Too busy to keep up with the latest and greatest news in the world of Android and everything tech? Here’s a special bi-weekly edition of the Updato Android news roundup to help you stay at the top of the latest developments.
The year 2017 is just halfway through and there’s already a wave of news from the Android camp that has kept the fans busy. From Samsung bringing back the grimly Galaxy Note 7 to curb their losses, to the massive MWC event held just a couple months ago, there just isn’t enough time to cover it all in one sweep.
We know exactly how hard it is to keep up with the pace of the Android tech world, even for those who live and breathe it. So here’s our first edition of the bi-weekly Android news roundup post that encompasses all of the latest and greatest stories that you need to know about right now.
Google slapped with a record €2.4 billion fine by the EU
It isn’t a cakewalk being at the top of the search engine market for almost two decades, and nothing says it better than the current predicament of Google. The Mountain View company has been the recipient of a massive €2.4 billion (around $2.7 billion) fine levied by the European Union for violating their antitrust law.
The verdict comes at the closure of a 7-year long investigation by the EU officials into the search algorithms used by the Google search engine. The judgment concluded that the search engine “abused its dominant position by systematically favoring” its own Google Shopping product comparison service.
“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules”
The search engine’s built-in price comparison service has been held accountable for displaying search results that favor products sponsored by Google Shopping, irrespective of their merits. By directly cutting down the effectiveness of price comparison websites and promoting their sponsored products, the EU stated that Google has effectively undermined the fair competitors in the European online market.
While showing their appreciation for the “many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives”, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager pointed out that Google had “abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors.”
When will Google pay up?
As the justice goes, Google itself holds the right to appeal this decision concluded in the EU courts, which could delay the final settlement to the case for years to come. Google made their stance even clearer with their official statement that they are willing to contest the final decision of the EU antitrust allegations and look forward to continuing to make their case.
However, Google has more woes to address from continental Europe, as the company is also facing two ongoing EU antitrust investigations. The first one targets the AdSense business that Google search engine garners most of its revenue from, and the second investigation goes deep on the deal that Google makes with Android device manufacturers.
OnePlus 5 launched with controversies
The young manufacturer from China is back this year with their latest take on the title for the flagship killer Android smartphone in the form of OnePlus 5. Packing a specs sheet that puts even the highly acclaimed Samsung Galaxy S8 to shame, OnePlus 5 is packed with hardware that loyal users of the brand have grown to love and adore.
Equipped with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, Adreno 540 GPU, a powerful dual-camera setup and RAM capacity upwards of a whopping 8GB, OnePlus 5 is just a tad bit expensive compared to its predecessor. While the company did skip the “ominous number 4” out of cultural respect, there is some bad luck that has followed the latest flagship killer regardless.
OnePlus cheating benchmark scores?
While the accusation hasn’t been made the first time, the latest flagship smartphone from OnePlus is also being scrutinized for benchmark test manipulation. According to a steaming report from XDA Developers by Mario Tomás Serrafero, OnePlus 5 comes with software code that enables it to manipulate benchmark tests for higher performance scores that the end-user would not see when running apps regularly.
“This is an inexcusable move, because it is ultimately an attempt to mislead not just customers, but taint the work of reviewers and journalists with misleading data that most are not able to vet or verify. As a result, every OnePlus 5 review citing benchmark scores as an accolade of the phone’s success is misleading both writers and readers, and performance analyses based on synthetic benchmarks are invalidated.”
The information was uncovered from the review unit sent out the XDA team, on which the software was tampered with to bring around surreal benchmark results. The team went as far as to confirm that every review of the OnePlus 5 out there most probably contains benchmark scores that are misleading.
OnePlus 5 not-so-unique design
From the location of the dual-camera setup on the rear panel to the rounded off edges and curved antenna bands, there’s a lot about the OnePlus 5 that makes it seem like an iPhone clone. If that seems like a coincidence, it doesn’t help OnePlus’s case that the flagship device from their sister company, the Oppo R11 resembles the OnePlus 5 profoundly.
While some die-hard OnePlus fans may be able to look past this fact, what some are disappointed to see is that the dual-camera doesn’t live up to its hype. Despite the extra megapixels that the rear camera, it doesn’t quite match up against the level at which the iPhone 7 Plus operates. OnePlus even suggested quite vocally that the camera offered 2x optical zoom, which is in fact 1.6x when tested thoroughly by the industry experts.
The controversies have already been addressed officially by the OnePlus co-founder of OnePlus in a series of tweets defending the OnePlus 5. While the record sales make OnePlus 5 already a hit among the consumers, the bundle of controversies is sure to put a blotch on the young and blooming OnePlus brand name.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 leaks, rumors, and release date
The world of Android devices is a competitive one, and after last year’s crash and burn, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is preparing for the greatest comeback ever. After making a solid statement with the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus early this year, the South-Korean giant is reportedly moving full steam ahead towards it S-Pen equipped 2017 flagship phablet.
As the trend goes, Samsung is expected to debut its latest processor (rumored to push up 3GHz+) with Android 7.1.1 Nougat right out of the box. Apart from the processor, Samsung is expected to finally push up the RAM capacity of its smartphone to 6GB, and offer onboard storage in the form of a 64GB and a 128GB variant.
It wouldn’t be a Samsung high-end smartphone if it didn’t sport a ground-breaking display with a sharper resolution than most. Betting on the mobile VR revolution, Samsung is expected to bring in the firepower of an ultra-HD display on the Galaxy Note 8 and take the pixel count all the way to 4K.
Expecting to bring the Galaxy S8’s Infinity Display to its phablet, Samsung will probably bet on its SAMOLED panels with a predicted screen size of 6.3-inch. With the near bezel-less display ratio of 18.5:9 on the Galaxy S8, the South-Korean tech giant could pull off the same minimalist feat on the upcoming Galaxy Note 8.
In favor of keeping up with the wireless charging technology of the future, Samsung seems to push forward with their all-glass design structure for the Note 8 as well. The Infinity Display is hitting all the right notes and Samsung plans to bring it to Galaxy Note 8 as well, which at least seems to be the case in most of the leaks and renders around the internet.
The home button is expected to bid farewell from the front design of the Galaxy Note 8, although a pressure-sensitive screen that resembles Apple’s 3D Touch is expected to make its debut alongside the phablet. With the iconic home button gone, there’s good evidence that the fingerprint scanner will also be moved to the rear panel alongside the camera.
While the Samsung Galaxy S8 was a blockbuster in more ways than one, the camera didn’t really make the geeks salivate over it. If the latest batch of leaks is to be believed, Samsung is planning a huge upgrade in the camera department of the Note 8, with a powerful dual-lens setup to put the iPhone 7 Plus to shame.
Details gathered from a report by famed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that a camera upgrade could bring a 12MP wide-angle lens and a secondary 13M telephoto camera to the Note 8. Trumping the iPhone 7 Plus and LG G6 with a whopping 3X optical zoom, the cameras are expected to offer OIS (optical image stabilization) and the front-facing camera is expected to be upgraded to an 8MP shooter as well.
Galaxy Note 8 release date and price
The flagship phablet from Samsung has never come cheap, but the company is being brave enough to break the previous records with a price tag of over $1000. A popular analyst in the tech circuit, Evan Blass noted that the base price of the upcoming Note 8 could start off at €999, so prepare to have a giant hole burnt through your wallet.
Considering that the Galaxy Note lineup is usually timed to compete with the globally awaited release of the latest Apple iPhone each year, the Galaxy Note 8 release date could be just a month’s time away. Korea Herald has already reported that Samsung has plans to launch the Galaxy Note 8 in August to counter the iPhone 8 release at some time in September.
Nokia 9 rumors and release date
Competing with the top brass in Android, Nokia will be debuting its flagship smartphone, the Nokia 9 this year. Once the pioneer of first-generation “smart” phones and then the engine behind Microsoft Lumia, the HMD Global owned Nokia brand is now counting on its past popularity to break ground on the Android frontier.
The Finnish tech company has already revived its legendary Nokia 3310 as the modern basic phone, along with a lineup of Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 as a part of its budget-oriented Android smartphones. While all of this is exciting, what the real fans have been waiting for is the lucrative Nokia 9, which is being dubbed as the first Android flagship smartphone from Nokia.
Nokia 9 specs sheet leaked
- Dual-SIM support
- 55 mm x 73.7 mm dimensions
- 3-inch QHD resolution display
- Snapdragon 835 processor
- 4GB / 6GB RAM
- 64 GB ROM
- 13 MP Dual-Lens camera
- 13 MP Front camera
- IP68 Water / Dust resistant
- Micro SD card support
Nokia 9 price
While the rumors of the upcoming Nokia 9 have been around the internet for months now, the price tag has been finally leaked as well. Just as you would expect from a flagship smartphone with the top-tier hardware, Nokia 9 is expected to take up a premium price of $699 in the United States and somewhere around €749, making it a direct competitor to devices like the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. While the release date is yet to be confirmed, some expert analysts suggest that the Finnish tech giant could be prepping for a major release as soon as July-end.
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