If you updated your Verizon Galaxy S4 to the latest over-the-air build, or bought one after it was already installed, you might already be aware that it's been especially resistant to root attempts. Savvy power users have stayed well away from the updated VRUAME7 firmware, which makes rolling back to an earlier build impossible. But as is so often the case, two enterprising XDA-Developers posters have solved at least some of the problems, and released a new rooting method for the latest OTA.
The exploit comes from (or at least, was posted by) XDA members DoomLoRD and PWM978, among others.
For many power users, 16GB just doesn't cut it any more, especially when the world's leading smartphone manufacturer insists upon using a third of that for its customized Android build. Combine that with a still-outrageous premium for those few models that of phones that include extra storage, and you've got a recipe for frustration. But the Galaxy S4 situation just got a little less rage-inducing, at least if you're a prospective Verizon customer: both Amazon Wireless and WireFly have dropped the 32GB version of the Galaxy S4 to $199.99 on-contract.
That's $100 off the original retail price, and the same price that you'll pay for a 16GB model at any Verizon store and most of its third-party retail partners.
If you're on The Now Network and looking for a new phone, you'd be hard-pressed to find one better than the Galaxy S4 (with one exception, depending on your personal preference). And in keeping with their tradition of rock-bottom prices at surprisingly fast intervals, Amazon Wireless is now offering the 16GB model for just $99.99 on-contract, to both new customers and existing subscribers adding a line.
Activation is free for new Sprint customers, as is two-day shipping (even without an Amazon Prime account). According to our Amazon, the price is good between today (Sunday) and Thursday, August 1st. Of course, you'll still pay the $649.99 retail price if you want it sans contract.
Though there's a definite streak among power users to prefer Google's "pure" Android on their phones, some of the manufacturer skins from HTC and Samsung have charming features as well. Modder and ROM developer Paul O'Brien, better known as MoDaCo, has been testing a solution to give you the best of both worlds. MoDaCo.SWITCH is a dual-boot solution for power users that lets two ROMs (manufacturer stock and AOSP, for example) which share user data, allowing a seamless switch between interfaces.
In the demo of the beta version above, the SWITCH feature is pretty seamless: start the SWITCH app and the phone reboots into its secondary Android OS, complete with apps, settings, files, and user data.
As previously leaked, Verizon has a new mahogany hue for its Samsung Galaxy S4, and it's also showing up on Best Buy's site. The 16GB brown version is now available online only, at the same $199 on-contract and $649 off-contract prices as the black and white versions. But wait, those preview shots on the Verizon home page look a little... off.
Compare the brown in the screenshot above to the much more subtle brown in the Evleaks press shot, to say nothing of the fact that only the front of the device is actually brown. The back looks identical to the black color that's been available since launch.
Like Google has done with its own first-party apps, Samsung has placed its WatchON app on the Play Store for easy updates. Of course, it's still limited to Samsung hardware - this version has been updated for the Galaxy S4 (and the S4 Active, and likely a few more variants as they become available). Meanwhile the tablet app is being expanded to include support for the Galaxy Note 10.1 and both 7" and 10" versions of the Galaxy Tab 2. More recent hardware like the Note 8.0 and the Tab 3 family already have it installed.
If you haven't played around with it, WatchON is a combination of a universal remote app and a media browser, with access to listings for local TV, cable, and satellite providers as well as a few IPTV services like Hulu.
Love 'em or hate 'em, you've got to admit that Samsung has made a habit out of offering its flagship devices in as many hues as they possibly can. Leakster extraordinaire EVleaks posted a press shot of a new Galaxy S4 last night, sporting an Autumn Brown color and Verizon branding. There's no indication of when it will show up on store shelves.
The leak says the phone is brown, but that's only half true: the back of the phone looks like the same diamond-pattern black as the older Galaxy S4, while the "brushed" pattern on the front bezel and home button gets a chocolate-colored makeover.
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). This can be done manually on rooted devices with apps like Cerberus, but the people able to do that aren't really the market Samsung and Absolute Software (the maker of LoJack for Mobile) are going for.
Locked bootloaders can be a real drag, but there's usually some way around it. In the case of the Verizon and AT&T Galaxy S4, Dan Rosenberg released the Loki tool to bypass the locked bootloader and execute custom kernels. This developer-focused tool has been a hit with its intended audience, and now it has added support for LG devices.
Loki can be obtained from GitHub with all the necessary code and documentation. In addition to the Samsung Galaxy S4, the app can now bypass locked bootloaders on the LG Optimus G Pro, LG Lucid 2, LG Motion, and LG Spirit. The process should be roughly the same for the LG phones as it is with the GS4.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom should become available in the UK tomorrow, July 11. Clove has announced that they will sell the joint smartphone-camera for £369 excluding VAT (£442.80 including). The Zoom will only ship in white and comes with 8GB of internal memory, though just 5GB of that is accessible to the user. Like most digital cameras, you're expected to expand this thing with a MicroSD card, so you might want to add that to your cart when you place that order.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is undoubtedly a product aimed at a niche audience. It includes a 16MP camera with x10 optical zoom, opposed to the digital zoom that is offered on typical smartphones - those that feature zoom at all, that is.