Every major corporation has to fire people at some point. But Microsoft's plan to eliminate 18,000 jobs this year is, to say the least, a big deal. The company announced its plans on a blog post titled "Starting to Evolve Our Organization and Culture," written by new CEO Satya Nadella. Former Nokia employees will bear the brunt of this downsize, with 12,500 office and factory workers from the Finnish phone giant being laid off.
For the biggest of the big manufacturers, loaning out the name of your flagship model to smaller and cheaper phones is a no-brainer. You get potential customers who want the look and at least some of the features of the newest, coolest device, and you also get to reap the rewards of your brand marketing. So it is with Samsung and HTC's various "Mini" models, and now, LG's G3 Beat. Hey, at least they're not trying to call a 5-inch phone "mini."
The G3 Beat downgrades the best-in-class spec sheet of the full-sized G3 with a 5-inch, 720p LCD screen, a 1.2Ghz Snapdragon 400 processor, a mere 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage with a MicroSD card slot.
The Galaxy Tab S, in either its 8.4 or 10.5 form, is one of the best Android tablets you could buy right now. Heck, we might even be so bold as to call it the best. Many of you will surely pick one up, and among you, more than a couple will want to wipe TouchWiz off to replace it with something less crowded. To do that, you're going to need a custom recovery, and the TeamWin folks have just the tool.
Sony has announced an impending software update for the Xperia T2 Ultra and the T2 Ultra Dual that will deliver Android 4.4 to both devices. The update contains the changes introduced by KitKat, but it also tosses in a number of Sony-exclusive touches.
Sony's designers have tweaked the status bar and quick settings to make them easier on the eyes, and they've tossed in new animations at launch and on the homescreen that may look familiar to PlayStation 4 owners.
American readers might not know this, but HTC just loves the Desire brand name. It's been around since 2010, when the original launched as a slightly modified version of the Nexus One. Since then it's gone through many permutations, like the keyboard-equipped Desire Z (the G2 in the US) and got at One X-style makeover with the Desire X. The 601 brought the family up to the HTC One M7's industrial design, meaning the name has survived two of HTC's complete hardware overhauls.
A minor OTA update is now rolling out to the small population of people who happen to own Google Glass. This release, XE19.1, brings improved network connectivity, so Glass should now do a better job of handling spotty network issues when issuing voice commands. This is good considering how much Google's voice search relies on the web.
XE19.1 also brings in a slight visual revamp, as Glass now has a cleaner look for voice actions.
Google officially pulled the HTC One M7, Galaxy S4, Xperia Z Ultra, and LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition devices from the Play Store not too long ago. Since then we've seen a couple of them pop up on sale across various distributors. When an eBay seller offered the Galaxy S4 for $499 ($150 off) last month, we considered that a deal. Before that, Expansys USA offered the Z Ultra for the low price of $349, $100 less than what Google last asked for it.
While we can't exactly call it Cards Against Humanity (they're a bit picky about that), there's a new game out for Android that works with your Chromecast to let you play basically-Cards-Against-Humanity with your friends, and it's called Cardcast. Cardcast allows you to create decks, download decks (including most of the official CAH decks), and all you need to play it are some friends, a Chromecast, and an Android device for each player.
Update: This update is limited to Australia, New Zealand, and India, and addresses carrier support / fixes in those regions.
If you're seeing an update notification on your Nexus 5, you're not alone - Google is pushing a maintenance release of Android 4.4.4 to the smartphone, though this one appears to limited to a few corners of the world. New Zealand, Australia, and India should be seeing the OTA, which contains a new radio image, likely addressing issues with networks in those regions.
Google's HDMI dongle continues to spread across the world, bringing streaming video to bigger screens. This time the Chromecast has landed in Ireland just days after Google Play Movies became available. How convenient.
The device will cost €39 from the Play Store, which is somewhat higher than the US price when you figure in conversion. Until Android TV comes out, the Chromecast is the only way to beam content from all those cast-enabled apps to a TV.