What was wrong with 3.5mm audio jacks? They have been standard for many years, they worked reliably, and you could find tons of headphones that supported them. But no, companies have to sometimes invent reasons to change things around and here we are with the 3.5mm jack mysteriously disappearing from modern smartphones to be replaced by USB-C digital audio. Yes, I know that size constraints matter, but so far, the released phones with no jack don't make a good case for that argument and don't provide any new hardware that uses the additional empty space favorably. And for the record, I am ranting even though I use Bluetooth headsets 99% of the time; I just like having the 3.5mm plug option for that 1%. Read More
Not too long ago, Google began offering users the chance to test unfinished Chromecast firmware. The first preview firmware, version 1.21.72444, began rolling out to users recently. Google's release notes for the update only state, "General bug fixes and stability improvements." Really helpful, Google.
Thankfully, tipster Rafael sent us the screenshots above and below. They indicate that all references to the word 'Chrome' have been removed. The current public firmware shows the Chrome logo when the device starts up, which is now replaced by a Google logo. Read More
Normally only Nexus and other first-party Google devices get a taste of an upcoming Android version before it's released, barring custom ROMs and other end user activities. But Sony has been offering experimental AOSP builds for some of its phones for some time, and today the company has surprised and delighted owners of the former flagship Xperia Z3 with a custom Android N developer preview. This is more or less the same as the preview builds for Nexus phones and tablets, and it includes the Play Store and Google Services - everything one needs for a full Android experience. Read More
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
Fair play to Huawei for including a speaker on its self-titled Android Wear watch long before the software actually supported it. That being said, I'm sure Huawei Watch owners are wondering when their expensive gadget will have all of its parts activated so they can stop carrying around an extra quarter-ounce of extraneous electronics. According to multiple sources, that speaker will be activated soon, specifically whenever Google gets around to issuing the next version of Android Wear's firmware.
A user on Reddit says that he or she is currently using a test build of Android Wear on the Huawei Watch, and that the speaker is active with the new software installed. Read More
It was only a little over a week ago that we heard that LG was planning a surprisingly quick update to Android 6.0 for its flagship G4 phone, beginning with Poland and expanding out to other territories. We haven't heard anything about an official rollout just yet, but someone's managed to get their hands on a Marshmallow build for the international unlocked version of the G4, model number H815. A KDZ file appeared on the forum yesterday, and it's been adapted into flashable files for users with the TWRP custom recovery already.
We haven't heard of any official over-the-air 6.0 updates for the G4, but the 20A build posted by "autoprime" appears to be a release version or very close to it. Read More
Aside from the OnePlus One, the YU Yureka is the other Cyanogen-running smartphone that you can buy right now. It recently got its 12 S update to Lollipop 5.0 but is now receiving another OTA with a newer version. Just don't get excited thinking it's Android 5.1, we're still on 5.0 here. The build number has jumped from YNG1TAS0W0 to YNG1TAS1K0, which is dated May 1st 2015.
The changelog sent for this update is simple: "This update provides power improvements and security enhancements for your device." Since both improvements and enhancements denote positive things, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume that the update is a good one. Read More
One of the more persistent and frustrating issues with the OnePlus One has been its touchscreen, which saw a spat of problems and firmware fixes late last year. A software update in November seemed to have fixed the glitches, but in the last few weeks dozens of users on the official OnePlus forums have reported a resurgence of touchscreen issues. Perhaps it has something to do with the new Android updates, perhaps it's because of the rising temperatures as spring hits the northern hemisphere. Whatever the cause, OnePlus One owners are steamed.
You can see a typical example of the problem in the video below, uploaded to YouTube two weeks ago. Read More
Large companies have a hard time keeping secrets, especially when multiple partners and countless employees become involved. Bits and pieces are bound to leak out, both intentionally and accidentally, and sometimes a wealth of information can be discovered about unannounced plans. It appears that an app designed for Google's much anticipated MVNO has turned up in an unofficial Nexus 6 firmware image. If legitimate, the app not only confirms the service, but it may reveal some details about service plans, billing, and even a previously unheard-of name, "Project Fi."
Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
As Nexus 6 owners well know, Android 5.1 / LMY47D just started rolling out to devices recently. It appears, however, that Motorola has an even more recent firmware available, build LMY47E. Further, the official filename has "VRZ" in the title, hinting that this newer build may ship on devices that are sold by Verizon. We won't know for sure until Big Red starts sending the devices out next week.
There is a lot of historical precedent for this. Past builds such as GRI54 (Nexus S), GTJ61 (Nexus S), IMM30B (Galaxy Nexus), JRO03S (Nexus 7 2012 Wi-Fi), JOP40F (Nexus 10), JDQ39B (Nexus 7 2012 Wi-Fi/LTE), and JDQ39E (Nexus 4) are all examples of pre-installed firmware that shipped on later-manufactured runs of Nexus devices, but were never released to older devices via OTA or factory images. Read More