Taking a look back at seven days of news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit includes Samsung’s web page for the Galaxy Note 7, the design of Samsung’s phablet, reviews of the Galaxy S7 and OnePlus 3, Huawei looking at an alternative to Android, Samsung echoing Apple’s marketing, Google’s new coding lessons, and how to use Android Wear on an iPhone.
Samsung Prepares Provisioning For Next Phablet
Samsung is preparing its website for the upcoming launch of its next phablet device, with a user agent profile showing up on its own website for model SM-N930F. If the South Korean company is following its previous pattern of numbers, the N93x designation points to the next Galaxy Note.
Unfortunately (if predictably) right now the UA Page is empty, but it won’t stay that way for long. UA Pages contain detailed device specifications and settings and are typically used by carriers and content providers. So by setting the page live without any of this information Samsung is both teasing and trolling us in equal measure as the hype machine goes into overdrive.
Samsung Going With The Edge
Although the user agent serial number reflects a Galaxy Note designation, it may not be answering the big question over the design of the Galaxy Note. Will Samsung provide a flat screen version, a curved edge version, or something unique? The team at SamMobile believe that the South Korean manufacturer will be providing a single design, and it will go with the edge:
The edge is “the new flat,” with the edge serving a number of purposes for the smartphone experience. Not only can you get news feeds, app shortcuts, and so on with the edge, you can also use the edge to write on the screen (which Samsung is saving for the upcoming Galaxy) and aesthetically, the smartphone as a whole is easier to hold and easier to press against the ear when making a phone call, for example. Screenshots and photos seem to just “roll off the edge” when using the Galaxy S7 edge, for example, but what the next Galaxy brings to the table in the Note phablet will be Samsung’s best work ever.
More thoughts on the decision from SamMobile here, and from myself on Forbes here.
Sometimes Flat And Boring Wins
It might be boring and predictable, but having spent time with both the S7 Edge and the Galaxy S7, I do prefer Samsung’s flatter phone. I know that the S7 Edge projects an air of innovation and cutting-edge design, but sometimes I want a phone that works, as opposed to one that is fashionable enough to get me on a catwalk.
My biggest complaint around the S7 Edge was that the edges of the screen caused many awkward reflections that could obscure content on the screen. With no screen edge ‘guttering’ in the software, almost every third-party application would put menu options or details around the curve. Foreshortening and visual illusions create an awkward look on screen. The S7 Edge screen worked against me, whereas the Galaxy S7 screen works with me. When there are reflections or issues it’s far easier to tilt away the reflections with just one movement.
There’s more to love in the vanilla S7. Read my full review on Forbes to find out what sealed the deal for me.
OnePlus Gets It Right
Like the rule of ‘the third version works’ for Microsoft, OnePlus’ latest handset (the OnePlus 3) appears to have sorted out many of the issues with the Shenzhen-based manufacturer’s previous handsets, while introducing very few downsides. Andrew Martonik is just one reviewer who loves the new budget focused flagship handset:
OnePlus is finally ready to join the big leagues with the OnePlus 3. Gone are the days of justifying missing features with a cheap price, and no longer can we give it a pass for its upstart-style of operation. The OnePlus 3 is the real deal, ready to be compared and evaluated as the flagship phone that it is. It isn’t going to wow you with oodles of new features or headline-grabbing, never-before-seen experiences — it’s just a downright great smartphone, and that’s precisely what most people are looking for.
Huawei Building A Life Raft?
Samsung’s Tizen is well-known, but Huawei could be building its own alternative operating system to rival Android. The Information has more details.
Last fall, Chinese electronics manufacturer Huawei brought in a former longtime Apple designer, Abigail Brody, to change the look of its smartphone software “skin,” which sits on top of Google’s Android mobile operating system. The Huawei skin has been criticized by Western phone review writers as ripping off elements of the iPhone, such as the way the app icons look.
Ms. Brody is expected to introduce features that look like those found on most Android phones, but with Huawei’s own flair. And to hedge its bets against Google’s control of Android, Huawei is also secretly developing an alternative mobile operating system, according to three people briefed about the project.
BGR’s Zach Epstein also talks up this OS alternative.
Samsung’s Curious Echo Of Apple
When your chief rival in the smartphone manufacturing market launches ‘Shot on iPhone’ you know you’re going to get the shade if you go with ‘Captured on Galaxy 7′ to push the improved photographic capability of your smartphones. Chris Matyszczyk talks about Samsung’s latest promotion on CNet.
Samsung’s new oeuvre is called “Captured on Galaxy S7.” Might this remind anyone of the award-winning Apple campaign entitled “Shot on iPhone”? The Samsung campaign doesn’t appear to claim that its ad was shot by real people, as the Apple campaign does.
Indeed, it’s there to highlight the 4K Ultra HD Video enjoyed by its latest phones. The images are pretty and, oddly, not wobbly in the slightest. And, frankly, how else is Samsung supposed to show off its fine video capabilities, you might say.
Perhaps it’s just the tagline that hurts.
Would You Like To Start Coding?
Google is looking to introduce more people to app development this week with the launch of Android Basics Nanodegree, an online-based training program for budding Android developers. Clare Hopping reports:
Google said it is trying to make Android development accessible for everyone, whether they have experience coding or not and so has joined forced with Udacity to provide the tuition for free.
The training covers every step of app development, from building app user interfaces, implementing user interactions and databases to store information, pulling information in from websites and localising the apps to support a wider range of languages.
It will also teach participants how to find the cause of problems and fix them without needing to seek outside help.
Google’s entry in the smartware ecosystem is Android Wear, with multiple hardware vendors able to connect to the wide range of Android devices. There’s another option, which is to use an Android Wear device on an Apple device. Daniel Bader explains how on iMore.
Google says that your iPhone must be on a minimum version of iOS 8.2 or above, which is pretty well over 90% of iPhones at this point. And while Google officially supports the following Android Wear products, we’ve confirmed that many others are compatible, too.
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!