This Week in Android: May 27th – Jun 1st

Are you one to sit and look at the HTC One and think, “boy, i’d much prefer this handset to be running stock Android and available for all to buy on Google Play for $599”? Ever get upset your Nexus 4 did not have the option to feature a decidedly glamorous white back? Sit and ponder no more! You’re in luck.

This week we’ve seen a range of announcements from new phones hitting the Google Play store in the coming weeks to new phones hitting different stores. It’s been a very hardware-oriented week to throw us into June, so let’s take a look!

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LG Announces White Nexus 4

This week, LG announced a white variant of the well-received Nexus 4, a stock Android-running device available directly from Google for only $299 unlocked, contract-free.

Same phone, new colour.

Same phone, new colour.

The white model is virtually identical to the otherwise-incumbent flagship Nexus phone in all areas except from the colouring of the device’s back, which swaps out black for white. The device is already available in the Google Play store in the US and will roll out to selected markets in the next few weeks. In the US, Google’s even offering to throw in a free bumper case with orders that show you can go back from black.

HTC One Running Stock Android

In related news, Google announced they’ll be selling the HTC One through Google Play, but not as you’ve seen it before.

Joining Samsung, who made the same announcement for their Galaxy S4 smartphone back at Google I/O, a new variant of HTC’s HTC One will run stock Android and be made available as so on Google Play. The phone will go on sale, unlocked, on June 26th for $599.

The HTC One, but not as you've seen it before. Image credit: The Verge.

The HTC One, but not as you’ve seen it before. Image credit: The Verge.

The $599 price tag represents the superior hardware, but still has to compete with LG’s $299 Nexus 4. Nonetheless, the trend towards offering secondary models of flagship hardware with stock Android, completely untainted by generally-disliked skins and customisation, is a favourable one and hopefully continues on as a staple practice in the world of Android hardware. Let’s see some tablets get the same treatment!

Samsung, Sony, Motorola Unveilings

Samsung and Motorola both announced new phones this week, and even made plans to unveil more in the case of the former.

Samsung showed off a Galaxy S4 mini that features a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display, running Android 4.2.2 on a 1.7GHz dual-core processor with 1.5GB of RAM. The device will come in white and black models, although pricing and availability weren’t confirmed. Samsung also made plans with the press to show off new Galaxy brand developments, which presumably include new phone or tablet hardware, at a joint event with its Ativ Windows Phone division on June 20th. The event, happening nearly two weeks Apple’s WWDC keynote, will kick off at 7pm BST and be streamed through Samsung’s YouTube channel.

Samsung'll be getting AcTIV and showing a Galaxy of new stuff.

Samsung will be showing a Galaxy of new stuff.

Motorola, on the other hand, announced a flagship Moto X device at D11 this week. The phone, which will be manufactured in the US, has been described in little detail but we do know that it’s coming this summer.

Sony also joined in this week by offering an update on the Xperia Z, saying that, finally, an announcement for availability on a US carrier will come in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Other Updates

  • Google updated its Google Calendar app this week bringing aesthetic changes in the form of a modified interface for appointment making with assignable custom colours.
  • Tim Cook’s interview at D11 revealed that Apple has no “religious” bias against developing for Android, but would only do so when it “made sense” for the company.

Stay tuned and check in with us next week for another instalment of This Week In Android!