One of the advantages to Android's open source nature is that we can poke around in the source code, looking for interesting stuff. This is how we've become aware of some things Google has planned for the stock camera experience. Code from the Android Open Source Project shows that a new camera API has been in development, but it was pulled last month because it wasn't ready for release with KitKat.
According to the AOSP code, Google has been working on building in support for burst shot, improved face detection, and shooting RAW images. Burst shot certainly seems like a no-brainer – almost every other device has that feature. Read More
We figured that Motorola would be among the first to roll out Android 4.4 updates to their phones, considering the company's relationship with Google. But I don't think anyone suspected that the company would begin rolling out software updates within the month. According to an anonymous tipster, Verizon is beginning the soak test process for the Android 4.4 update to the Moto X, a strong indicator that it could be sent to all the Moto X units on Verizon within a few weeks.
For the uninitiated, a "soak test" is essentially a beta test for new firmware - Verizon and Motorola are inviting a very select number of users (usually those who are active on support forums) to try out the new software and report any problems or concerns. Read More
There are a plethora of little visual tweaks in Android 4.4, but few of them will be in your face as much as the new white status bar icons. The decision to move away from Holo blue was a bit surprising, but removing the color-based connectivity indicator? What gives? Well, a Google engineer has chimed in on Google+ to explain the rationale.
For serious web addicts, sometimes Chrome just doesn't do it. Dolphin is one of the more popular and, more importantly, more consistent browsers available on the Play Store. But some Nexus 5 owners weren't happy to see that their favorite alternate browser had a killer KitKat bug: it couldn't zoom in with the standard pinching gesture. After a bit of time in beta, the fix has now been applied to the stable build in version 10.1.2.
But wait, there is indeed more. Long-time Dolphin Browser users will be happy to hear that the "night mode" feature is back, courtesy of this official browser plugin app. Read More
Last week, Google released a massive update to the Search app for Android 4.1+ phones and tablets. Inside that refreshed APK, though, is a somewhat sneaky surprise: all the necessary bits for the Nexus 5's "Google Experience" launcher. All you need to get it working is the launcher app pulled from the Nexus 5, and you'll be up and running GEL-style.
If you want a detailed look at the new launcher, be sure to check out the relevant sections of Liam's Getting To Know Android 4.4 post, which goes into crazy detail as to all the changes you'll discover over the old AOSP launcher. Read More
Now that the Android 4.4 KitKat fanfare is (finally) settling down, it's time to revisit our Getting To Know Android series, where we bring to light the new and awesome changes in Google's newest mobile OS - exposing the big stuff right along with some interface changes you may not have noticed yet.
There are plenty of new pixels in Android 4.4, changed UI elements, new design patterns, and a slightly more sophisticated language to decode, along with plenty of new features. The newest revision isn't without its faults (we'll get into those in the next Stock Android Isn't Perfect) but we've got plenty to cover. Read More
So far Samsung has been right on the money when it comes to the much-anticipated Android 4.3 update for its major phones. Today customers with the AT&T model of the Galaxy S4 are getting the last version of Jelly Bean, according to this (very long) thread on XDA. It looks like the update file started going out to customers a few hours after midnight, so technically Samsung is a day late - then again, the schedule was leaked, so it's hard to hold that against them.
Image credit: XDA poster Lavman72
The update adds all the bells and whistles in Android 4.3, plus a few tweaks to Samsung's TouchWiz skin, mostly to update it to match the newest "Nature UI" found on the Galaxy Note 3. Read More
Following closely behind the 2012 and 2013 Nexus 7 KitKat OTA updates, it's finally the Nexus 10's turn to receive the same treatment. You can now flash the 219MB KRT16O Android 4.4 build without having to wait for your tablet to alert you, no matter what your rooting/bootloader situation is. Of course, if you've modified the system partition in such a way that the OTA won't apply cleanly anymore, you have to either revert those changes or wait for the factory image.
Unfortunately, I don't have a Nexus 10 (it's the only modern Nexus device I didn't buy), so I won't be able to post my own screenshots. Read More
Yesterday, Google announced the kickoff of the KitKat OTAs for the Nexus 7 and 10, though we haven't seen the update for the 2012 N7 actually pop up until a few minutes ago. (If you have a 2013 Nexus 7, head over here.)
2012 Nexus 7 Wi-Fi (not 3G yet) owners, listen up. You can now flash the 185MB KRT16O Android 4.4 build without waiting any longer, no matter what your rooting/bootloader situation is. Of course, if you've modified the system partition in such a way that the OTA won't apply cleanly anymore, you have to either revert those changes or wait for the factory image. Read More
Now that the KitKat update has started rolling out to various Nexus devices, we're, unfortunately, seeing no traces of the Google Experience Launcher, which confirms an earlier report stating as much. No GEL means no transparency in the default and a pretty barebones boring AOSP launcher. It also means no Google Now integration and no "Ok Google" hotword support while on any home screen.
Boring Nexus 7 launcher
However, not all is lost. There are several ways to obtain the coveted transparency in the status and navigation bars, and even a way to get GEL and Google Now. The latter doesn't work 100% - there are very minor quirks, but it should satisfy those of you craving Google Experience for the time being. Read More