Let's stick with the app picks for just a little while longer
So we gave something new a whirl last week in place of the standard "Apps of the Week" post -- we tried to expand out beyond just apps to highlight the best of Google Play. Well, we may not have planned that one out the best considering what we have coming up. As things are getting pretty heavy for the next few weeks (and lets be honest, the last few weeks too) with Google I/O and then CTIA, we think maybe we should stick with the tried and true app picks for just a little while longer until we can get a good system ready to expand.
After the break you'll find the best apps from all different genres that the Android Central staff are using on a daily basis. They may not be the flashiest or the best of their kind, but they're what works for us and often that means they'll work for someone else too. Read along and see how we did this week.
Second release candidate appears as CM 10.1.0 approaches
A quick heads-up for anyone running one of the recently-releasedCyanogenMod 10.1 RC1 builds. Release candidate 2 of the popular Android 4.2.2-based custom firmware is now rolling off the servers, and builds are available for a few dozen devices at the time of writing. These include the current crop of Nexuses, U.S. Galaxy S3 models, the original Galaxy S, international LG Optimus G and HTC One X (Tegra 3), first and second-gen Kindle Fire, various Galaxy Tab 2 models, the original RAZR, Droid RAZR and Bionic, and Sony's Xperia Z and Xperia V. As this is a jump from one release candidate to another, we can probably expect fixes for any outstanding issues or bugs. On Wednesday the CM team said it expected RC1 to be one of the last builds before CM 10.1 goes stable with a 10.1.0 release.
To see if RC2 is available for your device, check the official download repository at get.cm, linked below.
Would Samsung really strap a 10X optical zoom and 16MP sensor to the back of a mid-range smartphone?
With the Galaxy S4 launch now mostly over and done with, Samsung rumormongers have turned their attention to the company's summer and fall product line-up. The most intriguing of these is a device rumored to go by the name 'Galaxy S4 Zoom.' Originally broken by SamMobile, initial reports suggested the 'Zoom' would be a mid-range handset with a 4.3-inch qHD SuperAMOLED screen on the front and a 16-megapixel camera strapped to the back. But that's not even the craziest part.
Could the XT1058 be the XFON we're all waiting to see? This sketch of the rear from the FCC makes us think so.
About a week ago, we got a fairly decent look at an AT&T branded phone from Motorola, labeled the XFON. It certainly resembles an earlier leak from Vietnam, but there was no information to go along with the pictures. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
That might have changed this evening, as the Motorola XT1058 has landed at the FCC, and a quick breeze through the documents tells us a little about what we're looking at. The phone will have Bluetooth 4.0, NFC capabilities, 802.11ac Wifi, and carriers AT&T's LTE bands. It doesn't take much imagination to connect this with the AT&T XFON we saw last week.
Other than what you're reading above, we don't know anything about this one. The timing is certainly convenient for a showing at Google I/O, but nobody can know exactly when -- or if -- we'll see this one. My gut tells me it's soon, though, and it's high time Motorola delivered another high-end GSM Android phone. If this is to debut at Google I/O, we should know in a few short days.
We're about to hit the road for San Francisco and Google I/O. So it's time for some predictions. Plus, we gab about the all-new Android Central app, rap on the Galaxy S4, and tackle some great voicemails. Join us!
It may be on the slow track, but the Xoom LTE is set to receive Jelly Bean nearly a year after its ICS update
As it tends to do shortly before releasing an official update, Motorola is sending out "soak test" invitations to owners of the Verizon Xoom LTE for an impending Jelly Bean update. The soak test is usually the final line of testing with a slightly wider number of users before an update is pushed out for general availability. While it doesn't guarantee an immediate release to everyone, it's a pretty good sign. The soak test invite refers to "Jelly Bean" nondescriptly, but we have to assume this will just be a bump to Android 4.1 rather than 4.2.
We're not going to shun an update of any kind though, as a jump to Jelly Bean brings a whole bunch of welcomed improvements. If you're part of the Motorola Feedback Network, be sure to check your email and see if you've received an invite as well. Otherwise, keep an eye out for the official update to be hitting devices sooner rather than later.
Rollout starting in Asia via OTA or Kies, other markets to follow in due time
Samsung's mid-sized tablet offering from 2012, the Galaxy Tab 7.7, is seeing a Jelly Bean update start rolling out starting today in select markets. Users of the 3G version of the Tab 7.7 in Asia -- Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia so far -- have been updating their devices both OTA (Over The Air) and through the Samsung Kies desktop software to Android 4.1.2. There's no complete changelog for the update at this point as its rolling out slowly, but we all know the serious improvements in Jelly Bean such as Google Now and Project Butter will be on-board.
As for a timetable on the Verizon model of the Tab 7.7 receiving an update, we haven't got a clue. Additional time testing may put this one on the back burner for some time, especially considering the rollout has only started in one region at this point.
Shipments to international backers will continue ramping up over time to meet estimates
In its weekly update to early Kickstarter backers, OUYA has laid out encouraging numbers for the current status of the new consoles shipping out. To date, a full 65-percent of the consoles have been shipped, which is ahead of the projected schedule as has been the case since late April. 60-percent of the consoles shipped this week were to international backers, which will help get them caught up with shipments headed to North America, and OUYA says that international shipments are ramping up to meet estimates.
Limited Edition versions of the OUYA are a bit behind schedule, but every one is expected to have shipped by two weeks from today. It's a slow but steady progression -- one with a lot of learning experiences, no doubt -- getting this many consoles out to those who helped fund the initial Kickstarter process. Retail units of the console are still expected to hit shelves by late June.
1 week ago
The Chrome developers are ready to take it up a notch at Google I/O
What's in the boxes isn't nearly as important as what them being there means
Look at that pallet of swag. Some people think it may be a pile of Chrome devices to give to attendees, others think it's T-shirts and some are guessing it's box after box of fancy pens. Alex is certain that it's "so many bags of Doritos." I'm not particularly concerned about what it is (don't go to Google I/O for the swag), but what it means.
Chrome OS is due for some serious loving from Google. It's been progressing along nicely, but it's high time that it gets some of the special treatment we saw Android get way back when the Nexus One came out with Eclair. Remember how much better Android became -- and so quickly -- once Google started focusing on it? Yeah. Let's do that with Chrome. T-shirts and Chromebooks (or Doritos) will get us excited, but I'm really excited about what we'll see at the keynote and in the developer sessions.