Welcome to the Android Police Podcast, Episode 63.
Don't forget - the Android Police Podcast's live broadcast is every Thursday at 5PM PST (www.androidpolice.com/podcast). The unedited video version of the podcast can be found here - and will likely include various verbal expletives, technical snafus, tangents, and probably a good 5-10 minutes of pre-podcast banter as we prepare. Watch at your own risk!
The @evleaks Twitter account has become a surprisingly accurate source for pre-release hardware information, and the elusive Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is its latest target. The tipster revealed to The Unlockr that the ruggedized version of the S4 will be headed to AT&T's network in the near future, along with a handful of other Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S4 Mini, S III Mini, and the Galaxy Mega 6.3. Only the Active was shown with a convincing set of AT&T-branded press shots, so that's what we'll focus on.
Back at CES 2013, a start up touted its new on-screen keyboard as the solution to typing on touchscreens. Called Fleksy, this software promised predictions so accurate you can type without looking at the screen. Now that it's launched as a beta (using Google's new Play Store beta program), we have had a chance to put those claims to the test.
Swype is far from an unfamiliar face in the mobile world. It has served some of the finest Android phones as an included keyboard, permitting one-handed writers to swipe out words rather than peck away with their thumbs. During this time, it was unavailable as a separate download, and using it was somewhat of an exclusive experience. It has since entered the Play Store, and it's now making the jump up to version 1.5.6 less than a month later.
One of the truest shared experiences between people who create anything for public consumption is a ravenous desire to know how many people are using it and what they think. Just ask most bloggers and web developers, and you will hear how much they love the real-time statistics from Google Analytics. Unfortunately for app developers, there really isn't a great way to keep fresh information in front of our eyes without mashing the F5 key while staring at a web browser.
Sony has taken a real beating in recent years. Even after shedding the dead weight of the Ericsson joint venture, Sony has yet to find its stride. The Xperia Z smartphone was a valiant effort, but other OEMs are overshadowing that device as 2013 drags on.
The less competitive Android tablet space might be where Sony can revive the Xperia name and win the hearts of Android users. And this is the device Sony is hoping does it: the Xperia Tablet Z.
If you've been waiting to get your hands on the white Nexus 4, wait no longer (if you're in the US, that is) - it's on the Play Store right now, and it comes with a free matching white bumper case. Both 8GB and 16GB models are available, with the same pricing as the black version. Black models of the Nexus 4 are also now shipping with free bumper cases for a 'limited time,' so if you were on the fence about an N4, now's probably the time to buy.
No one wants to drop $700-800 on an unlocked smartphone, but that might be your only option if you want the latest and greatest sans contract. In the case of the new Galaxy S4, eBay has been offering some compelling deals culminating in today's $599.99 offer. It's a heck of a deal!
The i9500 is the unlocked international variant of the 16GB GS4, meaning it will not work on LTE networks.
The Harman / Kardon BTs are a pair of high-ish end over-ear Bluetooth headphones, and the current street price for them is around $200. They don't offer active noise-cancellation, but they are extremely striking and very obviously a premium product. So, are they worth two-hundred of your big ones?
Wireless, hardware, and battery life
I paired up the HK BTs with a Galaxy S4 and Note II with zero problems. Audio transmission sounded fantastic, and latency was well within the range I've come to expect with Bluetooth headsets.
Have you ever considered using Android as your desktop OS? According to CNET, Acer wants you to, as it plans to announce a new all-in-one PC that forgoes Microsoft's OS for Google's free offering. The Acer AIO is said to pack a fourth generation Intel Core i5 chip – which is based on the Haswell architecture – so the unit should be pretty powerful and snappy.
The real allure to this new offering, however, isn't what's under the hood – it's the price.