This week puts China once again in the mobile spotlight. Startup OnePlus continues to tease its upcoming OnePlus 2 smartphone and the hype is of course being helped by a few leaks here and there. Both Meizu and Huawei release their latest high end wares. Xiaomi, on the other hand, might have just disappointed eager US fans, though it did came close with its Brazilian launch. Welcome to this week’s edition of Android Community’s Weekly Digest, covering the period from June 29 to July 5, 2015.
OnePlus, of course, wants to Never Settle and put out another flagship killer that will generate the same hype, but hopefully not the same criticisms, of the OnePlus. So far, it seems that, at the very least, the OnePlus 2 will be quite interesting. OnePlus’ decision to go with a Snapdragon 810, despite its notoriety, will definitely be something to keep an eye on. Its claim of a faster and better fingerprint scanner also sounds a bit too good to be true.
Perhaps equally interesting are the things that OnePlus isn’t admitting to just yet. Leaks have uncovered what the OnePlus 2 may look like and then some. Though it might mostly resemble its predecessor, it might be distinguished by its metal and glass build, a theory that is reinforced by leaked design sketches of the smartphone. Those same sketches also point to the possibility that at least one variant would have a dual camera setup. Curious, indeed.
Huawei, Meizu, Xiaomi
This week saw two Chinese vendors take their latest stab at the smartphone market. Curiously, both have adopted a full metal design, perhaps alluding to the new trend in flagship models this year. The Meizu MX5 is a 5.5-inch phablet that takes more than just the metal build design cues for existing popular smartphones. Perhaps most interesting about this smartphone is the processor, MediaTek’s latest Helio X10 octa-core. And of course, there’s the unbeatable price tag.
Huawei, on the other hand, sticks to its tried and true design with the Honor 7. More handy than Meizu’s, the 5.2-inch FHD smartphone packs neither a Qualcomm nor a MediaTek, but Huawei’s own Kirin chip, with 8 Cortex-A53 cores, four of which are clocked down to lower speeds. The Honor 7 also sports a fingerprint scanner that boasts more utility than just authentication, though its placement on the back might be a tad strange for some.
Xiaomi didn’t put out a new phone but it didn’t drop a bombshell nonetheless. It isn’t good news, however, at least not for US fans. VP for International business Hugo Barra revealed that the company has no fixed timetable for bringing its hot-selling smartphones to the US market, despite its interest in doing so. Current business practices and consumer habits are pointed out as the reason for Xiaomi’s almost snail-paced expansion West. That said, the OEM did just announce the Redmi 2 in Brazil. Let’s see if Xiaomi’s magic will work down south as well.
Bits and Bytes
This week has also seen a rather interesting mish mash of Android news and it’s a Good News, Bad News kind of week.
Good news, Bad news for Cyanogen, Inc., as it opened a door and closed another. A Lenovo-funded ZUK Z1 is said to be in the works and its most notable feature might not just be Cyanogen OS but its’ 4,000 mAh battery, the largest that would be ever seen in a smartphone. On the flip side, the promised Alcatel ONETOUCH Hero 2+ Cyanogen OS variant has been officially scrapped. Officially, it was because they couldn’t develop an upgrade path from the device’s Android 4.4 OS to Android 5.1-based Cyanogen OS. Unofficially, somebody probably screwed up by announcing the smartphone before they even tested if it were possible at all.
Good news for Sony as DxOMark released its evaluation of the Sony Xperia Z4/Xperia Z3+’s camera prowess. Tying with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, this latest Xperia puts Sony back in the running with one of the top smartphone cameras in the market today, though it is still outperformed by two of Samsung’s finest. Now if only the smartphone didn’t overheat too much.
Bad news for some Android developers, Google will finally be setting the sun on the Eclipse Android Development Tools or ADT. This set of tools allowed developers to use the general purpose Eclipse development environment for Android development but ever since the dawn of Android Studio, it was only a matter of time before Google put the ax on ADT. That won’t happen until the end of this year, giving developers time to transition their projects and their brains over to Google’s blessed IDE. Nonetheless, it will definitely turn some people off who do not agree with the choice of Android Studio in the first place.
And that’s it for this week’s edition of Android Community Weekly. Be sure to join us for another seven days of Android news, apps, and games galore. With things ramping up for August and September device announcements, we expect to hear more juicy tidbits about both expected and surprise smartphones and tablets, so stay tuned!