This week, updates rolled out to a host of Google apps, we’ve heard rumors of the next Nexus, the Zara broke cover, the Note 3 and Galaxy Gear were detailed, the Ubuntu Edge campaign closed, and the Nexus 7 (2013) received some much needed bug fixes.
It’s been a busy week in Mountain View, with major updates rolling out to a slew of Google apps. User facing changes came to Hangouts, which is now more buttery and richer in emoji, Google Keep can now remind you about your groceries shopping, and Google Plus now features built-in translation, so you can keep tabs on your foreign friends.
Developer-focused updates with big side effects on users came to Google Play Services and the Play Store app policies – apps are now prohibited to push ads in notifications or change settings on the device without the user’s consent.
In what has become an annual tradition of the tech blogosphere, people are speculating who will make the next Nexus smartphone this fall. So far, we have two competing camps – on one side, we have rumors claiming that LG is doing the next Nexus (which people like to call the Nexus 5, with no obvious reason) based on the G2; on the other side, some notable leaksters claim that Motorola is taking over this year.
@evleaks, whom you may know as the source of all kinds of juicy inside info, tweeted this week that “Nexus 4 v2 looks to be a Motorola handset.” More details here.
The same @evleaks we’ve just talked about did again what he does best – leak press shots of an upcoming device and irk an HTC executive in the process.
The HTC Zara looks to be a mid-range cross between a One and a Desire device. The phone is expected this fall and is reportedly a step towards the stylistic unification of the Desire and One families. In case you’re wondering, the image above is dedicated to HTC’s Jeff Gordon, who goes online by the @urbanstrata handle.
We had already known that a smartwatch from Samsung was coming this September, but this week GigaOm published a rock solid report on the Galaxy Gear’s specifications. These include a squarish 2.5-inch AMOLED display of 320 x 320 resolution, with a dual-core Exynos 4214 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 2.1MP camera, Bluetooth and NFC. No flexible display and no phone calling capability.
Probably the most exciting device of this fall (or is it the Honami?), the Note 3 is less than ten days away and naturally, leaksters are working hard to muster more details about it.
If we were to believe this week’s reports, the Note 3 would ship in September in black and white, with a pink version to follow soon. The first four million units off the assembly line will supposedly be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, with the new octo-core Exynos 5420 to make an appearance in devices at a later date.
It wasn’t hard to predict that the Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo would fail, though many, this writer included, had hoped that Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth would save the day with a massive last-minute contribution. It wasn’t meant to be though – with almost $13 million raised, the Edge was still far from its $32 million goal. All backers will be refunded.
Still, it was all not in vain. The high profile campaign drummed up the excitement for Ubuntu Phone, and it’s still possible that the amazing dual-booting Edge will become a reality someday.
As smart as it is pretty, the Nexus 7 (2013) does have its share of shortcomings, mostly manifested in various bugs that annoy users to no end. But fear not, Google is aware of your plight, ye Nexus 7 users.
The small update that rolled out to the Nexus 7 (2013) this Friday is supposed to solve two serious deficiencies that many users had complained about: the GPS signal loss bug and the misfiring multi-touch issue.
What do you think were the biggest news this week, and why?