Weekend news roundup: All the best Android news from last week (January 27 – February 2)

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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 27 – February 2). 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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HTC One (M8): Everything we know so far

Samsung is not the only one who is working on its next-generation flagship — the Galaxy S5. HTC is also working hard on the One’s successor — codenamed M8 — with a bigger screen, faster internals and a better ‘UltraPixel’ camera.


February 4th launch date for red Nexus 5 “confirmed” by a leaked inventory photo

How do you boost sales of a product that’s already been out on the market for a few months? Launch it in a new color. That’s exactly what Google plans to do with the Nexus 5. Admittedly when I first heard this rumor I thought it was total BS, but now, thanks to Android Central, it appears legit. One of their readers sent in a photo taken from what appears to be an employee only Sprint email saying that a red Nexus 5 will hit Google’s Play Store on February 4th. That’s this coming Tuesday.

HTC is hard at work on a mini version of their next flagship phone according to @evleaks

Phones have been getting bigger for years. You know that, I know that, and consumers with small hands definitely know that. Companies have only recently started responding to complaints about large screens with “mini” versions of their flagship phones. There was a Galaxy S III mini, Galaxy S4 mini, HTC One mini, and so on and so forth. According to @evleaks, HTC is planning to release a mini version of their next flagship phone, codenamed M8.

Microsoft paying Android users to use Bing

Google’s search engine is arguably the best search engine on the planet. Microsoft’s been trying to catch up with Bing, but even if they do, which they probably never will, how will they get people to switch? Easy, just throw money at them. The “Bing Rewards” program was launched in Q3 2010 and offered to give people virtual currency that they could then convert to gift cards or charitable donations simply for using Bing. Today, that program has now been extended to Android and iOS.

HTC accidentally unveils the Desire 310

HTC’s European website briefly featured a device that hasn’t been announced yet, the Desire 310. What makes the phone special is that it’s powered by a MediaTek chip. Note that Qualcomm owns a small stake in HTC, and just about every HTC product released in the past few years has used Qualcomm silicon. Let’s pretend the Tegra powered One X never happened, OK? Anyway, back to the Desire 310, it has a 4.5 inch 854 x 480 pixel resolution screen, quad core 1.3 GHz chip, half a gigabyte of RAM, 5 megapixel camera, and a 2000 mAh battery.

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Lenovo to buy Motorola from Google for $2-3 billion (Update: Confirmed)

Lenovo is reportedly close to inking a deal with Google that’ll transfer ownership of Motorola to the Chinese technology company. News of the pending acquisition comes from China Daily and Reuters. Update: confirmed.

Leaked camera sample confirms the Galaxy S5 will have a 16 megapixel shooter on the back

Everything there is to know about the Galaxy S5 will be known in less than two months; maybe even less than one month, depending on who you believe. Until that press conference happens, however, we’re going to have to swim through countless rumors and leaks, slowly putting disparate pieces of information together in an attempt to gain a clear picture. With that in the back of your mind, let’s focus on the latest tweet from @evleaks. He uploaded a photo that was allegedly captured using the Galaxy S5. Said photo is a 16 megapixel image, and it’s from a device known as the SM-G900V.

The Galaxy Gear 2 will be unveiled in London in March or April and look nothing like the original

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, the company’s first attempt at a smart watch, wasn’t exactly well received by the market. It shipped with hilariously premature software that crippled the battery life and made notifications useless. It also shipped with support for only smartphone, the Galaxy Note 3. It doesn’t matter that the software got better and compatibility increased a month or two after the product started shipping, because people read the initial Gear reviews, got a bad taste in their mouths, and decided to skip the watch.

Rumor: Samsung to unveil a Google Glass clone called Galaxy Glass in September at IFA

Google wasn’t the first company to show off a device with a screen that hangs in front of your eye, and they’re not going to be the last. According to The Korea Times, Samsung will show off “Galaxy Glass” at IFA in Berlin this year. The annual trade show takes place during the firs week of September, and it’s traditionally been the venue where Samsung unveils their Galaxy Note. What’s Samsung’s Glass going to do differently than Google’s Glass? The report says Galaxy Glass will be more like the Galaxy Gear smart watch than Google’s vision for a heads-up display.

Video: Google Glass now works with prescription glasses, here’s what it looks like

Google Glass has several issues. They’re expensive, the battery life is horrible, and until yesterday, they weren’t compatible with glasses. That last issue is now a moot point. Google released four new frames, each priced at $225, each made out of titanium, that are compatible with Google Glass. Google didn’t partner with an existing glasses maker, instead they decided to make their own. No amount of text will help you better understand what these new glasses look like, so enjoy this two and a half minute video from The Verge.

LG’s Q4 2013 financial data is out, the company says it sold 13.2 million smartphones

LG has just published their financial results for the last quarter of 2013. Unlike other Android handset makers that I won’t name, LG actually says how many phones they’ve sold: 13.2 million. That’s up 54% from the same quarter a year ago. Revenues hit $3.38 billion, so if you do some basic maths, that means the average selling price for an LG phone during the holiday quarter was $256. When you consider that all the growth in smartphones these days is in the low end, that number is quite impressive.

Google bought an AI company for $400 million

DeepMind is a company you’re probably not too familiar with. It’s OK, I’ve never heard of them until today. According to Re/Code, they’re a three year old 50+ person start-up that’s received at least $50 million in funding. The company’s own website says they “combine the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.” Well, Google just bought them.

Google and Samsung give each other a special kind of hug, cross license patents for 10 years

Samsung has just announced that they’ve entered into a global patent agreement with Google. While Samsung doesn’t specify the number of patents in the agreement, they do say the patents in question cover “a broad range of technologies and business areas”. More importantly, both Google and Samsung will cross license all the patents they’ll create during the next 10 years.