Google is working on Qi2 support for future Pixel devices
At the beginning of 2023, the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) — the open standards development group responsible for Qi charging — announced Qi2. Based on Apple's MagSafe technology, the new standard fixed a longstanding issue with wireless charging: having to align the device properly with the charging pad for the power transfer to work. The WPC indicated that the first Qi2-compatible devices would launch later this year. That time has nearly arrived. And while the Pixel 8 series lacks support for the new wireless charging standard, there are signs that Google is working on adding Qi2 support to future Pixel devices.
The company has denied rumors of working on a budget foldable phone
The best foldable phones are expensive, with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 costing a whopping $1,800. If you don't want an open book-style foldable, there is also the Galaxy Z Flip 5. It is priced much more reasonably at $1,000, but you don't get a big folding screen like on the Fold. Motorola launched the impressive flip-foldable Moto Razr (2023) for $600 this year, showing that folding phones don't necessarily have to be expensive. If you were hoping that Samsung might follow suit next year, prepare for disappointment.
Teamed up with Sunbird, Nothing wants to bridge the gap between iOS and Android
Although Nothing is still a relatively new entry into the ever-shrinking Android wars, its first two smartphones still managed to leave us impressed. The Nothing Phone 1 was a solid mid-range attempt at breaking into the industry, while its successor — the aptly named Nothing Phone 2 — managed to improve in nearly every way while finally arriving in North America. We're still months away from a potential launch for the Nothing Phone 3, but that isn't stopping the company from making an announcement that is as exciting as it is likely to be controversial.
HarmonyOS Next will not include Android app libraries
The US sanctions knocked the wind out of Huawei's smartphone business. Due to the ban, the Chinese company could not use US technology in its phones, which also cut off its access to Android. To ensure its survival and as a part of its strategy to diversify away from US tech, Huawei announced HarmonyOS in August 2019, its cross-platform Android replacement. Despite the company claiming otherwise, the OS was based on Android and supported Android apps. Four years later, Huawei appears ready to ditch Android app support in its OS.
Samsung wants to update all its devices to Android 14 before the end of 2023, at least in Europe
Samsung commenced the One UI 6 rollout for the Galaxy S23 series at the end of October. The update was initially only available in Europe, with its availability slowly expanding to the US and other key markets in the following weeks. Samsung is also publicly beta testing the Android 14 update for several other phones, including the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5. The Korean giant has now shared a One UI 6 rollout schedule, revealing when the best Galaxy phones will get the next version of Android.
Android device makers did not like Qualcomm’s proprietary satellite communication technology
With the iPhone 14 series in 2022, Apple debuted satellite connectivity for emergency purposes. This allowed users to contact emergency services when they required help and were stuck in an area with no mobile network. More than a year later, none of the best Android phones provide a similar feature. This is despite Google and Qualcomm teasing satellite connectivity support on Android 14 ahead of the iPhone 14's debut. Qualcomm followed this by announcing the Snapdragon Satellite for two-way satellite communication at CES 2023. If you were eagerly waiting for an Android phone to launch with satellite connectivity, your wait just got longer.
Meanwhile, the wait continues for Nothing Phone 1 owners
London-based electronics brand Nothing has been on a roll lately. If it isn't revealing the products that were in the pipeline only to be unceremoniously killed later, the company was launching new devices, including a smartwatch, under its sub-brand CMF. Amidst all these developments, the manufacturer started rolling out its first open beta of Nothing OS 2.5 — based on Android 14 — solely for the Nothing Phone 2. Less than a month later, the company is now ready with the Nothing OS 2.5 Open Beta 2, available to all Phone 2 owners, with no additional info on when it would make it to the older Phone 1.
Oppo claims its HyperTone camera can go toe-to-toe with Apple and Samsung
Oppo's Find X5 stepped up its camera game thanks to a partnership with Swedish camera maker Hasselblad in 2022. The collaboration has been all about jazzing up Oppo's smartphone cameras with color science innovations. And this trend isn't stopping anytime soon. Oppo is still chasing the camera crown, extending its partnership with Hasselblad to cook up even more powerful camera systems for its future flagship smartphones.
Before applying for bootloader unlocking permission, you must attain level 5 status in Xiaomi’s community
MIUI started as a custom ROM for some popular Android devices back in the day before Xiaomi began using it as the default skin on its devices. Given that the third-party developer community helped Xiaomi (and MIUI) become popular back in the day, you'd expect the company to have a soft corner for them. Sadly, that does not appear to be the case, with Xiaomi making it more difficult than ever to unlock the bootloader of its phones running HyperOS.
Expect to hear more about Galaxy AI in the next few months
All major companies are going all in one AI to boost the usability of their products and devices. It also helps that AI is among the hottest trends in the industry right now, allowing companies to attract consumers easily. Rumors suggest that Samsung will heavily integrate AI into the Galaxy S24 series to outwit the Pixel 8 and boost the sales of its upcoming flagship. Confirming these rumors, the Korean giant has teased some AI-powered features that will debut on the Galaxy S24 series next year.
The company has really stepped up its update game this year
Slow OS updates have long been a problem in the Android ecosystem. Thankfully, things have improved in recent years, especially with Samsung taking charge. Following the release of Android 14, Xiaomi was the first company to seed the update to its selected flagship devices. Samsung followed suit, with the One UI 6 update available for the Galaxy S23 series in limited regions. Sony is now joining them and has officially announced the Android 14 rollout for the Xperia 1 V in Europe.
The company hopes on-device AI will boost Galaxy S24's demand
AI is the hottest buzzword in the tech industry right now. It holds the potential to fundamentally change how we use many of our devices and services daily. Unsurprisingly, many Android manufacturers are in a race to integrate AI-powered features into their phones to entice more customers. Rumors suggest Samsung could outwit the Pixel 8 in AI prowess. For this, the Korean giant reportedly plans to integrate OpenAI's ChatGPT or Google Bard on its upcoming flagship phones. The company hopes this will allow it to ship 35 million Galaxy S24 units next year.
The Moto G Power (2024) could pack a bigger display than its predecessor
Motorola makes some great budget Android phones, offering excellent value for money for the specs they pack. We liked the company's Moto G Power earlier this year, as it was a safe and reliable option packing a relatively big 6.5-inch 120Hz LCD panel, a beefy 5,000mAh battery, and a MediaTek Dimensity 930 chip. But that was over six months ago, which is a long time in the smartphone world. Motorola is now working on the Moto G Power's successor, and the first renders of the phone have leaked online, giving us a look at all the changes that are possibly in store.
In October, we reported on the rumor that the Exynos-Snapdragon split among different models of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S24 was coming. This was all too familiar news for Samsung users, those of which had to deal with the Samsung Galaxy S22 days of the split. Depending on where you lived, you could only get either the Samsung-created Exynos 2200 as the SoC or the Qualcomm-created Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. After rumors swirled for months, Qualcomm indirectly gave us confirmation that the complex issue has returned with strength this time around.
Along with 5G connectivity issues and the phone getting excessively warm
The Google Pixel 6 lineup was infamous for its poor connectivity issues. The Exynos modem inside the Tensor G1 was outdated and a power hog, leading to poor connection, frequently dropped calls, and excessive battery drain. Google switched to a newer Exynos 5300 modem on the Pixel 7, which promised better performance. In the months following the phone's release, though, users kept reporting excessive battery drain when using mobile data, raising concerns about the power efficiency of the Exynos modem. Sadly, the Pixel 8 appears to have the same set of issues.
Without support for the local language, though
The Personal Safety app on Google Pixels offers several features that could be useful in an emergency, like Emergency SOS and Safety Check. There's also Car crash detection, in which your Pixel phone can automatically determine when you are involved in a car accident and contact emergency services. But like some of the best Pixel features, this one, too, is available in limited countries. Thankfully, Google is expanding that list by bringing car crash detection on Pixels to five new countries.
The issue has been marked as fixed in Android’s public tracker
It is common for new Android phones to launch with some weird issues or bugs. Typically, the device manufacturer rolls out an OTA update days (or weeks) after a phone's launch to address all the reported issues. Google's latest Pixels are no different, with many Pixel 8 Pro users reporting a yellow and reddish-pink tint on the Always On Display. If you were worried that you received a faulty Pixel 8 unit, that's not the case. Google has acknowledged the bug and promised a fix in a future Android release.
Game Launcher gets a new name with more to come 'over time'
With everything from phones to TVs supporting games, more companies are exploring cloud gaming to tap into an additional revenue source. Samsung is one of these businesses, and it’s believed that the company has already begun looking into cloud gaming for Galaxy phones. Now, its mobile gaming app has received a name change, but much has been left to desire in terms of features.
TSMC-produced Tensor chips would have to wait until at least 2025
More tech giants are looking to develop components for the devices they manufacture, and Google is no exception. The Tensor system on a chip (SoC) marked the company’s entry into custom chip development, powering the Pixel 6 product line and continuing to this day in the new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. However, it has relied on Samsung to do some of its heavy lifting, and new rumors suggest that this isn’t going to change anytime soon.
The Xiaomi 14 series defies chipset limitations with a unique workaround
Qualcomm just announced the chip that will power most Android flagships released over the course of the next year, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is so much more than just an iterative update — it's an AI powerhouse that could even challenge Google's Tensor series with its neural processing power. Amazingly, it even managed to do all of this without significantly increasing its price point, something we doubt will be said about the 8 Gen 4 in 2025.