Back in April, I said that BLU "is a company to keep an eye on moving forward." A few months later, I reviewed (and loved) my first BLU device: the Life Play. Since then I've also taken a look at the Life View – the company's take on a large-screened phone – which was also very impressive for the cost. I'm definitely a fan of what BLU is doing right now, and the company seems to be keeping a nice momentum with the Life series.
One of the strangest changes with regard to Android 4.4 was the apparent removal of the hidden App Ops menu. You remember this one – it was the interface that allowed you to restrict permissions on a per-app basis. Well, apparently it's still in there – Google just made it harder to find. Color Tiger, developer of Smart IR Remote has just released its new App Ops 4.3/4.4 app that pulls up the standard App Ops and can add new features with root access.
Asus has been in the business of making Android tablets for as long as it has been a viable business. The company has certainly won praise for its efforts on Google's Nexus tablets, but Asus still makes its own separate tablets in the Transformer line. The newest entrant in that group is the Transformer Pad TF701T. It's not the catchiest name ever slapped on a wedge of metal and glass, but it's not the name that we're interested in – it's the experience.
Quick reminder: the modular smartphone is a real thing that's really happening. Motorola blew our minds with the announcement of a plan to create modular phones not totally unlike the Phonebloks concept, and now the manufacturer is one step closer to making some real hardware. 3D Systems, makers of the Cube 3D printer and similar equipment, is Motorola's first partner on the Project Ara.
So what does that mean? Motorola needs some way of adding flexibility to a traditionally rigid manufacturing process, and 3D printing would seem to be a natural solution.
It's a good time to own a Moto X. Hell already froze over earlier this week when the Verizon version of the handset was the first to receive an OTA to Android 4.4, beating the Nexus 4 and both Google Play Edition devices. Now the update is rolling out to phones running on T-Mobile.
If you sell wares or services on a one-to-one basis, you know that Square is a godsend for credit card point of sale. While the original Android app didn't have any real issues, the newly-updated version is even better, applying a cleaner and more readable UI and a handful of new features. Most importantly, it works with the newest version of Square's headphone jack card reader.
New shots above, old shots below.
Toshiba pisses me off. It's a company that released one of my favorite Android tablets of all time (which is also subsequently abandoned after 4.1). When I know that a company is capable of putting out good gadgets but they continuously release garbage, it frustrates me. Announcement after announcement, I think this could be the one – this might just be the next good Toshiba device. And every single time, I'm disappointed.
The first notable update for KitKat has just been released across most of the major AOSP and Nexus channels. According to Google software engineer Conley Owens, the KRT16S build includes bugfixes for the original Nexus 7 and Nexus 7 2013 (WiFi and mobile versions), Nexus 4, and Nexus 10. The binaries have already been added to the Nexus repository.
Screenshot credit: Tron87, Nathan Sparrow
Google has also updated the factory images for the relevant Nexus devices.
Smartphone theft is a growing problem. With more and more people carrying around a $500 gadget in their pockets, muggers and pickpockets are targeting smartphone owners for a quick and easy buck on the aftermarket. Municipalities all over the country have noted the rise in cell phone theft, and so have the manufacturers. But as CBS News reports, when Samsung built in a user-accessible kill switch to deter thieves, the CTIA and the five largest carriers in the country wanted nothing to do with it.
You may have noticed a bit of a frenzy in the world of gaming consoles in the last week or so. Not one to be left behind, OUYA is taking the opportunity to remind everyone that the Android-powered console exists, and can be had for less than the price of a car payment. To that end a limited edition version of OUYA was just posted to the online store in a fetching white case, with matching controller.