So far, the year 2019 has some amazing phones. The Samsung introduced Galaxy Note 10 plus, the Galaxy Fold, but the most important phone of the year was $399 - Google Pixel 3A. Right now, the trend is shifting towards budget smartphones like Apple and Samsung finding it hard to justify their $1000 tag prices. The phones which cost around $500 or under are becoming faster, stylish, and have a premium quality camera. Expensive phones are great but they have been almost the same every year. Thanks to Google, Moto, and OnePlus the technology is becoming more affordable.
Google Pixel 3A looks slick, fast enough and has comparable photos from a recent Samsung smartphone. The Pixel3A doesn't sacrifice the picture quality at all. It doesn't have 10x zoom, like Oppo's or an ultrawide lens on the P30 phones but the camera on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3A is still highly remarkable. Even though dual or tri camera is in trend these days, Google uses only one camera and still the picture quality is amazing due to its software. It has 8MP front camera with a 12MP rear camera. The phone's rear camera has autofocus and phase detection. It comes with Android 9 Pie out of the box.
Between the astonishing camera and its pleasant user interface, the3A is a much better to phone than Android smartphones that cost nearly three times as much. The Google Pixel 3A has a Qualcomm's snapdragon 855 chips, while the iPhone XR and XS are powered by Apple's own A12 Bionic chip. These processors are powerful. They shoot to the top of every benchmark test. The Pixel3A can run 3D games like PUBG on high settings just fine. It has a 3000mAh battery that helps it offer a good all day long battery experience. It also includes an 18W Type-C charger that charges the phone very quickly. With the Pixel 3a, Google promises 3 years of guaranteed software support. The smartphone offers a good user experience without any lag or stutter during usage.
Huawei's downfall started back in 2019 when the Trump administration sees the company as a threat to American national security and put it under a ban. The company was placed on an Entity list banning it from doing any business with US companies.
With the recent change of the Government in America, everyone saw it as a glimpse of hope, especially for Chinese smartphone maker Huawei. But Joe Biden's administration didn't prove to be as gentle as expected. Now that President has picked Gina Raimondo as a Commerce Secretary, she said, that she sees no reason why Huawei and other Chinese companies shouldn't remain under the trade sanctions.
She further added, "I understand that parties are placed on the Entity List and the Military End-User List generally because they pose a risk to US national security or foreign policy interests. I currently have no reason to believe that entities on those lists should not be there. If confirmed, I look forward to a briefing on these entities and others of concern".
Chinese Government sees the whole agenda as oppression and an attempt to stop Chinese companies from leading the industry. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman reacted to President Biden's administration's stance, and said, "We urge you to stop this wanton oppression against Chinese companies". Meanwhile, Huawei is witnessing a significant drop in its global smartphone market share.
The company has already lost its position in the list of top 5 smartphone vendor list, with an almost 35% drop in shipments for the fourth quarter of the last year. With these statements from the US officials, it looks unlikely that Huawei will get any relief from the US administration anytime soon.
Huawei meantime is developing its own operating system to replace Android and Google Mobile Services. However, the majority of users believe that it might not be enough. We have to wait and see what the future holds for Huawei and other Chinese companies.
Even if Black Friday is already over, there is still a bit of time left to take care of some last-minute shopping. And if you are like yours truly - having little to no inspiration when it comes to choosing Christmas gifts - you might find it hard to decide what to surprise your friends and family with this Holiday season. Luckily, smartphones are the perfect gift, so choosing one for Christmas is an almost obvious option. Here are some models released this year that anyone would love to see under the Christmas tree.
The Razer phone is the perfect choice for anyone in love with Android games. Its screen is amazing, capable of displaying the graphics of anything between mobile real money gambling casino games available at at Wild Jack and even the most demanding and action-packed titles available today. It also comes with a massive battery to ensure long-term gaming action and a high-quality sound system with front-facing stereo speakers for the best experience altogether.
Released: November 2017. Price: $699
Nokia was once the best name on the mobile phone market and the manufacturer of the world's first true smartphones. Over the years, especially after the brand was sold to Microsoft, its value for smartphone users declined. This year, though, it has once again released some amazing handsets, one for every pocket. And Nokia 8 is its best, a phone worthy of the Finnish brand's former glory.
With Nokia 8 under the Christmas three, you cannot fail. The phone has hardware fit for a flagship, an amazing screen, 6GB of RAM, a dual 13 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, and 128GB of internal storage.
Released: October 2017. Price: ~$670
Xiaomi Mi A1
If your pockets are not that deep but you still want to offer a smartphone that's special as a present, you might want to consider Xiaomi's first Android One smartphone, the Mi A1. While its specs are not exactly on par with this year's flagship phones, they are more than decent: it has an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC paired with 4GB of RAM, it has a dual 12MP camera, FM radio, and a 3080mAh battery. What makes it special is its operating system: it is an Android 7.1.2 (Nougat) Android One on it (the plain stock version of the operating system) planned to be upgraded to a similar version of Android 8.0
Released: September 2017. Price: ~$260
Although Samsung's flagship Galaxy S6 is quite new to the market, rumours have already started floating around the web about the S7 variant. As per a usually reliable leakster @evleaks, the Galaxy S7 is already getting tested in the USA. He specifically said that currently AT&T is testing two variants of the handset: SM-G930A and SM-G935A which would be known as the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge respectively.
According to other rumours, there might be a release for the Galaxy S7 in the first quarter of 2016. As Mobile World Congress is going to be held at the end of February in 2016, there is a high probability that Samsung might choose this event to launch its Galaxy S7. It would take some time to get a sneak peek into the specs - probably near to the date of launch.
Although not much is not known right now, there have been speculations that the device would get a magnesium build, feature a USB Type-C port, and sport 3D Touch-like pressure sensitive display. The Korean company's next gen chipset Exynos 8890 will be powering half of the Galaxy S7 units and the rest of the devices will be powered by Snapdragon 820.
In case you are not aware, Synaptics is a company that's famous for making fingerprint scanners, especially for Samsung. They have unveiled quite an innovative piece of fingerprint sensing tech today, dubbed the Natural ID FS9100 optical fingerprint sensor. It resembles the "under the glass" fingerprint scanner which we have been hearing about so far only in rumors and given the history shared by Samsung and Synaptics of working together, we are pretty much sure that this is what we are going to see on the Galaxy S8 next year.
"Synaptics' FS9100 family of fingerprint sensors represent a new breed of optical fingerprint sensor technology that is designed to meet the needs of mobile devices, including the ability to image through thick 2.5D glass. In addition to opening the door to new industrial design options, it enables OEMs to provide highly durable, button-free cover glass and more easily provide water-resistant products, while eliminating low-yield glass processing" - Anthony Gioelli, Vice-President of Biometrics Marketing, Synaptics
This new optical fingerprint sensor works flawlessly even when placed under 1mm of 2.5D glass. Additionally, it can also detect prints from wet fingers, which makes it a great companion for water-resistant smartphones (like the Galaxy S8). Since it's meant to be placed below the front glass of the smartphone, the FS9100 is immune to scratches and electro-static discharges by default. This is the perfect addition to the S8, now that Samsung has probably decided to remove the physical Home button and go with a bezel-less display.
Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)
We've all heard the stories and the explanations, promises and let downs surrounding the Snapdragon 810. The whole overheating saga has entirely engulfed the existence of the beastly SoC and has rendered it a major market failure. The drama still rages on, especially since a few unlucky upcoming devices, like the OnePlus 2 are still set to incorporate the troublesome chip, but Qualcomm seems to be cutting its losses and moving forward.
The next major step, of course, is the Snapdragon 820, which initially got announced at MWC 2015. It promises cutting edge performance and far better handling of overheating and throttling, a lesson which the manufacturer had to learn the hard way. Since then, news has mostly died out and the chip sunk into the realm of rumors. There were even talks of a sibling, dubbed the Snapdragon 815, but that was quickly denied.
The Snapdragon 820, however, is still on its way and a new report shows that it might be closer to consumer markets than ever. According to industry sources, an initial batch of chips has already been sent to a customer for testing. If everything pans out, we might start seeing the chipset in various devices shortly after.
iOS 8 has been in wide release for just under one week, which means it is time to start looking ahead to Apple's first bug fix update for the software. And, as usual, the first update will be aiming at smaller troubles rather than trying to fix the larger issues that have been found in the new iOS. We've heard about Wi-Fi issues with iOS 8, and there is also the new study claiming that iOS 8 is less stable than iOS 7.
However, as is the way Apple works, we should probably expect fixes for those issues with iOS 8.1 and with subsequent updates to the various third-party apps that are likely part of iOS 8's crash problems. The iOS 8.0.1 Change-log is the following:
- Phone: Addresses bugs with call forwarding and freezing when accessing visual voicemail
- Keyboard: Fixes an issue with keypad not appearing to enter - iCloud Keychain verification codes
- Safari: Fixes a problem with videos occasionally not playing
- Sharing: Fixes AirDrop support for Passbook passes
- VPN: Addresses an issue with installing VPN profiles
Windows 10 may arrive earlier than expected. Previous info had us marking July,29th on our calendars, but Microsoft is testing candidate builds for both computers and phones. Now, Microsoft may go through a number of candidates before ironing out all issues, but the builds currently in testing reportedly look promising.
They are undergoing the review process and a decision should be made soon. There was an impression that Windows 10 Mobile, the smartphone version, will launch later than its computer twin, but now it sounds like both versions are going hand in hand.
The Mobile version has been available as a Technical Preview since mid-February. Since then it has become clear that all WP8-running Lumia phones (and non-Lumia ones) will get Windows 10 though those with 512MB RAM will have some limitations.
After pushing the official Android 5.0 Lollipop update to the Moto X (2014), Motorola is currently testing Google's latest Android 5.1 Lollipop for the same device. The company is known for its fast stable updates.
The Lollipop version 23.1.28 is being tested out with several improvements such as reducing the noise in low-light shots of the rear camera and front-facing camera too. The Moto X (2014) Lollipop 5.1 update is expected to roll-out Over-the-air (OTA) next Month (April).
Device Protection is one important feature that keeps the lost or stolen devices locked even if the factory settings reset is tried and functions only when signed in with actual Google account. Apart from these improvements, there are several under the hood tweaks arriving with this update.
Google has already officially revealed that Android 5.1 Lollipop exists just a few days ago. We got a change-log and some details about this version but no release date so far. A leaked image of a Moto G 2nd generation running Android version 5.1 has appeared online (photo below).
The Moto G on the photo is running a build that is dated on 2nd Feb and Motorola is still testing it. Android 5.1 Lollipop is expected to arrive by the end of this month (February), starting with nexus factory images followed by OTA package updates.
You probably already know that both the S6 and the S6 Edge are going to get upgraded to Nougat 7.0, but what you might not know is the fact that the firmware for the two models is already well into development. In fact, the two handsets are probably next in line right after the final build of the Nougat OS goes live for the S7 and S7 Edge next month or early next year. Even so, it will probably be a month or two into 2017 before Samsung is ready to roll out Nougat to the S6/S6 Edge users.
As per reports, the build number of the Nougat based firmware is currently XXS5DPK7, which is of course, subject to change before Samsung releases the final build for its last year's flagships. It will be interesting to see if they bring the Grace UX even onto the S6 line-up via the update package. Unfortunately, there is no beta program going on for S6 users to opt for and check Nougat 7.0 out. That is a perk which only the S7 and S7 Edge users will enjoy for now.
Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)
For all the latest updates head over to firmwares.youmobile.org
T-Mobile U.S. published its Samsung's devices Android Lollipop update status. The Carrier has already released the update to the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S5 but T-Mobile's Note 4 and Note Edge users are still waiting for their Android 5.0.1 Lollipop update.
According to the carrier's official website, T-Mobile's Galaxy Note Edge Android 5.0.1 Lollipop update status is "In-development", which means that Samsung is still working on developing the Firmware for the device variant. It will take few weeks until it goes Live.
T-Mobile's Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.0.1 Lollipop update status is "Testing..." which means the update is currently under testing by the carrier to determine any bugs or issues. It will take 1-2 weeks for the update to start Rolling-out, if everything in the testing process went smooth.
Stay Tuned with us and keep an Eye-out on Our Samsung Official Updates Status Page.
UK users are still waiting for their official Android 5.0 Lollipop updates. UK carrier, Three, posted some news about the Lollipop updates status for the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S4 devices.
UK Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Update
TheeUK confirmed on April,21st via its twitter account that the Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop 5.0.1 update has finished Testing and will start Rolling-out very soon. The Update brings updated TouchWiz with Material Design and lots of bug fixes and performance improvements.
@_Abbyyxo Hi Abby, testing has finished on the Lollipop update and so we're hoping it will be released to Note 4 users very soon. We don't— ThreeUKSupport (@ThreeUKSupport) April 21, 2015
UK Samsung Galaxy S4 Update
Also, ThreeUK, also confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy S4 Lollipop update will enter the final testing Phase by the carrier by the end of this month (April,2015). The testing usually takes 1-4 weeks.
@bigfeders customers. We should have the Lollipop update in for testing by the end of the month so we hope to have it ready for release in— ThreeUKSupport (@ThreeUKSupport) April 9, 2015
Follow Our official Samsung updates page for more info.
Earlier this month, we reported that Samsung is working on micro-updates to fix the issues caused by the Lollipop update on various of devices based on users reports. The Samsung Galaxy S5 was already updated to Android build 5.0 Lollipop at first, and some other variants of the device, like Galaxy S5 LTE-A (G901F) got Android 5.0.2 update.
Now, Samsung is currently Testing a minor update for the Original Galaxy S5 (G900) with Android Build 5.0.2 Lollipop, the test is also being carried out with the Australian Carrier "Optus". Samsung Galaxy S5 Android 5.0.2 Lollipop update will pack various bug fixes and performance improvements.
According to Optus schedule, the 5.0.2 update should start rolling-out by Early June. Still, there is no confirmation if any of the other Samsung device which are already updated to Lollipop (Galaxy S4, Note 3, Note 4 or Note Edge.. etc) will get the same build 5.0.2 update.