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Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Samsung’s Galaxy Flip 5 plans, Pixel 7a design leaks, OnePlus’ OxygenOS moves, new apps for WearOS, Microsoft’s plans for a Surface Insider program, the fall of Huawei, and why Elon Musk is not launching a rival phone.

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 Flip 5’s New Style Revealed

Folding smartphones have many issues to overcome, and one of them is that no matter how you fold the phone, there’s always going to be a slight visual and physical distortion at the twisting section. Samsung’s next iteration of the Galaxy Z Flip is hoping to address that:

“Next year, the Galaxy Z Flip series might receive some of the most important upgrades since the launch of the first model in 2020. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 will have a larger cover display and a new hinge. The updated hinge design will reportedly make the foldable display crease less noticeable.”

(SamMobile).

lPixel 7a Design Leaks

A consistent design language, as seen in Google’s Pixel range of smartphones, still leaves room for some style and identity with each handset. Naturally, the Pixel 7a (expected to launch in early June 2023) follows its larger cousins, but it will come with some unique features as well:

“Talking about the front panel, the device will have thick bezels all around and an extra thicker chin. For the placement of the front camera, the device will have a punch-hole cutout located at the top-middle of the display. The power button and the volume rocker are located at the right spine of the handset, and the SIM tray can be seen on the left spine.”

(OnLeaks via SmartPrix).

OnePlus Announces OxygenOS 13.1 Updates

OnePlus has put itself at the forefront of discussions around smartphone security and updates with this week’s announcements; four major Android versions and five years of security patches, starting with key handsets next year. And that’s not the only bit of good news around its OxygenOS:

“This week, OnePlus committed to four major Android updates and five years of security patches for selected models of phones to be launched next year… But the next version of OxygenOS, which is the OnePlus overlay for Android, which will be launched globally in the first half of 2023 also has a bunch of other innovations. OxygenOS 13.1 promises significant enhancements for users with increased security and a greater emphasis on accessibility features.”

(Forbes)

Google Works On New WearOS Apps

There are a few noticeable gaps in WearOS 3 (as seen in the recently released Pixel Watch) regarding apps and tiles. Google knows where they are and is working to address some of them in the next release:

“…we’ve learned that Google is testing both Gmail and Calendar for Wear OS. The experience has been described as “full” to us, though we weren’t able to find out whether this involves event creation or composing new emails. Meanwhile, testing is unsurprisingly occurring on the Pixel Watch.”

(9to5Google).

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Surface Duo’s Android Insider Program

It might not look like a regular phone (and it definitely doesn’t act like one if you are using it to full effect), but Microsoft has visually committed to Android over many years. The next step is to bring more people into the development of the software. Think Windows Insider, but for a new platform:

“So far, Microsoft’s Surface Duo, which runs Android, doesn’t have an Insider Program, but that may soon be about to change. Software and device tinkerer Gustave Monce on Twitter has spotted references to a “Surface Insider Program” in the latest Android update available for the Surface Duo.”

(Windows Latest).

Huawei’s European Exodus

At one point, Huawei was set to challenge Samsung for first place in the worldwide smartphone market, take the lead in Europe, and break through into America; right up until it was included in US Entities List banning US companies from working with the Chinese-based manufacturer. The dream died:

“Huawei’s predicament was summed up by the company’s founder Ren Zhengfei in a speech to executives at the company’s Shenzhen headquarters in July. He laid out the trifecta of challenges the company has faced over the last three years: hostility from Washington; disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic; and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which upended global supply chains and heightened European concerns about over-dependence on countries like China.”

(Politico via WinFuture)

And finally…

No, Elon Musk is not going to make his own smartphone to take on Apple and Google… not least because this story started as a typical “from the hip” reply Twitter, but also because it would be incredibly difficult to get a small slice of sales, let alone the critical mass of developers and users to make it viable:

“There are many people who ascribe to Elon Musk’s cult of personality, and naturally, some Twitter users are responding to Musk’s tweet in support of his idea. Would those supporters actually ditch Apple’s blue text bubbles to join Musk? It’s hard to say.

“On the business side of things, competitors like Apple and Samsung dominate the smartphone market in the U.S. Then there are competitors like Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo that have a decent slice of the market share for budget phones. Musk and his followers could carve out a small slice of the global smartphone market, but competition would be fierce.”

(Inverse).

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!

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