Taking a look back at 7 days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the Galaxy S8 release date, cost, and new images, Nokia’s flagship handset that might miss Mobile World Congress, the other handsets expected to launch at MWC, Samsung’s dramatic fall after the Note 7, Blu’s new European handset, Microsoft’s continued invasion of Android, and a possible Oreo with Android 8.
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).
Who Knows The Time? Who Knows The Date?
Lets start with the big question. If not at MWC, when will the Galaxy S8 be announced? Following that, when will it be available to buy? Gordon Kelly has been investigating:
Straight out of Samsung’s home country of South Korea is a report from ETNews which claims Samsung will introduce the Galaxy S8 at an event in New York on March 29th. It will then go on sale to the public on 21st April. This ties in with previous reports that the US will be the company’s chosen destination after it ruled out a launch at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress later this month.
Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge (image: Ewan Spence)
How Much Will The Galaxy S8 Cost?
Just as the news of Apple’s $1000 iPhone sends the iFans to their savings accounts, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 could be about to raid the piggy banks of its supporters for the same amount. Will the new features and technology in the S8 and S8 plus be enough to justify the price? Forbes’ contributor Gordon Kelly looks at Samsung’s financial choice:
A database leak reveals the Galaxy S8 (SM-G950) and Galaxy S8 Plus (SM-G955) will start at $950 and $1,050 after a currency conversion. The caveat is electronics have different costs in different countries, but even factoring this into the equation the 2017 models carry a circa $100 premium over last year’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.
Images Of The S8 Confirm Details
Have we seen the clearest image of the Galaxy S8 yet? This week saw alleged images of Samsung’s flagship appear online. Gordon Kelly takes a closer look and is confident that the leaky supply chain has struck gold once more:
As such – in what has become a tradition in recent years – there remains very little mystery left for Samsung to wow us with when it does finally unveil the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus in April. Perhaps the biggest outstanding mystery is the camera since all we know is Samsung will not join the dual camera trend set by Apple, Huawei and others.
Personally I’m also intrigued to see what Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus variants Samsung will inevitably release in different markets. For example the US is likely to get the short end of the stick with Qualcomm chipsets (the Snapdragon 835 to be precise), while Exynos powered models (which have been faster and more efficient in recent years) will be sold elsewhere.
The images highlight the curved edge-to-edge screen, the size difference between the S8 and the S8 Plus, and loss of a physical home key. More thoughts from Kelly here.
Nokia 6 (image: HMD Global PR)
Nokia 8 Details Leak Ahead Of MWC
Chinese retail website JD.com may have leaked details of Nokia’s premium device that may or may not be launched at MWC (Parent company HMD could decide to hold back the Nokia 8 for later in 2017 and focus on low- to mid-range devices in Barcelona, we’ll find out on Sunday). Along with product images and model numbers, JD.com’s listing details the color options that it will offer alongside the existing Nokia 6 on sale in China. Rohith Bhaskar reports:
The phone is expected to ship with a 5.7 inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560×1440 and from the looks of it, the image seems to match up with that spec, the phone shows off a slim profile and almost no bezels. There are rather large chins on the top and bottom on the front of the phone and on the back, the big camera is expected to be a 24 Megapixel sensor with optical image stabilisation.
The rumours also point to a Snapdragon 835 powering the phone with 4GB of RAM. The internal storage is expected to be 64GB but there are talks of a 128GB variant as well. There may be a 12MP camera on the front and the phone is expected to ship with Android Nougat on board.
What Can Android Fans Expect From MWC?
Next week is Mobile World Congress, and manufacturers from around the world will descend on Barcelona to show off the latest ideas, technology, handsets, and future concepts. Edoardo Maggio rounds up the handset rumors and notes that Sony is playing its cards close to its corporate chest:
Sony is a bit of a wildcard, honestly. Rumor has it that the company plans to launch a successor to last year’s Xperia X, whose line also debuted at MWC. We don’t know how many phones they will have on display, nor exactly what kind of device they intend to launch; between the Z5 Premium, X Performance and XZ Sony’s lineup has been astoundingly confusing as of late. There’s probably less information around than just about anyone else, and yet the Japanese firm is likely the one who needs to answer more questions.
Samsung’s Dramatic Fall After The Note 7
The biggest hurdle for the Galaxy S8 to overcome is the impact of the Galaxy Note 7. When your flagship phablet is held up as a burning torch that is banned from almost every form of public transport, you will have trust issues with consumers. Harris Poll’s Reputation Quotient placed Samsung third at the start of 2016 (behind Apple and Google). This year’s report? Forty-ninth. Amar Toor reports:
Samsung’s reputation among US consumers took a major hit last year, an annual survey has found, as the Korean manufacturer struggled with the fallout over its Galaxy Note 7 recall. As The Korea Herald reports, Samsung came in 49th in this year’s Reputation Quotient Ratings from Harris Poll, which ranks the 100 most visible companies in the US according to public reputation. In last year’s ratings, Samsung ranked third, ahead of Apple and Google.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (Image: Samsung Press)
Driving Down Price As Specifications Go Up
Miami-based smartphone manufacturer Blu has launched a new handset ahead of MWC. The Blu Life Max is available unlocked for £110, although the opening promotion offer of a £20 discount means the handset is one of the cheapest Android devices with a fingerprint sensor. From the press release:
The Blu Life Max;s 3700 mAh super battery highlights the enormous power capacity, enough for up to three days of standard usage without having to recharge. Other features include a vibrant 5.5-inch HD display, curved glass, and ultra-fast fingerprint sensor.
…[It] is now available exclusively at Amazon.co.uk, unlocked, with European 4G network support for £109.99 including a case, screen protector, and premium stereo headphones, free inside the box.
Expect this to be one of many handsets from MWC that offers solid specifications at a competitive price to the European market.
The Cuckoo’s Calling With Skype Lite
Microsoft continues to bring out products for Android (and iOS) that help bring users into its own cloud. This week’s slow invasion of Google’s ecosystem comes in the form of Skype, specifically a low-bandwidth client suitable for smartphones with lower specifications and limited connectivity in the thriving Indian market. Harish Jonnalagadda reports:
Skype Lite lets you make audio and video calls to other Skype users, with the service automatically switching to HD calls once it detects that it’s on a fast connection. The app itself is lightweight, coming in at just 13MB, and comes with SMS support, along with a built-in filter that blocks spam messages. You’ll be able to easily track the app’s data usage, and it also features chatbots that provide the latest news or sports scores.
Android N Devices (image: Google.com)
Another major version of Android means another code letter as it is developed. Android will be brought to you in 2017 by the letter ‘O’, but what sweet-toothed title will it end up carrying? Chris Smith points out that the trolling has already started… by Google!
It’s unlike Google to reveal the final name of its upcoming Android version before said version is actually announced. Judging from recent experiences, Android O will probably be unveiled this summer at Google’s I/O 2017 event, and then it’ll be released in beta version. Shortly after that, Google will tell us its official name. In fact, we shouldn’t be surprised to see Google take name suggestions for Android O from Android fans, just like it did last year with Android N.
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!
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