This Week In Android: Mar 11th-17th

Happy St Patrick’s Day! It’s a day we often celebrate in green and therefore appropriate that it’s time for another This Week In Android. The week has arguably been one of the biggest of the year, with the announcment of Samsung’s Galaxy S4, the resignation of Andy Rubin and the sellout of Google I/O. Let’s dive in!


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Samsung Galaxy S4 Announced

Samsung finally announced the Galaxy S4 at a private event this week. The 130g body houses a 5-inch screen at 441ppi with a 13-megapixel rear camera. Interestingly, the phone runs on a CPU architecture with both 1.8GHz and 1.2GHz quad-core processors inside, paired with 2GB of RAM and an assortment of internal storage sizes.

The phone, naturally, supports both 3G and 4G, with the latter being available on a wide range of frequencies, including those likely to be used by future 4G networks from O2, Vodafone, Three and the like in the UK.

The Galaxy S4, marked as a “life companion”.

The S4 retains much of the S3′s same design, a decision likely to annoy the same critics of Apple’s third and fifth-generation iPhones — or not, because, well, this isn’t Apple doing it, is it? Perhaps the biggest design update comes in an accessory, the S View Cover, a flip cover for the S4 that has a small cutout to reveal a section of the screen with the time and notifications.

A number of software enhancements come hand-in-hand with the new hardware, including the much-rumoured eye tracking that will pause video when you look away from the screen and scroll through content based on the position of your eyes.

The S4 will be available in 55 countries by the end of April, with some carriers beginning preorders earlier. Pricing doesn’t seem to be readily available, but it can be expected around the same price as other leading smartphones such as the HTC One or the iPhone 5.

Andy Rubin Steps Down

Andy Rubin has stepped down from his position as head of Android at Google. Rubin will be replaced by Sundar Pichai, the incumbent Senior Vice President leading Chrome and Apps, where he will also maintain his position.

Andy Rubin – Photo courtesy of Joi Ito on Flickr

Rubin’s replacement could signal a strategic decision by Google to better unify Chrome OS and Android, an arguably large milestone rather than a simple changing of hands.

Other Updates

While the Galaxy S4 has made the biggest headlines this week, a few other notable stories have made their way into the news this week.

  • HTC met the announcement of the S4 with a hashtag. #TheNextBigFlop
  • AllThingsD reported that the HTC One will be heading to US carrier Verizon a “month or two” after other US carriers when it launches, however HTC denied that.
  • Google I/O sold out in just 45 minutes. The $900-a-ticket event takes place May 15-17th in Moscone Center, San Francisco.
  • Facebook updated its Android app this week. A regular update but the story is of note since Facebook opted to send the update outside of the Play store, rather than relying on Google’s own infrastructure.
  • BSkyB released the Sky Movies app for Android this week, for tablets and smartphone. Features work with one’s Sky subscription and hardware to watch movies in-app, find cinema listings and remotely record content.

See you next week for another instalment of This Week In Android!


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