Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Samsung’s Galaxy S22 powerful AI, Galaxy S21 FE release dates, Xiaomi 12 family launch, Android 11 for the Surface Duo, the new Fast Charge standard, details on the next Razr, and a first look at Android 13 Tiramisu.
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).
Putting The AI Into The Galaxy’s Camera
As always, the obvious battleground for 2022’s smartphone comparisons will be in the camera. Larger lenses, more sensors, and better opticals will all feature on the physical side of things, but the real battle is going to be in the software. Details on Samsung’s approach for the S22 family have come out:
“Now, new information from Ice Universe reveals how new AI-based capabilities will power a significant part of that quality improvement. According to the well-known leaker, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has added a new “AI detail enhancement” button which will give your photos “more details, colors and brightness” than ordinary 108-megapixel shots.”
Samsung Galaxy S22 concept image.
Let’s Go Digital / Technizoconcept
Galaxy S21 FE Launch Date Set
As we head into 2022, Samsung is set to make its final Galaxy S21 move with the release of the S21 FE (‘Fan Edition’) of the handset, taking in as much feedback as possible from the regular release to make an affordable and attractive handset for the community. Steve Hemmerstoffer has the drop on the release date, at least in France. The Galaxy S21 FE may not launch in every region, but it’s safe to assume that alongside France in this initial wave will be North America, Europe, and South Korea:
“According to my source, the #Samsung #GalaxyS21FE will be available in France starting 01/04/2021 for €759 (128GB) and €829 (256GB)”
(@OnLeaks on Twitter).
Into 2022 With Xiaomi’s 12 Series
Xiaomi has launched the latest flagship family with the Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12 Pro, and the Xiaomi 12X (a spec trimmed version of the XIaomi 12, best thought of as Xiaomi’s equivalent to Samsung’s Fan Edition of the Galaxy S series). Shipping with the latest SnapDragon 8 Gen 1 chipsets, new fast focus camera tech, and rapid charging, the expected flagship smartphone specs for 2022 are being set:
“The Pro model’s 6.73-inch panel comes with 1440p resolution and uses an LTPO 2.0 backplane which allows for variable refresh rates of 1-120Hz depending on the task at hand. Xiaomi 12 Pro also comes with an in-display fingerprint scanner and Gorilla Glass Victus protection. Both Xiaomi 12 phones output 12-bit colors and can crank out up to 1,500 nits of brightness.”
A Long Awaited Android 11 Update From Microsoft
Microsoft’s original Surface Duo looks set to receive its long-awaited update to Android 11 in the New Year. Launched in 2020 with Android 10, the lack of an update to Android 11 over the last year has been something of a lightning rod for Duo fans:
“…Android 11 builds have been self-hosted by Microsoft employees on internal Surface Duo devices for a while now. In addition, Bowden revealed he believes the final build was also shipped out to Google, but due to Google’s own policies, it has to be verified before hitting consumer devices. The holidays and the fact that Google and Microsoft are both on vacation also means that there’s a delay in the verification, which is why there’s a long wait.”
(WinCentral via OnMSFT).
That Fast Charger Could Work With Any Phone In The Future
“Fast charging” has become an important part of any flagship smartphone’s specifications. It’s a bit hit and miss when switching between handsets and upgrading – with many systems needing a specific set of chargers paired to a device to achieve the speeds required. Which makes the launch of a new “Fast Charging Association” interesting, especially if it can promote the inter-operability of fast charging int he same was as the Wireless Power Consortium achieved with qi charging:
“According to Chinese media reports, the Guangdong Terminal Industry Association was established in Shenzhen a few days ago. It was initiated in early 2021 by the Information and Communications Institute. This association has Chinese mobile phone manufacturers and leading companies as members. From the list of members, we have the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Honor, and other companies.
“The Guangdong Terminal Fast-Charging Industry Association will coordinate and integrate industrial resources to promote standardization. It will also promote the industrial application of charging technology. This is the first electronic consumer terminal fast charging association in China.”
The Third Return Of The Razr
Motorola is planning a third iteration on its current flip foldable smartphone. The presumptively named Razr 3 has been discussed by Chen Jin, CEO of parent company Lenovo, in a recent Weibo post. The handset looks to bump up the specs, tweak the UI, and launch first in China:
“[the Razr 3] will be entering a more competitive foldable phone landscape with its third-generation effort. For one, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 comes in at just $999 and offers features like water resistance, a tougher screen, and flagship power. Huawei has also just announced its ~$1,400 P50 Pocket, bringing a large battery for a clamshell foldable and a quirky camera setup.”
The long road of updates never ends, so as Android manufactures roll out Android 12 across their extensive ranges, the first details of Android 13 are emerging. What can we expect from “Tiramisu”? One new feature could be in managing app notifications… when apps are installed:
“Google could be taking another step in tackling this menace next year. Android 13 adds a new runtime permission “POST_NOTIFICATIONS” for notifications. This means that notifications could become an opt-in feature on Android 13. Users may be able to choose whether they want to allow an app to send a notification to their device in a fashion similar to how they choose to allow other runtime permissions like Location and Camera access.”
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!