There are a number of themes in Android news so common that we can almost pre-write the posts. One of the near certainties has always been that Verizon is going to take forever to update its phones. Well, that's why this news is so surprising. KitKat is coming to the Moto X on Verizon first, and it's happening today.
If you're using the T-Mobile variant of the slick Sony Xperia Z, check your notification tray - you might have a very welcome waiting for you. According to this T-Mobile support page, the Xperia Z is finally getting an over-the-air update. It's probably not what you were hoping for: the update brings the phone up to Android 4.2. You know, the version that's now over a year old.
If it makes you feel any better, it's been only five months since the Android 4.2 update was sent to the international version of the Xperia Z.
Competition is really heating up in the low cost, off-contract smartphone market these days. Motorola's Moto G, revealed just last week, is the meteor that could potentially change the landscape here in the US when it strikes early next year, offering specs that far exceed anything we've been conditioned to expect for $179. But that's the future. As for now, Americans looking for an affordable but capable off-contract handset can now pick up the HTC Desire (or, more specifically, the HTC Desire 601) from Virgin Mobile for $279.
Update: The US update just hit our unit in the wee hours of the morning, right on time. It's 273.17MB and takes about 10 minutes to install if you've got the mobile dock (less if you don't). You should be able to get the update by hitting up the system OTA menu. Remember, the full images for the Taiwanese and worldwide SKUs were posted a few days ago, so you can go that route if you want.
An XDA member recently unveiled serious vulnerabilities in all three root packages used to gain superuser access on devices. The developers have been contacted, and the two active projects are working to address the issues. If you're running an older version, you might want to get on the update train.
According to cernekee on XDA, the vulnerabilities allow for a malicious app to obtain root access without going through the proper channels.
There is another big Pushbullet update hitting Google Play today, and you're going to want to check this one out. The new version of Pushbullet adds a notification mirroring feature that shoots all your Android notifications over to the desktop via the Chrome extension.
Setup is super-fast, especially if you already have the Pushbullet extension on the desktop for all the other cool stuff it can do. The app will ask if you want to enable the mirroring service when it is opened after the update.
Back in mid-September, NVIDIA announced a new platform called Tegra Note that aimed to not only bring $200 Tegra 4 slates to the market, but excellent stylus support using NVIDIA's DirectStylus technology, a "groundbreaking" camera experience, and superb audio as well. That's a tall order in a $200 device, but NVIDIA has proven that when it sets out to achieve a goal, it's generally successful at delivering on the promises made.
Remember when people used to tape point-and-shoot cameras to their Nokia candybar phones and jokingly call it a "camera phone?" If you'd like to see the modern incarnation of that bad joke, you can but it on AT&T starting today. The Galaxy S4 Zoom, a mid-range smartphone with an admittedly decent point-and-shoot camera strapped to the back, is now available for purchase.
You can pick one up for $199.99 on-contract, or $529.99 if you want it free and clear.
You might not be able to activate the Nexus 7 on Verizon, but Big Red is more than happy to offer its own branded alternative to the best 7-inch tablet available. The Ellipsis was announced a couple of days ago to the raucous applause of absolutely no one, and now it's officially on sale. You can pick one up for $149.99 with a two-year contract, or a surprisingly low $249.99 off-contract.
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.