Much linked to over the last few days has been a Google video showing exactly how to assemble a Pixel 6 Pro from first principles. But this is much more than someone reassembling something they've previously torn down - all the factory 'jigs', tools, and protective films are shown - despite the video quirks, it's a really interesting look at how a modern phone is 'made'.
Recent News - Android
Last covered back in March, PitlaneOne is a great UWP application for Windows. Including Windows 10 Mobile, for Lumias, etc. In fact, it's insanely great, which is why I thought I'd round up some of 2021's updates and highlight a few more of its features. In short, it's just about the best (free) way to keep track of the end of 2021's Formula 1 racing season. And did I mention that it's also available these days for iOS and Android?
Started as Project Andromeda with (an evolution of) Windows 10 Mobile, of course, the Surface Duo is now a year old and seemed the whole time like an experiment. Not least because its hardware design and internals were never really appropriate for use in a well-rounded smartphone - instead, the Duo had its roots in a productivity-centric pocket computer. But we now have the Surface Duo 2, ramping up the componentry to be competitive with the rest of the 2021 smartphone market.
Samsung has been holding a virtual event, launching the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Z Flip 3, with form factors the same as last year's, but with IPX8 waterproofing and tougher flexible displays, along with a new rubber-tipped, suspension-equipped S-Pen. Along the way, the Z Fold's selfie camera has gone under-display, giving a full tablet experience, which is pretty cool.
There was a Huawei event yesterday, which I'd failed to remember, and the P50 series phones were the star, albeit not very exciting for people outside China, since they come with the Google-less Harmony OS Android fork. But I was intrigued to see, GSMArena story below, that Huawei has started offering upgrades of internal storage for a wide variety of its phone models. Eh? Are they - literally - going to start opening up phones, desoldering chips and soldering in new ones? I don't think so, but there's certainly a lot going on here...
Announced back in June, Microsoft's popular OneDrive has finally gained full photo editing facilities - these went live server-side today, a few hours ago, for both OneDrive's Web interfaces and also for the Android client (the iOS client is presumably being worked on). Some screenshot proof below. Yes, yes, I know we're all drowning in photo editing utilities and services, but something official from what is many peoples' primary file/photo backup service isn't to be sniffed att.
With the huge success of Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) on the desktop PC, it's only natural that attention has been given to improving mobile flight sims, i.e. those you can enjoy on the smartphone, without the headache of scheduling hours on a huge desktop set-up, with yokes, multiple monitors, and more. And with ever-more powerful mobile chipsets, enabling desktop-class graphics. Why not just enjoy a quick flight from your local airport in photorealistic glory, round the coastline, and back, all on your phone with nothing but your hands to tilt the device? Here's news from mobile favourite Infinite Flight...
Last week saw a refocussing of Surface Duo 'for Business' and also launches in many world markets, and since then we've had updates, background chat, long term reviews, and more. No, the price hasn't come down, no, we still don't have review hardware in the UK, yes, it still runs Android, but here's a digest of all sorts of Surface Duo bits spotted in the week. Buckle up.
Just a small PSA for anyone planning on bringing their Android/Samsung Cloud media (photos/videos/general files) to Microsoft's OneDrive - this has been in the works for months but you now only have 10 days left, as I write this, before the migration ceases to be possible. Samsung had been touting its own Cloud as the best media/file backup destination, but we're now down to the big three - Google Photos, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive. As a bonus, you get an extra 15GB of the latter for a year if you trigger the migration.
Starting off (in the smartphone world) with Series 60 (on Symbian) handsets, transitioning through Windows Phone 7.x phones, and ending up on Android, LG has officially closed its Mobile division, with the short statement quoted below. It's been a rocky road for LG, but even back in the mid 2000s at the Symbian shows, I never really felt their heart was in it, at least in terms of selling to - and supporting - the West. Some thoughts and a few looks back below.