What happened in Android news on Monday, October 3?
In 2007, I was enthralled by a "smart" phone made by LG: the Shine KE970. Tiny by today's standards, it was a metal slider with a 2.2-inch 240x320 pixel screen and a 2MP camera which, according to a review at the time, "takes only 2 seconds to focus on its subject." It could connect to a WAP browser over an EDGE data network that, in 2007, was unbelievably fast compared to GPRS. Its Java-based operating system was extremely basic by today's standards, its maze of menus navigated through a "Multi-function Scroll Key" that the company touted in its marketing material.
Overtly simplistic now, the Shine and its ilk were considered advanced for the time, though the smartphone revolution was firmly, if quietly, in progress even then. The iPhone debuted earlier in 2007, and the HTC Dream (aka the G1), the first Android phone, would arrive later in 2008. It's sometimes easy to overlook how initial releases change the market in dramatic ways.
As we look forward to Google's announcement tomorrow, and try to place the Pixel in its rightful spot in history, it's going to be less about marked changes in form and more about how to assign meaning to the names behind the devices. The Pixel will, for all intents and purposes, be Google's first phone, representing a significant break from the way the company has done business in the past. The Nexus line was about partnership; the Pixel line will be about leadership.
When we look back in 10 years, I wonder if tomorrow's event truly will have the lasting impression some believe it will.
Carphone Warehouse spills the beans on the Pixel and Pixel XL
More promotional shots of the unannounced Google phones ahead of their launch tomorrow, including promo pics of the devices in black and white, and tentative specs. More
Facebook Messenger launches 'Lite' Messenger in emerging markets
The social giant launched a less data-intensive version of its main app last year, and now it's doing the same with Messenger. Interesting to note the timing after Google recently launched Allo, targeted mainly at India and similar emerging markets. More
Samsung recommences Galaxy Note 7 sales in Korea
Following the successful completion of its (exploding) Galaxy Note 7 recall, new (non-exploding) handsets are on sale in Samsung's home market. 30,000 of the devices were sold on the first weekend. We're looking at a late October relaunch for the Note 7 in North America and Europe. More
Google may have wanted to work with Huawei on Pixel phones
A lengthy report from Android Police claims that the Nexus 6P was originally a much more ambitious project with carrier involvement, and that Huawei — Google's first choice for Pixel ODM — pulled out after it emerged there'd be no co-branding in the new phones. Tantalizingly, it's claimed that another non-Pixel phone partnership may be in the works between the two for release later in 2017.
Xiaomi brings the Mi Box to the U.S. for 4K streaming goodness
Xiaomi doesn't officially sell any of its smartphones in North America — because patents — but it is selling its Mi Box 4K streaming set-top box through its Mi.com online store today for $69, and at Walmart starting next month. For that price, you get a nicely-designed Android TV kit, which supports 60fps 4K playback, Google voice search and Google Cast.
October security patch rolling out to Nexus users
Along with a new security bulletin outlining various security improvements embedded in its monthly security patch, Google is rolling out over-the-air updates to supported Nexus devices over the coming days. Nexus devices will receive patch dates of October 5, 2016, rolling in all Nexus-specific and Android-wide vulnerabilities.
At the time of writing new factory images are also available for the Nexus 6P, 5X, and 6, with more likely to come.
Samsung could add Gear smartwatch control to Gear VR
SamMobile reports that interactions could involve turning the bezel on the watch, or pressing physical buttons to confirm menu selections in VR. A unique concept, but it's unclear how this would be any better than using the headset's inbuilt controls.
Honor 8 coming to India on October 12
The latest flagship from the Huawei-owned brand will be hitting Indian stores in a little over a week. Expect pricing around ₹27,000 for the phone, which will come in Sapphire Blue, Pearl White and Midnight Black colors. More
Google adds Explore assistant feature to Google Sheets
If you're ever in need of some advice how to create a complex formula for the Google Sheets spreadsheet application, you can now enter your question in plain English and have the formula built for you. If you're a Sheets user Explore will help you design the best layout, too. The new Explore feature is built into Sheets and Slides for the web, Android and iOS and is included in the latest update.
BlackBerry DTEK60 goes up for pre-order on NCIX Canada, because why not?
BlackBerry's latest unannounced phone has been put up for pre-order on the Canadian version of electronics etailer, NCIX, for $700 CAD, which works out to around $533 USD. The phone is reportedly based on the TCL 950, another sort-of-unannounced device (at least outside China), and features some seriously powerful specs. More
WhatsApp now lets you Snapchat your Grams
Facebook-owned WhatsApp is recognizing the profound effect Snapchat is having on its business: It has added Snapchat-like filters, text and emoji to its photo sharing. Available for Android starting today, the app also enables the front-facing flash — brightening the screen temporarily while the shutter goes — so you can share it with your friends. YOLO.