Android this week: Nexus Prime on camera; Minecraft for all; iOS 5 vs. Android

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This week saw highs and lows for news relating to the next version of Google Android (s goog) and a flagship phone to feature the new mobile platform. Samsung and Google had planned to hold an event at next week’s CTIA trade show, where presumably both the operating system and a high-end Nexus Prime smartphone would debut. With the passing of Steve Jobs, both companies decided to postpone the event for a later date.

That means Android enthusiasts and developers will have to wait for Ice Cream Sandwich, the version of Android intended to unify the platform between smartphones and tablets. The anticipated Nexus Prime should feature the updated software. But instead of a new phone introduction next week, we’re left with leaked specifications and a video demonstration of the alleged handset for now.

If the rumors hold true, the handset will have a 4.65-inch curved touchscreen display with 1280×720 resolution and be powered by a speedy dual-core chip. The specifications generally make sense to me, as the Nexus line of Google phones is meant to be a reference design to illustrate the advancement in the software. While I generally don’t place much stock in leaked videos, the one that surfaced this week appears to be the real deal, based on the look of the phone and user interface.

We’ll have to wait for the official unveiling of Ice Cream Sandwich and the Nexus Prime, but in the meantime, most Android phone owners can now play Minecraft on the go. The popular indie game with retro-graphics originally debuted for the Sony (s sne) Ericsson (s eric) Xperia Play, but this week it became available for all Android phones. There’s a free demo version in the Android Market and a paid version that costs $6.99. Having played Minecraft on the desktop, I find that the mobile experience is a fairly good port, even if it’s not as elaborate as the computer-based edition.

This week may have been bigger for iOS than Android, given Apple’s launch of iCloud, iOS 5 and the new iPhone 4S. Why mention these in a column devoted to Android? Because there’s room for both successful platforms, for one. More to the point, I left iOS for Android some 22 months ago.

The new iPhone 4S let down some but generally compares well with the latest Android hardware. Even more importantly, iOS 5 addresses some of the issues I had with the platform. I’ve used the beta of iOS 5 on an iPod touch since July and find the platform to be much improved. While Android still offers much greater flexibility and has been improving in its own right, iOS 5 is well worth the look. After all, the best phone and mobile platform is the one that meets your needs, regardless of who makes it.

12 Comments

GF

After all, the best phone and mobile platform is the one that meets your needs; regardless of who makes it. Finally, a journo with a brain. You could be a wasted talent!

burpngrin

LoL this has to be the real deal, only someone in an upper management position could possibly be this inept at operating a smartphone…and whats up with those crazy looking thumbs?

nablan

Ice cream sandwich is just the development name. It will probably be Android 4.0.

Responsiveness looked fine when he was actually touching the right buttons.

Phrenzy Mcmillan

I suppose the 4s compares well if you didn’t buy your galaxy s2 more than 6 months ago like I did…

littleG

The responsiveness sucks as usual. Same delayed response. Do something Android.

Brianb13

Just because the announcement date has been pushed back doesn’t mean the release date has as well. The rumored new announcement date is Oct 27th with the rumored release date of Nov 3rd.

fondots

yeah. google’s been naming android versions after deserts since version 1.5 going in alphabetical order.before this was Honeycomb, Gingerbread, Froyo (frozen yogurt,) Eclair, Donut, and Cupcake. Goole officially announced version 4.x would be called ice cream sandwich back in may.

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