Beta tests for new software releases aren't anything new for Android phones or tablets - they're often referred to as "soak tests," especially when manufacturers and carriers are involved. According to an anonymous tipster, Motorola is instituting a new confidential test program, giving at least some users access to much earlier updated builds for Android phones. Our source says that he or she was invited to test out a KitKat 4.4.2 build for the DROID RAZR M.
Update: The OTA is now live (thanks, Michael Tomy)!
Good grief, AT&T, you're not usually so far behind the pack. I imagine your Moto X customers, who've had to wait behind their counterparts at Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular, and T-Mobile/unlocked carriers for the update to the slightly newer version of KitKat, aren't pleased. But if an updated Motorola support page is any indication, it looks like the Android 4.4.2 over-the-air update may be coming very soon.
Motorola has a reputation of late for making relatively few changes to the stock Android experience, but taking photos is one of the areas where the company has applied some of its own tender loving care. The app, which can activate with just a flick of the wrist, encourages users to take pictures by touching anywhere on the screen. Now those who would prefer a more tactile approach have that option as well.
Assist is one of the core apps that Motorola has dropped into the Play Store, which means it can be updated as needed. It's gotten a few tweaks already, and today another update is rolling out. This time it should make the meeting mode more useful for users with more than one calendar.
The meeting mode in Assist will automatically silence the phone and auto-reply to messages (both optional) when you are in a meeting.
Almost perfectly timed with Google's Android Wear announcement, Motorola has laid out its new smart watch plans. The Moto 360 is a round smart watch running on Android Wear that you will be able to actually purchase this summer. I know, this seems like the future all of a sudden.
OK, Indian readers, we know you've been waiting a long time for this. Earlier today Indian online retailer Flipkart posted an ad for the Moto X, announcing that it would be available starting tomorrow, March 19th. The price starts at 23,999 rupees for the 16GB in five colors, according to this Flipkart tweet. That's at least in the same ballpark as the US version - it's just north of $390 USD.
After launching the Moto X at $299 late last year, Republic Wireless is moving on to Motorola's other current handset. The Moto G will be available without contract for $149 sometime in April and voice plans on Republic Wireless start at just $5 per month.
When the Moto X launched on Republic it still cost over $500 from Motorola. Thus, it was a pretty big deal to sell it for just $299.
The very first thing that college sports fans did when the Moto Maker customization tool came out was make a phone in the colors of their alma mater. Now that's a little easier thanks to Motorola's College Collection. To facilitate better collegiate customization, the College Collection includes nine new back colors and three new accent colors (which don't seem to be available on the standard Moto Maker site). If that's not enough for you, the customized phones also include a clear case with your school logo.
The Touchless Control feature on the Moto X and Verizon's 2013 DROIDs (Ultra, Maxx, and Mini) is already one of the coolest Android manufacturer add-ons around. Today it gets just a little cooler: the Touchless Control app was updated to add a "What's up" command. This voice command will make your phone read out the unread notifications in your status bar. This should be great for hands-free updates while driving. Or bathing.
Motorola's Spotlight Player, available only for the Moto X, serves you interactive films stuck somewhere between being as involving as a game and as passive as a movie. Motorola's first "Spotlight Story" came out late last year with the name Windy Day. The film, created by Ratatouille director Jan Pinkava, tasked players with moving their Moto Xs around to find items and trigger parts of the experience. Now another story is available by the name of Buggy Night (this time directed by animator Mark Oftedal), and it works much the same way.