This is the time of year when lots of folks are picking up new devices for loved ones who are still using their busted old handset from two years ago. Of course, it's not just about loved ones – contract upgrades and new phones in general apply to everyone, regardless of the time of year. If the DROID MAXX is on your (or a loved one's) wishlist this year, Amazon has a good deal going for anyone looking to jump over to Verizon from another carrier: the longest-lasting Droid to date is $12.50.
It's not uncommon for Google (or other hardware manufacturers) to make subtle changes to devices post-release to fix problems that went unnoticed before the device hit hundreds of thousands users. That's exactly what happened with the Nexus 4, and it looks like the Nexus 5 is getting some hardware modifications of its own, as well.
As pointed out by XDA user shinral, the updated model has more rigid power and volume buttons, the SIM tray fits flush with the body of the phone, and probably the most visually noticeable difference, the speaker grill holes are now larger.
This holiday season, I have little doubt that over-the-ear headphones will be a big seller. Among those sold, it's hard to deny that the bulk will likely be Beats by Dre, because that's what all the cool kids are wearing. If you're more concerned with what sounds good and is practical over what's "popular," however, Phiaton is a brand to keep an eye on. I've been using the company's two newest offerings, the Bluetooth Chord MS 530 and the compact Fusion MS 430 for the last several weeks, and definitely recommend both for those looking for such a product.
No sooner than we got 4.4.1 with camera fixes galore, 4.4.2 started hitting Nexus devices. While most should have already received the update, factory images are now available for download directly from Google. They're not alone in this rollout, as the binaries are also available if you need that sort of thing.
Spotify is great. Despite that fact that many of us abandoned it for Google Music All Access when that was announced, Spotify is still one of the best streaming music services available today. And it just got a lot better (and cheaper).
At a press conference today, Spotify founder Daniel Ek announced that service would basically start offering free streaming to mobile phones and tablets. The model will be different for each device category, but the general gist is the same – stream music, and pay nothing for it.
A few days ago we reported on a less-than-ideal situation over in India, where users who won Nexus 7s in Google's/Nestle's KitKat contest were receiving the 2012 model instead of the "new Nexus 7" as advertised. Naturally, users were outraged and insulted by this gesture and spoke out against both companies. Today, Nestle has taken to its KitKat India Facebook page to let users know that it plans on righting this wrong.
About a week ago, Google announced a new Chromecast update that would bring about some bug fixes and a "refreshed home screen." It wasn't made clear at the time exactly what that meant, but the update appears to be rolling out in full force now, so we've finally gotten a glimpse at this refresh, and it looks a lot better. Instead of just a stock image with huge "ready to cast" text and Chromecast's details, the new, minimal home screen cycles through beautiful images with the Chromecast's name in the bottom left and time in the bottom right.
Just this morning it was discovered that the long-rumored LG V510 isn't actually a Nexus tablet, but a Google Play Edition of the LG G Pad 8.3. Since the cat's basically out of the bag, LG decided now would be a good time to go ahead and make it official – the G Pad 8.3 will be the first Google Play Edition tablet.
For those who may not be familiar with the G Pad 8.3, it's a fantastic piece of LG hardware with an 8.3-inch display, 2GB RAM, a Snapdragon 600 processor, and 16GB of internal storage.
Verizon recently uploaded a new support document for the Galaxy Note 3 to its support site detailing a new OTA update. While there's nothing major about this one, it does fix quite a few bugs. That's not all that's under the hood, however – it also brings four new pieces of bloatware along for the ride: MyInfoZone Widget, VMware, Verizon Support & Protection v2, and Verizon Cloud. Useful, eh? I didn't think so.
If you've been dying to get your hands on CyanogenMod's [kind of] recently-announced screencasting tool, the wait is over. The app has been released to the Play Store via beta channel. There are, of course, a few requisites before the app will work:
- You must be running last night's CM11 nightlies (or later).
- You need to join the CyanogenMod community.
- Head here to join the beta program.
Once all of those qualifications have been met, you're free to give this new beta a shot.