Back at Google I/O we were introduced to Android One, an initiative from Google to give smartphone manufacturers guidance on how to build quality Android experiences using affordable hardware and updates directly from the Google mothership. At the time, Sundar Pichai explained that the program would be launched in India with three hardware partners - Spice, Micromax, and Karbonn "this fall," with other territories coming later.
In comparison with just a few years ago, Wi-Fi is pretty fast, especially if you've upgraded to a 5GHz router. But there's no reason that it can't be faster. To that end, electronics OEM supplier Qualcomm has purchased Wilocity, a California startup specializing in 60GHz 802.11ad Wi-Fi, also known as WiGig. This standard is still in the latter stages of development, but when it starts appearing in devices sometime next year, it should be able to sustain wireless data speeds of up to seven gigabits per second.
ARM still dominates mobile devices more than two years after Intel started making chips suitable for Android phones and tablets. The company is taking another swing at it in 2014 with the newly announced Merrifield and Moorefield chips. These processors pack updated GPUs, new 64-bit architecture, and an efficient 22nm manufacturing process.
The Merrifield chips are now officially known as the Z34xx family. According to benchmarks produced by Intel, the dual-core Z3480 processor is capable of besting the Snapdragon 800 and Apple A7.
While certain manufacturers are removing LED flashes from high-end smartphones (we're looking at you, Sony) Samsung is improving theirs. In a lengthy blog post on Samsung Tomorrow, the South Korean company posted technical specifications and photos on five new OEM flash modules, some of which use new techniques for brighter and wider flashes.
To be honest, the whole post is pretty dry, mostly talking about size and power improvements.
Fans of Google in general and Android in particular are still reeling from yesterday's announcement that Motorola is being sold to Lenovo. Google acquired Moto just two years ago, and while its time within Google has been beneficial, it's clearly not going to become the official mobile hardware arm that many had hoped for. But there's no reason to think that the big G is out of the hardware game altogether - in fact, at least one report says that another recent acquisition may be accelerating it.
If you read our Nexus 5 Voltron-style review, you know that one of the Nexus 5's only real failings is its tiny, tinny speaker. To quote Mr. Ruddock: "It doesn't get very loud, the quality is pretty gag-worthy." A few XDA-Developers members decided to investigate the actual hardware on the speaker, leading Adam Outler to conclude that at least some units were affected by a manufacturing defect. He decided to fix this problem the XDA way: by cracking the phone open and poking holes in it.
As Cameron explained in his latest "What We Use" entry, technology can change a lot in just one year. Around this time last year, I was running with a 2012 Nexus 7, a Galaxy Tab 10.1, and an Evo LTE. All of those devices have changed since then, as have my favorite apps and other gadgets. The family of devices I use has grown and evolved significantly since last October, so I thought it may be fun to detail just what I use to get through a normal day.
CPU-Z has long been a popular tool on the desktop for identifying hardware components quickly and easily. Now that same power has come to Android with the first beta release of CPU-Z in the Play Store.
There aren't a lot of bells and whistles in CPU-Z, but it knows absolutely everything about your hardware. It'll ID your ARM chip down to the revision number, find software and kernel versions, track RAM and processor load, and list all of your internal sensors.
We don't get to talk much about 3D printing here at Android Police because it's not a technology that's terribly mobile-focused (nor is it even that commonplace yet), but suffice to say, it's amazing. While this may not be about making prosthetic body parts, vehicles, or bikinis, MakerBot and OUYA are partnering to allow users to print their own enclosures for the hackable console. This may be the coolest way to customize a game system yet.
Au's Infobar phone line has been around since 2001, always featuring plenty of color and hoping to bring innovative ideas to the smartphone world through eye-popping, unique design. Bringing another stylized entry to the lineup, Au has posted a brief dossier on the new Infobar A02, designed by Naoto Fukasawa and manufactured by HTC.
One of the device's main claims to fame is its apparent use of HTC's ImageSense chip, allowing for smooth burst capture.