the Galaxy Z Fold 3 has been confirmed; along with support for the flagship Galaxy devices back to the Note 10. The stylus will include bluetooth connectivity and air gestures:
“The upcoming S Pen Pro has Bluetooth LE connectivity, which of course means that it supports Air Actions, unlike the standard S Pen model that got released earlier this year. The Pro model is also larger and contains an internal battery. It’s still unclear how the S Pen Pro will be offered alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and whether it will be included in the retail package or sold separately as an optional accessory. It’s probably going to be the latter, given the S Pen Pro’s compatibility with a variety of other Galaxy devices.”
Keeping The Galaxy Cool
According to supply chain reports, Samsung is looking to re-introduce vapour chamber cooling to the Galaxy line-up, starting with next year’s Galaxy S22 flagships. This should allow processors to run at a lower temperature while delivering peak performance:
“Samsung Electronics reportedly is reconsidering adopting vapor chambers for its new smartphones for 2022, which could benefit cooling solution providers’ sales, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.”
The Galaxy Watch 4 Spotted In Canada
Thanks to an early listing mistake by Amazon Canada, we have more details on Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Watch 4. Two sizes were listed – 42mm and 46mm – along with sensors for heart rate, oximiter, VO2, and sleep tracking. The potential release date as listed is August 27th:
“For now, nothing except that the watches will run on the new One UI Watch platform developed by Google and Samsung has been officially revealed. You can read all the rumours surrounding the Galaxy Watch 4 in our separate feature. We also have a feature rounding up the speculation for the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.”
2021’s Smartphone Battleground
The battle for the mid-tier market is not only growing, but becoming more competitive. Expect there to be a lot more smartphone manufacturers targeting this space before the end of the year:
“Competition in these Mid and Affordable Premium tiers has grown considerably: “new” vendors (i.e., Xiaomi, OPPO and OnePlus) now account for over a third of sales across these segments; a four-fold increase in a year. These “new” vendors are also now giving Samsung worthy competition when it comes to Android flagships. Xiaomi, OPPO, OnePlus, realme and vivo all released impressive new flagship devices in the first half of 2021.”
Nokia’s Short Lived Leak
Sharp eyed Nokia fans spotted a new handset appearing on the Nokia.com website this week, only for the square camera island, water soaked handset to disappear shortly after that. If only there was a phone launch coming up…
“Nokia Mobile has teased a new smartphone (most probably the Nokia XR20 5G) in the official Nokia community. The teaser originally had an image that showed a smartphone’s back design with square camera module and water resistance. Check the feature image above that was posted with the teaser earlier. If you check the teaser post now by clicking here the image is gone.”
Are These The OnePlus Nord 2 Numbers?
Ahead of an expected launch later this month, specs of the OnePlus Nord 2 have leaked, picking out the two configuration (8 GB RAM and 128 GB of storage in the first, 12 GB / 256 GB for the second), a 65W fast charger for the 4500 man battery, and new AI modes for the cameras:
“According to Brar, OnePlus Nord 2 will support more than seven 5G network bands and the 4,500mAh battery will be aided by a 65W fast-charging support, probably the one seen on the OnePlus 8T and the OnePlus 9 lineup. It is said to charge from 0-100 percent in just 30 minutes. It’s already revealed the OnePlus Nord 2 will have triple cameras on the back, compromising of a 50MP Sony IMX766 primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2MP mono sensor.”
Pixel 6’s Latest Leak
Following on from the reveal of the ‘camera bar’ design of Google’s upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro handsets, Jon Prosser has the full specifications ahead of the handset launch. Two things caught my eye that could well be disruptive. The first is the use of Google’s own ‘Whitechapel’ processor, the second being the potential for five years of software updates:
“Both devices feature Google’s custom chipset, WiFI 6E, support 5G, and are AER Certified… I’m being told that Google is committed to at least 5 years of software updates for both of these devices, which is great news if you’re looking to get your hands on these phones.”
After its short statement last week, OnePlus has posted on its forums going into more detail on how it handles app optimisations, a subject brought into sharp focus by third-party benchmarking tools de-listing the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro:
“With this in mind, our team has shifted its attention from simply providing sheer performance to providing the performance you expect from our devices while reducing power consumption and heat dissipation. To be more precise, we want to match each app with the most appropriate performance it needs.”
Facebook is working on decoupling WhatsApp from a single smartphone, to be a messaging service that can work on multiple devices concurrently for each account… personally I’m looking forward to a standalone PC client, but I’m curious to see how this maintains the promise of end-to-end encryption:
“Today, we’re announcing the rollout of a limited public beta test for WhatsApp’s updated multi-device capability… Each companion device will connect to your WhatsApp independently while maintaining the same level of privacy and security through end-to-end encryption that people who use WhatsApp have come to expect.”
UK network EE is preparing to turn off 3G over the next two years. 2G will remain for another ten years or so, but the move to 4G and especially 5G has created suitable market conditions to rationalise the network. No plans have been announced by EE’s parent company O2, so this could be seen as an early trial balloon:
“While 4G and 5G demand continued to rise, traffic carried on older 3G and 2G networks was declining, he said. Less than 3% of data and 25% of voice traffic was carried on 3G in March. EE is the first operator to set a time frame to stop supporting 3G services in early 2023, with customers supported to move off it in a phased transition in the months ahead,” he said in an online presentation.”
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!