This Week in Android: Oct 14th – 20th

Leaks, leaks and more leaks. That’s the word of the week in the Android world over the past seven days. This one-time run of week 42 of 2013 has hosted Nexus 5 leaks on the Google Play store, giving us a glimpse of the design and pricing of the device. We’ve also had a sneak peek at the future of SMS in Android post-KitKat and an unofficial glimpse at a redesigned Google Play Store for Android. Let’s jump in and take a look!

Nexus 5 Shows its Face, Briefly

Google leaked their own upcoming phone this week, offering us all an official glimpse at the handset and its price tag.

The Nexus 5 was temporarily listed on the Devices section of Google’s Play Store with a starting price of $349, presumably for an entry-level 16GB version indicating higher-capacity models will be available. This comes at a $50 premium to the entry price of the Nexus 4, $299. Regardless, the Nexus 5’s debut would still offer customers a saving over the $599 price of the HTC One Google Play Edition and $649 tag of the equivalent Galaxy S4 variant.

The upcoming Nexus 5, as leaked by Google.

The upcoming Nexus 5, as leaked by Google.

The temporary listing also featured the first official product shot of the upcoming device, showing off the exterior design of the handset and confirming, if there was any doubt, that the device is being produced by the Nexus 4 maker: LG. The device photos also show off an upcoming release of Android, presumably 4.4 KitKat, complete with new camera and phone icons, amongst other visual tweaks.

Google Share Price Breaks $1,000

Google’s share price broke $1,000 for the first time ever this week, following a strong earnings release that beat Wall Street expectations.

Google announced Q3 2013 revenue of $14.98 billion, up from the $14.11 billion earned last quarter. However, Google continued to report weaker performance for Motorola Mobility, putting a figure of $248 million to the operating loss of the company this quarter. Nevertheless, the announcement pushed Google shares up to a peak high of $1015.46, accurate as of Friday night.

Tweaked Google Play Store Leaks

Screenshots of an upcoming update to the Google Play Store app on Android were leaked this week, showing off visual tweaks that include a new, pop-out menu system.

A glimpse of the new menus in the upcoming release of Google's Play Store app for Android devices.

A glimpse of the new menus in the upcoming release of Google’s Play Store app for Android devices.

The leaked images show a design more universal with other, recently-updated apps from Google and puts the Android store more in line with the web version. The updated app is expected to be available for older software releases, but reports claim it’s currently being tested on handsets running Android 4.4 KitKat.

This week’s leaked tweak joins previously-officially-announced plans to add a “Designed for Tablets” section to the Play Store on November 21st, offering users a better experience for exploring apps optimised for a tablet’s display. When an app isn’t explicitly optimised for tablets, come November 21st, it will be marked “Designed for Phones” for tablet users instead.

Other Updates

  • Through a post on the Android Developers Blog, Google announced that Android 4.4 KitKat will give users the ability to choose a default SMS app from stock options and third-party alternatives from the Play Store.
  • New patents revealed this week show off Google’s potential intent to introduce Google Glass gestures for “liking” real world objects.

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