As Android 4.4/KitKat updates begin rolling out to devices on all the major US carriers, one frequently asked question has to do with whether or not these devices will include Android's new "Tap and Pay" feature. This was one of the major additions in KitKat and allows almost any device with an NFC chip to be used for "tap and go" mobile payments, even if said chip doesn't have a built-in secure element.
One of the darlings of the Android custom ROM world, AOKP, has a new, and pretty incredible, boot animation. Some of you may recall that the AOKP team started soliciting new boot animations from their user community back in December. That contest has now ended, and the winner, Joachim Holler, certainly delivered the goods.
For what it's worth, I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome this looks. Generally, boot animations may not be noteworthy, but they are still the first thing you see when you flash a ROM.
While no US carrier-branded variants of the Galaxy S4 have received an official update to Android 4.4/KitKat yet, Samsung has dropped the KitKat kernel source for the Sprint's model. While that by itself is really only of interest to developers, its implications will matter to a much larger audience. Generally, Samsung does not release kernel source for builds that aren't official. Historically, once source code is made available, official OTA updates follow in reasonably short order.
In a move that few would have predicted, YouTube for Google TV seems to have been removed from the Play Store. People who have downloaded it previously can still see its entry, but beyond that, it's as good as dead. Further, there appears to be no alternative app to replace it. That doesn't mean there won't be, though. It's possible that the primary YouTube app could be updated with Google TV support in the future, but without a confirmation from Google, all we can do is speculate at this point.
Now that a KitKat build for the Galaxy Note 3 has leaked, people have started reporting new things that they're finding. Though most of the major features of Google's latest Android version are present, the "tap and pay" option is conspicuously absent. Further, it appears host card emulation has been disabled altogether. This is curious given the fact that Isis Mobile Wallet, which is partially backed by AT&T and nowhere to be found on the official Android 4.3 builds, is preinstalled on the leaked firmware.
The family of accessories for the Galaxy S4 has a new arrival. Hot on the heels of Samsung's launch of a similar product for the Galaxy Note 3, the wireless charging S-View cover for the Galaxy S4 is now available. Before now, if you wanted to charge your phone wirelessly, you'd have to take the cover off and replace it with a wireless charging back. It's important to note that there is no difference between this and the regular S-View accessory, other than the additional contact points to enable Qi charging.
Today, famed leaker @evleaks has given us what he believes is a preview of the new Nexus 10, made by Samsung. In case you haven't been following the enormous amount of drama surrounding this; Asus, Samsung, and even LG, have all been suggested as possible manufacturers for Google's next-generation 10-inch tablet. Going into today, the Asus rumors seemed to have the most credibility, so if this leak holds true, the emergence of Samsung as the top dog would definitely be a plot twist for some folks.
Schemer, Google's niche quasi-social network for sharing all the things you want to do in life, is being shut down. Since launching over 2 years ago, it has struggled to find a user base, new features were few and far between, and the app itself was only updated a handful of times. For those unaware of how Schemer works, the idea is pretty simple. You use it to list things you want to do, and mingle with other people who either want to do the same thing or have already done it.
Seeing what it clearly believes is an untapped market, Netgear announced NeoMediacast, which gives pay TV providers an alternative to the traditional set-top box. This is an Android-powered system in a Chromecast-sized package that simply plugs into the back of your TV via an HDMI port. The idea here is that service providers can offer apps and premium content stores to give their subscribers access to everything they currently get through their cable boxes.
Today, famed leaker Evleaks has given the world a sneak-peek at four new Samsung tablets ahead of the company's proper CES announcement. The tablets in question are part of a new "Pro" line being launched as additions to the Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab brands. There will be a Galaxy Note Pro 12.2" model along with three new Galaxy Tab Pro variants, available in 12.2", 10.1", and 8.4" form factors.
Upon close examination of the press renderings, it also appears that Samsung has finally ditched the menu key in favor of a multitasking button.