Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Samsung’s new gaming platform, Pixel 6 Pro reception problems, reviewing the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro, Xiaomi 12S Ultra’s stunning camera, Nokia G11 Plus review, the slowing smartphone market, and a history of the Sony Xperia.
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).
A New Smartphone Gaming System From Samsung
Samsung’s recently launched gaming ecosystem – the Samsung Gaming Hub – includes support for the Xbox Gaming Pass streaming to your handset. Mihai Matei has taken a closer look at the system:
“Gaming Hub is a Samsung app that brings together a handful of cloud-based streaming services, including Xbox Game Pass… Samsung Gaming Hub can’t run games as well as the Xbox Series X, and it won’t replace your Xbox console, assuming you have one. However, the experience is surprisingly decent. Barring some image quality deficits, performance is more than enough. Of course, your experience could differ based on the quality of your internet connection.”
Pixel 6 Pro’s Not So Perfect Reception
One of the basic features of a smartphone is connectivity – more than any other feature, when this doesn’t work as expected, it’s obvious. How does the Pixel 6 Pro hold up? Rita El Khoury documents the practical impact of this ongoing issue:
“I have never seen the signal exclamation point icon or the Edge/HSPA/HSPA+ icons on any other phones as often as I see them on this one… This issue with poor reception, LTE scanning, and handoff between Wi-Fi and LTE, has become so frequent that I no longer question it. I can anticipate when I’m going to be offline and be ready with the airplane mode toggle under my fingertip to quickly force a reconnection. That trick doesn’t solve the underlying issue, but it patches it up briefly, until the next time when the phone decides it doesn’t want to see any signal around it.”
Reviewing The ROG 6.
The wonderfully abbreviated Asus Republic Of Gaming Phone 6 Pro was released this week, focusing on performance and keeping everything cool to get the best possible platform for playing games into your hands. Mark Knapp has reviewed the new handset, starting with the raw performance:
“In every second of every interaction, the ROG Phone 6 Pro feels like it’s cruising. Jumping back and forth between apps is no problem, as the absurd amount of RAM can hold more than I’d ever imagine necessary. After bumping around the phone, answering a text, and playing an entire match in Apex Legends, I was still able to jump back into a different game and pick up right where I’d left off.”
The Biggest Xiaomi Camera With A Phone Attached To It Yet
Xiaomi has announced the Xiaomi 12S Series of smartphones. As part of the launch, it has highlighted its partnership with German camera manufacturer Leica, noting that “the entire series features different imaging systems jointly developed by Xiaomi and Leica, containing Leica Summicron lenses, and supports Leica imaging profiles, all of which aim to empower individual creators to express their creativity, while retaining the authentic style of Leica imagery.” Ben Sin has an early preview of the camera on the 12S Ultra:
“The Xiaomi 12S Ultra’s main camera system consists of three cameras, headlined by a new 50MP Sony IMX989 camera with a 1-inch sensor with a Leica lens. Xiaomi says the 1-inch Sony IMX sensor was custom built by Sony for Xiaomi, and the optical lens covering the camera was co-engineered by Leica and Xiaomi. The camera also uses pixel binning tech to produce a micro pixel size of 3.2μm. These numbers are insane.”
Nokia G11 Plus Revealed.
Following the launch of the Nokia G11 in February, HMD Global has released a ‘step up’ handset this week with the G11 Plus, offering three-day battery life in the lower end of the Android market:
“Nokia launched the G11 in February, and today, it followed up with the Plus model. The Nokia G11 Plus is built around a 6.51″ HD+ 90Hz screen with a notch for the 8MP selfie camera. The 50MP primary camera on the rear is housed inside a rectangular island, joined by a 2MP auxiliary unit and LED flash. The rear panel, having a textured finish, also sports a fingerprint scanner for biometric authentication.”
Good And Bad News In The Smartphone Silicon Market
As the market for silicon chips slows down and stocks increase, shortages that have limited volumes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic are starting to lift. A number of factors are easing the strain on the market, although it does mean that these markets are slowing:.
“The frenzy to buy laptops and other gadgets early in the Covid-19 pandemic has vanished as inflation dissuades people from upgrading machines that they bought in the past couple of years amid the shift toward remote work and learning. The fading of the crypto boom has also put an end to early pandemic scenes of people camping outside computer stores to buy chips for cryptocurrency mining and high-end videogaming.
Sony may not have grabbed the top spot in the Android market, but the Xperia line of smartphones has seen a resurgence in the last few product cycles. The team at GSM Arena look back over ten years of Xperia handsets:
“We think the launch of the Xperia XZ3 was a pivotal moment for Sony. It was its first phone with an OLED display, abandoning the Triluminos LCD… the XZ3 also moved away from the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, replacing it with 18:9. Sony phones of the previous years drew criticism for their relatively chunky bezels, the XZ3’s new screen helped it achieve a much better screen-to-body ratio. This phone also pushed past the 1080p barrier, going up to 1,440 x 2,880px resolution.
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!