Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes radical Galaxy S22 leaks, Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Flip 3, OnePlus Watch released, Sony’s stunning Xperia camera, Mi 11 Ultra reviewed, and privacy issues with Android’s location data.
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’s Stabilising Camera Tech
Next year’s Galaxy S22 may see Samsung follow Apple’s lead to improve the camera, at least in the higher specced models. Currently featuring in the iPhone 12 Pro Plus, will sensor-shift come to the Android flagship?
“Galaxy Club says that Samsung is currently testing phones that utilize sensor-shift, with the company planning to implement that same technology in its next flagship. The image stabilization tech helps to counterbalance shakiness and vibrations so images come out much more clearly. It’s actually an upgraded version of the image stabilization features found in earlier phones.”
Galaxy Club via Tom’s Guide.
Goodbye To Two, We’re All Three Now
Meanwhile Samsung’s cutting edge range of folding smartphones will see a unification of the numbering, with this year’s Z Flip and Z Fold handsets picking up the same modifier.
“There have been rumors for some time that Samsung wants to change the name in order to equalize the Z Fold and Z Flip series. Of course, two models of the Fold have already appeared. In addition, Samsung intends to introduce both folding phones simultaneously this year. By simultaneously releasing a Z Flip 2 and a Z Fold 3, the idea may arise that the Z Flip 2 is an old model. To avoid this, Samsung prefers the name Galaxy Z Flip 3.”
Let’s Go Digital.
One Wrist To Rule Them All
Alongside the launch of the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, the Shenzhen based company announced the OnePlus Watch. The first reviews of the smartwatch are in, and OnePlus’ unique approach to the software and functionality is on show; and it’s closer to a supercharged fitness band:
“The OnePlus Watch…runs its own proprietary software, based on a real-time operating system. This software is very quick and power efficient, but it is not extensible — there’s no app store or third-party watchfaces to download on the OnePlus Watch. It’s similar to the software on the budget smartwatches you can get on Amazon; if you’ve ever used an Amazfit, Umidigi, or Wyze watch, you’ve used a real-time operating system. The OnePlus Watch is not very different from those in this respect.”
Focus On The Xperia
Sony has announced two new Xperia handsets this week; the Xperia 1 III and the Xperia 5 III. Both retain Sony’s wonderfully brutalist style, but also comes with a first in smartphone camera technology.
“This and the 5 III are the first phones to have a variable telephoto zoom camera. It’s a folded periscope module like the one found on the Galaxy S21 Ultra and others. However, the lens elements inside can move to change the focal length to either 70mm or 105mm. You can’t do anything in-between, but it does give the phone more opportunities to shoot photos without digital zoom.”
Xiaomi Delviers A Curious Second Screen Experience
In a ‘hands on’ early review of Xiaomi’s Mi 11, Tom Bedford picks out not just the huge camera array, but the even larger camera island… and the secondary screen mounted beside the rear camera!
“The rear display is 1.1 inches across, and is purportedly the same panel the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 comes with. While the presence of a second screen on a phone is exciting, we’re sad to report it doesn’t really add anything to the experience. It tells you the time when the phone is face-down and can act as a viewfinder when you’re taking a photo of yourself.”
The Australian Competition and Commerce Commission has found that Google “misled consumers about personal location data collected through Android…”, specifically that users would believe that the Location History option presented during initial set-up was the only setting that controlled location data in the platform.
“In fact, another Google Account setting titled ‘Web & App Activity’ also enabled Google to collect, store and use personally identifiable location data when it was turned on, and that setting was turned on by default. Similarly, between 9 March 2017 and 29 November 2018, when consumers later accessed the ‘Web & App Activity’ setting on their Android device, they were misled because Google did not inform them that the setting was relevant to the collection of personal location data.”
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!