Raise your hand if you like carrier apps added to your phone. Anyone. Go ahead, don't be shy. Well if you don't, here's a great example of why companies like AT&T should leave the software alone. An over-the-air update to 4.4.4 for the carrier-customized version of the Galaxy Note 3 was sent out on November 28th, then unceremoniously pulled. A previous message on the support page explained why:
Update: The software update for Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (SMN900A) is temporarily on hold, effective November 28, 2014.
Sony hasn't always been the best at updating its phones, but the company does have a commitment to AOSP unlike most others. It contributes a lot of code to Android, and developers are encouraged to tinker with unlocked devices. In fact, Sony has just announced support for AOSP on the Xperia E3 and Xperia T3, meaning all Qualcomm-based phones from 2014 can run pure Android with very little hassle.
Remember last night, when we were excited about the Galaxy S5 getting its Android 5.0 update already, at least in Poland? That was nice. Let's try to hang on to that warm, comforting feeling while we face this cold fact: a combination of lowered expectations for non-flagship devices and good old US carrier apathy means many Android owners won't be so lucky. For example, the Galaxy S4 Zoom on AT&T is just now getting its update to Android 4.4, more than a year after the release of both KitKat and the phone itself.
Huawei took a lot of heat when it told North American customers a few weeks ago that the Ascend Mate2 would not be getting the promised KitKat update. The original post was removed after the comments got ugly, and now Huawei is backtracking. After "reassessing" the decision to cancel KitKat on the Mate2, Huawei will go all the way to Lollipop, but not until some time in the first half of 2015.
If you're the owner of a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for AT&T, you should be getting your Android 4.4.4 OTA update starting today. This will bring you up from Android 4.4.2, and Samsung has packed in a few extras with this 459MB OTA, as well. Namely: Kid mode, SideSync 3.0, Knox 2.0, virtual tour mode in the camera app, and some updated AT&T bloatware.
The Uber app has been added to the list of things-AT&T-won't-let-you-uninstall, and I imagine there are a boatload of bug-fixes and the standard exploit patches you would expect in an OTA of this magnitude.
When it comes to software development, there are two very distinct camps on the subject of tools: those who prefer to keep it simple with just a text editor and a compiler, and then those who go straight for a fully-featured IDE with all the bells and whistles. For more than a decade, the undisputed champion of IDEs is Microsoft with its assorted versions of Visual Studio. Having come from years of work on Visual Studio, nothing pained me more than the first (several) times I started up Eclipse.
Android 4.4W.2 is slowly rolling out to various Wear devices this week, and my G Watch R review unit just received it earlier this afternoon. A couple of commenters have pointed out a new feature in W2 that we hadn't yet noticed - you can now hide notifications, as opposed to dismissing them, directly from the watchface.
If you're an owner of an LTE Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition on T-Mobile (SM-P607T), today could be your lucky day. If you head on over to your tablet's settings and check for an update, you may just have a surprise waiting for you. According to Samsung, a new Android 4.4.4 update is available. This update is significant, not just for its Android version bump, but also because it means that an LTE variant of this tablet is getting said bump before its WiFi-only counterpart.
Sony's relationship with "pure" Android is an interesting one. As a company they generally make it easy to root or otherwise modify their phones or tablets, with a few notable qualifiers. The AOSP for Xperia project, which provides the basic tools for building standard Android ROMs on popular devices, is also one way that Sony stays relevant for those who buy phones with the intent to add aftermarket software. Today it gets two new flagship options, the older Xperia Z1 and Z2.
Google announced last year that the venerable Galaxy Nexus would not be getting any of that sweet, sweet KitKat action. Well, not officially anyway. Owners were not pleased, but they couldn't properly flood the internet with complaints because their phones were already dead. There have been a few KitKat ROMs that work well enough, but now some developers have created a kernel and GPU driver combo that could keep this device chugging along through the L release.