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.
We received a tip last week suggesting that Verizon Wireless planned to release the LG G Pad 8.3 with LTE (or the LGGPLTE for short, differentiating it from the LGGPGPE) on March 6th. Today, that leak's been confirmed. Verizon has announced that the tablet will launch on said day for $99.99 with a new two-year activation, with this price lasting for the first four days of availability. After that, it will go up to $199.99.
We're still a bit more than a month out from Samsung's Galaxy S5 and Gear smart watches, but Samsung is looking to keep the hype train going with its new intro videos. You know the drill – it's super-pretty, everything works perfectly, and there's calming music in the background.
The Galaxy S5 video goes down the Samsung-approved bullet points one by one, showing off each feature. There's the camera, heart rate monitor, MIMI WiFi, ultra power saving mode, fingerprint reader, and so on.
One of the biggest advantages of Motorola's latest phones is that they've been rapidly updated to Android 4.4. But at least some owners of the low-cost Moto G are having serious issues after updating to 4.4.2. Many posters on the official Motorola support forums are saying that their phones are intermittently dropping all cell signals, and in some cases even losing connection with the phone's SIM card. These issues were not reported before the Android 4.4 update.
Roughly a year has gone by since XBMC 12 hit metaphorical store shelves, and the time has apparently been well-spent. The upcoming version introduces hardware decoding, so your device can actually utilize more of its power to push those pixels. The beta has has been streamlined enough to run on a Raspberry Pi, so you know you can expect a zippier experience on a more powerful gadget.
When using XBMC on a touchscreen, the app will now recognize gesture controls during video playback and swiping controls when navigating around.
Saving power while using your phone then bragging about it on the internet is all the rage these days – it's like hypermiling for smartphones. If you're not into flashing custom kernels to get the job done, there's now Per-App Modes from the developer behind Franco's Kernel.
Per-App Modes lets you automatically set a CPU frequency, temperature threshold, GPU clock, and more that will be activated when you're using specific apps.
You only need a little bit of self-control to save some real money on apps and games. Don't blow your app budget on whatever comes up – spend smarter with on-sale apps. You might not even have to spend anything. Now that's thrift.
Sony's Socialife is an attractive app, but it has thus far only found its way into the hands of a limited number of users. This isn't an indictment of its quality. Rather, it speaks to the app's previous exclusivity. The news reader and social network aggregator has only been available for Xperia phones, tablets, and Sony VAIO PCs. Now it's open to any Android device running Jelly Bean or higher. Here it is running on a Nexus 5.
When the name of that song playing in the background escapes you, Shazam is the most common way to figure it out. This app has a few hundred million installs on Google Play – no big deal, or anything. A recent update has brought the updated experience that was teased at MWC to the Android app, so get your updates started.
Google has been buffing up the capabilities of the Chromecast as of late by opening up app access with the SDK, and it looks like even first-party apps are getting in on the action. The latest release of the beta version of Chrome for Android adds in Chromecast capability for YouTube videos. Theoretically, it should work for any standard HTML5 video as well. Now you don't need a laptop to cast web videos to your television.