Careful if you're updating on Android 4.4 KitKat, though ...
A quick heads up for those of you rocking SwiftKey — version 4.3.1 is now available. The big strokes for the changelog are bugfixes — the $ sign is back for non-English keyboards — and the option to put the numeric keypad on either the left- or right-hand side.
If you're updating on an Android 4.4 KitKat device, however, you'll need to look out for a gremlin. After updating, the Google Keyboard will again become the default — and SwiftKey won't appear in the list of default options. Two options to fix that: Hop into the SwiftKey app, and that appears to reset it, or choose "Select Input Method" from Settings>Language&Input>Default. Let's hope that gets sorted out right quick.
Swiftkey's got a more thorough changelog at the link below.
Even if you've previously bought FlightTrack and FlightTrack Pro, you'll have to pony up again for this new app
Mobiata's FlightTrack app has long been a go-to app for frequent fliers — myself included. But it's always been a rather complicated affair. There was the original FlightTrack, which cost $4.99. The FlightTrack Pro download added the ability to sync with Tripit (which manages multiple itineraries with ease), but that cost another $4.99. And then the app largely remained unchanged over the years, as far as design was concerned. Loads of functionality, but it was looking stale.
Then in August 2012, Mobiata introduced FlightTrack Free. As the name implies, it cost nothing — and it brought a much improved app design. But it didn't sync with Tripit, which made a non-starter for many frequent fliers.
Now, we've got FlightTrack 5. A single app, which can be yours for another $2.99. But gone is the Tripit integration. Instead, you'll have to input flights manually, one at a time. The app does recognize when two legs are part of the same trip and links them together, which is good. But having to add four or six flights at a time is annoying — and well worth a few extra bucks to those of us that have to do frequently.
The good news is if you have the original FlightTrack (and FlightTrack Pro) installed, they'll continue to work. Also, Mobiata says it's working to make up for the missing functionality.
Vector is our cross-site, cross-platform opinion and analysis show. This week, Ben Bajarin of Techpinions talks to Rene about the growth of smartphones, the segments that are emerging, what marketshare really means, and what comes next with wearables, automotive, and more.
Kobo steps up to 10-inches with its latest reading focused Android tablet
Despite not being the first name you'd think of when considering an Android tablet, Kobo impressed with its first Arc tablet 12 months ago. And now, Kobo is back, and stepping up to the 10-inch mark with this, the Arc 10 HD. We took a first look at this Tegra 4 powered tablet back at IFA 2013 in Berlin, but now it's ready for folks to get their hands on so we've got one in for review.
As with the previous generation Arc, the Arc 10 HD is still a reading focused tablet. Kobo is after all an e-reading company, and so it's sticking firmly with what it knows. On the top there's the latest version of Kobo's custom UI, but as before underneath is a pretty much untouched Android 4.2.2 experience with some pre-loaded apps and a few minor tweaks. We'll go into a lot more detail in the full review, but for now, here's a quick video walkthrough of the hardware and software.
Hot on the heels of the open-source code drop, the Google Play edition HTC One has started receiving its over-the-air update to the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat. The 320MB update is arriving automatically on some handsets today — though as usual, not everyone will receive the update right away. As is the case with other non-Nexus 5 devices, the update includes the older stock Android launcher as opposed to the new one with Google Now integrated.
If you want to sideload the update, we've got the download link after the break.
Pretty big, pretty average specs define Samsung's latest Galaxy Grand
If we weren't already offered plenty of large smartphones to choose from, Samsung has thrown yet another new device into the pot with this, the Galaxy Grand 2. The successor to the original Grand sees a bump in hardware specs, but this is still a distinctly mid-range device.
The 5.2-inch display has a resolution of 1280x720, and underneath Android 4.3 is pushed along by a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and 1.5GB of RAM. On-board storage is limited to just 8GB but there is at least a microSD card slot to go with that, and a reasonably sized 2600mAh battery.
Round the back there's an 8MP camera, and since the Galaxy Grand 2 is running the latest version of Touchwiz, a bunch of Samsung's own apps and services can be found on the Grand 2 including S-Translator, S-Travel and the Samsung Hub.
The Galaxy Grand 2 will come in black, white or pink in selected regions, and comes in a dual-SIM variety for folks that sort of thing is important to. What we don't have is any word on price or availability. The full press release can be found after the break.
After the 'real gold' HTC One, this one's more of a 'champagne' version
Following the (very) limited arrival of the HTC One in 18-carat gold, HTC has announced a new "golden" version of the HTC One to go alongside the silver, black, red and blue versions. As a mainstream color option, this version isn't plated with the precious metal — rather the aluminum chassis has been treated with a "champagne" color, similar to the "gold" iPhone 5s. Besides the eye-catching exterior, it's basically the same handset we've been using since the spring, with a Snapdragon 600 CPU, 1080p display and Android 4.3 plus HTC Sense 5.5.
The gold HTC One will be released across Europe "with a number of partners," HTC says, adding that details of local availability will be revealed later today.
So is anyone tempted by this new color option for the HTC One? Shout out in the comments!
Google Play edition Galaxy S4 and HTC One Android 4.4 updates shouldn't be far behind
Samsung and HTC have just published the Android 4.4 kernel source code and framework support files for their Google Play edition devices. While the code released today, a requirement of the GPL, won't be of any use to regular users, it does mean the rollout of KitKat to both Google Play edition phones is likely a matter of days away, if that. (The previous Android 4.3 OTA followed within a day of the open-source bits being released.)
Live TV functionality still limited to your home network
Making the move after being available on iOS first, Cox Cable's Contour app is now available for subscribers on Android. Designed specifically for tablets, Contour is very similar to offerings from other cable providers that let you manage your cable box and watch TV (albeit with restrictions) on your mobile device. At this point, Cox lists the Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Galaxy Tab 2 and Galaxy Tab 3 as supported in this release.
With Contour, you can manage your DVR, watch on-demand video content and switch between watching shows on your tablet and your TV seamlessly. While over 100 live TV channels are available through the app, a bit of tricky wording says that you can watch "anywhere in your house," indicating that the TV offerings aren't available outside of your home network.
Regardless of the restrictions, its nice to see another cable operator provide a useful second screen experience for Android tablet users out there.
Ludicrous $500 off-contract price likely won't entice many to forgo the service agreement
Although the carrier didn't make much noise about it, U.S. Cellular is now selling the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. While we knew the smaller (and lesser-appointed) Galaxy S4 was headed to the carrier at some point in November, no new information was known until the phone just popped up on its online store.
The Galaxy S4 Mini can be yours on U.S. Cellular for $50 with a two-year contract or (a frankly absurd) $500 without any service agreement. You'll have your choice of white or black for the color, and in either case you'll be getting much the same experience as those who have the S4 Mini internationally or in the states on Verizon.
If you are considering the S4 Mini on U.S. Cellular, you may want to shop around just a bit, however. The carrier is currently running promotions that peg devices like the Moto X at free on-contract.