Sony's relationship with "pure" Android is an interesting one. As a company they generally make it easy to root or otherwise modify their phones or tablets, with a few notable qualifiers. The AOSP for Xperia project, which provides the basic tools for building standard Android ROMs on popular devices, is also one way that Sony stays relevant for those who buy phones with the intent to add aftermarket software. Today it gets two new flagship options, the older Xperia Z1 and Z2.
The OnePlus One has had its share of bugs, but there has been one issue that effectively breaks the phone without the owner being even accidentally at fault. One minute you're swiping through the app drawer looking at the best way to kill time for a couple of minutes, the next you're hit with a spontaneous reboot and staring at a phone that boot loops indefinitely, leaving you with a bricked device.
I'm quite cynical about OnePlus as a company, but I have to admit that I've heard a lot of praise for their phone from everyone who has tried it despite its many bugs and issues. However, there's one less reason for everyone to complain now, since the XNPH38R OTA update has started rolling out in stages according to an announcement on the OnePlus Forums.
After XNPH33R, which fixed many of the phone's issues in August, XNPH38R brings a slew of new features and most importantly, solves the One's glaring touchscreen problem.
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HTC is set to unveil some new hardware at a New York City event on Wednesday. The company itself has already given us some clues to a GoPro-style sports camera (including a couple of unintended product images), and a few less reliable sources claim there will be a phone with a 13-megapixel Duo camera. This weekend the Twitter leak account @Upleaks showed some images of an alleged "HTC Desire Eye," a phone that embraces the selfie craze (ugh) in a big way.
Recently there's been a rumor that Sony is planning on releasing stock AOSP ROMs (clean, Nexus-style builds of Android) for some of its high-end phones and tablets. It's easy to understand why Sony in particular might attract that kind of attention: the company has better support for aftermarket development than most, promptly releasing binaries and source code on the company's own GitHub and even some developer-grade AOSP builds. But as for consumer-ready, finished and fully supported AOSP ROMs?
Update: We're getting a few reports that this initial build (213.44.1) may be a soak test, despite the fact that our tipster isn't part of the current soak program. If that's the case, it may be a few days to a few weeks before regular users see the OTA update.
"Better late than never" is almost never said with real sincerity, and such is the case with the latest build of Android for the T-Mobile Moto X.
LG went a long time between tablets, but when they returned to the market with the G Pad 8.3 last year, they did so in style. This metal-clad tablet didn't have the latest and greatest processor, but it made up for it with a sleek mid-sized design, 2GB of RAM, and extras like a MicroSD card slot. LG has since transitioned to more budget-oriented models (not unlike Samsung's main Galaxy Tab series), but you can pick up the original for $224.90 at Newegg today.
Getting the kernel source code for devices is something of a rite of passage for new Android phones. In the United States and other parts of the world with heavy smartphone penetration, the focus is on the big, flashy flagship models - the sooner the kernels are published, the sooner those ROM makers can get cracking on custom ROMs and kernels. But considering the immediate response that Google's Android One program has received, I think those phones may turn out to be some of the most popular ROM recipients around.
The Oppo N1 was a bit hit and miss: its gigantic frame and unconventional swiveling camera were interesting, but it turned more heads thanks to a special edition that came with the CyanogenMod ROM pre-installed. In David Ruddock's review, he praised the screen and build quality, but had to take away points for the gimmicky rear touchpad, latency, and lack of LTE. We've been interested to see what Oppo would show off next, and GSM Arena seems to think they have a sneak peek at exactly that.