Smartphones

ASUS is working on a ZenFone Mini

Small is the way to go

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For years, smartphones have grown larger and larger. Our pants pockets can’t even keep up. Perhaps fed up with the unbridled growth, some smartphone makers are deciding to turn it down a notch, releasing or planning smaller smartphones for the future. For example, Apple has recently launched two phones of a smaller form factor: the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone 12 mini. Also as a way to refurbish its smartphone business, ASUS is working on a ZenFone Mini, following the small smartphone trend.

According to DigiTimes, the company is working on the smaller form factor for a release this year, potentially going after the iPhone 12 mini’s market share. Last year, ASUS reportedly shipped less smartphone shipments than expected. Naturally, it’s figuring out a way to bounce back from the dip.

Unfortunately, the report did not spoil or hint at any of the potential phone’s specs. Regardless, creating a smaller ZenFone Mini is a good way to expand the company’s lineup. Currently, ASUS still has a flourishing flagship lineup. Most recently, the company passed an upcoming ROG Phone 5 through China’s certification agencies.

Speaking of the ROG Phone 5, the same report hints that the gaming phone will come between March and April. It will come with a bigger price tag compared to the previous ROG Phone 3.

SEE ALSO: ROG Phone 3, ROG Phone 3 Strix Edition price in the Philippines

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Google is developing a Switch to Android app for iPhone users

Making it easier to switch

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Switching between mobile operating systems is one of the most tedious tasks for smartphone users. The task’s difficulty is often a big reason why Apple and Android users stick to their own lanes. To help ease this for switching users, Google is reportedly developing a Switch to Android app for iOS users.

Reported by 9to5Google, an upcoming APK supposedly reveals the existence of such an app. The unannounced app will help iOS users move their data to their new Android devices.

Data transfer apps have existed for quite some time now. Usually, smartphone makers have their own branded transfer apps. This is the first time that Google has its own app for the purpose. Currently (and without the aforementioned transfer apps), iOS owners have to back up their info on Google Drive (or elsewhere) then download them again on the new phone.

Compared to the current way to do it, the app’s data hints at more transferrable data between devices. The app can supposedly transfer messages and apps. Given how different iOS and Android operates, it’ll be interesting to know how Google transfers these data.

Currently, Google has not revealed when or if the Switch to Android app is coming. However, Apple already has a Move to iOS app, making it easier for those switchers to move. Google’s own take on the app has been a long time coming.

SEE ALSO: Cybersecurity updates for Google Chrome

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No OnePlus 9T or 9T Pro, rumor says

Probably because of the chip shortage

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The past 12 months have been weird for the smartphone industry. Last year, Apple removed the free chargers from its new iPhone boxes, sparking a concerning trend throughout the entire smartphone industry. Recently, Samsung’s TM Roh confirmed that a Galaxy Note isn’t coming this year. Now, there’s a rumor swirling around that OnePlus will not launch a OnePlus 9T or a OnePlus 9T Pro.

Explicitly leaked through a tweet, Max Jambor states that OnePlus will not launch the premium models of its current flagship lineup this year. Instead, the company will focus on the standard OnePlus 9 models this year.

Traditionally, OnePlus has a two-in-one release schedule every year, launching a standard flagship model earlier in the year and a premium slate later on. The schedule follows the same setup that Samsung uses for the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note series.

It’s a strange coincidence that both Samsung and (potentially) OnePlus are foregoing their premium models this year. Both companies could be feeling the effects of the ongoing chip shortage that’s affecting the world right now. Without chips, smartphone makers won’t have an easy time making their devices.

Besides Samsung and OnePlus, Apple is reportedly cutting out its iPhone 12 mini and its successors — albeit replacing the model with a larger one. Consoles are also experiencing the crunch, experiencing shortages across the globe.

Though the current OnePlus report is still a rumor, current events do lend some credence to the sudden disappearance of the OnePlus 9T and 9T Pro this year.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus teases OnePlus Nord 2 on Instagram

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LG will start selling iPhones in stores

In South Korea

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Earlier this year, LG officially exited the smartphone business. After years of innovative smartphones launching to lackluster receptions, the South Korean company felt that it was time to leave. Naturally, the tech company still has its hands in other segments. However, one has to wonder if they will still keep an eye on smartphones. Apparently, they will.

Reported by ZDNet, LG will start selling iPhones from its South Korean stores in August. The brick-and-mortar stores will become hubs for other Apple products including Apple Watches.

Previously, the two most popular South Korean smartphone makers — LG and Samsung — agreed to never sell a competitor’s smartphones to prevent competition with other distributors. However, since their departure from the smartphone business, the company doesn’t have stakes in the industry anymore. The recent decision still induced some ire, but it apparently doesn’t matter anymore.

The company’s departure introduced an interesting vacuum for both Apple and Samsung. The latter, for one, enjoyed its stronger hold over the local smartphone scene in South Korea. And now, Apple has seized the opportunity to compete head-to-head with Samsung in the country. Both companies have been offering LG users some credit if they trade in their devices.

Besides its local South Korean stores, LG also has brick-and-mortar places in other countries. It remains to be seen whether the company will sell Apple products in other countries as well.

SEE ALSO: To all the LG phones we’ve loved before

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