Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s stunning secret, Samsung’s expandable screen, Honor’s new partners, two new Sony Xperia handsets, the impact of LG leaving, OnePlus app leaks camera details, and Clubhouse coming to Android.
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 Big Screen And The Battery
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra is a big phone with a big battery, but efficiency and battery life remain key. One of the villains of battery life has always been the screen of any smartphone, so the news that the S21 Ultra screen is 16 percent more efficient than the 2020 models is a big help. Mihai Matei reports:
“The new low-power OLED panel that debuted with the Galaxy S21 Ultra claims to deliver improved luminosity and power efficiency, but it’s fundamentally the same as before. Instead of having a separate light source, OLED panels produce light when an electric current is sent through the panel’s self-luminous organic materials. But what’s different about the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s new OLED panel is that — through processes unexplained — it allows electrons to flow faster and more easily across the display’s organic layers.”
The Display That Rolls, Folds, And Grows
This isn’t the only nugget from Samsung Display this week, with new details on the company’s work on a sliding display that expands the working area for a user. Ilse Jurrien reports on the new patent:
“Some time ago it was reported from Korea that Samsung in turn wants to use a flexible display panel to enlarge a 6 ”phone to an 8” tablet. Further details about the design are still unknown. Samsung may want to apply the following technology, as the company has been granted a patent for a ‘dual slide smartphone’.”
Honor’s New Partners
Following last week’s release of the Honor View40, more details on Honor’s new partnerships now it has been spun out from Huawei have been confirmed. These include Microsoft, AMD and Intel, presumably for its laptop range; MediaTek and Qualcomm for smartphone system on chips; and Samsung, Micron Technology, SK Hynix and Sony for components. The question on Google Play Services support in its smartphones remains. Cheng Ting-Fang and Lauly Li report:
“These companies, like other global tech suppliers, are subject to U.S. restrictions on using American technology to supply Huawei. However, some of suppliers have said they are still evaluating the legal implications of shipping to Honor.
Sony Goes For Big And Little
Two devices from Sony’s Xperia family this week, the first confirmed, the second rumored. The former is the Xperia Pro 5G, It comes with an HDMI port alongside USB-C, retaining the SnapDragon 865 from last year’s Xperia 1 II. It also has larger bezels, a thicker design, and (wait for it) a $2,500 price tag. Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo has some thoughts:
“Sony suggests either hooking the phone up to a Sony Alpha camera and using it as a live video monitor or pushing an external video source out to the Internet for livestreaming. Just this one feature and the camera-adjacentness is worth $1,000 extra by Sony’s logic.”
Sony is also preparing the return of an old favourite. Steve Hemmerstoffer brings news of a potential Sony Xperia Compact for 2021, measuring 140 x 68.9 x 8.9mm and sporting a 5.5 inch screen. But with the iPhone 12 Mini sales falling short of expectations, can Sony find a market that Apple missed?
“Last month, an executive at one Apple supplier told Nikkei that iPhone 12 mini production was a bit sluggish. More recently, a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners report (via 9to5Mac) claimed that sales of the iPhone 12 mini likely disappointed Apple with only 6% of total iPhone 12 Series sales during the October through November period… Consequently, while some of you will be happy to learn a new Compact Xperia phone is coming soon, I wonder if Sony hasn’t waited too long and missed the boat…”
The Impact Of LG Leaving Mobile
Following last week’s discussions over LG leaving the smartphone market, Jerry Hildenbrand looks at the wider implications, and the power of the Google/Samsung/Apple trifecta in the mobile ecosystem
“Now, LG is probably done building phones because there is no money to be made by doing it. Some folks from the company say no, others have more information about it all, and other companies are even ready to buy. Whatever happens, it will mean the death of LG as we know it today.
“This isn’t really surprising if you look at which phones sell, how they are sold, and why people buy them — and you see LG losing in every category.”
OnePlus App Leaks New Phone Details
It boasts a number of new features, but tucked inside OnePlus’ update to Oxygen OS’ camera app (including tilt-shift photography, Moon mode, and starburst photography) are pointers towards a new handset. Mishaal Rahman reports:
“…none of these features seem to be live for users in the latest version of the OnePlus Camera app. Thus, we suspect that these features are reserved for upcoming device launches, either in the Nord line of the main numbered series. We know OnePlus is working on a number of new devices, but we don’t know which devices will be the first to debut these features.”
It may have captured headlines, but social media application Clubhouse is restricted to the iOS and iPadOS platforms. This week the team confirmed plans for an Android version. Stephen Hall reports:
“…this isn’t a release date. In fact, it’s not even a start-development date. All we know is that up to this point, Clubhouse has been an iOS exclusive, and now the company is saying it’s going to start work on its Android app. That could mean a release as soon as a few months from now, or as late as years. We simple don’t know at this point. We’ll be sure to let you know when we know more.”
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!