Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes new images of the Galaxy S11 design, more leaked details of the S11, Google’s quick fix for Chrome security issues, Honor’s MagicWatch 2, thoughts on Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Alpha, benchmarks for 2020’s SnapDragon 865, the bug bounty program from OnePlus, and a landmark for SwiftKey.
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).
Is This The Galaxy S11 Design?
With all the leaks from the supply chain, government certification bodies, details from patents, and more, there’s a lot we already know about Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S11. It’s all going to be confirmed (we think) at a launch event on February 18th. Until then the combined team of Let’s Go Digital and Concept Creator have taken a swing at what the S11 will look like, as I reported earlier in the week:
“Most noticeable in the renders is the focus on imaging as a key strategic part of the handset. The forward-facing camera will use a ‘punch-hole’ that ceters the selfie camera at the top of the display, while the rear of the S11 will be dominated by an island of lenses and sensors
“When you’re pushing five lenses into the S11 and S11+ models, you need that amount of space at the rear, plus the extra depth in the lens that can be gained by creating a raised island structure helps improve the optical performance. Unfortunately Samsung has allowed the design cues of Apple to go with a style that looks like an Ikea induction hob forced into the corner of the handset, rather than working on something more aesthetically pleasing.”
More here on Forbes.
More Details From Inside The S11
Inside the Galaxy S11 there are some more changes, and it’s worth drawing your attention to the increased battery capacity of the handsets that will be in the S11 family:
“Samsung has made the battery sizes of the Galaxy S11 and Galaxy S11+ publicly available through the submission of these parts for certification at government testing agency SafetyKorea. And its reveals Samsung has stepped up its game.
“Galaxy S11: 4,500 mAh (Battery ID – EB-BG985ABY). Galaxy S11+: 5,000 mAh (Battery ID – EB-BG988ABY).”
And you can expect some spectacular numbers around the camera. With a108 megapixel sensor, Samsung will be using a number of techniques to analyse groups of nine sensors to create a single pixel in the final 12 megapixel image:
“Ice Universe has added a further tantalising titbit writing: “S11+, 108MP, 9 to 1, 12MP/2.4μm”. This means the Galaxy S11+ (and, I believe, the S11 as well) will have a 108MP sensor that bins nine pixels to create one large 2.4μm pixel with a final 12 megapixel image. Samsung has never used pixel binning tech on its flagships before but it’s clear the S11 line-up will be dominated by its massive new camera.”
More on the S11 features here.
Google’s Quick Fix For Critical Chrome Issues
Following some critical issues within Chrome rolled out to Android users, Google first put a halt to the distribution, and then rolled out a bug fix ahead of schedule. Gordon Kelly has more:
“In surprising (and very welcome) news, Google has announced a fix for this bug days ahead of schedule as well as the revelation that the impact only hit 15% of Chrome users, not 50% as it initially feared. In a statement to Android Police, Google said it would also be able to recover user data feared lost. Roll out of Chrome 79 has now resumed.”
More details on the issues here.
Honor Launches MagicWatch 2
Putting the focus squarely on fitness tracking, Honor has released the MagicWatch 2 across Europe, with launches in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom happening this week and more territories to follow in January. Matt Evans has reviewed the new wearable:
“The Honor Magic Watch 2 is an excellent daily health and fitness tracker, presenting your data in a clear, easy-to-read format and containing a wealth of options to tailor to your workout needs. If you’re into swimming or cardiovascular fitness in particular, the Magic Watch acts as well as any fitness tracker.
“The added smart functionalities are the icing on the cake. However, given its reliance on the Huawei Health app and its inability to host more apps, its hard to call it a true smartwatch. Rather, it’s an excellent fitness tracker with smart functionality included as an added bonus.”
The full review is at T3.
The All Screen Alpha Goes On Sale
Following patents filed last year, and a demonstration of the concepts, Xiaomi has put the Mi Mix Alpha into limited production. The handset features the smallest bezels yet for a full screen experience, a single display that wraps around the phone, and in-screen hardware for fingerprint reading, humidity, and virtual pressure sensitive buttons. Ilse Jurrien reports both on the Alpha and what Xiaomi are planning or future models:
“Where the Mi Mix Alpha was a show-off of innovation, future models will undoubtedly be put on the market cheaper, in order to make it accessible to a wider audience. Because the chance is very high that it will not stay with the Mi Mix Alpha.
“LetsGoDigital has discovered that Xiaomi has filed a series of patents with the Chinese patent office for a smartphone that consists entirely of screen surface – without camera side-bar this time and with even narrower screen edges.”
More at Lets Go Digital.
Benchmarking 2020’s Snapdragon 865
Next year’s Android flagships are, in the most part, going to be powered by Qualcomm’s SnapDragon 865 system on chip. This was announced last month, and the team at Anandtech has been taking a closer look at the chip in one of Qualcomm’s reference devices. Andrei Frumusanu has the numbers:
“For what we’ve been able to test today, the Snapdragon 865 seems very solid. The new Cortex-A77 CPU does bring larger IPC improvements to the table, and thanks to the Snapdragon 865’s improved memory subsystem, the chip has been able to showcase healthy performance increases.
“I did find it odd that the web benchmarks didn’t quite perform as well as I had expected – I don’t know if the new microarchitecture just doesn’t improve these workloads as much, or if it might have been a software issue on the QRD865 phone; we’ll have to wait for commercial devices to have a clearer picture of the situation. System performance of the new chip certainly shouldn’t be disappointing, and even on a conservative baseline configuration, 2020 flagships should see an increase in responsiveness compared to the Snapdragon 855.”
More at Anandtech.
The OnePlus Bounty
OnePlus has announced a ‘Bug Bounty’ program as part of its Security Response Center. The Shenzhen-based company is inviting individual users, academics, and security professionals to closely examine the OnePlus ecosystem. From the press release:
“[OnePlus] announced today the launch of two new initiatives to better protect users from cyber threats. Firstly, the new OnePlus Security Response Center will offer a bug bounty to security experts who discover and report on potential threats to OnePlus’ systems. Secondly, a new partnership with HackerOne, a renowned hacker-powered security platform, will tap into their extensive network of security experts to surface the most relevant security vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by external actors.”
Those interested in participating can find out more at OnePlus’ official website.
Congratulations to the team behind SwiftKey up at Redmond, as the alternative (and speedy) keyboard has passed five hundred million installations on Android devices. Corbin Davenport has more details:
“I don’t think it’s a stretch to say SwiftKey is one of the most important Android apps ever released. It’s largely responsible for popularizing swipe-typing, which can now be found on pretty much every other software keyboard. Now the app has passed 500 million installations on the Play Store.
“As is the case with nearly every other app to pass this milestone, a significant number of those installations come from phone manufacturers, including SwiftKey with their phones and tablets. Samsung, Huawei, and others have pre-installed SwiftKey over the years. “
More at Android Police.
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!