Ah, December – it's cold as hell, everyone's going berserk from stress about visiting relatives and getting presents for the kids, and it gets dark at about 4 p.m. "Happy" holidays!
Take heart, though – after the anxiety and disappointment of the festive season comes the simple joy of the Consumer Electronics Show, heralding the coming year of rumor, hearsay and the occasional actual Android device release. And first up could be two of the biggest names in the Android-verse – HTC and Samsung.
[MORE MOBILE: 20 best iPhone/iPad games of 2013]
The rumors on Samsung’s Galaxy S5 have already begun to swirl – a benchmark posted to GFXBench details a device with a 2,560x1,440-pixel screen, Android 4.4 and a 2.45GHz CPU.
According to a report from the Droid Guy, that’s likely to be the Galaxy S5 – despite the fact that the device’s ID is more reminiscent of Samsung’s Galaxy Round than anything in the Galaxy S line, TDG says it’s impossible for the company to be planning an update for the Round already.
I don’t know if that means much – Samsung’s strategy of releasing blizzards of products in the hopes that one or two succeed in a big way is well-known. And while even Samsung seems unlikely to follow up on a tepidly received curio like the Round, this still doesn’t prove that the mystery device is the Galaxy S5.
To be fair, of course, the muscular specs do augur well for this being Samsung’s next flagship, and TDG’s conclusions may well be accurate. Obviously, though, nobody knows for sure.
The release date is uncertain as well – a Korean news site has the Galaxy S5 arriving sometime in the first quarter of 2014, but noted Android prognosticator Eldar Murtazin pegs the date as late April. Time will tell.
(H/T: Android Authority)
Much smaller rival HTC nevertheless has plans of its own, for a successor to 2013’s slow-selling critical darling, the One. The BBC reports that a U.K. judge revealed that the One’s successor could launch “as early as February,” in a ruling handed down as part of a patent dispute between HTC and Nokia.
Specs-wise, an AnTuTu benchmark shows a device rumored to be the M8 packing a moderate update over the current-gen HTC One – Android 4.4, a Snapdragon 800 and an Adreno 330, with only the lower-resolution 1080p display to differentiate it from the rumored Galaxy S5.
There’s also no word on what name the M8 will retail under – but given HTC’s track record, I’m pretty sure it will be either completely unmemorable (The “One?” Do you know how confusing it is to discuss verbally?) or mysterious and impenetrable (“EVO X 4G L Q” or something.)
(H/T: Droid Life)
Looking beyond the big-name Android OEMs, Russia’s Yota officially released its YotaPhone this week to widespread interest, if not enthusiasm. It’s a relatively mid-tier Android handset with the addition of a very-low-power eInk screen on the back.
The idea is to save on battery life and make minor smartphone uses, like checking the time or peeking at Twitter, less of a production than having to unlock the device and navigate to an app. I had a chance to play with it at the last CES, and found it intriguing, though not revolutionary.
The YotaPhone is currently for sale in several European countries, and plans are afoot to release it in others over the next two months. Yota wants to bring the device to the U.S., but says there’s no firm launch date yet, which likely means they’re still looking for a carrier partner.
Battery life got you down? Feel like your phone just runs out of juice a little too quickly during the day? Well, Xiaomi’s newest product probably isn’t for you, then – sorry. Charge it in the car or something, I dunno. If, on the other hand, you need a gigantic, probably excessive amount of extra juice, you’re in luck – Gizchina reports that Xiaomi’s new Power Bank stores a whopping 10,400 mAh worth of battery power. That’s enough to fully recharge your phone, your friend’s phone, her friend’s phone, and probably your extended family’s phones as well.
The Power Bank, according to Gizchina, will be available to Chinese buyers for $11, and the site estimates that overseas resellers could price the device around $20, once they get their hands on them. Pretty good bang for your buck, I’d say.
Email Jon Gold at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold. Excuse the absence of the roundup these past several weeks, the author was away covering SC13 in Denver and subsequently stuffing himself with turkey.