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[Tap That] Android 4.4 Feature: NFC Payments No Longer Require Secure Element, Use Emulation Workaround

Google Wallet's single-biggest problem to date in the US has inarguably been carriers. US carriers (except Sprint) wouldn't allow Google the necessary control of the "secure element" in order to make NFC payments, and as such, Google Wallet consumer adoption has essentially been trivial. With Android 4.4, that finally changes.

The new version of Android completely eschews the secure element paradigm and has instead opted for a virtual solution, using what Google calls "Host Card Emulation" technology to get the job done.

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Want To Know More About Android 4.4? Check Out All These Official Google Info Pages

With a new version of Android comes a new promotional glamor site for Google's beloved mobile OS, and this time KitKat's getting the treatment. Android 4.4 packs a bevy of new features and capabilities, but if you want the basic rundown, Google's official splash for KitKat (here) is the prettiest way to educate yourself. (Bonus: here's an equally pretty site for the Nexus 5.)

pretty

If you're looking for a deeper rundown of Android 4.4's new features, don't worry, the Android Developers site has you covered with detailed, technical information about the new OS version.

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KitKat Feature Spotlight: Translucent Navigation And Notification Bars Can Be Requested By Apps In 4.4

The next version of Android is bringing a lot of visual options to the table, and they're not just for Google to play with. Buried deep within the KitKat 4.4 API (level 19) is the ability for apps to request translucent system UI overlays, specifically on the top notification bar and the bottom navigation bar (if your device has one). You can see this feature in action in all the promotional photos of the Nexus 5's homescreen, where the wallpaper is visible form the top of the screen to the bottom.

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[Update: No 4.4 For GNex Confirmed] Android 4.4 Will Come To Nexus 4, 7 (2012 And 2013), 10, And Google Play Edition GS4 / HTC One, No GNex Love

Update: Here's an official Google Support answer stating the GNex will indeed be stuck in 4.3-land for eternity.

At the bottom of Google's official Android 4.4 announcement post on the company's blog, some rather pertinent information for current Nexus / GPE device owners is thrown in: OTA update news!

KitKat will be coming to the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (presumably both models, but not explicitly stated), Nexus 10, and the Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 and HTC One.

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The Nexus 5 And KitKat Launch Today, October 31st

Ladies and gentlemen, today is the day you've all been patiently (I kid, I kid - I mean, have you seen /r/Android lately?) waiting for.

Update 11am PT: Like clockwork, the Nexus 5 and KitKat are live!

After speaking with no less than five different sources with knowledge of the matter, I am ready to confirm that the LG-made Nexus 5 should be unveiled later on today, along with Android 4.4 KitKat, additional details of which were leaked last night by former WSJ reporter Amir Efrati.

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Android 4.4 KitKat Will Reportedly Include NFC Card Emulation Without Secure Element, Improved Low-Memory Device Support, New Sensor Types, And More

If you believe the predictions, Google is going to announce Android 4.4 KitKat (and the Nexus 5) in mere hours. According to a new report based on leaked marketing materials, Android 4.4 is going to tackle some of the biggest issues that have been plaguing the platform and Google's services as a whole.

2013-10-30 22_55_15-Android KitKat

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Android 4.3 And Galaxy Gear Update For Sprint's Galaxy S4 Is Ready, Right On Schedule [Update]

Verizon got it first (for once), but now it's time for Samsung Galaxy S4 owners on Sprint to get their Android 4.3 update on. The over-the-air download should be disseminating today, though we've yet to see confirmation from Sprint itself. Assuming that it is indeed going out, the update comes right on schedule, according to a leaked Samsung document.

sprints4update

In addition to the standard Android 4.3 features, the OTA download (L720VPUAMJA) delivers compatibility with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Samsung's Knox encryption system.

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HTC America President Says Verizon's HTC One 4.3 Update Delayed By As Much As A Month

Owners of almost all versions of the HTC One should have received the update to Android 4.3 by now. There's the Google Play Edition, the international version, the Developer Edition, and carrier variants for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. So what's missing from this picture? If you said "Verizon," then congratulations, you've finally become just as jaded and cynical as your friendly neighborhood tech journalist.

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KitKat.com/Android Is Indeed Down, Password-Protected, And Waiting To Be Revealed, But It Doesn't Bring KitKat's Launch Any Closer

Earlier today, the Nexus and KitKat crowds almost had collective heart attacks when they saw that kitkat.com/android was now password-protected and likely hiding something behind the locked gates. Possibly even all the complete KitKat details we've been dying to see (or whatever is left of them anyway). Could it be? Did the site go down for the big update, and the launch is imminent? Not so fast.

image

While the page does indeed pop up a login dialog, the revelation doesn't really mean anything just yet.

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Leak: Samsung's American Android 4.3 And Galaxy Gear Update Release Schedule For The Galaxy S4, S4 Active, S III, And Note II

If you've got a Samsung phone from before the Note 3 and you're on an American carrier, you're probably wondering where your Android 4.3 update is already. The leaked schedule below has been verified to Android Police by two reliable sources, and shows when the 4.3 update is scheduled for the Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S4 Active, and Galaxy Note II on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. This update will also add support for the Galaxy Gear to these devices.

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