Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes a new Samsung Galaxy, a closer look at the Pixel 6a, realMe GT Neo 3 fast charge, Nothing confirms Phone(1) design, Axon 40 Ultra reviewed, and Thunderbird joins the party.
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).
Samsung Gets Ready To Rumble
The consumer-focused Galaxy Z folding phones and the flagship Galaxy S phones are not the only areas that Samsung is exploring. The latest leaks around the South Korean company’s portfolio line-up include a ruggedised smartphone for more challenging environments:
“At the front, the Galaxy XCover 6 Pro 5G’s rugged nature becomes even more visible. The device has thick bezels, and the lip surrounding the display appears to be sticking out a bit to protect the panel in case of a fall. And like other phones in the rugged series, the Galaxy XCover 6 Pro 5G has a side key, a volume rocker, and two additional, configurable hardware buttons. The phone also has a USB-C connector at the bottom and a 3.5mm headphone port at the top.”
Samsung’s New Wallet
Samsung has also launched its digital wallet platform this week. Cunningly called Samsung Wallet, it will debut in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US, offering a digital wallet to sit alongside offerings from Google and Apple. No doubt Samsung will be hoping that Galaxy owners will turn to its technology first:
“Additionally, Samsung Wallet expands Galaxy functionality to allow for convenient new uses such as: Samsung automobile keys on select BMW, Genesis and Hyundai models, along with storage of boarding passes, beginning with a partnership with Korean Air. Additionally, Samsung Wallet seamlessly integrates with Samsung Blockchain Wallet to easily check the value of cryptocurrencies, and SmartThings to unlock doors.”
A Closer Look At The Pixel 6a
Well before the July 28 release date, several Pixel 6a handsets made it “into the wild”, and YouTuber Fazli Halim has not only got their hands on one, but went through a full unboxing video and demonstration of the upcoming handset:
“This includes a high-resolution look at the back of the box. We get a comparison to the Pixel 6 Pro, where it becomes obvious that the Camera Bar is not as tall and barely protrudes from the rear case. There are good looks at the “3D thermoformed composite back with tactile alloy frame.” The back is very much glossy plastic that’s prone to fingerprints, while how it merges into the frame, which looks quite thick in the video, looks pretty tight.”
GT Neo 3 Turns Up The Speed For More Power
Fast charging continues to be a specs battleground, and the latest move in this space is from realme, with its GT Neo 3 set to offer an empty to 50 per cent charge in eight minutes. It’s also the first to sport the flagship Dimensity 8100 5G system on chip from Mediatek, and offers a solid camera package:
“Also reasonably impressive is the Realme GT Neo 3’s 50MP main camera, which showcases a flagship-level Sony IMX766 sensor. It would have been more noteworthy had we not already seen this component in even cheaper phones like the Realme 9 Pro Plus and the OnePlus Nord 2T, but it’s capable of taking decent pictures in a variety of lighting conditions nonetheless.
A Little Bit More Of Nothing
IT’s still a month away from the announced July 12th announcement, but more details on Nothing Tech’s first smartphone, the Phone (1) have been confirmed by the company’s co-founder Carl Pei. Thanks to the detailed photo he posted, we now know what the back of the smartphone looks like, including an illuminated light strip, a circular logo with a slight notch, and stylistic edging for a very 90s look:
“Other confirmed specs of the phone include a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, wireless charging, and a modified version of Android branded as Nothing OS. No doubt Nothing plans to slowly reveal more details ahead of the phone’s official announcement next month.”
ZTE Axon 40 Ultra Reviewed
With a move to a 35mm focal length on the main camera, ZTE’s Axon 40 Ultra is leaning heavily into the imaging experience. The rest of the specs may be standard for a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 equipped phone, but it’s all about the photos:
“35mm smartphone cameras from the early days were limited, but there were no ultrawides back then – today, there’s always the zoom-out button for when stepping back isn’t possible. And the Axon’s main camera, thanks to its unusual specs, opens up possibilities you don’t get anywhere else or not to that extent – mostly in real, actual lens blur, but also perspective.”
Get ready for a new email client for your smartphone (although with a first release for the desktop back in 2003 it feels strange to call Thunderbird “new”). The project will be built on the K-9 Mail client, which has joined the Thunderbird family:
“Joining the Thunderbird family allows K-9 Mail to become more sustainable and gives us the resources to implement long-requested features and fixes that our users want,” cketti says. “In other words, K-9 Mail will soar to greater heights with the help of Thunderbird.”
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!