Android Community Weekly Digest: Dec. 21, 2014

December 21, 2014
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Holidays are fast approaching, and so is the end of 2014. But while most are preparing their shopping lists and wish lists, the tech industry is already gearing up for next year's big event: CES and MWC. This week has also seen the rise of some new devices, while a couple of apps have been gifted with some pretty interesting changes. Welcome to the latest edition of Android Community's Weekly Digest, covering the period from December 15 to December 21, 2014.

CES, MWC 2015 Warm up

It will just be two weeks before CES 2015 and a month or so before MWC 2015, so naturally the mobile world is awash with rumors, leaks, and expectations of things and devices to come. Hitting the rumor mill are Samsung and Sony. Samsung's next flagship, unsurprisingly expected to be called the Galaxy S6, is said to combine the "best" of both worlds of the S series and the Edge's eccentric, well, edge. The Galaxy S6 might bear that curved display of the Galaxy Note Edge, but the major difference will be that it will feature that on both sides, instead of being limited to the right.

While word of the Sonyx Xperia Z4 is still scarce, the mini and giant siblings are already making their way to the news. In true Sony fashion, the Xperia Z4 Compact is expected to be pretty much an incremental upgrade over this year's model. The biggest change will be the CPU architecture, jumping to the 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810. The handy 4.7-inch screen happily also now rests on a 1080p resolution. This year's Xperia Z3 family came with a small tablet, but word is that next year's lineup will have a phablet instead. Coming back into the roster is an Ultra, the Xperia Z4 Ultra, with a massive 6.44-inch screen and an equally massive UHD resolution. Snapdragon 810, 3 GB of RAM, and a massive 4,000 mAh battery rounds up this early sneak peek.

Android Lollipop Rollout

Slowly but surely, Android 5.0 Lollipop makes its way to devices, particularly Google Play Edition devices. The oldest GPE devices still on Google's shelves finally gets its Lollipop, with the update rolling out to the Samsung Galaxy S 4 GPE this week. The LG G3 also continues to get updated, but still in Europe unfortunately. Samsung's devices are still a no go, but it seems that a beta update for the Galaxy Note 3 might have accidentally rolled out in Vietnam. In the meantime, after being left out of the early party, the Nexus 5 finally receives the Android 5.0.1. maintenance update. And speaking of that maintenance release, word is that Samsung will update the Galaxy Note 4 and Edge directly to Android 5.0.1.

Looking to the future, HTC has hinted that Android Lollipop will hit the HTC One M7 and M8 next month, hopefully without the same delays that their GPE counterparts received.

Devices

We've seen a couple of new devices revealed this week, primarily coming from Asia and particularly in India. Huawei puts out the Honor T1 with an aluminimum unibody design in India but also reveals the large Honor 6 Plus in China. BLU Studio launches a ridiculously large smartphone in the form of the 7-inch Studio 7.0. Micromax finally reveals its first YU branded smartphone, the painfully named YUreka, the first and only Cyanogen OS smartphone in India.

As for the recent drama unfolding in India, Xiaomi gets a slight reprieve with the High Court allowing it to sell only its devices utilizing Qualcomm chips. Unfortunately, OnePlus isn't so lucky, with the court banning its smartphone because of Micromax's exclusive claim over the Cyanogen name in the country.

Games

The holiday break will be a perfect time to sit back and enjoy some entertainment, and the new roster of games this week might help you with that. Beloved RPG Baldur's Gate II lands on Android in its Enhanced Edition version. Blizzard finally unleashes its Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft card game, but sadly on tablets only for now. Telltale Games brings a more story-centric Borderlands title to the platform and Gameloft ramps up the action in the latest Brothers in Arms 3. But if you're in the mood for some mindless Hollywood glitz, you might want to check out Lindsay Lohan's Price of Fame.

Be sure to head over to our Gaming tag portal for more new games and updates.

Updates

A couple of apps have gotten a much needed refresh this week. BBM catches up with the times, adding stickers to its feature list. Viber also catches up with rivals by introducing games to its offering, limited only to some countries. Pebble opens its arms to Android Wear notifications, expanding the smartwatch's capabilities exponentially. Todoist also goes on your wrist, with some rather interesting features. And after what feels like years of silence, Instagram finally gets an update with five new filters.


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