Stop me if you've heard this one before. Reuters reports that the Rockstar consortium, a joint effort between Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and Blackberry, has sued Google and Android manufacturers Samsung, HTC, LG, ASUStek, Huawei, ZTE, and Pantech over patents formerly held by the now-defunct Nortel Networks. Rockstar won the patents in an auction in 2011 that topped out at $4.5 billion - Google lost the same auction with a $4.4 billion bid.
|Jeremiah Rice||Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.|
Another bloody update: Paranoid Android has posted a new Gapps package with a few bug fixes. Get it here.
Google might not be sending out those Nexus updates to Android 4.4 as quickly as everyone wanted - at least some of you might have a new Nexus 5 in your hands before the KitKat build for the N4 update is sent out.
The hits keep coming from Android 4.4, and the latest one is the default android email app (you know, the one that isn't Gmail). Android Police alumnus Ron Amadeo posted the updated APK to his Google+ account early this evening, and we've mirrored it for you below. If you use the Email app (and you haven't found a better alternative on the Play Store), you'll want to check it out.
If you can tear your gaze away from KitKat and Nexus news today, there's actually other stuff going on in the Android world. The indefatigable Evleaks has just posted what he claims is a photo (of a photo) of the Moto G, which he himself was sent via a tip. It looks a lot like the Moto X, but as some have predicted, with more low-end specs.
Motorola Moto G: S4 Pro (1.5GHz x 4), 4.7" 720p, 8GB or 16GB, 8MP, LG-made 1950mAh, starts free on contract [via tip] pic.twitter.com/0lJPnbMEsr
— @evleaks (@evleaks) October 31, 2013
According to the tweet, the phone will use the same screen size and resolution as the Moto X, and both the front and rear of the body look remarkably similar to Motorola's current flagship.
If you've used Android 4.1 or later on a phone or tablet with 1GB of RAM, you know things can get a little tight in the memory department. That's what makes newer and slightly underpowered devices like the Lenovo Yoga a little disappointing. Google has decided to trim the fat with Android 4.4 in an initiative they've christened "Project Svelte." This isn't a single change, it's a wide range of additions to the Android API and optional hardware configurations designed to make KitKat run smoothly on devices with as little as 512MB of system memory.
According to the new 4.4 developer page, Project Svelte starts with recommendations and options targeted at device manufacturers.
Easily one of the coolest features of the Moto X (and its sister DROID devices on Verizon) is the Touchless Control function, which allows users to say "OK Google Now" from anywhere and activate voice actions. That functionality is built in to Android 4.4... with some rather hefty limitations.
First of all, the "OK Google" command will be hardware-dependent. Google isn't saying exactly what the required silicon is, but at the moment, only the Nexus 5 will have access to the feature - even the other Nexus devices due to be updated won't be able to join in.
Android has had native support for user-taken screenshots since 4.0, and a few OEMs like Samsung have had supported the feature even before that. But until now, getting a reliable video recording of your device's screen has been a major pain, usually requiring some kind of root solution that doesn't work for all hardware. In KitKat, Google is doing away with that, allowing end users to record video directly from the screens of their devices.
The next version of Android is bringing a lot of visual options to the table, and they're not just for Google to play with. Buried deep within the KitKat 4.4 API (level 19) is the ability for apps to request translucent system UI overlays, specifically on the top notification bar and the bottom navigation bar (if your device has one). You can see this feature in action in all the promotional photos of the Nexus 5's homescreen, where the wallpaper is visible form the top of the screen to the bottom.
A few of our readers spotted the Chromecast icon hanging out in yesterday's tablet-focused update to Pandora, and sure enough, it looks like the flip was switched this morning. You can now use Pandora to stream your stations directly from Chromecast the same way that you can with Google Play Music. Our guess is that Google needed to enable support via its media provider app list.
There's no need to update the app again if you grabbed yesterday's update, though you may need to force close it if it's been running in the background.
For a lot of people, running is boring, which is a major impedance to getting the exercise that many of us sorely need. There have already been some interesting mixes of fiction/gameplay and workouts with apps like Zombies, Run, but Runtastic is getting into the same area for people who might not enjoy being chased by undead monsters living in their headphones. The new feature is called Story Running. Generic promotional video ahoy!