When LG announced the G Pad 8.3, I was really excited. Finally, another entry into the eight-inch tablet market! Couldn't wait to get my hands on it and really dig in. Sadly, throughout my use of the tablet, my excitement slowly dwindled – when I opened the box and saw the device itself, I was more eager than ever to turn it on, but as time went on, the user interface just killed the experience for me.
Another month, another great set of apps released to the Play Store. Amid the Nexus season hysteria, plenty of worthy new apps entered the fray, vying for attention from Android users looking to spice up their catalogs.
Out of that list, we've chosen seven of the very best new apps, saving you the hassle of going through every entry. Of course we've got a brief list of runners up as well, but we'll take a closer look at the top six first.
The hits keep coming from Android 4.4, and the latest one is the default android email app (you know, the one that isn't Gmail). Android Police alumnus Ron Amadeo posted the updated APK to his Google+ account early this evening, and we've mirrored it for you below. If you use the Email app (and you haven't found a better alternative on the Play Store), you'll want to check it out.
Yet another facet of KitKat worth pointing out today is the addition of new security enhancements to the OS. Security is one area that's frequently sensationalized with Android - it seems that every few days a scare story about Android malware creeps onto my Google News page. Google's eliminating security arguments (and possible arguments) one at a time, though, and has made a few key enhancements this time around.
First among them is a change to SELinux.
Android 4.4 is out, and that means developers and tinkerers have already started digging through the code and various APKs in hopes of porting as many updated apps as possible for use with existing devices. The first and easiest app to extract is, unsurprisingly, the clock, which also acts as an alarm, timer, and stopwatch. I've installed it on my Galaxy Nexus without any issues and only had to clear data to get rid of the pesky force close, which is completely undestandable.
If you've never heard of the Bluetooth MAP profile, I don't blame you. Bluetooth profiles are super, super boring stuff. But stay with me here, because you may be more interested in MAP than you thought.
Do you own a car that is "Bluetooth-enabled"? If your car's model year is somewhere in the neighborhood of the last 3 to 4 years and supports Bluetooth, it probably uses the MAP standard to communicate with your phone.
The ASUS Transformer series may not be a household name, but it's one of the oldest Android tablet brands around. Each release has been solid, and the latest Transformer Pad Infinity TF701T kicks things up a notch. Anyone in the US waiting to get their hands on this combination tablet and keyboard dock will be happy to know that it's now available on Amazon.
The tablet ships for $449, and the dock is sold separately, just as it has always been.
Tablets are in a bit of a rut as far as form factors go. Aside from ASUS' Transformer models and imitators, they're basically all monolithic slates with very little in the way of variation. Lenovo is trying to buck that trend with its new Yoga tablet line, which borrows the name from the company's flexible and well-received convertible laptops. These tablets feature an exaggerated curve on one side of the case (sort of like a more pronounced version of the Notion Ink Adam).
When it comes to hardware aesthetics, Sony has some of the best industrial design around. The 6.4-inch Xperia Z Ultra is undeniably attractive in its glass and metal casing. The software isn't so appealing, and not just because it's Android 4.2 - Sony's custom interface leaves a lot to be desired. If you'd like to run something closer to AOSP, not to mention a latter version of Android, the indefatigable CyanogenMod team is now offering nightly builds of CM 10.2.
A few weeks ago, we took a look a the BLU Life Play, which was our first foray with a BLU device. It's an impressive device that keeps the costs down by cutting corners in all the right places, which of course made me interested in other BLU devices, so the company sent me its newest handset, the massive 5.7-inch Life View. Internally, it's basically the same as the Life Play, but externally it couldn't be more different.