This Week in Android: Sept 2nd – 8th

It’s been a big week for Android. Major new software and hardware announcements have made their ways out of the respective teams at Sony, Samsung, Google and Nestle — just don’t jump to doubting the relevance of the latter on a technology blog straight away. Let’s take a look!

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Google Announces Android 4.4 KitKat

Google this week announced the latest revision of their mobile operating system, Android 4.4, charmingly nicknamed KitKat after the popular brand of confectionary. Details of the operating system’s newest features are sparse at the moment, with much of this week’s focus being on the partnership between Google and Nestle.

Android goes chocolate

Android goes chocolate

The partnership will see promotion on both sides, with Google naturally showing off Nestle’s iconic brand in name, logo design and through a giant statue on their Californian lawn. However, Nestle and Hershey’s KitKats around the world will also soon start carrying the Android logo on packaging, offering customers the chance to win a Nexus 7 or Google Play credit.

The announcement was quickly responded to by Nokia, issuing a creative response to the news at the expense of KitKat’s long-time slogan.

Sony, Samsung Announce New Devices

Sony and Samsung both made a number of major hardware announcements this week, the latter of which introducing their long-rumoured smartwatch.

The Galaxy Gear is an Android 4.0-powered watch with a 1.63-inch 320px x 320px AMOLED display. The smartwatch acts as a companion to your phone, using Bluetooth to connect to a Galaxy device where a dedicate app is supported. 70 apps will be available at launch.

Samsung's Galaxy Gear

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear

Samsung also announced the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, a 10.1-inch tablet running on Samsung’s 8-core Octa chipset at 1.9GHz with 3GB of RAM. The tablet sports an 8mp rear-camera, a 2mp front-camera and one of three storage sizes, 16GB, 32GB or 64GB. You’ll also be able to grab it in 3G and 4G varients. The Galaxy Gear and Note 10.1 2014 Edition will be available in 149 territories from September 25th.

Finally, the newly-introduced Galaxy Note 3 brings a 5.7-inch display to the mix, with 2.3GHz quad-core chipset with 3GB of RAM and a 13mp rear-facing camera. It will be available on a variety of US carriers and worldwide by the end of 2013.

The Galaxy Note 3

The Galaxy Note 3

Sony announced the Xperia Z1 this week, a waterproof handset with a 5-inch 1080p display with headling BIONZ camera and image processing. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Sony also showed off the SmartWatch 2, a revision of their SmartWatch with a 1.6-inch, 220px x 176px display. It will be available from €179.

Other Updates

  • A Google spokesperson confirmed this week that a digital storefront for apps for the  Android-powered Google Glass will be coming in 2014.
  • A video announcing Android 4.4 KitKat this week has revealed an unnamed Nexus handset held by a Google employee. This follows a sharp price drop of the current Nexus 4, who’s 8GB model sold out this week.
  • Motorola’s Moto X smartphone has become available on Sprint and US Cellular this week, joining AT&T and Verizon in the United States.

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