I have to admit, if you were to tell me one year ago today that devices like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition would exist as things, I'd call you a liar. And I'd probably secretly hope that they did exist, too. These handsets, or really, the idea behind them, have been the enduring dream of almost every Android enthusiast from the early days of MOTOBLUR and TouchWiz.
Scarcely a day has passed since the Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 and HTC One went on sale, and their software bits are already floating around online. You can grab the files to get the new red SunBeam live wallpaper, boot animation, and updated camera app on your device. These are only confirmed working on AOSP-based devices, and 4.1.2 TouchWiz in the case of the camera. Do be careful!
If you're reading this on a later GSM-only Samsung device, pay attention. After clarifying their continuing support for Tegra 2 devices earlier this week, the CyanogenMod ROM team wants to let you know about their position vis-à-vis Samsung's Exynos 4 series of chipsets. In a nutshell: devices based on the Exynos 4 will be getting CyanogenMod 10.1 (Android 4.2) nightly builds, and not much else. These phones and tablets will not be getting stable releases of the latest CyanogenMod builds for the time being.
Now that the various sizes of the Galaxy Tab 3 are on the brink of release, it's time for Samsung to update a few of its older tablets... to Android 4.1.2. Commence grumbling about the sad state of the manufacturer/carrier update system. AT&T's LTE version of the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (SGH-I497) is next on the list - since the tablet launched on AT&T's network back in November with a 4.0 operating system that was only a year out of date, it's almost fitting that the 4.1 update is coming almost exactly a year after Jelly Bean was introduced on the Nexus 7.
There's been a lot of speculation about just how Nexus-like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition phones will be, particularly from a technical / software update standpoint. Now, we have some relatively concrete information that sheds light on these issues.
First and foremost, Google will not directly handle software updates for Google Play edition devices. This has been reported as true, false, and generally disputed quite a lot in the lead-up to the launch.
You know who you are. While the rest of us were waiting for the Google Play Edition HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 to arrive, your mind was elsewhere. You want to get your hands dirty, and now you can. Google has released the kernel and platform open source code for both the HTC One and the Galaxy S4.
Update: When asked about the proprietary binary drivers that one would usually find on the Binaries for Nexus Devices page, Google pointed fingers at the OEMs.
The day is here, AOSP fans: you can go pick up a gloriously stock Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One in the Google Play Store now. The "Google Play Edition" phones went live this morning, right on time, and are now for sale next to the Nexus phones and tablets. The GS4 Google Edition can be had for $649, while the HTC One goes for slightly less at $599. Both are running the latest version of Android 4.2 shod of all skins and add-ons, with promised updates via Google itself.
A little over a week ago, rumors of yet another Galaxy S4 variant hit the web, but this time it was packing support for LTE Advanced, the successor to the LTE we all know and love. That device is now official on Korea's SK Telecom, and it not only has support for the fastest mobile network on the planet, but also Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 800 chip. Early benchmarks of the device are in, and it crushes everything we've seen thus far – up to and including the "original" Galaxy S4.
In the Android Police Galaxy Note 8.0 review, we mentioned that it would be a lot better with an adjusted price. The Samsung tablet has already seen some pretty significant discounts, and today eBay has the WiFi version for $345. That's $55 bucks off the US retail price, plus free shipping and zero taxes, at least if you live somewhere that isn't New York or New Jersey. This isn't one of eBay's Daily Deals - presumably the sale will end when stock runs out.
Samsung's third iteration of the Galaxy Tab series of tablets isn't exactly mind-blowing, with each entry rocking specs that rival that of the aging Nexus 7. While we're mildly offended that Samsung would stick a 1280x800 resolution on a 10.1-inch screen, that doesn't mean we're going to stop you from buying one if your heart so desires. The 7-inch, 8-inch, and 10.1-inch versions of Sammy's largely identical slates have all popped up for pre-order online and at several big box retailers.