Android Circuit: Second Chance For Surface Duo 2, Xiaomi’s New Mi Band, Closer Look At Pixel 6a
Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes new details on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4, a closer look at the Pixel 6a, Nothing lighting up, a second chance for the Surface Duo 2, MediaTek’s successful quarter, Xiaomi’s latest Mi Band, and how useful is Android’s Open Source Project?
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).
Inside And Outside The Flip And Fold
News on both the inside and the outside of the upcoming Galaxy folding phones. First up is the personalisation of the Galaxy Z Flip 4; building on last year’s options to choose the various external color shells under the ‘Bespoke’ brand, Samsung is expanding the range for the launch of the new handset which is expected in early August, reports SamMobile:
“The only difference [with the Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition] is that customers can mix up the colors for the top and bottom half of the back panel. Choose from a matte black or glossy frame and select one from the total of 49 possible color combinations for a truly personalized handset. That’s how it’s going to work for the Galaxy Z Flip 4 Bespoke Edition as well. We hear that there will be a lot more than 49 color combinations on offer. It’s also going to be available for purchase in more markets.
As for the inside, there’s tacit confirmation that the Z Flip 4 will have the option of 512 GB of internal storage, while the Z Fold 4 could be looking at a 1 TB model:
“The Galaxy Z Flip 4 with 512GB of storage and the 1TB Galaxy Z Fold 4 were recently spotted on a Korean website called Handphone. It’s led by the Korea Association for ITC Promotion, and according to redditors, the website manages information about lost cellphones and sometimes lists devices that are on their way to the market in Korea… The Galaxy Z Flip 4 with 512GB of storage is listed along with model number SM-F721N. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 with 1TB of storage is listed alongside model number SM-F936N.”
A Closer Look At The Pixel 6a
We’re still more than a month away from the Pixel 6a’s retail launch, but we’re getting more information and a closer look at the game-changing mid-range handset as the weeks go by. The latest include leaked promotional shots:
“The three colors are on show – chalk (white), sage (green) and charcoal (gray) – and there are some lifestyle shots to pore over too. While the imagery doesn’t really tell us anything we don’t know about these phones, there’s plenty of it. If you’re planning on picking up a Google Pixel 6a at the end of July, then these shots should keep you going until then.”
Nothing Lights Up
Nothing, the company with a pun for a name that never gets old, has offered some more details on the upcoming Phone (1). Following last week’s look at the design and sculpting of the phone’s back. the Glyph Interface – a network of 900 LEDs – has been demonstrated. Why have one notification light when you can have 900?
“The Glyph Interface will have a set of ten ringtones that will also offer synced LED patterns. Users will also be able to pair light patterns to specific contacts. The customizations can even be done in apps, giving users an idea of what kind of notification has arrived. While it might sound dull, this is important, with it being considered the evolution of the notification LED. The Glyph Interface can even be used as a fill light when taking photos or videos. Last but not least, there is also a blinking red LED that shows people when you are recording.”
A Second Look At The Second Surface Duo
It’s been six months (give or take) since Microsoft released its second dual-screen device, and there has been a little bit of a renaissance in regards to the Surface Duo 2. Thanks to both Microsoft’s consistent updates and improvements to the software, and reviewers spending more time with the devices, the Duo 2’s unique proposition is coming to the fore, as Dan Seifert explains:
“And reader, I can finally say I get it. The Duo 2 is the most unique mobile device I’ve used, allowing me to do things I just can’t do with a traditional smartphone. It also does certain things, such as multitasking and reading ebooks, better than the Z Fold 3’s single large screen… There’s something undeniably satisfying about completing a task on the Duo 2 and then folding it closed like a book and slipping it into my pocket.
MediaTek’s Rising Star
MediaTek continues to make strides forward in the system-on-chip mobile space with its Dimensity series. The new 8000 and 9000 chip families have been used by mainstream manufacturers including Oppo, Xiaomi, and Honor, all of which is reflected in a strong set of quarterly results:
“MediaTek has seen positive response from OEMs wishing to include MediaTek’s higher-tier Dimensity chips on their flagships. Thanks in part to this, the company’s revenue has increased by 33%. Oppo, Realme, OnePlus, vivo, Xiaomi, and Honor have all recently released smartphones that equip these chipsets.”
Xiaomi’s Successful Fitness Tracker
Continuing with its range of smaller and more affordable fitness trackers that cary out a number of smartwatch features, Xiaomi has launched the Mi Band 7 to a global market, bumping the name up to be the Mi Smart Band 7 outside China.
“The updated tracker features a larger 1.62-inch Always-on AMOLED display compared to the 1.56-inch display of the Mi Band 6. Xiaomi has also refreshed the UI of the band with redrawn icons, new effects, and improved data visuals. In terms of features and tracking capabilities, the Mi Band 7 brings over 110 sports modes, including three brand new ones to measure training load, recovery duration, and training effect. There’s also a new VO₂ max professional workout analysis, which measures the maximum amount of oxygen users utilize during exercise.”
Android is famously open source, even if the extra services added by Google and the various manufacturers are not. How usable is the ‘clean’ version from the Android Open Source Project? David Ruddock talks about implementing AOSP on the latest Android Bytes podcast:
“…it’s missing critical components like the Google Play Store, Google Play Services, and most Google applications. What you might not know is that solving this isn’t as simple as flashing a few apps, and that AOSP even contains its own GMS dependencies that may or may not be documented. This renders AOSP largely unusable “out of the box” as an operating system. You need to add to it, build on it, and fill feature gaps. But how do you even figure out where those gaps are, let alone how to address them?”
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!