The outgoing week, unfortunately, was not remembered by us for novelties in the world of smartphones or some super loud scandals, except for the development of existing ones. Despite this, something interesting happened during these seven days. For example, we found out why Microsoft's most goofy gadget at $ 1,400 won't work well with NFC. And these are not rumors or speculation, but the official response of the company. We also learned that Android 11 will make the life of smartphone camera users a little more difficult by taking away an important and useful function from them. There were other news, which you can find out or remember in our traditional Sunday news collection. In it, we summarize the most interesting events of the week and always find something to talk about on Sunday evening.
Why Microsoft Surface Duo $ 1400 doesn't support NFC
The first pancake is lumpy. This is how people make excuses for the first failed attempt to do something. Usually this is necessary so that a person does not lose motivation to do something further, but some consider the expression about pancakes as a kind of indulgence, which gives them the right to do real trash. Obviously, Microsoft thought so too, because in developing its first Android smartphone, which is about to go on sale, it was clearly cheating.
The foldable Surface Duo, which is slated to go on sale on September 10, does not have NFC and does not support contactless payments. This is especially hard to believe when you find out the price of a new item, because it costs neither more nor less than 1399 US dollars. Undoubtedly, the folding design increases the price of a smartphone, but not equipping it with a near-field module, in my opinion, was a real redneck, if not blasphemy, because today this feature is in any, even the cheapest Chinese smartphone, but not in the Surface Duo. However, Microsoft has an explanation for this.
Surface Duo does not currently support NFC. The intent of each first product in the series is to focus on fundamental use cases that would solve the problems of its customers. Designed to work on the go, Surface Duo opens up new ways for users to tackle complex tasks while away from their computer. It was our duty to fulfill this tenet, and we will listen to our customers' feedback, embodying them in future generations of Surface Duo, – explained at Microsoft.
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If you can condense all of the above into a few words, it turns out that Microsoft was simply not up to NFC. That is, the company decided that equipping a smartphone with a near-field module used for contactless payment would not make the weather for users. After all, those who buy the Surface Duo are clearly looking for a work tool that can replace a desktop or laptop for complex tasks. But, in my opinion, it is a little strange to justify the refusal to implement a simple component by the desire to focus on the implementation of fundamental functions.
On the other hand, the company can also be understood. She doesn't know if her project will take off or not. After all, the question Microsoft is asking now is the question of trusting the form factor. Still, you need to keep in mind that Surface Duo is quite atypical and, despite the folding design, has two displays, and not one, like all other smartphones. Therefore, if users need such a device, they will buy it without NFC. And later, if the Surface Duo concept turns out to be popular enough, NFC and everything else can be easily screwed on.
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I do not know what Microsoft is counting on, but personally I would not buy such a smartphone for myself. And it's not even about the price, although it is quite high. The fact is that the company was never able to explain why I need such a device. Yes, I have been repeatedly told about work scenarios, about desktop tasks, but they have never demonstrated any examples of such tasks that I cannot solve on my regular smartphone at a price three times cheaper than Surface Duo. Therefore, I think that I will not be mistaken if I assume that the project will fail in the next couple of years.
Android 11 makes Android Auto wireless much more affordable
Do you know what I hate most about using systems like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay? That these systems almost never work without a wire in a car. As a result, you buy yourself a car with a good audio system, the possibility of keyless entry and a beautiful interior, and as a result you get confused in these ugly wires, which must either be rolled up and cleaned every time, or left lying in the cabin. Both options are so-so, which is why I used these systems about two or three times in a year. Once to play around, and once or twice to give the system a second chance. With the release of the new Android 11, everything should change. If this does happen, then we can only thank Google, but for now, just wait.
When Android 11 comes out next month, the number of Android Auto wireless devices will increase to… all. Yes exactly. All devices that can potentially connect like this will begin to do so.
According to Google's recently updated FAQ page, all Android 11 devices will support Android Auto wireless connectivity.
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However, there is one small clarification, which, however, should not somehow strongly affect the result. It is important to keep in mind that the phone must support 5 GHz Wi-Fi. Considering that even inexpensive models got them several years ago, this is unlikely to be a significant problem. As a result, this will be virtually every phone released in the past few years. Especially considering that Android 11 simply won't install on very old devices.
There is a second, slightly less pleasant moment. In addition to the fact that your smartphone should work with Android Auto, the sound system of your car should also have this capability. Here it will be a little more difficult .
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Currently, only a few manufacturers can make car head units that support wireless connectivity via Android Auto. First of all , these include Pioneer and JVC Kenwood . You can consider this a minus and say "everything is clear, we disagree", but not everything is so simple.
You yourself understand that manufacturers are lazy and careful. They will not do anything just like that, if it is not in demand so much that, according to the law of large numbers, it will bring them at least some amount of money. Now, remember that on the phone side , wireless connectivity was limited to almost a few devices. Now the picture will change, and this suggests that music system manufacturers will also catch up so as not to lose customers. It is even possible that some models can be simply updated by software to get this opportunity.
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If we talk about car manufacturers and their standard head units (possibly in some trim levels), then some have already announced that they will work in this direction and make support for Android Auto a basic function. Among such manufacturers are Ford and BMW, which, by all appearances, are generally “for any movement”.
Android Auto was originally launched back in 2018. The beginning of the work of such a function was told at the Google I / O developers conference. The adoption of wireless Android Auto has been slow so far. Most likely because it requires a lot of hardware changes. To make it work properly. But most of all questions are about software. Manufacturers clearly do not want to release a raw product quickly and do not want to spend a lot of time and money on development for the sake of "two and a half users"
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The presence of 5GHz Wi-Fi in our time is not a problem at all and only smart home gadgets of some kind stubbornly refuse to build it in (even expensive ones and those that are powered from an outlet). This kind of Wi-Fi is needed because Bluetooth simply cannot provide the bandwidth that Android Auto needs. Otherwise, things could have been a little easier.
There is a fly in the ointment in the honey barrel, which we are talking about now. A significant drawback to using Android Auto wirelessly is that the phone will sit down while you travel. At the same time, faster than he would have done it while in standby mode. Of course, some cars have built-in wireless charging and you can completely avoid wires using it, but the fact remains – the phone sits down. Android Auto is power hungry and you can get yourself in trouble. Especially if you have a Google Pixel 4 .
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All the same, even taking into account all the “but”, the news is good and the appearance of another useful function for Android, all the more so important, is always nice. Now you can tell us in our Telegram chat what you think about it.
The new version of Android will make it harder for users to take good photos! This news could be called so – it would also be true. The main thing is that now the capabilities of everyone with Android 11 installed will be a little more scarce. This is most likely due to additional security measures designed to make the operating system more secure, but in this way we will come to iOS. It turns out that Android will no longer have the functionality for which it was valued? Anything is possible, but so far we are only seeing the process of introducing new restrictions. What happened to the smartphone camera this time and is everything as bad as it might seem at first glance? Is it even worse?
From the very beginning, the main advantage of Android was really that the system was as open as possible for any developer. They could do whatever they wanted as long as they could put it into an application form. But that has changed over the years as security and privacy have become more of a priority.
Every major update over the past decade has closed features or added user restrictions , but some of the sacrifices may have been unnecessary. It is possible that the new decision of the company is a reinsurance, without which it was possible to do without, but she is convinced of the opposite.
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Another innovation of Android 11 , this time will deprive users of the ability to choose third-party camera applications for shooting or video on behalf of other applications. Now, in this case, you can only rely on the built-in camera application.
At the heart of this change is one of the defining features of Android, the Intent system. Let's say you need to take a photo of something in order to send it in a message or upload it to Avito. Previously, you would be prompted to select a camera and if you have multiple third-party apps installed, you could choose the one you like best. Now this cannot be done and you will have to use only the standard application.
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The problem is that low-cost smartphone manufacturers often skimp on the camera app. It is it that is largely responsible for the quality of the images. The sensor is good, but the information from it still needs to be processed. For higher quality images, you can install third-party applications, but they will now be a little more difficult to use.
Usually, developers of non-core applications did not bother to make a full-fledged built-in camera and simply gave it to the operating system through the intent system, which offered the choice. Now there will be no choice. Only stock application – only hardcore.
Google sees this as a reasonable compromise in the fight for user safety. At the same time, she does not give an answer as to what exactly made these intentions dangerous. Perhaps some users were tricked into installing a malicious camera app by default and then using it to capture images that were supposed to remain private.
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Android 11 not only allows a pre-installed camera app to automatically launch on demand, but it also prevents app developers from conveniently providing their own interface to simulate the same functionality. This even applies to apps built by Google itself.
At the same time, a third-party application can be made the default application, and in this case the application that needs to receive a photo will refer to it. This is not so convenient, because some camera apps offer higher quality , others offer more filter, and still others do something else. As a result, some users simply cannot choose one default application for themselves and often use different cameras for different purposes.
It is not yet clear how this will affect the final version of Android 11, but at the moment this is exactly the case. There is also no reason to believe that such changes will be canceled in the future. Most likely, if it appears in an upcoming version of Android, it will become the standard for all future versions. If you disagree with this, please express yourself in our Telegram chat . Let's see how many of us.
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This, of course, is not a critical change, and for many users who already use the built-in camera by default, it will simply be invisible. Nevertheless, this reveals some of the company's intentions, which indicate that it is taking security more and more seriously.
In addition, many users will indeed experience certain inconveniences from such an innovation. Especially for those who install GCam ports or cameras with a lot of filters for use on social networks on their smartphone.
No Huawei smartphone will get Android updates again
I remember well how a year ago the United States proudly declared Huawei a national security threat and imposed sanctions against it. Because of this, the Chinese tech giant has lost the ability to install Google services on all new smartphones. Then everyone thought how good it was that the Americans followed the general legal principle, which is that the law has no retroactive effect and does not extend sanctions to all devices that came out before their introduction. But it was not there. As it turned out, the United States simply gave Huawei a temporary license for all old devices, now it has ended and no one is going to renew it. Absolutely.
The US will not renew Huawei's license that allowed the company to install Google services on it and continue to update its Android smartphones. This decision was made in the administration of the US president, reports Reuters. Moreover, the apparatus decided to toughen sanctions against the Chinese corporation, extending them to 38 subsidiaries and affiliated enterprises through which Huawei managed to conclude contracts with American companies for the supply of components.
The lack of a license and tougher sanctions are guaranteed to lead to the most unpleasant consequences for both Huawei itself and its users. From now on, the company is prohibited from:
- Install Google services on any smartphones;
- Distribute monthly security updates;
- Use system tools like GMS and Google Cloud;
- Release Kirin processors based on ARM architecture;
- Install any American applications.
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“The US Department of State supports the Commerce Department's decision to prevent Huawei's business from circumventing the laws of the United States. To do this, it was decided to limit Huawei's ability to interact with American enterprises by restricting the rights of 38 enterprises affiliated with Huawei, on whose behalf the company entered into contracts in its own interests. The United States has provided local organizations with enough time to switch to alternative software and hardware, so we consider it more impractical to renew the license, ”the State Department said.
As you can see, there are quite a few restrictions, and they would knock any other manufacturer down overnight. But, firstly, Huawei has not only its own AppGallery application store and Huawei Mobile Services package, which are responsible for auto-updating, sending notifications, synchronization and backups, but, secondly, the chance to continue to survive in the current situation in the event of if the partners of the company themselves submit to the Ministry of Trade a request for a license for mutual cooperation.
In theory, any company, including Google, can apply for a license. Another thing is that we do not yet know what the search giant thinks about this, which for some reason is in no hurry to request a license. Today, one of the few businesses that has applied for a license and successfully obtained it is Microsoft. For this reason, Huawei's own laptops run Windows and regularly receive all updates, and AppGallery hosts all of the company's applications, from where they can be downloaded without any problems.
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Against this background, Huawei's promises to continue updating their smartphones and providing them with access to Google services look quite comical. Indeed, a day earlier, representatives of the company issued a statement that the expiration of the license will not affect users in any way, and nothing will fundamentally change for them. Well, to be honest, this is partly true. Huawei hasn't been particularly fond of security updates before , releasing them every 3 months at best. But without Google services it will be hard.