Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Galaxy Note 9 camera and S-Pen issues, S10 camera specs, the launch of the Nokia 7.1, controversial OnePlus 6T features confirmed, Mate 20 Pro’s fingerprint reader, Pixel 3 XL details, and Google’s Podcast creator program.
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 introduces the new, super powerful Galaxy Note9 with all day performance, a new S Pen and intelligent camera – for those who want it all (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Samsung)
Praise And Problems For Galaxy Note 9
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 has picked up critical acclaim, but it’s also dealing with a number of quality control issues in software and hardware. As reported in last week’s Android Circuit, the camera is laggy and can freeze for some users. The latest firmware from South Korea should address these concerns. XDA-Developers has the details on the update, including the tweaks to picture quality and the changes to the underlying code:
Samsung also notes that even though these are the highlighted features of this update, there could be some other changes included as well. This could include device stability improvements, bug fixes, new or enhanced features, improvements to performance, and more.
How good is the camera? It’s been put through the wringer by a number of reviewers, but many have been waiting on the DoXmark testing numbers to be announced. Samsung will be pleased with the score, as Forbes’ Paul Monckton reports:
Interestingly, according to DxOMark, the Galaxy Note 9 already performed very well in many of the areas covered by the update. For example, dynamic range and low light SNR were both praised in the tests. However the underexposure of faces in backlit conditions was a specific area of criticism by DxOMark, so perhaps Samsung has been paying attention here.
As well as the camera issues, Samsung is also facing up to problems with the Note 9’s S-Pen stylus. Reports are building about the fragile nature of the new design.
Thankfully the S-Pen is a detachable accessory. Unlike the sealed battery of the Note 7, which led to the entire run of phones eventually being recalled, it’s not a showstopper to replace the S-Pen with an improved unit, it’s just rather pricey both in terms of cold hard cash but also in reputational damage.
The last thing Samsung needs is for another physical flaw in the design process to be attached to the Note name. Not only would it damage sales of the Note 9, but with the Galaxy Note range potentially on the chopping block, the S-Pen could be the final straw that kills the Note.
More on that here on Forbes.
Galaxy S10 Camera Specs Leak
Waiting in the wings is Samsung’s 10th anniversary Galaxy S10. With an expected 2019 Q1 launch and release, the smartphone is expected to be a more innovative update on the South Korean flagship. It’s also expected to lean heavily on the camera as a key feature, Gordon Kelly has the details:
…the Galaxy S10’s primary sensor will match the Galaxy S9’s 12-megapixel f1.5/2.4 variable aperture lens. This will be supported by a super wide 16-megapixel sensor with f1.9 aperture and a 123-degree field of view, as well as a 13-megapixel telephoto lens (aka optical zoom) with an f2.4 aperture.
…Both the wide-angle and telephoto lenses have very small pixel sizes of just 1µm, which will restrict the amount of light both modules can take in. More positively, however, is a pixel size of 1.4µm on the primary sensor which is in line with Apple’s iPhone XS and Google’s Pixel 2 XL.
More here on Forbes.
Nokia 7.1 Launches With Pure Display Technology
HMD Global has rolled out the latest Nokia-branded smartphone as it continues in its quest to bring the powerhouse name back to the modern smartphone world. The Nokia 7.1 – which may well be marketed as the Nokia 7 (2018) – is part of the AndroidOne program and is a solid mid-range smartphone with some exciting additions. Jimmy Westernberg has the details, including the new display technology:
It comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636 chipset, but also has a step down in storage and RAM. There are still two variants, but they’re relegated to 3GB of RAM/32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The 3/32GB model is the only one coming to the United States.
It also gets a nice bump up on the display front. The 7.1 comes with a 5.84-inch LCD screen with a 19:9 aspect ratio and Full HD+ resolution. Nokia is calling this the Pure Display, as it supports HDR10 and as well as SDR to HDR upscaling.
More at Android Authority.
Disappointment As Latest OnePlus 6T Feature Is Confirmed
It’s been a disappointing week in the run up to the launch of the OnePlus 6T. The ‘good news’ of the smaller notch and bigger battery last week has now been tempered with the confirmation that the headphone jack is no more… not only that but the decision is being explicitly linked to the new fingerprint reader. CEO Pete Lau explained this reasoning to CNet’s Lynn La:
One of the reasons OnePlus cut the headphone jack was to make room for the in-screen fingerprint sensor, which the company brands as Screen Unlock. By replacing the physical sensor on the back of the phone to under the screen, the fingerprint reader takes up essential space inside, near the bottom of the phone.
…To those who are upset that the OnePlus 6T won’t have a jack, Lau believes the tradeoffs are worth it. “After you experience the Screen Unlock you’ll fall in love with it,” he said. “[You’ll] realize that it’s the experience that you wanted.”
More on this at CNet, with my thoughts on the matter here on Forbes.
P20 Pro Leak Has Fingerprints All Over It
It also looks like OnePlus is in a race to be the first mainstream ‘western’ manufacturer to have the in-display fingerprint reader. This week news of the Huawei P20 Pro leaked, revealing the same biometric unlocking system. David Lumb has more:
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is almost certainly going be unveiled on October 16 [that’s one day before the presumed OnePLus 6T launch – Ewan], and one of its rumored features has been corroborated by a leaked photo found on Weibo and published by TechTastic. Someone allegedly got a hold of the company’s next flagship phone and pried it open to reveal what looks like a fingerprint scanner beneath the front screen.
We had seen a spy photos showing the same alleged component before, so this new leak is further evidence that the Huawei smartphone will get an in-screen fingerprint scanner.