Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review, Samsung’s Android promise, Huawei confirms Android support options, Pixel 4a vs OnePlus Nord, the return of BlackBerry, and new features for the Pixel 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).
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review
Looking to cover all the bases and features available to a flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra delivers a 6.9 inch screen with faster refresh, a triple-lens rear camera with a 108 megapixel sensor, and a 4500 mAh batter as the highlights. Tushar Mehta reviews the whole package, noting the ultimate limit… performance:
“…the Exynos 990-powered Galaxy Note 20 Ultra does seem to disappoint when it comes to performance, and that can be a deal breaker for users who want to game. This is especially disheartening for fans as the Galaxy Note series has always been hailed as the best choice for prosumers. The Exynos Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is only preferable for anyone looking for a premium design, display, and productivity experience but without any care to push the performance to its limits.“
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 03: Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra on display in New York … [+] City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Samsung)
Getty Images for Samsung
Samsung Joins Google With Three Year Promise
Following Google’s confirmation that the Pixel 4a will receive software updates for three years, Samsung has announced its intentional to offer three years of software support for a number of key handsets, including the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S10 handset families. Chris Burns has more:
“…will now get a guaranteed three years of software updates. That’s new – or at least new to most Android-based smartphones on the market today. For years, this has been one of the most major sticking points in hardcore Apple fans’ reasoning for continuing to purchase an iPhone: the value that comes from more than 2 years of software updates from the manufacturer of the phone.”
Huawei Handsets And Google Support
Owners of Huawei and Honor phones that still have Google Mobile Services in the firmware (including last year’s hit P30 family) were essentially ‘grandfathered in’ to continued support of Google’s services when the Chinese company was placed on the US Entity list. That support looks set to continue, even though its temporary licence with Google has expired. Corinne Reichert reports:
“Huawei has confirmed its older phones will continue getting security and software updates after its Google license expired this month. In response to a Huawei Nova 5T user on Twitter, Huawei said “there is no impact on existing devices. “We will continue to share security and software updates to our devices, as we always have,” Huawei tweeted Monday. “
The 4a Vs Nord Numbers You Really Really Wanted
With Google’s Pixel 4a and OnePlus’ Nord both aiming at the mid-range market, many consumers will be looking to find a clear winner between the two. Of course a lot of that depends on what you consider to be more important. The camera? Storage? Color? Callum Booth has a multitude of charts and stats you might not have considered:
“So, welcome one and all to the latest specs battle: the Pixel 4a vs OnePlus Nord! Yes, this is a place where we select a few specs and whack them on some graphs. Why, you ask? Why? Why?! I’m not legally obligated to answer that.
“…The Pixel 4a comes to 573.1 mm³ per gram, while the OnePlus Nord clocks in at 517.11 mm³ per gram. Effectively, the OnePlus Nord is marginally denser than Google’s Pixel 4a. Aren’t you glad we worked that out?”
Well, this was unexpected. 2021 is going to see the return of BlackBerry to the smartphone market. The announcement comes from the new lead company OnwardMobility. Working with BlackBerry and FIH mobile, it looks like the focus will be on creating a secure smartphone:
“The press release is short on specific device details outside of saying it will run Android, feature a physical keyboard, and be 5G capable. Still, OnwardMobility has full reign to do product planning and market development. At the same time, FIH Mobile will design and manufacture the devices under BlackBerry’s strict guidelines.”
Google has released a ‘feature-drop’ for the Pixel Earbuds, essential a significant update of the software along with new features. New features include equaliser settings, improvements to the touchpad, and real-time translation. Jay McGregor has the details:
“The real-time translation feature will now transcribe back and forth conversation between two people and read aloud the translated speech in your buds. Google says this will help people “stay present in the moment”, although the search company warns that the feature works best in a quiet environment when one person is speaking. “
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!