Weekend news roundup: All the best Android news from last week (December 9 – December 15)

android-logoIt’s been a busy week filled with loads of Google news and rumors, a new version of Swiftkey and a some good news about Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3. Check out our round up below of all the best Android news you may have missed this past week.

touchless-control

Motorola’s Touchless Control app now lets you use more Google Now commands without unlocking, say your pin to unlock

Motorola has released an update for its Touchless Control app. The update allows users to use more Google Now commands without unlocking their device, and the ability to unlock the device by saying the pin.

Samsung merging their camera and phone businesses, will they finally ‘beat’ the iPhone?

According to the Korean news website ETNews, Samsung has announced that they’re going to merge their mobile devices division with their camera division. The exact details about the merger aren’t available, other than a sentence that says the company’s goal is to “integrate the technical know-how of the two business divisions into competency for differentiating our smartphones.”

Google changed the design of the Nexus 5 speakers and buttons, here’s what it looks like

If you bought a Nexus 5 the second it was available to order, there’s a high probability you were upset with what the FedEx man dropped off at your door. The camera was bad, the speaker wasn’t very loud, and the buttons rattled. Now we all know the camera was sort of kind of fixed with Android 4.4.1 and 4.4.2, but what about the other problems? According to Engadget, they’ve now been solved. One of their readers even sent them a photo of the new Nexus 5 compared to the old one.

swiftkey_emoji

SwiftKey v4.5 beta brings emoji and dedicated number row

At the beginning of this month, the SwiftKey team rolled out a new beta that introduced a simpler and unified installer. Today, the team has released another beta version of their popular keyboard adding two of the most requested features from its users – emoji support and dedicated number row!

Galaxy Note 3 Lite enters mass production, rumors say Samsung is making a lot of them

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is an amazing smartphone with a gorgeous 5.7 inch 1080p AMOLED panel, the fastest Snapdragon 800 out there, and 3 GB of RAM, but it’s also insanely expensive. Depending on where you live, it can cost anything from $300 with a two year contract to $1,000 after tax. This is why Samsung is planning a “Lite” version of the Note 3, which according to the Korean news site ETNews, has already entered the mass production stage.

Those new Google Play Edition devices lack a photo gallery app, you have to use Google+

Ever since Google launched their Facebook clone, Google+, they’ve slowly been integrating it into all their services. YouTube, Android, Google Docs Drive, nothing can escape the Google+ reign of terror. The social network’s latest victim is Android’s photo gallery application. If you pick up either of the two new Google Play Edition devices that were announced yesterday, you’ll notice that the only way to view the photos you’ve taken is to open the Google+ Photos application.

ASUS holding a press conference on January 6th, plans to show off something ‘incredible’

ASUS is sending members of the press an invitation to an event scheduled to take place on January 6th in Las Vegas. The text on the invitation reads “IN SEARCH OF INCREDIBLE”. What exactly could the company be planning? This is ASUS we’re talking about here, the question is what are they not planning? At the company’s Computex press event during the summer, they announced what felt like a twenty different devices. Some tablets, some phones, some phone-tablets, some tablet-phones, and a bunch of laptop-tablet-submarine hybrids. So what’s next?

nokia-android121013

Nokia working on a low-cost phone running its own version of Android

Nokia’s Android handset was revealed in an image leaked by evleaks last month, but details on the phone were sparse. Thanks to a report by The Verge, we have new information that sheds some light on this mystery device from the Finnish handset maker.

zultra-gpad-googleplay

Google announces Google Play editions of the Sony Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3

Earlier today, LG inadvertently leaked details on a Google Play edition of its G Pad 8.3 tablet. Google followed this leak with an official confirmation that reveals the details on this tablet device. Google also used this occasion to announce the Play edition version of Sony’s Z ultra phone.

chromecast

Google announces ten new apps for Chromecast including Plex

When Google announced the Chromecast back in August of this year, the usability and extremely low price tag of the device attracted a lot of impulse buyers. For 35$, Google allowed Chromecast users to cast Netflix or Hulu Plus content to their TV with their Android device acting as a media remote.

android-kitkat

Google kills the hardware menu key with Android 4.4 KitKat

Google killed the hardware menu button with the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. However, OEMs like Samsung and LG have been reluctant in killing the button and till this day provide a hardware menu key on their devices, instead of the much more useful multitasking key.

Rumor: Samsung considering going LCD with the Galaxy S5 and Note 4 in order to cut costs

Samsung’s high end smartphones have used AMOLED screens since the very first Galaxy S rolled off the assembly line a little over three years ago. You’d think that the company would want to keep on using AMOLED displays as a way to differentiate their phones from the competition, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. According to the Korean publication ETNews, Samsung is thinking about going LCD for the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4 because it would save them a substantial amount of money.

Galaxy Note 3 sales hit 10 million units

Samsung has just announced, via their Korean corporate blog, that sales of the Galaxy Note 3 have just hit 10 million units. Considering that the phone launched on September 25th, that’s quite impressive for a device many people like to point and laugh at for being too big. Now to put this 10 million figure into some perspective, it took four months for the Note II and nine months for the first Note to hit the same milestone.

Sony’s 4.3 inch Snapdragon 800 packing flagship gets a launch date: December 19th

Assuming you have a decent job, buying a smartphone with bleeding edge hardware specifications is easy. But no matter how much money you have, buying a flagship Android phone that’s easy to use in one hand is simply impossible … at least it will be for the next 10 days. Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo has finally announced when the 4.3 inch Sony Xperia Z1F is going to launch: December 19th.

The next Nexus gets “confirmed” by @evleaks

There are two rumors circulating around the internet about the next Nexus device from Google. One says it’ll be an 8 inch tablet that’s a variant of the LG G Pad 8.3. Another says it’ll be the successor to the Nexus 10. Personally, I think it’ll be the latter based on an earlier leak from a disgruntled Telefonica employee. Said employee leaked a photo, a price, and a model number: LG-V510. During the weekend, the man behind @evleaks tweeted an image of some XML markup that seemingly confirms the LG-V510 is indeed a Nexus, and that there will be a 16 GB variant.