No more fumbling for cables. Users of Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S10, Note 8, Note 9, and Note 10 devices will be able to use Android Auto wirelessly. These are the first smartphones to support Google’s wireless car connectivity solution outside of the Nexus and Pixel smartphones.
The catch is that Android Auto will only be available on cars that support wireless connectivity for Android Auto. These are limited to the new Audi, BMW, and Mini cars.
The Samsung devices will have to be updated to Android 9.0, if they’re not running a later version already, as well as the latest version of Android Auto from the Google Play store. The initial set-up process still requires a USB cable.
While this may seem very attractive, Pixel and Nexus device users have reported heavy battery drain when connecting wirelessly. This has not been confirmed in Samsung devices, but is likely, since Android Auto is graphically heavy.
Sony Xperia 5 scores high
The latest compact flagship from Sony, the Xperia 5, scores a high 95 in DxOMark.
The Sony Xperia 5, announced in September 2019, is the latest compact flagship, intended as a more affordable, pocket-friendly alternative to the full-sized Xperia 1. Key features on the Xperia 5 include a 6.1-inch OLED display, as well as the high-end Snapdragon 855 chipset with 128GB of internal storage and 6GB RAM. Storage is expandable up to 1TB via micro SD.
The main camera boasts the same triple sensor and lens setup as on the Xperia 1. All three sensors offer 12MP resolution, with a large 1/2.55-inch sensor for the main camera, and a smaller 1/3.4-inch sensor for each of the ultra-wide and telephoto modules. The main sensor is coupled to a 26mm-equivalent f/1.6 aperture lens; there’s also a 16mm-equivalent f/2.4-aperture ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 52mm-equivalent f/2.4-aperture lens offering x2 optical zoom shots.
Other features include 5-axis optical image stabilization (OIS) and predictive Dual Pixel PDAF autofocus on the main and telephoto cameras, eye-tracking autofocus, HDR, and LED flash. 4K video is available for 2160p@24/30fps capture on the Xperia 5, but the Sony’s 5-axis gyroscope-enabled OIS only kicks in for HD video recording at 1080p@30fps.
Key camera specifications:
- Primary: 12MP 1/2.55-inch sensor with 1.4µm pixels and 26mm f/1.6-aperture lens
- Ultra-wide: 12MP 1/3.4-inch sensor with 1.0µm pixels and 16mm f/2.4-aperture lens
- Telephoto: 12MP 1/3.4-inch sensor with 1.0µm pixels and 52mm f/2.4-aperture lens
- Predictive Dual Pixel PDAF autofocus & 5-axis OIS (main & telephoto)
- LED flash, HDR, eye-tracking
- 4K 24/30fps video with HDR
- Full HD 1080p@30fps video with 5-axis gyro-EIS
- Although not officially launched in South Africa, it is available from some online outlets.
Click here to see samples of the photography on DxOMark’s website.
Qualcomm launches new Snapdragon chips for 4G
Three new chipsets by Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460, have been released to address the growing need for faster 4G and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.
Qualcomm Technologies has launched three new mobile chipsets: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, 662 and 460, which enable enhanced connectivity, gaming and entertainment experiences. They enable fast 4G connectivity speeds, deliver key Wi-Fi 6 features, and integrated Bluetooth 5.1. They also support Dual-Frequency (L1 and L5) GNSS to improve location positioning accuracy and robustness, and are the first system-on-chip solutions to support Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) – India’s regional answer to GPS.
“While we see a fast adoption of 5G across geographies globally, we do recognise the phenomenal boost that 4G has given towards enabling broadband connectivity for Indian consumers,” said Rajen Vagadia, president of Qualcomm India. “4G will continue to remain a focus area for Qualcomm Technologies for regions like India, where it will stay a key technology for connectivity. Our goal is to enable our partners to continue creating solutions that offer seamless connectivity access and exceptional mobile experiences, that consumers can count on.”
Kedar Kondap, vice president for product management at Qualcomm Technologies, said: “Today’s smartphone users want fast, seamless connectivity, advanced features and long-lasting battery life. This expansion of our 4G lineup enables our partners to offer sophisticated solutions that meet global demand and enable a remarkable gaming experience across multiple tiers and price segments.”
For the first time supported on mobile, the Qualcomm Location Suite now supports up to seven satellite constellations concurrently, including the use of all of NavIC’s operating satellites, for more accurate location performance, faster time-to-first-fix (TTFF) position acquisition, and improved robustness of location-based services.
Snapdragon 720G creates better gaming and entertainment experiences, with some high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, picture capture capabilities, and intelligent performance. Qualcomm says the 720G delivers smooth HDR gameplay, dynamic colour range and contrast, realistic and immersive in-game environments, and high-quality, synchronised sound with Qualcomm aptX Adaptive. In addition to gaming, users can experience a home theatre on-device with HDR viewing and smooth video streaming with the Qualcomm Spectra 350L ISP. One can also capture 4K video or snap 192-megapixel photos.
It also features the latest 5th generation Qualcomm AI Engine with an improved Qualcomm Hexagon Tensor Accelerator, which will enable a host of new AI experiences for gaming, photography, voice assistants, and virtually always-on contextual awareness.
The integrated Snapdragon X15 LTE modem supports 3-carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO on two carriers and 256-QAM modulation for fast download speeds up to 800 Mbps – allowing for quick app downloads and smooth video streaming and sharing. In addition, it doubles Wi-Fi speed and range, compared to single antenna devices, while also delivering key Wi-Fi 6 features such as 8×8 sounding with multi-user MIMO for up to 2x improvement over competitive Wi-Fi 6 devices.
The Snapdragon 662 adds new camera and AI capabilities to the 6-series for the first time. It will feature the new Qualcomm Spectra 340T, which supports triple camera configurations and smooth switching between them — a first in the 6-series.
The addition of the 3rd generation Qualcomm AI Engine with Hexagon Vector Extensions enables AI-based user experiences such as avatars, night photography, and face and voice authentication.
It also features the new Snapdragon X11 LTE modem with peak download speeds up to 390 Mbps thanks to 2-carrier aggregation, 2×2 MIMO and 256-QAM modulation, along with 150 Mbps peak uploads to support a snappy web browsing and social media experience.
The Snapdragon 460 boasts a leap in performance across the board in the 4-series, as well as significant boosts in connectivity, AI and camera improvements for the next-generation of mid-range smartphones. For the first time in the 4-series, Snapdragon 460 features performance CPU cores and an updated GPU architecture that translates into up to 70% and 60% increase in performance from the previous generation, respectively.
The Qualcomm Spectra 340 ISP is also among the many new additions to the 4-series, enabling the platform to capture sharp photographs and support for triple cameras. An integrated Snapdragon X11 LTE modem allows for download speeds up to 390 Mbps and uploads up to 150 Mbps.
Devices based on Snapdragon 720G are expected to be commercially available in Q1 2020 and devices based on Snapdragon 662 and 460 are expected to be commercially available by the end of 2020.