Let me just start by saying that I like the DROID Maxx and DROID Mini. Why conclude a review before I begin it? Because so many people have already concluded that they cannot like these phones. Motorola's new devices have proven incredibly polarizing among enthusiasts, especially to Google and Android diehards who held on till the bitter end to a fantasy (and that is what it was) that the company would come to the rescue of marginalized power users.
I am generally of the view that when it comes to high-end smartphones, most such phones are now squarely in the "pretty good" category. While the internet moans and groans about SD cards, removable batteries, and heavy-handed UI modifications, these things are trivial to most people in the day-to-day operation of a device. But much in the same way some car enthusiasts refuse to relinquish the manual transmission, some smartphone enthusiasts will not let go of the microSD slot until it is pried from their cold, dead fingers.
Welcome back to the Android Police Week In Review, where we round up the 20 most popular stories published on Android Police in the last week. Without further ado, here they are.
- Best Buy Will Currently Give You A $262 Gift Card For Your Old Nexus 4, No Matter Its Capacity
- What We Use, 2013 Edition: The Apps, Tools, Devices, And Other Stuff Ryan Can't Do Without
- Hugo Barra Speaks Out About His Departure From Google And Why Xiaomi Is Going Global
- Motorola Debuts New "Lazy Phone" Ad Campaign For The Moto X With Three Hilarious Videos
- Download: Latest Google Play Store 4.3.11 [Teardown]
- [What's Really New/APK Teardown] Google Maps Update 7.2 Rolling Out: Google Now-Style Navigation Card, Hotel Rates, HTC Contacts Bug Fix, And More [APK Download]
- [What's Really New] Big Google Drive Update Rolling Out - UI Changes, Swipe-Down-To-Refresh, Bottom Action Bar, And More [APK Download]
- Google Begins Staged Rollout Of Play Music v5.2 - Say Hello To Genre Radio, New Download Queue [APK Download]
- 10 Minute User-Made Demo Video Shows How Google Voice Search Has Improved In The Last Year
The Motorola DROID Ultra is a strange beast, at once a preview of Motorola's Google-centric future and a connection to its recent independent past. While its specifications and software features are nearly identical to the ubiquitous Moto X, a unique design and Verizon exclusivity (along with the DROID Mini and DROID MAXX) means that it shares a market position with previous DROIDs... a position that's somewhat irrelevant these days.
So why would you choose a DROID Ultra over the Moto X?
Earlier today, Google released a relatively minor update to its keyboard application with only one really useful change: numbers in the top row on tablets. While the update itself is indeed not too significant, it did manage to bring several interesting half-baked under-the-hood bits which aren't quite ready for consumption. These are exactly the kinds of bits we like here in the AndroidPolice teardown kitchen.
Armed with some of Ron's initial findings, my teardown partner Santiago Rosales and I dug into the innards of the v1.1 APK.
American carriers sometimes get phones later than the rest of the world. Lately the situation has been improving, especially with big-name devices and a few exclusives. But when we see evidence of an upcoming low-end phone that's almost a year old, and one that's been supplanted by a new version, we can't help but sigh. So it is with the Galaxy S III Mini, which was just pegged by Evleaks for an AT&T release.
Yesterday, @evleaks scored several press images of the new Nexus 7, which is expected to be revealed by Google on July 24th. Not even a day later, we now have an exclusive gallery of more recent press shots that not only offer several more angles, but also showcase what I believe is the new default Android 4.3 Nexus wallpaper which replaces the Android 4.2 wallpaper seen in the previous pictures.
Hot on the heels of Bluebox's disclosure of the "Master Key" exploit, a Chinese blog has posted details of a similar vulnerability. This attack also sidesteps a bug in the signature verification step and allows seemingly innocent APKs to include a potentially dangerous payload; and like its brethren, Google has already patched the flaw and posted it to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The information comes to us from a China-based group (or possibly individual) calling itself the Android Security Squad.
Scary tales about Android malware have been told since before people started guessing what dessert name would start with the letter 'D' (it's "Donut," in case anybody has forgotten.) Most of those claims came and went, amounting to little more than ghost stories. Unfortunately, there are a few real ghouls and goblins for which we should be afraid. Back in February, one such monster was discovered lurking about that allowed modified APKs to be installed on your device while successfully side-stepping the cryptographic signature used to prevent that very thing.
This is the app roundup. The game roundup from this week can be found here.