The "Mini" portion of Samsung's lineup is squarely aimed at the budget market. It's strange, then, to see two new phones that are (at least in some respects) a generation apart launch on the same carrier on the same day. Verizon has done just that: the Galaxy S III Mini is now available starting at $49.99 ($249.99 without a contract) and the Galaxy S4 Mini is $99.99 (a full $399.99 contract-free).
When Samsung introduced its gigantic yet frugal Galaxy Mega line, I had a feeling that it would be a hit with smaller and more budget-conscious carriers. Lo and behold, Metro PCS is the latest US carrier to get a branded version of the ginormous Galaxy Mega 6.3, starting on November 25th. AT&T, Sprint, and US Cellular have already released the phone. After a $100 instant rebate, the phone costs $399 on a MetroPCS contract-free plan.
Samsung Galaxy S III owners have waited patiently for their Android 4.3 update, and though Samsung put the international version's update on hold, American carriers have started to push out OTAs to their customers. T-Mobile got the ball rolling yesterday, and now AT&T is doing the same. The company is distributing the most recent version of Jelly Bean via an update to build number I747UCUEMJB.
The download is over 600MB.
If you've recently updated your Nexus device from Jelly Bean to KitKat, there's a chance you're already being notified of an OTA update to KRT16S. If you're wondering what's changed, the collected list of source commits has been posted by Al Sutton. Most of the tweaks are pretty minor, including an improvement to the backup service, a few updated APNs for assorted carriers, and code to handle rare issues with the 3G Nexus 7 (2012) radio.
Minus a couple of hiccups, Samsung is reliably updating its later models to the last version of Jelly Bean. Sprint's branded version of the Galaxy Note II is the latest phone to get the Android 4.3 magic, complete with updated compatibility with Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Gotta sell those $300 add-ons, eh Sprint?
Samsung is following its release schedule almost to the letter. In addition to Android 4.3 goodies and Gear compatibility, this particular update (L900VPAMK4) adds HD Voice enhancements, Samsung KNOW compatibility, and a few visual touches to bring the Note II more in line with UI elements found on the Galaxy S4 and Note 3.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is one of the best smartphones money can buy. However, it does take a lot of money to buy one. As an unexpected thank you for buying its giant tablet-phone, Samsung is offering $50 in Google Play credit, and all you have to do is enter some information online.
It's easy – just hit up the website below and input your phone number, IMEI, and a few other bits of information.
The first notable update for KitKat has just been released across most of the major AOSP and Nexus channels. According to Google software engineer Conley Owens, the KRT16S build includes bugfixes for the original Nexus 7 and Nexus 7 2013 (WiFi and mobile versions), Nexus 4, and Nexus 10. The binaries have already been added to the Nexus repository.
Screenshot credit: Tron87, Nathan Sparrow
Google has also updated the factory images for the relevant Nexus devices.
Smartphone theft is a growing problem. With more and more people carrying around a $500 gadget in their pockets, muggers and pickpockets are targeting smartphone owners for a quick and easy buck on the aftermarket. Municipalities all over the country have noted the rise in cell phone theft, and so have the manufacturers. But as CBS News reports, when Samsung built in a user-accessible kill switch to deter thieves, the CTIA and the five largest carriers in the country wanted nothing to do with it.
Regular readers will recall that yesterday AT&T suspended the rollout of the Android 4.3 update to its carrier-branded version of the Galaxy S4. It looks like US Cellular is doing the same today. The following is a statement given to Android Police when we asked a US Cellular representative about any possible delays to the update, which was started on November 8th:
Many of us have sacrificed point and shoot cameras for the smartphones in our pockets, but it will be a long time before they can compete with the more high-end options out there. So if you want an Android camera that can take truly phenomenal pictures, you may have to sacrifice the phone portion for the time being. Consider turning your attention to Samsung's Galaxy NX, a camera with a 20.3MP sensor, a 4.8-inch touchscreen, and Android 4.2.2.