Remember when Motorola promised that its 2013 phone lineup would be getting over-the-air updates to Android 5.0, almost a year and a half ago? Pepperidge Farm DROID Ultra, DROID Maxx, and DROID Mini owners remember: they've been waiting that long to get their much-needed upgrade, watching with envy while the Verizon-specific phones were passed over and Moto's more general X and G lines got their updates. Not that any of those neglected customers are particularly surprised at this point, but Motorola has finally recanted on its promise: there will be no Lollipop for the Ultra, Maxx, or Mini.
Last summer's trifecta of DROIDs are all getting hit by the same over-the-air update right about now. Verizon has announced a bump up to software version 23.1.12 that's going out to the DROID Maxx, Mini, and Ultra. The OTA prepares the devices to deliver better call quality through what the carrier has coined Advanced Calling 1.0.
This update also brings along improvements to the phones' messaging client and visual voicemail service. These touch-ups are joined by your usual vague set of bug fixes.
Carriers tend to push these updates out in waves these days, so try to sit tight until the notification arrives.
Motorola hasn't forgotten about those devices that aren't part of the "Moto" family. The Droid Maxx, Droid Ultra, and Droid Mini on Verizon are getting the Android 4.4.4 update starting today. Even the Moto X hasn't been given the go ahead yet.
If you've bought a DROID phone from Verizon and Motorola at some point in the last two generations, you've got an update coming soon. The carrier posted update materials for all 2012 and 2013 Motorola DROIDs: RAZR M, RAZR HD, RAZR MAXX HD, Mini, Ultra, and Maxx. The older phones are getting upgraded to Android 4.4.2, while the newer DROIDs just get a stability update.
Psst. Verizon. That's not a DROID RAZR HD.
This is the big one for the DROID RAZR M, DROID RAZR HD and DROID RAZR MAXX HD, which should be updated all the way to Android 4.4.2.
The Touchless Control feature on the Moto X and Verizon's 2013 DROIDs (Ultra, Maxx, and Mini) is already one of the coolest Android manufacturer add-ons around. Today it gets just a little cooler: the Touchless Control app was updated to add a "What's up" command. This voice command will make your phone read out the unread notifications in your status bar. This should be great for hands-free updates while driving. Or bathing.
Here's an example of a single email:
The vocal response will adjust based on your notifications - for example, if you have more than one unread email, it will simply give you a number.
Motorola has been taking advantage of the Play Store to distribute updates to a number of stock apps including the camera, Assist, and Touchless Control. Now the newest addition to the Play Store has popped up, and it's the stock Gallery app with a new coat of paint. The old one looked just like the stock Android/Nexus app, but now it has a light KitKat vibe.
Motorola first released the Droid Zap app back in August, and while it consisted largely of blacks and reds, it still provided a relatively integrated experience. But already, things were changing, and they haven't slowed since - Android apps these days are filled with image-heavy cards and convenient sidebars. Now the latest version of Droid Zap has both of these elements.
This app allows DROID users to share files with people within 300 feet of them. All they have to do is swipe up on the file, and people in the vicinity will get alerted to the content, which they can then receive by swiping down within the app.
After being the first carrier to deliver KitKat on the Moto X, Verizon is now following up with OTA updates for its own line of exclusive Motorola devices. Starting today, DROID MAXX, Mini, and Ultra owners will start to see the latest version of Android arrive on their devices. According to a tweet sent out just now, this update will be going out in waves.
Verizon has already posted support documentation of what to expect. In addition to the enhancements brought on by KitKat, such as the new immersive interface, camera improvements, and other changes to Google's stock software, the phones are gaining FitBit support.
Maybe the black slabs of glass and Kevlar that are Verizon's 2013 DROID lineup aren't doing it for you. If that's the case (and you haven't already bought a customized Moto X), you can now pick up either the svelte DROID Ultra or the pint-sized DROID Mini in shades of white. The capacious DROID Maxx, surprisingly, is still only offered in black.
Unlike some of the early leaks of the white Ultra model, this one seems to be white all over, as opposed to white on the glass panel with a black body. (The white-on-black coloration was how Verizon's DROID RAZR HD and related phones were styled - I think this looks much better.) The white color might also make the fingerprint magnet finish on both the Ultra and the Mini a little less pronounced.