Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the secretive Galaxy One handset, the Galaxy S11 screen leaks, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds defeat Apple’s AirPods, OnePlus 8 Pro camera details, Huawei’s bug hunt reward, and a clear look inside the Pixel 4.
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 Patent Reveals Advanced ‘Galaxy One’ Screen
What happens when you curve all four edges of your smartphoen screen round the edges of the device? You get a ‘3D Display’ and the ability to add UI controls on the curved edges, according to the latest details published by Samsung, as I reported earlier this week:
…The new details come from a patent published on November 7 2019 for “display apparatus and portable terminals”. It covers a new shape of screen and the addition of UI elements.
It is perhaps asking too much that this technology will show up in the Galaxy S11 handsets that are expected to be launched during February 2020. The design of those handsets will be locked in and presumably a number of test units are being tested in South Korea, and the current leaks suggest that the Galaxy S11 will be shrinking the bezels and moving the selfie camera to a central punch out hole. There’s nothing as radical as a ‘3D Display’ here.
Galaxy S11’s Faster Screen Leaks
Meanwhile the upcoming Galaxy S11 could be following the Galaxy S10 in the design stakes, with the usual iterative changes in the hardware balanced by a fast screen. Recent reports suggest that Samsung is going to join other Android manufacturers and move to either a 90Hz screen (to match the likes of OnePlus) or a 120Hz screen (matching the gaming handsets from Razer and Asus). Chris Smith reports:
Considering that rivals OnePlus and Google launched non-gaming Android flagships this year with 90Hz display, it makes sense for Samsung to at least match them. After all, Samsung still is the undisputed king of the smartphone OLED market, and it probably wants to make sure its 2020 flagships rock the best possible display tech available. The fact that iPhone 12 is also rumored to ship with a 120Hz screen might be an extra motivation for Samsung.
While it’s unclear whether Samsung will go for 120Hz screens, it sure looks like, in a worst-case scenario, the Galaxy S11 will have a 90Hz display, which is still a notable upgrade over the S10 and Note 10 phones.
Galaxy Buds Beat AirPods
For all of their fashionability and desirability, AirPods appear to have met their match, and it is at the hands of Apple’s old rival Samsung. Chance Miller calls out the current winner of the smartphone manufacturers’ bluetooth earbuds, as judged by Consumer Reports:
Overall, Consumer Reports rates AirPos Pro at a score of 75. That compares to Samsung’s Galaxy Buds at a score of 86, and Amazon’s Echo Buds at 65. So what benefit do the Samsung Galaxy Buds have over AirPods? According to the review, Galaxy Buds still offer notably better sound quality than AirPods Pro – even though they don’t include noise cancellation.
“The Echo Buds, Amazon’s new noise-canceling true wireless headphones, didn’t score quite as well in our tests, but they’re solid performers and far cheaper at $130. And while the AirPods Pro sound far better than Apple’s earlier models, they still don’t meet the audio quality of our top pick for true wireless sound, the Samsung Galaxy Buds, which also sell for around $130.”
Will OnePlus Add Time Of Flight To The Portfolio
Is OnePlus planning another camera upgrade for the presumptively-named OnePlus 8 Pro? If the Shenzhen-based company follows the same timetable as previous years, we can expect two new handsets around June 2020… and recently leaked specs suggest that the Pro version could ship with four cameras.
The back of the phone is where we get to see the more serious changes. OnePlus seems to be going with, what presumably is a Time of Light sensor which may be the 4th camera sensor’s addition on this device. Right under that should be the elongated camera related sensors’ housing (09) for all the fancy camera jazz such as the laser autofocus. The cameras this time round seem to rock the same triple lens division which may just be the same configuration as the previous flagship – The OnePlus 7T pro. For some reason though, the company seems to be stepping back down to having a dual tone LED flash, rather than a tri-tone. It wouldn’t make a big impact on the pictures taken by this device but is something to notice. Finally, the OnePlus Logo stays at the middle of the back with the brand name “OnePlus” stated at the bottom middle of the back panel.
Huawei’s Bug Hunt Rewards
Huawei is offering up payments for those who discover vulnerabilities in its handsets running Android, following the likes of Google and Apple who also offer bounties for bugs. Thomas Brewster reports:
In a bug bounty launch last week, Huawei said it would pay up to $220,000 (€200,000) for demonstrating a “critical” weakness in one of its Android devices, including the Mate, P, Nova, Y9 and Honor models. For a “high”-severity issue, hackers can earn up to $110,000 (€100,000). Google, meanwhile, offers up to $200,000 and $100,000 for demonstrations of similar attacks on its Pixel phones.
Huawei revealed the program at a private event for some of the world’s top Android hackers at a Munich, Germany, event last week. In giving an example of how they could get the top prize, Huawei told the hackers they would have to obtain remote access to the device without the target having to click anything. A high-severity hack would see the hacker take over a phone when they had direct access to the phone
Thanks to the glass back on the Pixel 4 and 4 XL, it’s a relatively simple matter to open up the device, remove the internal layer of paint, and put it all back together to get yourself a ‘clear’ Pixel smartphone. If you want a look at the process and the outcome, JerryRigEverything has filmed it all:
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!