Getting the kernel source code for devices is something of a rite of passage for new Android phones. In the United States and other parts of the world with heavy smartphone penetration, the focus is on the big, flashy flagship models - the sooner the kernels are published, the sooner those ROM makers can get cracking on custom ROMs and kernels. But considering the immediate response that Google's Android One program has received, I think those phones may turn out to be some of the most popular ROM recipients around.
We first reported on Android Silver back in April this year as an attempt by Google to premiumify Android phones with more Google branding and stock software in partnership with OEMs and US carriers. The program was supposed to launch early next year, and according to our source, would even entail custom retail booths in carrier stores, supplied and funded by Google. Google would also provide marketing assistance, customer support, and help carriers with sell-through, providing employees training on selling and teaching customers how to use Silver devices.
From the very first day Android Wear was in the news, the Moto 360 has been "the one to wait for." Every time we posted a story about the G Watch or the Gear Live, the comments were populated with no fewer than a million people declaring their intention to wait for Motorola's round smartwatch. Well, the wait was a bit longer than expected, but the Moto 360 has finally arrived.
You lucky jerks in those limited areas with Google Fiber access have all the fun. Not only do you have relatively inexpensive and lightning-fast home Internet, you get TV service with support from Google. The latest update to the Google Fiber IPTV app for Android adds even more goodies, most notably the ability to pause and play television with the standard lockscreen controls or with an integrated Android Wear app. Make sure and show it off to your peasant friends who live in Cabletown.
Back at Google I/O we were introduced to Android One, an initiative from Google to give smartphone manufacturers guidance on how to build quality Android experiences using affordable hardware and updates directly from the Google mothership. At the time, Sundar Pichai explained that the program would be launched in India with three hardware partners - Spice, Micromax, and Karbonn "this fall," with other territories coming later.
At least some of you are probably playing with a new Moto 360 right now, feverishly comparing battery results against reviews and spreadsheets. (Don't worry, our exhaustive review is coming soon.) If you're looking for something a little off the beaten path from the watch faces included by Motorola, developer Maize (it means corn!) has a unique option that works particularly well on round displays.
Spotlight zooms in on a standard radial watch face, showing the minutes past the hour and about ten minutes to either side.
The last we heard of an HTC smartwatch, it was a replica of a rumor, a render of a render posted by the now-retired Evleaks. Then Pocket-Lint reported that HTC had scrapped plans for a Qualcomm Toq-based watch, according to "sources familiar with the matter." If all that wasn't nebulous enough for you, now Cnet says that HTC's watch is coming back, scheduled for a release sometime next year.
The monthly Android version distribution numbers are up for September on the Android Developers site, and things appear to be moving just the way you'd expect.
Month over month, we saw a 2.2% decline in share for Gingerbread, a drop of 1% for Ice Cream Sandwich, 1.4% for Jelly Bean 4.1, and small gains of 0.9% and 0.1% for Jelly Bean 4.2 and 4.3, respectively. KitKat was this month's biggest mover, adding 3.6% to its share of the pie, bringing it to 24.5% of all Android devices active in the last week.
Update #1 9/6/14: It looks like at least some of those who've run out to buy the Moto 360 at retail are already seeing the KGW42N update. Charge your watch, set it up, and you should get the alert.
Thanks to reader Justin for the tip and the photo!
Update #2 9/9/14: The G Watch is now receiving 4.4W.1 as well, though the build number varies slightly (KGW42Q):
Thanks, Devin Arthur.
It's been over two months since Google gave Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 owners a chance to tinker with the upcoming L release of Android, in what has been the biggest beta test in Android's short history. With all of us waiting on a release sometime in the fourth quarter of 2014, it's gratifying to know that the powers that be are hard at work getting Android L ready for primetime.