If you updated your Verizon Galaxy S4 to the latest over-the-air build, or bought one after it was already installed, you might already be aware that it's been especially resistant to root attempts. Savvy power users have stayed well away from the updated VRUAME7 firmware, which makes rolling back to an earlier build impossible. But as is so often the case, two enterprising XDA-Developers posters have solved at least some of the problems, and released a new rooting method for the latest OTA.
For many power users, 16GB just doesn't cut it any more, especially when the world's leading smartphone manufacturer insists upon using a third of that for its customized Android build. Combine that with a still-outrageous premium for those few models that of phones that include extra storage, and you've got a recipe for frustration. But the Galaxy S4 situation just got a little less rage-inducing, at least if you're a prospective Verizon customer: both Amazon Wireless and WireFly have dropped the 32GB version of the Galaxy S4 to $199.99 on-contract.
If you're on The Now Network and looking for a new phone, you'd be hard-pressed to find one better than the Galaxy S4 (with one exception, depending on your personal preference). And in keeping with their tradition of rock-bottom prices at surprisingly fast intervals, Amazon Wireless is now offering the 16GB model for just $99.99 on-contract, to both new customers and existing subscribers adding a line.
Activation is free for new Sprint customers, as is two-day shipping (even without an Amazon Prime account).
Though there's a definite streak among power users to prefer Google's "pure" Android on their phones, some of the manufacturer skins from HTC and Samsung have charming features as well. Modder and ROM developer Paul O'Brien, better known as MoDaCo, has been testing a solution to give you the best of both worlds. MoDaCo.SWITCH is a dual-boot solution for power users that lets two ROMs (manufacturer stock and AOSP, for example) which share user data, allowing a seamless switch between interfaces.
As previously leaked, Verizon has a new mahogany hue for its Samsung Galaxy S4, and it's also showing up on Best Buy's site. The 16GB brown version is now available online only, at the same $199 on-contract and $649 off-contract prices as the black and white versions. But wait, those preview shots on the Verizon home page look a little... off.
Compare the brown in the screenshot above to the much more subtle brown in the Evleaks press shot, to say nothing of the fact that only the front of the device is actually brown.
Love 'em or hate 'em, you've got to admit that Samsung has made a habit out of offering its flagship devices in as many hues as they possibly can. Leakster extraordinaire EVleaks posted a press shot of a new Galaxy S4 last night, sporting an Autumn Brown color and Verizon branding. There's no indication of when it will show up on store shelves.
The leak says the phone is brown, but that's only half true: the back of the phone looks like the same diamond-pattern black as the older Galaxy S4, while the "brushed" pattern on the front bezel and home button gets a chocolate-colored makeover.
Some devices get all the ROMs. Of course, for the Google Play Edition of the Galaxy S4, that's kind of the point. Late last month an early version of Android 4.3 was leaked for the phone right around the time of its Play Store debut, and now an even newer build labeled "JWR66V" has popped up. According to XDA Developers forum poster Jahon, it was build on July the 11th, and now it's been re-packaged into a ROM file flashable in the custom recovery of your choice.
Late last month, Samsung announced an LTE-A-powered Galaxy S4 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor for Korea's SK Telecom network. The benchmarks – along with the speedtests – were mind-boggling, but it was extremely unclear whether the rest of the world would ever get a taste of everything this new GS4 has to offer. Thanks to a new leak over at AllAboutSamsung.de (and confirmed by SamMobile's sources), we now have strong reason to think that an international version, model number i9506, is on its way.
So you know about that big scary update for Verizon's Galaxy S 4 that blocks root, patches the bootloader, and haunts your children's dreams. The question is, though, what else does it do? Verizon finally spilled the beans (someone grab a mop and clean this mess up, please), and it's chock-full of stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.
Samsung announced this spring that security app LoJack would soon be built into the Galaxy S4. The necessary firmware arrived on most North American variants of the S4 in recent weeks, and now the service is live to take advantage of it. LoJack can be activated on your Galaxy S4 today for $29.99 per year. In return for your money you get phone tracking, remote wipe, and recovery assistance.
The LoJack app is built into the firmware of the device, making it persistent through factory resets (but probably not ROM flashes).