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OnePlus Clover: Why OnePlus is launching a budget phone in 2020 (and why it will succeed) - Android Central
OnePlus is all set to launch its first entry-level phone. The device is codenamed Clover, and is set to feature a Snapdragon 460 chipset, massive battery, and a 3.5mm jack. Why is OnePlus launching a phone for $200? Let's find out.
OnePlus is working on an entry-level phone codenamed Clover that will make its debut later in the year. The phone will launch in the U.S. and other global markets for around $200, and comes with a 3.5mm jack, 720p display, 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, and a massive battery. An entry-level phone goes against OnePlus' ethos of delivering the best possible performance on all of its phones. In fact, during the launch of the Nord, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei said that the reason the company went with a Snapdragon 765G chipset instead of the Snapdragon 800 series was because the performance with the 765G is on par with flagships. Well, that's not the case with the Snapdragon 460, the chipset that's powering the Clover. The chipset is fine in the context of entry-level chipsets it has four Cortex A73 cores and four A53 cores but it doesn't come anywhere close to the Snapdragon 765G, let alone Qualcomm's flagships series. In a nutshell, OnePlus needs affordable phones to drive sales and increase market share. So why is OnePlus launching an entry-level phone now? It could be as simple as gaining market share. For all the attention that OnePlus gets, the company sells only about 5.5 million phones a year less than what Google manages with its Pixels. And with the company going up against the likes of Samsung and Apple with the OnePlus 8 series, it needs to have affordable phones if it wants to maintain any kind of sales momentum. Don't get me wrong; the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro are fantastic devices, but they launched at the wrong time. With the global pandemic and the ensuing economic hardships, there just isn't a big enough market for $1,000 flagships. So OnePlus is looking to the mid-range and entry-level segments. The entire point with the Nord is to make OnePlus phones accessible to a wider audience, and OnePlus is just building on that premise. There's also the fact that OnePlus didn't launch the Nord in the U.S., with the company instead stating that it will release a follow-up model in the country. We won't likely get to know why OnePlus chose not to release the Nord in the U.S., but with Clover set to make its way to the country, there will be an alternative for those looking to get OnePlus hardware on a budget. Clover could just turn into a carrier play in the U.S., but it goes up against Motorola and Nokia. That said, it is puzzling that OnePlus would launch an entry-level phone in the U.S. instead of a mid-range 5G-enabled option. The Nord would have been the ideal phone for the U.S., but OnePlus must have felt that it couldn't get the margins it needed without increasing the price too much. Then there's also the fact that doing so would have risked undercutting the OnePlus 8, which has been the go-to option for carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon instead of the costlier OnePlus 8 Pro. At $700, the OnePlus 8 is still a decent option and fits into the same category as the Galaxy A71 5G, whereas the $900 OnePlus 8 Pro encroaches on the Galaxy S20's turf. That could be the reason why carriers chose to go with the OnePlus 8 as the 5G-enabled option from OnePlus this year. So in that context, it is plausible that OnePlus is looking at the $200 segment as a potential alternative to its flagship offerings. The Clover is definitely coming to the U.S., and it could end up being a carrier play where the likes of T-Mobile or Verizon could offer the device as a free or bundled option when you're picking up a new plan. However, there are a lot of great phones in this segment, and with Motorola and Nokia dominating the category, we'll have to wait and see if OnePlus can make a dent here. The specs on offer with Clover are underwhelming (something I didn't think I would say for a OnePlus phone), so it will come down to the positioning and just how aggressive OnePlus decides to go with the pricing. Between this and the software changes with OxygenOS 11 and a wearable push, OnePlus is certainly looking very different to the company that embarked on its "Fast and Smooth" journey with the OnePlus 7 Pro last year. Ultimately, it doesn't make a lot of sense for OnePlus to dilute its brand by rolling out an entry-level phone, but it looks like the manufacturer is chasing sales figures as it tries to become a mainstream player. OxygenOS and guaranteed software updates could be the differentiator for OnePlus here, and while the strategy is counter to what OnePlus has stood for so far, it may just work out for the company.
Does Google really want third-party app stores on Android or are they a 'necessary evil'? - Android Central
Google needs to keep allowing third-party store access to Android if it wants to be considered the "open" platform. But it doesn't have to like it.
Android isn't as open as most people think, at least when a phone maker wants to include the Google Play Store. It's not closed in the way iOS is, where every single piece of content has to go through Apple's approval process, but manufacturers have a long list of details that are required by Google if they want to include Google's own apps and services. Since those are what actually make an Android phone worth buying, phone makers do it, even if they aren't happy about it. Phone makers aren't required to use Google Play. But you're not required to use Google's services, including the Google Play Store, on your Android phone. There are plenty of other ways to download and install applications to your Android phone, and many of them use a competing service like Bing or Mapquest. Check out all of the best VPN services you can use in 2020 The official word from Google about third-party distribution makes it sound like Google loves the idea. From the Android Developer site: As an open platform, Android offers choice. You can distribute your Android apps to users in any way you want, using any distribution approach or combination of approaches that meets your needs. From publishing in an app marketplace to serving your apps from a website or emailing them directly to users, you're never locked into any particular distribution platform. The process for building and packaging your apps for distribution is the same, regardless of how you distribute them. This saves you time and lets you automate parts of the process as needed. Google does go on to say that the best way to "reach the broadest possible audience" (read: be successful) is to use a marketplace like Google Play, but there are no real restrictions. You don't even have to use Google's official Android Developer Suite or pay any money for access to Android's Open-Source set of APIs. Just write your code, build it, and go. The whole mess I like to call the Fortnite Fiasco brings a few questions into play. According to Epic Games' legal filing, which states: Google has eliminated competition in the distribution of Android apps using myriad contractual and technical barriers. Google's actions force app developers and consumers into Google's own monopolized "app store"the GooglePlay Store. Google has thus installed itself as an unavoidable middleman for app developers who wish to reach Android users and vice versa. Google uses this monopoly power to impose a tax that siphons monopoly profits for itself every time an app developer transacts with a consumer for the sale of an app or in-app digital content. And Google further siphons off all user data exchanged in such transactions, to benefit its own app designs and advertising business. There's a bit of hyperbole in that convoluted paragraph, to be sure. But the gist of it may be spot on. Google knows that phones in the West that ship without Google Play are at a big disadvantage and it does nothing to address those concerns. Google doesn't have to do anything about it unless a court decides that Google Play and the requirements for app distribution through it are in fact anti-competitive. It's actually in Google's best interests to not do anything to help third-parties who want to reach more users because of the way Android makes money. Ask Huawei what happens to phone sales in the West if you don't include Google Play. Google doesn't charge any person or any company to use Android. Not me, not you, not Samsung. There are licensing requirements as mentioned above, though, if you want to bundle Google's other properties and services into the software. That's because Google knows how we use our phones and how to get more eyeballs on ads or more users on a particular service. That's how Google makes money, by selling ad space. Google also makes money by charging developers a 30% transaction fee whenever someone spends money in an app through Google's payment process. If you buy an in-app purchase that costs one dollar, Google takes 30 cents. Google also makes it easy to use GoogleAds inside a free app, and even has a service that developers can use for Play Store promotion. Google likes things a certain way so it can recoup the cost of Android. None of this is nefarious and any company would use these sorts of tactics when it could. What makes it an issue, and what Epic Games is claiming, is when a company is so large it has too much influence over the entire industry. It's hard to argue that Google is that dominant. Google needs to keep allowing third-party store access to Android if it wants to be considered the "open" platform. But it doesn't have to like it.
Five reasons why the OnePlus Nord is a better buy than the OnePlus 8 - Android Central
The OnePlus Nord takes a lot of the thunder away from the OnePlus 8. The Nord costs $300 less than the OnePlus 8 and offers most of the same core features, making it a much better choice if you're in the market for a new phone in 2020.
Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central With the Nord, OnePlus is once again turning its attention to the mid-range segment. The phone comes with exciting hardware features and clean software with the promise of quick updates, and the best part is the pricing: retailing for around $450 in global markets, the Nord costs several hundred dollars less than the OnePlus 8 series. It is a big deal when you consider just how similar the Nord is to the OnePlus 8. Here's a rundown of all the ways the Nord is better than the OnePlus 8, and why you're better off picking up OnePlus' mid-range phone. The Nord has an AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central OnePlus didn't make any compromises when it comes to the display side of things with the Nord, and the result is that you get a 6.44-inch Fluid AMOLED panel on the phone with 90Hz refresh rate, just like the OnePlus 8. The high refresh rate display is just as fluid in daily use and is a standout feature on the Nord. Best VPN providers 2020: Learn about ExpressVPN, NordVPN & more You get the same set of customization options for the display as the OnePlus 8 series, and the Nord even comes with HDR10+. While 90Hz or 120Hz panels are now the norm in the high-end segment, there aren't many devices that offer a 90Hz AMOLED panel in the sub-$500 niche. That makes the Nord that much more enticing in this category. You get the same 48MP camera as the OnePlus 8, and dual cameras up front Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central The Nord has six cameras in total, two more than the OnePlus 8. At the back, you'll find a 48MP Sony IMX586 primary lens that's identical to the OnePlus 8, and there's an 8MP wide-angle lens, 2MP macro module, and 5MP portrait lens. The front is where things get particularly interesting; the Nord is the first OnePlus device to offer two front cameras, with a 32MP primary lens joined by an 8MP wide-angle module. The front camera is of particular interest because the 32MP sensor is of a higher resolution than the 16MP module on the OnePlus 8. You get better photos from the primary lens, and the versatility of the wide-angle shooter, making the Nord a better option if you take a lot of selfies. OnePlus Nord to the left, OnePlus 8 on the right Because the Nord has the same 48MP camera at the back as the OnePlus 8, it takes photos of the same caliber. The camera handles daylight shots particularly well, and while it needs further tuning to reduce noise in low-light shots, it has a great foundation. Same OxygenOS software with three years of updates Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central While OnePlus always holds its own when it comes to the hardware, it's the software side of things where the company has pulled out a considerable lead over the last two years. OxygenOS is the best third-party skin on Android, and the lack of any bloatware coupled with a clean interface and useful features make it a delight to use. That's why it's great to see that the Nord has the same great OxygenOS software experience as the OnePlus 8, and OnePlus is committing to two platform updates and three years of security patches. That puts the Nord on an equal footing with OnePlus' flagships, and that's a big deal for a phone available for under $500. Most mid-range phones do not get two platform updates, nor do they receive three years of security updates. By committing to the same update cycle as its flagships, OnePlus is putting the Nord on the same level as Google's mid-range Pixel 3a series and the iPhone SE. You're not missing out on 5G connectivity Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central With the Snapdragon 765G chipset, 5G is no longer limited to flagship phones. Qualcomm's mid-range chipset enables 5G connectivity for $500 phones, and the Nord is one of the first phones sold in global markets to feature the chipset. The phone has the same 5G bands as the OnePlus 8, making it just as future-proof. As the Nord is not available officially in the U.S., the phone lacks 5G bands for U.S. carriers. That said, if you're picking up the Nord in European markets, it features the relevant bands for connecting to carriers in the region. The Nord delivers all-day battery life and 30W fast charging Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central OnePlus has one of the best fast charging standards currently available in Warp Charge 30T, and that's what you get on the Nord. The 30W standard allows you to charge the phone's 4115mAh battery from zero to 70% in just 30 minutes. The battery life itself is identical to the OnePlus 8, and the fact that the Nord also gets 30W wired charging puts it on an equal footing to OnePlus' flagships. There's really no reason to buy the OnePlus 8 anymore Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central The Nord is proof that OnePlus can deliver a great mid-range phone. It had to cannibalize the OnePlus 8 to do so, but the result is that the Nord makes exciting features like 90Hz panels and 5G connectivity that much more accessible. Considering the value on offer with the Nord, there really isn't any reason to pick up the OnePlus 8 anymore. Having used both devices side-by-side, I can confidently say that the Nord is a much better choice. Sure, the phone isn't running the Snapdragon 865, but there really is no difference in day-to-day use with the Snapdragon 765G. The only other compromise OnePlus made has to do with the design, with the Nord featuring a plastic mid-frame. There is a chrome finish that mimics the feel of metal, and if you're going to use a case with your phone, this won't be an issue. With the Nord, you're getting all the latest tech that makes OnePlus' flagships stand out, but for under $500. That makes the Nord one of the best mid-range phones you can get right now. Mid-range monster It's all about the value The Nord delivers all the features you're looking for in a sub-$500 phone in 2020. You get a gorgeous 90Hz AMOLED display, robust internal hardware, 48MP camera at the back with dual 32MP + 8MP cameras on the front, clean software with three years of updates, and 30W fast charging.
The OnePlus Nord may soon compete against the Pixel 4a and iPhone SE in the U.S. - Android Central
The OnePlus Nord skipped the U.S. at launch, heading instead to Europe and Asian markets. A new report says the Nord may come to the U.S. later this year, in one form or another.
The OnePlus Nord may be coming to the U.S. after all, according to a report from Wired. Tucked into the publication's Nord review, Wired noted CEO Carl Pei as saying a "Nord-branded phone (not necessarily the same as this) is set to land on U.S. shores later this year." If that's the case, the OnePlus Nord (or A OnePlus Nord at the least) may end up competing against other midrangers including the rumored Pixel 4a, Galaxy A71, and the Apple iPhone SE. Best VPN providers 2020: Learn about ExpressVPN, NordVPN & more The Nord launched this week to rave reviews, with praise being given for OnePlus managing to provide a flagship-lite experience without dipping the specs so low that the phone felt cheap. Writing for Android Central,reviewer Harish Jonnalagadda said: What OnePlus has managed to achieve with the Nord is commendable. You don't miss out on any of the core features that make OnePlus' flagships stand out, and that makes the Nord a particularly great option if you're looking to buy a phone for under $500 in 2020. A big ding on an otherwise great phone was its lack of U.S. availability. Soon, that may turn out to have been a non-issue.
WhatsApp announces animated stickers, dark mode for the desktop and more - Android Central
WhatsApp today announced a number of new features for its platforms, including animated stickers, dark mode for web and desktop apps, improvements to video calls, the ability to add contacts via QR code, and more.
WhatsApp today announced a bunch of new features for its apps. First and foremost, the ever-popular dark mode is now making its way from the mobile apps to the desktop and web apps. Additionally, the company is expanding its sticker offerings to include the animated kind, finally catching up to the likes of Telegram.
Android 11 Beta is coming soon to Xiaomi Mi 10, OnePlus 8/8 Pro, and Find X2 - Android Central
The Android 11 Beta is limited to the Pixels for now, but OnePlus, Xiaomi, and OPPO have confirmed their participation in the beta rollout. The latest phones from these manufacturers will be getting the Android 11 Beta before the end of June.
The first public beta of Android 11 is here, and it is limited to the Pixels. Google opened up the beta program to 12 third-party OEMs last year, but you'll have to wait a little longer to try out the upcoming version of Android if you're not using a Pixel. Thankfully, we now have confirmation from the likes of Xiaomi, OPPO, and OnePlus over their participation in the Android 11 Beta. For now, these are the phones that are eligible for the Android 11 Beta:
- Google Pixel 2
- Google Pixel 2 XL
- Google Pixel 3
- Google Pixel 3 XL
- Google Pixel 3a
- Google Pixel 3a XL
- Google Pixel 4
- Google Pixel 4 XL
- OnePlus 8
- OnePlus 8 Pro
- OPPO Find X2
- OPPO Find X2 Pro
- Xiaomi Mi 10
- Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro