This Week in Android: Aug 26th – Sept 1st

This week has been big for Android’s own with Google’s Vice President for Android Product Management, Hugo Barra, departing from the company. If you’re saddened by that news, at least you’ll be able to get your tablet back from your kids this week with Samsung’s first tablet specifically oriented towards children announced. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on in Android’s last month of August.

Google VP Hugo Barra Leaves

Google’s Vice President for Android Product Management, Hugo Barra, has stepped down from his position at the company. Barra has confirmed he will be joining Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi, taking the position of Vice President of Xiaomi Global.

In a few weeks, I’ll be joining the Xiaomi team in China to help them expand their incredible product portfolio and business globally — as Vice President, Xiaomi Global. I’m really looking forward to this new challenge, and am particularly excited about the opportunity to continue to help drive the Android ecosystem.

Before his departure, Hugo Barra led Product Management efforts at Google in a number of capacities after a move from Nuance. In recent history, Barra has been part of many major Google announcements, including at this year’s I/O conference in Spring which saw the unveiling of Google’s 2013 model of Nexus 7. Barra was educated at MIT.

Google's campus: the former home of Mr Barra's work

Google’s campus: the former home of Mr Barra’s work

Samsung Announces Galaxy Tab 3 Kids

Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids this week, a variant of the Galaxy Tab 3 designed especially for kids. Coloured with an interesting choice of yellow, the Galaxy Tab 3 features a lower-end 7-inch 1024px x 600px display, powered with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor running Android 4.1 with a Samsung skin and child-centric app marketplace. The tablet’s additional software features a time management setting, allowing parents to limit the times children can use the device.

Samsung's vibrant Galaxy Tab 3 Kids

Samsung’s vibrant Galaxy Tab 3 Kids

Samsung’s also offering a Kids Case accessory with a child-friendly carrying handle that doubles as a kickstand and an “easy-to-grip” C Pen stylus. The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids will launch first in Korea early this month and follow up with availability in key territories around the world in the future. A price point was not discussed in Samsung’s initial announcement but should be expected when availability begins to roll out.

Other Updates

  • Amazon has introduced a new API for apps distributed through it’s own app marketplace that allows for in-app purchases of physical goods, to which developers receive a percentage.
  • Google has dropped the price of the Nexus 4 down to $199 for the 8GB model, $100 less than it was previously. The price drops have been reflected in a minimum of 25% reduction in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, Korea, the US and the UK.
  • Availability of the Nexus 7 has been rolled out to terriorities beyond the United States and Canada this week, with French, German, Japanese, Spanish and British customers now able to purchase the device. In the UK, the Nexus 7 starts at £199, a £40 premium over last year’s model.
  • Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy NX camera has been given a release date. It will launch in October for $1,599.
  • Twitter has launched an Android app beta program for its first-party client, employing Google’s newly-revealed Android Studio development enviroment for app testing. A dedicated Google Group will allow you to volunteer to be a tester and receive beta versions of future releases.
  • Motorola’s flagship Moto X could have its price cut to $100 in winter, a new report claimed this week.

Check in next week for another roundup of the week in Android!