Looking back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Galaxy S24 Ultra release date, Samsung’s Instagram love, Pixel 8 Pro screen issues, Sunbird’s sunset, Redmagic 9 Pro launch, Honor’s IPO and Google’s latest user interface update.
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).
Galaxy S24 launch date leaked
The next “Galaxy Unpacked” event should see Samsung launch the Galaxy S24, S24+ and S24 Ultra. Instead of the pre-MWC Samsung has used in previous years, the latest leaked schedule suggests Samsung is going for an earlier option:
“A new report from Korean publication The Elec (via SamMobile) claims that Samsung’s next flagship will be announced on January 17, 2024, with the device lineup available for pre-order the next day. The Galaxy Unpacked event will also be held in San Jose, California.. . The report says that the idea behind an earlier launch date is to improve sales in the first half of next year. Unsurprisingly, Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S24, S24 Plus and Galaxy S24 Ultra at the launch event.”
Instagram and Samsung
Samsung will likely have locked down the hardware for the Galaxy S24 family, but the software will be worked on leading up to (and through) launch. Details of the changes are coming out now, and one of the curious ones will be the addition of Instagram – a third-party app – to the lock screen:
“The lock screen addition is a small detail to come out, but it helps to understand the company’s upcoming approach. Samsung’s One UI software has limited apps that can only appear on the lock screen for system apps, with only one or two exceptions. Joining that list is Instagram a big decision for the South Korean company.”
Problems with new Pixel displays
Google has addressed concerns over “ripples” that have appeared in some Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones. Components sitting under the screen apparently press against the back of the display units, resulting in distortion that can be seen in certain lighting conditions. According to a Google spokesperson, this should not affect the phone’s use:
“Pixel 8 phones have a new screen. When the screen is off, not in use, and under specific lighting conditions, some users may see impressions from components of the device that look like small bumps. There is no functional impact on Pixel 8 performance or durability .”
The sun sets on Sunbird
Last week saw a flurry of interest in Sunbird, a messaging app and protocol that allowed Android users to interact with Apple’s iMessage service through virtual servers that emulate Mac devices. Smartphone maker Nothing Tech was set to use Sunbird in its new messaging app; subsequently, it has blocked downloads and paused the use of the app. This week, the service was shut down following a rising tide of security concerns surrounding the service:
“Good afternoon everyone. We are investigating the security issues raised over the past 24 hours. Out of an abundance of caution and to protect your confidential information, we are temporarily shutting down Sunbird media. We will keep you updated. Thank you and our sincere apologies for the inconvenience.”
In an apparent coincidence, Apple announced that it would support the RCS common standard for messaging interoperability in the future.
Faster, stronger and flatter, all for the game
With the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 system on chip, the latest gaming smartphone from Nubia – the Redmagic 9 Pro – has been confirmed. It offers increased cooling, active cooling and a new R2 co-processor. But it’s the promise of a flat back that will catch the attention of many:
“The cameras hiding under this glass consist of dual 50MP main/ultra-wide lens cameras, with a tiny 2MP macro lens thrown in next to them. On the other, equally flat side, the 9 Pro and Pro Plus have a 6.8-inch FHD+ screen with almost the exact same specs as that of the 8S Pro – except this ‘5th generation’ UDC panel features Q9+ technology from BOE for a maximum brightness boosted to 1,600 nits.”
Honor is preparing its IPO
Chinese smartphone maker Honor has seen fantastic growth since it was spun off from Huawei. It is now preparing to go public to continue growing in a number of key markets, including China and Europe:
“To meet new strategic goals, HONOR will continue to optimize its shareholder structure, attract diversified capital and enter the capital market through an IPO. When the company starts the IPO process, the composition of the board will gradually be adjusted, in accordance with the standards of a listed company, to encompass greater diversity to meet relevant governance and regulatory requirements.”
Google continues to refresh the UI paradigm on Android smartphones, with its new Messages app including new features, such as the new profile page design and the chat bar at the bottom of the screen:
“All of these recent changes to Google Messages clearly show that Google is working very hard to get people to use Google Messages as an instant messaging platform with the power of RCS. These UI changes are currently hidden behind flags and may be shown to beta testers when any time soon.”
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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