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Google is a disgraceful flirt about new Android versions

Jon Gold | June 7, 2013
A bunch of bogus little hints and everyone freaks right out. Also — the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 are starting families (though not with each other), a gaming tablet that's actually designed for games, and more.

I don't know if it's a marketing fad or what, but the good folks at Samsung and now HTC seem to have decided that top-drawer smartphones should fit into families, rather than being stand-alone devices with their own names that still rent apartments at 45. (Maybe not that last part.)

An Estonian website has pictures of what seems to be a mini version of the HTC One:

The unconfirmed device is said to have a 720p, 4.3-inch screen, and the usual hardware downgrades — 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage, and a dual-core processor instead of a quad-core. It does, however, supposedly pack the same camera as the full-size version. There's also a vanilla Android edition coming later in the month.

But Samsung has gone further, peopling the smartphone landscape with no less than four versions of the Galaxy S4. Along with the flagship itself, there's a mini version, the GS4 Active, which is ruggedized for outdoor use, and now there's rumored to be a full-on digital camera version, according to Android Authority.

Essentially a hybrid of the Galaxy S4 and Samsung's interesting Galaxy Camera device, AA says the purported Galaxy S4 "Zoom" is currently under review at the FCC.

I've always viewed mobile gaming with a pretty serious degree of skepticism — I won't try to pretend they're not the big growth part of the industry or anything, but as a lifelong PC gamer, I find it very hard to take even well-polished phone and tablet offerings that seriously.

A big part of the reason for that is control. Why designers pretend that touchscreens can offer the same degree of precision and detail that analog controllers (to say nothing of mice and keyboards) do is beyond me.

However, the Wikipad, which is going on sale June 11, is apparently an attempt to split the difference: It's an entry-level Android tablet with a detachable frame that features analog sticks and control buttons.

So when you're using the tablet for the usual tablet tasks like dumb TV shows via Netflix or chatting about dumb TV shows on Twitter, you can use it normally. Attach the frame, however, and you've got a sort of Wii-U-looking mobile gaming device. Pretty impressive, especially at $250.

 

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