While recently re-examining the Google Play Store policies, we took another look at the rules against keyword spam and what the company suggests for app descriptions. Developers are advised to stay away from classic spam techniques like repetitive keywords, exceedingly long descriptions, and unrelated keywords or references. Publishers will often use these tactics in an attempt to sneak their apps into unrelated search results. One of the most interesting of these recommendations comes at the tail end of the page where Google advises against referencing other apps you've published.
It turns out Spotify Connect has a very useful feature that the company hasn't done much to make immediately obvious. The service, which lets you stream music to WiFi-connected speakers from your smartphone or tablet, also lets you pump music to other Android devices. The devices don't even have to be on the same network, for that matter. You can connect from an LTE network, as you can see in the screenshots below.
As a follow up to our recent PSA on bootloader quirks with GPE devices, we thought it would be a good idea to shed some light on a bootloader anomaly which affects both Nexus and GPE devices. Recently, there have been changes to the way unlocking happens behind the scenes. These changes can result in a device that infinitely boots into recovery.
Traditionally, when you decide to unlock and flash a custom recovery, the procedure goes something like this:
In addition to things like stock Android and being carrier-unlocked, one of the big features of Nexus and Google Play Edition devices that Android power users love is an easily unlockable bootloader. While OEMs and carriers often make a policy of locking their devices' bootloaders to prevent installation of unauthorized software, Google makes it very easy for us to tinker with devices bearing its brand. All you really need to unlock a Google device is a tool called "fastboot," which is made available through the Android SDK.
Of all the announced new features of the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4/KitKat, one of the cooler ones was a new dialer colloquially known as the "KitKat dialer." It features a revamped UI and includes the ability to search for businesses, contacts, etc. right from inside the dialer. It also features Internet-based caller ID. The name "KitKat dialer," however, is not entirely accurate.
Google Dialer (its official name) is not technically part of KitKat because it is not included in AOSP.
When Google announced the next-generation Nexus 7 back in July, the Android enthusiast community rejoiced at the fact that the LTE model, while working on AT&T and T-Mobile as expected, also worked on Verizon Wireless. This was an enormous step forward in the mobile universe because Verizon has the largest network in the United States and, at the time of release, had more LTE coverage than AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint combined.
The Android 4.4 update, aka KitKat, still has yet to roll out to a large number of Nexus device owners out there. And, in desperation, some users are resorting to methods they probably don't fully understand in order to get the OTA, one of which is clearing the Google Service Framework data. This method isn't new, but it's one whose side effects are not generally considered by those who use it, at least according to Google engineer Dan Morrill.
Back on Halloween, Google promised that proprietary binaries and factory images for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 would arrive shortly after devices received their OTA updates. Even though some OTAs haven't even rolled out yet, as of a few minutes ago, all modern Nexus devices now have Android 4.4 KRT16O factory images and drivers available for download.
This means you can flash stock Android 4.4 onto any supported device, even if an OTA either wasn't available yet or wouldn't work for some reason.
Now that the KitKat update has started rolling out to various Nexus devices, we're, unfortunately, seeing no traces of the Google Experience Launcher, which confirms an earlier report stating as much. No GEL means no transparency in the default and a pretty barebones boring AOSP launcher. It also means no Google Now integration and no "Ok Google" hotword support while on any home screen.
Boring Nexus 7 launcher
However, not all is lost.
It seems there has been a bit of confusion about the latest Nexus phone's carrier compatibility here in the good ol' US of A, and I'm here to settle one of the questions asked by a number of our readers: does the Nexus 5 fully work on AT&T's network?
The short, simple answer: Yes. The Nexus 5 is fully compatible with all of AT&T's existing 2G, HSPA+ (3G / Faux 4G), and LTE infrastructure.