As the year winds down it’s a great time to reflect on the top stories of the past 12 months. This is the second of four installments where we look at the stories that shaped this year. Here are the top stories of Q1 in case you missed those.
It’s now time to look at the second quarter of 2019, which had a good amount of capable smartphones released and also a good amount of drama that is still not resolved.
The reasonably-priced flagship segment got a kick in Q2 with the release of the ubiquitous OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro and the Redmi K20 and K20 Pro from Xiaomi.
OnePlus was first and its 7 Pro was more than just another never-settling flagship killer. This was OnePlus’ own premium phone and it had the Quad HD HDR10+ 90Hz curved display and triple camera to prove it.
The OnePlus 7 Pro was a true all-out effort but it didn’t mean OnePlus had given up on the reasonable flagship. It announced the OnePlus 7 alongside the Pro with the same Snapdragon 855 but no ultrawide or telephoto cameras.
Xiaomi laid its claim to the budget flagship slice with the Redmi K20 Pro – the spiritual successor to the Pocophone F1. Specs-wise it was more of a match for the OnePlus 7 than the Pro but had better battery life, faster charging and a better price.
And then there were the motorized cameras. First came the Samsung Galaxy A80 with an upward-moving flip-out camera module with a 48MP main camera and 8MP ultrawide. The notch-less 6.7-inch Super AMOLED screen was great and the device was no slouch thanks to a Snapdragon 730 and 8GB of RAM. Its 3,700mAh battery had a 90 hour endurance rating and was capable of 25W charging.
The Asus Zenfone 6 offered its own take on the flip-out camera a month later. Its 48MP regular and 13MP ultrawide module flipped outward from the rear. It was an amusing sight and and interesting way to avoid a notch. The Zenfone 6 was a proper flagship with a Snapdragon 855 chipset with up to 8GB of RAM. What made it stand out, however, was the 5,000mAh battery.
A true year-defining event happened in Q2 as the US put Huawei on its Entity list, effectively banning US companies from trading with it. That led to Google revoking Huawei’s license to its services, which resulted in a crippling blow to its 2019 smartphone plans. Without Google services on its future phones, Huawei would lose on lucrative markets like Europe and instead would need to rely solely on China.
Huawei has since gotten a temporary license to use US-originating technology but it has still not been able to get Google Services back onto its Android phones, which explains the limited release of its H2 flagship and generally lowering presence in the international smartphone market.
Qualcomm announced the upper-midrange Snapdragon 730 and 665, which would go on to power a lot of the most successful phones of the year.
It was during Q2 that we got our first whiff of the upcoming Galaxy Note10 thanks to renders and two screen protectors. The leaks hit quite close to home, revealing the centered selfie punch-hole camera and general squarish design.
Google released the Pixel 3a and 3a XL with the same great cameras as the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, 3.5mm headphone jacks and a $399 starting price that was hard to beat.
Xiaomi made its Mi Band 4 official with a larger, colored screen and NFC for contactless payments.
That’s it for Q2. Stick around as the recap of July, August and September is coming.
If the OnePlus 7 Pro is too pricey, this offers the same performance (including UFS 3.0 storage), stereo speakers too.
This affects more than just Huawei – consumers, Android, Google, even competitors will have to deal with the fallout from this.
In the short span of a week, key Huawei partners have cut ties with the company in what could be a devastating blow.
The pop-up mechanism lifts the rear camera and rotates it to face forward. This leaves the 6.7″ AMOLED screen free of notches and holes.
The 730 is up to 25% faster than a 710, but the G version disappoints despite higher clocks. The 665, meanwhile, struggles to beat the old 660.
It’s identical to the Galaxy Note10, except that it has a larger screen and an extra camera at the back.