Samsung's S22 range has been leaked to the heavens. But it's all official now and the star of the show is the S22 Ultra, of course, with the highest specs in a Samsung phone ever - and a stylus!
Recent News - Hardware
The Surface Duo 2 continues to dominate headspace at All About Towers, with major improvements arriving today, with a feature-packed January 2022 update hitting the folding communicator over-the-air. So whether you've only just finished reading about its faux-Continuum mode or its Lumia-like image processing or my Bumpers review, this update is well worth taking note of since it's yet another software step forwards for this somewhat ground-breaking device.
Back in March 2020, so just under two years ago, Planet Computers launched the Indiegogo campaign for the Astro Slide 5G, the follow up to the Gemini and Cosmo Communicators, all with full mechanical QWERTY keyboards. While the latter two were more akin to the old Psion palmtop or Nokia Communicator form factors, i.e. clamshells, the Astro Slide 5G is similar to the classic 2010 Nokia E7 (on Symbian), with an external full touchscreen that slides out of the way when needed to reveal, in this case, the famous QWERTY key layout. We've been getting drip fed news from the Planet team over the last 12 months, so here's my round-up and summary.
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'.
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.
Something of a cheat, in that I'm having to summarise other people's thoughts on the new iPhone 13 Pro range this year, since I'm not buying it (as in previous years), mainly because the update from 12 to 13 series is so relatively small. But I've been reading and watching the reviews and I thought it worth rounding up the verdicts, including some that highlight a serious shortcoming in the iPhone stills camera system - something that Apple should fix in a software update.
Ah yes, high resolution sensors continue to evolve. While not as technically sophisticated as Nokia's PureView RGB oversampling back in 2012 (just saying...), the new 'ChameleonCell' system from Samsung in the HP1 works on a (wait for it) 200MP sensor in either 2x2 (reducing the raw sensor resolution down to 50MP), 4x4 (ditto 12.5MP), or even full resolution pixel configurations, depending on available light. However, the pixel layout was also released and I have some serious colour rendering worries...
Not a smartphone but very mobile, the diminutive Surface Go has been a mainstay of my computing setup for three years now*. A Start screen and full Windows in landscape or portrait modes, and useable as laptop, tablet, or - in an emergency - as a phone with the LTE edition. Why this news post? Because Microsoft just issued a raft of low level system firmware patches, great to see its hardware fully up to date.
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...