The newest Android name has just been officially announced! Version 8.0 of the mobile operating system has a dessert name of Oreo, so what’s there to know?
Here are eight of the most important ones:
It’s the second Android version to use a brand name
We were rooting for Google to use “Oreo” for its eighth Android version, which hits the letter O in the alphabet, and they did! Most Android names are generic treats like Marshmallow and Nougat, so this should be something special!
This is not the first time that Google used a brand name — remember KitKat? Version 4.4 of Android was a marketing hit due to the agreement between Google and Nestle/Hershey to produce limited edition KitKat candy bars and collectibles.
Manufacturers are already working on updates
In the Android universe, a new version means another round of waiting for the update to reach your phone — unless you have a Google Pixel or Nexus device. So far, these manufacturers are scheduled to update or launch an Android Oreo device:
- General Mobile
- HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones
If you’re wondering if your phone is part of the list destined to have Android Oreo, check out our list of devices that’ll receive the update.
Android Oreo promises longer battery life
As always, a new release promises longer battery life. With Android Oreo, Google has made improvements by limiting the activity of apps running in the background. True multitasking has always been a key feature of Android, but it consumes too much juice. Don’t worry, your 6GB or 8GB memory will not be put to waste; they’ll be just used more efficiently.
Picture-in-picture mode and notification dots are exciting and useful
Speaking of multitasking, the famous picture-in-picture (PIP) feature is going live on Android Oreo. It allows you to continue watching videos while using another app without having to hit pause. A shrunken video window appearing on top of other apps will let you do more while watching, and it’s perfect for YouTube, Netflix, and even video calling. Notifications got even better, too — you can check more with fewer taps.
Google redesigns and adds more emojis!
When the Android O Developer Preview was released to the public, we witnessed the farewell of Android’s unique blob emoji. The cute blobs were replaced with a redesigned emoji set that is more consistent with those from iOS, Twitter, Facebook, Samsung, and more. Android Oreo also gets 60+ new ones because we just can’t get enough of the overwhelming amount of emoji available.
Expect a cleaner home screen with adaptive icons
This feature is not exactly grand, but it’ll make a big difference to the unsightly icons that developers and users overlook. Apple’s iOS looks tidy and neat due to its uniform size and shape of icons. As for Android, it’s always a mess! With Android 8.0’s adaptive launcher icons, users will see a more consistent set of icons. It’ll not be as monotonous as iOS, as the icons will still come in various shapes.
Project Treble will deliver faster Android updates
Project Treble is the biggest change to the foundations of Android, according to Google themselves. While it may be the biggest, it’s something the end user might not notice. With Android O, Google worked closely together with device makers and processor manufacturers to address the concern of rolling out new updates. Project Treble takes on a modular approach by re-architecting Android updates, thus making it easier and less costly for manufacturers.
No news if it’s coming to Android One devices
Android One is still surviving, but we’ve yet to hear any confirmation that phones under this flag will get Android O. If we’re to base how Android One benefits the user, it should be able to get the update on newer models. Google is also working on a similar approach of giving the best possible Android experience on affordable devices with Android Go, but details about it are still limited.
Honor 10 Unboxing and Hands-on
Huawei P20 with a cheaper price tag
Huawei’s sub-brand is making a name for itself with the launch of its flagship phone to the world, the Honor 10.
The phone sports the same features as the pricier Huawei P20: Kirin 970 with neural processing chip enabled, the latest EMUI 8.1 software based on Android 8.1 Oreo, a fingerprint sensor in front, and dual cameras. Two of the biggest differences are the lack of Leica branding and inclusion of a headphone jack — all in a cheaper price tag.
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Vivo unwraps X21 World Cup Edition
It’s less than a month until the 2018 World Cup in Russia and FIFA’s official smartphone sponsor is pulling out all the stops before kickoff. After announcing the much-awaited launch of the retail model of the Vivo APEX concept phone, Vivo is treating fans to what the company dubs the Extraordinaire Edition of the X21. And as expected, it has World Cup extravaganza written all over it.
Based on the box alone you can already tell that this edition of the X21 is not just any other smartphone from Vivo. Unlike the less appealing white boxes we’ve encountered recently, this one is adorned with the 2018 World Cup pattern and an embossed silhouette of the X21 with the World Cup and Vivo logos front and center. There’s also a hint of the in-display fingerprint sensor, a feature pioneered by Vivo that hasn’t rolled out to any other smartphone but the X21.
The special edition X21 comes in two variants — painted with Russia’s colors, either blue or red. The World Cup pattern is a little bit more pronounced in these glass backs and it’s making me sing “Waka Waka” in my head. Wrong song, I know. 😂
Does it not make you go zamina mina éh éh? As far as specs go, it’s the same X21 that launched earlier this year: 6.28-inch AMOLED display, Snapdragon 660, 3,200 mAh battery, 6GB of memory, and 128GB of internal storage, a pair of 12MP and 5MP main shooters, and a 12MP camera up front for selfies.
Flipping the phone around, you get a Russia 2018 wallpaper and a custom Dusha typeface throughout the entire interface. Notice that the phone has a smaller chin bezel thanks to the futuristic under-display fingerprint sensor.
What’s a special edition smartphone without a custom icon pack? I love how the settings icon in this theme looks like a football! It’s subtle design choices like this that makes special edition phones more premium; it’s well thought out and is not just a gimmick.
Speaking of design choices, boy am I ready to see these squads on the pitch! Vivo is also offering custom shells and I’m definitely copping that Argentina case (the blue one) to match my kit. The designs are based on popular teams’ colors, clockwise from bottom left: Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, and what looks like Egypt but is supposed to be Germany — we’ll save the discussion for why it should have had a gold trim instead of white for another time.
The most important question that needs an answer is, did Vivo just predict the Top 4? We’ll find out soon enough. There are also custom themes based on the four teams so it matches your case and your team spirit. They will be available for download on the Vivo theme store.
The best part: Unlike Samsung’s Olympic edition phones, both variants of the X21 will not be exclusive to athletes and officials only. The X21 Extraordinaire Edition will retail for CNY 3,698 (US$ 579), and the blue variant will be on sale starting May 26, and red on June 1.
Samsung Galaxy A6 Hands-on: Repackaging the older series
A combination of the Galaxy J7 Pro and Galaxy A8
The latest midrange phones of Samsung are finally hitting the stores, but they got us a little confused. Since the introduction of the Galaxy A series, it has always been the family of upper-midrange Samsung phones with a premium design. In 2018 though, Samsung is blending the Galaxy A and Galaxy J’s designs; the result is the new Galaxy A6 phones. There’s a regular and a better plus variant, but let’s check out the former first.
This is the Galaxy A6: A phone with a 5.6-inch Super AMOLED display and an 18.5:9 aspect ratio or Infinity Display, as Samsung calls it. The resolution of the display is underwhelming at just 1480 x 720 pixels or 294ppi, but it’s still pretty sharp. The Infinity Display of the Galaxy A6 doesn’t curve to the sides unlike with the Galaxy S9 flagship, yet the bezels are minimal.
We have the usual sight in the front including the 16-megapixel f/1.9 selfie camera paired with its own LED flash, earpiece, and sensors. There’s no branding on the face of the phone so when the display is turned off, it looks sleek and clean on the table.
Too bad it doesn’t have the Always On Display feature, even though it has an AMOLED screen.
Having the loudspeaker at the side has now been a staple among Samsung midrange phones. It’s a much better placement than on the bottom since you don’t cover or muffle it when viewing in landscape orientation. This is ideal for watching videos or playing mobile games.
Those who dislike making a choice between a microSD card or secondary SIM card will be glad to see the triple card slots of the Galaxy A6. There are two card trays inside the phone: one for the main nano-SIM card and another for the second nano-SIM and the microSD card.
The body of the phone is mainly made up of aluminum with U-shaped antennas similar to the Galaxy J7 Pro’s frame. To be honest, the Galaxy A6 can easily be mistaken for the Galaxy J7 Pro if not for the rear camera. Speaking of, the Galaxy A6 has a 16-megapixel f/1.7 rear sensor inside an area shared with the fingerprint sensor. Thankfully, it’s identical to the Galaxy A8’s and Galaxy S9’s placement.
Going further into the internals of the Galaxy A6, it’s powered by an Exynos 7870 processor — the same silicon the popular Galaxy J7 Prime had back in 2016. The processor is getting old, so we’re hoping Samsung will use a newer one in their next release.
Good thing the bigger Galaxy A6+ has the latest Snapdragon 450, or else it’ll be just an under-powered midrange phone.
The variant we have here has 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage, but there’s also a 4GB/64GB combo available in select markets.
The Samsung Galaxy A6 with the 3GB/32GB configuration retails for PhP 16,490 in the Philippines while in India, it goes from INR 21,990 up to INR 22,990 depending on the variant.
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