Android Community Weekly Digest: May 24, 2015

Things have been rather slow this week, though it feels more like the calm before the storm. Indeed, we’re hearing a few whispers about Google might be bringing to the tablet at I/O 2015 nex week. That, of course, doesn’t mean that nothing noteworthy happened this week, like the launch, sort of, of the YotaPhone 2 in the US and LG’s continued attempts to milk everything it can out of the G4 brand. This is your latest edition of Android Community’s Weekly Digest, covering the period from May 18 to May 24, 2015.

The YotaPhone 2 comes to the US

The Russian-born YotaPhone piqued our curiosity because of the rather ingenious addition of an e-ink display on the back. With the YotaPhone 2, that screen becomes more than just a novelty or a way to read e-books thanks to the addition of touch sensitivity. Now the more refined successor is finally hitting the US shores, though not in the way you might expect. It’s taking the Indiegogo route to measure interest as well as fund certification processes and, from the looks of it, they have very little to worry about. At least in terms of raising funds.

LG G4 Stylus, G4c

As with the G3, LG is going to capitalize on the popularity of its latest flagship to the point of saturation. It has come out with two new smartphones that have very little resemblance with the LG G4 except in name and some design aspects. Known in the US as the LG G Stylo, the LG G4 Stylus is yet another iteration of the somewhat disappointing G3 Stylus mid-range phablet. If you’re in the market for smartphone that comes with a built-in silo for a stylus, then this might interest you. Just don’t expect a Galaxy Note killer in any aspect.

lg-g4-stylus

The LG G4c, on the other hand, is a “compact” version of the G4. Or at least that’s the theory. No leather or smooth curves here, though. By now, LG’s rear button controls have become its design standard that one can no longer call it an exclusive flagship design. That said, the G4c might be a viable option for those looking for a mid-range handset from a reputable brand.

There is a 500GB NVIDIA SHIELD

After two leaks, NVIDIA has finally come out to admit the obvious. An employee who goes by the handle ManuelG testifies that this “SHIELD Pro” model, bearing 500 GB of storage instead of 16, is indeed a thing. What he hasn’t spilled, however, is when this Android TV console will hit the market, though he does mention both models will arrive at the same time. Even better, they will be available from other retailers in addition to NVIDIA’s own store. No word on actual price yet, which ManuelG claims might still change, but based on those leaks, it will be around the $300 mark. All pointers indicate that the NVIDIA SHIELD would launch this coming week, perhaps during the Google I/O conference.

It’s Pebble Time

You know what else is launching in a few days? Yep, Pebble’s colorful smartwatch will be starting its trek to backers’ wrists. The Pebble Time will start shipping May 27, though that doesn’t mean backers should expect theirs just a few days after that. In fact, it might well be until mid-June before they get their tracking numbers. It’s well worth the wait, however. Pebble Time is noteworthy for utilizing colored e-paper displays to add some life to one of the most popular smartwatches and Kickstarter projects of all time.

pebble-time-trio

No big Samsung reveal next month

If you have been hoping that Samsung would be outing something exciting in the coming months, better think again. Company president Shin Jong-Kyun practically dashed any hope of a June or July outing of a high-end smartphone, which most sites have been hoping to be the Galaxy Note Edge successor. Looks like Samsung will just focus its resources on one event, which will most likely be IFA 2015 in September.

That successor, however, might prove to be a disappointment if the most recent rumors are true. While the Note Edge was an offspring of the Galaxy Note design and Samsung’s fondness for curved edges, Project Zen, now known as Project Zero 2, might not have that S-Pen functionality at all. We’ll reserve judgment until we hear more.

Sony Xperia Z4 in India, Hong Kong, Taiwan

Sony might be digging its own grave. That is, unless it can come up with a real flagship smartphone for 2015. The Xperia Z4 it unveiled in Japan almost felt like a joke, which probably better deserved an Xperia Z3+ name. A smartphone by any other name, however, would still be a small incremental change from last year’s titleholder. However, it seems that Sony will actually be spreading the Xperia Z4 outside of Japan to India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. All of these will happen in the next few days, so we await with curiosity to see what Sony really has in mind.

sony-india-event

Wrap-up: I/O 2015 cometh

Yes, Google’s biggest developer conference will soon be upon us, and naturally we’re expecting a load of Android news to come flooding in. From Android M and its rumored fingerprint and multi-window support, to an Android-based Brillo IoT platform, to Android Pay, to a new wearable, we will see Google’s vision for its mobile platform for the months to come. So better buckle up! Things are about to get bumpy.

In the meantime, Happy Memorial Day!

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