Verizon shocked many of us by being the first carrier to update the Moto X to Android 4.4. This update came less than a month after KitKat made its first public appearance, and it was followed by OTAs from T-Mobile and AT&T mere days later. Then came US Cellular's turn in early December. Today, Sprint finally rises to the occasion and has started to push out Android 4.4 to its version of the Moto X, making it the last of the large national carriers to do so.
Last night, Google started a slow rollout of the new Maps with version 7.5. Since the previous version was 7.4, we knew there had to be some key features that prompted the update - it couldn't just be a bug fixer. After thoroughly examining the UI, I was unable to find anything new.
As it turns out, that's because the new feature Google stuffed into the app only shows up upon very specific conditions.
People didn't always hate Zagat, but Google's new vision for the iconic restaurant review guide has not been widely accepted. The service became free, but Google also revamped it and limited the number of cities it tracked. The new update makes some tweaks to the app and expands the supported cities, but it's probably not going to do much to improve the app's 2.4 star rating.
Plants vs. Zombies 2 came out a few weeks ago with a lot of new gameplay mechanics and some in-app purchases. I didn't have a serious issue with most of the monetization in the game, but Pop Cap has just pushed an update that adds a ton of features and does away with a big chunk of the in-app purchase features.
Heads up, Android users: there's a Google Search update that just landed in the Play Store. Google's tendency for staged rollouts means that some of you might not get an automatic update for a few days, but as usual, we've got the APK download below. There are a few noticeable visible changes in the integrated Google Experience Launcher, but that's about it as far as new features go. This is an incremental update after the massive 3.1.8 update from last month.
Good news, Mozilla fanatics: the updates that hit the beta channel of Firefox's Android browser back in November are now ready for prime time. Version 26 was uploaded to the Play Store today, complete with some notable interface changes and a few under-the-hood tweaks as well. The browser is free as always, and it's compatible with Android devices running 2.2 or later.
The biggest user-facing change is to the home screen, which is now tabbed Holo-style.
Shortly after Android 4.4 hit Nexus devices, a new beta of the popular Nova Launcher home screen added UI elements borrowed from the Google Experience Launcher. Now that version has hit the Play Store with some refinements and additional features. While the Google Now integration isn't possible with a third-party launcher, this is about as close as you'll get to the Kitkat look without going stock.
You'd have to look twice to tell Nova from the stock Google Experience Launcher – the icons, fonts, and colors are all reproduced here, but with the fully customized Nova settings underneath.
Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Race Illegal: High Speed 3D
Today's roundup is presented by Race Illegal: High Speed 3D from HeroCraft.
The CyanogenMod team has been working on a secure messaging component for the popular ROM in recent months, and the time has come for some real world testing. The new encrypted WhisperPush messaging system is being rolled out to CyanogenMod 10.2 nightlies for compatibility and server load testing. If all goes as planned, it will reach the CM11 branch soon.
CyanogenMod's secure messaging is an implementation of TextSecure, a cross-platform encrypted SMS platform maintained by Open WhisperSystems.
Want a sweet deal on a Lenovo tablet? Well even if you don't, Best Buy is offering it, so pass this on to someone who does. Best Buy is offering significant discounts on both the unique Yoga Tablet 8 and the more conventional IdeaTab S6000. For today only, the 8-inch Yoga is $199.99 on the online store, a full $50 off. That's even better than the Lenovo perks site.