This Week In Android: Feb 25th-Mar 3rd

We’re into the third week of 2013 and the 62nd day of the year. You might know it as the birthday of Brian Cox, but it also happens to be the culmination of another week of Android news.

Since last week’s instalment, we’ve seen hardware announcements at Mobile World Congress, the release of Photoshop Touch on iOS and Android and more. Let’s dive in and take a look…

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LG Announces Optimus F5 and F7

LG took this week to announce the Optimus F5 and F7 at Mobile World Congress. The former, the LG Optimus F5, sports at 4.3-inch qHD display with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM under the hood. It shoots in 5-megapixels from the rear, and 1.3 from the front. The Android 4.1.2 smartphone will be available in the second quarter, although pricing is not available right now.

Its big brother, the LG Optimus F7, rocks 4.7-inches of a 720p display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and an 8-megapixel rear camera. Also running Android 4.1.2, the F7 is expected later this year though pricing isn’t known for this either.

LG’s new family.

LG also announced the Optimus L5 II and L7 II, two low-end smartphones with dual-SIM support and 4-inch and 4.3-inch displays, respectively. The L7 II rocks a 1GHz dual-core processor with 4GB of storage while the L5 II runs on an 800MHz CPU. The handsets are bound for Europe and Asia soon, although pricing is not known.

Sony Unveils Xperia Tablet Z

At this week’s MWC, Sony announced its plans to release the Xperia Tablet Z in the United States. The 10.1-inch tablet runs at a 1920 x 1200px resolution on a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and Android 4.1.

Sony’s latest and greatest, the US-bound Xperia Tablet Z.

The tablet will run up a $499 bill for the 16GB model when it hits the US, or you’ll be able to pick up a 32GB unit at a $100 premium. Retailers will sell the device in black, although a white model will be available direct from Sony. It goes on sale in May.

ZTE Shows off Giant Grand Memo

ZTE announced the Grand Memo this week, a huge 5.7-inch handset powered by a quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 pro CPU with 1GB of RAM. Android 4.1.2 is on board, as well as 16GB of storage.

The phone will launch in China this month with a Euro-release later in the year. Pricing or release information for other territories is not yet known.

The Grand Memo rocks a screen nearly 6-inches large.

Asus Reveals PadFone Infinity and Fonepad

Asus used Mobile World Congress as its platform to unveil its latest PadFone, the PadFone Infinity, and a 7-inch new member of the family, the Fonepad.

The PadFone Infinity is a 5-inch Android handet with a quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 500 processor inside which can be docked into the Infinity Station to turn into a 10.1-inch tablet. In the UK, the PadFone Infinity and the Infinity Station tablet dock will cost £799 when they launch this year.

The PadFone Infinity, docked and undocked.

On the other hand, Asus showed off the 7-inch Fonepad, an Android 4.1 tablet with support for cellular voice and data. Running on an Intel processor with 1GB of RAM, the tablet lets you make calls over a 3G network if you’re into Asus’s blurred boundary between phone and tablet.

The FonePad, for when you want to live out the fantasy of the “it’s just a big phone” critics.

No Retail for Google

Last week, we discussed the rumour that Google would be launching its own retail stores this year. It turns out that might not be true, according to Google’s Andy Rubin.

In a quote from AllThingsD, Rubin said that Google “doesn’t need” its own retail stores and that Google’s hardware efforts are still in their “infancy”.

Other Updates

  • Adobe released Photoshop Touch for Android smartphones this week. It’s a separate app alongside the tablet version, costing $4.99 from Google Play.
  • Samsung unveiled it’s Passbook competitor, Samsung Wallet, ahead of plans to show off the Galaxy S IV at an event on March 14th.
  • Chrome for Android was updated this week with a number of tweaks, including the ability to play audio from the browser in the background (similar to Safari in iOS 4 and above).
  • The Ouya will finally ship to Kickstarter backers on March 28th, the company behind it announced this week. A retail rollout is expected for June.
  • HTC shared on Facebook its plans to roll out versions of its Sense 5 skin to some existing devices over the next few months, including variants of the One X, One X+, One S and Butterfly.

We’ll see you next week for another roundup of This Week in Android.