It’s not even September yet and our week was already filled with smartphone goodies, both of the real kind and the theoretical ones as well. From ZTE’s surprise high-end Axon, to HTC’s fleet of Desire budget smartphones, to Samsung’s almost high-end Galaxy A8 in China, we have lots of new smartphones to fill our minds. And let us not forget the whispers of smartphones yet to come. This is your latest edition of Android Community’s Weekly Digest, covering the period from July 13 to 19, 2015.
To say that this week shows the march of Chinese (and Taiwanese) manufacturers into the main smartphone scene might not be an understatement. To start the week, ZTE unveiled its new Axon smartphone, a surprising change from the manufacturer’s previous “play it safe” strategy in the US. The ZTE Axon boasts of anything and everything in a high-end flagship this time of the year. It’s Snapdragon 810 chip might have some worried, but the rest of the spec sheet should satisfy most. Except for selfie lovers. And the clincher? A $450 price tag.
On the other end of the spectrum comes HTC. After stewing a bit over its One M9 flagship, the manufacturer has decided it’s high time for its wallet-friendly Desire line to take its turn in the spotlight. Four, yes four model are coming to meet every need and budget, all in the US and on major US carriers.
Things are also heating up in China, with a chance of the rise in temperature reaching half way across the world. After almost endless leaks, Samsung has finally made official the Galaxy A8. The fourth in the Galaxy A series (fifth if you count the Galaxy Alpha), the Galaxy A8 is Samsung’s thinnest smartphone to date. More than just looks, however, the smartphone actually boasts some rather decent facilities for a mid-range device. Those who couldn’t afford a Galaxy S6 might actually be tempted to opt for this one instead. Presuming, of course, Samsung brings it to other markets like the US soon.
Not exactly a smartphone but still a notable Android device no less, ASUS has made available its new ZenPad S 8.0 on Best Buy. This is ASUS’ most high-end Android tablet in the market, sporting an 8-inch 2K display and an Intel Atom Z3530 CPU. OK, maybe it’s not its highest model so far, since we’re still waiting for the beefier version that supposedly boasts 4 GB of RAM and a slightly faster CPU. Curiously, no word of the accessories, both cover and Z Stylus, that ASUS revealed last June.
With IFA 2015 brewing, we’re getting a ton of leaks and rumors about upcoming smartphones. The hottest so far this week has been, unsurprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge Plus. And the Galaxy Note 5 Edge, depending on which source you ask. Much of these smartphones have been leaked to death already, and this week adds even more that growing body of unofficial knowledge. But perhaps the most important is the rumor that we need not wait that long to verify all these. Rumor has it, Samsung will be announcing the smartphones on August 12, with a simultaneous launch in key markets on August 14. Not its usual fare definitely but supposedly done to steer clear of the iPhone traffic in September.
The surprise star this week is the Moto G. No, not the Moto X, but its more affordable sibling. Thanks to an anonymous tipster, we’ve got an almost complete picture of this year’s mid-range contender. To anyone still eying a Moto G, this is the one to get. Sadly, if you’re just looking for an upgrade, you might not find much incentive to switch just yet. But we’ll know soon enough, as Motorola has handed out invites to a July 28 press event.
Divining who the next Nexus manufacturer will be is just as much a pastime as guessing the next Android release name. This year, it seems we might have two strong contenders. On one corner, we have LG, maker of two Nexus smartphones already. In the opposite corner is Huawei, who could be the first ever Chinese manufacturer to do the honors. Although arguments, rumors, and leaks are pretty strong for both OEMs, there might be a bit more hedging on Huawei’s case. A close partnership between Google and Huawei could see the search giant establish an app and services network in an otherwise impregnable market, while Huawei could become more favorable in the US market’s eyes.
Not so Soon
Nokia is going to make smartphones again in the future. And by “future” we mean “nothing earlier than 2017”. Nokia has previously made various statements about their plans, or lack thereof, to rejoin the smarpthone race, but this is the first time they’ve put a timestamp on it. Of course, whether they really get back into the market is still up in the air, but the one thing’s that definite is that they can’t really do anything until after the fourth quarter of 2016 thanks to a legally binding deal with Microsoft. Should they decide to make a smartphone in 2017, it will most likely be based on Android. Unless they choose to license Jolla’s Sailfish OS, which would be irony at its finest.
That was definitely a smartphone filled week and there is no slowing down just yet. OnePlus continues to tease the crowd, but their time is running short, with an announcement scheduled for next week. And we can’t, or shouldn’t, forget whispers of a new LG G Pro device, despite rumors of the line’s death, an HTC hero product next quarter, and what might be Sony’s attempt at redemption. So buckle up! Things are about to get bumpy.