One of the many vectors which delivers leaked information on upcoming phones is the device benchmark score. Many apps upload the results to online leaderboards for all to see. There's quite a bit of information to be gleaned from these online listings – basically the entire spec list. Now Sony is looking to plug this leak by blocking benchmarking apps.
Samsung saw fit to sneak Android 4.4.2 out on the international Snapdragon-based Note 3 last week (starting with Poland, for some reason), but now things are picking up steam. The first 4.4.2 updates are arriving for the Exynos Note 3 (SM-N900). First up on the update list this time is Russia.
The family of accessories for the Galaxy S4 has a new arrival. Hot on the heels of Samsung's launch of a similar product for the Galaxy Note 3, the wireless charging S-View cover for the Galaxy S4 is now available. Before now, if you wanted to charge your phone wirelessly, you'd have to take the cover off and replace it with a wireless charging back. It's important to note that there is no difference between this and the regular S-View accessory, other than the additional contact points to enable Qi charging.
Last week Sprint was proud to announce that it was the first carrier in the US that would let consumers pre-order the LG G Flex. All the company wanted was a $299.99 down payment and a two-year contract. Now AT&T is jumping in by delivering the same handset at the same price, though its customers also have the option to pay $26.74 for eighteen months or $34.75 for twelve with an AT&T Next plan.
It's no secret that some of the biggest mobile hardware gets announced at Mobile World Congress, fast approaching at the end of February. So it's about this time of year that we expect to start seeing major leaks from OEMs. Queue XperiaBlog, hot on the trail of the next Sony devices as usual. Today they've published an absolutely massive gallery of screenshots from an upcoming Sony phone, codenamed "Sirius" and running Android 4.4.2.
Much of Android's development is done out in the open, which is how several Android developers noticed that a recent commit to the Android Open Source Project master tree would break many of your favorite root apps. This is the result of a newly implemented security feature, rather than an active effort to lock things down on Google's part. Nevertheless, it could result in some inconvenience, so developer Chainfire has taken to his Google+ page to detail what will happen if the change is not reverted before the release of a future version of Android.
Nexus devices might be a great deal compared to other devices in the market, but you pay the price when it comes to accessories. They're either horrendously expensive or take so long to go on sale it's almost time for a new version of the device. We might be lining up for the second one here, as Asus has just now posted English listings for the wired and wireless charging docks for the 2013 Nexus 7.
It's all about the wearable tech these days, right? The market certainly isn't lacking in fitness trackers, but the folks behind Atlas claim to have a better product. Atlas is packed with sensors to monitor your movements along all three axes. That movement data allows Atlas to actually figure out what exercise you're doing and how well.
The various families of custom ROMs are in an arms race... in a really nice way. Each one is trying to one-up the others with new features and improvements on stock Android, with some genuinely spectacular results in some cases. The latest beta builds of Paranoid Android include some particularly useful features, most notably a revamped Quick Settings menu. The PA version of the drop-down icon grid allows for multiple functions for each square and on the fly rearranging.
T-Mobile seems to be making waves in the industry as of late. Not even two weeks after the magenta carrier announced it would be paying customers' ETFs, Verizon is experimenting with a 30 day upgrade cycle on its Edge plan. However, it's not a free lunch – there is some fine print to contend with.
Verizon Edge is similar to all the early upgrade programs introduced in the last year like Jump (Tmo) and Next (AT&T).