Facebook is throwing an Android event at its headquarters in Menlo Park in exactly a week - on April 4th at 10am Pacific to be precise. We've just gotten our invite, and from the looks of it, so has the majority of the Android and tech press. Needless to say, Facebook wants as many eyes as possible on whatever it's about to announce, be it a new Facebook-heavy phone, another app, or maybe even a full-fledged Android-based Facebook OS not tied to specific hardware.
Google has announced a new initiative today that might, if we're lucky, slowly lead to some meaningful changes in how patent litigation is approached. Or, alternatively, make it easier to highlight the jerks who are ruining it for everyone. The Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge gives would-be inventors a pool of patents that Google promises to never sue anyone over, "unless first attacked." That last part is where eyebrows go up, though.
If you've been waiting for an official means of recovering your Verizon or Sprint Galaxy Nexus should an emergency arise, Google's just fulfilled that need. The factory images for both devices – 4.2.2 (JDQ39) for the Verizon variant and 4.2.1 (GA02) for Sprint's – just hit the "Factory Images for Nexus Devices" download page.
These images allow you to return your device back to its stock state, which includes the stock bootloader and recovery if you choose to flash it.
We sure weren't expecting this, but today Sprint announced on its support site that the Epic 4G Touch (the Now Network's branded version of the Galaxy S II) is getting an update to Jelly Bean. Undoubtedly version 4.1, but this would still be a welcome upgrade as it brings with it the ability to access Google Now, among a host of other features.
The update will require Samsung's Kies software to install.
Last week, we saw a teaser for Glu Mobile's newest game that plays off the horrors of war, Frontline Commando: D-Day. Today, it's landed on Android as a free-to-play cover-based shooter. Touting 145 missions "based on the actual beach landings," the game promises plenty of playtime for your money. What's that you say? The game is free? Well, about that.
In our last article, we mentioned (by way of an overly complicated Nazi analogy wrapped in a ridiculous satirized mockery of Eisenhower's speech to D-Day troops) that Glu said you could turn off in-app purchases.
Back in January, Tasker dev Crafty Apps showed off the app's upcoming redesign, which finally brings the Holo look to the table. Now, that update has left its beta stages and made its way into the Play Store. Yay for that!
However, there's a catch: the new look isn't for everyone. The app will actually continue to show the existing interface for those on Gingerbread and under, while those on Android 4.0+ get the pretty new UI.
For the last two years, the Magicka series of indie fantasy games have lit up the Steam charts. Their mix of traditional Diablo-style gameplay and tongue-in-cheek humor has made them a favorite, and enabled such nonsensical expansions as Magicka: Vietnam (where the four elemental mages put the hurt on pinko commies). Now publisher Paradox is bringing the series to mobile, with the typically self-referential subtitle Wizards of the Square Tablet.
The monster-fighting action takes on a slightly simplified air in this 2D, sprite-based version of the game.
According to the guys over at German site MobiFlip, Google and LG may have pulled a fast one on us by very subtly updating the Nexus 4's design. The changes appear to be quite minor (yet useful), with the addition of small "nipples" on the bottom of the phone's backside being the most notable. Why would Google add such a small difference, you ask? Because as it stands, the N4's back is completely flat, which essentially mutes (or drastically muffles) the speaker when the phone is laid down.
An active thread at XDA has multiple posters (here, here, and here) claiming that Sprint is cutting off shipments of the Optimus G, and that the device has reached 'end of life' status, meaning it will be discontinued soon. One poster included a photo of an inventory spreadsheet indicating as much:
Two other posters claimed to have received similar information, one of whom suggested quite correctly that the Optimus G's recent participation in the "buy one get one free" promo means Sprint is probably trying to clear out remaining stock.
The launch of the Galaxy S 4 grows ever closer and the carriers want you to know they're on it. To wit, AT&T announced today that its branded version of the new flagship will go up for pre-order on April 16th for $249 on a two-year contract. Pretty standard fare, though with a $249 up front price tag, we imagine T-Mobile will probably have something to say about that.