The Bluetooth experience on Android has always been a rocky road. For the first few years Android relied on BlueZ, a "protocol stack" originally developed by Qualcomm for the Linux operating system. Despite many limitations and missing features, BlueZ served admirably until Android 4.2 launched with a new stack dubbed Bluedroid, a project built jointly by Google and Broadcom. Like any young project, the bugs were plentiful, but most of the critical issues were solved in the first few weeks.
Typically Christmas day is a slow one for technology news, but apparently the good folks at the Android Open Kang Project have dragged their coding machines in front of the open fire. Today AOKP has posted the first nightly builds of Android 4.4.2, granting deliciously fresh custom ROMs to all the good little girls and boys. And all the bad ones too, I suppose.
The list of initially-supported devices doesn't cover AOKP's official support list yet, but it covers most of the major Nexus devices, Samsung's Galaxy SIII and S4 American and international incarnations, all five major versions of the HTC One, and a handful of Sony devices (because they tend to be pretty open as far as bootloaders and modifications go).
Amid the flurry of new devices quietly launched recently, Google released a new Nexus accessory - a folio case for the Nexus 7 (2013). Despite my varied experiences with Nexus accessories, I'm always eager to see what Google thinks will work best with their devices. I'm particularly interested in tablet accessories. Tablets are meant to be super portable and usable anywhere, so making an accessory that retains the appeal of the device's form factor while also adding some utility is an interesting challenge.
Spend a little time in the technology industry and you'll begin to dread December. It's the time when everyone and their grandmother's PR agent invites you to go to an off-floor presentation in Las Vegas to talk about the latest advances in iPhone accessories. ASUS isn't quite that bad, but their CES teaser is a little strange nonetheless. I'm going to assume that the Statue of Liberty in the following promotional video is the one from the New York, New York casino.
Google wants to entice you to buy a Nexus 7 from the Play Store, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter where you pick one up. So if you're looking to snag one in time for Christmas at a discounted price, Office Depot is currently willing to sell you one for $50 off. This brings the price of the 16GB model down to $179.99.
If you insist on buying the larger 32GB model (and really, I wouldn't blame you), Office Depot is willing to part with that for $40 off the usual retail price.
If you're looking for a tablet with world-beating specs, one of the highest-resolution screens available, and impressive expansion options, you'll want to look at Amazon today. The new ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity, with its NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor and 2560x1600 screen, is fifty bucks off the retail price. You can pick it up on Amazon for $399.95, with free two-day shipping if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber. It's unclear if this is a sale or a new regular price.
When Google announced the next-generation Nexus 7 back in July, the Android enthusiast community rejoiced at the fact that the LTE model, while working on AT&T and T-Mobile as expected, also worked on Verizon Wireless. This was an enormous step forward in the mobile universe because Verizon has the largest network in the United States and, at the time of release, had more LTE coverage than AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint combined.
I've been lusting after ASUS' ambitious Padfone devices ever since they were announced way back in 2012. But since ASUS is a company that focuses on its home market first, we haven't seen hide nor hair of the docking smartphone-tablet hybrids over here in the United States. According to an Engadget interview with ASUS CEO Jerry Shen, that could change as soon as the second quarter of next year.
The interview is a lengthy one, but the juicy bit is near the end: Shen says that ASUS is partnering with a "big operator" in the United States to launch the next iteration of the Padfone on our shores.
As we saw late last week, ASUS is looking to bring its unique Padfone concept to different form factors and price points. Enter the Padfone Mini, a new entry in the series that retains the dockable phone-tablet hybrid idea but shrinks it down to make it more affordable. The phone itself isn't much smaller at 4.3", but the tablet dock now has a 7-inch screen instead of 10, not to mention a vertical orientation.
Google is already selling zip-up sleeves and some stylish cases for the Nexus 7, but now you can add the new folio case to the list. This is essentially a bumper case with a front flap that can fold back and be used as a stand. It actually looks pretty neat.
The folio case comes in black and bright red, just like the Nexus 5 bumper. Unlike the N5 bumper, this is more of a bumper design with the back of the N7 exposed.