Welcome once again to our weekly update on everything you need to know in the Android universe. If you’ve neglected your news for the last seven days, take a few minutes to consider the following – everything else is a sideshow. There’s a considerable amount of hardware, software, modding and business news to cover in the Android world, so settle in. While no earth-shattering announcements were made this week, those who like big tablets and even bigger acquisitions should be well satisfied.
One of the most interesting bits of hardware news came right away on Monday, when Toshiba announced brand new 7.7, 10 and 13-inch (!) tablets in their Excite line. All three Tegra 3 ICS machines should be out by the summer. HTC had some rather humdrum announcements for new Desire phones in China, and leaks are beginning to show off the low-end HTC Golf and Verizon’s HTC Incredible 4G. Those waiting for the One S on T-Mobile won’t have to wait too much longer: a launch party and dummy units make the rumored April 25th date seem likely.
As usual there’s a lot of movement in the Samsung camp: the Galaxy Tab 2 10-inch gets an official price of just $399 for the 8GB version, and rumors indicate that even more 7-inch and 10-inch tablets are coming under the “Espresso” label. Finally, the Galaxy Note 10.1 may not be in its final form just yet. Both Lenovo and Barnes Noble are showing off new devices, the former with a new IdeaPad 10-inch tablet and the latter with a lighted version of the Nook Simple Touch. LG’s new Optimus L7 is coming to France this month, with its little brother the Optimus L5 following in May. A pair of smartwatches made splashes, Sony’s Xperia SmartWatch for coming to the US, and the brand-new Pebble e-ink smart watch for getting an incredibly successful Kickstarter campagin. Finally, ASUS’ toned down Transformer Pad 300 will be here in the US by the end of the month.
The biggest industry news was Facebook buying the photography app Instagram for an incredible one billion dollars. There were rumors of Google trying to sell Motorola’s hardware division to Chinese handset manufacturer Huawei, not to mention some interesting statements on low-cost tablets during their quarterly earnings call. Nearsighted folks like yours truly will be glad to know that Google’s Project Glass will work with prescription eyeglasses, and we finally found some concrete evidence of the Samsung Galaxy S III’s screen buried in an OLED Association report.
In update news, Motorola’s showing off some Ice Cream Sandwich training videos for the DROID RAZR… but still won’t say when the update is actually coming. At least there’s some progress on a community-created workaround for that pesky locked bootloader. If you’ve got an international HTC One X, you’ll want to check out this easy battery-saving mod. At least one Samsung Galaxy S III has been spotted in the wild, but it’s in disguise. Sony’s started updating their Xperia phones to ICS, as promised, but only in northern Europe so far. Finally, if you’re a Dolphin Browser HD user, you’ll want to check out their latest update to Version 8.0.
Here at Android Community we’ve got lots of fresh content for you. You’ll want to check out our in-depth look at the HTC One V, and a second-hand review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7-inch version. We’ve also got a review of the latest Samsung PMP, the Galaxy Player 3.6. Galaxy Nexus owners wishing for a little more longevity will definitely want to read our review of Mugen Power’s 3900mAh extended battery. On the software side we’ve got an in-depth review of the new Next Issue magazine subscription service, and a look at the incredibly useful social widget BlingBoard. Finally, we’ve tracked down the five best alternatives to Instagram, for those who aren’t into the hipster scene. As always, stay in school, don’t do drugs and always make a Nandroid backup.