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Mobile news: what happened this week?

Mobile Phone News

Welcome to another edition of mobile news at The Hub where we’re bringing you the latest on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 release and the news and rumours for the iPhone 8. We’re also investigating what is new with Android Oreo, how the Apple HomePod might be restricted to those with iOS devices, and we look into Samsung Bixby as it reaches the UK.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 unveiled

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 has finally been unveiled and is all we expected and more. It has a huge 6.3” SuperAMOLED Quad HD Infinity Display, dual 12MP cameras with 2x optical zoom, a powerful Exynos 8895 octa-core processor, and the expected 3300mAh battery.

The phone is optimised for split screen multitasking, designed to be compatible with new Gear VR, is water resistant to IP 68 certification being able to withstand complete submersion in up to 1.5 meters for 30mins, and has retained the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Rumours have also sparked that Samsung may be planning on releasing a cheaper version with less RAM after whether this would be available in the UK is still unclear.

Bixby voice rollout

The Samsung voice assistant Bixby has finally reached the UK. Designed as a rival to Siri and Google Assistant, Bixby’s main attraction is that it should be able to understand natural speech better by picking up on context. It also features a learning feature so that it can pick up on your vocal tics and personal preferences over time.

Unfortunately, Bixby currently only understands US English and Korean which may slow uptake, and it doesn’t yet work with third-party apps. Activated with the command ‘Hi Bixby’ or by pressing the Bixby button, it features a large number of setting commands such as ‘I’m cooking’ which can bring up recipes adjust the brightness and even start music all from one action.

News and rumours for the upcoming iPhone 8

The biggest iPhone 8 rumour going around at the moment is that Apple has set a 12 September launch date. The New York Times recently announced that we can expect the iPhone 8 to cost around $999, but with the rumoured features it could well be worth the price tag.

Apple is supposedly expanding storage options to include to a massive 512GB which could be used to support augmented reality (AR) apps. With all the talk around it being built specifically with AR in mind we can expect AR to take off hugely after the launch.

With the leaked pictures showing that the home button has been removed, it left people wondering how users would navigate, but a new leaked video shows users being able to access app switching simply by swiping upwards.

Apple HomePod may require iOS device

Developers looking through the iOS beta code for the HomePod have found that you may need an iOS device to activate it. This is due to the two-factor authentication and iCloud Keychain approval that is needed which requires you to pair the HomePad with an iOS device. We’re sure that it will work fine with MacBooks or Apple TVs once configured but at the moment it looks like you will actually need an iPhone or iPad to activate which may disappoint some users.

Android Oreo announced

Google has finally lifted the lid on Android Oreo – at last confirming the long rumoured name – and is set to show some great advances across the board. With boot-up to be twice as fast as the Google Pixel handset, notifications being grouped by category to prevent overload, and ‘picture in picture’ mode to allow users to watch videos while browsing the web we’re very excited for this to be rolled out.

Oreo will also boost Google Play security, help you increase your battery life by restricting background apps, and now allows autofill to work in apps. It is also designed to automatically join open wi-fi networks with a VPN, and has deep colour encoded to support HDR while allowing for more subtle colour gradients – although this will be limited to supporting screens.

That’s our weekly roundup of the mobile news, be sure to check back next week for more updates!

Mobile Phone News