Looking back at seven days of news and headlines across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit includes the latest Galaxy S23 leaks, Samsung’s SnapDragon decision, OnePlus confirms OnePlus Pad, smartphone sales fall, Android 13’s successful rollout, Google plans old app block, quick pairing for phones and a potential phone from Coca-Cola.
Android Circuit is here to remind you of some of the many things that have happened around Android this past week (and you can find the weekly Apple news roundup here).
The cover for the Galaxy S23
“More Galaxy S23 series official cases and designs have appeared online through leaked renders. They reveal clear cases, colored silicone cases and S-View Flip cases for both the rounder Galaxy S23/S23+ and the boxier Galaxy S23 Ultra. renders . .. also reveal screen protectors for the Galaxy S23 series, and they offer a closer look at some of Samsung’s design decisions for 2023, i.e. the circular rear-facing cameras.
Samsung is preparing a Snapdragon for everyone
Samsung’s upcoming family of Galaxy S23 smartphones looks more and more likely to be powered by the latest SnapDragon 8 Gen 2 system-on-chip across all global variants. It is going to provide a continuity of hardware the platform has not seen for a long time:
“A new report from Daum adds further confirmation that Samsung will use Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in all global models of the Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra. This has been expected for months, but only seems more certain as we get closer to official launch.”
OnePlus sneaks out pillow photos
We got our first official look at the OnePlus Pad – the first tablet from OnePlus – this week when teaser images appeared on official landing pages for the company’s upcoming February 7 event. What can we expect?
“In the official images, we can see a large round camera bump, which looks exactly like the one on the OnePlus 11. If you zoom in, you can see that there is a single camera lens and an LED flash, but cameras are not that important on tablet. It’s also very green. The second photo shows the sides of the tablet, which appear to be flat aluminum. There’s even a large, flat oval on the side of the tablet, which usually means a fingerprint sensor on the side.”
Smartphone sales fall back in 2022
Data from IDC’s mobile tracking has confirmed that Q4 2022 smartphone sales plunged 18.3 percent year-on-year to a shade over 300 million units.
“The fallout marks the largest decline ever in a single quarter and contributed to a steep 11.3% decline for the year. 2022 ended with shipments of 1.21 billion units, representing the lowest annual shipment total since 2013 due to significantly subdued consumer spending demand, inflation and economic uncertainty This tough industry of the year puts the expected 2.8% increase for 2023 in serious jeopardy with major downside risks to the forecast.
More than thirteen
Unlike Apple, Google does not have direct control over all Android phones to roll out an update to the operating system. Changes to Android have made it easier for Google to roll out updates, and that reflects the relatively higher rate of Android 13 adoption compared to previous versions:
“The new update is the first since August 2022, right before the launch of Android 13. In the last five months, Android 13 has reached 5.2% of devices, including those from Samsung, OnePlus, Sony and, naturally, Google. The slightly older Android 12 and 12L also increased the usage share from 13.5% to 18.9%. Overall, about half of all Android devices are running Android 11 or higher.”
No more apps for you
Inside the latest version of the Android Open Source Project are changes that can make it significantly more difficult to sideload Android apps from older versions of Android. Currently, Google has a Play Store requirement that apps address Android 12 or later. While sideloading apps from outside the Play Store is possible now, this change will make it far more difficult to do so with Android 14:
“The goal is obviously to help stop the spread of malware, at least on Android phones, which is often done through sideloading outdated apps. Google will apparently initially block apps that target older Android versions. The threshold will then gradually raised to Android Marshmallow, with the minimum requirements expected to be updated as newer Android versions are released.”
Set up the phone with the phone
Google is preparing to expand Fast Pair. Currently, this AndroidOS feature allows peripherals to quickly connect and set up with your phone. Tucked away in the latest version is a hint of what’s coming next… quick pairing to set up another Android phone:
“Based on what we can piece together, when your current Android phone detects a nearby device that hasn’t been set up yet — whether it’s a replacement phone or a new tablet — it will activate Fast Pair just like headphones can today. From there, depending on the specific device you are trying to set up, you will be guided through the installation of the relevant app to move your data. For example, in the case of a Samsung device, you will install the Samsung Smart Switch app.”
There is a wide range of smartphone manufacturers and there have been many partnerships over the years (for example OnePlus’ collaboration with the McLaren F1 racing team). But some people think there might be a new name joining us… Coca-Cola. Is this “The Real Thing”?
“A number of Twitter accounts have shared an apparent press render of a Coca-Cola smartphone, but the earliest appears to be from prolific gamer @UniverseIce. While it looks very much like a vinyl skin applied to an existing device, it looks to Coca-Cola collaborating for the first time on a smartphone project.
Android Circuit collects 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 the 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!