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KitKat 4.4

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T-Mobile ZTE ZMAX gets November security updates... but it still runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat

I'm honestly conflicted. When I spotted this new software on T-Mobile's support pages, I had to do a double take. How come a phone that's still stuck on Android 4.4.2 KitKat is getting the November 2016 security updates? It's ridiculous and awesome to a point that I just couldn't pass up the news.

The ZTE ZMAX was announced and released in September of 2014 on T-Mobile. It had midrange specs with a 5.7" 720 display, Snapdragon 400, 8MP back camera and 1MP on the front. The major selling point was the 3400mAh battery and the $252 price point. At the time of release, it ran Android 4.4 KitKat and it has managed to stick to that version for two years, no version bumps whatsoever for ZMAX owners.

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Android platform distribution, December 2016: KitKat is finally toppled, Nougat doesn't move much

December's Android platform distribution numbers are up and... not much exciting has changed in the last month, to be honest. The only real milestone we're seeing is that Android 4.4 KitKat is finally no longer the most common API level of the platform, having been usurped by Android 6.0 Marshmallow. KitKat's dominant streak was around two years - let's hope Marshmallow doesn't sit on the throne that long.

This does mean that the most common version of the platform is now only two API versions behind the most recent version (Android 7.1, API level 25). The reason KitKat was so long dominant is that Android 5.0 and 5.1 were split into two platform versions because of their differing API levels.

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The Gooligan Android malware has infected more than 1 million devices since August

The battle against Android malware is ongoing, but it's a big world and Android is everywhere. It presents a tempting target for criminals, and the Gooligan malware is just the latest attempt to make a buck off the trusting nature of smartphone users. This attack has compromised more than a million phones in the last few months, and as many as 13,000 new infections are occurring each day. The goal is not to steal your data (although that can still happen), but to make you download apps in an advertising fraud scheme.

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Android platform distribution, November 2016: Nougat shows up, Marshmallow surges to 24%

Android platform distributions for the first week of November are up, and Nougat has appeared... with 0.3% of the pie. But it's there! The only other really noteworthy change came from Marshmallow, which surged 5.3 points to 24% of total devices. As such, it seems likely that Marshmallow will unseat KitKat as the most common version of the Android platform next month, at least if we're counting by API level. If you're counting by whole-digit version, Lollipop is in the lead, and has been for some time.

But KitKat has held this position of dominance for, well, a really long time (probably around two years).

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Android platform distribution, September 2016: Marshmallow climbs, and not much else

September's platform distribution numbers for Android are now available, and... they're dully predictable. Marshmallow's growth returned to the levels we saw in July, gaining 3.5 points versus its position a month ago. Lollipop has returned to a net decline, with v5.0 losing a full point of the pie and 5.1's half-point increase not being able to make up for it. That means Lollipop, combined, is on 35% of all Android devices Google counted versus Marshmallow's 18.7%.

KitKat dropped 1.5 points, Jelly Bean (all versions) collectively dipped a meager 1.1 points, and Ice Cream Sandwich and Gingerbread barely budged from their previous positions.

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Android platform distribution, August 2016: Modest Marshmallow gains, Lollipop losses reverse

Android's Platform Distribution chart has been updated for August, and this month brings little in the way of interesting change. Marshmallow has risen around 1.9 points, to 15.2% of installs, with Lollipop 5.0 and 5.1 actually netting a 0.4 point gain this time around. Last month, total Lollipop installs actually dropped around 0.3 points, meaning this month's increased numbers have actually reversed that change and then some. Given that 5.0 installs didn't actually grow - gains were made solely by v5.1 - it's not exactly clear what happened there. Perhaps a large number of devices have gone straight from KitKat to Android 5.1, though that's an awful strange time for a jump.

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Android fragmentation may not be as pronounced as Google's distribution numbers would have you believe, Apteligent report says

Fragmentation is the flaming torch we have to face each time a discussion about Android updates or development is started. Google releases monthly distribution numbers of its operating system, which detail the percentages of devices running a certain version of the OS that have visited the Play Store in the past 7 days. They're usually met with collective groans as Froyo and Gingerbread cling on to dear life month after month.

But as Apteligent's monthly data report points out, Google doesn't take into consideration two important factors: devices that don't have the Play Store installed (ie Chinese handsets mostly) and device usage. A phone may access the Play Store, but it may not be actively used.

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First And Last CyanogenMod 12 (Android 5.0) Snapshot Builds Now Rolling Out, Final CM11 Snapshots Too

If you've been waiting for a more stable version of the CyanogenMod ROM to become available before upgrading to Android 5.0, now's your chance. Snapshot builds of CM 12 are now rolling off of the build server and onto the CyanogenMod download page, going in their usual alphabetical order by codename. These are the first snapshot versions of CyanogenMod 12, and according to members of the CM 12 team, they'll also be the last.

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Snapshots are among the more stable releases of the community ROM, more so than the monthly "M" builds (which are pretty reliable themselves, at least compared to one-off efforts you might see on standard user forums).

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InBrief
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Amazon Fire Phone Gets Android KitKat In Big Update To Fire OS Version 4.6.1

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Android Platform Distribution Numbers Updated, Lollipop More Than Doubles To 3.3% As Android 4.3 And Below Slowly Lose Ground

It's only been a month since Lollipop made its debut on the platform distribution chart, and it's making decent headway. Android 5.0 more than doubled its standing, bringing the total from 1.6% to 3.3%. Most of this bump can be attributed to firmware updates that have been rolling out to 2014's flagship phones and tablets. Surprisingly, KitKat also increased its hold by 1.2%, totaling 40.9% of all Android devices.

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Since Lollipop and KitKat only account for a combined 2.9% shift, most of the remaining versions of Android lost ground pretty evenly. Jelly Bean 4.1 took the largest hit, losing a full 1.1%.

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