Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Week in Android News for 15 January 2012

Yup it's that time again!
It has been a pretty busy week in the world of technology with CES running from 10-13 January in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unfortunately we weren't able to attend, but we were keeping a close eye on all of the announcements. There were a raft of new gadgets seeing the light of day; Many of these were Android or Android related and (nearly) all of them were impressive. 

If you're keen to see what's been happening in the world of Android for the last week then keep reading after the jump.

News

Device & Technology Announcements


The mythical Galaxy Tab 7.7 - we finally have one!
Tablets:
  • The biggest news for us is the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 at our HQ. NZtechfreak will be reviewing this beauty over the coming weeks.
  • The Transformer Prime may soon have a worthy competitor in the way of Lenovo's IdeaTab S2
  • Asus announced the MeMO 370T - an affordable ($250 USD) 7 inch tablet with powerful quad core Tegra 3 processor coming later on this year
  • The Transformer Prime has only just been released and it's already obsolete! Asus announced a new version of the Prime the TF700T. This time it has a Full HD (1920x1200) screen and the GPS will actually work. Over at The Verge they have a preview
  • The TF700T isn't the only 1080p tablet on the block with Acer announcing the Iconia Tab A700 which has nearly identical specs
  • While Asus sneakily released Ice Cream Sandwich for the Transformer Prime during CES, those with the legacy Transformer will have to wait a bit longer to receive the update 

The Ascent P1 - image courtesy of Anandtech
Phones:
  • Huawei announced some phones that are actually half decent. The Ascent P1 S and Ascend P1 both have specs similar to the Galaxy Nexus but are slightly thinner. AndroidCentral have a hands on with a closer look here
  • Fujitsu have announced a pretty crazy Tegra 3 phone which is apparently being revealed more fully in Barcelona come February
  • Motorola needs a good kick in the pants after releasing a new version of the Motorola Droid RAZR by adding a "MAXX" on the end and giving it a 3300 mAh battery. If you're interested they have a hands-on over at The Verge
  • Motorola also announced the Droid 4 for those keyboard loving Android fans
  • Sony announced the Xperia Ion, a fairly high end LTE-enabled device with a 12MP camera, a non-LTE device the Xperia S was also announced
  • Along with the Sony Xperia Ion, there was also a compatible Media Dock on display
  • Alcatel had a new midrange phone the Alcatel Ultra 995 on display at CES, you can check it out here
  • Intel are getting into the mobile arena (finally) with their Medfield chipset and one of the first devices will be the Lenovo K800 phone
Technologies:
  • Corning demonstrated a new version of Gorilla Glass which is a lot tougher and 20% thinner than the original
  • Want a connected washing machine? Samsung announced an Android app that tells you when your washing is done as long as you use their new washing machine of course
  • Imagination, whose PowerVR Series 5 GPUs have been found in many high end devices including the Galaxy Nexus and iPad 2 have announced their PowerVR Series6 GPU cores which apparently offer 20x the performance of current generation mobile GPU cores. Over at Anandtech they have some more information 

On the Patent/Lawsuit front


Will Life stay Good?
  • This week LG has buckled under pressure from Microsoft. They now have a licensing deal to pay Microsoft for every Android device that they sell. Clearly Microsoft's backup plan in the case of a failing Windows Phone platform is to profit from becoming a patent troll licensing their patents to companies that are actually successful. Whether this is a sign of trouble for Android it is too soon to tell, we can only hope Google are working on a long term strategy for dealing with this sort of thing.
  • In more positive news, Apple has failed to obtain an injunction against Motorola Mobility in the US. Hopefully this is a trend that continues.

App News

Cos we really needed another Market with Android Market right?
  • Qualcomm previewed their upcoming GameCommand app at CES
  • Magisto demoed a pretty cool app called Magic Movie Editor or something similar at CES. Currently it's iOS only but will be coming to Android later in the year
  • Vimeo, the Youtube alternative launched their Anew Android app at CES
  • Not getting enough zombie killing action on Android? don't worry Zombie Driver THD is coming so Tegra devices very soon. 
  • Splashtop had a prime spot at CES, demonstrating how people can play Skyrim on the Transformer Prime 

Interesting other stuff

The new Android Design website
Google just announced a new website that focuses on design guidelines for developers creating Android apps. Over at The Verge they have an interview with Matias Duarte the Director of Android User Experience at Google. 
The popular custom rom CyanogenMod reached 1 Million unique installs which is fairly impressive and speaks volumes about the Android modding community.  On that note CyanogenMod have also requested input from people regarding CMSettings and user experience for their CM9 release.

Parrot AR Drone V2.0 Image courtesy of TheVerge.com
Although not exactly Android, the newly announced Parrot AR Drone 2.0 quadricopter can be controlled by an Android Device and records video in 720p. I also think it's pretty nifty so go check it out.

Reviews
  • Since Ice Cream Sandwich was released early for the Transformer Prime NZtechfreak has a video demonstration of the new interface
  • After the Galaxy Tab 7.7 arrived one of the first things we did was check that SDXC cards are supported
  • onslaught86 took a look at Google's new search app for Android 2.2/2.3 devices and decided he likes the search widget after all
How To's
  • While not a fully fledged How To, we do have a guide to Rooting the Transformer Prime before loading it up with Ice Cream Sandwich (and retaining Root)
If you feel there's anything important we've missed, let us know in the comments below.