Mere days after Android 4.4.1 was released, Google is rolling out Android 4.4.2 for compatible Nexus devices. The latest version is more of a modest upgrade, compared to its predecessor which delivered noteworthy improvements to the Nexus 5 camera, as it mostly squashes a few bugs.
Android 4.4.2 fixes issues with clearing and delivery of the VM Indicator, according to US mobile operator Sprint, and other bits of the mobile operating system. There are also security enhancements introduced in the latest version of KitKat.
Barely three weeks have passed since KitKat started to roll out, but now Google is updating its compatible Nexus devices to Android 4.4.1. The new version is being pushed over the air for the Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and 4G LTE Nexus 7, and will also be baked in factory images next week.
The biggest change that Android 4.4.1 introduces is focused on improving the Nexus 5 camera quality and performance, which have been pointed out as major downsides when compared to top smartphones available today. As some have noticed already in ads, Google is marketing the new handset as a capable device for photography and with Android 4.4.1 on board it finally seems to deliver in this regard.
After launching Android 4.4 KitKat alongside the Nexus 5, Google released the latest version of the mobile OS for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. The roll-out of the OTA upgrade kicked off on November 13 and the factory images arrived a couple of days later. Since I have already explained how to use the OTA files to get KitKat up and running, in this article I will show you how to do the same by leveraging the factory images.
Aside from allowing users to install Android 4.4, the KitKat factory images also come in handy for those who wish to upgrade, return their Nexus device to stock before selling it, and install various bits (the radios, the bootloader, etc.) to use with custom Android distributions. As you can tell, the factory images have a broader scope and, therefore, I will also cover the other most important ways you can benefit.
Nexus users love to fiddle with their smartphones and tablets by tearing off the stock software and experimenting with custom Android distributions, kernels, recoveries and whatever else is different from what is offered out-of-the-box. More often than not this all works fine, but it is not uncommon for something to break beyond easy repair. And, that is when Nexus modders turn to Google's factory images for help to return their devices to stock software.
After kicking off the roll-out of the KitKat upgrade, Google released the Android 4.4 factory images for the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7. The Nexus 5 received this treatment right after launch while the Nexus 10 is still waiting for the search giant's stamp of approval.
As expected, Google has started to roll out Android 4.4 KitKat to its Nexus tablet lineup. At the moment, the software upgrade is only heading to the Wi-Fi versions of the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10, but is slated to reach the cellular models of the smaller tablet too in the upcoming period, as well as the Nexus 4.
The upgrade may be rolling out to compatible tablets as we speak but it will take some time to reach all Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 devices. Luckily, you do not have to wait for the notification to install Android 4.4, as you can get KitKat up and running right now without losing any of your apps and settings or resorting to the modding trickery of loading a custom ROM.
The rumors were true! On Tuesday, South Korean manufacturer LG revealed the new Nexus 4 White. The smartphone features the same hardware specifications as its black sibling, which was announced in late-October, and runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
"Nexus 4 set the standard for Android 4.2 Jelly Bean smartphones", says LG's Jong-seok Park. "Nexus 4 White delivers the same Google experience to consumers in a stylish and attractive color option". The handset follows its predecessor, the Samsung-made Galaxy Nexus, in also sporting a white color trim.
Gadget geeks love their toys, the more sci-fi the better. Several manufacturers offer wireless charging solutions, Google and LG among them -- for Nexus 4. The idea is simple: Rather than plug in the device, you rest it on something else connected to electricity. My question: If the phone lays down to charge anyway, why not just plug in and save, in this instance, $59.99 before tax and shipping?
I paid Google Play just that in a moment of weakness, and later regret. Don't bother, and that's really good advice. The Nexus 4 Wireless Charger is more than a wasteful, redundant accessory. The design is fundamentally flawed, where form goes before function to ruin. If you read no further, take away this: Save your money for something else.
Jelly Bean may be the newest sweet in the family, but it is steadily gaining ground against its older brothers. Combined, Android 4.1 and Android 4.2 reached a 25 percent distribution level in the green droid realm, based on the number of devices accessing Google Play during the 14 days ending April 2.
Starting this month, Google has decided to alter how the data is collected. Google says: "Beginning in April, 2013, these charts are now built using data collected from each device when the user visits the Google Play Store. Previously, the data was collected when the device simply checked-in to Google servers". Why? Because the company considers the new collection method to be more accurate and that it best represents "users who are most engaged in the Android and Google Play ecosystem".
One year ago, March 6, 2012, Google renamed Android Market, and nothing is the same sense. The rebranded Google Play pushed forward a transition started in November 2011, with the broad expansion of content beyond apps. The name change also represented something bigger, shift in emphasis away from broader Android to the search giant's siloed services and brands. Google sought to imitate Apple while tackling wild Amazon.
On Play's first birthday, Google Android -- not the skinned software Amazon, HTC, LG, Samsung and others ship -- is a 98-pound weakling gone super steroids. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company sells apps, ebooks, gift cards, magazines, music, movies, TV shows and devices through the online store. There were no devices available a year ago, but now accessories, Chromebooks, smartphones and tablets. Three different computers are available, including the new and Google-branded Chromebook Pixel. Also: Two different Nexus 4 smartphones and Nexus 10 tablets and three Nexus 7 slates -- four if counting 32GB HSPA+ models twice, with different cellular SIMs.
The concept of Canonical taking a stab at the mobile market eludes me. Unless we want to split hairs, which I know will happen, Android already is the Linux ambassador across the globe, so why would the world need Ubuntu Touch? Furthermore, any new player starts out with a clean slate, which means many consumers will be skeptical at purchasing devices running the new operating system and therefore developer interest does not surpass a low threshold.
The PC market is not what it used to be a couple of years ago when people rushed out to buy new computers, rather than tablets or smartphones first. In some ways Canonical right now is Microsoft before Windows Phone and Windows 8 -- an important player further heading into obscurity down the road unless the boat steers in the right direction. Ubuntu Touch is supposed to give the world a breath of fresh air, the X factor that would sway enough people into switching from Android, iOS, Windows Phone or a feature phone, even.
The LG-made, Google-branded Nexus 4 made quite a splash when it debuted, but some of that attention was for the wrong reasons. The phone was almost impossible to grab, even at launch. Since then, supply problems have continued, extending from the T-Mobile online and brick-and-mortar stores to the Google Play Store.
If you think demand issues were bad before you may not have seen anything yet. Today T-Mobile dropped the price on the Android 4.2 handset all the way to zero.
Google Nexus owners, unlock your devices and start checking for updates because Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean is now rolling out. The latest software version is reportedly hitting Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 devices, with no word at the moment relating to the Nexus 4.
The Android 4.2.2 update bumps up the build number to version JDQ39 and mostly appears to contain minor fixes. No official changelog has been provided by Google at this moment, but users are reporting improvements for Bluetooth streaming which now presents "less hicups [...] but still not perfect" with apparent disconnects when switching from Wi-Fi to cellular data.
If you really want to part with $59.99 (plus shipping and tax), the long-anticipated Orb is for sale. Timing coincides with fairly consistent Nexus 4 availability (about time for that) from Google Play. Forgive my total lack of enthusiasm. Gimme a Nexus 10 dock or something else useful rather than just geek.
My wife and I both now own Nexus 4, but neither of us pines for Orb. One of the phone's features (I wouldn't say benefits) is wireless charging. You slap the handset down on the half-sphere, which juices the battery in Stargate Universe-like fashion. I've got a chord for that, free with the phone, that charges faster than the four fraking hours Google claims for Orb. That said, there is something Star Trek-cool about using the phone round and about, while charging, without actually being plugged in.
In the United States, Google Play has both Nexus 4 models available for sale -- after nearly two months stocked out. The bumper is available, too. If you're one of the gadget geeks looking for this smartphone, get it while you can, and that might not be for long.
Google launched Nexus 4 on November 13, but sold out in just hours. The phone reappeared on November 27. A day later, Google Play redefined "sold out" by listing shipment date as 8-9 weeks. From a retail distribution perspective, Nexus 4 is pure disaster. It's anyone's guess how many could have sold over the holidays, but greedy gadget geeks couldn't get the phone short of paying extortion-like prices.
Today, I formally begin covering Google earnings, as I have done for Microsoft (a decade) and Apple (about six years). This first report won't be as thorough as the others, as I get my head around the financials, which share little in common with APPL and MSFT other than money. Today's earnings announcement is refreshing respite from third quarter's, when an incomplete press release pushed out early and while the market was open.
For calendar fourth quarter, revenue rose 36 percent to $14.42 billion, year over year; net revenue, excluding Traffic Acquisition Costs, was $9.83 billion, up from $8.13 billion. Net income climbed to $2.89 billion up from $2.71 billion. That's $8.62 earnings per share, including costs associated with discontinued operations. Operating income was $3.39 billion, down from $3.51 billion year over year.