Anyone who has made the jump to Android 4.3, which admittedly isn't that many people right now, may have noticed that some applications now plant persistent notifications in the status bar. We offered this as a disclaimer in our post about manually updating a Nexus 4 to Android 4.3. Turns out, this is completely intentional. Android now forces persistent notifications on unkillable apps that run silently in the background. This is an attempt to call attention to behavior that isn't quite okay. Read More
So, you want to know about everything that's new in Android 4.3. Every single change that's occurred since 4.2.2. Well, if you don't mind scrolling through a barely-human-readable, mile-long developer changelog, now you can satisfy that urge.
Al Sutton has posted a wonderfully-formatted AOSP commit changelog covering the changes from Android 4.2.2 (JDQ39) to Android 4.3_r2.1 (JSS15J). The JSS15J build is the most recent release of 4.3, and is the one currently shipping on the new Nexus 7. Read More
Floating Notifications brings the usefulness of Facebook chat heads to every Android app that shoots out a notification. Get an email - receive a floating Gmail icon on the side of the screen begging for attention. Tapping that icon reveals the contents of the message. Double tapping dismisses the notification, but there's a catch - before now, removing the floating notification hasn't also removed it from the status bar. Thanks to the latest update, devices running Android 4.3 will sync these actions due to integration with the new Notification Listener Service. Read More
If you updated your Verizon Galaxy S4 to the latest over-the-air build, or bought one after it was already installed, you might already be aware that it's been especially resistant to root attempts. Savvy power users have stayed well away from the updated VRUAME7 firmware, which makes rolling back to an earlier build impossible. But as is so often the case, two enterprising XDA-Developers posters have solved at least some of the problems, and released a new rooting method for the latest OTA. Read More
Update: Well, it seems someone at Google was a bit confused, as LTE has been added back to the European specification of the new Nexus 7, including band 20. Crisis averted.
The last generation of Nexus devices was stuck with HSPA+ mobile data, but with the new N7 Google has stepped into the 4G world. However, it seems like that world may be smaller than we previously thought. The specification page for the Nexus 7 has been tweaked to remove LTE bands from the European version, leaving it with only HSPA+. Read More
Now that fast processors and LTE connections are becoming more prevalent, the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre is about to have a renaissance on mobile platforms. Case in point: Blastron. It's a new take on the old Worms/Scorched Earth ballistics game, with player-controlled robots running around, blasting each other with weaponry that would be at home in any Looney Tunes production. It's a free download (with the usual in-app purchase trappings) in the Play Store. Read More
For many power users, 16GB just doesn't cut it any more, especially when the world's leading smartphone manufacturer insists upon using a third of that for its customized Android build. Combine that with a still-outrageous premium for those few models that of phones that include extra storage, and you've got a recipe for frustration. But the Galaxy S4 situation just got a little less rage-inducing, at least if you're a prospective Verizon customer: both Amazon Wireless and WireFly have dropped the 32GB version of the Galaxy S4 to $199.99 on-contract. Read More
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a sci-fi tower defense game, a unique endless runner, a game in which many, many virtual hamsters are maimed, a shmup starring Nikola Tesla, and a digital translation of a popular card game. Read More
Remember when Google's app verification and malware scanning service debuted with Android 4.2? No? Well, that's probably because statistically speaking, you're likely to be one of the 95% of Android users rocking 4.1 or earlier. To help address this, it looks like Google has moved the Verify Apps system to Google Play Services, which at this point should be installed on all Google Play Store-equipped Android devices running Gingerbread or higher. Read More
If you're on The Now Network and looking for a new phone, you'd be hard-pressed to find one better than the Galaxy S4 (with one exception, depending on your personal preference). And in keeping with their tradition of rock-bottom prices at surprisingly fast intervals, Amazon Wireless is now offering the 16GB model for just $99.99 on-contract, to both new customers and existing subscribers adding a line.
Activation is free for new Sprint customers, as is two-day shipping (even without an Amazon Prime account). Read More