All the talk about Android L this week overshadows the unfortunate fact that the previous release is still on less than 15% of Android devices. This weekend US Cellular is helping in a small way, releasing KitKat to two of its Samsung phones. The US Cellular versions of the Galaxy S4 Mini and the Galaxy Mega (6.3) are both being updated to KitKat, so those with the applicable hardware should keep an eye out for the over-the-air alert.
It's no secret that we think the Galaxy Tab S series are the best tablets you can buy right now. They're also not cheap - Samsung's priced its iPad competitors at iPad prices, and that means shelling out at least a cool $400 if you want to get in on that Super AMOLED goodness. Best Buy, though, is willing to give you a whole Benjamin off the MSRP if you give them a little trade-in action, though.
Have you been wondering if Google really ran out of the Galaxy S4 GPE? Well, maybe there were a few left over. That would explain the cache of devices that just popped up on eBay. Someone has acquired a number of the devices and is selling them at a steep discount. Just $499.99 for an unlocked Google Play Edition smartphone. That's $150 off what Google was selling it for a few weeks ago.
The biggest reason to turn down Samsung's Pro line of tablets is easily the exorbitant pricing. $750 for a tablet? Seriously, Sammy? Unsurprisingly, the various models have quickly fallen to some dramatic discounts, none more so than the top-of-the-line Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. BuyDig's eBay seller account has a refurbished 32GB model going for $449.99. That's $200 off the Amazon price (and technically $300 off retail), and $50 cheaper than we saw earlier this month.
As with most of these promoted eBay deals, standard shipping is free, at least if you live in the United States.
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.