A new season of smartphones is here, and the lack of MWC is not going to slow it down.
Samsung Unpacked has come and gone, and while there wasn’t much left in the surprises department for the Galaxy S20 series, I’m happy the devices are official and out and we can finally talk about them. I know Mirror Purple on the Z Flip is so lovely — we’ll get there in a minute — but aren’t the Cloud Pink and Cloud Blue colors this year just so pretty?! And I’m personally excited because hopefully, that won’t go full trick mirror when photographing it. I mean, the Note 10’s Aura Blue was beautiful, but that photographing that mirror-like back glass in clear case reviews was an exercise in angle refraction, misdirection, and straight-up photo magic.
Now that the S20 Ultra will also be using the Note 10’s weirdly specific rules for 45W charging, maybe this year we’ll finally get some reliable third-party chargers, because I don’t think I can take another six months of chargers that say they work but don’t really work. And it’s going to matter much more on the S20 Ultra since its battery is 1,500mAh bigger, so please, accessory makers, don’t let me down!
The cameras on the S20+ and S20 Ultra look so fun, but I’m still opting for the regular S20 because it’s the only one that feels reasonably sized in my tiny female hands. Besides, the regular S20 is still going to be a significant camera upgrade over the S10 and I will go absolutely nuts with that camera all over Walt Disney World.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is out and available for purchase right now, which may have been the biggest surprise out of Samsung Unpacked on Tuesday. You can’t pre-order a Galaxy S20 for another two weeks, but you can have that lovely Mirror Purple finish in your hands right now. The only reason I don’t have one in my hands right now is that I can’t justify buying two phones in a month and I’m getting a Galaxy S20 so that I can try all the cases.
The Z Flip is the most promising foldable we’ve seen so far and is the first version that looks like it could actually work as an everyday phone for everyday users, and it’s amazing that we’ve gotten this far in less than a year. I want to play with one, but until then, I will try to hunt down cases to protect this exciting new phone. Yes, even if it’s a foldable, you need to protect your $1400 phone!
After over a week of will-they-or-won’t-they, MWC is off. This throws a wrench in the plans of dozens of companies — and of course the hundreds of journalists, enthusiasts, and industry folks who were all set to soak in company-expensed trip to sunny Spain. With dozens of companies pulling out over COVID-19 coronavirus concerns, I agree with Andrew Martonik that even if the GSMA had tried to go through with it, MWC would’ve been a disappointing shell of an event at best and an utter disaster at worst.
A cancellation is better for everyone involved — and safer, which is far more important given how easily the virus seems able to spread. COVID-19 has killed hundreds, sickened tens of thousands, and the shutdowns and quarantines associated with it are impacting millions of lives in far more serious ways than delaying some shiny new toys. Remember that.
We were going to see a lot of fun things at MWC, and we’ll still see those products! The Xiaomi Mi 10 still launched globally, and the dozens of phones we were going to see in Barcelona are either going to see small separate launch events or digital launches over the next few months. The only difference is we won’t be covering them all back-to-back in a couple of days and then drinking dozens of beers at 2 A.M.
From the rest of the Android world:
- The Huawei story continues to churn, but if we’re going to indict the company on IP theft and racketeering, why is the government continuing to hold off on the full ban? I also don’t know why the government is bringing up Huawei backdoors that it already knew about and previously concluded weren’t being used to spy for Beijing, but I also don’t understand a lot of what our government’s been doing recently.
- Don’t tease me, Google, I’m ready for the Android 11 Beta and I know you are, too.
- Essential is dead, which would be a bummer if we all hadn’t seen this coming literally a mile away. I feel worse for Newton Mail users, who are seeing their beloved email client die a second death.
- On that note, anyone got an email app they really like? Gmail just isn’t doing it for me and Spark wasn’t any better; I’m still missing Inbox like crazy.
- I’m sorry, but are we being punked? That Pixel 5 prototype is one of the worst phone ideas I’ve seen in three years. Having the module go at the way to the top just exposes it to more chances of edge drops and shatters. I’m okay with the flux capacitor placement of the lenses, but for the love of logic, make the module round if that’s what you’re doing!