Some Pixel owners have noticed over the last couple of monthly updates that their phones have lost Widevine L1 status, falling to L3 and rendering them incapable of playing back some DRM-protected content at high quality. More simply, that means they can't play HD content in apps and services like Netflix. By far the majority of devices are not affected and the cause isn't immediately clear. Google tells us it's aware of these reports and working on a fix, and devices from other manufactures may also be affected.
Not all Android devices can stream from Netflix at the same quality, the company is actually a little bit picky about it, certifying individual devices for different features. While the list sometimes lags a bit behind reality, Netflix now says that TCL's latest phones (the 10 Pro and 10L) are now HD-compatible, together with the Asus ROG II and ZenFone 6.
We're not sure if this is a bug or a sign of things to come, but if you've purchased a movie on Google Play Movies in HD that has a 4K version available now and you open your purchases in the YouTube app on Android TV, you might spot a 4K sign below it. However, when you start playing it, the highest resolution available is 1080p.
Our tipster spotted this 4K label in his library, and Cody was able to confirm it as well. So far it's unclear whether this is a bug or it's a sign of Google upgrading HD Play Movies purchases to 4K for free when applicable - something that Apple did when it launched 4K content on iTunes, but that Google didn't.
OnePlus' phones are a great value, but they've each individually had a few drawbacks. One negative they all had in common, though, was a DRM deficiency. None of the company's handsets supported the correct Widevine level required for HD playback in Netflix. Distress on the subject came to a head late last year, and OnePlus surprisingly announced that it would add the feature in the future. In a comment on OnePlus' forums today the company confirmed that it was now able to update handsets to support it, but the process will require that you physically send the phone back to OnePlus for the update.
The OnePlus 5T is one of our favorite phones at AP. It's a fantastic value, improving on its predecessor without costing a whole lot more. But there is still one unfortunate disadvantage to using one. Like OnePlus' older phones, it doesn't support the correct DRM level for HD playback on services such as Netflix. But OnePlus has promised us that this will be corrected in the future for the OnePlus 5 and 5T.
Netflix customers now all have the option to stream their favorite television shows and movies in the highest quality bit rate that the company offers. HD? No, Super HD. It's 1080p, but with less compression. Netflix first rolled out this higher quality offering way back in January, but they only worked with ISPs with whom they have a direct connection. Now they're ready to stream Super HD to everyone. They're also hoping more ISPs will adopt Netflix Open Connect, their video content delivery network that tries to reduce internet congestion by storing content on servers as close to users as possible.
Besides taking a look at the Galaxy Gear here at IFA 2013, we also got the chance to play around with Samsung's new lineup of Note devices, namely the Note 3 and the Note 10.1 2014 edition.
Ignoring for a moment the devices' form factors, they share a lot of similarities and, in fact, share just about everything software-wise. Samsung's main focus with the new devices, besides their refreshed specs, displays, and hardware design, is the S Pen, which itself has received a functionality upgrade. After a brief hands-on video, we'll take a closer look.
First, we'll take a quick look at what we know so far, spec-wise.
Super ultra mega HD resolution support is coming to a robot-themed OS near you, but before we get into that, let's talk about Android and DPI.
Android devices come in tons of different resolutions, everything from a tiny 128x128 watch screen to the massive 2560x1600 resolution of the Nexus 10. Higher resolution screens need higher resolution apps with higher resolution image files. It doesn't make sense to serve up super-high resolution assets to low resolutions screens, so to make sure the right screens get the right size files, Android has several generalized DPI categories for image assets. Each of these categories matches up with a range of hardware screen DPIs:
Low DPI (LDPI) = 120DPI
Medium DPI (MDPI) = 160DPI (The T-Mobile G1)
High DPI (HDPI) = 240DPI (The Nexus S)
Extra High DPI (XHDPI) = 320DPI (The Galaxy Nexus/N4)
Extra Extra High DPI (XXHDPI) = 480DPI (the HTC One)
Apps contain folders for each of these densities, and there are usually a full set of app images in each folder.
If you've still not tried one of the best ambient "chill-out" games out there, Osmos HD, and you don't use the Amazon App Store, now's your chance. The game's developers at Hemisphere Games have put Osmos HD on sale for just $0.99 (that's two dollars less than its normal $2.99 price) in celebration of the vernal equinox today. The sale will last for an un-quantified "few days."
For those who haven't heard of Osmos, it's an ambient game that could almost be considered a classic for the Android platform. The general idea is that you are a small blob, navigating through the "Blobiverse," soaking up smaller motes, while avoiding larger, more dangerous life forms.
Last month, we saw Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx HD offered up for $99.99 on Amazon for new accounts only. If you're already a Verizon subscriber who's looking to instead upgrade to the Maxx HD, you're in luck – it looks like Amazon has extended the offer to upgrade customers as well. For reference, Amazon's price puts the phone a full $200 below Verizon's own price.
Just in case you've forgotten, the Droid Razr Maxx HD packs a 4.7" 720x1280 display (that's 312ppi), 8MP camera, dual-core 1.5GHz processor, and 1GB RAM. Oh, and an ample 3300mAh battery. If that's not enough to sway you, keep in mind the Maxx HD recently saw its upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.1.