Android Circuit: New Galaxy Note 8 Leaks, Massive Pixel 2 Screens, Microsoft’s Android Advances

 

Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the latest details on the Galaxy Note hardware and pricing, new details on the Google Pixel 2 screens, the Nokia 6’s potential worldwide release, the OnePlus 5 being compared to its predecessor, the EU’s anti trust cast and the implications for Android, Microsoft’s latest Android advances, and why ten years of iPhone is still beaten by Android.

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).

Galaxy Note 8’s Massive Price Tag

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 looks set to be one of the most advanced smartphones on the planet when it is announced in August, But the technology is not going to come cheap and an unlocked version of the phablet is going to comfortably cost a four figure sum. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:

Posting on VentureBeat, famed leaker Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) states that Samsung is currently informing partners that the model will be “its most expensive cellphone yet” and retail for €999 (over $1,100).

Blass claims says the pricing comes via “an individual briefed on the company’s plans” and his long (and highly accurate) track record means we should take this information seriously. The flipside to this huge price tag is Galaxy Note 8 owners look set to get a lot for their money.

 

More on the pricing here.

Note 8 Fingerprint Features On The Rear

Thanks to the various leaks of schematics and rendered images we have a very good idea on the design of the Note 8. That means the question over the fingerprint scanner has been quietly answered, because it can be seen on the rear of the design. Samsung’s shot at innovating with a screen-based fingerprint reader looks unlikely to happen this year:

As previously discussed here on Forbes, Samsung is having to back down from placing the fingerprint sensor under the screen of the upcoming phablet. If this had been achieved it would have given Samsung an impressive technological ‘first’. Unfortunately it has been reported that the part of the screen with the sensor was not able to be color-matched to the rest of the screen.

The Galaxy Note 8 will retain the expansive and dominant screen, but the requirements in the Android specifications for a fingerprint scanner mean that it has to go somewhere else. And Samsung’s answer appears to be ‘put it next to the camera on the rear of the device’.

My thoughts on the issue are here.

Pixel 2 Screens Revealed

As well as backing up the claims of an OLED screen, details from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL supply lines confirm the physical screen of Google’s own 2017 handsets. I’ve taken a closer look at what this means for the smartphones:

The smaller Pixel 2 is expected to support a 4.97-inch screen, broadly similar to the 5-inch FHD panel used in 2016’s model. The larger Pixel 2 trumps the 5.5 inches of the Pixel XL with a 5.99-inch QHD screen. These screens are expected to be supplied by LG (reports Mario Tomás Serrafero for XDA Developers), while the handsets will again be manufactured for Google by HTC.

…Although three models were initially discussed, the Pixel 2 family looks to have settled on a ‘regular’ smartphone and a ‘phablet’ device to meet market expectations. It also allows the Pixel 2 line to draw a direct comparison to families such as the Android powered Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, and presumably Apple’s update to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus which should be announced in the weeks before the Pixel 2.

More details here on Forbes.

Nokia 6 Set For Worldwide Release

Launched into the Chinese market at the end of CES 2017, HMD Global’s first Nokia-branded smartphone appears set for a worldwide release next month. The mid-range handset could be ready to show up on Amazon, reports Paul Sawers:

The Nokia 6 will be made available exclusively through Amazon for $229 in “early July,” with only two color variants available at first — black and silver. It will also be made available in blue and copper later in the year.

There is nothing particularly standout about the device: It ships with Android Nougat and sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset, dual-SIM, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage — expandable up to 128GB via the MicroSD slot. It also has a 5.5″ IPS LCD screen (full HD at 1920 x 1080), a 16MP rear-facing camera, 8MP front-shooter, and a 3,000 mAh battery.

OnePlus 5 Versus The OnePlus 3T

The recent launch of the OnePlus 5 (reviewed here) brings the Shenzhen-based manufacturer’s flagship handset into line with the current ‘top’ specs. That said, six months ago it refreshed its line-up with the launch of the OnePlus 3T. How much as changed since then? Gordon Kelly makes the comparisons, including the new dual camera at the rear:

With the relatively subtle changes to the OnePlus 5 display and design, it is up to the camera to provide the biggest upgrade from the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3:

* OnePlus 5 – Rear: 16 MP, f/1.7 aperture, 1.12 µm, EIS (gyro) and 20 MP, f/2.6, 1.0 µm 2x optical zoom, no OIS and dual-LED flash.
* OnePlus 3T – Rear: 16 MP, f/2.0, OIS, LED flash. Front: 16 MP, f/2.0, 1.0 µm pixel size, 1080p

Yes that’s a lot specifications. The upshot however is the OnePlus 5 can deliver 2x optical zoom (via a slight cheat) and combine both its rear camera to deliver a Portrait Mode (think heavy background bokeh to mimic the effect of a DSLR) similar to the iPhone 7 Plus.

Read more on the two devices here.

OnePlus 5 (image: Ewan Spence)

Ewan Spence

OnePlus 5 (image: Ewan Spence)

The Impact On Android Of The EU Antitrust Case

While this week’s ruling from the European Union’s Antitrust Regulators does not have a direct impact on Android, the EU is in the process of looking at AdSense and Android.  The ruling points towards the EU’s attitudes to the Mountain View dominance.

The EU ruling is a warning shot for two on-going EU probes into Google’s Android mobile operating system and AdSense ad system, said Richard Windsor, an independent financial analyst who tracks competition among the biggest U.S. and Asian Internet and mobile players, including Google.

“If the European Union turns around and says Google can no longer bundle its Google Play app store as a default feature on many Android smartphones, this opens up the market to other handset makers to put their own software and services front and center on their phones,” he said.

Fortune has more details.

Microsoft Improves OneNote For Android

Microsoft continues to build up and improve its offerings for Android. This week saw a major update to its note-taking and digital scrapbooking application OneNote. As Sean Chan reports, the Android app has caught up with the other clients, as well as bringing in a web snipping tool:

Today, the company has started rolling out the enhanced design for the OneNote app to Android smartphones as well. The new and improved OneNote design offers a simplified navigation system and improves accessibility for users with assistive technology across all platforms, and that includes Android phones, too.

In addition to the improved design, Microsoft is also bringing the OneNote Web Clipper to Android. The app now integrates into the share system for browsers, which means you can now save entire web pages to OneNote just like you can on the desktop thanks to the OneNote Web Clipper.

More at MS Power User.

Microsoft advertises OneNote's cloud capability (image: Microsoft.com)

Microsoft PR

Microsoft advertises OneNote’s cloud capability (image: Microsoft.com)

And Finally…

In the week where every publication is remembering that it has been ten years since the first iPhone went on sale, Seth Fiegerman highlights that in terms of dominance, Android is far and ahead the more successful platform.

Apple created the modern smartphone as we know it, but Android went on to dominate the market through numerous partnerships with carriers and lower prices. In the first quarter of this year, a staggering 86% of smartphones sold worldwide ran on Android, according to data from Gartner.

What happened next? Read on at CNN.

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!

Follow me on Facebook. Find more of my work at ewanspence.co.uk, on Twitter, and Linked In. You should subscribe to my weekly newsletter of ‘Trivial Posts’.

 

Android 7.1.2-powered Xiaomi ‘riva’ spotted on Geekbench

A new Xiaomi smartphone – dubbed riva – has been spotted in a benchmark listing. The listing on Geekbench reveals the device is powered by an SoC with quad-core 1.40GHz processor, and has 3GB RAM.

Other thing worth noting is that the phone runs Android Nougat (latest version: 7.1.2). Sadly, and as is usually the case with Geekbench listings, nothing else was revealed. However, given that the device has started appearing in benchmarks

 

Moto M2 rumored to arrive by October in more markets than the original M

 

Motorola is working on a successor to the Moto M from last year, a new rumor claims. According to a leakster that’s rather new on the scene, the Moto M2 should become available by October. That tracks nicely with the original’s November 2016 unveiling.

The Moto M2 is said to be offered in more markets than its predecessor, which is certainly good news. The original M was sold only in China at first, then slowly expanding to a few more countries after that.Moto M2 rumored to arrive by October in more markets than the original M

The Moto M2 will apparently come with “cutting edge MediaTek processors”, a 5.5-inch 1080p touchscreen (just like the M), and a choice between 4 or 6GB of RAM and 32 or 64GB of built-in storage, depending on which model you buy. As this is nothing but an unconfirmed rumor for now, make sure you don’t take it for granted. If any of this is accurate, expect to see the information confirmed in subsequent leaks.

 

How BlackBerry (BBRY) Stock Stands Out in a Strong Industry

 

One stock that might be an intriguing choice for investors right now is BlackBerry LimitedBBRY. This is because this security in the Wireless Non-US space is seeing solid earnings estimate revision activity, and is in great company from a Zacks Industry Rank perspective.

This is important because, often times, a rising tide will lift all boats in an industry, as there can be broad trends taking place in a segment that are boosting securities across the board. This is arguably taking place in the Wireless Non-US space as it currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 69 out of more than 250 industries, suggesting it is well-positioned from this perspective, especially when compared to other segments out there.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry is actually looking pretty good on its own too. The firm has seen solid earnings estimate revision activity over the past month, suggesting analysts are becoming a bit more bullish on the firm’s prospects in both the short and long term.

BlackBerry Limited Price and Consensus

BlackBerry Limited Price and Consensus | BlackBerry Limited Quote

In fact, over the past month, current quarter estimates have remained unchanged at a loss of 1 penny, while current year estimates have risen from a loss of 5 cents per share to a loss of 4 cents per share. This has helped BBRY to earn a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), further underscoring the company’s solid position. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

So, if you are looking for a decent pick in a strong industry, consider BlackBerry. Not only is its industry currently in the top third, but it is seeing solid estimate revisions as of late, suggesting it could be a very interesting choice for investors seeking a name in this great industry segment.

5 Trades Could Profit “Big-League” from Trump Policies

If the stocks above spark your interest, wait until you look into companies primed to make substantial gains from Washington’s changing course.

Today Zacks reveals 5 tickers that could benefit from new trends like streamlined drug approvals, tariffs, lower taxes, higher interest rates, and spending surges in defense and infrastructure.

iPhone 8 Prototype Spotted in Video, Expected in Four Colour Variants

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • iPhone 8 tipped to come in a mirror-like finish
  • The prototype video tips iPhone 8 to be taller and wider than iPhone 7
  • Another leak claims wireless charging tech will be delayed

iPhone 8 launch is inching near, and credible sources are now pouring in information about the smartphone regularly. John Gruber, Unbox Therapy and Benjamin Geskin have all leaked additional information on the iPhone 8 revealing a fresh prototype, colour options, and some details on wireless charging.

Starting with Unbox Therapy, the tipster has published a video showing off an alleged prototype of the iPhone 8. It corroborates with all the information about the smartphone in the past, with a bezel-less display, the top panel loaded with sensors, the vertical dual camera setup, the elongated power button, and the recent no Touch ID rumour. He backs Ming-Chi Kuo’s claims of Apple ditching the fingerprint scanner altogether to exclusively use facial recognition for unlocking, authentication, and other security-related features.

ALSO SEEApple iPhone 8 Specifications, Release Date, and More – Leaks and Rumours So FariPhone 8 Prototype Spotted in Video, Expected in Four Colour Variants

The iPhone 8 prototype is a bit taller and wider than the iPhone 7 – it is said to sport a 5.8-inch display – instead of the 4.7-inch one seen on the predecessor. However, it is significantly smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus in size, a smartphone that sports a 5.5-inch display. This is possible because Apple has reduced the bezel on the iPhone 8 from all sides to achieve a large display in a smaller form factor. The tipster also compares it to the current generation Samsung Galaxy S8 to show how Apple has managed to hit the sweet spot in display and size potential. See the full iPhone 8 prototype video below.

Furthermore, tipster Benjamin Geskin has released more information on the iPhone 8 claiming that it will be available in four colour options – with one being a mirror-like finish seen on old iPad models. The finish will either be in silver or black, and the tipster has failed to reveal the other three options. This comes after Kuo predicted that the iPhone 8 will come in fewer options, and will have a ‘boutique’ branding.

Lastly, John Gruber has brought some bad news, claiming that the iPhone 8 rumoured wireless charging technology may not be ready on launch day, and will launch a little later – just like the Portrait Mode on the iPhone 7 Plus. The tipster claims that it may be released with the launch of iOS 11.1 perhaps. Furthermore, he claims that the wireless charger will be sold separately for all the three iPhones, something that has been reported earlier as well.

Apart from all these features, the iPhone 8 is also expected to come with an OLED display, a fast A11 chip, and better waterproofing as well.

 

Samsung to produce 9 million Galaxy Note 8 units initially

 

After numerous speculations, yesterday, a report tipped that the Galaxy Note 8 might be unveiled on August 23. The device is believed to be released sometime in early September. It is obvious that two reasons have made Samsung advance the launch of their next flagship device.

One is the poor sales of the Galaxy S8 and the other is to release it before the Apple iPhone 8 slated to be unveiled in September along with the rumored iPhone 7s and 7s Plus. Apple is expected to release the iPhone 8 later this year as it is rumored to face some delay in the production.Samsung to produce 9 million Galaxy Note 8 units initially

Eventually, the Galaxy Note 8 will dominate the market until then. A recent report by The Bell (via TheAndroidSoul) claims that Samsung is in plans to ship nine million units of the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 soon after its initial release. From September, a set of three million units of the phablet will be produced per month for three months. Despite the recent reports that the Galaxy S8 sales are poor and not as expected, the device broke the sales record by selling over 10 million units in three weeks of its release.

But the sales slowed down later, claim the media reports. Being the upcoming flagship device, the Galaxy Note 8 is likely to feature the Infinity Display sans a physical home button as seen on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ duo. Also, the device is believed to use a Snapdragon 836 SoC under its hood, which will be an incremental variant of the existing high-end Snapdragon 835 SoC. Moreover, the Galaxy Note 8 is claimed to be the first Samsung phone to feature a dual rear camera setup.

Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition Teardown Reveals It as a Galaxy Note 7 With a Smaller Battery

 

Earlier this month, Samsung made a major announcementas the company said that it will be releasing refurbished version of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, called Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition. While the South Korean conglomerate said that it will be using components from the Galaxy Note 7 in the new model, the iFixit teardown of the new handset has revealed that it is the same old Galaxy Note 7 albeit with a new smaller battery.

In its note regarding the Galaxy Note Fan Edition teardown, iFixit says, “Beyond batteries, we’ve got exactly the same phone: no evidence of the rumoured processor bumps, and no surprises.”

galaxy note fan edition teardown ifixit story2 Galaxy Note Fan Edition Story 2

Photo Credit: iFixit

In comparison with the 13.48Wh (3500mAh) battery on the original Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy Note Fan Edition comes with a smaller 12.32Wh (3200mAh) battery. Notably, the new battery even weighs less than the one on original Galaxy Note 7. While the latter came with a battery that weighed 47.7 grams, the battery on Galaxy Note Fan Edition weighs in at 45.4 grams.

 Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition Teardown Reveals It as a Galaxy Note 7 With a Smaller Battery

To recall, Samsung said that it will only sell 400,000 units of the Galaxy Note Fan Edition in South Korea and will decide later whether to release the smartphone elsewhere or not. The smartphone was priced by the company at KRW 699,000 (roughly Rs. 39,700) and was released in South Korea on July 7.

To recall, Samsung had to recall around 3 million Galaxy Note 7 units due to reported explosions later attributed to faulty batteries. We will have to see if the company will introduced the refurbished units elsewhere on the globe as well, with a recent report claiming the company had not ruled out such a move.

 

Upcoming Xiaomi phones to feature Samsung AMOLED screens

Samsung Display and LG Display are in a tug of war for customers for their OLED offerings and the Samsung side just scored a win – Xiaomi placed an order for 6” rigid AMOLEDs. 1 million are set to be delivered this December, then 2.2 million in January.

This comes after the company allegedly tried to source 5.5” flexible OLED panels from LG, but the deal fell through as LG Display’s manufacturing plant will start production three months later than expected.

Xiaomi already used such a panel for the Mi Note 2 (1080p resolution) and was expected to use a newer generation (QHD resolution) for the new Note. Keep in mind that the flexible/rigid here means whether the phone will have curved screen edges or not – we’re not talking flexible phones here.

Anyway, Samsung has tens of millions of AMOLED panels to produce for the iPhone 8. And there’s talk that Apple will move to using exclusively OLED displays in 2018 (though it’s up in the air who will score that order).

 

LG G4, V10 to Reportedly Receive Android 7.0 Nougat Update This Year

 

South Korean electronics major LG will update two of its smartphone models – the G4 and V10 – with the latest operating system (OS).

LG plans to offer the upgrade of the OS with Android 7.0 for the V10 in the second half of this year and for the G4 in the third quarter, Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday.

The schedule applies to phones sold in South Korea, with consumers abroad to be notified of a separate schedule later.LG G4, V10 to Reportedly Receive Android 7.0 Nougat Update This Year

The G4, which debuted in April 2015, had its OS updated twice. The V10 was released in October the year and also has had two OS updates. But LG had announced plans to discontinue updates, saying the phones are not optimised with the latest version.

Kicking off an era of premium smartphones with the unique 18:9 screen aspect ratio, LG introduced the G6 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year in Barcelona, Spain that features a bold new display format complemented by a cinematic viewing experience.

The device has Google Assistant built-in, empowering users to get quick answers, manage everyday tasks, enjoy the best music and videos and search G6 more efficiently than ever.

HTC One (M8) is getting Android 7.0 Nougat update at T-Mobile

 

In an unexpected turn of events, T-Mobile announced it has finished testing Android 7.0 Nougat for the HTC One (M8), and the update should now be available for download.

We’re quite surprised to see that a three-year-old phone is still getting a major software update such as Android 7.0 Nougat. If this isn’t truly a mistake made by T-Mobile, it’s remarkable that HTC has decided to continue to support its One (M8), a smartphone that was launched back in March 2014.HTC One (M8) is getting Android 7.0 Nougat update at T-Mobile

It’s worth noting that T-Mobile and a few other carriers in the United States pushed Android 6.0 Marshmallow to the One (M8) about a year ago. On March 24, 2017, T-Mobile updated its online support page to inform HTC One (M8) owners that they can download Android 7.0 Nougat.

Unfortunately, we don’t have additional evidence on the matter, so if you’re one of T-Mobile’s customers who’s still owning the HTC One (M8) let us know in the comments if you’ve already received the update.

Still, with all the efforts that HTC has put into keeping its most popular flagships up to date software-wise, we don’t think there will be another major update for the One (M8) after this one.