Rugged phones seem to be all the rage these days, and with Samsung, Sony, and others releasing high-end devices with allegedly lifeproof qualities, it's hard to know whose rectangular slab really is the toughest. In reading about devices like the Galaxy S4 Active, Xperia ZR, and Casio G'Zone Commando LTE, you've probably seen some ruggedness "ratings" tossed around. Sometimes, these rating come with a bit of information (eg., waterproof to 1 meter up to 30 minutes), but rarely are the ratings explained in a particularly satisfying way.
Wow. Out of the blue, an Android 4.3 rom hits the internet, and it's not built for the Nexus 4, or 7 or 10, but for the Samsung Galaxy S4. What a strange turn of events.
Of course, I couldn't stop myself from diving right in, and while I don't have a Galaxy S4 to show you screenshots, that's really not a big deal, because this leak pretty much looks identically to 4.2.
Unless you've been carefully monitoring your tech blog bylines for years (or are a devout and longtime Engadget / Pocketnow reader), you've probably never heard of a man named Evan Blass. This has actually been a good thing for Evan, who for over a year (with a long break during 2012) has operated the now quite-well-known @evleaks Twitter account, leaking various phones, tablets, and product names to an eager public.
In a turn of events that no one could have predicted, Google introduced, in partnership with HTC and Samsung, two versions of highly anticipated and desirable phones that are stripped of their manufacturer skins entirely and are devoted purely to stock Android. Equally unpredictably, this created a chasm in the Android community as the Nexus Warriors took up arms against the mudblood HTC One and Galaxy S4.
There were no survivors.
Scarcely a day has passed since the Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 and HTC One went on sale, and their software bits are already floating around online. You can grab the files to get the new red SunBeam live wallpaper, boot animation, and updated camera app on your device. These are only confirmed working on AOSP-based devices, and 4.1.2 TouchWiz in the case of the camera. Do be careful!
If you're reading this on a later GSM-only Samsung device, pay attention. After clarifying their continuing support for Tegra 2 devices earlier this week, the CyanogenMod ROM team wants to let you know about their position vis-à-vis Samsung's Exynos 4 series of chipsets. In a nutshell: devices based on the Exynos 4 will be getting CyanogenMod 10.1 (Android 4.2) nightly builds, and not much else. These phones and tablets will not be getting stable releases of the latest CyanogenMod builds for the time being.
There's been a lot of speculation about just how Nexus-like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition phones will be, particularly from a technical / software update standpoint. Now, we have some relatively concrete information that sheds light on these issues.
First and foremost, Google will not directly handle software updates for Google Play edition devices. This has been reported as true, false, and generally disputed quite a lot in the lead-up to the launch.
After a two week stint with the BlackBerry Z10 last month, I happened upon another chance to go across the platform border, this time into the Windows world - with the Nokia Lumia 928.
Microsoft and mobile have had a tumultuous, off-again on-again relationship. However, there is little doubt that MS's smartphone success peaked with Windows Mobile 6, and then very, very rapidly fell off as iOS and Android rolled onto the scene.
If you habitually rock climb, scuba dive, ski cross-country, or do any of the things you might regularly see on a heath food or Viagra commercial, you're probably in the market for a ruggedized smartphone. And if you're on Verizon, your options have been somewhat limited as of late (try not to drool over AT&T's shiny new Galaxy S4 Active, please). Verizon just made the Casio G'zOne Commando LTE official: it's a super-sturdy Android device in the same vein as the former Commando and the G-Shock watch line.