This Week In Android: Apr 1st-7th

It’s been an interesting week. Today we celebrate World Health Day and the culmination of a week that began with April Fools –and, oh boy did Google bring it this year! From Google Nose to Facebook Home, let’s take a look at what’s been going on this week in the big wide world of Android.

April Fools

Google is not known for playing coy in regards to April Fools jokes, but the YouTube team took it one step further this year. For April Fools 2013, the YouTube team announced the closure of the site and the eventual announcement of a winner of YouTube. The plan to spend two years announcing nominations for the ultimate prize was enacted for at least one day when YouTube actually broadcast a 12-hour livestream of a pair of hosts reading out nominations.

Google took it one step further this year.

The YouTube team weren’t alone, though. Around Google, numerous fake announcements took place including the unveiling of the new odor-based Google Nose service — complete with accompanying Android Ambient Odor Detection — and a new filter for Google Maps aimed at buddying treasure hunters.

Nexus 7 v2 In The Works

Reports this week have hinted at a Nexus 7 successor to be unveiled and/or released in July. The device, name unspecified, is said to carry a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip instead of the incumbent Tegra by Nvidia in addition to a higher resolution display surrounded by a thinner bezel.

The Nexus 7’s successor is expected to be designed with thin bezel lovers in mind.

Google is expected to continue its aggressive pricing model for the device, selling the current generation model at an even cheaper price point while stocks last.

HTC First with Facebook Home Unveiled

Rumours of Facebook-made hardware were somewhat put to rest this week with the announcement of the HTC First. The HTC First is a 4.3-inch, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean handset powered by a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM. The key selling point, though? Facebook Home.

The HTC First is the first Android smartphone to ship running Facebook’s Home skin out-of-the-box. The Home skin acts like most but puts Facebook’s core social services front-and-center, aimed at power users of the site.

The launcher provides easy access to key features like messaging and viewing shared photos right from the OS level of the end user, rather than being limited to the mere Facebook app. Though, it’ll come at a cost of ads in the future.

The HTC hardware, which will be the first to carry the skin, will be available on April 12th in the United States on AT&T for $99.99, and through EE and Orange in European territories in the future.

Other Updates

  • Google changed how it measured Android version uptake this week to better reflect users who actively used the Play store, thus better portraying users engaged in the Android ecosystem. This change is already reflected in the platform share data on Google’s Android Developers site.
  • AT&T clarified the pricing of the Galaxy S4 this week, following some confusion. The carrier explained that the previously quoted $249.99 price with a two-year agreement is for the 32GB model, while a 16GB handset will also be available for $199.99.
  • Samsung and Mozilla this week announced their collaboration on a new browser engine for Android, Servo. The new engine is said to take better advantage of the modern CPU architectures in play with higher-end smartphones. When consumers will start to see the new browser engine in play and ready for use is unknown.

Check in with AppStorm next week for another instalment of This Week In Android!