Weekend news roundup: All the best Android news from last week (February 23 – February 17)

android-logoAs 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 (February 23 – February 17). 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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Samsung Galaxy S5′s fingerprint scanner built into home button after all?

Hardly anything is certain apropos of Samsung’s impending Galaxy S5, with only six days left until the big unveil, and the latest piece of gossip also debunks previous reports to keep the waters as muddy as possible. It’s as if so-called tipsters and insiders are trying to confuse us and preserve the mystery.

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HTC slates Desire 8 intro for February 24, tipster fills in the hardware blanks

Unlike its “M8” cousin, which remains a puzzle in many ways, the HTC Desire 8 is basically an open book after a couple of appearances in the rumor game and an official confirmation/tease from HTC China.

HTC press invite

Save the date: HTC One sequel to be announced on March 25

Once again trailing Samsung, HTC has reportedly started sending out invites for a simultaneous London – New York press event on March 25, thus confirming the announcement date of the company’s next-generation flagship.

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Samsung USA confirms Android 4.4 updates for Galaxy S3, Note 2, S3 mini and more

Samsung has so far been peculiarly quiet about how many Galaxy devices will get the impending Android 4.4 KitKat update and when, even with the OTA already rolling out to the Note 3. But the ominous silence is now behind us, as a list of 14, that’s right, 14 smartphones and tablets due for a chocolaty software bump has gone official.

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LG unveils the G2 mini, reminds us why we hate ‘mini’ smartphones

LG isn’t waiting around for Mobile World Congress to kick off and has unveiled details on the G2 mini ahead of its formal launch next week. The Korean company is continuing the tradition of manufacturers fitting mid-range specs inside devices carrying the name of their larger, flagship counterparts, a tradition that was temporarily turned on its head with the release of Sony’s small-yet-powerful Sony Xperia Z1 Compact.

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Google I/O 2014 to be held June 25 – June 26

Mark your calendars for June 25th and June 26th as that is when Google will be holding its I/O developers conference at San Francisco’s Moscone West conference hall. The initial event details were announced on Google+ by Android head Sundar Pichai.

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Facebook acquires WhatsApp in $16 billion deal

Facebook announced on Wednesday that it is buying WhatsApp and its messaging service for $16 billion. The social network will pay a total of $19 billion including $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in Facebook stock shares and $3 billion in restricted stock units, which will be given to WhatsApp’s founders and its 50 employees.

Exynos Infinity

Samsung Exynos Infinity processor imminent, but will it be 64-bit?

Since Android doesn’t technically offer support for 64-bit hardware yet, there was never much to rumors of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 packing a brand new Exynos processor built on the same architecture as Apple’s A7 chip.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 rumor overload: mid-March release, 16 MP camera, water protection

It’s so close I can almost feel it, see it, smell it, touch it, scan my fingerprints on it. Samsung’s “next big thing”, the Galaxy S5, is to go official at long last on Monday, during an Unpacked press conference at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress.

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Google unveils Project Tango, an Android smartphone to map the 3D world

Google today took the wraps off Project Tango, a prototype smartphone from the Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group. ATAP, now under the oversight of Google’s Android group, has developed a sensor-filled smartphone capable of mapping the 3D environment of a device.

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Whatsapp for Android now lets you hide your Last Seen, Photo and Status

Less than two days after it sold to Facebook, the social network that is notoriously known for having major issues with privacy, WhatsApp released a new version for Android that allows users more granular control over their status, profile photo and last seen date and time — almost as if to prove to everyone that the Facebook acquisition won’t impact their work.