Android news and rumour roundup for week ending August 3

The best Android news of the week - and there's a lot of it

Let's face it - a lot of the technology that smartphone and tablet makers use in their devices is pretty similar. After all, there's only so many ways to shoehorn all the hardware necessary to run a very small computer into the available space, even with the incredibly impressive degree of miniaturization we've achieved. Think about it - the Samsung Galaxy SIII has a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, a gigabyte of RAM, and up to 64GB of internal storage. It wasn't really all that long ago that those were respectable stats for a desktop PC. Now it fits in your pocket.

Still, the point is that there are unavoidable, significant similarities between any two devices competing for the top spot in the market - not that that's stopping Apple and several top Android manufacturers from engaging in high-stakes patent warfare.

And that makes the news that Samsung may be working on OLED technology capable of providing even more pixel density than Apple's vaunted Retina display exciting, but also depressing - would anyone be at all surprised if Apple tried to argue that it had patented the idea of super-high-density displays on mobile devices?

***

If you've been hankering for some Nexus 7-related swag, you're in luck - U.K.-based Mobile Fun reports that manufacturer ASUS has released five cool accessories for the 7-inch tablet, including a screen protector, two stand cases, a folio case and a case with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard. Slick.

***

Speaking of the Nexus 7, it's apparently making a big dent in tablet-based Internet traffic market share already. According to market researcher Chitika, the tablet "experienced a jump in usage that has not been seen outside of the iPad, with an immediate 0.33 percent rise in traffic share following its release."

***

If the Nexus 7's $199 price (for the 8GB version) is still too rich for you, there are Android tablets out there for even less - according to the tech blog Red Ferret, you can get a Pandigital Novel 7-inch tablet for $53. Of course, the Nexus 7 it ain't - it has Android 2.2 instead of Jelly Bean, just 2GB of storage and 256MB of RAM and a lower-resolution screen - but hey, it's got a MicroSD slot and an HDMI out. For the price, that's not half bad.

***

In other weird Android device news - Google pushed back the retail release of the Nexus Q home media center thingy indefinitely, but gave the early version of the device to pre-order customers for free.

The Nexus Q seemed a bit limited and overpriced when it was rolled out at Google I/O at the end of June, and the news that Google wants to re-tool its magic 8-ball is likely a sign that the company is listening to the confused and underwhelmed feedback.

***

Verizon GNex Jelly Bean watch: Nope, nothing yet. Sorry, folks.

***

Delicious news department: An official port of Ice Cream Sandwich is on its way to the Raspberry Pi, a tiny, bare-bones computer meant for hobbyists and hackers. However cool the idea of having the whole ecosystem of Android apps available for the Raspberry Pi is, you'll still have to wait a little longer - the Raspberry Pi Foundation says it's still working out the kinks, and won't release the official port for about a month.

***

New Jelly Bean-compatible proprietary binaries - the device drivers that run a phone's hardware - were released yesterday for the Nexus S, Nexus S 4G, the GSM and Verizon versions of the Galaxy Nexus, and the U.S. WiFi version of the Motorola Xoom. This means that anyone who's of a mind to do so can compile their own version of Jelly Bean 4.1.1 for those devices.

While some of those devices have already received Jelly Bean via over-the-air updates, others - notably the Nexus S 4G and Verizon GNex - have not. It's important not to read too much into the release of these binaries, of course, but it's also not unreasonable to view this as good news for those hoping for an upgrade to Jelly Bean.

***

The gradual transition to Jelly Bean seems to have spurred some hardware makers into getting their update machinery in gear, with Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades coming for a host of older devices. These include the Sprint HTC Evo 3D, original Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Sprint HTC Evo Design 4G, among others.

This may have contributed to a rise in the proportion of Android devices running ICS, which Google says grew to nearly 16 percent in the second half of July.

***

The bounty for the first person to unlock the Verizon Galaxy S III's bootloader is up to $3,565 on the XDA-developers forums. Good luck!

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Gold

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?