US Cellular customers with Samsung flagship phones, you can finally play with the latest and greatest in Android software. The carrier is sending out the KitKat 4.4.2 update for both the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3 today, following the carrier's Moto X update by just over a week. Not bad, considering that larger carriers aren't very far ahead.
You know the drill: check your Settings menu for a manual update if you haven't seen it already. US Cellular is also encouraging customers to download and apply the updates with their PCs via Samsung's Kies program. As always, those who choose to use the over-the-air method should be aware of a large download size (US Cellular requires a WiFi download) and the possibility of a staggered rollout, so the update may not appear on your phone for several days. Read More
Most custom ROMs require separate builds for separate carrier variants - one for an international model, one for an AT&T model, one for a Verizon model, and so on. CyanogenMod is trying to consolidate some of its most popular builds so that a single ROM ZIP file will work across several various device variants. Last month the CM team combined three HTC One builds, and today they're doing the same for Samsung's Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note 3.
Now the AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, US Cellular, Cricket Wireless, and MetroPCS builds for the Qualcomm-powered Galaxy S III are all being unified under the "d2lte" designation. Read More
The kernel source dropped yesterday, which seemed to point to an impending release, and we didn't have to wait long. Android 4.4 is on its way to all Galaxy S4 users on Sprint, but you'll have to wait your turn.
While no US carrier-branded variants of the Galaxy S4 have received an official update to Android 4.4/KitKat yet, Samsung has dropped the KitKat kernel source for the Sprint's model. While that by itself is really only of interest to developers, its implications will matter to a much larger audience. Generally, Samsung does not release kernel source for builds that aren't official. Historically, once source code is made available, official OTA updates follow in reasonably short order.
The new firmware build number is L720VPUFNAE. Currently, there is no official word from either Samsung or Sprint on when the accompanying OTA update will roll out, but if building kernels and hacking are your thing, go have fun. Read More
There are so many regional and carrier variants of Samsung's Galaxy S4 flagship that even we can hardly keep them straight, but apparently CyanogenMod hasn't released an official ROM for the white bread, vanilla, Exynos-powered original GS4 before now. But lo and behold, a new build for the GT-I9500 GSM model has appeared on the CM download page. It's a test version of CyanogenMod 11 (Android 4.4) if you're interested.
As you may recall, support for Exynos-based hardware has been something of a sticking point for CyanogenMod and other ROM teams. While the LTE versions of the phone with Qualcomm's Snapdragon system on a chip designs have had plenty of support, the Exynos versions have lagged behind for various reasons. Read More
The Galaxy S4 is nearly a year old now, but that doesn't mean Samsung's done releasing new variations of it. Today the company has officially announced a new "Black Edition" of the flagship that comes with the plastic, faux-stitched back panel that first appeared with the debut of the Note 3.The new S4 model is joined by a variation of the S4 mini that looks the same, just smaller.
The new Galaxy S4 and S4 mini come with black power adapters, data cables, and headphones (as opposed to the usual white ones). They will also come preloaded with a set of eight wallpapers and a few new ringtones. Read More
Sprint has been marketing push-to-talk functionality (a walkie-talkie style function that's popular with business users) since long before Android came into being. Though the feature isn't nearly as common as it once was, Sprint seems ready to keep it going with an update to the official Android app. The Direct Connect service is now compatible with a handful of new phones, most notably headliners like the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, and LG G2.
The new LG G Flex and Optimus F3Q get to join in, along with the ruggedized Kyocera Hydra Edge. To access Direct Connect, Sprint customers will have to have a plan that supports it (or a surcharge to a more basic plan), then download the Direct Connect app from the Play Store. Read More
Samsung has become that one friend you've got who suddenly decides he wears a fedora. No matter how many times you tell him that he looks less like a debonair time traveler than a guy who raided his grandfather's closet, he just won't take it off. Russian blog Hi-Tech Mail spotted the new Galaxy S4 'Black Edition' on Samsung's Russian page this morning, and a similar variant of the S4 Mini was later found. Both of them use the faux leather back from the Galaxy Note 3 and later Samsung designs.
Both phones are essentially identical to the original models aside from the new fashionable affectations, and they'll sell for 22,990 rubles and 15,990 rubles respectively (about $650 and $450) starting in February. Read More
Samsung has been gradually rolling out the KitKat software update for international models of the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 over the last couple of weeks. But surprisingly, it looks like at least one American carrier is eager to get Android 4.4 on the latest Samsung flagships as well. Noted XDA Developers forum member Designgears has posted official leaked builds of KitKat for AT&T's variants of the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 - you can download and flash them right now.
These KitKat builds probably aren't the final versions that will eventually be sent out as an over-the-air update. Read More
The family of accessories for the Galaxy S4 has a new arrival. Hot on the heels of Samsung's launch of a similar product for the Galaxy Note 3, the wireless charging S-View cover for the Galaxy S4 is now available. Before now, if you wanted to charge your phone wirelessly, you'd have to take the cover off and replace it with a wireless charging back. It's important to note that there is no difference between this and the regular S-View accessory, other than the additional contact points to enable Qi charging. This new accessory should make aficionados of these products happy since they can now have their cake and eat it too. Read More