Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this weekâ€™s Android Circuit includes Samsung confirms new Galaxy, Xiaomi’s folding handset designs, OnePlus prepares new wearable, MediaTek wins in chip battle, Huaweiâ€™s European supply struggle, and the smartphone features we do not want in 2021.
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).
Join The List To Join The List To Get The Galaxy S21
Ahead of the expected launch of the Galaxy S21 family in mid-January, Samsung US has opened up a reservation system to get on the pre-order list of â€˜the next Galaxyâ€™. So no sneaky buying a smartphone in the sales you are waiting on something new from the South Korean manufacturer, okay? Asif Shaik reports:
“”Samsung is letting consumers register for the pre-order notification via the Samsung Shop app. If you want to register for the pre-order, you need to click on the â€˜Reserve Nowâ€™ button on the banner image, fill in the required details, and accept the terms and conditions.â€”
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2021 Will Be Xiaomi’s Year Of The Fold
Xiaomi is believed to be preparing a number of folding smartphones for launch during 2021. As the New Year dawned, a raft of patents from the Chinese company have been published, revealing a number of concepts and designs that are presumably under evaluation.Â Ilse Jurrien reports:
“Over time, LetsGoDigital has reported on different types of foldable Xiaomi smartphones…
“Today we are adding no less than seven new designs. Xiaomi has been awarded four patents from the Chinese patent office on New Year’s Day. It concerns three clamshell devices and four telephones with an inwardly folding screen, which unfold into a tablet. We check the different folding phone models one by one.
More at Letâ€™s Go Digital, including a number of designs drawn from the patents.
OnePlus Prepares Smart Look For 2021
Although the Shenzhen-based OnePlus is rumored to be hard at work on an WearOS smartwatch for 2021, there is another wearable that should get to the market first. The presumptively named OnePlus Band, priced at around $40, is going to take on Xiaomiâ€™s Mi Band 5.Â Harish Jonnalagadda reports:
“The fitness band will share a lot of similarities with the Mi Band 5, including water resistance, an AMOLED screen, and multi-day battery life. Xiaomi is the runaway leader in the budget wearable segment, and it makes sense for OnePlus to turn to the budget category for its first wearable. We understand that the OnePlus Band will be debuting in India initially, and will be available in other markets at a later date. The band will retail for under â‚¹3,000 ($40)â€¦”
MediaTek Takes The Chip Crown
One of the more â€˜out of sightâ€™ marketshare races has a new leader according to new research. MediaTek has taken the top spot in the chipset vendor charts, pushing Qualcomm back into second place (although Qualcomm retains the lead in the sub-class of â€˜5G chipsâ€™).Â Ankit Malhotra sums up the findings:
“MediaTek became the biggest smartphone chipset vendor with 31% market share in Q3 2020 as smartphone sales rebounded in the quarter, according to Counterpoint estimates. MediaTekâ€™s strong performance in the $100-$250 price band and growth in key regions like China and India helped it become the biggest smartphone chipset vendor.”
The Struggle To Supply Huawei From Outside America
For much of 2020, Huawei and its suppliers have been dealing with the Chinese companyâ€™s inclusion on the US Entities list. While a number of US companies have been granted limited exemptions to allow them to carry on conducting business, the same is not true of companies outside of the US.Â Yuan Yang reports:
â€œâ€¦one senior European executive said the sanctions had created an â€œAmerica Firstâ€ trade policy, involving exemptions for US companies while groups from other countries are cut out of the Chinese market. â€œSo far, US companies have been given licences to supply Huawei, while European suppliers cannot,â€ said the executive, who asked not to be named.”
Smartphone manufacturers tend to be a conservative lot. The majority of consumers want a phone that just works, but also with enough new features to be new and exciting. That leads to some curious trends (for example, much as everyone wants battery life, the market wants thinner phones). Hadlee Simons looks forward into 2021 to pick out some smartphone trends that need to be quietly forgotten about, starting with the phonesâ€™ names:
“Itâ€™s understandable that weâ€™d see phones receive a â€œ5Gâ€ suffix in the first year or two of 5Gâ€™s global availability, but support has become commonplace among flagships today. Hopefully, manufacturers ditch this naming convention for high-end phones next year. As theyâ€™re set to become less common, wouldnâ€™t it actually make more sense for brands to use the â€œ4Gâ€ moniker to denote 4G models instead?”
Android Circuit rounds up the news from the Android world every weekend here on Forbes. Donâ€™t forget to follow me so you donâ€™t miss any coverage in the future, and of courseÂ read the sister column in Apple Loop!Â Last weekâ€™s Android Circuit can be found here, and if you have any news and links youâ€™d like to see featured in Android Circuit, get in touch!