It's time again to venture into the Play Store in search of sales, but be very quiet. You don't want to startle the illusive sale... See? Now you've done it. You scared it away and now you have to pay full price. Okay, here are some more, but be more careful this time.
Yesterday was a relatively big day for Android, at least compared to our regularly scheduled programming - Google sent us a gift in the form of the 4.4.3 update, available immediately via factory images and in AOSP. The problem with factory images, however, is that they require an unlocked bootloader to flash, so many of you opt in to wait for the respective OTAs.
The first such OTA has just arrived - it's for the 2013 Nexus 7 Wi-Fi (not for LTE yet), also known as Razor.
The mid-range market continues to expand into larger and larger handsets, and Sony doesn't want to be left behind. To that end, they've announced the Xperia T3, a 5.3-inch Android phone with an awesome industrial design, but internals that will leave hardware buffs wanting more. The star of the show is an all-steel body that's admirably thin at just 7mm. It will be available globally in late July.
Move past the admittedly pretty body (available in white, black, or purple), and you'll see hardware that's shooting for the bottom of the mid-range.
Do you want most of the HTC One's features in a device that's not quite as expensive? Then meet the One (E8), HTC's newest smartphone. Between the plastic (oops, sorry, "polycarbonate") body and a separate model with dual SIM card slots, it's clear that this handset is aimed at developing markets. The announcement post for the phone doesn't mention a specific date or price, but my money's on "soon" and "upper mid-range."
First of all, the E8's screen is 5" and 1080p, the same as the One M8.
Android 4.4.3 is mostly a bug fix update, but for some reason, Google also opted to include an updated version of the official Google dialer this time. We saw this leak a few times before, and indeed, it's looking pretty much like we expected it to. Let's take a look at how it differs from the old version. Some functions have moved around and it's a lot more blue.
This means you can remount /system as read-write, just as before, change build.prop, push APKs to /system/app, and do whatever you want without rebooting into recovery.
For now, you're safe. But probably not for long. And when the hammer drops, we'll have yet another reason to opt in for a custom ROM or kernel, because nobody can take our freedom, not even the mighty El Goog.
Remember the most recent Google Play Android client update? One of the features in that one was a new way of viewing permissions. As of that version there's a link to open the list instead of only being able to see it from the installation dialog. Well, now the web Play Store has pretty much the same thing. It's called consistency.
The build numbers are KTU84M for the Nexus 5 and KTU84L for the rest of the Nexus devices. The AOSP branch is kitkat-mr2-release, with the tag most likely named android-4.4.3_r1 expected to arrive shortly.
Fun fact: because of the enormous expense of shooting on location, a surprising number of American television series are shot and produced in Canada. Often when you see "Chicago" or "New York" on the small screen, it's really Toronto or Vancouver standing in as a body double for an entire city. Supernatural's Winchester Brothers are almost always running around British Colombia, and the rolling Wild West frontier of Hell On Wheels is really Alberta.