AA Weekly: top Android news of the week, June 9, 2013
In the AA Weekly, we recap the most significant events that happened over the past seven days in the world of Android. We look at new devices, major news, leaks, and everything else you should know to stay on top of your favorite operating system.
Asus goes tablet crazy at Computex
The Computex trade show took place in Taiwan last week, the perfect occasion for local firms to show off their finest wares. And, boy, did Asus showed them off.
In a glitzy event presided over by the inimitable Jonney Shih, Asus unveiled a Galaxy Note competitor called Fonepad Note (bonus points for creativity here), a hybrid laptop with two processors, two storage systems, and two operating systems (Android and Windows 8), and a new Transformer Pad Infinity. Did we mention the $129 Nexus 7 lookalike?
ARM vs Intel? Bring us the popcorn
The smartphone revolution caught Intel dozing, and it took the chip giant a few years to shake off the nap. Meanwhile, ARM was out eating Intel’s lunch, putting an ARM design in virtually every mobile device on the market.
But Intel is back with a vengeance, and last week showed us that the mobile hardware landscape might get a whole lot more interesting in the coming months. Intel scored its first major design wins for its Atom processors, the Galaxy Tab 3 and the ASUS MeMO Pad FHD 10. In addition, the tech world debated the chances of the new Silvermont architecture and specifically of the Merrifield chips that should power high-end smartphones starting in early 2014. Should ARM be worried?
Samsung wins ban on Apple products, doesn’t brag about it
The unthinkable happened – Apple was slapped with a preliminary ban on some old versions of the iPhone and iPad, right on its home turf. The decision is not final, and even if it were applied, the lost profits would be peanuts compared to the amounts of cash that Apple rakes in every year.
More interesting that the ban itself was Samsung’s reaction to the decision, or better said, its lack of thereof. Our Nate Swanner dissected the reasons behind this restrained attitude in his post here. Let’s just say that, at the end of the day, fanboys wars tend to stay in the comments sections.
Another Galaxy S4 is activated
After the Galaxy S4 Mini was revealed as a dumbed-down, scaled-down version of the 5-inch “regular” Galaxy S4, a new member joined the growing S4 family this week – the Galaxy S4 Active.
The waterproof device, which is supposed to be a godsend for the outdoorsy and the butterfingered among us, has and LCD display instead of the AMOLED on the vanilla S4, features a bolt-on backplate, and swaps the capacitive keys for some distinctly 2009 physical buttons. Otherwise, it looks quite nice.
Samsung: reality check
The Godzilla of the Android world is having a bad day. Several analysts commented on Thursday that the expectations for the Galaxy S4 are simply too high, and one went on to claim that Samsung privately told investors to lower their targets a notch. The result was a selloff on Friday, that wiped off more than $12 billion of Samsung’s market value.
Should we be worried? Probably not – this is most likely a correction of the overly enthusiastic estimations that have been making the rounds since the Galaxy S4 hit the markets.
NSA: who’s pumped about Google Glass?
The news of the week is not so much related to Android, as it is to general technology, privacy, and politics. First, it was revealed that Verizon routinely hands over to the NSA the metadata related to phone calls made on its network, including location, phone numbers, and identification codes. It’s likely that all US carriers do the same thing.
If that wasn’t enough, another report claimed that Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and other companies all provide the government with access to their servers, through a program called PRISM. Needless to say, the internet freaked out.
So, who else is pumped about Google Glass?
— PRISM US Gov (@PRISM_NSA) June 6, 2013
On Friday, Google vigorously denied that it provides backdoor access to its servers to any organization, though the somehow vague language of the rebuttal further fueled the suspicions.
Xperia Z Google Edition (almost) confirmed, Xperia Z Ultra rumored
In the wake of the announcement of the “Google Editions” of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, the blogosphere wondered if other similar devices are coming from more manufacturers.
A source told Android Authority that one more Nexus experience device is coming this year, and two reports that popped up this week confirm that device will be the Sony Xperia Z. It’s safe to say now that it’s only a matter of time until the Xperia Z (which already has an AOSP project) will join the Galaxy S4 and the One in the Google Edition club.
In other Sony news, a flurry of leaks painted an almost complete picture of the upcoming jumbo-sized Xperia Z Ultra (Togari). The device will supposedly run on a Snapdragon 800 processor and will come with a 6.44-inch display with Triluminous technology and other goodies. Look out Galaxy Note!
What are the most important events of this week in your opinion? Tell us in the comments.