This Week In Android: Dec 2nd – 8th

As we get closer and closer to the Annual Android Handset Giving Period commonly known by many as Christmas, another week of Android news grows to a close. This week has brought a number of new stories, including reports that YouTube are delaying their streaming music service, the news that Chrome apps could be coming to Android as early as January and more information about Google’s mysterious barges that first hit our headlines last month. Let’s take a look!

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Chrome Apps on Android

Compatibility of Chrome web apps on mobile operating systems (namely iOS and Android) could start appearing as early as January. The news comes after Google announced that new tools for porting web apps over to mobile operating systems could be released in beta as early as next month.

The Pocket app running in the existing Chrome OS.

The Pocket app running in the existing Chrome OS.

Google first announced Chrome Apps, an expansion of existing efforts in the Chrome web browser and Chrome OS, in September with the aim of bringing compatibility to Windows, OS X, iOS and Adnroid, although the latter two were seen as a stretch goal at the time.

Rumoured YouTube Streaming Service Delayed

YouTube’s rumoured music streaming service has reportedly been delayed, according to a report by The Verge.

News of YouTube’s alleged competitor to rival music streaming services such as Spotify has been very active in the past few months while Google has apparently confirmed all the necessary licenses and deals with content producers needed to launch the service. However, the report claims the delay will give time for YouTube to “do more work on the product itself”.

The service is now said to be launching around Q1 2014.

Android 4.4.1 Release

Google released Android 4.4.1 this week to address a number of major complaints about the camera of the Nexus 5. Google claims the OTA software update “improves the camera with faster focusing, especially in low light, faster white balancing, for truer colors, the ability to pinch-zoom the viewfinder in HDR+ mode and less shutter lag”.

The reaction to the update has been very positive with users noting the significantly improved images produced as a result of the changes.

A comparison of the pre-4.1.1 camera update and the 4.1.1 update from The Verge.

A comparison of the pre-4.1.1 camera update and the 4.1.1 update, courtesy of The Verge.

The update comes after reports of a major new camera for Android cameras being in the works with Google. Our November 24th issue of This Week in Android covered the news, noting the new code was purposely omitted from Android 4.4 KitKat as it was not yet ready.

Other Updates

  • Google’s San Francisco-based mysterious barges — met with intense speculation with weeks of inquisitive headlines — are said to cost $35 million, be code-named Hanger 3 and house “floating retail stores”, according to reports this week. Google’s official statement on the project describes the barges as “an interactive space where people can learn about new technology”.
  • Existing owners of Google Glass can update to the latest model for free, Google announced this week. The newer model was released, albeit not to the same wide availability that is expected sometime next year, to update the device with support for new accessories and prescription lenses.

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