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Flipkart ‘leaks’ Google’s Android One smartphone

Two days ahead of its official debut, one of Google’s Android One smartphones has been leaked online, courtesy leading Indian e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart. It looks like the phone will be sold exclusively on the e-commerce website.

Spice Android One Dream UNO Mi-498 phone, priced at Rs 6,999, was listed on the website for a few hours. Flipkart later removed the listing. Spice is one of the three Android One OEM partners, announced at the Google IO conference in June. Prior to the listing, AndroidOS.in had also published the detailed specifications of the phone.

Spice Android One Dream UNO Mi-498 sports a 4.5-inch IPS FWVGA (480x854p) display. The hardware specifications don’t seem to ground breaking but Google’s backing could surely make a difference when it comes to software experience.

The phone is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek quad-core processor, Mali-400MP graphics and 1GB RAM. The phone has 4GB internal storage and a microSD card slot that supports cards of up to 32GB capacity. The phone will also come with 10GB Spice Cloud cloud storage space and 35GB Google Drive space.

Spice Android One Dream UNO runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat, the latest iteration of the OS and comes preloaded with Flipkart, Flipkart eBook and Facebook apps in addition to Reverie Smartpad for Indian language input support.

It sports a 5MP rear camera with LED flash and support for full-HD video capture, and a 2MP front-facing camera. The phone has a 1700mAh battery.

In terms of connectivity, the dual-sim Spice Android One phone supports Bluetooth 4.0, 3G, Wi-Fi and A-GPS.

The Other two partners, Micromax and Karbonn, have also been teasing their Android One phones on social networks. The Micromax phone will be sold exclusively on Amazon India, while Karbonn’s phone will be a Snapdeal exclusive. The phones will be available for purchase starting September 15, 3:30pm IST.

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Top ten things you need to know about Android ‘L’

Phew. Today’s been a huge day for Android news, with the Google I/O keynote presentation and the assortment of announcements that followed. For Android followers, the biggest news of the day was the announcement of a next version of Android after KitKat, named simply “Android L.” We don’t know what the “L” stands for just yet, but we do know that Android L will bring sweeping changes to Android’s UI, important performance and security enhancements and a boatload of new user-facing features.

Read on to learn more about the top ten features coming in the next version of Android.

 

1. Material Design — Android’s new design philosophy

Android is getting its biggest facelift since 2011’s Ice Cream Sandwich release. The new Android is flatter, more colorful and multi-layered, with new visual flourishes to respond to your touch. Android design boss Matias Duarte says Google took inspiration from paper and ink in its new design language.

Through this new approach, Android takes Kit Kat’s streamlined UI to the next level, with seamless transition animations between apps, and an elevation property for every surface on your screen. That means everyday UI elements take on a three-dimensional quality, being rendered in the correct order with realtime shadows.

Material design is also concent-centric, with UI elements able to absorb color from artwork and photos to add visual flair. And the new geometric focus has also reduced the back, home and recents software keys to simply a triangle, a circle and a square.

But Material Design isn’t just for Android. The new look software will be seen across Chrome OS and the Google’s web properties.

2. It’s not just for your phone

Speaking of which, Android’s L release will bring the OS to cars through Android Auto, smartwatches through Android Wear and your television through — you guessed it — Android TV. Just as the new design language will pervade all of Google’s properties, the new Android aims to infiltrate more areas of your digital life.

More: Android Auto, Android Wear, Android TV

Project Volta

3. Project Volta helps you conserve battery power

Google’s got some new tricks up its sleeve to help you get the most out of your phone’s battery in Android L, under the banner of “Project Volta.” The new battery historian feature allows developers to measure the impact of specific activities on a device’s battery life. The new job scheduler feature allows devs to optimize power consumption in apps — for example, by queueing “non-urgent” network activity so as to wake the device less often. It can also be used to schedule battery-intensive tasks like downloading updates for when a phone is on its charger.

On top of that, Android L adds a new battery saver mode which can be used to clock down the CPU, limit the screen refresh rate and cut down background data. These are features many OEMs have built atop Android in the past, but they’ve long been missing from the stock OS.

More: Android L brings Project Volta for improved battery life

Personal Unlocking

4. Simpler lock security and the all-important kill switch

In Android L, Google debuts a new feature called Personal Unlocking that aims to help users keep their phones secure, but without overwhelming them with passcodes and other options. Personal Unlocking allows you to set a specific location in which the phone knows it’s safe to unlock without a PIN or other lock screen security. And like Motorola’s Trusted Bluetooth feature, you can also set your device up to unlock automatically when connected to a certain Bluetooth accessory.

Android ‘L’ will also implement Factory Reset Projection — the so-called “kill switch” for stolen devices.

More: Personal Unlocking in Android L

Notifications

5. Notifications everywhere!

In Android L, notifications have escaped the notification pulldown and have infiltrated other areas of the UI. Notifications can now be displayed on the lock screen, and a new type of notification, dubbed heads-up notifications, can be displayed over the top of your apps. After swiping down to reveal the full list of notifications, you can double-tap on one to launch the related app, or wipe away to dismiss.

Heads-up notifications can pop over a portion of the screen to let you know what’s going on without interrupting the app you’re currently using. We’ve seen similar stuff from LG’s most recent UI on the G3, for calls and text messages, but Android L looks to expand upon this.

More: Notifications in Android L

Android and Chrome OS

6. Android L is your Chromebook’s best friend

Android L sees Google bringing much tighter integration between Android and the Chrome OS found on its Chromebook laptops.

Similar to the new Android’s Personal Unlock feature, your Chromebook will be able to tell if your phone is nearby and automatically log you in. Notifications from Android can be mirrored to your Chromebook, and calls, battery state and text messages can be communicated to the laptop too.

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Google is introducing the ability to run Android apps into Chrome OS, with apps including Evernote, Flipboard and Vine demonstrated at the 2014 Google I/O keynote.

More: Android and Chrome OS get cosy at Google I/O

Google I/O

7. It’ll run exclusively on the new, faster ART runtime

This one’s been coming for a while, but the experimental ART (Android runtime) software included in Android 4.4 KitKat as a developer preview is taking over full-time in Android L. ART is faster than the old Dalvik compiler thanks to its use of ahead-of-time compilation, but the fact that ART compiles Android apps into native code means it helps Android run across many different platforms, from ARM to Intel’s x86. (We should note ART still supports just-in-time (JIT) compiling as well, expanding its compatibility with other apps.)

What’s more, ART is fully 64-bit compatible, meaning it’ll be able to take full advantage of 64-bit processors emerging later this year and in early 2015.

More: Android L will run exclusively on ART

Material Design UI for mobile web

8. An all-new Chrome experience with easier tab switching

The Android version of Google’s Chrome browser has been given the Material Design treatment. Google search results with cards for Knowledge Graph results seamlessly fill the screen and animate just like any area of the system UI.

Chrome also integrates with the recent apps switcher in Android L, allowing you to easily see all your tabs by pressing the recent apps software key. But Chrome isn’t the only app that’ll be able to link into the “recents” menu in this way — Android L will include a new API to allow third-party apps to use this functionality.

More: Google’s Material Design on the mobile web

Android for Work incorporates Samsung's Knox security to keep data secure

9. It’s the best Android version yet for enterprise

In a surprise announcement at the Google I/O keynote, Google revealed that Samsung had contributed its Knox software back to the Android code base, and that it’d be making its debut in Android L’s “Android at Work” feature. Android at work lets enterprise users keep corporate apps siloed away from personal stuff on their devices — an extra layer of security for work stuff, and extra privacy for personal content.

Besides Samsung, manufacturers like HTC, Sony, LG, and Motorola are confirmed to be onboard with Android for Work. And in other business-related developments, Google also revealed that it’s bringing native Office file editing to its Google Docs suite of apps.

More: Android at Work in Android L

Android L

10. It’s coming later this year, but you can try it tomorrow!

Android L is a work-in-progress preview at present, and we’re not expecting it to start hitting devices as a finalized update until later in the year. However Google will be releasing preview system images for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 on June 26th, so developers and Android enthusiasts can give it a try. We’d caution against immediately flashing your Nexus with the L preview build, though, as it may break some stuff.

Google’s Chet Haase describes L as “a preview release where things work pretty well, but it’s not done yet.” So unless you’re a developer, or want to volunteer as Google’s guinea pig, you may want to wait for a more stable release.

Bonus round — What we don’t know about Android L

Google typically names its Android releases after “sweet treats” — the most recent being Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), Jelly Bean (4.1-4.3) and thanks to a Nestle tie-in, KitKat in Android 4.4. After I, J and K comes L, but Google’s not revealing what it stands for just yet. The company also isn’t saying whether the new version will be Android 4.5 or 5.0, though we have to imagine L — described as the biggest Android update yet — will warrant more than a mere point version bump.

We should learn more about Android L, and what the L actually stands for, when it launches later this year. In the meantime, hit the comments and let us know which Android L feature you’re looking forward to the most!

Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat Update Breakdown (Round 2)

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update has been rolling out since mid-February but the release is still far from complete. With many users still waiting for the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update to arrive, we want to take a close look at the latest details and offer up a look at what we expect in the future.

Believe it or not, it has almost been a year since Google first announced Android 4.4 KitKat. The update was first announced in September, right around the time that Apple debuted its iPhone 5s and final iOS 7 update. The announcement though came several weeks ahead of its official release. The update arrived in November alongside the Nexus 5.

Since then, we’ve seen the update roll out for a great number of devices including the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung’s former Galaxy S flagship and a device that remains in the hands of millions of consumers around the world.

The Samsung Galaxy S4′s Android 4.4 KitKat update has been rolling out since mid-February and its started to pick up the pace in recent weeks as it heads to new variants and new regions around the world. Like many of Samsung’s Android updates, the Galaxy S4 has been moving at an extremely slow pace and there are still a number of carriers that have yet to roll out their version of Android 4.4. And unfortunately most carries remain mum about Android updates.

With Android 4.4.3 and now Android 4.4.4 KitKat now available for a number of devices, Galaxy S4 users are looking for answers. In an effort to provide as much clarity as we can to Galaxy S4 owners in the United States and around the world, we want to detail everything we know about the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update and breakdown the important details that all Galaxy S4 owners need to know about right now in late June.

Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 KitKat Roll Out ContinuesIn June, we’ve seen the Galaxy S4 land for a number of different models in a number of different regions. The GT-i9500 Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 KitKat update recently hit users in Ukraine, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan. These all rolled out within the past two weeks or so.

As for the Galaxy S4 GT-i9505, it recently landed for users in Germany, for users in Russia, and for users on O2 in Ireland. These updates are part of a pretty massive push to this variant in June.

We’ve also seen the Galaxy S4 mini Android 4.4.2 KitKat update start pushing in the United States. Sprint is currently the only carrier offering the Galaxy S4 mini update in the United States though we suspect that other carriers including AT&T will work to deliver their version of Android 4.4 KitKat to owners down the road.

Finally, the update has landed for a number of Galaxy S4 Active variants around the world with the latest updates landing for users in Austria, Singapore, and the Philippines.

The fact that Samsung continues to push Android 4.4.2 KitKat is of note. Even with Android 4.4.3 KitKat and Android 4.4.4 KitKat out, it appears that Samsung and its carrier partners are content with getting Android 4.4.2 KitKat out now rather than waiting on testing for Android 4.4.3 or Android 4.4.4. Motorola recently announced that Android 4.4.4 KitKat’s arrival pushed its arrival times back a month or more.

Missing Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat UpdatesThere are still a number of Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat updates that remain missing in action. MetroPCS and C Spire both offer the Galaxy S4 and both are expected to deliver the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update at some point in the future. But, for whatever reason, both carriers are lagging behind the rest of the pack.

As we’ve pointed out, C Spire’s Samsung Galaxy S4 is listed as running Android 4.4 KitKat on Samsung’s product page though that doesn’t mean that a release is imminent.

Stragglers like Vodafone Australia still expect to push the update out in June though Optus, another Australian carriers says that its Galaxy S4 users will have to wait until mid-July or so before the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update appears. It’s not clear if the update will be Android 4.4.2 KitKat or if it will be Android 4.4.3 or Android 4.4.4. Galaxy S4 users on these carriers should expect Android 4.4.2 but hope for Android 4.4.3 KitKat or Android 4.4.4 KitKat because they tackle a number of problems.

Of course, their outlook fares much better than Telstra’s. The Australian carrier still hasn’t released any kind of a time table for the update which means that it could arrive even later than July. The carrier experienced issues with the Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 so there is a chance that it will be well behind its rivals.

As for the Galaxy S4 mini Android 4.4 update, details are a little more scarce. U.S. carriers not called Sprint remain mum about the release. Optus, one of the few carriers talking about the update, says that it plans to push the update live in late July. As of right now, Sprint and users in Belgium appear to be the only users with Android 4.4.2 on board.

Android 4.4.3 KitKat & Android 4.4.4 KitKatAndroid 4.4.4 KitKat recently replaced Android 4.4.3 KitKat as Google’s latest update to Android 4.4. As of right now, the update is only available on the company’s Nexus line of phones and tablets and it’s unclear if it will be headed anywhere else.

Rumors have pointed to an Android 4.4.3 KitKat release for the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A model, a device that is only available in select areas. A recent leak from Android Geeks states that the model should get the update in July after a roll out for the Galaxy S5. It’s not clear how Android 4.4.4 KitKat might affect Samsung’s plans.

Rumors have also hinted at an Android ‘L’ 4.5 or Android 5.0 release, possibly alongside a new Nexus 8 tablet from HTC. Android ‘L’ rumors point to an arrival in Q3 or Q4 though dates haven’t been narrowed down. Google says that it will show off Android ‘L’ at Google I/O this week but a release date may not be imminent.

While nothing is confirmed, the Galaxy S4 will almost certainly get whatever is next from Google though it’s still unclear whether or not Android 4.4.4 or Android 4.4.3 KitKat will arrive first.

Google’s Nest opens doors to third-party apps

Nest, the Google-owned maker of smart thermostats and other home automation products, will allow other companies to create apps that communicate with its devices.

The programme marks the first time Nest has allowed third-party companies to access its gadgets, potentially opening the door to the rich selection of apps and services that have made smartphones popular.

More than 5,000 developers have already expressed interest in developing apps for Nest products, according to the company.

Nest said that it was working with companies including washer-dryer maker Whirlpool Corp and automatic garage door opener company Chamberlain. Closing a garage door for instance, can alert the Nest Thermostat that the user is away from home and to turn off the heat. LED light bulbs from Lifx can be set to flash red if a Nest smoke detector senses smoke in the house.

Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion in January, underscoring the Web search company’s efforts to extend its reach into a broad field of internet-connected devices.

Nest on Friday announced plans to acquire Dropcam, a video-monitoring home security product.

Nest suffered a public relations black eye in April when it halted sales of its smoke alarms because of a defect that could cause users to turn the alarm off unintentionally. Nest resumed selling the device earlier this month, though it has deactivated the problematic “Wave” feature – an option that allowed users to stop false alarms with the wave of a hand.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7 available online at Rs 17,825

Samsung has started selling its 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4 tablet (T231) in India through online retailers.

The 3G+Wi-Fi variant of the tablet is now available at e-commerce website, Flipkart at Rs 17,825. The listing was first spotted by AndroidOS.in.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7 comes with a an LCD display(1280x800p). It is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM, and comes with 8GB internal storage and a microSD card slot. The tablet weighs 281gram and measures 107.9×186.9x9mm.

The tablet sports a 3MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front-facing camera. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat and comes with a 4000mAh battery.

In terms of connectivity, Galaxy Tab 4 supports 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and Glonass.

Samsung had launched Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 and 8.0 in the Indian market, earlier this month. While Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 is priced at Rs 23,960, Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 costs Rs 30,498. Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 and 8.0 feature 10.1-inch and 8-inch screens respectively, both with 1280x800p resolution. They run a customized version of Android 4.4 (KitKat) and are powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1.5GB RAM.