High on Android Weekly Wrap: What are thoooseee?

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Someone pointed out to me this past week that Sunday Summary is a bad name for this weekly article. I’m not actually summarizing things that happened only on Sunday, so I decided to give a new title a go. I think weekly wrap is more appropriate, and it’s still alliterative so it works for me. Let me know how you like the new name in the comments or on Twitter! Now let’s go do this baby!

This week we had the huge Samsung Unpacked event in New York. There weren’t many surprises on the new phone front, but we did get the official unveil of the S6 Edge+ and Note 5. Samsung also gave us official release dates for Samsung Pay and a sneak peek at the Gear S2 smartwatch. The OnePlus 2 went up for sale officially on Tuesday, but everyone in North America is waiting 2-3 weeks for their device to ship. Verizon and AT&T both have some new data plans that still don’t offer the same value as T-Mobile. Below is a quick look at everything we covered in Android this week, jump after the break for my commentary on everything that went down.

Android Stories for 8/10-8/16

The Samsung event was a bit disappointing for me. Probably more of a result of the constant leaks of the S6 Edge+ and Note 5 than anything else. Both phones do have big omissions-no SD card slot, no removable battery, no IR blaster (why?), and both have smaller batteries than the Note 4 with the same screen size. Another thing that disappointed me was the inclusion of the same processor that was featured in the S6 and S6 Edge. The Note series has always featured a more powerful processor, not that I have any issues with the performance of the Exynos 7420. I did preorder one of each new phone, I’ll have a retail unboxing and impressions on my Youtube channel this week. The keyboard case is ridiculous, many who have tested it say it doesn’t even work. At $80 a pop, most will say no thanks to a physical keyboard in 2015. I’m excited for the Gear S2 and I think it is great that Samsung saved another big announcement for IFA. Hopefully the Gear S2 will work with Android phones not made by Samsung. If Samsung allows compatibility with any Android phone and gives the choice of Google Now over S-Voice, I’d be on board.

I ordered a OnePlus 2 when they went on sale…well actually about 4 hours after because OnePlus’ site had technical issues. Luckily I love going to bed at 4 AM on most nights anyway,. My excitement for the OnePlus 2 is quickly disappearing, by the time it arrives in a month I’ll have a bunch (Moto X Pure, Note 5, S6 Edge+, maybe even the iPhone 6S) of other phones to review. Maybe OnePlus will surprise me, we can find out in 2-3 weeks!

Both Verizon and AT&T made plan changes, but neither of them are particularly exciting. It is clear that the bigger carriers feel the financial pinch from what T-Mobile has done. Verizon taking away the option of Samsung Pay certainly doesn’t help their case with me. I plan to put together a quick comparison of all carrier options (including Project Fi) and pricing this coming week, stay tuned for that!

Hangouts 4.0 was disappointing when I side-loaded the APK on day 1, but Google quickly issued an update on 8/14 that fixed most of my speed issues. The slowness and lag I initially experienced seems to be gone. I don’t think Hangouts is perfect, but it is now a messaging client I don’t have to make excuses for using. Hopefully future incremental updates will bring an even smoother experience. I’m happy with Hangouts for now.

Onleaks and uSwitch teamed up to bring us some renders of the LG and Huawei Nexus devices for 2015. The devices look incredibly similar. Both feature a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone. It is important to keep in mind that the overall look and finish are just guesses by the artist creating the renders. The case schematics used to generate the renders only give information about location of port cutouts and sensor placement. The Huawei phone looks decidedly like an iPhone 6, but I doubt this will be the final look of the phone.

Quite a busy week in Android, and we still have a lot more to come in the next month! The Motorola Pure Edition launch isn’t far away. IFA is coming up in two weeks. We expect to see new wearables from Huawei, Samsung, and Motorola very soon. The speculation on the name and release for Android M is just heating up. See ya next week!

 

 

 

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Jeff Springer

"I am currently a researcher and Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University. I fell in love with Android with the Nexus One release and realized that it was superior to iOS in all the ways I care about. I still use a Mac (and an iPhone for the camera), but my Apple tech products pale in comparison to my number of Android devices (watches, tablets, and phones). When I’m not rooting/modding one of my many Android phones or doing math/programming, you can find me taking in Phoenix Suns/Arizona Diamondbacks games in downtown Phoenix, and drinking good beer!"