Android Circuit: Google Pixel Fold Delay, Super Snapdragon Launches, Samsung Takes Big Cat Picture
Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Google delaying the Pixel Fold, Samsung’s potentially powerful chip, RealMe’s new Android tablet, Qualcomm’s supercharged SnapDragon, a potential launch date for Nothing’s Phone (1), Google talks Pixel Tablet, and Samsung takes a very big picture of a cat.
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 Folding Pixel Has To Wait
They may be one of Samsung’s biggest marketing success tories, Chinese manufacturers may be anchoring the upcoming portfolios. And many are expecting Google to join them with a folding Pixel smartphone during 2022. Well, those expectations need to be dampened, according to Gjong Lee at The Elec:
“The company planned to launch the project sometime during the fourth quarter but delayed the launch this year. It is the US company’s second postponement of the launch __ it originally planned to showcase the phone late last year but it was delayed to this year.
“The panel, which would have been provided by Samsung Display, was expected to have a 7.57-inch main screen and 5.78-inch secondary screen as well as an ultra-thin glass cover. People familiar with the matter said the postponement likely comes down to the product not being as complete as Google wishes.”
Samsung Could Skip A Few Years To Find Success
Is Samsung going to skip developing its Exynos chipset for a year or two to focus on a brand new chip design for 2025? That’s the intruifgin prospect brought up by the SamMobile team. With the Galaxy S series comfortably able to use the SnapDragon chipsets alongside the Exynos variants, there’s commercial sense in skipping iterative development to shoot for the moon with a chip that can rival Apple’s Mxx class and Google’s Tensor Mobile:
“…[the chipset] will remain exclusive to the company’s own devices. Perhaps we may see it in the foldables as well. The rumor about Samsung not launching a new Exynos chipset in 2023 and 2024 is surprising. That would mean its Galaxy S23 and S24 flagships will use Qualcomm chipsets entirely.
“Samsung wants to focus entirely on this new project and launch a brand new chip in 2025 that will blow the competition out of the water. One can certainly hope that it does but given Samsung’s track record with high-end chipsets, it would be best to keep your fingers crossed.”
In response, Samsung stated that “While we are continuously engaging with customers to develop competitive mobile processors, no specific decision has been made.”
Another “Tablet For Everyone” From Realme
Popping up in the Android tablet stakes this month is the Realme Pad X. Sporting mid-range specs and a price around $199. it’s currently a China only release, but given Realme’s previous handset strategy, there’s a good chance an international version will
“The tablet is 7.1mm thin and weighs in just 499 grams. Realme packed quad speakers with Dolby Atmos for media consumption and Hi-Res Audio support. Qualcomm’s midrange Snapdragon 695 sits at the helm aided by 4/6GB RAM and up to 128GB built-in storage which is expandable via microSD. The software side is covered by Realme UI 3.0 for Pad. The tablet’s 8,340mAh battery charges at 33W speeds.”
A Speedy Update To The SnapDragon Flagship
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is more than a mid-cycle refresh on the 8 Gen 1 system on chip. With a manufacturing move from Samsung to TSMC it’s a new die which offers a chance to post both CPU and GPU potential. Expect to see a performance jump in the flagships launched during the second half of 2022 compared to the 8 Gen 1 equipped smartphones from the first half:
“…the switch in fabs is giving Qualcomm a chance to improve upon the original 8 Gen 1 from both ends of the spectrum, resulting in the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. On the performance front, TSMC’s node affords them an easy opportunity to increase CPU and GPU clockspeeds for more performance… Now even the slowest A510 cores can run at 2GHz. GPU clockspeeds have also been similarly increased, and while Qualcomm does not disclose specific clockspeeds there, they have confirmed that the 8+ Gen 1’s Adreno GPU block is clocked 10% higher than the original 8 Gen 1.”
Do We Have A Date For Nothing?
The upcoming Phone (1), from Nothing (the startup that counts former OnePlus CEO Carl Pei as a founder) may have had its launch date leaked by retailers. That’s not the strongest of sources, but it fits with everything we already now, and of course Nothing does need to build up as many retail partnerships as possible. Let’s call this plausible for the moment:
“We have received information that Nothing will launch the Phone (1) on July 21, 2022… Unfortunately, it is unclear whether Nothing will officially present the smartphone that day, for example in the form of a launch event, or whether the device will go on sale that day. We couldn’t get any new details about the equipment and specifications, but Nothing is said to be targeting the price range around 500 euros .”
Next Up, The Pixel Tablet
Google always likes to tell us what works. At I/O this week, up popped a slide of a number of Google products that have been and gone… and could be coming back. That includes a new Pixel tablet:
“Some of the biggest tablet news coming from the show was that Google is truly committing to tablet app development again. The company announced it would bring tablet interfaces to over 20 Google apps, and it showed off screenshots for most of them. Tablet versions of Google Play, YouTube, Google Maps, Chrome, and a bunch of other heavy hitters were all on display. Google even got some third parties committed to making Android tablet apps, including Facebook, Zoom, and TikTok. All of these will help make the Android tablet experience something worth investing in.”
How do you show off a 200 megapixel sensor for a smartphone camera? If you’re Samsung, then you use the camera i the same way as a regular user. You take a picture of a cat and scale it up to be the size of Kitten Kong:
“The star of the show here is Samsung’s ISOCELL HP1 camera sensor, a 200MP component that’s so new it’s not even in any smartphone yet, and the team had to set up a test board just to use it. While that means we’re probably missing out on a lot of the tuning and some of the advanced algorithm magic we get on Galaxy phones, plus the fact that the subject was literally a cat (those fur babies never stay still), the result here still came out pretty dang impressive — at least, it was looking sharp enough for Samsung to want to print it out on a huge 28×22-meter canvas made of twelve stitched-together 2.3-meter-long pieces, which was then hung on the side of a building.”
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!