Last to the party as always, Verizon is finally pushing Android 4.1.2 to its version of the Galaxy Note II. This update also brings some Samsung enhancements like a proper version of multi-window, along with overall bug fixes and enhancements. Overall, it looks like a pretty good one for Big Red's note-taking behemoth.
It was only yesterday that Cyanogen definitively confirmed AT&T's treacherous move to lock down the Galaxy S4's bootloader, but there is light at the end of that tunnel. No thanks to AT&T but to security researcher extraordinaire and a person I admire Dan Rosenberg, a.k.a. the magician, a.k.a. the root whisperer.
Dan, who is responsible for numerous root and unlock exploits, tweeted this photo of his Galaxy S4 earlier today:
There are no instructions or blog posts explaining the unlock at Dan's blog yet - these should be coming in the future.
I picked up Samsung's official first-party cover for the Galaxy Note 8.0 shortly after getting the tablet itself, because Samsung's plastic body doesn't inspire confidence, because all tablets scream out for an easy freestanding solution, and (not least) because it was the only option right after release. The case hits all the high points: good protection, a built-in stand, and a magnet to activate the screen's sleep feature. The only major downside, like the tablet itself, is the price.
If you bought/plan on buying AT&T's variant of the Galaxy S4, we have some bad news for those of you who like to flash custom ROMs, kernels, and the like: it's locked down tight.
Historically, Samsung devices – up to and including the SIII – have been bootloader-unlocked on AT&T. The Galaxy S4 brings a major change in that respect, as Steve Kondik (Cyanogen) has confirmed that it is indeed locked, in that it "authenticates the recovery and boot images before executing them." In layman's terms, that essentially means that it won't allow any sort of custom recovery or boot image to be flashed and/or run.
While Sprint has yet to announce it, an OTA update has begun pushing to its version of the Galaxy S4 (model SPH-L720), build number L720VPUAMDL. The version the device shipped with was L720VPUAMDC. There are no immediately apparent changes in the new build, though I do think the lockscreen animation is a little snappier than it was before. Then again, it's easy for that sort of thing to be placebo.
After a short delay, Sprint is now ushering Samsung's highly anticipated successor to the popular Galaxy S III to store shelves, but how much does it cost? New customers can pick up the Galaxy S4 with a two-year contract for $149, but existing customers looking to upgrade must plop down $249 to bring home the same phone. This isn't the best of news for current Sprint customers, but there is now another option available.
We should've seen this coming. Really, Samsung, it's our fault. We should've stopped you when you put on that incredibly sexist Broadway show. We didn't. We argued that it was funny and then even enabled you by saying you have better marketing than HTC. We set you up for this. What could we have expected except a Gangnam Style parody that touts the virtues of the Galaxy S4?
The above video of the song...*sigh*...
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is a strange beast. Sitting more or less between the Note II and the Note 10.1, the Note 8.0 feels like a Frankenstein Android device, mixing elements of both smartphones and tablets. Of course, that's kind of the point: in territories where carriers don't have such a stranglehold on the wireless industry, the Note 8.0 is exactly the giant phone that it looks like. Here in the States, we'll have to make due with an 8-inch WiFi tablet - a mid-sized device for the category, with a premium price.
Didn't pick up AT&T's version of the Galaxy S4 when it hit shelves this weekend? You're a smart one (not to say that those who did pick one up aren't smart, of course), because Amazon Wireless has already knocked the price down to $168. Sure, that's a pretty random amount ($32 off AT&T's price) considering we're used to seeing prices drop in increments of $50, but hey – a deal is a deal, right?
This particular Note II is the international unlocked GSM model, (meaning no LTE) touting quad-band HSPA+ 3G data connectivity. The upshot is that you can take this Note II pretty much anywhere in the world and it'll work - just toss a SIM in and you're good to go.