Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the launch date and release date of the Galaxy Note 9, new leaked features of Samsung’s phablet, how to unlock the Galaxy S10, why the OnePlus 6 is the best selling premium smartphone in India, the notched Pixel 3 leaks, Nokia smartphones reaching the Top Ten, and how Spotify can wake you up in the morning.
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).
Note 9 Release Date Leaked By Samsung
Although we know the date of Samsung’s next ‘Unpacked’ event (August 9th) and every single sign points to this being the launch of the Galaxy Note 9, we didn’t know for sure when the handsets would go on sale. Well, now we do and its thanks to Samsung itself. Forbes’s Gordon Kelly reports:
Picked up by ET News, a blunder in Samsung’s home country of South Korea by state-owned KT Telecom, saw the carrier accidentally publish a promotional poster revealing the Galaxy Note 9 will go on sale on August 24th. KT Telecom is by far the largest carrier in South Korea with more than 50% of the market, and the news has significant implications.
Note 9 Details Confirmed
Meanwhile one of the major details inside the Galaxy Note 9 has been confirmed, thanks to the time-honoured tradition of looking at the national certification authorities. Gordon Kelly reports on the big news:
The Galaxy Note 9 will have a massive 4,000mAh battery. For sure. 100%. How do we know? Because a filing Samsung made with Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency ‘ANATEL’ and spotted by SamMobile states it explicitly. And this has spectacular consequences.
But Where Is The Extra Memory?
As more top-line handsets ship with 8 GB of RAM, will Samsung offer Galaxy Note 9 fans the same option? I don’t think so, because helping the Galaxy S10 stand out is more important than propping up the phablet. I discussed this in more detail earlier this week, but here’s one thought:
One area where leaks have revealed features of the upcoming Note 9 (and countless other handsets) are the online benchmarking sites. These can reveal software and hardware configurations, and while the Note 9 has appeared on them, there is a distinct lack of models with 8 GB. That’s not conclusive, but it is far-reaching.
Unlocking The Galaxy S10
RAM isn’t the only feature that the Galaxy S10 can expect to debut for Samsung. It looks like a new way of reading fingerprints will be used. Thanks to a recently published patent, it’s clear that Samsung is working on ultrasonics to read prints, and that could be enough to match the accuracy required by Android with an under-screen reader.
As always, the filing and publication of a patent does not necessarily mean that the technology all appear in the next flagship handset, but improved security of personal devices continues to be a strong selling point. Moving to a ‘more secure’ technology would be a big selling point for Samsung. ‘Ultrasonic’ could be used to counter Apple’s use of ‘visual’ through FaceID.
Of course the big discussion point will be the use of a scanner under the screen – a technology long rumored for the Galaxy flagship. But with Samsung’s CEO DJ Koh saying that the optical fingerprint technology used in the screen of the Vivo X20 Plus offers a ‘poor user experience’, the confirmation of the South Korean’s ultrasonic technique makes for an obvious assumption for the display in next year’s handsets.
Pixel 3 Notch Leaks
The latest leaked images of Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL handsets show not only has Mountain View’s designers decided to go with a notched screen, the both is far more obvious than other premium handsets such as the OnePlus 6 or the iPhone X. Lynn Ja reports:
For the most part, the images don’t show anything new that hasn’t come up in previous rumors. For instance, we also get a glimpse of the front-facing speaker that’s expected to sit on the bottom bezel of the display, on the phone’s chin.
However, we do get a different look at the Pixel 3’s anticipated notch. The notch, which is located on the top of the screen, appears deeper than in prior leaked images. Compared to Apple’s iPhone X, the Pixel 3’s notch is also shorter but thicker as well.
OnePlus 6 Outsells iPhone X and S9
With a careful definition of ‘premium smartphones’ to include the OnePlus 6 but pushing out other mid-range handsets, the OnePlus 6 has outsold the iPhone and the Galaxy S9 families in India. Ben Schoon reports on the conclusions from Counterpoint Research:
In the realm of premium smartphones (anything over the equivalent of about $430), though, OnePlus took the lead in a big way. Both Apple and Samsung are big names in this market, but the OnePlus 6 managed to outsell both of those companies for a full quarter. This shouldn’t really come as a total shock, as in a market so focused on pricing, OnePlus’ devices have a pretty huge advantage over Samsung and Apple’s pricier options.
Nokia Smartphones Reach The Top Ten
The Nokia brand has returned to the Top Ten of smartphone manufacturers. According to Couterpoint Research, Finnish start-up HMD Global has captured 4.5 million sales in Q2 2018 (around 1.25 percent market share), which is good enough for ninth place… and that’s without counting sales of the Nokia-branded feature phones. Peter Bonov reports:
…that’s 4.5 million units shipped or about half what established players like LG and Lenovo (plus Motorola) are doing, not to mention HTC and Sony, which aren’t even in the Top 10.
That puts HMD and the Nokia brand in 9th place globally with around a percent of the total shipments. The Top 3 brands shipped 46% of the smartphones in Q2, to put HMD’s performance in perspective.
In the old days you tuned your alarm clock to the AM talk station you wanted to wake up to (yet every FM station in your area plays Ronan Keatings’s “Life Is A Roller Coaster” at 7.45am without fail). Now your smartphone will offer you a better choice. A Spotify recommendation. Joe Maring reports:
When you’re making/editing an alarm in Google Clock, you’ll now see a new Spotify tab next to the Sounds one that houses all of the traditional alarm tones. Here, you can choose to wake up to a recommended playlist or a specific song.
After your musical alarm starts playing, you can choose to keep listening to the song on Spotify right where it left off after toggling the alarm off. Better yet, both Spotify Free and Premium users can take advantage of this new feature.
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!