Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Week in Android News for 11 March 2012

Compared to during MWC the Android community has been relatively silent over the last week with the biggest news announcement Google's re-branding of Android Market to Google Play.

The week in Android News is ready and waiting after the jump.


Device and Technology Announcements

Fanboys gonna hate
  • While die-hard Android fans don't like to think about the competition for Android manufacturers there is no escaping the fact that every Tablet you make you will be compared to Apple's iPad. Hopefully with the announcement of the new iPad with a 2048x1536 resolution display we will see Android manufacturers pushing the bar. On the flipside it seems most of them just want to pander to Nvidia and their weaksauce Tegra 3 which although it probably isn't 4X slower than the new iPad's A5X, it is still completely outmatched. For proof of how weak the Tegra 3 GPU is compared to the previous iPad 2's older A5 check out these benchmarks from Anandtech as well as a full Analysis comparing Tegra 3 to the A5X. 
  • I'm not sure where Archos sell their G9 range of tablets, but apparently now they have Ice Cream Sandwich. Surprisingly ahead of most other Android tablet manufacturers. 
The Asus Padfone 
  • The Asus Padfone which was officially unveiled at MWC now has an official release 'date' of April with prices apparently coming 'soon'. While I am hoping for a lower price, I'm expecting upwards of $1500 NZD for the Phone + Tablet + Dock combo. 
  • In more rumour-fuelled news, Asus is apparently bringing out a 7 Inch 'nexus' tablet for USD $199-249 as early as May this year. 
Samsung's Galaxy SII

  • Samsung have a lot of very unhappy customers this week after officially saying Ice Cream Sandwich was due for release on the SGSII starting March 10. They then went back on this and said that it was a mistake. So apart from Samsung Israel who have said March 15th, there is no official release date for ICS on Samsung's flagship device of yesteryear. If you are keen however there are still test versions floating around on XDA.

The HTC Sensation's ICS Update

  • While Samsung is off disappointing a large portion of it's userbase, HTC is coming through and has officially released ICS on the HTC Sensation in Nordic countries. The build number is 3.32.401.5 and comes with HTC Sense version 3.6 as well as Android 4.03 - the delicious Ice Cream Sandwich.  

Clouds fly out of your strange looking phone
Google has filed a patent for motion-based gestures, that is being able to control your device without touching the screen. It will certainly be interesting to see if this ends up being implemented in a device, think Minority Report style controls for your phone, tablet or even TV.

On the Patent/Lawsuit Front:
  • The wheels of patent lawsuits keep on turning, this time they are stopping on Motorola who has been told they need to get information from Google about the development of Android and hand it over to Apple. Unsurprisingly Motorola are not very keen to do this and say that they cannot force Google to hand over this information. You can read more details over at Bloomberg.
  • While Motorola is getting the beat-down, Samsung is continuing to fight back, this time with a fresh lawsuit over three utility patents. 

App News

App Inventor
  • While Google dropped support for App Inventor which lets users create apps without knowing how to code, MIT has now picked it up and you can find out more here
  • Readability - a news reader with a typography-based UI is coming to Android via Amazon's App store on Monday (Tuesday in NZ)
  • If you're looking for a gory and mindless hack 'n slash then check out Dark Legends, which now has a trailer video, with one of those movie trailer voice guys to boot.
Prepare for other worldly goodness! 
  • If you ever played Another World/Out of This World on your Amiga, Atari or DOS PC back in the day ('the day' being of course the early 90s) then you may want to revisit your youth on Android. That's right, Another World is coming to Android, hopefully I don't stuck at gaming too much to play it now. 
  • The hit iOS game Temple Run has now been officially announced for Android and is coming March 27th for free!
  • Samsung and Rovio have teamed up to announce Angry Birds Space with hands-on demos at the SXSW conference in Austin Texas
Dead Space 
  • If you have a reasonably high-end handset then you need to get Dead Space, right now it's only $0.40 NZD and is an amazing 'sci-fi horror masterpiece'
  • If you like little shooty tanks then check out this review of Tank Hero: Laser Wars. It has the 3D graphics oh and also a split-screen 2 player

The Industry
Google Play - the Android Market replacement
  • This week has been pretty big for the Android platform as a whole. First Google announced that Android Market would support apps larger than 50MB by providing up to 4GB of additional storage for data files. The APK files still have a limit of 50MB which could still cause problems for developers. 
  • The second big story for Android was the rebranding of Android Market to Google Play. By now most people's devices have already had Android Market sneakily replaced with the new and debatably ugly Google Play icon. There is still no support for Books, Music or Movies in New Zealand and likely won't be in the foreseeable future. On the bright side, there are quite a few apps that are on special at bargain prices to celebrate the new brand.

Random other stuff

Remember how Google announced a new font as part of the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich launch? well now it's available to download as a zip full of True Type Fonts. That means you can use it on your Windows and possibly Mac/Linux computers as well!


    Image courtesy of
    • This week we reached a milestone of Apps of the Week and our beloved leader NZtechfreak collated all of the recommendations into one blockbuster article for your reading pleasure! If you want to know what apps we use, and you should be using then check it out here

    How To’s
    • Unfortunately we didn't release any How To articles this week, you can go check out our archive here, or leave a comment saying what you'd like us to write a How To article for. 

    If you feel there’s anything important that we’ve missed, let us know in the comments below.