Our time at IFA is drawing to a close, and after the dust has settled, it's pretty clear who came out on top in terms of interesting unveils - Samsung. The Note 3's new features, enhanced display, faster processor, and continued focus on maximizing screen space without increasing the size of the device itself have clearly kept people interested in the increasingly-popular line of handsets. Having played with the Note 3, I must agree - it's better in nearly every way than its predecessor.
It looks like some images of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, or at least a mockup used in an internal Samsung promo video, have leaked out. And, based on those images, this is apparently what the Galaxy Gear will look like in proportion to your wrist.
Large, one might say. Quite large, apparently - VentureBeat claims the Galaxy Gear will have a 3.0" display and seems to runs Android (or at least is capable of running some Android apps) in some sense of the word.
It looks very likely to be the case that Motorola will be charging a little extra for the wooden backs on the Moto X, and by a little, I mean in the neighborhood of $50 compared to the plastic X. Is there $50 of wood, workmanship, and assembly there to justify this premium? Of course not. It's an option that, like most "premium" add-ons for everything from cars to kitchen appliances, is there for those people willing to pay to get it.
Here's one we haven't done before for the weekend poll - wireless charging. As Qi wireless charging slowly becomes more and more popular, more handsets and tablets are supporting the standard. The big barrier to entry for many, though, are the charging pads that such devices require in order to take advantage of the feature. They aren't usually cheap if you choose to go with official OEM accessories, and even 3rd party solutions don't exactly come in at bargain-bin prices, and the few that do yield less than consistent results.
You may have noticed the new version of the Play Store app (4.3.10) has a little tweak. It now lists apps that you've updated recently near the top of the list (right under pending updates). How recently? We asked a Googler who confirmed it's 7 days. Is that maybe a little long?
This weekend's poll is easy - now that the dust has settled, the reviews have been published, and the bugs reported, did you buy the refreshed Nexus 7? I'm going to do my very best to accommodate you all in terms of poll answer choices, too, I promise.
Me? I didn't. I thought about it. I was actually determined to impulse-buy one if I could convince a Staples, Office Max, Best Buy, or RadioShack to sell me a unit a few days before they were supposed to go on sale (there were also AP-related motivations there, of course).
On Friday, Google dropped a small bomb on Android users everywhere by introducing the Android Device Manager service. It's been a part of Google Apps for your Domain's device administration interface for quite some time now, though, so the product itself isn't new - it's just being newly introduced to regular ol' consumers like you and me.
What's it do? It shows you where your phone is, lets you make it ring, and lets you wipe it.
The new Nexus 7 does not support Google Wallet - officially. Why? It lacks the hardware component necessary to securely store your payment credentials for NFC transactions, aka the "secure element." The AT&T and Google Play Edition HTC Ones don't have this element, either.
The latter, to me, is something I can understand finding a bit annoying. The former, though - that being the new Nexus 7 - really isn't.
With no DROID 5 in sight for an unveiling at next week's Verizon festivities, it seems the writing is on the wall for the form-factor that basically got Android off the ground: the QWERTY slider phone.
It's been nearly 4 years since the original DROID and HTC G1 debuted, two phones that really carried the Android platform in those early, uncertain days. It seemed, perhaps, that the trend the Sidekick (aka Hiptop) started in 2002 might continue on into the true smartphone era, side-by-side with the increasingly popular touchscreen slab (which at that point really just meant the iPhone).
As smartphone storage capacity grows on average with each passing year, many manufacturers have begun to abandon the microSD card slot on flagship handsets. Google itself has taken multiple opportunities to trash expandable storage as a "messy" feature that, from the standpoint of the people who actually develop Android as a profession, is not worth the problems it creates.
This has been a major point of contention between Android enthusiasts and Google, particularly when it comes Nexus devices.