Android KitKat Progressing Well: Present On 18% Of Android Devices

Google cannot match the speed of Apple’s update penetration across its mobile devices but Android’s “update uptake” has been improving of late. As of early July the latest update, Android 4.4 KitKat, is now on 17.9% of Android devices compared to 13.6% in early June and 8.5% in early May. Android KitKat has been out since late last year so it has had plenty of time to gain market share. That said the data still reveals significant OS fragmentation for Android, despite their age Android Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean are all immensely popular. In fact, go to any major retailer and I guarantee you will still find shed-loads of Android devices being sold with those “old” operating system versions on. The main problem Android suffers from is hardware compatibility issues, many devices running ICS and Jelly Bean cannot make the upgrade to KitKat so will be stuck on those versions until owners replace them for newer devices. From this autumn we should see Android L come into the mix, that’s Android 5.0. If I’m not mistaken Google will be expecting all major smartphone vendors with KitKat devices to make that upgrade.

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Android Developers

Supermarket Chain Aldi Releases A Sub-$100 Kids 7-inch Tablet

It seems just about everyone and their dog makes a tablet these days and the latest to join in the tablet craze is UK budget supermarket chain ALDI. Following the lead of Tesco ALDI already announced its first tablet a while back but now it is targeting the “kids” market segment with its latest release. A 7 inch tablet with a colourful rubberised case should be enough to make most kids interested, and the price point of $99/€72 should appeal to most parents. The budget price point is helped by the budget specifications: a 1024 x 600 display, 1.5GHz dual core and 4GB of storage with optional microSD expansion. More importantly for parents the tablet will come pre-bundled with child-safe software. The most interesting point to note is that the tablet ships with the latest version of Android, 4.4 Kit Kat, out of the box. The OEM producer is not specified but is expected to be either Bauhn or Medion.

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of ALDI

Google Demanding Android Smartphone Makers To Only Use Android KitKat

Google is about to get tough on Android smartphone makers. Google is seeking to enforce a new rule that all smartphone makers must ship their smartphones with Android 4.4 KitKat if they offer their phones with access to Google’s Services Framework and the Google Play Store. Google have apparently spoken to all major smartphone vendors like Samsung, HTC, LG, ZTE, Motorola and others to inform them of the change. The main justification for a new strict policy on the Android operating system is because of the criticism Android has faced for its version fragmentation.

That is to say that currently the Android market is comprised of a wide range of smartphones and tablets running on different versions of Android which makes it problematic for developers to develop apps that work on all versions. According to the most recent figures Jelly Bean is installed on 59.1% of devices (35.9% 4.1.X, 15.4% 4.2.X and 7.8% 4.3), Ice Cream Sandwich on 16.9% (4.03-4.04) and Gingerbread on 21.2% of devices (2.3.3-2.3.7). Android KitKat (4.4) has just 1.4% of the market share which is barely ahead of Froyo (2.2) which has 1.3%.

Google’s memo apparently reads:

“Starting February 2014, Google will no longer approve GMS distribution on new Android products that ship older platform releases. Each platform release will have a “GMS approval window” that typically closes nine months after the next Android platform release is publicly available. (In other words, we all have nine months to get new products on the latest platform after its public release.) “

Given Android 4.4 was released on the 31st of October a 9 month window gives Android partners until the 31st of July to ship everything with Android 4.4.

Google getting tough on its partners certainly could work to the consumer advantage. The measures will mean that whether you buy a budget smartphone or a high-end smartphone you will still have the latest version of Android which should bring better performance and better features across the board. However, some partners and consumers will not like the idea that they are being “forced” to run the latest version of what is supposedly an open source operating system. Some hardware may simply not be compatible with Android KitKat so how will Google deal with those instances?

Image courtesy of Google (Android.com)

Source: MobileBloom

Rumour: Galaxy S5 AnTuTu Result Shows Snapdragon 800, Android 4.4.2

IBTimes reports of a Galaxy S5 AnTuTu benchmark that has shown up on an Italian technology website. The AnTuTu benchmarks reveal a lot of detailed information about what is rumoured to be the Galaxy S5 handset. The rumoured specifications are:

  • a 1080 x 1920 resolution display
  • A Snapdragon 800 SoC at 2.5GHz
  • Adreno 330 graphics
  • 15.9 MP rear camera
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal memory
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS

All of those hardware internals reportedly give an AnTuTu score of 35666. The results suggest the Galaxy S5 will be a significant step up from the Galaxy S4 in terms of performance as well as being faster than Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 flagship.

Other rumours about the Samsung Galaxy S5 are suggesting we may still see a 2560 x 1440 QHD display and an upgraded Snapdragon 805 SOC. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see but with Samsung’s Unpacked 5 event taking place on Monday 24th of February in Barcelona at 20:00 CET we are sure to find out more about the Galaxy S5 before February is over.

Images courtesy of HDBlog.it | Samsung

A More Affordable Sony Xperia E2 With LTE To Be Released In 2014

While Sony managed to introduce several interesting high-end smartphones this year, it also launched lower-end models, like the Xperia E. The Xperia E will seemingly have a successor. Unsurprisingly called Sony Xperia E2, this should be released in 2014.

Unlike the firs Xperia E, the E2 will have LTE connectivity – at least that’s what EMSOne is claiming. We don’t know much else about the handset for now. However, since the original model is a low-end device with a 3.5 inch HVGA display, its successor will most probably also have low-end specs.

Affordable LTE smartphones will become more and more popular next year, and the Xperia E2 will apparently be one of them. Since Android 4.4 KitKat doesn’t require powerful hardware, we can certainly hope that the Xperia E2 will have it on board at launch.

The original Xperia E has a dual SIM version, so the new E2 may also come with support for two SIM cards.

Thank you UnwiredView for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of UnwiredView

Motorola Touchless Control App Can Unlock Your Phone By Speaking Out Your PIN

Have you ever wanted a device that will listen to you even when it is locked? There are times when your phone’s voice commands are useless as you still have to unlock your device before using them, and that is not at all possible if you are doing something that requires both of your hands. But look no further, because apparently Motorola has recently introduced a new update to its Touchless Control app over on Google Play, which would ensure that your smartphone will be more versatile even when it is in a locked state, as extra Google Now commands should now be able to jive with your smartphone when it is idle and locked.

You will be able to unlock your PIN simply by speaking it out, and Touchless Control will do all the rest. A new tone is also introduced when you say “OK Google Now.” Apparently, this particular update does seem to be made available only to devices that have Android 4.4 KitKat as the operating system of choice, which pretty much rules out the recent DROID family, at least until Motorola and Verizon do something to remedy that situation soon.

Unlocking your phone using your PIN is not really practical, especially in a crowded place. I mean you have a PIN for a reason, otherwise you would just say something like “Phone Unlock”. We hope that Motorola will update the feature soon and maybe add a feature to unlock the phone with a specific phrase rather than use your PIN.

Thank you Uborgizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Uborgizmo

Sony Xperia Z1 mini To Change Its Name From “Z1s” to “Amami”

The elusive mini version of the Xperia Z1, earlier rumored to be the Xperia Z1s, has cleared FCC under a new codename and now it’s known as the Sony “Amami”. Appearing under model name Sony D5503, the “Amami” is a smaller version of the Xperia Z1, but it’s said to be smaller mostly in size and not in performance. The handset is expected to ship with the same powerful Snapdragon 800 system chip and 20-megapixel camera as the original Xperia Z1.

Sony has already announced a mini Xperia Z1 but it’s only aimed at the Japanese market and comes under the Sony Xperia Z1f name. The device in cause that just passed FCC certification however is expected to be heading to Europe.

The build numbers 14.2.A.0.144 and 14.2.A.0.78 suggest the Sony Amami will come pre-loaded with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and not the latest 4.4 KitKat version. We still would not count those references as hard proof as Sony could change things and to be noted also is that a FCC filing does no promise for an actual product launch, it’s just a step in a regulatory process.

Whether or not we will see the device named “Amami” or Z1s, we hope to see more at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and Sony’s January 6th presentation.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Octa-Core Cortex A7 Officially Released By MediaTek

MediaTek officially released the world’s first Octa-Core Cortex A7 application processor, the MT6592, . It can easily reach speeds up to 2GHz, however 2GHz devices are not likely to be seen in devices pretty soon. This is because the core limit for it to work in a stable environment is set at 1.5GHz and 1.7GHz. It features a Quad-Core Mali-450MP4 GPU, but although this is a relatively weak graphics processor, MediaTek insists its chip can handle H.264 content.

Although MediaTek is trying to talk up performance, this is a mid-range part with an emphasis on price/performance and efficiency. The Cortex A7 is ARM’s most efficient core, so it has potential. A 28nm A7 Octa-Core should end up smaller than a Quad-Core A9, yet it might outperform it in certain apps that require a multi-core SoCs usage.

The company stated we should expect the Octa-Core Cortex A7 to be available in devices running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean by the end of 2013 and Android 4.4 Kit-Kat based devices which are expected in early 2014.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of gogi.in