This week in your world of Android: Google rolled out Android 4.4.2, Qualcomm announced its first 64-bit chip, news of Nokia’s Android phone leaked, two new Google Play edition devices launched, the Nexus 5 received a design tweak, a privacy watchdog grilled Google over the removal of App Ops, and new apps gained Chromecast support.
These are the essential stories, the summary of an entire week in just a few words. It’s must read Android.
Android 4.4.2 out now
A new update consisting of mostly bug fixes rolled out to Android devices on Monday. Google didn’t elaborate on the changes coming to Android 4.4.2, but we do know that a potentially dangerous SMS-based Denial of Service vulnerability is now a thing of the past. The update also rolled out to Google Play edition devices by the end of the week.
- Android 4.4.2 (KOT49H) rolling out to Nexus devices
- Android 4.4.2 fixes Class 0 SMS DoS vulnerability of Nexus devices
Just a few weeks back, a Qualcomm executive dismissed 64-bit mobile chips as gimmicks, and yet, here we are, talking about the company’s first 64-bit processor, the Snapdragon 410. The LTE-enabled chip will power entry-level devices starting in the first half of next year. More advanced 64-bit designs should follow soon.
A Nokia running Android
Shock and awe in the mobile industry. Not only is Nokia developing an Android-powered smartphone, but Microsoft, the Finns’ corporate overlord, might actually let it live. According to multiple sources, the Normandy is an entry-level device running an Android fork that could replace Asha. If Microsoft decides to let it live, the device could launch early next year.
- Nokia Normandy Android phone development plans reportedly at “full steam ahead”
- Report: Microsoft might actually let Nokia’s Android phone live
Google Play edition club welcomes new members
The rumor mill was caught unaware for once – the arrival of the LG G Pad 8.3 and Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition was a pleasant surprise for fans of pure Android. The two devices combine great hardware with an unadulterated software experience, giving fans of stock Android more options to choose from.
- LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play edition now available, $349 with free shipping
- Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition available in the Play Store for $649
Chromecast gathers steam
It was a busy week for the Chromecast – ten new apps were updated to support the streaming stick, including media players such as Plex, that allow casting personal content through the cloud. We also learned about the Chromecast team’s plans for 2014, which include more partners and a massive international expansion.
- Chromecast Update – Plex, Realplayer, Pandora & More
- Chromecast in 2014: international launch, more apps, open SDK and other devices
Nexus 5 design tweaks
Newly made Nexus 5 units are slightly different than the version available at launch. The holes of the speaker grill are larger, allowing more sound to pass through, the buttons are less wobbly, and the SIM card tray is now perfectly flush with the body.
The App Ops commotion
Google included in Android 4.3 a hidden function called App Ops that let users choose precisely what permissions they wanted to grant to apps. The function became inaccessible in Android 4.4, which prompted the Electronic Frontiers Foundation to accuse Google of sacrificing the users’ privacy in the name of profit. Google maintained that App Ops was never really meant to be a user-facing feature.
What were the top events this week in your opinion? Tell us in the comments.