The first two Android Wear devices have just gone live in the Play Store. You can get your pre-order in today and Google will ship them your way as soon as they're in stock. The G Watch is selling for $229 and the Gear Live will be a little cheaper at $199.
If you're still toting around a stock AT&T Galaxy Note II, good news: your phone is finally getting Android 4.4.2. The rollout should be starting now, and includes all of the basic 4.4 goodies you can expect coming from 4.3, like wireless printing, the new storage access framework, SMS default app selection, Google Wallet tap-to-pay support, and a few others. Here's Samsung's full changelog:
OS upgrade to Android 4.4.2 KitKat
- New Lock Screen Access
- Media Controls - full-screen album art and media controls when listening to music
- Camera Shortcut - access the Camera application right from the lock screen
- Improved user experience when multiple messaging apps are installed - All SMS and MMS messages are together in the same app, alongside other conversations and video calls.
We've heard that Google intended to really make a push for greater corporate adoption with the L release, and the company touched on some of its plans in today's keynote. It confirmed that Android will empower companies to separate personal data from work data using containers without outside companies having to apply additional code to their devices. Interestingly, this comes thanks in part to Samsung, which has contributed some of its KNOX code to the next version of Android.
Today's Google I/O isn't exactly the coming out party for Android Wear - the company has already demonstrated the wearable platform in a preview form. But for developers, it's the main event: the full Wear software development kit will be available soon, and some of the more esoteric capabilities were elaborated upon. The early portions of the keynote demonstrated the user interface, which we've seen before, but the demonstrated capabilities are nonetheless impressive.
There's no denying that Samsung's current tablet lineup is a convoluted, confusing mess for anyone outside of the tech circle – just in the current run we have the Galaxy Tab 4 7, 8, 10.1; Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1/12.2, and now the newest member of the family, the Galaxy Tab S. Deep down, I still wish they would've named it the Galaxy S Tab, just so we could call it the Galaxy Stab.
Once the CyanogenMod team found and implemented the hidden Heads Up notification mode, it was basically inevitable that all the other major custom ROMs would follow suit. The unicorn-powered Android Open Kang Project has done so with their first nightly based on Android 4.4.4. They've also thrown in the usual bug fixes, as well as settings for automatic Immersive mode, disabling the full-screen keyboard, lockscreen orientation, and a few other goodies.
If you're ready to hop aboard the Samsung tablet train, the Note 10.1 2014 isn't a bad way to get started. It's a good size for productivity, has a beautiful display, and sports the S Pen for all sorts of fun stuff. Also, for right now, you can score a refurbished 16GB model from eBay for $300 with free shipping. That's a solid deal, especially considering Amazon is letting new models go for $480.
Verizon users will soon have the option of buying a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 that's compatible with the carrier's XLTE network. Oh, this isn't just any tablet, though. It's "The Family Tablet," which sounds to me like it should be a terrible ABC Family channel sitcom about a tablet that comes to life and solves a family's problems, or some such nonsense [cue laugh track]. But no, Verizon is simply choosing to stress Android's multi-user mode for some reason.
If you want an Galaxy S5 Active, your only choice is AT&T. Meanwhile, the newly announced Galaxy S5 Sport is a Sprint exclusive. Of course, these are pretty much the same phone with tiny aesthetic differences. Sprint is really pushing the fitness angle, though.
The GS5 Sport has the same trio of physical buttons on the front as the Active, and the specs are the same. You can get the gist simply by reading up on the Active, and pretending it says "Sport." It's IP67 rated for water and dust resistance, and it's got a beefier, more textured casing than the regular GS5.
Maybe you want a huge tablet. 10.1-inches of screen just isn't enough for some people, which is fine. Samsung knows how those people feel, which is why it released the Tab Pro 12.2. And right now, refurbished models are going for $385 on eBay, which is a pretty substantial savings over Amazon's $545 asking price for new units. For those who may have forgotten, this is what the Tab Pro is working with:
- Display: 12.2-inch 2560x1600 TFT LCD
- Processor: Exynos 5 Octa (1.9GHz Quad-core + 1.3GHz Quad-core)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32/64GB
- Cameras: 8MP rear shooter, 2MP front
- Ports: microUSB 3.0, microSD
- Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz and 5GHz, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi Direct, AllShareCast
- Battery: 9,500mAh
- OS: Android 4.4.2
- Dimensions/Weight: 295.6 x 204 x 7.95mm, 750g
Not bad for $385, eh?