Evidence has been mounting over the last few days and it looks like it's finally happening: Android 6.0 for Wear is starting to roll out. Googler Wayne Piekarski just announced on his Google+ feed that OTAs have begun and should continue over the next few weeks.
An official blog post by Google lists some of the new features we can expect in the new firmware, including: newly navigation gestures, audio support on speaker-equipped watches, and expanded support for messaging clients.
In Piekarski's post, he reminds developers that the API 23 SDK is already out, but that nobody should remove support for API 22 until the rollout is complete. Read More
As the resident teardown guy, Update Wednesday was a huge letdown this week. After slicing and dicing a dozen or so apks, all I saw were bug fixes, minor adjustments, and updates with full changelogs. Come on Google, I can't write about the neat stuff if none of the secrets are allowed to leave Mountain View. Fortunately, I did get to look at an unreleased version of Play Services, and there are a few interesting things to take away from it. (Sorry, we don't have an APK to share with this one.)
: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and based on incomplete evidence.
The Pebble's software updates keep it slow and steady. Today's 2.2 firmware release doesn't rock the boat, but it introduces a few features that I'm sure fellow Pebble owners out there have wished for at some point or another. The first of which is the ability to reorder items in the launcher menu. Now if you hold the select button on an item in the menu, you can drop it somewhere else in the column.
Another big addition is the ability to control volume within the default music app. Just hold the select button to switch the buttons from backward/forward to volume up/down. Read More
If you happen to own an Atrix HD from AT&T, get ready for something you haven't seen in a very long time: a firmware update. Unfortunately, this is only a "security enhancement" and not an upgrade to the Android operating system. Motorola hasn't specified exactly what this update is supposed to fix, but it's almost certainly a patch for the Heartbleed bug that was widely reported last month.
The last update to the Atrix HD shipped out at the end of 2012, which brought it from 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) to 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean). Motorola still has the Atrix HD on the list to receive KitKat, but there's no word on when the nearly 2-year-old device might see that upgrade. Read More
There should be no doubt, Google is getting ready to make a lot of announcements at I/O. If we've learned anything from past experiences, Google starts packing its apps full of surprises in the weeks leading up to the big show. The latest update to Play Services started rolling out yesterday and it has grown by a whopping 4 MB, almost 30% larger than the previous version. There's obviously a lot of stuff to look at, so let's just jump right in.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
New Permissions And Features
The first thing many of our readers noticed before installing the apk manually is that it requires a stack of new permissions. Read More
Yesterday Pebble-wearing Android users gained the ability to control Pandora from their wrists. This was cool stuff for Pandora listeners, but now the brainy watch is getting an update that will affect all owners, regardless of their listening preferences. A 2.1 firmware upgrade is rolling out to devices via the Android companion app.
On the user-facing side, there's one standout new feature - the watch now has a menu entry for clearing your notification history. In addition, the new firmware should improve Bluetooth reliability when reconnecting a Pebble to a device. For the most part, though, the changelog consists primarily of bugfixes. Read More
The PadFone is a versatile piece of tech, a smartphone that plugs into a tablet that plugs into a dock. It's an interesting concept, and if you don't use it that often, the three pieces together could probably get you through more than a couple of days on a single charge. Now ASUS is providing a firmware update to the original PadFone, bringing about stability improvements along with stronger WiFi and Bluetooth connections.
The device will remain on Android 4.1 after the update. Nevertheless, there are enough improvements to make this a worthy update.
1. More stable system in phone and tablet PC modes
The Verizon Stratosphere II is one of those phones. You know, the quirky - I mean, qwerty - kind that packs just enough punch to be functional but not enough to wow the bulk of us. Today Verizon has announced the latest firmware update, version I415VRBMF1, that gives the little handset a little tune-up. The device should now give a more accurate read of data usage and leave behind a few jarring bugs, such as issues where auto-correct inadvertently replaces an entire text message and the SIM pin entry screen displays the incorrect number of remaining attempts. If any owners out there have suffered from the screen going blue and requiring a hard reset, that should also now be a thing of the past. Read More
Samsung Galaxy S4 owners on Verizon, there's a new update available for your phones. But don't bother checking your Settings menu for an over-the-air prompt: it's only available via the Verizon Software Upgrade Assistant after connecting the device to a PC. Standard users should be fine, but rooted users (or those who intend to root or flash a new ROM sometime in the future) should avoid this one. According to several posters on XDA, the VRUAME7 patches existing root methods, and flashes a new version of the locked bootloader that prevents users from flashing a pre-release kernel, effectively blocking another path to root. Read More
Sprint may be rolling out an update to the Galaxy S4 today, but AT&T customers are not to be left out. The company is distributing an update to version I337UCUAMF3, which is not the same as that going out to Sprint users. While it's 359MB file size is remarkably similar, it ushers in a different set of bug fixes. The update also enables two additional LTE bands and improves NFC. Aside from that, there's nothing else particularly exciting to see here.
The update should fix issues with rebooting, WiFi compliance, and other pre-installed applications. Bug fixes don't get our mouths watering, but they're essential, so it's nice to see them. Read More