Android Circuit: New Galaxy S8 Hardware Leaks, Nokia’s Secret Smartphone, Samsung’s Folding Phone
Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes new images of the Samsung Galaxy S8, more details on the Bixby voice assistant and Samsung Pay, the new Android-powered Nokia smartphones for China, Nokia’s plans for MWC, a review of the Huawei Mate 9 Pro, Samsung’s folding screen smartphone, a new gold option for the OnePlus 3T, and ordering an Uber from Google Maps.
New Galaxy S8 Images
Have we seen the first shots of the Samsung Galaxy S8?
The key takeaways here are a design language which fits in with the existing Galaxy S7 Edge (and Galaxy S6 Edge+ before it) and also the consistent leaks I’ve heard so far: significantly slimmer top and bottom bezels and no home button (because the fingerprint sensor is built into the glass).
What the image doesn’t give us, however, is a sense of scale and this is frustrating given Samsung is expected to use the smaller bezels not to reduce the physical size of its smartphones but to give them much larger screens.
As with other manufacturers, Samsung has decided on an evolutionary approach in the design around the new technology.
Pay By Voice
Meanwhile, there’s move evidence that Samsung is working on its own voice-powered digital assistant. Codenamed Bixby, this will tie together a number of Samsung’s first-party apps and increase a user’s reliance on Samsung’s cloud. The latest evidence is in Samsung Pay’s charging options, and comes from Samsung’s own web team:
As part of promoting Samsung Pay on its own website, Samsung’s webmasters uploaded a picture detailing three options on how to pay for goods: “Shopping, Mini, and Bixby”.
Here Comes The New Nokia 6
Earlier than expected, HMD Global announced its first Android-powered handset as CES came to a close. Carrying the Nokia brand, the Nokia 6 is a mid-range handset with a SnapDragon 430, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, and it’s also only going to be released in China:
Unlike the markets in Europe and North America, the Chinese market is one that is still going through its growth phase. Re-establishing ‘brand Nokia’ is going to be easier here than it would be in the saturated citadels where Nokia once ruled. It also keeps supply lines relatively short from the production facilities, and using a single retailer reduces the demand on logistics for HMD, which is still a company in start-up mode.
The Nokia 6 is clearly playing in the mid-range market. Shipping with a SnapDragon 430 system-on-chip is not going to set the world alight in terms of performance but the chipset should be able to hold its own against handsets at a similar price to the Nokia 6’s 1699 Yuan ($245). Leaning on the Nokia brand, pairing up with Dolby to use its Atmos sound processing, and promoting the use of an aluminium unibody all tie in with a mid-range handset that punches above its weight… all of which tie in with the values many expect from the Nokia brand name.
More Nokia Machines At MWC
Although the Nokia 6 is the only handset confirmed, HMD announced a press event at Mobile World Congress where the Finnish company is expected to announce more handsets, presumably for Western markets. Thanks to some eagle eyes at CES, the world may have already seen the premium Nokia 8 handset:
GSM Arena is reporting on a handset reminiscent of the new Nokia 6 with design echoes of previous Nokia handsets. It was being used by Qualcomm to demonstrate the power of the latest SnapDragon 835 system-on-chip to perform image stabilisation compared to the previous generation SnapDragon 821.
The presumptively titled Nokia 8 is expected to ship with two variants – a premium model with a SnapDragon 835, 6 GB of RAM, 64 GB or 128 GB of storage, microSD card support and a 24 megapixel camera with electronic and optical image stabilisation. The lesser model would be the second device in Qualcomm’s shaky rig with a SnapDragon 821, 4 GB of RAM and a smaller camera.
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