This week in your world of Android: Google acquired thermostat company Nest, the Moto G GPe launched, we heard credible reports of the Galaxy S5, KitKat hit the Note 3, Google announced its smart contact lens project and a new augmented reality game, Nokia’s Android UI leaked, and Google Now made it to Chrome Canary.
These are the essential stories, the summary of an entire week in just a few words. It’s must read Android.
A Nest worth billions
Google started the week in force announcing it would buy Nest Labs, the red-hot startup making smart thermostats and smoke detectors. The $3.2 billion deal is seen as Google trying to kick start its smart home strategy, after the failure of Android @ Home.
Moto G Google Play edition
Out of the blue, the Moto G became Motorola first Google Play edition device. Available now in the Play Store from $179, the Moto G GPe is actually very similar to the regular version, hardware and software. Cheap stock Android? We love it!
More S5 rumors
The week in Galaxy S5 rumors opened with the “confirmation” of previously leaked specifications and followed with a report on the passive stylus capabilities and advanced air gestures coming to the flagship.
- Rumor: Galaxy S5 ‘confirmed’ to feature both plastic and metal variants, possible unveiling in mid-March
- Galaxy S5 may feature passive stylus support and better air gestures
KitKat graces the Note 3
Owners of the popular Galaxy Note 3 have a treat to look forward to in the form of an Android 4.4 KitKat update. While the update doesn’t bring much in terms of UI changes, KitKat brings many small improvements to the Note 3’s software.
Nokia’s Windows-Android hybrid
This week we had our first good look at the user interface of the Android overlay that Nokia is said to be developing for its entry-level smartphones. The UI borrows heavily from Windows Phone, and it’s not clear yet whether Nokia’s Android would be a fork or a Google-compatible version.
- Nokia Normandy press render reportedly leaks, reveals user interface
- Another look at Nokia’s alleged Android-WP-Asha mutant
Google on your eyeballs
Google is developing smart contact lenses that monitor blood sugar levels of patients suffering from diabetes. Packing a tiny chip, a sensor, a capacitor, and a hair-thin antenna, the smart contacts could one day bring a Glass-like experience closer to the user than ever before.
After Ingress, Google’s Niantic Labs is working with author James Frey for a more ambitious project involving an augmented reality game, websites, YouTube videos, and real life clues that will tie in with Frey’s new Endgame trilogy.
Google Now on Chrome, finally
It took more than a year, but Google Now, the virtual assistant we all love from Android, is finally coming to Chrome. For now, only users of Chrome Canary can activate it, but the feature will make it to the stable version in the close future.
What’s the biggest story in Android this week? Tell us in the comments.