Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the latest Galaxy S10 battery details, Samsung’s 1TB smartphone storage chip, 2018’s sales figures, stunning results from the Pocophone F1’s camera, new UIs roll out from Samsung and Google, Fortnite picks up new Android features for gamers.
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 Powerful Nature Of The Galaxy S10
With less than a month until its ‘Unpacked’ Event, the final building blocks of the Samsung Galaxy S10 family are becoming clear. The latest comes via Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency, and confirms the battery capacity of the three main handsets. Gordon Kelly has more:
Samsung now lists its range with the following batteries sizes… Galaxy S10 Lite – 3000 mAh; Galaxy S10 – 3300 mAh; Galaxy S10 Plus – 4000 mAh.
It is worth noting, these figures are typically a minimum power draw which gives flexibility for up to 200 mAh additional capacity when formally announced. Compared to the Galaxy S9 (3000 mAh) and Galaxy S9 Plus (3500 mAh), these are substantial improvements and the Galaxy S10 Lite should also flourish given it packs a smaller display.
And if that wasn’t enough for you, Samsung gave a tacit nod towards a confirmation in it’s marketing materials.
Knowing it will go viral, Samsung has finally put in writing the substance behind its “Because you deserve more” Galaxy S10 advertising. And it is something far more practical than the more radical upgrades we know are coming (especially in future).
A Terabyte For Your Smartphone?
Samsung Electronics has announced that its 1 TB memory chip for smartphones and mobile devices are now in mass production. That’s good news for those of you looking to buy a maxxed-out Galaxy S10 Plus, as I reported earlier this week:
It’s unlikely to be available across the range of [Galaxy S10] devices – Samsung will no doubt want a good mix of storage and memory options to be reflected in a wide price band – and restricting the big numbers to the big handsets gives Samsung an attractive slice of lust to sell to the faithful.
In which case expect the 1 TB / 12 GB to be restricted to the physically larger Galaxy S10 Plus handsets and (when it appears in your territory) the S10 5G handset.
2018 Smartphone Sales Figures
Canalys has released its analysis of smartphone shipments for all of 2018 (as well as the Q4 estimates) and Samsung continues to ride high even with a dip in sales, Apple retains second place (again with a dip in sales), but the competition from Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo are catching up. Damien Wilde has the highlights:
Q4 2018 was indicative of the entire industry, with both Apple and Samsung seeing shipments fall 7% and 5% respectively. Despite controversy and almost zero presence in North America, Huawei continues to buck the trend and increased Q4 2018 shipments by a staggering 47%.
Oppo, another Chinese maker not seen in vast portions of the Western Hemisphere also saw impressive growth in Q4 2018. The OnePlus parent company saw a Q4 growth of just over 20%, although it’s unclear if this figure includes OnePlus devices.
Snappy Pictures On The Pocophone F1
While it might not be topping the table, Xiaomi’s ‘high performance at a budget price’ (which I’ve reviewed here) has scored surprisingly well on the DxOMark scale of smartphone photography. JC Torres reports:
The Pocophone F1’s cameras admittedly come from an age, which is to say “last year”, when depth sensors were still a thing. It paired a 12 megapixel f/1.9 sensor with a 5 megapixel f/2.0 depth sensor. With those figures, it’s not really all that surprising that it’s nowhere near the top. But, all things considering, it’s actually impressive it’s nowhere near the bottom either.
DxOMark praises the phone’s autofocus, which is noted to be good in both stills and videos. The dual-tone flash also gives accurate white balance and detail, which is helpful considering the POCO F1 has a bit of a problem in low light. Exposure is also noted to be accurate but HDR isn’t as strong. Good stabilization makes the phone a decent one for recording video as well.
Google And Samsung Pushing New User Interfaces
Google is rolling out its new ‘Material Theme’ design cues to the mobile versions of Gmail on iOS and Android ahead of larger roll out over the rest of the ‘G Suite’ apps. Paul Sawers reports at VentureBeat:
Anyone who has been using Gmail, and other Google properties, on the web over the past 8 months or so will already be familiar with this refreshed look and feel. Indeed, Google has already rolled out Material-focused updates on the web to Calendar, Drive, and Docs / Sheets / Slides / Sites, while the company has updated Calendar for Android with the new Material Theme.
Now, Google is turning its attentions to the mobile versions of its other services too. And later this year, the company said that it plans to update the rest of its G Suite mobile apps with a similar redesign.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s One UI is rolling out across the Galaxy S9 handsets in the US. Marrian Zhou looks at the changes:
Samsung unveiled the redesigned mobile interface, which runs on top of Google’s Android PIe, at its developer conference in November. The goal of One UI is to make interactions natural, even as new phone displays grow larger and take on foldable designs.
The One UI interface is designed to reduce clutter and distractions. Some of the new features include displaying the most-used functions first and placing buttons within your thumb’s reach; allowing the top half of the screen to display content while the bottom half is used to navigate the phone; and improving the visibility of the screen so it’s comfortable to stare at longer.
The ever-popular mobile version of Fortnite has seen some key features added this week to improve the UI for hardcore gamers and to improve the graphical fluidity for those with high-end handsets. Andrew Webster reports:
Bluetooth controller support is available on both the iOS and Android versions of the game. On iOS, Epic says that all MFi controllers should work, while on Android, “most” Bluetooth gamepads are compatible, including devices from SteelSeries, Razer, Microsoft, and Gamevice. Additionally, the Android version of Fortnite also supports 60Hz on three devices: the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (US variant), Huawei Honor View 20, and Huawei Mate 20 X.
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!