There has been no March Madness in the mobile tech world, but there were a few interesting developments which are worth noting. One of the former top players in the mobile manufacturing game is making a few steps towards catching up with its contenders. And the concept of mobiles replacing computers has gotten closer to full materialization with the new generation of large storage phones coming on the market.
As always, Google is making headlines with a new mobile operating system and a rebranding strategy. At the same time, Samsung made an important step towards a new generation of mid-range smartphones which are powerful enough to render highly detailed graphics.
Until we see a full materialization of these prospects, let us go through the most important news and events in the mobile tech world for March 2018:
Samsung Launches Affordable Exynos 9610 Chip, Delivering Top Level Graphics Power to Mid-Range Phones
This month, Samsung launched a new chipset for mid-range smartphones, the Exynos 7 Series 9610 model. This wouldn’t normally make the news, but a quick look at the features and capacities of Exynos 9610 warrants our attention.
With this chipset, Samsung promises to make mid-range phones as capable of capturing and rendering high resolution graphics as the Galaxy S9 flagship. Some of these features are:
ability to record in slow motion at up to 480 frames per second with Full HD (1080p) image quality
4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels)
facial detection and sharp portrait images even when the photo is taken with a single-back lens
As for the build, Exynos 9610 consists of four Cortex A73 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz and four Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.6 GHz. The graphics processing unit included in this chipset is the same one used for the Samsung Galaxy S9 range, the powerful Mali G72.
The mass production of the new chipset is set to begin towards the end of 2018 and we expect to see it equipped for the first time on the 2019 models of mid-range Samsung Galaxy A8 or A3 series.
Google Launches its Next Mobile OS - Android P
Google has officially launched its next mobile operating system, named Android P. It will be available for a selection of smartphones towards the end of this year. However, for now it is available only as a developer preview for developers registered with Google.
There are not many details on the features which will be included in Android P, except for the fact that the new OS will support displays with notches similar to the ones present in the Apple iPhone X (whose design has been copied by various Android phone brands).
Other features Google has announced include:
- support for smart replies and picture previews in messaging
- ability to stream feeds from two cameras (front and back) at the same time
- enhanced control on background camera and microphone access, limiting the risk of apps spying on phone users
- battery optimization
- improved image compression to save storage space
There is, as yet, no information on the exact date when Android P will start rolling out, but chances are it will happen in the fourth quarter of 2018.
LG Files for Trademark, Hints at microLED Smartphone Screens
LG Q6 ;
LG has not had any exciting news to share for a while, but it has made a definite move towards something big to come. The company filed all the documents required for three trademarks in the European Union. The names of these trademarks are XµLED, SµLED, and XLµLED, indicating that they refer to microLED screens.
While the primary devices which are included in the trademark filing are phones and smartphones, LG has also specified tablets, wearables, laptops and smart/VR glasses on the list. It is unclear at present how the company intends to use the technology for which it wants to secure the trademarks. The upcoming smartphone to be released by LG, G7 (not confirmed as the actual release name) will be equipped with a MLCD+ panel.
Whether the microLED screens will make their debut on a smartphone or another type of device created by LG we do not know, but the extensive list of devices specified by the company indicates that it may have more ambitious plans than simply creating a new smartphone screen.
Luxury Watch Brand Hublot Launches its First Smartwatch Running on Wear OS
Google had barely rebranded Android Wear as Wear OS and the operating system was already equipped on a prestigious device: the first smartwatch developed by luxury watch brand Hublot.
The smartwatch was design in collaboration with FIFA and will be used by referees in during the 2018 World Soccer Championship held in Russia. The device was named Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and will be produced in a limited edition of 2,018 units.
A series of uniquely customized smartwatches will be created especially for each referee serving in the soccer tournament. All devices will be made of Kevlar and titanium and will have a 13.9 mm thick body. The default interface of the Hublot smartwatch will be an analog watch.
The apps installed on the smartwatch will deliver real-time notifications of goals scored, yellow and red cards, and final match results. The referees will have access to specific information, such as instant replays and a visual trajectory of the ball. Also, the watch will vibrate when the ball crosses the goal line.
The price of Hublot Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia watch will be in line with the value of the brand’s other products–around $5,200.
The Generation of 512GB Storage Phones is Here
At an exclusive launch event held on March 27 in Paris, Huawei revealed the HUAWEI P20 and HUAWEI P20 Pro;
Although flagship smartphones are powerful enough to replace a computer for general purpose use, they have lacked one thing: generous storage space. However, this will soon change. Huawei is working on a phone which will feature 6GB of RAM and 512GB of storage–twice the capacity offered by the top version of Apple’s iPhone X.
This rumored PC-like storage capacity was featured among the specifications of an upcoming Huawei smartphone model included on the official website of the People’s Republic of China’s regulatory agency, TENAA.
As we have reported in one of our previous monthly round-up articles, Samsung started mass production of 512GB storage drives for smartphones in December 2017. However, there is no official confirmation whether Huawei will use one of these drives, or develop its own. What is certain is that it is unlikely that Huawei P20, the next model announced by the company, will feature this generous storage space. It is more likely that the exclusive Porsche version of the P20 will debut the new storage drive.