The Touchless Control feature on the Moto X and Verizon's 2013 DROIDs (Ultra, Maxx, and Mini) is already one of the coolest Android manufacturer add-ons around. Today it gets just a little cooler: the Touchless Control app was updated to add a "What's up" command. This voice command will make your phone read out the unread notifications in your status bar. This should be great for hands-free updates while driving. Or bathing.
Motorola has been taking advantage of the Play Store to distribute updates to a number of stock apps including the camera, Assist, and Touchless Control. Now the newest addition to the Play Store has popped up, and it's the stock Gallery app with a new coat of paint. The old one looked just like the stock Android/Nexus app, but now it has a light KitKat vibe.
Motorola first released the Droid Zap app back in August, and while it consisted largely of blacks and reds, it still provided a relatively integrated experience. But already, things were changing, and they haven't slowed since - Android apps these days are filled with image-heavy cards and convenient sidebars. Now the latest version of Droid Zap has both of these elements.
This app allows DROID users to share files with people within 300 feet of them.
After being the first carrier to deliver KitKat on the Moto X, Verizon is now following up with OTA updates for its own line of exclusive Motorola devices. Starting today, DROID MAXX, Mini, and Ultra owners will start to see the latest version of Android arrive on their devices. According to a tweet sent out just now, this update will be going out in waves.
— Verizon Wireless (@VZWnews) December 19, 2013
Verizon has already posted support documentation of what to expect.
This is the time of year when lots of folks are picking up new devices for loved ones who are still using their busted old handset from two years ago. Of course, it's not just about loved ones – contract upgrades and new phones in general apply to everyone, regardless of the time of year. If the DROID MAXX is on your (or a loved one's) wishlist this year, Amazon has a good deal going for anyone looking to jump over to Verizon from another carrier: the longest-lasting Droid to date is $12.50.
They've done it with the camera. They've done it with Touchless Control and Migrate. They've even done it with the FM Radio from the brand new Moto G. Now Motorola is moving even more of its proprietary phone apps into Google Play Land, presumably to allow for more frequent and reliable updates. Today Motorola Assist and Motorola Connect, both exclusive to the Moto X and Verizon's new Motorola DROID phones, are available on the Play Store.
Update: DROID Mini owners are also eligible for the 50GB Google Drive promotion. The smaller device is receiving an OTA update that largely resembles that of the other two Verizon-exclusive Motorola handsets.
It may be exciting to receive a new OTA update, but many don't quite live up to the thrill of seeing the notification appear in our status bars. This is one of those updates. No, it doesn't miraculously roll out KitKat to the DROID Ultra and the DROID Maxx ahead of everyone else, but it does provide users with a preloaded promotion offering 50GB of Google Drive storage.
Some Moto X owners weren't particularly happy to learn that a recent OTA with improvements to the camera also had the undesirable consequence of breaking root acquired through PwnMyMoto. Fortunately, the creator of PwnMyMoto, Justin Case, is back with an updated root method that works on the latest Moto X update and should be compatible with all recent Motorola firmwares.
Update: RockMyMoto is confirmed to also work on the latest firmwares for the Droid Maxx, Ultra, and Mini.
There's a lot to like about Motorola's Verizon-specific DROID line. They don't have the most groundbreaking specs, but they're covered in Kevlar and they feature Motorola's excellent radios and battery life. If you're looking to get your Active Notifications on for not much cash. Amazon has some massive discounts on the three new models. New Verizon customers can pick up the long-lived DROID MAXX for $69.99, and svelte DROID Ultra or the compact DROID Mini for just a penny.
So it looks like quite a lot of you were waiting on the Developer Editions for those new Motorola phones. Just over one day after Motorola posted the Developer Editions of the Moto X and the DROID MAXX on the company's official store, all three phones are unavailable. The Verizon Moto X Developer Edition is marked as "Out of Stock," while the GSM Moto X DE and the DROID MAXX DE are marked as "Coming Soon."
Motorola seems to have vastly underestimated the demand for these phones and their unlockable bootloaders, even at the hefty unsubsidized price of $649.99 for all three models.