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Android Circuit: Nobody Loves Lollipop 5.0, Sony Hoists The 'For Sale' Flag, Samsung's Galaxy S6 Mistake



Taking a look back at the week’s news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit highlights a number of stories including Google reducing security on older Android devices with WebView, almost nobody is using Lollipop 5.0, Four minutes to sell out the Nokia N1 tablet, Samsung upcoming Galaxy mistake, Xiaomi’s new phablet, Sony’s highs and lows, Adobe Lightroom for Android, and Project Ara goes on sale.
Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android over the last seven days 
Google Stops Vital Security Update To Android 4.3 And Below
WebView allows an application to open up a web page as part of that application (as opposed to passing a URL to a web browser app). Tod Beardsley is an engineering manager for Rapid7: “WebView, for many, many attackers, is Android, just as Internet Explorer [Microsoft's browser] is usually the best vector for attackers who want to compromise Windows client desktops.”
Google has declined to comment on the matter. Fox-Brewster goes into more depths on the issues here on My Instant Search
Nobody Is Using Lollipop
One other interesting data point from the Android Dashboard is the non-appearance of Lollipop. Version 5 of Android OS has been released by Google (and is available on a number of Nexus devices) but the slow roll-out is even slower than last year’s KitKat. After a month, KitKat reached 1.1% of the Google Play traffic. Lollipop? Not even o.1%.
Whether it is taking time for manufacturers to update their firmwares, carriers taking longer to certify the new firmwares, coding issues, or reticence to push Lollipop onto older handsets when newer Lollipop handsets are on the way, this illustrates one of the systemic problems of Android.
Irrespective of the reasons, the rollout of Lollipop is not going smoothly. Google is spending a huge amount of time and momentum to push the message out of the new operating system. Meanwhile two bug-fix updates have already been announced, and at the current rate the fixes in Android 5.1 might not be available to consumers before the end of July 2015.
More of my thoughts can be found here.
Nokia's Android powered tablet, the Nokia N1 (image: Nokia.com)
Nokia’s Android powered tablet, the Nokia N1 (image: Nokia.com)
Nokia N1 Sales Off To A Strong Start
The Android powered Nokia N1 tablet is now available to buy and the initial sales figures are promising (reports Seeking Alpha). It took just four minutes to sell out the first batch of 20,000 tablets, and there are over half a million customers waiting in the digital line.
Strictly speaking the N1 Tablet is a Foxconn device. The contract manufacturing company has licensed the Nokia name from the Finnish company and is focusing on sales in China. It’s also following Xiaomi’s model of creating scarcity and demand in the public through limited windows to purchase the device. There’s a long way to go to become an established tablet and a roaring success. Nevertheless it’s a strong and strategic start.
Samsung’s Upcoming Galaxy Mistake
It’s going to be a nervous few months for Samsung, and the biggest moment for the South Korean company will be the launch and reception of the next flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S6. After the reveal, it needs to sell in far greater numbers than last year’s Galaxy S5.
My Instant Search’s Aditya Prakash thinks Samsung is about to make a significant strategic error by going with a larger screen on the S6:
As leaked benchmarks continue to appear for the Galaxy S6 one thing is becoming horribly clear: Samsung will step up the size game again and increase the S6 display to a whopping 5.5-inches. The Galaxy S6 will no longer compete with the iPhone 6, Samsung will run away from its principal rival altogether and pick on the slightly less intimidating iPhone 6 Plus.
If this is how the Galaxy S6 does indeed shape up it is madness. Samsung will once again leave Apple without a direct challenger to its most popular iPhone and this time – no matter how small the bezels – it will do so at a point which many believe crosses the threshold of one-handed usability. The Galaxy S6 would be a phablet and Samsung would be without a premium smartphone. Apple will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Xiaomi Mi Note 4 (image: Xiaomi)
Xiaomi Mi Note 4 (image: Xiaomi)
Xiaomi Ready To Take On Apple And Samsung With Its New Phablet
Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi has launched the Mi Note phablet smartphone. The base model will be available from the end of January with an HD screen, Snapdragon 801, 3 GB of RAM; and a Pro model with Quad HD, Snapdragon 810, and 4 GB of RAM following in March. This handset is going to be Xiaomi’s contender that goes up against the iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note.
Unlike the suspicion that Samsung will duck the iPhone 6 challenge, Xiaomi still has the Mi 4, which was launched August 2014, to challenge Apple’s 4.7 inch screened handset. The Chinese manufacturer tends to keep handsets in production for eighteen months, so it’s going to be leading the charge for the rest of the year.
Sony Xperia Starts Playing The Last Post In High Definition
It’s been a strange week for Sony, It started with enough leaks and rumors around the Xperia Z4 and its potential key selling feature. Sony’s latest handset looks to be focusing on high-definition music. This would match up with the standalone NW-ZX2 media player announced at CES (reports IT Portal and others).
It would certainly give the Xperia range another distinctive feature to sit alongside the waterproofing and dustproofing, and the smart styling and design of the handsets.
That’s assuming Sony will actually still have a smartphone division around to sell the Xperia Z4, with CEO Kazuo Hirai letting the world know that he’d listen to an offer for Sony’s mobile division.
Hirari said at CES last week ”Electronics in general, along with entertainment and finance, will continue to be an important business. But within that there are some operations that will need to be run with caution, and that might be TV or mobile, for example.”
While there is no official ‘For Sale’ sign being run up the flagpole, the signs are there that Sony is open to considering offers – and it’s something the Japanese company has looked at in the past.
If that happens, who should think about buying the Xperia division? I have a few ideas…
Sony Xperia Z3 (image: Ewan Spence)
Sony Xperia Z3 (image: Ewan Spence)
Adobe Releases Lightroom For Android
Following on from the popular iOS version, Adobe has released Lightroom Mobile for Android devices. My Instant Searcn’s Adi.P has taken a closer look at this powerful photo-editing software.
Designed to work in concert with the desktop version of Lightroom, the mobile app allows users to import images directly from their phone’s camera app, make adjustments and automatically sync both the images and edits to their desktop Lightroom catalog.
If you have a subscription to Adobe’s Create Cloud then Lightroom Mobile is available for your use, otherwise you can start a free 30-day trial from the Adobe website.
And Finally…
Google’s program for a modular phone (Project Ara) is approaching real world testing, as the pilot looks ready to launch in Puerto Rico. Aaron Tilley looks at the plans for the various models, base units, and marketing:
Although Google was vague about listing what any of this is going to cost, it has in the past stated it’s planning the basic phone frame to cost as low as $50. From there, you can add in memory, application processors, cameras, sensors to create any smartphone to your liking. At the conference, Google said it would have 20 to 30 modules available for purchase when Project Ara officially launches. Google will roll out both online and physical retail locations for purchasing these modules. 
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