Certainly, the addition of NFC functionality into Android has been behind a plethora of useful features in recent years, from mobile payments to beaming files between devices. Unfortunately, for some users who updated their Nexus devices to KitKat, the NFC service which powers all these cool features dies repeatedly, and renders any functions tied to it useless. The good news is, Google has apparently found the root cause of the problem and has marked it to be fixed in a future release.
Owners of the Galaxy S4 on T-Mobile can now get their itchy trigger fingers ready to hit that "check now" button. We've received a few tips today alerting us to the fact that the carrier is rolling out an Android 4.4.2/KitKat OTA to handsets now. According to the software update screen, the feature set doesn't appear to include much of anything that Google didn't add into the stock version of KitKat:
- OS upgrade - [KitKat OS 4.4.2]
- Music Album art will be displayed on the lock screen while playing music.
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.