Now that the HTC One Google Play Edition is dancing in the club that exclusively admits devices running the latest bleeding-edge version of Android, it's time for Samsung's Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition to do the same. For some reason Samsung seems a lot less coy about the update - while only a few users on the XDA forums are reporting that they've received the latest software (labeled MH5), both the kernel source code and the official over-the-air update have been posted to the usual spots.
It doesn't take very long for new phones to go on sale these days, especially if you're savvy enough to check Amazon. For example, the AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is now just $108 for new customers, or $118 for those who are eligible for an upgrade. (You can also add a new line and get the phone for $108.) Want something a little tougher? Amazon is offering the ruggedized Galaxy S4 Active at the same prices.
A few days ago Android watchers were abuzz after a new version of Verizon's Galaxy S4 appeared on Samsung's site. Listed as model number SCH-I545L, there was some speculation it could be a spec bump on the original GS4. Maybe even a version of the device with LTE-Advanced? The truth behind that extra "L" at the end of the model number is much more mundane. It's for rural carriers, according to Verizon.
These days, it seems like everybody is trying to make Android more secure. As usual, rooting and modding are often casualties of this effort. Just over a month ago Android 4.3 broke the existing model for root, forcing updates to existing methods, and now Samsung is rolling out updated Android 4.2.2 firmwares for the Galaxy S 4 which fully enable the company's heavily secured KNOX environment. Fortunately, Chainfire is already on top of it and has updated his popular root software, SuperSU, to be compatible with the new system.
Developer types, take note. Samsung has just posted the kernel source for the Galaxy S4 Zoom LTE and the Galaxy S4 LTE-A. Getting a piece of the open source Jelly Bean code will allow developers to better support the devices, which might actually be important in the case of the oddball GS4 Zoom.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is basically a GS4 Mini with a giant point-and-shoot camera grafted on the back.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a neat device that's ruggedized and water-resistant. However, there's that accursed USB port. The port on this device is covered by a flimsy plastic flap that's tough to close properly, and feels like it could break off at any moment. It would be nice if you didn't have to mess with the port to charge the device, but Samsung hasn't released a wireless charging back for the S4 Active.
If you cannot make up your mind between running TouchWiz or a stock version of Jelly Bean, thanks to MoDaCo.SWITCH, that's a decision you won't have to make. This piece of software makes switching back and forth between the two versions as simple as toggling a switch. Paul O'Brien, better known as MoDaCo, has started porting it to the Galaxy S4, and the beta is now available for those who backed his Indiegogo campaign.
If you're running a stock, rooted Galaxy Note II or Galaxy S 4 and want easy access to some things that normally require manually editing system files, we've got the app for you. It's called Note 2 Hidden Settings, and does exactly what you'd expect: offers access to otherwise hidden system settings.
Aside from requiring root access, the app is simple enough to use – just install it and run with it.
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 folks at CyanogenMod never seem to sleep. After adding no less than thirteen devices this month, they threw two more official builds into the nightly updates this weekend, both for Samsung hardware. The international LTE version of the Galaxy S4 Mini and Verizon's localized version of the Galaxy Note 10.1 both have shiny new pages on Get.CM.
The Galaxy S4 Mini is on CyanogenMod 10.1 (Android 4.2), with two nightly builds available at the time of writing.