In the AA Weekly, we recap the most significant events that happened over the past seven days in our world of Android. We look at new devices, major news, leaks, and everything else you should know to stay on top of the sprawling Android ecosystem.
The fabled white Nexus 4
This one’s short – the white Nexus 4 is official. It started selling on June 28, and it popped in the Play Store on May 31. Besides the new and immaculate garment, the white Nexus 4 is identical to the black one. Next.
The Galaxy Note 3 is looming
It won’t be the largest smartphone in Samsung’s stable, but the Galaxy Note 3 is definitely one of the most exciting devices of the year. That’s why we were all giddy when Korean media revealed that Samsung is planning to differentiate the Note 3 by souping up its camera with an optical stabilization system and other goodies.
Then, rumors emerged about the engine that is going to make the Note 3 rumble, which is apparently a mighty Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. Color us excited. However, the ETA for the Note 3 is still early September. Plenty of time for more leaks and rumors.
New Nexus: lost in translation
It looks that LG is trying to muddle the waters around the inevitable new Nexus (don’t call it Nexus 5, just yet). One of the company’s head honchos told the press that LG doesn’t need the marketing boost created by a new Nexus, which the whole world interpreted as “We don’t want to make the next Nexus”.
However, LG’s PR was quick to claim that something was lost in translation and that LG actually wants to make the new Nexus device, if only Google would bestow the honor on them.
The only sure thing, for now, is that tech companies will not hesitate to flat out lie about their plans. So we weren’t surprised to hear that Larry Page was already presented with an LG Nexus prototype. Oh, LG, how you play with us.
Finally, the X Phone is real
Motorola’s supposed upcoming super device, dubbed X Phone, has been rumored more than we care to remember. The gossip was so wild, that some in the Android community had even doubted its existence. We’re sure they were happy to be proven wrong by Motorola’s CEO Dennis Woodside on the stage of the D11 conference.
The Moto X is real and it’s coming sometime this summer. And unless Woodside was cruelly deceiving us, the phone (or phones) will be both amazing and amazingly cheap.
Did we mention the password pills and the electronic tattoos? Yes, Motorola has a former DARPA boss working to make sci-fi a reality. We can’t wait to see more!
Galaxy S4 Mini – it’s like a slightly better Galaxy S2, but shinier
What’s exciting about this mini-me edition of the Galaxy S4? Well, not much. In fact, looking at its spec sheet, the S4 Mini is remarkably similar to the Galaxy S2, Sammy’s flagship of 2011. They both have a 4.3-inch display, a similar resolution, and a dual-core processor. To be fair though, the S4 Mini is faster, has more RAM, a larger battery, and it’s smaller and lighter than the venerable S2. And, if that’s your thing, it looks pretty much like a shrunken down Galaxy S4.
4.3-inch Super AMOLED - Snapdragon 400 1.7GHz - 1.5GB RAM - 8MP camera
At the end of the day, the S4 Mini is a perfectly good Android device – it just won’t satisfy any specs maniac.
The new Gmail is here
Google was busy this week refreshing some of its core apps, including the all-important Gmail. The leaked screenshots were right – Google implemented a new automatic filter in both the web inbox and the Android app. The app also received a major facelift, with a new menu functionality, color coding for messages, and better sorting features.
Emailing is probably the primary activity for most smartphone users, so it’s good to see Google working to improve the experience in this area. If you haven’t received the new update yet, don’t worry, you’re in good company. Most users are still waiting for it, with the rollout scheduled to complete in a few weeks.
HTC One with the Nexus experience arrives, surprises no one
Finally, the HTC One with the Nexus experience (the marketing name for “Google Edition”) was made official by Android & Chrome boss Sundar Pichai. The device is going to join the Galaxy S4 Google Edition on the Play Store starting June 26, but it’s going to cost 50 bucks less and offer 16GB of extra built-in storage.
The news of a HTC One running AOSP Android has definitely delighted many people, but the device does come with some sacrifices – Zoe, BlinkFeed, the IR blaster, and the FM radio app are all gone. Even so, it’s a hell of a device, everyone agrees.