Shawn De Cesari
Shawn is a web developer by day and XDA's resident archivist for Nexus and Google Play Edition device OTA updates by night. When not immersing himself in code or Android, he can be found hunting down antique signs, taking road trips, listening to music, or playing video games. His phone of choice is a Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition.
18
Dec
bootloader_unlock

In addition to things like stock Android and being carrier-unlocked, one of the big features of Nexus and Google Play Edition devices that Android power users love is an easily unlockable bootloader. While OEMs and carriers often make a policy of locking their devices' bootloaders to prevent installation of unauthorized software, Google makes it very easy for us to tinker with devices bearing its brand. All you really need to unlock a Google device is a tool called "fastboot," which is made available through the Android SDK.

18
Dec
google_dialer_icon

Of all the announced new features of the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4/KitKat, one of the cooler ones was a new dialer colloquially known as the "KitKat dialer." It features a revamped UI and includes the ability to search for businesses, contacts, etc. right from inside the dialer. It also features Internet-based caller ID. The name "KitKat dialer," however, is not entirely accurate.

Background

Google Dialer (its official name) is not technically part of KitKat because it is not included in AOSP.

17
Dec
htc_one_vzw

If you own a Verizon HTC One, it's time to start tapping that "check for updates" button. Following Friday's announcement by HTC of an Android 4.3 firmware update, Verizon has updated its support PDF for the device with a full changelog. The new firmware version is 2.10.605.1. In addition to the obvious OS upgrade, there seems to be a fair number of bug fixes including:

  • Increased charging speed when using Mophie Juicepack power station
  • Corrected faint ringing noise from earpiece
  • Play purchased ringtones
  • Connection error fixed in the HTC Watch application
  • View the correct date using the all day calendar reminder
  • Conjunction words are better recognized on device keyboard
  • Backup Assistant performance

Update: Looks like it's rolling out now.

17
Dec
z_ultra_gpe

In case you haven't been paying attention, there has been a storm of Android 4.4.2 updates for Google Play Edition devices over the past few days. It started Friday with the HTC One and Galaxy S4, and continued yesterday with the G Pad 8.3. Now, it's time for Sony Z Ultra GPE owners to get in on the action. The OTA weighs in at hefty 444 MB and, like all other recent GPE updates, will bring the phone up to date with current Nexus devices at Android 4.4.2/KOT49H.

16
Dec
image

Following the HTC One GPE and Galaxy S4 GPE updates that rolled out over the weekend, the LG G Pad 8.3 GPE is now receiving its first OTA. Rumblings about the update started as early as Friday, but we decided to wait until we had the OTA zip link. The new firmware version is Android 4.4.2/KOT49H, which brings it up to date with current Nexus devices.

gpad_kot49h

There is no official changelog with the update, so it's currently unknown what, if any, device-specific bugs may have been fixed.

16
Dec
image

As soon as the first orders for the Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition began arriving at users' doors, the bug reports started rolling in. While this always happen with a new handset, two of the issues quickly emerged as critical. To be more specific:

  • Attempting to access the "Security" area under the phone settings results in a crash of the settings app. This is prohibiting users from doing things like changing the screen lock, enabling installation of non-market apps, and enabling data encryption.
14
Dec
galaxy_s4_gpe

The Google Play Edition update train keeps rolling along. Hot on the heels of yesterday's HTC One GPE update, Galaxy S4 GPE owners are reporting a new OTA update as well. This update was alluded to yesterday, when Samsung released a new set of kernel source and framework files for the device. The firmware version is I9505GUEUCML4, which is Android 4.4.2/KOT49H. This brings it up to date with current Nexus devices.

13
Dec
htc_one_gpe

If you own an HTC One GPE, it's time to start keeping an eye on your system update screen. HTC has released kernel source and framework files for the new update and people are beginning to report receiving the actual update. The firmware version is 3.62.1700.1, which is Android 4.4.2/KOT49H. This brings the HTC One GPE up to date with current Nexus devices.

one_kot49h

If you want to know what's changed between 4.4 and 4.4.2, check out our comparison.

13
Dec
image

Any Nexus or Google Play Edition device owner has seen it at least once. You get an OTA update to a new version of Android, and you notice that it says "Via Wi-Fi only until" and some arbitrary date. There seems to be a lot of confusion with people regarding what this is and more importantly what it is not. We feel like it's time to shed some light.

A lot of times, when there's a new Android OTA update available, this date becomes annoying to people because it means they can't download their OTA over a mobile network.

12
Dec
image

It's been a pretty big year for Instagram. So far, it has released several big new features including video and people tagging. To end 2013 on a high note, Instagram announced today that it is launching Instagram Direct - a new private sharing feature. Highlights include:

  • The ability to share photos privately with up to 15 people.
  • See who has seen, liked, and commented on your privately-shared photo in real time.
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