Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the release date of the Galaxy S10, disappointing news on the S10 features, the launch of the Nokia 9, a durability test on the Mi Mix 3, a possible OnePlus 7 leak, and a dark mode for Android Q.
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).
When Can You Buy Your Galaxy S10?
With the latest Samsung Unpacked event announced (see Android Circuit last week) the next building block is the release date for the new Galaxy S10 handsets. It’s been widely reported, although it still has to be confirmed, and I reported the dates for your diary earlier this week:
Following the launch on February 20th, the three core handsets (the S10 Plus, the S10, and the presumptively named S10 E) will go on sale on March 5th, according to South Korean’s ET News. The 5G version of the Galaxy S10 (potentially the Galaxy S10 X) will go on sale towards the end of March – potentially on the 29th – in 5G-enabled markets, with a roll out depending on network capabilities…
Given historical patterns, I would assume that there will be a period for pre-orders to be taken in the week after the launch of the S10 family by carriers throughout the world (some have started gathering names already, such as EE in the UK.
Galaxy S10 Limiting Specs And Features?
Meanwhile there’s been some discussion over the core specifications in the Galaxy S10 family, and questions over the amount of RAM and storage Samsung are likely to offer. Is the South Korean company keeping costs down instead of nailing spec sheet top trumps? Forbes’ Gordon Kelly:
The new flat-screened Galaxy S10 Lite will get just 4GB RAM and a maximum of 128GB storage. The Galaxy S10 has 6GB RAM and up to 256GB storage, while the Galaxy S10 Plus does step up with 6GB/128GB and 8GB 256/512GB options but this still pales comparison to Samsung’s new top dogs.
…Interestingly, this means the new Galaxy range will be overtaken by significantly cheaper smartphones in 2019. Notably, the OnePlus 6T McLaren and Lenovo Z5 Pro (already announced in 2018) have 10GB and 12GB RAM respectively for almost half the expected asking price of the Galaxy S10.
Nokia 9 PureView Release Date
It looks like the Nokia 9 PureView camera, with its five-lens camera, is going to be launched just before MWC in a bid to get some momentum before the bigger guns arrive. And that means it could be going head to head with the Galaxy S10:
HMD Global would not be the only manufacturer to take this approach. Samsung has announced its latest Unpacked event (presumably for the launch of the Galaxy S10 family) on February 20th, in the week before MWC. These two preview events allow the S10 and the Nokia 9 to get the jump on other handsets launching at MWC, but it also sets up an interesting media lens.
The Galaxy S10 and the Nokia 9 PureView are going to be pitched by many as going head to head. Samsung will be pitched as the bigger ‘Goliath’ with multiple variants at high prices… while HMD Global will be pitched as the plucky small ‘David’ with a cutting edge device. The penta-lens camera is an easy hardware story to sell, the price is the consumer connection, and the fairytale return of the Nokia name should be good for at least one more spin around the MWC block.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 Under Duress
Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 looks to answer the forward facing camera question without a notch, bezel, or punch hole… but with full body slider that exposes the camera. It looks slick and feels comforting, but how durable is it. JC Torres finds out:
Almost all phones these days, especially high-end ones, are covered in glass on both sides. Be it Corning Gorilla Glass 5 or 6, the Mi Mix 3’s front is protected from most keys and blades. Somewhat surprisingly, the back of the phone has ceramic glass, which is even more resistant to deeper scratches.
The real test is, of course, in the bend test. With two halves sliding on each other, there is definitely some concern that structural integrity might not be at its best. But lo and behold, the Mi Mix 3 actually survives with just a little flex. The OPPO Find X, with its motorized top, didn’t fare this well.
The full results are at SlashGear. JerryRigEverything also set about attacking the handset…
Early OnePlus 7 Design Leak?
With a six month turnaround in flagship smartphones, OnePlus’s next handset is always ‘just around the corer’ and susceptible to leaking. So it’s possible we’ve seen our first image of the OnePlus 7. GizChina reports:
In this image, coming from China, we see the alleged OnePlus 7 alongside the current OnePlus 6T. The latter has the already seen water-drop notch, while the other device is free from any interruption. In addition, it would seem that the latter have a larger display, although the lower half is unfortunately missing in the photo. Obviously it could be another phone, like Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 or Honor Magic 2.
oneplus 7 ? pic.twitter.com/L6UF2jjEL4
— 小白 (@xiaovai77) January 12, 2019
The main new feature seems to be a new, system-wide dark mode for Android. The new dark mode will introduce a dark theme for the entire operating system, something which has been a long-requested feature on both Android and iOS. Although companies like OnePlus already provided similar experiences on their custom version of Android, the stock Android experience powering Google’s Pixel handsets and other devices never had a system-wide dark mode. The new dark mode may also come with an option to automatically force dark mode on apps that do not have a dark mode, too.
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!