Taking a look back at this week’s news and headlines across the Android world, including detailed Galaxy S24 Ultra camera review, the cheaper Galaxy Z Fold 6A, Circle To Search arrives on Pixel 8 Pro, Honor confirms MWC plans, latest Redmii Note reviews, Galaxy Ring predictions, and a message from the Play Store.
Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many discussions around Android in the last seven days. You can also read my weekly digest of Apple news here on Forbes.
S24 Ultra Camera Review
With the Samsung Galaxy S24 family now on sale, more reviews and analyses on the three core handsets are published. The ever-popular DXOMark has performed its usual camera-focused review on the latest hardware, and the S24 Ultra has come into sharp focus. The hardware has seen some improvements, but the addition of AI into the software has the biggest impact:
“The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra delivered a decent performance in the DXOMARK Camera tests and was a slight overall improvement over its predecessor S23 Ultra, helped by a 200MP image sensor in the main camera, a range of new AI features, and the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset… It’s difficult to tell to which degree the AI exactly contributes to image quality, but it certainly appears that the new AI tools and Samsung’s existing imaging technologies have helped to greatly improve the rendering of some images.”
Affordable Galaxy Z Fold 6 Hints
With the Galaxy S24 family now launched, the focus will turn to the foldable Galaxy Handsets that are typically launched in late July, six months after (or six months before, if you prefer) the traditional “S” handsets. But there may be something joining the expensive and presumptively-named Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6… an affordable foldable to bring the new technology to a wider consumer market.
“Samsung has three codenames in play for its next set of foldable smartphones. “Q6” and “B6” directly follow up with the “Q5” and “B5” of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5… Alongside those codenames is also “Q6A,” which points to a second variant of the Galaxy Z Fold 6. That’s highly likely to be this more affordable version we’ve been hearing about, and the use of “A” in the codename only adds fuel to the fire given Samsung’s budget-conscious lineup is called “Galaxy A.””
(Winfuture via 9to5Google).
Circle To Search Reaches Pixel 8 Family
One of the key features that premiered at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event was the “Circle To Search” function. Presented by Google, a simple highlighting of an object on the screen would be searched for. This isn’t a Samsung exclusive, though, as the feature is now available on the latest Pixel handsets through an over-the-air update.
“If you have gesture navigation enabled, long-press on the nav handle to invoke Circle to Search. Those that use 3-button nav, can do the same with the home button, but will lose the ability to launch Google Assistant that way. (Instead, they have to use the hotword, power button, or homescreen app icon, while the Pixel Launcher’s microphone icon is no longer available.) “
4 Honor Asks You To Save The Date
With the marquee Mobile World Congress event later this month, manufacturers will use the moment to launch new phones and demonstrate cutting-edge technologies. Honor will be one of the companies doing the former, bringing its latest phones to the stage and hopefully answering a few lingering questions about its flagship candybar and foldable:
“HONOR’s showcase is no mystery. The brand has taken to X (formerly Twiter) to confirm that it’ll be bringing the Magic 6 series and the Magic V2 series to the event. Both devices have already been announced, but we’re guessing we’ll hear more about their global availability at MWC.”
Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Review
Xiaomi has brought several key features to the mid-range with the Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G (as well as a rather wordy name); both the camera hardware and the crisp AMOLED display stand out. Yet there are some features further down the specs list that is appealing to its target market.
“The light case and its slim bezels are a standout and the display is protected from damage thanks to Gorilla Glass Victus. The generous storage options (up to 512 GB UFS 2.2 flash), the 3.5mm audio jack connector and an IR blaster are also (still) something special in this price segment.”
What To Expect From The Galaxy Ring
Tucked away at the end of Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event, as part of the presentation on health and wellbeing, was confirmation of the Galaxy Ring, albeit with scant details. Forbes’ Jay McGregor looks at the potential for Samsung’s wearable through his experience with the leading hardware in the space:
“The unknown quantity of how Samsung will deploy AI in the Galaxy Ring is the most intriguing part of the new device. The high likelihood of aggressive pricing also will make the wearable accessible. But, most importantly, the competition will follow suit and the smart ring market will grow very quickly over the next two years, which is only good news for consumers”
With Apple’s App Store in the news thanks to the demands for a more open approach by Europe, it’s worth checking out a recent interview with Google Play’s General Manager Sam Bright:
“I asked Bright about this ongoing reputation, which persists into 2024, that Android apps are still not up to the same quality standards as their iOS counterparts, and he said that Google shares that responsibility with developers. “People take their impressions of [Google] Play from the Android apps they use, so there’s a shared responsibility to make sure those impressions are what would make us all proud.” He tells me that, from his perspective, there are no impediments, from the development tools to the distribution opportunities, to developers creating apps of the same quality and revenue potential as their App Store equivalents.”
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!