It’s been a busy week filled with Android 4.4 news, Futuremark sanctions for HTC and Samsung and a host of rumors about LG’s upcoming phones. Check out our round up below of all the best Android news you may have missed this past week.
Most phone makers don’t build the phones they sell. They hire someone like Foxconn to do it for them. Now this isn’t exactly a bad thing. Say what you will about Apple and the iOS, but no one has ever picked up an iPhone and said to themselves it’s built poorly. Thank Foxconn for that.
Reports are coming in from HTC One Google Play Edition owners that they’ve begun receiving a 320 megabyte over the air update to Android 4.4 KitKat. While there are no screenshots to confirm this, the source is Android Central, and the guys even have a link to Google’s servers where the update is being hosted.
One of the hidden features in Android 4.3 Jelly Bean was App Ops, that allowed users to view and deny various permissions to applications. The feature was hidden by default, and required the use of an app called App Ops (or custom ROMs) which displayed the hidden interface.
Qualcomm issued a press release this morning saying that the company is being investigated by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) regarding Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law (AML). What exactly did Qualcomm do to deserve this? That’s apparently confidential information, but I (and the BBC) have a sneaking suspicion this has something to do with patents.
B2B isn’t sexy and usually doesn’t even get attention from the press, though it sometimes happens. When Delta Airlines announced they’d buy 11,000 Surface tablets, that made news. When the Los Angeles school system decided to buy 640,000 iPads, that made headlines. And now, according to The Korea Times, Samsung is going to make custom smartphones for both Coke and Pepsi; talks with FedEx are still on-going.
If you ever were a PC junkie in your lifetime, you would know about Futuremark, the creator of 3DMark. The benchmark maker ranks PCs, and Android smartphones, depending on how they perform in their benchmark. The company has been in the benchmarking industry since a long time and has some strict rules, including a fairness policy that requires devices to treat 3DMark just like any other app.
There’s a term in the technology space called “Dog Fooding” which is defined as using the products and services you create in order to make them better. It makes sense when you think about it, why would Google want their employees using Microsoft’s Outlook program to handle their email when they should instead be using Gmail? According to Dave Burke, the Head of Engineering for Android, this was the attitude used to make Android 4.4 KitKat run on low end devices.
Some of you are lazy and don’t want to type. It’s OK to admit it, because I’m one of those people that are now hooked on dictating emails and text messages thanks to Google’s ridiculously accurate voice recognition capabilities. But what about search? If you have a Moto X, you can say “OK Google” even when your home screen is off and preform a search. If you have a Nexus 5, you can do the same, but only when your screen is on. And today, “Ok Google” search is coming to Chrome.
The CyanogenMod Installer was among the first step that the company took after going public, in a bid to increase its user base and attract the general users. While things were fine for a few weeks, the CyanogenMod today had to remove the app from the Play Store because of a violation of the Play Store’s Terms and Services.
Samsung being Samsung, they aren’t afraid to make a million different variants of their devices. The flagship Galaxy S4 for example, there’s the Mini, the Mega, the Zoom, the Active, and let’s also not forget about the million other Samsung phones that look like the Galaxy S4, despite having nothing in common with them. Today Samsung has introduced yet another variant, the Galaxy S4 Advance.
The LG G Flex is the world’s second phone to ship with a flexible display. Samsung’s Galaxy Round was the first, but that doesn’t really matter since it’ll never leave South Korea, whereas the G Flex is scheduled to come to Europe and the United States in early 2014. But enough back story, I want to talk about the successor to the G Flex.
For a little over a week now, I’ve been testing two flagship phablets: Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 and Sony’s Xperia Z Ultra. I’m not going spoil my review of either of those two devices, you’ll have to wait until next week for that. Why do I bother bringing them up? Long time readers will know that last month I took a trip to the United States. While there, I had every intention of buying a brand new smartphone, but I didn’t. Why’s that?
According to a Canadian LG representative that spoke to MobileSyrup, the company’s flagship smartphone, the LG G2, will get updated to Android 4.4 KitKat by the end of Q1 2014. Translation: March. How does this compare to other Android handset makers? HTC has already promised a January update for the One. A leaked Samsung document suggests the S4 and Note 3 will also get their respective updates in January.
SMS might be a dying form of communication, but on its way out, it has managed to make Google’s Android its casualty. The issue was discovered by Bogdan Alecu, a system admin at Levi9, and will be made public at DefCamp security conference in Romania.
Earlier this week, the Moto G went up for sale on Motorola’s website in the United States, with the handset expected to ship by 2nd December. Joining Motorola today is Amazon, which has also listed the handset up for pre-order.