Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the launch of Android 14, the arrival of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, the Pixel Watch 2’s mission, Samsung Galaxy S23 FE released, OnePlus and Oppo’s folding plans, Sony’s impressive Xperia 5 V reviewed, and Murena’s campaign for a privacy-focused smartphone.
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).
Android 14 Is Here
No doubt about the big Android news this week, and it’s the full release of Android 14. Not only is it powering Google’s new Pixel Phones (more on those in a moment), but it takes the whole smartphone ecosystem forward with new approaches, code tweaks, and improved practices all baked in:
“The Android 14 release was expected early in September but was delayed following an additional public beta release earlier in the summer. It will now make its way to countless Android devices from major manufacturers including Samsung, Honor and Xiaomi, through smaller prominent companies such as Nothing Tech and Tecno, and myriad Android-based projects including the community-maintained LineageOS or Huawei’s HarmonyOS.
Pixel 8 And Pixel 8 Pro Launched
This week’s “Made By Google” event launched the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones. The core message from Google is the increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning that is backed into the new phones’ hardware and software.
“Meet Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, engineered by Google and built with AI at the center for a more helpful and personal experience. These phones are packed with first-of-their-kind features, all powered by Google Tensor G3. And they’ll get seven years of software updates, including Android OS upgrades, security updates and regular Feature Drops. Take a closer look at the new phones — everything from the beautiful design and new sensors to updated cameras.”
(Google’s Keyword Blog).
Pixel Watch 2’s Renewed Mission
The Pixel Watch 2 is Google’s follow-up to last year’s flagship wearable. Leveraging the Fitbit platform with a range of new sensors. Along with providing a platform to let the Android-based Wear OS platform grow, it brings more fitness and activity tracking options to consumers:
“We’ve made some big improvements from the original Google Pixel Watch, both inside and out: Pixel Watch 2 comes with upgraded performance, all-day battery life (with always-on display), new safety features and sensors for deeper health insights — including our most accurate heart rate tracking on any tracker or smartwatch2 — to give you a much better pulse on your day.”
Samsung Returns To The Galaxy S Fan Edition
Also on the release front, although on a slightly quieter scale, is Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Fan Edition. The FE models tend to launch six months after the main line handsets and offer broadly similar specs in a more affordable package. Samsung skipped a year, so the S23 FE follows on from 2021’s S21 FE. What do you gain from going for an FE over the regular model?
“Performance-wise, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE should do fine, but the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 was known for getting a bit warm and draining a lot of power, which means battery life probably won’t be as good here as it is on other Galaxy S23 phones. This processor can also throttle significantly under heavier loads, but that may not be a huge deal to you if you’re not using the phone for gaming. The good news is that the Galaxy S23 FE comes with a 4,500mAh battery, which is far bigger than the standard Galaxy S23 with its 3,900mAh unit, so that will likely offset the more inefficient processor.”
Oppo And OnePlus Meet In The Middle
Previously, Oppo has been expected to launch a new foldable phone called the Oppo Find N3. Also, previously, OnePlus is expected to launch its first foldable phone called the OnePlus Open. This week, Chief Product Office Pete Lau confirmed that the two phones are the same phone and will launch in various territories around the world badged by either Oppo or OnePlus:
“OnePlus and Oppo are releasing the same foldable phone under different names, OnePlus confirmed in an announcement emailed to The Verge today. The company says that Oppo chief product officer Peter Lau, who co-founded OnePlus, directed teams at both companies to develop the phone in tandem to be released under both brands in different markets, though the email did not say which phone will go where.”
The Small Sony Smartphone Shooter
Sony’s Latest smartphone, the Xperia 5 V, with a taller aspect ratio, classic I/O ports such as the headphone jack and microSD expansion, and a powerful camera suite… all in a small form phone with just a 6.1 inch screen:
“With the Xperia 5 V, Sony is once again moving away from the well-trodden smartphone path. This is not only noticeable in the slim casing in 21:9 format, but also in the selfie camera in the frame and two features that have become rare in the smartphone premium class: a 3.5-millimeter jack and a microSD slot.
“The Xperia 5 V also deserves praise for its long-lasting battery, bright OLED panel and good stereo speakers. However, you also have to accept that the display’s edges are quite wide, that only relatively little free storage is available, and that the update period is comparatively short by upper-class standards.”
Murena, the company that promotes user privacy on phones and in the cloud has launched a Kickstarter to support its second privacy-focused phone, the titular Murena 2. It’s already a success, passing the goal to be funded, but those looking for a more private phone can still join and support the phone:
“Privacy shouldn’t be a complication. It needs to be accessible for everyone. The privacy switch allows you to control your microphones and cameras directly, with only an action from your finger! Move it down and your cameras and microphones are switched off, and move it up to turn them back on. Not only is this a convenient and swift way to increase your privacy, but also a solid guarantee that your life is not being snooped around anymore.”
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!