Android Weekly: top stories this week

December 1, 2013
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It was the week of Thanksgiving in the US, a time to celebrate all good things in life. But people all over the world chose to celebrate consumerism instead, by hunting for bargains (real or imaginary) in brick-and-mortar and online stores.

But there was more than the Black Friday frivolity in the world of Android this week. We heard some juicy rumors about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5, which may land in early 2014 along a new and improved Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Microsoft caused an uproar with a Pawn Stars-themed ad that claimed Chromebooks aren’t real laptops. And the CyanogenMod team faced a reality check when Google “encouraged” them to remove the CyanogenMod Installer from the Play Store. Let’s dive in.

Galaxy S5 and Gear 2: spring 2014

Galaxy S5 concept

Rumors that Samsung may bring forward the release of its flagship Galaxy S5 have been swirling for a while. Apparently, the Galaxy S4 isn’t doing as well as Samsung hoped, so the Korean giant is accelerating the release of the next generation to shake things up.

Samsung is said to be planning two versions of the Galaxy S5, a regular plastic one and a premium version made of metal and featuring a plastic-based display. Production is set to start in January, and ramp up in February, for an early spring release.

To go with the new Galaxy S5, Samsung is also reportedly working to release a thinner, sleeker Gear smartwatch.

The Galaxy S line is hugely important for the Android ecosystem, and it’s clear at this point that the series is in need of a reboot. The next few months will tell if Samsung can make it happen.

Chromebooks aren’t real laptops. Really, Microsoft?

pawn-stars-scroogled

Google’s been silently digging at the foundation of Microsoft’s empire, and the cracks in the walls haven’t gone unnoticed in Redmond. One way to keep Google at bay is to spread FUD about its products and services, thinks Microsoft, and the Scroogled campaign is the most public effort in this direction.

This week it’s been the turn of Chromebooks to be featured in the Scroogled campaign, with an ad starring the protagonists of reality show Pawn Stars. A starry-eyed client visits the pawnshop expecting a nice payout on her Chromebook. Her hopes are shot down when she learns that “Chromebooks aren’t real laptops”, because, basically, they don’t run Windows. Or Office. Or something like that.

As you’d expect, the backlash was intense. Microsoft, the only one who’s getting Scroogled here is you.

CyanogenMod hits a speed bump

CyanogenMod Installer App

The Cyanogen team had high hopes for CyanogenMod Installer, an app that guides users through the process of installing the custom ROM on their device.

CM Installer launched in the Play Store a few weeks back, without much fuss, and it looked that Cyanogen had Google’s unspoken blessing to release the app. However, this Wednesday the team announced it removed the app from the store at Google’s request.

Google apparently didn’t like that CM Installer encourages users to break their warranties. But the vague response generates more questions – why was the app approved in the first place? How does Google feel about CyanogenMod after all?

What were the top events this week in your opinion? Tell us in the comments.

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