Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the launch date of the Galaxy S8, Samsung’s new beast mode, leaks of the new Nokia Android smartphone, problems with the Pixel, new smartwatches from Google, reviews of the OnePlus 3T and the Moto Z, and the best apps for Google Daydream.
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).
Galaxy S8 Date Changes
The Galaxy S8 is coming – Samsung has already confirmed that fact in a bid to shore up consumer confidence after the Note 7 debacle – but the S8 might be coming a bit later than you think. The traditional reveal at Mobile World Congress is reportedly being replaced with a date in April… and that’s a good thing:
The reported delay is not only to allow for the battery issues with the Note 7 to be fully resolved, but also to allow the marketing teams to build up increased levels of consumer confidence in the flagship handset…
The push back to April also gives Samsung a different tactical angle to take with its press launch. Even if Apple does not release the equivalent of an iPhone SE 2, the Galaxy S8 launch will come a few weeks after all of Samsung’s Android-powered rivals will have shown off the handsets at Mobile World Congress. Samsung’s press launch will be in the enviable position of making the last move with this generation of handsets.
Read my thoughts on the date change here.
Samsung’s New Beast Mode
One curious new feature for the Galaxy may have is ‘Beast Mode’. Uncovered in a trademark application, the suggestion is that Samsung is going to leverage the greater processing power, graphical ability and increased memory of the handset with a performance the exact opposite of the ‘battery saver’ modes currently available in Android:
Android users are becoming used to different modes that have a bearing on their smartphone’s power. The latest version of Android comes with a ‘performance mode’, users are becoming more familiar with the battery saver mode, and other manufacturers have added their own modes to the basic Android OS – Sony’s stamina mode springs to mind.
Not only would Beast Mode allow Samsung to promote the high specifications on the Galaxy S8 (which will potentially be the highest-specced mainstream smartphone when it is launched), it would also represent Samsung’s return to the cutting edge of smartphone technology. As for the imagery of a beast, it would emphasis the fighting spirit that will allow the South Korean company to overcome the Note 7 debacle.
Beast Mode details can be found here on Forbes.
Taking Two Nokia Smartphones Into 2017?
November saw Finnish company HMD confirm the return of the Nokia name to the smartphone market in the first half of 2017. This week saw some details on the handset leak out (Qualcomm’s SnapDragon 835 and a Carl Zeiss lens were two highlights). But the new Nokia may not be limited to a single handset:
The question now is what approach HMD will take with its Android devices. Nokia may have made its name with high-end smartphones and cutting-edge technology in the first decade of the 21st century, but its financial engine was always focused on the high-turnover handsets lower down the portfolio. Many of HMD’s staff worked for Nokia, and it would not surprise me to see a similar two-handset approach with a high-end model that collects the glory while a lower-priced handset shifts in much higher numbers and delivers more value.
More thoughts on HMD’s approach here on Forbes.
Tapping The Pixel
Early in December Google updated its Pixel smartphones to run Android 7.1.1. One feature added as part of the update was the ‘double-tap to wake’ screen input. Given the fingerprint sensor on the smartphone is to the rear, this made the Pixel and Pixel XL much easier to use… when the feature works. Abner Li reports on the inconsistent issue:
The most prevalent issue is how double-tapping does not consistently wake the Pixel, with some attributing the problem to the device being in Doze mode.
When the system power saving feature is in effect, some users report that Double-tap only works after first slightly moving the device. However, requiring extra movement detracts from the efficiency of having a gesture to quickly look at your screen for notifications.
A Google product manager in the Pixel forum notes that the team is investigating and “working towards a future fix.”