It's no mystery that Google has been poking around wearable gadgets for quite some time. The list of projects seems to keep growing as we hear about rumors of an LG-made smartwatch, another prototype watch designed by Motorola, and of course, Google's own Glass. Earlier today at SXSW, Sundar Pichai took to the stage to announce plans to release a brand new SDK for Android-based wearable devices in about two weeks.
We're getting closer and closer to a stable KitKat release of the popular aftermarket Android ROM, CyanogenMod. The "M" snapshot releases are more stable than a nightly, but not quite as final as a release candidate. The fourth M build for CyanogenMod 11 (Android 4.4) includes a wide range of updates that hadn't yet made it to the KitKat builds, according to the official CyanogenMod blog.
Most of these revolve around the custom applications that the CyanogenMod team adds to Android, though a few are more essential.
One of the fundamental differences between Android and every other mobile operating system is the practically unrestricted capability to run services. Without this freedom we could not enjoy something as powerful as a homescreen widget or as straight-forward as a Twitter client with background updates. Aside from games and very simple utilities, it’s becoming increasingly rare to find an app that doesn’t run a service, at least for a short span of time.
Intel's progress into the Android ecosystem hasn't exactly been earth-shattering. The number of high-end and mid-range smartphones equipped with an ATOM CPU still number in the single digits, making the x86 architecture a fairly low priority for app developers. In addition, Intel's emulator images have always lacked support for the Google APIs, leaving developers without the ability to test common staples like Google Maps or push messaging. Fortunately, that issue was recently rectified with KitKat as Google and Intel have finally shipped an x86 system image with Google API support.
Google has posted its monthly snapshot of the Android Platform Versions distribution, and things are, unsurprisingly, inching forward for KitKat and Jelly Bean. KitKat is up from a share of 1.9% last month to 2.5% this go around, likely owed to the widening rollout of Android 4.4 to the Galaxy S4 and a number of other devices.
Jelly Bean continued to gain ground, too, up slightly this month at 62% as compared to 60.7% in February, with the individual breakdown still heavily favoring Android 4.1 as opposed to 4.2 or 4.3.
Do you use a Sony Xperia Z? Did you buy it from T-Mobile? Then check that Settings menu - according to this T-Mo support page, you're getting a taste of Jelly Bean 4.3 starting today. Of course these things tend to go out in waves, so those without patience can follow the links on T-Mobile's site and manually download and flash the new software (10.4.C.0.797) using the Sony PC Companion software.
After showing up as a humongous ROM, the T-Mobile LG G2's Android 4.4.2 update is making its way to devices as a regular OTA. Well, it's probably getting the update. T-Mobile's support page is a little fuzzy on the details, but today (March 3rd) is listed as the start date for the software's availability.
Fans of ROM flashing were a bit perturbed when a Paranoid Android developer announced several weeks ago that PA's Halo multitasking system was dead. The situation was certainly more nuanced than that, but the Paranoid Android Google+ account has finally posted a clarification of what's happening with the next version. The short version is... everything's changing.
As Android 4.4/KitKat updates begin rolling out to devices on all the major US carriers, one frequently asked question has to do with whether or not these devices will include Android's new "Tap and Pay" feature. This was one of the major additions in KitKat and allows almost any device with an NFC chip to be used for "tap and go" mobile payments, even if said chip doesn't have a built-in secure element.