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Hottest Android news and rumours for the week ending November 16

Hottest Android news and rumours for the week ending November 16

All the latest and greatest trivial pursuits and revelations

HD televisions were one of those inventions that ruined me for older technology -- the first time I saw a football game in HD, with lights gleaming off players' helmets and individual blades of grass visible on the field, I knew I'd never want to go back to standard definition.

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That experience doesn't feel like it happened too long ago, which is why it's a bit startling that full HD resolution has already made it to Android phones. The HTC Droid DNA, introduced on Tuesday, boasts a 5-inch, 1920x1080 screen, backed by the now-standard array of internal hardware and running Android 4.1.

While it's not going to be a perfect option for everyone -- it's pretty outsized even for a high-end Android phone -- it's Verizon-exclusive and it's pre-loaded with a big suite of Amazon apps that many might not necessarily want -- it's certainly an illustration of how quickly smartphone hardware is developing. The Droid DNA will go on sale November 21, though you can put in a pre-order now.

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Speaking of which, other Android manufacturers are reportedly not far behind on rolling out 1080p smartphone displays, if the rumour mill is to be believed. Android Police have reported in the past on a possible full-HD Sony device, and a host of different (though thinly sourced) rumors on a potential Samsung Galaxy S 4 have that handset sporting a 1920 x 1080 screen.

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If you wanted a Nexus 4, you had precious little time to get one -- by all accounts, the Google Play store sold out roughly 0.515 seconds after the device became available on Tuesday. That likely has a lot to do with its combination of powerful hardware, no-frills Android presentation and low non-contract price ($299 for an 8GB model). As of this writing, both that model and the $349 16GB version remain unavailable through the Play store, though you can buy a carrier-subsidized 16GB device for $200 with a new contract on T-Mobile.

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For the ROMantics -- the folks behind the popular CyanogenMod ROM had a scare this week, after what they characterized as an "extortion" attempt by a former team member that had managed the group's online presence. In a blog post, the team said that the unnamed malcontent demanded $10,000 in exchange for handing over the CyanogenMod.com domain.

However, it all seems to have been worked out to everyone's satisfaction, and the transition to CyanogenMod.org is apparently complete. (The .com address now redirects there.) Ars Technica reports that the man who allegedly asked for $10,000 disputes CyanogenMod's version of events, but both sides confirm that the matter has been all but settled.

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Bad news for owners of some older devices, like me -- Google's AOSP technical lead, Jean-Baptiste Queru, said recently that the Motorola Xoom tablet and Samsung Nexus S phone will not receive an update to Android 4.2. Further proof that I need to look into getting a new phone.

Additionally, HTC publicly announced its plans for Jelly Bean updates this week, saying that devices with 512MB of RAM or less wouldn't be upgraded. That mostly affects One V and Desire C users at this point, the company said.

While it kind of sucks if you're a user of one of those phones, it's at least nice to see HTC give some hard data about upgrade plans. It beats the endless faffing around some OEMs make users endure.

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Google has a flashy augmented reality game called Ingress undergoing closed beta testing, and, superficially at least, it looks awfully impressive.

Judging by this teaser, it looks a bit like the Matrix, only with less butt-kicking kung fu and gunplay. That's probably for the best, given that augmented reality games generally have to be played on smartphones in public places.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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