Weekend roundup: A look back at the last week in Android news (January 6 – January 12)

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As we close out one week and kick off another, let’s take a moment to look back at the attention-grabbing headlines from the past seven days (January 6 – January 12). Some of the news you may recall, some may be new to you, but all of the topics below are worthy of a mention.

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Android Platform Distribution Numbers Updated: KitKat at 1.4%; Jelly Bean at 59.1%

Google has updated Android’s platform distribution numbers earlier today. The latest numbers reveal that the adoption rate of Android 4.4.x KitKat, which was released more than two months back is at 1.4%, compared to 1.1% last month.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Lite images and benchmarks leaked

Rumors suggest Samsung is working on a lite version of the Galaxy Note 3 that’l appeal to cost conscious consumers. Samsung is allegedly mass producing the device for an official unveiling at Mobile World Congress in Spain. The latest leak from Sammobile suggests the device won’t be as “lite” as we originally thought.

Video: Here’s what a 6.8 inch phone looks like; it’s actually coming to the US this summer

Remember when Samsung launched the original 5.3 inch Galaxy Note and we all thought they’ve lost their minds? And then a year later, they decided to go even bigger with the 5.5 inch Note II? Well, the company has proved that phablets matter, and that they’re only going to get bigger. The Note 3 has a 5.7 inch display, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra has a 6.4 inch display, but screw it, let’s go crazy, let’s hit 6.8 inches. That’s what the Chinese handset maker Hisense has done with the X1.

**Detailed specs of Samsung’s budget Galaxy Note 3 leak, it’ll be called ‘Galaxy Note 3 Neo’

Before Samsung even announced the Galaxy Note 3, there were rumors floating around the internet saying that there would be a budget version of the device that had slightly lower specifications, but kept the Note 3′s design language. Documents obtained by GSM Arena have now shed some light on the device, which will apparently be called the “Galaxy Note 3 Neo”.

Screenshots of Nokia’s Android user interface leak, device also appears in AnTuTu’s database

Nokia is apparently working on an Android powered feature phone called the “Normandy”. I say “feature phone”, because Nokia is likely going to brand the device as an “Asha”. That and the device will run a forked version of Android, meaning it isn’t going to have any of Google’s services installed. Instead, it’ll have Outlook, Skype, XBOX, and all the other typical Microsoft services you’d expect to see on a Windows Phone. Last night, famous Twitter user @evleaks shared the first images of Nokia’s Android skin. As you can tell, it looks nothing like anything you’ve seen before.

Samsung shares details about the Galaxy S5, Note 4, and Gear 2 in Bloomberg interview

Lee Young Hee, Executive Vice president of Samsung’s Mobile Business sat down with Bloomberg Businessweek a few days ago and spilled the beans on a few of the company’s 2014 products. Starting with the Galaxy S5, she says that it’ll be announced in either March or April. Unlike the Galaxy S4, which “consumers couldn’t really feel much difference between” it and the S3, Samsung will “go back to the basics” with the S5. She says the two key areas of focus for the S5 will be “the display and the feel of the cover.” Samsung is also “studying the possibility” of including iris scanning technology with the device, but didn’t confirm whether or not it’ll be in the device.

Leak: The unannounced Galaxy Grand Neo stuffs ultra low end specs in a Galaxy S4′s body

Imagine a phone that looks exactly like the Galaxy S4, but all the components have been severely downgraded. That’s exactly what the Galaxy Grand Neo is, and thanks to the guys over at GSM Arena, we have a complete spec sheet. Gone is the 5.0 inch 1080p screen, it’s been replaced by a 5.0 inch 800 x 480 pixel panel. Also, forget about the Snapdragon 600, it’s been replaced by a quad core 1.2 GHz chip from Broadcom (the BCM23550). The RAM has also been halved. And the camera drops from 13 megapixels to 5 megapixels.

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T-Mobile to buyback handsets, pay ETF for customers who switch carriers

T-Mobile is trying to make it as easy as possible for people to switch away from their current carriers and join the T-Mobile network. Today during CES 2104, T-Mobile unveiled part 4 of its Uncarrier initiative, which offers to pay termination fees and buy back phones from customers who switch carriers.

HP’s new tablet semi-leaks, it’ll likely be called the “Slate 6 Voice Tab” when it launches

HP is a hilarious mess. They were once the leader of Windows Mobile smartphones, but when people started switching to Android, they ignored the platform. Instead, they decided to buy Palm’s webOS, release a handful of phones and tablets, and then suddenly kill the platform because the CEO who championed mobile was let go due to a sex scandal. Anyway, the company has changed their tune and launched a handful of Android tablets, but they haven’t really done anything in the mobile phone department.

CyanogenMod has a new hardware partner, first phone to hit the market in the first half of 2014

Remember when Oppo announced that they were going to make a CyanogenMod version of the N1 and how everyone was all excited about that device? Well, it turned out no one really cared once it actually started shipping because it was too big, too expensive, and didn’t really do anything that the $349 Nexus 5 couldn’t do. Pete Lau, who worked on the CyanogenMod project at Oppo, felt he could do a better job, so he left Oppo to start a new company called “OnePlus”. Today, OnePlus is confirming that they are CyanogenMod’s new official hardware parter and that they’ll launch a phone during the first half of 2014.

HTC’s 2014 flagship phone will be called the “One+”, it’ll have the same UltraPixel camera

HTC’s 2013 flagship, the One, was so close to being perfect. Unfortunately, the beautiful smartphone had battery life issues and a camera that failed to live up to the marketing hype. Rumors about the One’s successor have been floating around the internet for months, and @evleaks even published the device’s spec sheet. But now, thanks to PhoneArena, we can safely confirm that the phone will be called the “One+” and that it’ll (sadly) use the same four megapixel “UltraPixel” camera sensor found in the original One.

Depressing: For the first time in nine quarters, Samsung’s profits didn’t grow (Apple to blame?)

Samsung can sure ship a lot of smartphones, but don’t confuse units with profits. We all know that Samsung probably makes a ton of money for every Note 3 they sell, but when it comes to something like the Galaxy Young or Galaxy Fame, the picture is a little bit more bleak. So it’s with no surprise then that BloombergBusinessweek is reporting that Samsung has just experienced their first profit decline in nine quarters. What exactly does that mean? In Q4 2013, Samsung “only” made 8.3 trillion Korean won. In the same quarter a year prior, that number was 9.0 trillion Korean won.

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CES 2014 Highlights
Here are some of the top stories that came out of CES this year: