The Android world is in a weird place, as far as version 5.0 or (supposedly) Key Lime Pie is concerned. After whiffing mightily on our confident predictions that it would be rolled out during Google I/O, we've been antsy for new information but understandably gun-shy about prognosticating.
Fortunately, however, the indomitable people over at VR-Zone have stepped up to the plate, reporting that Android 5.0 is coming in October, which will coincide with the supposed release date for the Moto X and an unnamed Nexus device.
[THAT OTHER SMARTPHONE:Will iOS 7 finally make traditional PCs irrelevant]
The other piece of information that publication reported is that Android 5.0 will be an "optimized" OS – meaning that it will run well even on older phones with as little as 512MB of RAM. (Hopefully, this will help carriers get it out the door and onto everyone's phone more quickly.)
While the fact that VR-Zone's report cites only anonymous sources – and doesn't really even give a sense of why they might be in a position to know anything, only that we're talking about "insiders" - argues strongly for not taking it as gospel, an October launch makes as much sense as anything else, I suppose.
But I'm skeptical of the Moto X release window as supporting evidence – I haven't heard anything about the X being a Nexus device, so unless Google's going to shake up the way Motorola uses its operating system, I don't really get what one thing has to do with the other.
Still, whenever it comes out, the idea of Key Lime Pie being heavily optimized for performance is a pleasing one. While the underlying Android platform itself isn't generally guilty of this, vendor skins tend to focus on adding dumb new features, regardless of the performance cost. So a move in the direction of efficient, slimmed-down code from Google is very welcome, and could help offset some of the more egregiously clunky OEM software additions.
(Hat tip: Android Guys)
Catwig has a really, really interesting teardown of Google Glass that I highly suggest you go and read.
A 640x360 screen resolution doesn't sound very impressive until you remember that it's coming from a display the size of a rice grain. "The pixels are roughly 1/8th the physical width of those on the iPhone 5's retina display," writes Catwig.
A snippy online war between Samsung fanboys and detractors, centered on the company's continued use of all-plastic designs, has seen a major shift this week with rumors that the next Galaxy flagship phone will be made of aluminum instead of polycarbonate.
According to Android Geeks, they have a – wait for it – anonymous source telling them that the Galaxy S5 will be created under a new "Design 3.0" concept at Samsung – which apparently entails metal construction.
The sniping over Samsung's devotion to plastic is often intensely childish and stupid, but, for the sake of completenes, here it is in a nutshell: The haters say all Samsung's gear "feels" cheap and low-grade because it's all plastic, and metal and glass are superior materials in every way; ;he fans say there's absolutely no difference and actually Samsung's devices "feel" better than others anyway. The fact that this is at least partially a matter of preference seems to be totally lost on both sides.
Still, the anti-plastic crowd may have raised the volume enough to be heard in Seoul, if Android Geeks is to be believed. (For the record, this is a fairly sizeable "if" from where I sit.) There's no denying that the iPhone 5 and HTC One – both of which are made with metal and glass – are impressive feats of engineering, so perhaps Samsung feels it should give the luxury materials trend a spin.
Sticking with Samsung for a moment, it's being Tweeted by the tireless folks at SamMobile that Android 4.2.2 updates for the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 are going to be delayed thanks to some issue related to TouchWiz.
While it's an unfortunate delay, it does happen all the time, though it seems to be the carrier's fault in most cases.
(Hat tip: Geeky Gadgets)
Finally, a word about That Other Smartphone Platform – iOS 7 launched this week and provoked widespread jeering from Android fans, who see the update, essentially, as an admission that Apple's design principles were inferior to those of Android.
"Welcome to Android, iPhone," snarked Redditor EvoBrah. Others ask whether Apple will be sued for ripping off Android design elements. (To be fair, these companies sue each other seemingly every week or two these days, so that might not be quite so crazy.) But really, this is just a small sampling of the Android smugness going around right now.
Don't get me wrong – the fanboys and fangirls have a point. Ever since the days of "we have a notification bar and Apple doesn't," Android has added new and different features consistently, while Apple hasn't changed much. And a lot of the new features in iOS 7, like the flatter visual style, multi-tasking and heavily customizable interface really have been in Android for some time now.
But even if Apple's playing catch-up, as they undoubtedly are at this point, iOS 7 is still pretty impressive. Apple's attention to detail is excellent. They're still really, really serious competition. Simmer down, everyone.
Email Jon Gold at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.
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