This Week In Android: Mar 18th-24th

Budding astromoners might know March 24th as the anniversary of the discovery of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, a comet that ultimately collided with Jupiter in July 1994. However, the rest of us simply see this Sunday as the end of another week of Android news.

This week we’ve seen rumours of a subscription news model in Google Play, Sony’s unveiling of the Xperia SP and Xperia L handsets and the announcement of a new service from Google, Keep. Let’s jump in and take a look!

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Sony Unveils Xperias SP and L

Sony kicked off the week with the announcement of the Xperias SP and L, two new mid-range handsets due in Europe and Asia this summer.

The Xperia SP boasts a 4.6-inch 720p display, powered by a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and shooting at eight megapixels. The phone runs Android 4.1 and comes in black, red and white varieties. The SP ships with 8GB of onboard storage, expandable with a microSD card, alongside LTE and NFC connectivity.

The Sony Xperia L.

The Xperia L is the lower-end of the two, keeping the SP’s eight-megapixel shooter but with a smaller 4.3-inch display powered by a dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor. It too has LTE connectivity, NFC and 8GB of onboard storage (expandable with a microSD card).

Both phones are due to be available in the Asian and European markets by the end of June this year, although a price hasn’t been released yet.

Suppliers: HTC One No Longer “Tier-One Customer”

HTC has delayed the released of the HTC One handset until late March to early April. This news isn’t especially notable, or even recent, until you find out why. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company found issue in sourcing components, particulary of the camera, since suppliers failed to view HTC as “a tier-one customer”.

The phone will finally launch in the UK, Germany and Taiwan next week, according to TechCrunch, and in other markets by the end of April.

HTC’s headquarters. Image courtesy of Luen.

The Journal is also reporting that HTC’s CEO Peter Chou told senior executives at the company that he pleged to resign if the handset fails to find popularity in the marketplace.

Google Announces Keep

Google this week announced Keep, a note-taking app for the web and Android. Described in a similar fashion to inevitable competitors like Evernote, Keep stores your notes in your Google Drive and keeps them in sync across devices.

Designed like sticky notes, you can rearrange notes and lists visually, change colours too, to represent priority. There’s even a lock screen widget for Android 4.2!

Google Keep for Android, showing off the sticky notes-esque design.

Google Keep is available on Google Play now for devices running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and above.

Other Updates

  • Google updated its Android Gmail client with the ability to reply to emails straight from the expanded notification area.
  • Google premiered news ads for the Nexus family on TV this week. They’re up and viewable on YouTube now, in both one-minute and condensed 30-second editions.
  • Verizon owners of the Galaxy Nexus will be pleased to know an update to Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean has began rolling out.
  • Google updated its Currents app with a few new features, including new syncing functionality. Google has also improved audio playback in the app.
  • Droid Life has previewed a new version of Google Play 4.0, expected to include a more minimal interface design.
  • Eric Schmidt, Google chairman, has denied rumours that Android and Chrome OS will merge, saying the company will keep them separate.

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