Hottest Android news and rumors for the week ending Sept. 21

Intel inside Android (finally), Google ignores Alibaba's 'open sesame!' and other bits and pieces

From the old 386 that I used to play Microsoft Flight Simulator on to my recently constructed home-brew gaming machine, my main devices have all been Intel-driven. I'm not a fanboy or anything, it's just worked out that way.

So I assumed that Intel-powered smartphones would become a bigger deal much faster than they have -- with such a lead in almost every part of the market, why wouldn't the company delve into the fast-growing mobile world?

MORE: The 'i' is for Intel in the Motorola Razr i

Motorola Razr i

Even though I clearly didn't understand the huge gulf between requirements for desktop and mobile processors, Intel made a big splash this week, with the debut of the Motorola Droid Razr i in London. Motorola's first Intel-powered phone boasts an Atom chip running at 2GHz -- beating the top ARM processors, (at 1.5-1.6GHz) by a considerable margin. While pure clock speed is occasionally misleading as a measurement of raw performance, Intel's achievement still signals a major challenge to other mobile processor makers.

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Speaking of diversification in the market, the half-public war of words between Google and Chinese tech powerhouse Alibaba continued this week. The controversy began when the Chinese company accused Google of nixing a forthcoming device (which would have run Alibaba's Aliyun OS, instead of Android) by threatening to withdraw Android support from the hardware maker.

Google's Andy Rubin responded, in a blog post, by accusing Alibaba of being little more than a clone and offering pirated versions of Google apps in its own app store. Acer is also part of the Open Handset Alliance, and as such is required to work on a singular Android platform.

According to CNET, Alibaba Corporate Affairs Vice President John Spelich replied that Google "has no idea and are just speculating," despite Google's highly specific contention that Aliyun uses the Android runtime and tools.

The whole thing is reminiscent of another e-commerce giant that's making its own mostly Android devices. However, Amazon makes its devices in-house, and isn't a member of the OHA, so Google has no say in how they tinker with the platform.

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LG's getting back into the flagship tier of Android phones with the new Optimus G, which it showed off to U.S. media this week. Packing a 4.7-inch, 1280x768 screen, 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM and 13 megapixel rear camera, it certainly looks impressive on the surface. LG says it'll be available sometime in November.

According to Computerworld's JR Raphael, however, the Korean company has a number of questions to answer about the device, particularly in regard to carrier choice, Android versions and the presence of physical buttons, among other things.

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The Korea Times has unnamed sources saying that Samsung is already hard at work on a Galaxy S 4, which will debut at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this February. These anonymous company sources also say that it'll just beat the cookies out of that iPhone 5, which I guess was kind of predictable. "Seriously, though, anonymous Samsung exec, feel free to grandstand with your name attached to it next time."

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More Samsung rumors: A new Galaxy Nexus could be in the works, according to PocketNow, which obtained a screencap of a user agent profile showing a device with a similar designation to the original Galaxy Nexus. This could, of course, mean absolutely nothing, but stranger things have been known to happen.

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Verizon Galaxy Nexus Jelly Bean update: Nope, and I did get the upgrade for my Nexus S 4G, so, per last week's roundup, we're officially into farce territory. Big Red will be rolling out an OTA imminently -- but it's apparently just a quick fix for connectivity problems, so I'd keep the corks in the bottles if you see the long-awaited system update notification in the next couple days.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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