You've been warned: the Galaxy Note II was probably my favorite smartphone of 2012, and it looks like its successor, the Note 3, is stealing my heart all over again. With big hardware improvements across the board, as well as substantial additions to software, the Note 3 feels like a true next-generation sort of phone. Samsung has rather effectively ruined every other large-screen device for me, and frankly, probably every other phone released this year.
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?
The week is just getting started, but HTC is dropping new devices like it's going out of style. No, it's not that rumored One Max we've been hearing about. The company is breathing new life into the Desire brand with the mid-range Desire 601 and the entry-level Desire 300. HTC is also announcing a Bluetooth subwoofer accessory for BoomSound devices and a new "Vivid Blue" HTC One.
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.
HTC fans who prefer Verizon (or who have no choice), your long wait is over. After months of rumors and teases, the HTC One flagship is finally available on Verizon, the last of the four major American carriers to get the phone. It turned up on the Verizon web store early this morning right on schedule for $199.99 on-contract, or $599.99 if you want it "free" and clear.
Verizon's One is identical to those on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, except for the obvious CDMA and LTE radio bands.
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.
The AT&T-branded variant of the HTC One has a new maintenance update available, bringing the device to version 1.26.502.15. HTC's official announcement and update instructions can be found here. This is the second OTA update to be issued to the AT&T version of HTC's flagship handset, and the changelog is but a single item long. That item? "LTE Enhancements." Hooray! (?)
Image via XDA
According to a growing XDA thread, the update is around 245MB, though it downloads much more quickly than one would expect it to for a package of that size.