Time is passing at breakneck speeds, it seems. I still remember writing my first winners and losers article for 2021, and we are already 9 weeks into the year! As we prepare to enter the third month of his year, here I am, once again, with what I think are the winners and losers of this week. I did have too much trouble choosing our picks for this week. As obvious from the title, the winners this week is Samsung - while our loser for this week is Google, thanks to its ever-confusing strategy with messaging apps.
But before we talk about these two companies and the reasons for them being on this list, let us also take a quick look at the key tech stories from this week.
Perhaps the most talked-about product launch of this week would be that of the Huawei Mate X2. The third generation foldable smartphone from the troubled smartphone and telecommunications giant was officially premiered in China this week. The Mate X2 is markedly different in design compared to its predecessors and now gets an inward folding design akin to that of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. With its Kirin 9000 processor and high-end display and camera specs, the Huawei Mate X2 would have been an apt competitor to Samsung. Unfortunately, chances are high it will never officially make it out of China since the overall appeal of the product is diminished by the lack of support for Google services. Also, at nearly €2400, this is by no means setting the sales charts on fire.
This week also saw Samsung share information about some critical feature updates to its smartwatch models - the Galaxy Watch 3 and the Watch Active 2 in Europe. Essentially, what the company did was to tell us about that fact that it has received certification for these smartwatch models to be legally called medical devices. This is mainly due to the addition of functions like an ECG and blood pressure monitoring that can be tracked via the updated Samsung Health Monitor app that will be available for download soon.
Samsung’s archrival LG was also in the news this week - albeit for the wrong reasons. Remember the much talked about Rollable phone from the company? Yeah, the one the talked about at CES 2021. Well, a leading news agency from Korea published a report claiming that LG is canning that entire project. LG, however, was quick to pounce and issue an unofficial statement saying that the rollable phone project is still on. We still do not know how this one would end up.
Music connoisseurs reading this article will be mighty impressed to once again read about the news of Spotify’s decision to start a lossless streaming service soon. This announcement was made by the company earlier this week and is expected to be officially rolled out in the new feature. Spotify is yet to reveal the cost associated with this plan, though.
Other important bits from this week include the announcement of the Realme GT 5G in China and the Realme Narzo 30 series in India. While the Realme GT is the company’s first flagship-grade device for 2021, the Narzo series will also make it to Europe under a different name.
Redmi also launched its new K series devices - the Redmi K40 and the K40 Pro in China this week. These devices are likely to make it to Europe as POCO branded devices very soon. Oh, and lest I forget, we also caught hold of some information around the Google Pixel 5a this week.
Let us now turn our attention to the winners and losers for this week, shall we?
Winner of the week: Samsung for promising 4 yeas of security updates to most of its phones since 2019
In a major announcement, Samsung earlier this week, confirmed that it would commit to releasing Android security patches for a vast majority of the phones it has manufactured and sold since 2019. The company confirmed that this policy is applicable to almost all of its products from the Galaxy S, Z, Note, A, M and XCover lineup.
Samsung also released a list of phones that will continue to receive secret patches for the next few years. The company revealed that this move is largely due to the result of partnerships made with Google and processor manufacturers, as well as more than 200 carriers around the world.
This is not only reassuring news to millions of Samsung smartphone users across the world, but also sets a precedent for the rest of the Android smartphone vendors to follow.
Loser of the week: Google for still goofing around with its messaging apps strategy
Will Google ever be able to fix the mess it has found itself in with its messaging apps? Ever since the days of Gtalk, Google has been working on getting its messaging apps strategy right. More than a decade and a half later, it seems the company remains clueless about the path it needs to follow.
In the latest instance of an app ‘redesign,’ the company recently started notifying Google Chat app users about the integration of old Hangouts conversations and contacts into the new app. This could mean the death knell for Google Hangouts, which could soon join the ranks of the likes of Google Allo, and GTalk.
To be honest, I no longer know which Google messaging app is meant for personal communication and which ones to go for when I am doing something more professional. Do you?