KitKat is making its way to the Galaxy Note II. We've seen it come to Sprint, and just yesterday it started rolling out to Verizon's version of the handset. Now US Cellular has updated the support page for its Note II to say that KitKat is on its way. The carrier is pushing out an over-the-air update that will bump the phone up to version R950VXUCNE2.
Following the update, the phone will sport Android 4.4.2. There isn't much to say about KitKat at this point that you don't already know.
Android Wear is designed to keep you appraised of what's going on with your phone via notifications and cards, but that's not all it's good for. There are already a few apps that let you tweak settings on your phone, and now Wear Hotspot lets you toggle the hotspot functionality. It's actually a pretty good use of Wear.
Android Wear has a lot of fine points, but there are a few things missing from the first round of devices. One of the more annoying shortcomings is the lack of a light sensor on the G Watch or the Gear Live. The Moto 360, however, will have a light sensor built in, according to Motorola's Cathay Bi.
Just as promised, HTC is starting to update the One M8 Developer Edition to Android 4.4.3. The over-the-air update was first spotted by a member over at the XDA-Developers forum, who incidentally was rocking a developer edition of the device. According to forum posters, the update file is for both the developer edition (M8_UL_CA) and SIM unlocked (M8_UL) phones, though none of the latter seem to be getting the OTA at the moment. If you're too impatient to wait for the staggered rollout, someone has already uploaded the nearly 600MB update ZIP at this link.
When George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously replied, "Because it's there." I imagine a similar disposition possessed the developer of Wear Browser (better known for AIDE) when he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, I guess I'll put a browser on that watch." I say this because I can't think of a good reason anyone would do this. Still, it exists.
Like other Google I/O attendees, I picked up an Android Wear device at the conference. I went with the LG G Watch. What follows is not really a review so much as my experiences and thoughts about Wear thus far, having lived with it literally every day since picking it up. I'll include some of my opinions on the platform (ignoring for now the hardware), and what I think might be relevant insights and comparisons to Google's other efforts (like Glass). If you've not had your fill of editorial Wear discussion yet, let's get started.
My First Smart Watch
I'll confess - I've never owned a smart watch before the G Watch.
Android Wear is a cool platform that Google designed to have a more limited feature set. After all, it's running on a tiny screen strapped to your wrist. We need to remember, though, that it's still Android and that means people are allowed to run pretty much any insane pile of code on it. Case in point – File Manager for Android Wear. The name tells you what it is, and I'm telling you you should not spend $3.99 on a file manager for your smart watch.
Asus is still releasing Transformer tablets on a regular basis, but most of them are mid-range. The premium device in the Transformer family is still the TF701T, and it's getting an update to Android 4.4.2 right now. The OTA is happening, but it looks like a slow staged rollout.
If you've been dying to start poking around the Android Wear source code, now is the time! Google just posted 4.4W to AOSP. The active development branches are distributed throughout each project repository as kitkat-wear. This is the location where further patches and minor updates will appear. There is are also tags for android-4.4w_r1 (build KTU84Q), which represent the first official release of the platform.
There aren't any repositories for either Dory (LG G Watch) or Sprat (Samsung Gear Live), but we can't be certain if they will appear in AOSP or if the distribution of device specific source code will be left up to the manufacturers.
Android Wear has only been out for a few weeks, but already developers are trying their hands at designing apps for Google's wearable platform. Since this is a new usage paradigm for Android, it's hard to know what sort of user experiences will catch on and which will fall flat. This is the first installment of what will hopefully become a regular part of our roundups – all the best apps and watch faces for Android Wear. If it's interesting, innovative, or just plain odd (and designed for your wrist), we've got it here.