Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the stunning Galaxy S21 screen leaks, saying goodbye to the Galaxy Note, Google Pay’s new banking play, reviewing the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, Huawei’s route to Qualcomm, Honor gains independence, and a rollable smartphone screen…
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 All Screen Galaxy S21
As discussions continue about Samsung’s Galaxy S21 arriving one month ahead of schedule in January, more details on the South Korean company’s flagship have leaked. The latest includes a closer look at the display, with almost total coverage.Forbes’ Gordon Kelly:
“Thanks to newly leaked CAD files, we know the front of the Galaxy S21 Ultra will be almost 100% display thanks to record breakingly-small bezels. The CADs were obtained by popular Samsung insider Ice Universe.
“…And the CADs are stunning. Close up images (example below) show the bottom bezel of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is essentially nothing more than a lip to hold the display in place. While some will worry about accidental touches and durability, the upside is it will likely mean that the new Galaxy flagship can retain the same massive 6.9-inch display but within a smaller chassis.”
Goodbye Galaxy Note?
What we may not see in 2021 is an update to the Galaxy Note series. Samsung’s phablet series stood out both for its large size and stylus input when it was launched in 2011, since then the competition, and Samsung’s own handsets, have closed the capability gap. And the quiet noises coming out of the supply chain suggest that Samsung is not actively working on a sequel to the Note 20. Asif Shaik reports:
“The Galaxy S21 Ultra is expected to feature support for the S Pen. Even the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is rumored to bring support for Samsung’s stylus. All of this points towards the possible end of the Galaxy Note series. Putting an end to the Galaxy Note series could mean better things for the S Pen, streamline Samsung’s flagship smartphone lineup, and give the company more time to improve its software.”
Google Pay Takes On The Banking Apps
“In addition to the simple tap-to-pay features offered in the previous app, users of the new Google Pay can directly link bank accounts and credit cards to the app. This allows for AI-driven insights into spending and saving, replacing much of the functionality of your own bank’s online banking app with Google Pay, and more.”
Reviewing The OnePlus Nord N10 5G
October saw OnePlus sneak out two new handsets aiming at the lower end of the market. The OnePlus Nord N100 and Nord N10 5G are cheaper than the regular Nord handset, which itself is cheaper than the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8T handsets. That’s going to lead to compromises in the N10 and N100 to reach the price point. Ryne Hager has revieweds the new Nord N10 5G, and it doesn’t feel like a OnePlus:
“In perhaps the biggest change to the physical design, OnePlus has removed the alert slider, a trademark feature all OnePlus phones since the OnePlus 2 have had. First-time owners won’t lament the loss, but it adds to the overall sense that this isn’t really a OnePlus phone. OP also gave the N10 5G microSD-expandable storage, which is a first for any OnePlus device since the 2015 OnePlus X, and it’s a confusing move for the feature to re-debut on a mid-range phone. At least it means you’ll have plenty of space for media if you run out of the 128GB of UFS 2.1 internal storage.”
A Door Opens For Huawei…
This week saw Huawei receive a partial exemption from its inclusion on the US Entities list, allowing Qualcomm to supply the Chinese smartphone manufacturer with chips for its mobile phone. It is worth noting that the deal is for 4G chips, which rules out the SnapDragon 865 and 765G chips, which both ship with 5G. Nevertheless this move, while small and limited, should be welcomed.
“Qualcomm Inc on Friday received a license from the U.S. government to sell 4G mobile phone chips to China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, an exemption to U.S. trade restrictions imposed amid rising tensions with China. “We received a license for a number of products, which includes some 4G products,” a Qualcomm spokeswoman told Reuters.
“Qualcomm and all other American semiconductor companies were forced to stop selling to the Chinese technology firm in September after U.S. trade restrictions took effect.
…And An Opportunity For Honor
Huawei has sold the business assets that made up its Honor brand of mid- and lower-range smartphones. When the deal is complete, Huawei and Honor will be two separate companies. From Huawei’s statement:
“Huawei Investment & Holding Co., Ltd. has thus decided to sell all of its Honor business assets to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology Co., Ltd. This sale will help Honor’s channel sellers and suppliers make it through this difficult time. Once the sale is complete, Huawei will not hold any shares or be involved in any business management or decision-making activities in the new Honor company.”
But there’s one big question in all of this. Does former parent company Huawei’s inclusion on the US Entity list carry over to Honor under the new owners? Forbes’ Barry Collins:
“Chinese media is reporting that, although there are indeed more than 30 shareholders in the venture, the vast majority of the shares are held by one company: Shenzhen Smart City Development Group. That company is itself a subsidiary of the state-owned Shenzhen SASAC, which may continue to raise eyebrows in Washington.”
Last year, Chinese manufacturer showed off an under-screen camera at its innovations day. This year the press has been shown a concept device with a display that unrolls to go from a smartphone form factor to a tablet. Abner Li reports:
“Oppo teased this concept device with what looked like a pretty standard 6.7-inch OLED display. With the swipe of a finger on the side-mounted fingerprint scanner, the display extended outwards to reveal a full-size 7.4-inch panel. This rollable display turns the Oppo smartphone from a regular device into a mini-tablet without the reliance on hinges or folds.”
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!