Oh, LG. Sometimes I really do wonder if you come up with the good ideas first, or if it really is like everyone else sort of thinks it is. Korea's #2 smartphone producer just sent out a press release announcing LG Smart Video, a new feature in the Optimus G Pro. So, if you've heard about the Smart Pause feature that was recently discovered in some screenshots from a Galaxy S III Android 4.2 ROM, it's that. Literally, exactly that.
The feature is pretty simple in concept - if you're playing a video on your phone (unknown if it supports 3rd party video players), the front-facing camera tracks your eyes. Read More
While this isn't the first time we've looked at one of those "plug this in your TV and make it better!" Android-powered gadgets, it is the first one that can add some interesting features to your existing set for such a small price. Also unlike other solutions, the SmartStick is – as its name suggests – merely a stick that plugs into the HDMI port of your television.
In short, it's a stick that puts Android (and a custom skin) on your TV. And it's surprisingly not awful.
- 1GHz Cortex-A9 processor
- 1GB RAM
- Wi-Fi b/g/n
- 4 or 8GB storage, microSD card slot
- One full-size USB 2.0 port
- Android 4.0.4
- Price: $50 for 4GB, $80 for 8GB
- Where to buy: Amazon
According to Android developer Jared Rummler and a number of other sources, Google has begun purging known ad-blocking software from the Play Store today.
Popular app AdAway was among those removed, and received notice that its app was in violation of section 4.4 of the Play Store Developer Distribution Agreement. Here is the cited section:
4.4 Prohibited Actions. You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator.
Many moons ago – way back in December of 2012 – the GO Launcher team released a new thingy called Next Launcher. As its name suggests, it's a launcher. The next one, even. It was to take the place of Go Launcher, which was essentially defunct on Android 4.0+.
But Next came with a price. A $16 price, to be exact. And honestly, not many people want to shell out nearly $20 for any app – much less a launcher they can't try first. I guess after four months on the Store, the Go team finally realized this, as it has just released a 36-hour trial version of the app. Read More
According to Verizon CTO Nicola Palmer, the company's gargantuan hoard of AWS spectrum will be put to use beginning this summer as part of the carriers' ever-growing LTE network.
Spectrum isn't the world's most exciting topic, but if you're concerned about making an informed choice when you choose your carrier, it's definitely the kind of news you should be looking out for. Verizon currently operates its LTE network exclusively on Band 13 (in the 700MHz range), a band it controls nationwide. That has allowed Verizon to very rapidly and effectively deploy its LTE network - a deployment it expects to complete this summer, putting Verizon literally years ahead of the competition. Read More
I've been a big fan of Battery Widget Reborn since we first covered it back in July of 2012. In fact, it's been installed on every device I've owned (or tested) since then. Why? Because it looks good, brings a lot of info to the table, and is constantly updated with new features.
One of my other favorite widgets is the more-recently announced DashClock Widget. There's a lot to love about it, too – like the fact that it supports extensions, making it infinitely customizable. Developers can easily add DashClock support into their app thanks to its handy API. Read More
Whether to combat flagging sales or reflect lower component prices, Amazon dropped the price of its Wi-Fi 8.9" Kindle Fire HD today by roughly 10% - down to $270 for the 16GB model. The price of the 32GB model dropped by $30 as well, to $300. The LTE model received a much more substantial 20% cut, and now costs $400 - $100 less than the price it debuted for.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 isn't exactly old news - it began shipping only 5 months ago in the US, and $300 for the entry-level model was scarcely believable even at that time. Read More
A French image processing company by the name of DxO Labs has filed a DMCA takedown request targeting 12 GitHub repositories containing device-specific code for ROMs, most of them maintained by CyanogenMod team members. The notice is vague, only citing:
 I have a good faith belief that the file downloads identified below (by URL) are unlawful under these copyright laws because among other things, the files circumvent effective access controls and/or copyright protection measures;
Content Type: "Custom Firmware" files
Violation(s): Trafficking a device that circumvents effective access controls and/or trafficking a device that circumvents effective copyright protection measures.
Those of you who decided to unlock the bootloader of your ASUS Transformer Pad 300 were likely pretty bummed when the 4.2.1 update started rolling out earlier this month (I know I was) since ASUS decided that unlocked devices shouldn't get OTAs. Thankfully, the company just uploaded the full ROM to its site for your flashing pleasure.
The TF300 marks the first non-Nexus tablet to get the bump to 4.2.x, which brings features like multi-user, quick settings, lockscreen widgets, and much more.
The updated ROM is available for the WW, US, and TW versions of the device, so make sure you grab the correct one. Read More
Update: Here's Andy Rubin's farewell letter to Android partners. (via The Verge)
In November of 2007 we announced the Open Handset Alliance with 34 founding members. Today, I'm grateful to the over 85 OHA members who have helped us build Android and drive innovation at such an incredible pace. The Android ecosystem has seen tremendous growth since the launch of the very first Android device in October 2008. The volume and variety of Android devices exceeds even my most optimistic expectations - over 750 million compatible devices and counting!
At its core, Android has always been about openness - the idea that a thousand brains are better than one.