It's been a busy week for Android news and gossip, with interesting information flying around about both hardware and software alike. Arguably the biggest news is the HTC Droid DNA - or possibly DLX - which is a potentially groundbreaking new device, and the latest in the long-running series called "HTC is terrible at naming things."
ANDROID ASCENDANT: Samsung Galaxy S III is smartphone top seller - for the moment
Unconfirmed but apparently widespread information posits that the DNA is going to be the U.S. release of HTC's high-powered J Butterfly smartphone, which was announced in Japan last month. If that's the case, the Android punditocracy is already predicting the Droid DNA will provide stiff competition to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
While most of the J Butterfly's components are standard for a top-of-the-line Android phone - quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 8MP camera - its screen is anything but. Packing a whopping 1920x1080 display (yep, that's full HD, for those keeping score at home) into a 5-inch package is a truly impressive feat of engineering. HTC already has some of the best mobile screens on the U.S. market, and bringing the J Butterfly to the U.S. - even if the new name is just as silly - could extend that lead even farther.
The Droid DNA, or whatever it's going to be called, should run Jelly Bean out of the box. A joint HTC/Verizon announcement scheduled for Tuesday is rumored to be the official rollout of the device, which is said to be exclusive to that carrier.
As ever, it's disappointing that yet another impressive HTC phone will be restricted to a single carrier, but that just seems to be the way of things for the Taiwanese company, which is struggling mightily to regain lost marketshare in the Android sector.
Samsung, on the other hand, isn't having a lot of problems on that score - just today, researchers crowned the Galaxy S III the best-selling smartphone of the third quarter of 2012, eclipsing even the iPhone 4S. Of course, given that the iPhone 5 moved 6 million units in the few days it was on the market during the quarter, it seems unlikely that the GS III will stay in the top spot for long. Still, it's an impressive achievement.
The South Korean giant is also getting ready to debut a new mid-range smartphone on AT&T called the Galaxy Express. The Express has a last-gen, 800x480 screen and other less-than-impressive features - but for $99 with a two-year contract, you can't expect all the bells and whistles. This sort of seems like a compromise on bringing the Galaxy S III mini to the U.S., since it has similar features and won't confuse people who think they're getting a real flagship device.
The Verge reported yesterday that it had screenshots of a version of Microsoft Office for Android and iOS devices, saying that an official release of mobile MS Office will take place in early 2013.
While I still have fuddy-duddy questions about the utility of Word and Excel for mobile devices, I get that mobile productivity is likely to be a fairly big deal. And despite the fact that some nascent office options exist for Android, a fully functional Microsoft Office coming to the platform could shut them down quickly. If, that is, Microsoft does a good enough job with it.
German-language Android blog Android Schweiz (or Android Switzerland) has photographs of what it says is an upcoming Sony 5-inch smartphone with the same 1080p screen resolution as the aforementioned Droid DNA.
The blog also says it's got the microSD slot that fans are always clamoring for, though it doesn't have a removable battery.
(Hat tip: Android Central.)
A report from the Guardian earlier this week has anonymous Google sources saying that Apple is unlikely to approve a revamped Google Maps app for iOS, though there's no word on whether they were laughing really hard while doing so.