Galaxy Z Fold 3 Reviewed, OnePlus Buds Pro Review, Google’s Torrid Messaging Apps

Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the Galaxy Z Fold 3 review, Samsung planning for expansion, OnePlus Buds Pro reviews, Fitbit’s Charge 5 launch, Pixel 5 cancellation, Xiaomi saying goodbye to Mi, and the long torrid story of Google’s messaging platforms.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here). 

Galaxy Z Fold 3 Reviewed

Following the official reveal of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 earlier this month, Samsung’s next iteration of the foldable phone – that I’d argue is a foldable tablet that transformers into a phone – the reviews are starting to appear. Dieter Bohn’s highlights the dichotomy inherent in the foldable:

“If you like the basic idea of the Z Fold but have been waiting for Samsung to fix its biggest issues, the steady and relentless refinement on display here is worth a look. If you think the whole idea is an extravagant and silly technical flex, none of these changes will change your mind.”

(The Verge).

Samsung Hires For Expansion

One to note for future plans; two of Samsung’s divisions – Electronics and Biologics – are set to see over 40,000 new hires in the next three years. Sohee Kim reports:

“Samsung Electronics Co. and affiliates like Samsung Biologics aim to lead research and spending in areas from telecommunications and robotics to corporate acquisitions. The country’s largest conglomerate is setting aside 180 trillion won for its home country alone and now aims to hire another 10,000 people over the period, on top of 30,000 new jobs already planned,” 


OnePlus Buds Pro Break Into Silence

OnePlus has built on the success of the OnePlus Buds and Buds-Z launched last year with this the OnePlus Buds Pro going on sale this week. They feature active noise cancellation, Zen mode air that takes you away to a calming audioscape, and up to 38 hours of battery life, for £140. I reviewed them this week to find out more:

“The OnePlus Buds Pro feel like classic OnePlus play. The are value for money, although do watch out for discounts both on the Buds Pro and on the competition – the AirPods Pro are likely to see a price drop in the future as well. They offer a comparable experience that would normally be reserved for higher priced hardware, and the compromises that have been made have as little impact on the specs and quality as possible. ” 


Fitbit Charge 5 Launched

Google, who you may recall now own Fitbit, has released the Fitbit Charge 5, the latest fitness tracker from the popular brandname. Arguably one of the chief competitors to the Apple Watch, the Charge includes GPS tracking, NFC for payments, ECG, stress tracker, heart rate monitor, a bright and colourful OLED screen, and of course ‘much more’:

“You can pre-order the Charge 5 now directly from Fitbit and third-party stores for $179.95 / £169.99 (about AU$250). The company hasn’t given an exact shipping date yet, but says it’ll be available worldwide “in the fall”. Since Fitbit is a US-based company, we’re therefore expecting it to start arriving between September and November.” 

(Tech Radar).

Pixel Cancellations Ahead Of Pixel 6

Staying with Google, following the release of the Pixel 5a 5G last week (and the upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro arrival), last year’s Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 have been cancelled. There may be some last minute stock clearances if you are looking for a bargain, but for everyone else you might want to look at the 5a 5G (although that’s a US and Japan limited release) or hold off for the Pixel 6’s global release later this year:

“The reason for the Pixel 5a 5G’s limited launch is due to a chip shortage affecting the Snapdragon 765 which powers both older Pixels. If Google can’t secure enough chips to launch the new 5a 5G widely, it certainly can’t secure enough to keep two older devices on the shelves.” 

(Digital Trends).

Xiaomi Replaces Mi Brand

Xiaomi’s long-standing smartphone brand ‘Mi’ may be going away. Speaking to Mishaal Rahman, the Chinese multinational company will adopt the Xiaomi branding for future handsets:

“Now, ten years after launching the first smartphone bearing the Mi brand, Xiaomi is ready to make a big change: It’s dropping “Mi” from its product names going forward. This change in branding started with the company’s recently-released MIX 4 smartphone, and a representative for the company told XDA that all of its upcoming products will follow suit.”

(XDA Developers).

Xiaomi’s Stunning Growth

Xiaomi’s quarterly results are in as well. It is reporting net income of $1.28 billion and revenue of $13.56; income up 80 percent and revenue up 64 percent year-on-year. Much of that can be attributed to rising share of smartphone sales around the world:

“In the first quarter of 2021, Xiaomi’s smartphone business continued to grow significantly. Revenue from smartphone sales grew by 69.8% to RMB51.5 billion year-over-year. Global smartphone shipments in the period reached 49.4 million units and the gross profit margin for the smartphone business was 12.9%.” 


And Finally…

Sixteen years ago, Google released Google Talk, its first messaging client. Since then there have been countless iterations, new products, sun-stetted standards, and more. Ron Amadeo looks at the curiously messy path and the problems behind Google’s messaging message:

“Google’s 16 years of messenger wheel-spinning has allowed products from more focused companies to pass it by. Embarrassingly, nearly all of these products are much younger than Google’s messaging efforts. Consider competitors like WhatsApp (12 years old), Facebook Messenger (nine years old), iMessage (nine years old), and Slack (eight years old)—Google Talk even had video chat four years before Zoom was a thing.”

(Ars Technica).

Android Circuit rounds up the news from the Android world every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future, and of course read the sister column in Apple Loop! Last week’s Android Circuit can be found here, and if you have any news and links you’d like to see featured in Android Circuit, get in touch!