HOA Weekly Wrap: November Big Android Giveaway!

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This week is a special edition of the weekly wrap as the November edition of the Big Android Giveaway has just kicked off.  You definitely want to enter this one! Before you check out my thoughts on the biggest stories of the past week below, check out Max and Shane’s videos announcing the giveaway, and get your entries in!

Get those entries in? Excellent, now let’s get to some Android News.This past week the release calendar wasn’t quite as packed, but we’ve still been plenty busy covering the slew of devices that have come out over the past month. We also had a few interesting announcements and small releases.

There was the new “gate” movement involving the Nexus 6P, this time involving reported spontaneous cracking of the glass on the rear camera module. Qualcomm officially unveiled their Snapdragon 820 processor, and claims that it won’t melt faces. Samsung also made news with the new Exynos 8 processor entering development for release next year and pre-orders beginning for the Gear VR. Motorola is planning to launch Marshmallow on the Moto X Pure Edition in the next few weeks, exciting news for everyone that likes to be first. Finally, LG took the biggest hardware release of the week with the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE arriving in AT&T stores for purchase, and I have one in-house!

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The Nexus 6P suffered plenty of controversy involving its build after only 1 month of availability. This week several users on Reddit and Android forum communities began complaining about spontaneous cracking of the glass on the rear camera module. They claimed the cracking was not due to a hard drop or bump, but instead caused by pressure or temperature changes perhaps. It seems to me these issues are real, but fairly isolated. Every phone is going to have some manufacturing issues in a few devices. If you want to see some in-depth testing of these claims, check out Shane’s article from this week, and his video on the topic:

The Snapdragon 820 looks pretty legit. If the claims of exceeding OEM thermal requirements are true, Qualcomm may be able to put the issues with the 810 in the past. The 820 returns to a quad-core setup, which will hopefully pair with the 14 nm process to curtail the issues we saw in the 810 and give improved gaming performance and battery life. If you want a full run-down on the new 820 specs and features in plain English, check out Max’s video run-down:

It will be interesting to see if Samsung indeed ends up using the Snapdragon 820 in the Galaxy S7. With their Exynos 8 in development, and the Exynos 7 series performing so well this year, I’m not entirely convinced that Samsung will return to Qualcomm. On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense for a company as big as Samsung to continue making chips in-house, it’s an expensive business that may not earn the desired returns if the performance difference is negligible between the Exynos 8 and Snapdragon 820.

I had a busy week at work, but I still managed to push out a few videos. If you’re interested in an awesome Android Wear device, check out my full review of the Moto 360 2nd Gen 46mm. Amazingly, the Moto 360 took my top spot for best Android Wear watch of 2015, so far anyway. In addition to the Moto 360, I unboxed the iPad Pro and compared it to the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 that I’ve been using the past 18 months. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Note Pro 12.2 offers a better value for most tasks, but the size comparison is still pretty interesting. Apple has released a product with a niche market at a high price, they do it all the time, and it seems to work so I’m sure they will continue.

That’s about it for me this week. If you have a Nexus 6P, try to enjoy it, and not worry about bending or cracking until something bad actually happens. Keep it locked to my Youtube Channel this week for a full review of the Sony Xperia Z5 and initial thoughts on the LG Watch Urbane 2. If you didn’t listen to me at the beginning of the article, go enter the Big Android Giveaway now, and stay HIGH on Android!

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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!"