Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Samsung confirms Galaxy cancelation, the ’T’ of Android 13, Pixel’s next steps, reviewing the Nokia XR20, a potential Nokia tablet, Huawei launching P50 and P50 Pro, Surface Duo 2 camera thoughts, OnePlus’ US sales, and Nothing’s new earbuds.
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).
Choose Your Dessert
First up, has the confectionary based codename for Android 13 been revealed? Are we getting some ’T’iramisu?:
“Google used to call Android versions with a dessert name, and the tradition was around for about a decade. But with Android 10 (aka Android Q), Google decided to discontinue this tradition and rebranded Android into the avatar we see today. However, these dessert codenames are still used internally. Android 10 was Quince Tart, Android 11 was Red Velvet Cake, and Android 12 is Snow Cone.”
Samsung’s Impressive Quarter
Samsung’s third calendar quarter results are also in (Samsung Newsroom). With $55.2 billion in revenue, profits of $10.8B are up 54 percent year-on-year. But looking at the breakdown, the semiconductor business covers almost half of those profits, and in a challenging 2020 mobile sales fell 7.4 percent:
“The bread winner for Samsung in the second quarter was its semiconductor business, accounted for more than half of the company’s operating profit and nearly 35% of its sales. Samsung semiconductor business recorded sales were up 25% to 22.74 trillion won ($19.7 billion) and operating profit increased 27% to 6.93 trillion won ($6 billion).”
What Comes Next From Google’s Android
During Alphabet’s earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai talked about what to expect from Google’s Android team later this year. The new take on the Android UI – Material You – is expected to debut in the Pixel 6 family before becoming widely available, while the same handsets should also be our first sight of Google’s own mobile processor under the mysterious Project Whitechapel banner:
“The latter is likely in reference to the launch of custom Google chips, codenamed Whitechapel. This is not the first time the Google CEO teased these “deeper investments in hardware.” The last mention came in October of 2020 and how he was excited about the 2021 product roadmap for finally showcasing that work.”
The Galaxy Note Is Cancelled
Samsung’s Head of Mobile Communications has set the scene for the upcoming Galaxy Unpacked event, with the South Korean company expected to launch multiple mobile devices, peripherals and services. The Galaxy Z family is mentioned, so the expected updates to the Flip and Fold are on the way. One other device was highlighted, although the Galaxy Note was called out specifically because there will not be a Note at the event. Expectations… set…
“Instead of unveiling a new Galaxy Note this time around, we will further broaden beloved Note features to more Samsung Galaxy devices. In the meantime, mark your calendars and tune in to our Unpacked event on August 11 to see what unfolds.”
Reviewing The Nokia XR20
HMD Global launched a ‘tough’ version of the Nokia X20 this week. Cunningly called the Nokia XR20 it offers IP68 and MIL-STD-810H protection, in exchange for specs that are slightly lower than the X20. That said, if you need dust, water, and impact protection, this handset stands out in the market and is worth a serious consideration. You can read my review here:
“The Nokia X20’s performance was very much middle of the road for its price point. With the XR20 marginally behind the X20’s specs, Sitting in its wake, its unsurprising that the XR20 is also a middle of the road handset in terms of matching up to the competition. That led the X20 to blend into the background noise of handsets at this price. Given the XR20’s specific targeting, it actually stands out more. ”
Two New Huawei Handsets With Two Chip Choices
Huawei has launched its next flagship range, with the P50 and P50 Pro finally official. The Leica branded cameras are still there, with both models offering a periscope zoom lens. System on chip wise both models come with the Snapdragon 888, but the P50 Pro also has an option for the Kirin 9000. Curiously there’s no 5G support in the handsets, just 4G, even though the processor choices have 5G capability:
“The Huawei P50 Pro will come in two versions – one with Kirin 9000 and one with Snapdragon 888. Interestingly, both versions only support 4G connectivity, even if both chipsets are clearly capable of 5G… The vanilla Huawei P50 will only come with a Snapdragon 888 chipset, no Kirin option here. And it is limited to 4G again. This model has 8GB of RAM and 128/256 GB storage, plus the microSD slot. Naturally, both models run Huawei’s HarmonyOS 2.0 out of the box.”
2 Duo 2 Camera
Did we see the Surface Duo 2 this week? Microsoft’s second dual-screened Android device is expected before the end of the year, and leaked photos show the same folding design but with a huge camera island that prevents the ‘close flat’ option of the first device. An early prototype? A way to improve the anaemic camera on the first Duo? A spoof leak? Take your pick – my money is on the second:
“In these photos, we can see a design that’s mostly the same as the original Duo with just one major change. The camera system on the rear of this alleged Microsoft Surface Duo 2 is not only larger, but houses more camera sensors. The module holds at least three cameras that are claimed to be standard, telephoto, and ultrawide lenses. The original Duo was widely criticized for its poor camera performance.”
Are We Getting A Nokia Tablet?
While there’s no official word from HMD Global just yet, sharp eyes spotted Russian certification listings for a Nokia branded tablet earlier this month. a number of UK and UAE stores have listed a Nokia T20 tablet. Is HMD Global joining the uneven Android tablet market? Or is this a cricketing tie-in that will replace the endless hype around the ‘James Bond’ Nokia phone placement? :
“…the Nokia T20 tablet will fit in a 10.36-inch display and 4 GB of RAM coupled with 64 GB of internal storage. Also, there will be two variants. One of them seems to be a Wi-Fi-only model, while the other will have 4G connectivity through SIM cards. The Nokia T20 will come in Blue color, which now seems to be the new black for HMD Global.”
OnePlus Record Growth Needs A Starting Point
Smartphone analysts Counterpoint Research has pegged OnePlus’ growth in the US market at a headline-making high of 428 percent over the last year, outpacing Motorola (83 percent), Apple (53 percent) and HMD Global (35 percent). It’s fair to say OnePlus, presumably with the Nord family, had a good year in America. Of course the one piece of data that would be needed for context is not the percentage, but the unit sales figures:
“According to Counterpoint’s estimates provided to us by OnePlus (above), OnePlus is essentially spanking everyone else in the US, with a massive 428% increase compared to Motorola’s 83%, Apple’s 53%, Nokia HMD’s 35%, and Samsung’s 17%. Google apparently saw some small loss at 7%, while ZTE fell 77%, and LG somehow managed to stay relevant enough after closing shop to stay on the chart at all. “
Will We See A OnePlus 9T?
Staying with OnePlus, noted smartphone commentator Max Jabor stated on Twitter that there will be no OnePlus 9T this year. The ’T’ handsets have been six-monthly refreshes of the OnePlus hardware to keep the specs as high as possible. Now OnePlus has moved away from a single ‘current’ model to a wider range of phones, perhaps the ’T’ handset is no longer a priority? Or maybe it’s just the worldwide chip shortage keeping product lines lean:
“In the short and sweet tweet, he simply says “No 9T.” It came as a bit of a shock to the public because we were all sure that there was going to be a OnePlus 9T. There was a recent leak that suggested one was on the way. Back in May, a leak on Weibo pointed to the possible display technology for an upcoming OnePlus phone. As it turns out, however, it was most likely advertising the OnePlus Nord 2. That leak also gave us news that there wasn’t going to be a OnePlus 9T Pro.”
Nothing launched this week. Specifically, the cutely named London based company Nothing – founded by Carl Pei, the co-founder of smartphone brand OnePlus – launched the Nothing Ear (1). The active noise-cancelling earbuds, offering 5.7 hours of use and 34 hours with the charging case, will go on limited sale this weekend for £99, with wider availability commencing August 17th:
“Nothing ear (1) is a breath of fresh air in a cluttered and indifferent market, setting the tone for our connected digital world to come,” said Carl Pei, CEO and Co-founder of Nothing. “It marries advanced technology, precise engineering, and groundbreaking design at an unbelievable price.””
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!