Earlier today, Google started slowly rolling out an update to Maps with version 7.2. This is a point release, up from 7.1, so I expected more than just minor changes. While not as big as the quiet Drive update yesterday, Maps 7.2 brings a few notable changes to the table that Google has not yet (or won't ever) itemized in the changelog. Upon getting my hands on the APK, which you can find at the bottom of this post, I hopped onto the teardown couch and dug in.
Portable speakers and premium phone cases are two great tastes that taste great together, at least if you've got enough disposable income to afford both on top of your expensive smartphone. In a consolidation of the high-end accessory world, California-based case maker Incipio has purchased Braven, the Utah-based maker of a line of portable Bluetooth speakers.
Both companies tend to skew towards the higher end of the accessory market. Incipio likes to go for the low-hanging fruit of the iPad and iPhone (though they do have plenty of accessories for the more popular Android phone and tablet models) while Braven's Bluetooth speakers are device-agnostic in nature.
Here it is, the second installment of Android Police Files. We're still getting a steady stream of email, and while we can't post them all, we've hand-picked eight more to share with our darling readers. As you're about to see, many people can't seem to grasp what it is we do. We're not crime fighters, nor are we IT ninjas. We blog. Still, that doesn't mean we don't try our best to help out.
The HTC One is an undeniably pretty phone. It looks good in the standard silver, and not half bad in black, either. But what about flaming, flamboyant red? Sprint seems to think that someone wants it, so they'll be offering the Ruby Red HTC One starting tomorrow, August 16th. The red version has already been released internationally.
Sprint will get at least some kind of exclusive on the red One in the United States, and they'll sell it in all the normal online and retail channels.
Update: Looks like we were right.
ROM developers and Android tinkering enthusiasts alike have probably noticed at this point that the new iteration of the Nexus 7, unveiled two weeks ago, does not yet have factory images or driver binaries posted on the appropriate Google Developers page. A similar issue plagued the Nexus 4 in its early days, though eventually images were posted. At the time, legal issues were speculated as a possible reason for the delay, and Android build maintainer JBQ - largely responsible for the images / binaries - said only this in response: "I can't comment."
With the new Nexus 7, JBQ has not outright said that legal problems with Qualcomm are preventing the factory images (and possibly the driver binaries) from being published, but a quick look at the relevant evidence makes it pretty duh-obvious that's what's going on.
Titanium Backup has been a top app for rooted users since early in Android's life. It's still one of the best ways to backup and manage the apps installed on your phone or tablet. After the Android 4.3 update started rolling out, users found that Titanium wasn't working quite right. Today's update fixes that issue, and adds a few more goodies.
A number of root apps have been having issues post-4.3.
With no DROID 5 in sight for an unveiling at next week's Verizon festivities, it seems the writing is on the wall for the form-factor that basically got Android off the ground: the QWERTY slider phone.
It's been nearly 4 years since the original DROID and HTC G1 debuted, two phones that really carried the Android platform in those early, uncertain days. It seemed, perhaps, that the trend the Sidekick (aka Hiptop) started in 2002 might continue on into the true smartphone era, side-by-side with the increasingly popular touchscreen slab (which at that point really just meant the iPhone).
We revealed the full details of the HTC One Mini yesterday, but now the Taiwanese company has made the smaller phone's official debut. The One Mini is a 4.3-inch counterpart to the larger One, alike in design if not specifications: the general look and shape of the flagship is preserved, along with all the software features, plus the Ultrapixel rear camera and "BoomSound" front-facing stereo speakers. HTC plans a worldwide rollout of the One Mini starting in August and continuing into September, with no prices available yet.
Samsung has been muddying the waters of the Galaxy brand ever since it launched, and the Galaxy S4 has been sent to new depths, with no less than three "S4" variants following the original's release by only a few months. But the Galaxy S4 Active - the sporty, tough, waterproof version of Samsung's flagship - is the first of the company's myriad extended line that actually deserves the same name as its more mainstream brother.
This is the app roundup. The game roundup from this week can be found here.