XDA Recap: This Week In Android (Jun 7 – 14)
Another week, another recap. The Sunday tradition marches on this week with a fresh no-nonsense look at big-picture news. Here in the digital XDA writers’ room, we spend our days poring over an average of 2,500 news items and forum threads every 24 hours. Only the most timely and interesting bits survive the editing process, but the portal’s front page still sees weekly counts in excess of 100 posts. This is a glut of content to absorb, especially if following the news cycle isn’t your full-time job. However, the tech world is vast, and the information must flow. With this in mind, let’s dive into a slimmed-down version of this week’s news that’s the perfect size for easy Sunday afternoon consumption!
Notable Links & Announcements
- Last week’s news roundup, or click here for the bookmark-able archive page of our regularly scheduled recaps.
- Saturday’s usual app list took the week off, but a handful of contenders did make their way to the Portal homepage. Check out all of our “Get It Now” recommendations here, or browse the archive of past “app of the week” threads for more great suggestions..
- XDA articles – original reporting and in-depth analysis. This week, we took a look at how to combine icon packs, why root is not coming to the LG G4 just yet, what the OnePlus One Hydrogen OS has to offer, why we’ll never have the perfect phone, and many other riveting topics. However, Android news was not alone in the limelight; our friends in Cupertino held their yearly Apple conference, and Pulser was quick to jump in with a privacy and permission analysis, provocatively titled Privacy War – Shots Fired by Apple at WWDC.
New Writers Join The Team
Eric is a Mechanical Engineer by day, and a self professed technology lover on the side. Buyer of (way too) many flagships and fan of all things mobile. XDA member since 2010.
You can find his work here, including three excellent summaries of specific events from this past week: Apple Music’s imminent launch, AT&T’s surprise no-prompt updates of the G4, and a fix for memory issues on the Galaxy S6
Jack is just your regular technology enthusiast from London who enjoys writing, playing and listening to music. After purchasing an HTC Desire in 2010, his affection for Android has steadily grown; his phone is probably in recovery mode, right now…
Only one week in, and Jack Jennings already has two editorials and a handful of posts and features under his belt, the first two of which you can find here: Audio-Focused APIs Mark Promising Direction for Android, and Should Google Open Up Android Wear?
Be on the lookout for the talent filled work of both Eric and Jack in the weeks to come, and help us welcome these two into the XDA writing family.
A New Breed Of Review
XDA is home to many reviews, and we have covered the likes of the Zenfone in the past, but it’s safe to say that Mario Serrafero’s examination of the Asus Zenfone 2 is a cut above the rest. This review marks the start of a new era in XDA device analysis – one driven by data and objective measurement, yet published with flair. We can’t wait to share our plans for the next go around, and hope this series opener proves useful to developers and shoppers alike.
For The Community, By The Community
This Week in XDA TV
XDA covers more than just news, and nowhere is that more apparent than Jordan Keyes’ weekly posts to XDA TV. Here’s the latest round of ROM updates and phone tweaks mixed with a dose of current events; enjoy!
Full annotations for this video can be found in the main XDA TV post from Friday. For more from the TV team, Monday’s recap of last weekend highlights noteworthy community announcements that didn’t make it to the Friday feature. However, if you’re already two deep into these YouTube videos, you might as well settle in with some popcorn and fire up the complete archive (found here).
For all the news and only the news, read on.
New & Upcoming Device Launches
The device market is a crowded place, and finding the perfect handset can be difficult for even the most well informed shopper. Google’s newly launched Which Phone site aims to simplify the issue through a series of quick questions about how you intend to use your new phone. The tool is geared towards casual consumers, but the survey and filters on offer manage to pair phones with needs remarkably well. Check it out!
For more options, and to keep apprised of the latest up and coming smartphones, read on.
The LG G4, available for pre-order now, will sell for Rs. 51,500 when it hits shelves in India this Friday. Pre-orders include perks like a free metallic back cover, extra battery (with charging cradle), and one-time screen replacement. Order here.
Xiaomi Mi 4i goes grey. The new color option follows its white counterpart in selling for Rs. 12,999, and packs all of the familiar specs along for the ride. Flash sale registration starts June 16. Learn more.
OnePlus will now extend the warranty on any One by three months if a support ticket has gone unanswered for more than fifteen days. Read our coverage here.
Elsewhere Around the Globe
In more OnePlus One news, prices continue to fall and perks begin to stack up in advance of the expected OnePlus Two announcement next month. Recent flash sales have seen $249 and $299 price tags for the 16 and 64 GB models, respectively, and now a partnership with Dropbox upps the ante with 1 TB of Pro storage and a 64 GB phone for $349 combined. This offer is only valid in the US, Canada and EU for a limited time. Check out our coverage for the full scoop. Current owners also have something to anticipate on the horizon – Android 5.1’s arrival courtesy of OxygenOS. Discussion in the OnePlus forums points to the update being on its way, although an OTA push may hold off after the Two has arrived.
Galaxy S6 Active launches on AT&T with a shock and water resistant shell, but the showstopping change is an upgraded 3,500 mAh battery that adds an additional 40% capacity to the non-removable S6 power pack. Read the rundown of changes here.
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua can be found in the US via Amazon. The 8 GB M4 is priced at a reasonable $349 and comes unlocked with free shipping, though keep in mind that only 1.26 GB is free to use. Sony is known for making quality devices, but make sure to research the field before putting down cash – this year has seen many capable handsets at similar price points. Order here.
Andromax Q is the latest upstart powered by CyanogenOS, and can be had for Rp. 1,599,000 in Indonesia. Order here.
Elephone P8000 is now on the market for $209.99 during today’s flash sale, with additional discounts available in the form of ELE codes. This 5.5” octa-core device is a compelling low or mid-range purchase with 3 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, two high resolution cameras, and a massive battery. Do your research first, though, as the Elephone is not alone in the high-end budget space. Order here.
Gionee Elife E8 is now on sale, and weighs in with a 24 MP rear camera. This 6” Quad HD device from bit player Gionee is only for sale in China at the moment, but rumors abound about a potential July 15 launch in India as well. Check out our full feature for more info.
NVIDIA Shield Pro Android TV has arrived. The 4K capable Shield comes with all the necessary internals for hard-core media consumption, and two flavors of storage – 16 GB for $199.99, and 500 GB for $299.99 with a copy of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel thrown in for good measure. Both versions also add $30 of Google Play credit and a three month subscription to Play Music to get you started. Order here.
The OnePlus Two to arrive in July, according to the most reliable rumor yet. The long awaited device is said to possess an updated Snapdragon 810 processor 3 GB of RAM, a 1920 x 1080 display, 3300 mAh of battery capacity, and a 13 MP camera, though most of these specs lack confirmation. For a chance to win a trip to the Hong Kong factory, check out our complete contest explainer, then read up on what we know about the release thus far.
Pebble Time pre-orders start June 22 through an exclusive agreement with BestBuy. Full Pebble coverage can be found here.
Oculus Rift is finally approaching consumer sale in the first quarter of next year. The latest VR headset iteration was shown off at a press conference on Tuesday, where games, controllers, and new OLED panels were all on display. Read our full coverage of the event here.
Samsung patents a new “automatic ejectable pen” for upcoming Note devices that locks the stylus in place until released with a voice command or gesture. Learn more!
ZTE to go 4K with upcoming flagship launch, bringing the company head to head with Samsung’s rumored high-resolution Note 5. Learn more!
The Snapdragon Saga Continues
It should come as no surprise by now that the writing staff here in the XDA newsroom has a less than favorable opinion of the Snapdragon 810, and this week’s announcement of heat issues in the Xperia Z4 only solidify the view. However, progress marches ever onward, and it was just revealed that the Xperia Z3+ will carry a revamped Snapdragon 810 “v2.1” when it is released. Will the new phone suffer the same fate? We await news with bated breath. The full story of the Xperia Z4’s meltdown can be found here.
Google Product Updates
Google Search becomes location aware, and packs a bonus for the data conscious in India. Contextual phrases like “call this conference center,” “how long is this river” and “how tall is that building” will now serve up answers based on your location, pairing the power of Google Now with the precision of smartphone GPS. Check out our primer, and give it a try! In other search news, Google is now saving 2G users in India a bit of time and bandwidth by serving up “light” versions of websites through Chrome while on slow connections. No word yet on international availability. Learn more!
Take an early look at Hangouts 4.0 through an Android Police exclusive. The refreshed messenger features Floating Action Buttons galore, a polished Material UI, and a long awaited Wear overhaul that adds conversation lists and hints at voice actions to start messages. A few bugs still exist, but we can’t wait to get our hands on the new features. Learn more about the smartphone app and Wear integration here.
Apple Updates (Yes, They Affect Android As Well)
Apple Music – the streaming music space is growing increasingly more cluttered with each passing month, and soon Apple will be joining the fray on both Android and iOS. Features are set to include curated radio-like stations from BeatsOne, Connect, and Siri integration (on the iOS side). Check out our initial writeup for the specifics of this June 30 release, and keep an eye open for Mike McCrary’s upcoming technical comparison of streaming services.
“Move to iOS” App – on the off chance that you have grown tired of Android and wish to ditch the XDA lifestyle for iOS, Apple is making the move easier than ever with a new set of apps – one for each platform. Simply fire up Move to iOS on your Android, and a helpful wizard will walk you through transferring files, contacts, messages, photos, videos, bookmarks, and more with no wires needed. Learn more!
Potential Acquisitions & Corporate Restructuring
Asus is looking to acquire HTC – Chairman Jonny Shih of Asustek confirmed this week that the two Taiwanese companies may have a bright future together, and the possibility of acquisition has not been ruled out. Learn more!
Blackberry may adopt Android – Four unnamed sources claim that Blackberry is set to shift its focus to software and device management, with Android playing a possible role in future growth. The first hardware fruit of the new direction may even be a sliding keyboard phone to fill a market niche long abandoned by other OEMs. Learn more!
Google’s developer outreach portals have been spitting out content at full tilt ever since I/O, but perhaps the most prolific posting source is GoogleDevelopers on YouTube. If you’re not already subscribed to this channel and the related feeds, now is a great time to catch up. Content ranges from tech tips to hilariously informative Play Services updates, but this week focused on a series of coffee shop chats, and daily mini lessons flying under the banner of “100 Days of Google Dev.” Check out the representative video below, then grab a bite to eat and spool up the entire playlist over on YouTube.
Creating and showing off apps for Android Auto in the cramped confines of a car is no easy feat. Thankfully, Instructables user Joel Aguila has a solution in the form of a DIY dev box to put all of the features of a car within one tidy package. Learn more!
Are you all set for development, but lack the cash for an official Android Auto powered touchscreen? XDA Recognized Developer mikereidis has reverse engineered Auto to run on any smartphone or tablet, so any spare device can transform into a head unit. Learn more!
That is it for this week, but we will be back next Sunday for another round of recaps. After all, the news never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your own rest to stay informed!