Android 4.5 and Google Nexus 8 tablet coming in July?
Feb22

Android 4.5 and Google Nexus 8 tablet coming in July?

Android 4.4 KitKat is currently running on a very small number of devices, with most manufacturers still working on updates for at least some of their past wares, but Google is obviously already working on the next version of its mobile operating system. Over the past few years, one of the two new versions of Android that Google released each year was announced during its I/O developer conference. The dates for this year’s Google I/O have been announced recently (it will be held on June 25 and 26). Naturally then, one might assume that the next iteration of Android will be showcased on that occasion. Not so, according to an anonymous source who works for Google in Dublin, claims AndroidGeeks. This employee was briefed by his superiors that the next version of Android, 4.5, will be unveiled at a separate event in July. That’s also when we’ll see the first Nexus 8 tablet announced. This comes to solidify past rumors that spoke about Google abandoning the 7-inch tablet market in favor of selling 8-inch tablets from 2014 on. This has been justified by the growing competition in the 7″ space (whereas there are only a few contenders in the 8″ realm). The new source has confirmed the explanation for the move. If this is true, it turns out that we won’t be seeing the first Nexus 8 in April, like a previous report claimed. The company making the new tablet could be Asus. We’ll let you know when we find out...

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Nexus 7 with LTE now available from Verizon for $249.99 with contract
Feb13

Nexus 7 with LTE now available from Verizon for $249.99 with contract

Right on schedule, the Asus-made Google Nexus 7 tablet has become available at Verizon today. The carrier is selling the LTE-enabled version of the Nexus 7, though it’s very late to the party. This model has been out in the Play Store for many months now, but Verizon has so far dragged its feet and had trouble certifying the tablet for use on its network. That’s all done now, and if you so wish you can purchase a Nexus 7 from Big Red – and with a new two-year contract, no less. You’ll pay $249.99 for the tablet if you choose to go that route, which seems like a nice price – except that it’s just $100 lower than what the off-contract pricing is set at (and you can get the exact same LTE model from the Play Store for $349.99 too). So why would you chain yourself to a two-year contract with Verizon in order to save only $100 upfront? Good question. Obviously, you might need to take the Nexus 7 on the road with you a lot, and Verizon may be your carrier of choice. Or it may have the best signal where you are traveling. Or something like that, in which case it obviously makes sense to do things this way. Otherwise, though, perhaps you should opt for a full price tablet and pair it with a prepaid plan from some other...

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Nexus 7 with 4G LTE lands at Verizon on February 13
Feb11

Nexus 7 with 4G LTE lands at Verizon on February 13

After a very, very long period of getting it certified for use on its network, Verizon is finally ready to launch the 2013 Nexus 7 this week. This event has been a long time coming, with most people expecting it to happen last year soon after Google announced the new tablet. But Verizon being Verizon, things dragged out quite a bit, and here we are – and it’s already February 2014. Anyway, if you’ve been craving a Nexus 7 bought from Big Red, here’s the important bit. The tablet will become available on February 13, which is this Thursday. The normal asking price will be $349.99, but “for a limited time” (whatever that means) you’ll be able to purchase one from Verizon for just $249.99. The catch? Well obviously you’ll need to sign a new two-year contract with the carrier. If you’ve already bought an LTE-capable Nexus 7 (say, from Google via its Play Store) and want to activate it on Verizon, you’ll be able to do that too, but only after you download and apply “the latest software update” – this may mean that a maintenance software version will be released by Google for the Nexus 7 in a short while. Or maybe that update is the KitKat update that the tablet has already received, it’s not particularly...

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HTC’s high-end tablet for 2014 now rumored to be the new Nexus 10
Feb10

HTC’s high-end tablet for 2014 now rumored to be the new Nexus 10

Remember the rumored Nexus tablet that just a few days ago HTC was supposedly working on? Well, in the meantime we had another report saying Asus would still be making Google’s next small tablet (which will however grow in size slightly). So with the Nexus 8 out of the picture, just what exactly is HTC working on for the search giant? Well, it turns out that may be the incredibly late to the party successor to the Samsung-made Nexus 10 from 2012. That tablet still hasn’t received a proper sequel, and HTC’s high-end offering will be exactly that. This new revelation comes from DigiTimes and its sometimes reliable, sometimes unreliable “industry sources” – so don’t take anything for granted. Apparently though HTC was offered the job of making the first Nexus 7 in 2012, but turned that down – thus Google went looking for another manufacturer and ended up with Asus. And now that company seems to have become a staple of Google’s small tablet plans, so HTC is going bigger. However, the original Nexus 10 didn’t really sell that well, so will its successor? That is the big question. HTC is having enough troubles as it is, and it might not need a third flop in the tablet space (after the Flyer and the Jetstream from years ago), but a straight hit. Will the new Nexus 10 be that? It’s anyone’s guess at this...

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Nexus 8 rumored to be launching at the end of April
Feb07

Nexus 8 rumored to be launching at the end of April

Google is once again being rumored to be prepping an 8-inch Nexus tablet. This time, though, we even get a purported release time frame – the new tablet should be out by the end of April. Why a Nexus 8? Well, apparently for two reasons. First, the 2013 Nexus 7 hasn’t been selling well at all. It’s done much worse than its predecessor despite its better specs. That might be because when the first Nexus 7 came out it really had absolutely no competition – no tablet costing around $200 came even close to its hardware. But after that initial shock, Android tablet makers got wiser and dropped their prices or created new and interesting cheap tablets. So Google got to kickstart the cheap 7-inch tablet market, but isn’t profiting that much from it anymore. The second generation Nexus 7 is more expensive than the first one was, so that may have something to do with its poor sales too. The other reason for a Nexus 8 being in development is said to be the increasing prevalence of ever bigger phablets. Many such devices are already around (or more than) 6 inches big, at which point they’re dangerously close to a 7-inch tablet in size. So some people that would have bought a ‘normal’ size smartphone and a 7-inch tablet could simply opt for just a phablet instead. To counter this trend, Google apparently wants its next small tablet to go bigger – hence the 8-inch size, which has been experimented with in recent months by both Samsung and LG – so it’s clearly becoming more and more mainstream than ever before. According to the infamous “Taiwan-based supply chain makers” once again quoted by DigiTimes, Google wants to avoid “price competition in the 7-inch segment” and has thus ordered around two million units for initial shipments of the 8-inch Nexus tablet. This time the rumor fails to be clear about who will be making them, though the aforementioned sources do claim that it very well could be Asus. The same name popped up the last time we heard something about the Nexus 8. Furthermore, the new tablet was then said to employ an Intel chipset – which would be a first for the Nexus line and could propel the otherwise well known desktop chip maker into the spotlight in the mobile...

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Red Nexus 5 now available
Feb04

Red Nexus 5 now available

Following a brief period of leaks that predicted something like this would happen, Google has now started selling a red version of the LG-made Nexus 5 smartphone via its Play Store. The red Nexus 5 is expected to become available in the regional Play Stores in Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Korea this month. “Wider availability” across Europe is expected to happen towards the end of February. As you’d expect, the new paint job is the only thing that’s really differentiating the red Nexus 5 from the black model. Nothing has changed in terms of specs, so on the inside it’s the same handset that launched at the end of October 2013. The LG Nexus 5, red or not, comes with a 4.95-inch 1080p Full HD touchscreen, an 8 MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, a 1.3 MP front camera, a 2.3 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 GB of RAM, LTE support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, wireless charging, and a 2,300 mAh battery. It runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Its dimensions are 137.84×69.17×8.59 mm, and it weighs 130 grams. The pricing has stayed intact as well – expect to pay $349 for the version with 16 GB of storage, and $399 if you need double that amount of space. Via Android...

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Lenovo CEO: We tried to buy Motorola in 2011, but got the wrong guy– Moto Solutions Greg Brown
Feb03

Lenovo CEO: We tried to buy Motorola in 2011, but got the wrong guy– Moto Solutions Greg Brown

Last week Lenovo finally bought Motorola. It was a deal the Chinese company wanted to do for years. After getting back to China, Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang revealed more details about how the purchase went down during press conference earlier today. He said that Lenovo wanted to buy Motorola’s mobile business way back in 2011, after company was split into two units – Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Mr. Yang and Lenovo CFO Wong Wai Ming flew to United States, went to Motorola headquarters and asked to talk to the CEO. Unfortunately, they’ve asked for the wrong guy – Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown, instead of Moto Mobility’s CEO – Sanjay Jha. Since Brown had nothing to do with mobile, Lenovo team only met with some of his staffers, exchanged some platitudes and  were kept in the dark about the pending Google deal. After  Lenovo CEO learned about $12.5 billion offer to buy Motorola, he invited Google’s Chairman Erick Schmidt to his house for dinner to discuss possible cooperation.  Yang introduced some company products, and told Schmidt that if Google ever decided to sell Motorola, Lenovo will be happy to buy it. Two months ago he got an e-mail from Eric Schmidt, called him back and heard a question: “ Are you still interested in Motorola?”.   The deal still has to get regulatory approvals, but given what a small player in smartphones Motorola is today, that should not be a problem. Lenovo CEO also told the press that he is happy with current Motorola product portfolio, and will keep all three main lines – Moto X, Moto G and Droid Ultra. Source: Sina...

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Google and Samsung are working on Wintel like alliance to dominate mobile computing
Jan30

Google and Samsung are working on Wintel like alliance to dominate mobile computing

There is something huge happening in Android world. Two key platform players – Google and Samsung – are working on a broad set of agreements to align their interests and activities for the future development and promotion of Android. Things under discussion right now include Samsung scaling down its UI and app store/content developments in favor of Google Play, revenue sharing for all apps and content sold through Google Play on Samsung phones, joint Google Samsung development of certain features for Samsung flagships, that will later be integrated into Android, closing of Nexus program in 2015 and more. The discussions, first reported by Mobile –Review’s Eldar Murtazin and now partly confirmed by Re/Code, are in the very early stages and haven’t progressed much beyond the broad outlines. But if both companies succeed to come to terms, the result may be the creation of an alliance similar to Wintel, that could dominate the mobile computing for many years. The sale of Google’s Motorola unit to Lenovo is probably the part of the strategic shift in Google’s thinking about the future of Android that brought about the alliance discussions with Samsung. The first tangible result of Google/Samsung alliance, now confirmed both by Murtazin and Re/Code, will be the gradual shutdown of Samsung app store on Android, including its movie, music and other content offerings in favor of Google Play. In exchange, according to Murtazin, Google will now offer Samsung branded section in Play for special deals, features and promotions. And, most importantly, the revenue share for all apps and content sold through Google Play on Samsung devices. The companies are now negotiating exact amounts of Play income that Google will share with Samsung. After the deal is done, it will serve as a blueprint for Play Store arrangements with other Android vendors who are investing in their own, or third party app stores and content offerings. Also, confirmed both by Murtazin and Re/Code, Samsung’s will significantly scale down its TouchWiz and Magazine UX Android skin  development efforts. According to Murtazin, neither TouchWiz nor Magazine UX will be cancelled outright anytime soon. But Samsung will gradually reduce the amount of time and resources it allocates for Android UI, while expanding the line-up of Google Play Edition devices. Then it will watch the market reception and will decide how to proceed further, depending on results. Instead of investing heavily in its own Android user interface, Samsung will focus on creating the unique features to differentiate its smartphones and tablets. The examples of such features shipping already are advanced multitasking, enhanced pen/stylus functionality, multi-window support, etc; available only on Galaxy Notes. Furthermore, Google and Samsung are discussing ways to incorporate Samsung innovations directly...

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Google has sold Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion
Jan30

Google has sold Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion

In August 2011, Google shocked the mobile world by announcing that it wanted to acquire Motorola. The deal was finalized in 2012 after many months of waiting for regulatory approval from all the relevant authorities, and today Motorola is changing hands once again. And once again Google shocks the mobile world as it announces the sale of Motorola to Lenovo for just $2.91 billion. In 2011, Google paid $12.5 billion for the company, so this is a significant difference. That said, Google will still own most of Motorola’s patents after this deal closes, so perhaps the loss isn’t all that large. After all, back when Google acquired Motorola, the main reason was said to be its need for a better patent portfolio to use to defend Android and Android device makers from multiplying patent battles across the world. Lenovo will get around 2,000 patents as part of the deal, and a license for all the rest, naturally. The Chinese company plans to keep the Motorola brand around, just like it did with ThinkPad after it bought IBM’s PC unit many years ago. Presumably Lenovo will use the Motorola brand to help it more quickly make inroads into such markets as North America, where so far it’s been notably absent from the smartphone space. Lenovo is in the top 5 of smartphone sellers worldwide at the moment, but thanks primarily to its performance on the Chinese market and in a few other countries. Google’s reasoning for the sale may be for it to be able to focus on software development, and not be considered by other Android device makers as an unfair competitor. The search engine company also gets to stop endlessly pouring money into the Motorola pit with no end in sight – while also getting a cool $3 billion in return. This isn’t a perfect ending for its journey into the hardware realm of the mobile world, but it’s not the worst possible either. Over the past couple of years we’ve heard many rumors that something like this may happen, that Google only wanted the patents and would quickly sell off the smartphone hardware business to some up-and-coming brand from China (Huawei was once said to be it), but with so much time passing perhaps we all just assumed that Google was in it for the long run. Not so, it seems. Although it could have further used Motorola to push out handsets with ‘pure Google’ software just like the Nexus line, and with great prices like the Moto G, it decided not to for whatever reason. And so, Motorola is off to Lenovo – let’s hope the Chinese...

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8″ Asus Nexus tablet with Intel CPU rumored for this year
Jan21

8″ Asus Nexus tablet with Intel CPU rumored for this year

Apparently the 2013 Asus Nexus 7 tablet will get a successor this year, but with a twist or two thrown in for good measure. Now we obviously aren’t surprised that Google is working on a new small tablet for 2014, as 2013 saw the second-gen Nexus 7 released around one year after the original launched in 2012. It’s also not surprising that Asus is said to be making the next small Nexus tablet – after all, it’s the same company that did both Nexus 7 versions. So it’s pretty obvious that Asus and Google can work together real good on such things. What is interesting, though, is that according to DigiTimes and its infamous “sources from the upstream supply chain” in 2014 we’ll see the first Nexus 8 tablet. Yes, an 8-inch device this time, as a successor to the Nexus 7 from 2013. Furthermore, the Nexus 8 may come with Intel’s Bay Trail-T chipset platform, which would be a first for a Nexus device. Apparently that hasn’t been decided just yet, with Qualcomm still in the running for supplying the Nexus 8 with its innards. But clearly, an Intel-powered Nexus tablet would send that particular chipset platform into the spotlight for many Android enthusiasts. So far we’ve seen devices with Intel CPUs only from “tier 2” manufacturers, and limited mostly to emerging markets. Though Asus has been announcing more and more Intel-powered wares recently, so maybe that company’s friendship with Intel counted in this consideration. The second generation Nexus 7 is said to be far from the original’s sales levels. That’s in spite of all-round improved specs. When the first Nexus 7 launched in 2012 though, the concept of a high-end 7-inch tablet being offered for just $200 was alien to the mobile world. Last year things were different however, with many options in that price range. And the second generation Nexus 7 being $30 more expensive than the original hasn’t helped either, it does seem. So Google and Asus are hoping that a bump in screen size will help differentiate the Nexus 8. Whether or not that will actually happen remains to be seen of course. We should expect more details about the Nexus 8 starting in March, the aforementioned sources said, so do stay tuned for...

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