An update is hitting AT&T's Galaxy S4 active today, but it's not KitKat. No, this update is finally bringing the more durable S4 variant up to Android 4.3 with the rest of Samsung's current generation.
If you're in the market for a powerful phone that can take a few hits, then eBay's Daily Deals portal should be your first stop today. Well, so long as you need that phone to work on the AT&T network and don't mind a refurbished model. The AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is on sale for just $349.95 with free shipping to the US. You can have it in any color you want, as long as you want teal.
Samsung, for whatever reason, has not released a back plate for the Galaxy S4 Active that allows it to take advantage of Qi wireless charging. The folks at Monster Watts seemed to have a solution with their WIQIQi battery attachment, and even managed to pull off a successful Indiegogo campaign. However, legal issues have forced the cancellation of the product.
The company makes WIQIQi attachments for several other devices, but according to the campaign site, legal issues with the water-resistance claims of the GS4 Active gave them pause.
It doesn't take very long for new phones to go on sale these days, especially if you're savvy enough to check Amazon. For example, the AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is now just $108 for new customers, or $118 for those who are eligible for an upgrade. (You can also add a new line and get the phone for $108.) Want something a little tougher? Amazon is offering the ruggedized Galaxy S4 Active at the same prices.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a neat device that's ruggedized and water-resistant. However, there's that accursed USB port. The port on this device is covered by a flimsy plastic flap that's tough to close properly, and feels like it could break off at any moment. It would be nice if you didn't have to mess with the port to charge the device, but Samsung hasn't released a wireless charging back for the S4 Active.
When a phone is advertised as "water-resistant" you have to wonder just how resistant it actually is. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active on AT&T, the answer is apparently "not very." Despite AT&T heavily advertising the device as “whatever-proof” and great for taking underwater videos, some owners have been complaining of damage to the device after an encounter with water.
The Active is supposedly IP67 certified, which means it should hold up to water at a depth of one meter for 30 minutes.
If you like the look of the Samsung Galaxy S4, but you're just a big butterfingers, maybe this is your lucky day. The Galaxy S4 Active is on sale through eBay Daily Deals, and it's quite the steal. The 16GB unlocked device is selling for $589.99.
The Galaxy S4 Active is similar to the standard GS4, but it has an LCD panel instead of AMOLED, and the casing is water resistant and more durable.
Samsung announced this spring that security app LoJack would soon be built into the Galaxy S4. The necessary firmware arrived on most North American variants of the S4 in recent weeks, and now the service is live to take advantage of it. LoJack can be activated on your Galaxy S4 today for $29.99 per year. In return for your money you get phone tracking, remote wipe, and recovery assistance.
The LoJack app is built into the firmware of the device, making it persistent through factory resets (but probably not ROM flashes).
Samsung has been muddying the waters of the Galaxy brand ever since it launched, and the Galaxy S4 has been sent to new depths, with no less than three "S4" variants following the original's release by only a few months. But the Galaxy S4 Active - the sporty, tough, waterproof version of Samsung's flagship - is the first of the company's myriad extended line that actually deserves the same name as its more mainstream brother.
There's nothing like a fresh batch of source code to get you through another Monday morning. Samsung has just posted the kernel source for two of its newer S4 variants, the Galaxy S4 active (i9295), and the dual-SIM version of the Galaxy S4 Mini (i9192). Samsung has been on an open source run lately with the AT&T GS4 and Galaxy Tab 8.0 going up just last week.
If you're the developer type who really lives for this, grab the Jelly Bean code at Samsung's open source pages linked below.