Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Galaxy S21 leaks, Huawei beating Samsung, OnePlus Nord reviews, Motorola’s One Fusion Plus, three new Nokia handsets, Surface Duo heads to Canada, and CES goes online only…
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).
The Surprise Inside The Next Galaxy S
With the Galaxy Note 20 family set to launch during August, attention will be turning towards the flagship Galaxy S21 release in early 2021. And with the first benchmark results already leaked, there’s a surprisingly powerful change planned. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly:
“Thanks to Samsung’s own leaked benchmarks, we know the chipset inside the Galaxy S21 is potentially transformative. Based on Samsung’s own roadmap, this is understood to be a Exynos 1000 made in conjunction with AMD using a custom Radeon GPU. And those benchmarks? Gaming performance delivered up to 2.5x the performance of a Snapdragon 865. That’s a multi-generational improvement and means it not only leaves every rival Android smartphone eating its dust, but every iPhone as well.”
Huawei Tops Samsung In Worldwide Sales
Samsung has lost its top spot in the worldwide smartphone market, according to Canalys’ numbers for Q2. Even with its inclusion on the US Entity list and overseas sales dropping by 27 percent, the Chinese-based manufacturers 55.8 million sales was enough for the number one award. From the report:
“It marks the first quarter in nine years that a company other than Samsung or Apple has led the market. Huawei shipped 55.8 million devices, down 5% year on year. But second-placed Samsung shipped 53.7 million smartphones, a 30% fall against Q2 2019.
Huawei is still subject to US government restrictions, which have stifled its business outside of mainland China. Its overseas shipments fell 27% in Q2. But it has grown to dominate its domestic market, boosting its Chinese shipments by 8% in Q2, and it now sells over 70% of its smartphones in mainland China. China has emerged strongest from the coronavirus pandemic, with factories reopened, economic development continuing and tight controls on new outbreaks.”
OnePlus Nord Reviewed
This week saw the OnePlus Nord get the full review treatment from the tech community. Many commented on the aggressive pricing of the mid-range handset, the fast-refreshing screen, and the weaker than expected plastic chassis. Ron Amadeo’s review covers all the bases:
For a mid-range phone, there really isn’t much missing here. You still get NFC, the same in-screen optical fingerprint reader as every other phone, and OnePlus’ fantastic 30W quick charging. Compared to a flagship phone, the big list of missing features would be the aforementioned single speaker instead of stereo, no wireless charging, and no official water-resistance rating. OnePlus says the phone still has gaskets to provide some water resistance, but with no official rating it’s hard to say how much, like “is this submersible?”
I’ve taken a closer look at the Nord as well, read my full review here. Currently scheduled for a full release in Europe and India (apart from a special 50 handset run), many OnePlus followers have been asking for a US handsets. XDA Developers discusses a SnapDragon 690 powered Nord handset for the North American markets:
“…we suspect they’ll be part of the OnePlus Nord brand. OnePlus has already confirmed that a future Nord-branded device is coming to the U.S. later this year, and it’s likely that future Nord devices will launch in Europe and India, too. If the upcoming device(s) are indeed powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 mobile platform, then they’ll cost even less than the current OnePlus Nord, which currently starts at £379/€399/₹27,999 in the UK/Europe/India.”
Motorola’s Mid-Range Mobile Pitch
Staying with the mid-range market (it’s getting awfully crowded, isn’t it), Motorola’s One Fusion+ brings together a balance of features to create another handset with some big headline features (the quad camera, the 6.55 inch notchless screen, and a powerful processor) while making compromises in other areas (there’s no fast charging, and you have an LCD panel rather than OLED). Tushar Mehta reviews the handset, including the benefits of the huge battery:
“The Motorola One Fusion+ features a massive 5000mAh battery. While the battery is one of the culprits behind the phone’s heaviness, it allows for long-lasting battery life. The massive battery easily powers the phone for two days with basic usage and over a day with demanding tasks including streaming online videos continuously and gaming for hours.
“…The battery life of the Motorola One Fusion+ is incredible. It is in fact on par with the Redmi Note 9 Pro (Note 9S) we reviewed in March earlier this year. What’s better about the Motorola One Fusion+ is that it provides similar battery backup without aggressively killing background apps and activities.”
Three Wise Nokias For Christmas
A triple header of Nokia branded handsets from HMD Global are expected to launch this year.. The ‘mark 3’ variants of the Nokia 6, Nokia 7 and Nokia 9 PureView should be with us by the end of 2020. Nayan Mishra reports:
“Sources indicate that HMD is going ahead with the testing of Nokia 6.3, Nokia 7.3, and Nokia 9.3 prototypes and it is progressing fine. We recently reported about two Nokia 7.3 prototypes in testing and that one of them has 5G support indicating that HMD may be planning to bring 5G to even lower price bracket.”
Surface Duo Heads To Canada
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Android-powered Surface Duo has picked up another government certification. It looks like the dual-screened device is heading to Canada. Mayank Parmar reports:
“Microsoft Surface Duo with model number 1930 was recently discovered on the FCC website and it also passed Bluetooth SIG certification… Notably, another variant of the Surface Duo has appeared in Canada-based UL certifications and the model number is “1930r”, which could be for a high-end variant of the device or its locked/unlocked version.”
One of the key technology events in the annual tech calendar is CES. Any other year and the full circus would be booking hotel rooms, halls, and conference spaces in Las Vegas. 2021 is not going to be like any other year. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Consumer Technology Association – who run CES – has made the decision that 2021’s CES will be “All Digital”. From the press release:
“Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it’s just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA.
“Technology helps us all work, learn and connect during the pandemic – and that innovation will also help us reimagine CES 2021 and bring together the tech community in a meaningful way. By shifting to an all-digital platform for 2021, we can deliver a unique experience that helps our exhibitors connect with existing and new audiences”
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!