Saturday, February 23, 2013

Android this week: HTC One introduced; Ubuntu on Nexus; Galaxy S4 using Snapdragon?

This week saw the introduction of HTC’s next flagship phone, named the HTC One just like its predecessor. The handset materials and design are a bit of a departure for HTC as the new phone will use an all aluminum enclosure and a pair of front-facing speakers. As a result, the audio experience ought to be a highlight for the One, but visually oriented readers will be happy with the display as well: HTC is packing in 468 pixels per inch on the 4.7-inch, 1080p display.
LG Optimus G AT&T Wireless Cellular Phone - OPTIMUSG (Google Affiliate Ad)

HTC OneHTC’s One will include an LTE radio for fast mobile broadband and run on Google’s Android Jelly Bean software. The company is also including several of its own software features: BlinkFeed streams news, social networking updates and other information; Sense TV provides video content guides and uses an infrared sensor turning the One into a remote control; customized home screens are available, similar to prior versions of HTC’s sense software.Apple AT&T 64GB Black iPhone 5 Wireless Cellular Phone - 69304 (Google Affiliate Ad)LG Optimus G AT&T Wireless Cellular Phone - OPTIMUSG (Google Affiliate Ad)

The flagship phone doesn’t yet have a price tag as that will come from carriers — likely next month — but will be available in both a 32- and 64 GB option. Other internal specs include a 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 chipset, 2 GB of memory, NFC radio and integrated 2300 mAh battery.Apple AT&T 64GB Black iPhone 5 Wireless Cellular Phone - 69304 (Google Affiliate Ad)

Speaking of Snapdragons, Qualcomm’s chip may power the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. Samsung has yet to introduce the revised Galaxy but online benchmarks and other evidence point to the company opting for a Snapdragon over its own Exynos chip. Reports indicate the same Snapdragon 600 found in the HTC One will be inside the Galaxy S4, due to heat issues when testing the Samsung 8-core Exynos chip.Motorola DROID 4 for Verizon (Google Affiliate Ad)

This wouldn’t be the first time Samsung chose a competitors chip to power its own smartphones however. The US version of the Galaxy S III also used a Snapdragon chip, mainly because at the time of launch, Samsung hadn’t yet integrated LTE support in the Exynos silicon. In some sense, Samsung is lucky that it has a secondary option for chipsets, else its flagship phone could face delays. We’ll get the story for sure within the next few weeks as Samsung is expected to hold a launch event for the new Galaxy smartphone on or around March 14.

Ubuntu on NexusWe don’t, however, have to wait to see Ubuntu on a smartphone: This week, Canonical released instructions on how to install a preview of the alternative platform on Google’s Nexus line of tablets and phones. You’ll end up wiping out your Android system if you do this, but Canonical provided the handy links to Google’s own factory images for all Nexus devices, making it easy to reinstall Android.

I haven’t taken the Ubuntu plunge on my Galaxy Nexus yet, but expect to next week. From all accounts I’ve read so far, the Ubuntu interface is intuitive, but the software is still rough around the edges. There are still quite a few features and functions not ready yet although the Nexus phones will still be able to make calls and connect to both Wi-Fi and mobile broadband networks.