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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Android weekend rumor recap

Welcome to another February edition of the weekend rumor recap! This is where we briefly summarize the various Android related rumors of the past week, along with our commentary. If you're the type of Android fan who likes to follow rumors as they come in, we recommend any of the great Android blogs listed on the side of this site. Now on to the rumors!

To start, we have a rumor from Pocket-Lint suggesting that Android 2.4 will be arriving in April and will simply be a feature update to Gingerbread. It will still be called Gingerbread name, much the same way Android 2.0 and 2.1 both bore the Elcair moniker. Their source also goes on to suggest that 3.1 is where we'll see the Ice Cream name, and that it will indeed be Ice Cream, not Ice Cream Sandwich as previously rumored.
Ryan says: This makes a lot of sense to me. Google has said they plan to bring the tablet version and phone version together at some point, so it would stand to reason that any further phone updates wouldn't get dessert names beyond Honeycomb and that the Ice Cream update will be the update that unites the two versions. But that's a long way away, who knows what'll happen by then. Remember when we were all convinced that 2.2 was going to be called Flan?
Shelsy says: This isn't a real surprising or exciting rumor, as far as the naming goes. Although I'm a little surprised that there will be a new update as early as April. It doesn't seem like it's been that long since 2.3 came out, even though this will be a little one. Either way, I always like new updates!

Remember the whole Galaxy S update debacle? Well, according to a rumor from Android Central, The Sprint Epic could be the next phone to recieve the long, long awaited Froyo update. The rumor pegs the update as arriving on February 21, which is just over a week away.
Ryan says: The fact that the update is just now happening is kind of ridiculous. Froyo was first released back in May of last year, meaning that the Epic is getting it nine months later. It's great to see it finally updated, but come on.
Shelsy says: Ugh! Don't even get me started on this again!

Next we have a rumor that will be confirmed or shot down in just a few days. Mobile World Congress begins today and according to several rumors, HTC is set to bring some exciting stuff. They put up an official teaser, are rumored to be bringing their first dual-core phone to T-Mobile USA, and are rumored to have both a 7" and a 10" tablet in the works. They will undoubtedly be showing off whatever new stuff they have at MWC this week.
Ryan says: Very exciting, I love HTC and definitely look forward to seeing their tablets. The rumored dual core phone for T-Mobile looks really nice, too, but it doesn't have a keyboard, so probably not for me. The tablets could be real winners, though, if priced right. We'll find out very soon!
Shelsy says: I *heart* HTC. Can't wait to see what they're going to show up with.

According to a Wirefly webpage that has since been pulled down (but not before being snapped by Phone Arena), the finally-official Sony Xperia Play could be headed to Verizon. There are still no release dates or prices for this device, but those will likely be announced this week at MWC.
Ryan says: There were other rumors this week about this phone coming to every major carrier in Europe, and if Sony wants it to be a success, that's what needs to happen here. Verizon is a good start for them, being the biggest US carrier, but if they want a smash hit, they need to get it on all of them.
Shelsy says: It isn't surprising that it'll go to Verizon, but I agree with Ryan that it needs to be more widespread than that, even if it's a little delayed.

In a strange rumor from the Financial Times, HTC is apparently prepping to release their own version of a Facebook phone. This isn't the first time a rumor about an HTC Facebook phone has popped up, but this new one suggests that the phone will be a standard HTC Android phone, but will feature a dedicated Facebook button on the outside. Whether HTC intends to build custom Facebook software like INQ did remains to be seen. The device is expected to be announced this week at MWC.
Ryan says: My initial reaction is that this is a really dumb idea and that manufacturers need to stop pandering to Facebook. But in reality, Facebook is unbelievably huge and a smartphone with a dedicated Facebook button would probably sell very well, especially from a known manufacturer like HTC. I, of course, want nothing to do with it.
Shelsy says: Haha, I find it incredible that people use Facebook so much that they would need a button on the outside of the phone. It's too much trouble to turn on the screen and tap an icon? This is kind of bordering on absurd. I don't even know of any phones that do that for email, which would actually make sense.

Finally, we have a rumor that could prove to be great news for many people. A Motorola device passed through the FCC this week that appears to be a WiFi-only version of the Xoom. The filing lists a "handheld device" rather than "mobile phone" and describes several of the Xoom's features. It's entirely possible that the filing could be describing another unknown Motorola device, but all signs indicate it's a WiFi Xoom.
Ryan says: This is awesome news. It seems like all the great Honeycomb tablets are launching with carrier lockdowns and high prices. It's really surprising that nobody has tried releasing a WiFi only tablet to compete with the cheapest iPad. Maybe this will finally hit the sweet spot.
Shelsy says: This definitely needs to happen with all tablets. I think people should be given the option. Kudos to Motorola for making it happen with the Xoom (maybe).

That about sums it up for this week, and it wouldn't be surprising if most of these rumors are resolved in a matter of days. You can expect coverage here of all the big announcements this week, so until then, thanks for reading!

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