Allo launches around the world, Samsung sets out a timeframe for Note 7 sales in Europe, and Xiaomi has a fancy new camera.
As we count down to the weekend, let's mull over the next major phone launch we're all looking forward to: Google's Pixel handsets. There've been rumblings of a $649 starting price for the smaller of the two HTC-built phones (the 5-inch "Sailfish" model), which seems to suggest both will compete in the premium segment. By all accounts the phone will have the latest internals, Google's latest OS, a unique metal design and, if the HTC 10 is any indicator, a great camera.
So a thought for a sleepy Friday morning: Vlad Savov rightly posits that the Pixels might make life really hard for anyone selling an Android phone around the $700 mark. Among the two most difficult to justify are Lenovo's (criminally late) unlocked Moto Z (unique and modular, but with so-so battery life and camera) and Sony's Xperia XZ (decent, but lacking in pizzaz.) Both great phones, sure, but both running an old version of Android, and both soon to be directly competing with the platform holder with $700 pre-order prices. Google's phones are sure to have their own quirks, but you've got to really want Moto Mod support or a 23-megapixel camera to justify that kind of money.
With the Note 7 facing delays around the world (outside of the official replacement program), could Google's Pixels emerge as the major high-end alternative to the iPhone? It's clear the company is adopting a bigger, bolder marketing strategy than it ever did for Nexus phones. However the whole Pixel thing plays out, it's going to be a really interesting end to the year.
Note 7 to go back on sale Europe-wide by late November
That's according to Samsung Europe CMO David Lowes, speaking to Reuters. Lowes said, "We fully expect (new Note7s) to be available everywhere by the end of November […] well before the end of the fourth quarter."
Lowes added that he expected the company to recover its momentum going into 2017. It's worth noting that many European countries should have new Note 7 stock available to buy before then. Some retailers in the UK are listing dates in mid-to-late October. That said, it's still a significant delay beyond the planned September 2 launch date.
Samsung ordered to X-ray Note 7 batteries in Korea
The Wall Street Journal reports that KATS (the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards) has ordered Samsung and its battery supplier to provide X-ray images of Galaxy Note 7 batteries, in order to prove that the new handsets are safe.
Meanwhile Samsung will extend the refund period for Note 7 customers (which originally expired Monday) through until next Friday. The number of Koreans taking the refund option, as opposed to a replacement Note 7 or other Samsung device, is reportedly "very low."
Xiaomi Mi 5s will come with a dual camera setup
In the latest teaser for its upcoming Mi 5s, Xiaomi has revealed that the phone will sport dual cameras at the back. The handset will be powered by the Snapdragon 821, and will offer 6GB of RAM, up to 256GB storage, and a 3490mAh battery. Official unveil is slated for September 27.
Google Allo opens up to more countries
Google's latest chat app is officially available on Android phones in the UK, Australia and other territories as of late last night. Previously the app worked, but users outside of the U.S., India and a handful of other places had to sideload the APK and manually install it.
It's time to change your Yahoo password
Yahoo is saying that "state-sponsored" hackers have stolen account information from at least 500 million users. The breach occurred in 2014, and the compromised data includes "names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt)." If you have a Yahoo account, it's time to change your password. After that, enable two-factor authentication on all of your accounts.
Google's Daydream VR SDK is now out of beta
Google announced the Daydream VR platform at I/O 2016, and the SDK is now out of beta. The Daydream platform fully supports Unity engine as well as Unreal Engine 4, making it easy for devs to create apps and games with tools they're familiar with. The Google VR SDK 1.0 is now available for download from the Daydream developer website.
'About half' of recalled Galaxy Note 7s have been returned in the U.S.
Following the rollout of a recent software update which caps the potentially-explosive battery at 60 percent charge, and adds a new green battery graphic on safe Notes, Samsung has announced that around half of the million Note 7s sold in the country have been returned by customers. That's up from around 20 percent a week ago. More
Amazon sets sights on Shutterfly with photo printing service
Amazon is back to doing what it does best: enter a new category by undercutting its rivals. This time around, the retailer is getting into photo prints with Amazon Prints. Photo prints starts at just 9 cents, and you can order photo books from $19.99.
That's it for now. Stay tuned to AC today for more Android news and views to take you through to the weekend!