Looking back at seven days of news and headlines across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit includes the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra’s AI, a new Google Photos update, Pixel 8 Pro display secrets, ColorOS 14 launched, OnePlus Open Voyager available, Nothing opens up iMessage, and Niagara launcher icon support.
Android Circuit is here to remind you of some of the many things that have been happening around Android over the past week (and you can find the weekly Apple news roundup here).
Everyone is thinking about AI privacy
Watch the press releases from the major Android manufacturers and vendors and see the direction the 2024 market will take. It’s all about AI. This week saw more details on Samsung’s approach to the generative space with the launch of Samsung Gauss and several proposed features. But these raise a privacy concern:
“Samsung’s smartphones will collect a lot of personal data to help achieve this. As user privacy becomes a critical factor in purchasing decisions, it will be a priority to keep this data on the handset and process the information locally – something that might is only possible thanks to the increased AI capabilities of the latest Snapdragon and Exynos chipsets.”
Remember your photos
As photography continues to be one of the battlegrounds for smartphones, Google’s update to its Photos app will be crucial in keeping the Pixel family ahead of the competition. It’s an odd choice, but one that could fit well with many users’ workflows… reminders:
“Google’s new Google Photos reminder feature can find and extract date information from a photo and automatically convert it into a Google Calendar event. For example, if you see a photo of an invitation or ticket, the user will automatically prompt the user to set a reminder for that event or trip. Google Photos automatically fills in the event information for you based on the photo’s content before you get a chance to edit them before saving them to your calendar. A link to the original photo is also automatically added to the event.”
One of the notable features of the Pixel 8 Pro is Google’s use of an all-new display. Previous models have seen various components rolled over as Google’s priority software. That changed with the recently launched Pixel, as Dylan Raga finds out in a deep dive into the secrets behind the brighter, more efficient display:
“(Google) has moved on to developing its display driver in-house rather than using the one packaged by (Samsung), which is probably why Google felt inclined to give the display its own branding. This time around, the display has not only improved a generation or even two – it’s jumped three whole generations compared to last year’s phone, from the vendor’s E4 OLED material up to the E7. In short, the luminescent materials are a huge factor in the screen’s maximum brightness and power efficiency, with each new Samsung Display -generation that gives about a 15% increase in both.”
ColorOS 14 is launched
The next major update to Oppo’s ColorOS launched this week. ColorOS 14 will be available on the company’s flagship phones first before being rolled out across the range in the near future. Oppo has emphasized on AI in many of the features. Sareena Dayaram picks out some highlights:
“New and notable for ColorOS 14 is a suite of AI-powered features similar to those on Google’s Pixel 8. SmartTouch lets you “select content such as text, images and videos and collect them in the File Dock, or even consolidate them into a single note by simply selecting and dragging gestures.” Smart Image Matting is another feature, this one lets you “crop multiple subjects from a single image or paused video,” according to Oppo.
OnePlus goes back to back to black
The critically acclaimed OnePlus Open – the company’s first foldable smartphone – has launched a new version to entice those looking for a convertible phone ahead of the holiday season. The Voyager Black has arrived, and of course this is in time for a Black Friday discount (at least in the UK).
“Unlike the OnePlus Open Emerald Dusk, an iconic green color scheme exclusively reserved for flagship devices that has a matte frosted glass back, the OnePlus Open Voyager Black has a more discreet vegan leather back that exudes class and elegance, and weighs just 239g ( 6g lighter than Emerald Dusk).”
Two million times nothing
There’s also the exciting possibility that the Nothing Phone (2) can send and receive messages from Apple’s iMessage service with its new Nothing Chats app. It supports RCS through the Sunbird architecture so that iMessages can be forwarded to your phone.
“(Co-founder and CEO) Carl Pei said – In just three years, we have assembled one of the best teams in the industry and shipped over 2 million units worldwide. This milestone further proves that there is real demand for a challenger in the consumer technology industry. Our continued momentum in such a competitive environment reinforces our belief that nothing really has anything different to offer.”
One of the main problems with themed Android home screens has been getting all your icons to match; only an app developer that does not fully support a theme or theme makes it stand out in its uniqueness. Custom one-handed launcher Niagara addresses this in its latest update. Meet the “anycon” function:
“We were able to use the same powerful algorithm we’ve been training for over a year to categorize each app and assign them an icon based on their category. Email apps get an email icon, fitness apps an exercise icon, and so on. And that’s exactly why so we named our icon packs Anycons. They support any app with a matching icon.”
Android Circuit collects 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 the Apple Loop! Last week’s Android Circuit is here, and if you have any news and links you’d like to see featured in Android Circuit, get in touch!
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