OPINION: It’s the weekend, which means it’s time to share our round up of this week’s winners and losers in tech.
Some big highlights this week included the Amazon launch event and it’s creepy Astro robot, the news that IMDb TV is coming to the UK, and a Bloomberg report claiming the 4K-enabled Switch Pro may have been in production all along (or not, according to Nintendo).
The final week of September also brought with it two new pairs of wireless headphones from Sony and rumours that Apple is working on a new entry-level phone for 2022.
This week though, our winner and loser both fall into the mobile category. More specifically, we’ll be looking at the rumour that Google and Huawei have new foldable phones in the works and the increasing likelihood that Samsung has ditched its FE model for 2021.
Winner: Foldable fans
This week we saw new leaks about the two Pixel foldables Google reportedly has in the works, as well as talk of Huawei developing its next foldable with a flip-style hinge.
We’ve seen a number of rumours over the past few months suggesting that Google has a foldable (or two) in development. The Pixel Fold – codenamed “Passport” – is rumoured to have a 7.6-inch display with LTPO technology, allowing for a 120Hz refresh rate.
Now, XDA Developers has spotted a number of foldable features in the Android 12.1 beta. These include new foldable APIs, dual-pane layouts for notifications and settings, a size-adjustable lock screen and a pin-entry keypad that can shift to the side of the screen.
The report also mentions a taskbar function for quick access to multitasking, app switching and split screen features.
Recently, 9to5Google found references to a second Pixel foldable named “Jumbojack” in the Android 12 beta that it suspects is being used to test Android features on a folding display. There’s no word on when Jumbojack will launch if it is a consumer product, but Passport is expected to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Then, there’s Huawei rumoured foldable.
According to Weibo user Panda is bald, the Chinese tech giant will launch the Huawei Mate V later this year – possibly at the company’s global launch event on October 21.
Unlike the Huawei Mate X and the Mate Xs, the Mate V is expected to be a flip-style foldable, with a design comparable to the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the Moto Razr 2020. Little else has been revealed about the phone, but it will apparently be powered by the Kirin 9000 chipset.
If you’re considering upgrading to a foldable, 2021 is looking to be a very good year to do so.
Loser: Those expecting an S21 FE soon
As always, we need to pick a loser and this week it’s Samsung.
Here we’re not talking about foldables, which Samsung is arguably the king of, but about the Galaxy S21 FE. While Samsung hasn’t officially confirmed that the FE is cancelled, the signs weren’t looking good this week.
On Monday, Korean site DDaily reported that Samsung had cancelled the S21 FE due to the ongoing chip shortages. In this case, the Snapdragon 888 was rumoured to be powering the affordable S21 alternative.
Other rumoured specs included a 6.4-inch 120Hz OLED display, a triple camera, a 4370mAh battery with 45W fast charging, 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage.
Reports have also pointed to the success of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, suggesting Samsung doesn’t want to give the foldable any more competition as it’s selling so well.
A Samsung Electronics official did mention that the company was reviewing the smartphone launch, so there’s a chance the phone could simply be released at a later date, but we’re not going to get our hopes up.
SamMobile later noticed that Samsung has closed initial support pages for the S21 FE in several locations, including Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Levant and more. While we have yet to see the FE officially, cancelled, it certainly isn’t looking good for the affordable S series phone.