Fact or fiction? A brief look at rash of Android rumours

A quick rundown of what rumours are likely hoaxes and which are still potentially legitimate

A recent story from the widely read Android and Me site detailed several major changes and innovations coming to the Play store, Nexus line of devices, and Android Version 4.2 -- which was said to be on the way in a month.

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It's since been revealed, however, that this information was fabricated, muddying the waters for consumers and journalists trying to keep up with the latest on the Android ecosystem.

The hoaxer was apparently good enough to post a lengthy comment detailing his fake information and his conversations with the unfortunate Android and Me blogger on Android Police, though, which helped to clear up some of the confusion. While there's no confirmation of that "confession's" veracity, it does appear to tally with what was reported in the Android and Me story.

Here, then, is a quick rundown of what rumours are likely hoaxes and which are still potentially legitimate:

BOGUS: User experience customization center

Sadly, the idea that there will be a feature allowing users to opt into or out of manufacturer UIs -- see you around, Sense/Motoblur/TouchWiz! -- is apparently the product of the anonymous hoaxer. Although it would undoubtedly be popular among Android users, Google's Android OEM partners have never showed any signs of being so willing to relinquish the control they have over the user experience on their own devices, so this probably should've rung alarm bells in and of itself.

POSSIBLY REAL: LG Nexus device, broader Nexus portfolio

While it's still just a rumor -- which, as we've seen, can spring from nothing more than somebody messing around on the Internet -- CNET says there's a Nexus-series device due next month from LG, while The Wall Street Journal says Google's planning to roll out more devices than the usual single flagship.

BOGUS: Project Roadrunner

Following the pattern set by Google's Project Butter -- the user interface performance program that was a highlight of Android 4.1 -- Project Roadrunner was said to be aimed at similar improvements to battery life. Like the customization center, however, this is a great idea that is 100% made-up.

POSSIBLY REAL: Android 4.2

Though the wealth of information provided by the hoaxer is all obviously fictional, there are real indications that Android 4.2 is on the way. Android Police says that its server logs show devices identifying themselves as running Android 4.2 having accessed the site. That site hypothesizes that the update might be pretty minor, however, and may not even have a new dessert name.

BOGUS: Media streaming/enhanced video

Another "wouldn't it be nice" fake rumor, this one hinted at a major overhaul of Google Play's streaming capabilities and general media functionality. Alas, of course, it's all hot air. Google could use a little more parity with Amazon and Apple in the media space, though, which is probably part of why this rumor was accepted so readily.

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

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Jon Gold

Network World
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