Category Archives: Android

OnePlus Announces Launch Events for 7T



OnePlus have announced the launch events for the upcoming OnePlus 7T smartphone. Starting in India and the US on 26 September, it will culminate with the European launch on 10 October in London at 16.00 BST.

As usual, OnePlus will be selling tickets to the event, which will be at the brand new Magazine London venue in North Greenwich. The tix go on-sale from 20th September via OnePlus.com.

OnePlus Launch NoticePete Lau, CEO and founder of OnePlus said, “OnePlus has been built around the idea of fast and smooth, and we constantly challenge ourselves to be even better. Your smartphone’s display is the element you interact with the most, so it makes sense to invest in screen innovation. I’m really excited to hear what our users think of the OnePlus 7T Series.

Going with OnePlus’ normal behaviour, the 7T is expected to be an incremental upgrade, rather than an entirely new model. The invite confirms that the 7T will come with a 90 Hz display but you never know what else might appear – the press release promises “more to come in London”. Apparently OnePlus are launching a magazine too, called “Addition”. Interesting.

If you can’t be there in person, the launch event will be streamed live via the OnePlus official website or on its YouTube and Twitter accounts.


OnePlus 7 Landing in UK Next Week



While both the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro were announced earlier in the month, the 7’s availability was only listed as “June”. Today, OnePlus confirmed that the 7 would be available to buy in the UK from next week – 4 June.

The spiritual successor to the 6T, the 7 is still well-specified with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 CPU, UFS 3.0 and Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, plus software features like RAM boost, new screen unlock technology and the UltraShot photography engine, all borrowed from the 7 Pro.

The 7’s main rear sensor features Sony’s IMX586, a 48-megapixel, ½ inch super-sized sensor with an aperture of f/1.7, and OIS and EIS. While it’s not a pop-up camera, the front-facing camera is 5-megapixel, perfect for selfies and video calling. Of course, there’s a curvaceous notch at the top of the screen…

The 7 is cheaper than it’s Pro sibling, coming in at GB£499 for the 6GB RAM, 128GB storage model, and GB£549 for the 8GB RAM, 256GB version. Both are Mirror Gray and good value IMHO. For reference, the 7 Pro starts at GB£649

Available from OnePlus.com, EE and John Lewis from next Tuesday.


OnePlus Shows Off OnePlus 7 Series



With the usual level of hoopla, OnePlus showed off the new OnePlus 7 Series of phones at three launch events in Bangalore, London and New York. Consisting of the 7, 7 Pro and 7 Pro 5G, it’s the first time the company has simultaneously launched multiple models – the closest OnePlus came to this in the past was with the 2 and the X models way back in 2015. Right at the end, Bullets Wireless 2 were announced too.

I watched the London event to see CEO, Pete Lau, take to the stage, review OnePlus’ journey and introduce the new models with a string of guests, including Akis Evangelidis (VP OnePlus France) and Kate Parkyn (Head of Growth OnePlus Europe).

The 7 Pro took centre stage and the phone sports a whopping 6.67-inch curved glass display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, making this the biggest phone that OnePlus has made, even with the absence of bezels. The screen is branded Fluid AMOLED, with 516 pixels per inch (QHD+) and supports HDR10 & HDR10+ for fantastic visual dynamic range. Beyond that, the screen is capable of an astonishing 90 Hz refresh rate. Fast and smooth for sure. OnePlus 7 Pro has earned DisplayMate’s highest A+ rating, making it one of the top smartphone displays on the market

Screen unlock is still there and will typically unlock the phone in 0.21 seconds: that’s 28% faster than 6T and OnePlus claims it’s the fastest of any smartphone on the market.

There are three cameras on the back of the phone, which form a triple camera system. There’s a state-of-the-art 48 megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor with OIS, an 8 megapixel 78 mm telephoto lens at f/2.4 and 1μm pixel size and stabilised by OIS, and a 16 megapixel 117° ultra-wide angle lens at f/2.2. Together these produce great photos in daylight and lowlight, as demonstrated by the photos on show by Krystle Wright, an Adventure Photographer with National Geographic. For other proof, DxOMark scored the 7 Pro at 111 which is the second highest score ever recorded.

There’s no notch on 7 Pro’s screen and the seflie camera pops up. It’s covered in sapphire glass and the mechanism has been tested over 300,000 times, so it should be good for a few years (but try to avoid getting any sand in there.) If you drop the camera, the phone will detect the free-fall and automatically retract the camera. That’s neat.

Inside the 7 Pro, it’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and with up to 12 GB of RAM, it’s 45% faster and consumes 20% less power. It uses UFS 3.0 storage making it one of the first phones to use the memory type. The extra RAM can be used for RAM Boost, which is a caching technology to speed up loading times.

The new phone will come in three colours – Mirror Gray, Almond and Nebula Blue – and the last two look very good.

The presentation diverted into 5G and how wonderful it’s going to be, with gushing presentations from Qualcomm and EE. I always have a sense of déjà vu at these points as I seem to remember the same presentations for 3G and 4G. Ok, it’s going to be faster than before. Move on.

The 7 Pro will go on sale from 21st May, priced from GB£649 for 6 GB RAM, 128 GB ROM. Top of the range is £799 for 12 GB RAM, 256 GB ROM. Pricing and availability for the 5G version is TBA.

The poor OnePlus 7 (not Pro, not 5G) didn’t even get a mention until over an hour in. It’s the direct successor to the 6T and most obviously, it retains the notch for the front-facing camera. In fact, the form factor hasn’t really changed so it’s a smaller 6.41″ display, with a comparatively low 402 pixels-per-inch resolution(!) However, it has the same CPU (Snapdragon 855), UFS 3.0 and main camera sensor (IMX586) as the 7 Pro, so it’s nothing to be sniffed at all. Dolby Atmos stereo speakers are present too along with the larger in-screen fingerprint reader.

Pricewise, the 7 comes in at £499 for 6 GB RAM, 128 GB ROM and will be on sale in June. Do I upgrade from my 3T….?

OnePlus pop-ups start from 16th May and will run in 21 cities across Europe and more details can be found here. The UK pop-up is taking place in the stunning roof garden of John Lewis and Partners’ flagship store on Oxford Street in London, on the 17th May.

There’s loads of extra information over at the OnePlus website.


Android Q has a Live Caption Feature



Google shared details about what is new in Android Q. One of the best new features makes smartphones more accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The feature is called Live Caption.

We are also seeing many firsts in software driven by on-device machine learning. One of these features is Live Caption. For 466 million deaf and hard of hearing people around the world, captions are more than a convenience – they make content more accessible. We worked closely with the Deaf community to develop a feature that would improve access to digital media.

With a single tap, Live Caption will automatically caption media that’s playing audio on your phone. Live Caption works with videos, podcasts and audio messages, across any app – even stuff you record yourself. As soon as speech is detected, captions will appear, without ever needing WiFi or cell phone data, and without any audio or captions leaving your phone.

The Verge reported that the Live Caption transcription appears in a black box that can be freely moved around your phone’s screen to wherever it is most convenient. The feature works even if your volume is turned down or muted. Transcriptions cannot be saved for later review.

You can find Live Caption, and other Android Q features, in the Android Q beta. The beta is available for 21 devices from 13 brands, including all Pixel phones.

Accessibility is very important, and Live Caption will make it easier for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate with their friends and family on video chats. In addition, the same feature can be used by anyone who wants to watch a video in public without having the sound of the video bother everyone around them.


OnePlus 7 Series Launch Event 14 May



As expected, OnePlus have announced the launch events for the OnePlus 7 Series in London, New York, Bengaluru and Beijing. Branded “Go Beyond Speed”, the teaser trailer is a short 11 seconds long.

With the moniker of “Series”, there’s now no doubt there will be more than one model, and they’re going to be different designs. Expect to see a 7 Pro to go up against the top-tier Samsung devices alongside a more humble 7. The video, posted to Twitter by Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus, allegedly runs at 90 fps which suggests that the new (7 Pro) phone will have a screen with a matching 90 Hz refresh rate. That’s up from the normal 60 Hz of an ordinary smartphone. I don’t know how to confirm the video frame rate so will have to take it on trust.

Never Settle LogoThe trailer doesn’t reveal much else. There are the expected swooshes, curves and vents but no real giveaways as far as I can tell, though it looks like the ever popular alert slider is still there. There are some renders of both the 7 and 7 Pro floating around the web, with the 7 Pro sporting a pop-up camera. The 7 looks substantially the same as the 6T so expect the same in-display optical fingerprint reader.

As usual for OnePlus, there are opportunities to buy and win tickets for the launch events. Checking the London event, tickets are still available at GB£16 for early birds. It’s GB£30 after Thursday and the ticket gets you swag and snacks as well as entry to the event. If you can’t be there, it’ll be streamed live too.

The launch events are:

  • London, United Kingdom
    Time: 4 PM BST, May 14
    Location: Printworks London
  • New York, United States
    Time: 11 AM EDT, May 14
    Location: Pier 94
  • Bengaluru, India
    Time: 8:15 PM IST, May 14
    Location: Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre
  • Beijing, China
    Time: 2 PM CST, May 16
    Location: Yanqi Lake

Of course, the big unknown for both the 7 and 7 Pro is price and we’re unlikely to discover that with any certainty until 14 May.


OnePlus 7 On Its Way? Sounds Like It



It’s late in the year for Easter but OnePlus are keeping to schedule for their biannual smartphone releases. Pete Lau, founder and CEO of OnePlus announced on Twitter today…

I’d say it’s a safe bet that the OnePlus 7 is going to be announced.

Rumours abound as to the details. Is it going to have a pop-up camera? Is there going to be a “Pro” model? Is there a 512GB version? Who knows, but OnePlus rarely disappoints. Watch this space for more news on Tuesday.


All microUSB cables are not the same



This is a salutary warning to all geeks out there….even with all the year’s of experience, it’s still possible to make a rookie mistake and forget that all microUSB cables are not the same.

Last week at work, I needed to present an Android tablet screen via a data projector. The tablet only had a microUSB port, so connecting up directly via HDMI or VGA was out of the question. I’d have to mirror the tablet screen to a PC and then show the PC screen on the projector. WiFi wasn’t available to the PC, so it needed to be a wired connection but fortunately I had a drawer full of USB A to microUSB cables. I connected the Samsung Tab S2 to my PC and got on the with the job.

The wisdom of the Internet suggest that AirDroid was the one to try, so I signed up for an account, downloaded the PC software and installed the app on the tablet. Could I get the tablet to mirror to the PC? Not a chance!

Back onto the Internet, I then discovered that the Samsung tablets have an app for this called Flow, which doesn’t need rooting or developer access. Brilliant. I chucked AirDroid out the window, downloaded the complementary PC software….only to find that it’s for Windows 10, not Windows 7. This isn’t going well.

A bit more research and I further find that Flow’s predecessor is SideSync. There’s an app in Google Play, there’s a download for Windows 7…this is it, sorted….Nah, still doesn’t (expletive deleted) work.

I’ve been at this for hours and at this point I start to blame ActiveDirectory policies but it’s time to go home so I take the S2 home (leaving the USB cable) to see if I can get it to work on my personal laptop. And of course, it works straightaway.

At this point, the penny drops. It’s the bleeping USB cable. The one at work is a “charge only” cable whereas at home I’ve a proper “sync’n’charge” cable.  I’ve wasted half a day because I forgot that not all microUSB cables are the same. Back in work the next day, it’s time for lessons learned and I get the scissors out. Useless pieces of junk.

To paraphrase a European politician, there’s a special place in hell for companies that bundle charge-only cables with their products to save a few pennies.

And Samsung’s SideSync did the job perfectly. Thumbs up!