When a new year begins, sometimes you just want to forget the mistakes of yesteryear. After the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, some of us thought that Samsung would, or should, ditch the Note brand to avoid any future distrust in the consumer market. Well, it would appear that the electronics giant is not going to do that.
Cross one more item off your list of Google apps in need of material facelifts! Next on this bountiful Update Wednesday, Google Keep is receiving a bump to version 3.0 with some new material-inspired touches, the most obvious one being its launcher icon. Instead of a realistic stack of sticky notes, we now have a single dog-eared sheet of paper with a lightbulb cutout sitting on top.
Once you're inside the app, there's plenty to look at. There's a new search interface that (like Keep's web update) allows users to search by type of note (list, voice, image, or reminder), or by color.
Samsung has been very cautious in rolling out its KitKat update thus far, with even most Galaxy S4 owners still waiting around on Jelly Bean. This doesn't even take into account all the millions of other Galaxy smartphones and tablets that often take a backseat to the company's flagship. Yet Samsung has now provided a list of all the devices it intends to bump up to Android 4.4.2 before it's all said and done.
Galaxy S4 mini
Galaxy S4 Active
Galaxy S4 zoom
Galaxy S III
Galaxy S III mini
Galaxy Note 8.0
Galaxy Tab 3
Galaxy Note 10.1
Galaxy Note10.1 2014 Edition
The company expresses that updates will start today and continue on throughout the coming months, not proving any information on which devices will get priority.
Besides taking a look at the Galaxy Gear here at IFA 2013, we also got the chance to play around with Samsung's new lineup of Note devices, namely the Note 3 and the Note 10.1 2014 edition.
Ignoring for a moment the devices' form factors, they share a lot of similarities and, in fact, share just about everything software-wise. Samsung's main focus with the new devices, besides their refreshed specs, displays, and hardware design, is the S Pen, which itself has received a functionality upgrade. After a brief hands-on video, we'll take a closer look.
First, we'll take a quick look at what we know so far, spec-wise.
Besides the Galaxy Gear and Note 3, Samsung has made official a new "2014 edition" Note 10.1. While, if its name is anything to go by, the 10.1 has long to go before release, Samsung gave us some early hands-on time with the tablet.
Owners of the original Galaxy Note in the great white north are getting a little present today – a brand new (year old) version of Android is coming to their devices. Samsung has announced via Twitter that owners will be getting the update starting today on Bell, Telus, and Rogers.
US Cellular is issuing an update to their variant of Samsung's Galaxy Note II, bringing the baseband version up to R950VXALL1. The headline feature with this update, as may be expected, is multi-window support. That's not all the R950VXALL1 package brings, though.
The update, besides evidently bringing the device up to Android "4.1.4" Jelly Bean (did you mean to say "4.1.2" there, USC?), brings an armload of bug fixes, from a "Burst Mode" camera fix to occasional toggling between 3G and 1X, to minor UI changes including the replacement of the notification shade's "sync" button with a multi-window shortcut and a makeover for the phone's Sound icon, switching from gray to green.
If you've been waiting around to pick up Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 (or just want to follow in the footsteps of the Brussels Philharmonic), Amazon's got a deal for you. The online shopping giant is offering up Samsung's 10" slate for a discount of $50 across all models. That means the 16GB (white and grey) version will cost you $449, while the 32GB variant (available in grey only) is $499.
Readers might remember that we were none too impressed by the Note 10.1 at review time, but the slate definitely still has its audience. In case you've forgotten what the Note 10.1 has to offer, here's a quick rundown of its specs.
Complain as some people might, smartphones are getting bigger and bigger. Nothing exemplifies that fact more than phablets like the HTC DLX (or other variants, such as the J Butterfly), Samsung Galaxy Note II, and LG Optimus Vu II. Packing 5"+ displays, powerful CPUs, and 2GB of RAM, these phones aren't for your grandmother.
Left to right: HTC J Butterfly (Japanese variant of the purported DLX), Samsung Galaxy Note II, and LG Optimus Vu II.