Occasionally, an OS update will bring around features that really change things. Android 3.0 brought the Android experience to tablets. 4.0 completely revamped the UI and added guidelines that made Android look cohesive for the first time. 4.4 added Svelte, which promised to seat Android comfortably on an even broader range of devices. We have reason to believe another one of those changes is right around the corner, and it's known internally as Hera.
In a bit of unexpected news, the Verge has just posted images and descriptions of Android TV, based on information provided to them by an unnamed source.
Android TV, according to the Verge, is Google's renewed bid for the living room, looking to put Google TV in the rear view mirror, and deliver content in a cohesive experience that users will actually want to do. It does this by focusing on being an entertainment platform, rather than making your TV function like a large tablet with a remote.
The folks at CyanogenMod take a long, long time to develop a custom ROM before they'll slap a "stable" label on it. They don't make any apologies for this, but if you're particularly impatient for a more reliable version of CM 11 (Android 4.4), you can check out the latest snapshot builds. The "M5" builds are rolling out for some of the better-supported devices at the moment, and more should be available throughout the day.
HTC has just uploaded the open source bits for several variants of the new HTC One M8. Available for download right now is the Android 4.4.2 kernel source for the Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and Optus (an Aussie carrier) versions of the device.
The Google Play Edition kernel source that was posted then yanked by HTC a few days ago is still no where to be found. Update: The GPE sources are back as well.
If there's one thing we hear time and again about Android, it's the F word: fragmentation. While it's largely just an annoying word used to get under the skin of Android fans, I think in at least one respect, it's been a valid criticism: the wildly varying experiences Android users have with the post-purchase support and software on their handsets. Now, it's equally correct to say that's not really Google's fault, nor its responsibility - OEMs are the ones dropping the ball in a lot of respects here, and I totally agree with that!
Google has made its monthly update to the developer dashboard with new platform distribution numbers, and KitKat is on a roll (finally). After making up only 2.5% of active Android devices last month, it's now at 5.3%. Yes, it more than doubled. Those continued Samsung updates probably have a lot to do with the jump.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) aren’t the sexiest topic out there, but they are a pretty vital part of daily operations for almost every major company and many small businesses. VPNs are used to securely connect a computer, tablet, or phone to a company's private network over the Internet, thus allowing people to work remotely while ensuring strict authentication and enforcing administrative policies. Even some power users are apt to set up a VPN if they want to make their home networks accessible while they're on the road.
Update: HTC has pulled down the kernel source and framework files for the time being. The reason is unclear. Perhaps they were posted early, but we'll keep an eye on them. You can grab the kernel source from this rehosted link and framework files from this one for now.
We're still a few weeks away from the ship date for the HTC One M8 Google Play Edition, but the kernel source is just a click away.
In the last several weeks, word of an upcoming Android 4.4.3 release started spreading around, for the most part based on sightings of new build numbers in server logs and bug reports, along with this tip by @LlabTooFeR. Of course, with so many 4.4.3 mentions, it's no surprise that these are actually legitimate and not creations of random trolls.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Android 4.4.3 is, unsurprisingly, going to be a pure bug-fixer release.
HTC has released a whole slew of kernel source files for the 2013 version of the One today, following the gradual rollout of Android 4.4.2 to the device around the world. There are, frankly, too many variants to name in this post individually, but some of the highlights include Vodafone UK, AT&T, Sprint, O2 in Germany and the UK, and a number of unlocked variants. The screenshots below tell the full story.