This Week In Android: Dec 17th-23rd

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the Android community, there was actually quite a lot going on. As one might expect, one of the final weeks before the end of the year and less than a month before CES 2013 did not bring a plethora of new device announcements but we did see a few app updates and plans to upgrade a number of phones to more recent versions of the OS.

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Samsung’s Mid-Range Galaxy Grand

There was one unexpected device announcement this week. Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Grand, an entry-to-mid-level device with a 5″ screen at 800×480 pixels. The 8GB device sports two cameras: a two-megapixel shooter on the front and a eight-megapixel-touting one on the rear.

Powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU on Android 4.1.2, the Grand will ship sometime in the future, although Samsung is yet to announce pricing or a release timescale for the device.

The Galaxy Grand from Samsung.

HTC Thunderbolt Users: The Wait Is Over

HTC this week announced, via Twitter, that owners of the HTC Thunderbolt will get an update to Ice Cream Sandwich “soon”. The HTC Thunderbolt was first announced at CES 2011, later releasing on March 17th, 2011. Ice Cream Sandwich was released in late 2011, leaving over a year for users to wait for the update.

HTC makes the promise in a tweet.

Sony Announces Xperia Update Plans

Sony announced their plans to update a number of phones in the Xperia family to more recent versions of Android.

Sony intends to update the T, TX and V in February-March 2013, with the P, J and Go joining them in late March. The weeks after those updates will see the S, SL, ion and acro S recieve upgrades too. Sony has said that the U, Miro, Tipo and Sola will not, however, see an update to Jelly Bean.

No specific dates have been set, but the general timeline should be welcome to users of the aforementioned devices.

Just a part of Sony’s Xperia family.

App Updates and Controversies

Facebook updated their Android app with upgrades to the “Nearby” feature, making it a smoother and better experience to find and share new places.

A welcome piece of news from this week was the release of a tablet app for Tumblr users. The update brings a somewhat-tablet-optimised view for users of the service though it seems to be a little less fantastic than the iPad counterpart, working only in portrait mode. Still, even a quasi-optimised app is better than none at all, right?

Instagram suffered widespread controversy over a terms of service update.

Instagram, a service born in the mobile industry, endured wave-after-wave of controversy this week after a change in its terms of service. While not limited to the Android app, users across platforms were seen complaining after some interpreted the updated terms as giving Facebook rights to sell user-uploaded photos to advertisers. Instagram denied the intention and ultimately reverted the change in order to satisfy its departing users.

Happy Holidays!

For those celebrating Christmas, the big day is merely hours away. From us here at AppStorm, we certainly hope you have a joyous holiday season and the happiest of New Years! And don’t forget to grab yourself a deal on Google Play!