Galaxy Note 20’s Biggest Challenge, Huawei’s Monster Camera, Contact Tracing Controversy
Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes a challenge to the Galaxy Note 20, BTS hand Samsung a win, Android 11’s change log, Fairphone’s five years of support, the Huawei P40 Pro Plus’ camera, Doogee’s rugged handset, and the disaster of the Covid-19 framework.
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 Galaxy Note Trumped By Samsung’s Galaxy Note
A close read of the leaked specifications of Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra is not a good read for the Note 20. While the Note 20 Ultra packs a powerful punch and is clearly going to be Samsung’s top end phone, the base Note 20 is falling short, feeling more like one of Samsung’s A9x series of handsets rather that the Note/S series. There’s even an argument that last year’s Note 10 offers more value for money. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly:
“…for Note fans hoping for a more appealing and budget-friendly Note, the answer is already touched upon above: the Galaxy Note 10 range. With the launch of the Note 20 models fast approaching, both the Note 10 and Note 10+ will see a dramatic price drop, and they have already fallen substantially from their 2019 launch prices.
“So unless Samsung has a major surprise up its sleeve, the answer is clear: forget the Galaxy Note 20 because not only will a far superior option launch alongside it, there are better options from 2019 as well.”
BTS Bring Samsung A Marketing Win
Previously in Android Circuit, Samsung’s involvement with K-Pop band BTS was reported. The marketing campaign with the musical sensation is now running and the first results are in. Is it successful? Very much so…
“It’s been almost a full decade since Samsung Mobile joined Twitter, but a couple of weeks is all it took for K-Pop fans to completely overshadow everything else it achieved on the microblogging platform since 2011. Case in point: the promo from the “Believe in your Galaxy” campaign featuring BTS that you can see below. Namely, this is now both Samsung’s most reshared and favorited tweet ever.”
Android 11’s Big Change Log
Following last week’s public release of the Android 11 beta, the full details on the changes to the mobile operating system are clear. Ryne Hagar brings to gather the full list of changes, from the new notification system to the recycle-styled ‘Trashcan’ of deleted files, and everything in-between.
“Now that we’ve had time to dig through all the releases up until now, here are all the changes we’ve spotted — almost 100, by our count… Google has changed the timeline for its Android 11 releases in recent months, adding an extra Developer Preview and pushing most subsequent releases back by around a month. However, the final stable release is still set for sometime this summer in Q3.”
Fairphone’s Five Years Of Support
Fairphone has announced that it is making Android 9 available for the Fairphone 2, which the Dutch company launched in 2015. With a focus on sustainability and easily repairable units, software support is essential. Matthew Hughes reports on the challenges:
“It helps that Fairphone isn’t exactly what you’d call a conventional phone vendor. For starters, it’s a social enterprise with an ethos that explicitly rebukes planned obsolescence. Their entire raison d’être emphasises long-term use, rather than short-term sales figures.
“And that motivation cuts both ways. If your priority is selling units, rather than reducing the amount of working tech sent to the landfill, you have an incentive to artificially reduce the lifespan of a product. That incentive is most keenly apparent when you consider that most budget phones have wafer-thin margins.”
The Monster Camera On Huawei’s P40 Pro Plus
Huawei’s flagship family has grow once more, with the P40 clan introducing the P40 Pro Plus. Forbes’ Ben Sin has reviewed the smartphone, including the impressive five-lens camera with its periscope zoom:
“…the new zoom system in the P40 Pro Plus, which uses a more advanced, larger version of the Periscope zoom lens tech along with an additional 80mm telephoto zoom lens, is the most capable zoom system in a smartphone today, able to capture 10x lossless optical zoom when other Periscope zoom lens max out at 5x lossless zoom.”
Read the full review here. Meanwhile it’s worth noting that Huawie, even with its inclusion on the US Government’s Entity List, has overtaken Samsung as the world’s larger smartphone manufacturer. There is a caveat, but Huawei still has the top spot. Can it hold it?
“First and foremost, Samsung had a temporary slowdown due to the coronavirus outbreak… in April, the Chinese market was already recovering and Huawei is doing exceptionally well in its home country. Even after all the hurdles the company had to overcome, the Chinese consumer was driving Huawei sales up offsetting the declining sales other markets where Huawei is losing ground by due to the lack of Google Mobile Services.”
Android’s Latest Rugged Phone From Doogee
Looking for a rugged Android handset? This week saw the launch of the Doogee S88 Pro. It sports 10,000 mAh battery, the Helio P70 Processor, 6GB of RAM ad 128GB of storage, with a pre-order price of $199. It’s rated to IP68 and MIL-STD-810G standards. From the press release:
“The rough and rugged DOOGEE S88 Pro has an IP68 rating and has been tested in all conditions to ensure it is resistant to damage from being dropped and water immersion as well as shock and impact. The rugged phone has been tested to be drop-proof up to 1.5 meters height as well as testing to be waterproof up to 2 meters depth and has also had brick pressure and sand immersion tests. Made using top two-colour injection moulding techniques, the hard and soft rubber of the phone are integrated to create a protective shield.”
As the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to be felt, the repercussions of the joint ‘contact tracing framework’ developed and heavily pushed by both Apple and Google are becoming clear. Forbes’ Zak Doffman takes a closer look at the impact:
“As much of the world starts to ease out of lockdown, the unhappy truth is that the great expectations set for smartphone contact tracing apps will not be met. The situation is a mess. And, worse, it has been all too predictable. Back in April, when Apple and Google announced their historic collaboration to standardize these new Bluetooth proximity platforms, it was heralded as a significant step forward. In reality, though, it has not been that at all. Arguably, it has been a disaster.
“The rigid policing of a common framework has tied governments’ hands around the world, offering no flexibility to adapt to scientific advice on these unprecedented solutions for the global pandemic.”
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!