Posts Tagged ‘Android’

T-Mobile’s new software update meter tracks Android update progress

February 25th, 2015

T-Mobile’s Android update tracking site has a new tool that can take some of the mystery out of waiting for the latest software.

The T-Mobile software updates page now features a timeline that details where your phone is at in the update process (pictured).

Click on your device and you’ll see if the manufacturer is still cooking up the latest update, if T-Mobile is testing it out, or if it’s finished and on its way in the form of an over-the-air update.

For each phone there is another link that takes you to a detailed page with all the particulars about the most recent software version, so you can see if you’re up to date or if there’s an update headed your way. There’s also a detailed tutorial that walks you through how to trigger an update on your own if it hasn’t shown up yet.

While we do our best to keep you in the know with our weekly Android update roundup, it’s great to see one of the carriers take a more active stance to keep customers informed. This can lead to less confusion and help ease the jitters that smartphone addicts like ourselves get when wondering about when our devices will see all the newest tricks and features.


Android 4.4 KitKat Software Updates Arrive For Several Device Models

September 16th, 2014

Several devices have been receiving the latest Android 4.4 KitKat software updates in the last few weeks. Devices from Samsung (KRX:005930), HTC (TPE:2498) and Sony (NYSE:SNE) can now update to either the Android 4.4.3 or Android 4.4.4 software versions. Many of these devices are receiving their last update before Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) introduces its new Android L operating system. The new software is expected to be released in November and manufacturers like HTC have promised to begin updating their devices within 90 days of its initial release.

Meanwhile, find details about the latest Android updates below. To check if your device has an available Android update, access Settings > About phone > Software updates.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Members of the XDA Developers forum say that the Verizon Galaxy S5 is now updating to Android 4.4.4. Sprint has also hinted it will soon update its Galaxy S5 model to Android 4.4.4.

Sprint Galaxy Note 3

Samsung has confirmed the Sprint Galaxy Note 3 is now updating to Android 4.4.4. The update includes HD voice icon support, international Wi-Fi calling, Google security patches, Knox 2.0 and Kids Mode.

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S4

T-Mobile has confirmed its Galaxy S4 is now updating to Android 4.4.4. The device will also receive T-Mobile’s free inflight texting support.

Verizon HTC One M8

HTC has confirmed the Verizon HTC One M8 is now updating to Android 4.4.3. The device will also receive HTC’s Ultra Power Saving mode with the update.


HTC has halted the Android 4.4.3 update for the AT&T HTC One M8, stating the software brought on severe battery drain. The update has not yet resumed.

T-Mobile HTC One M7

HTC has confirmed the T-Mobile HTC One M7 is now updating to Android 4.4.3. The update will include Wi-Fi calling enhancements, among other fixes and new features.

Sony Xperia Z Line

Sony has confirmed the Xperia Z, Xperia Tablet Z, the Xperia ZL and the Xperia ZR are now updating to Android 4.4.4. The update includes battery and email performance upgrades, improvements to multimedia messages, calendar, Wi-Fi, contacts and other applications and other bug fixes and enhancements.


Android Wear first impressions: Doesn’t appear to be a must-have product yet

July 2nd, 2014

In its first iteration, Google’s Android Wear software for computerised wristwatches isn’t so much about innovation as it is an effort at simplification. Available in two smartwatches out within the next week, Android Wear is rather limited in what it can do. Even last year’s smartwatches do some things that Android Wear can’t.

But the new software should help rein in a marketplace of confusion and encourage app developers to extend smartwatch functionality, the way they have made smartphones even smarter.

In previous watches, each manufacturer modified Android in a different way, so software developers have had to spend a lot of time customising their apps. It’s typically not worth the bother because no single watch has enough users. To confound the problem, Samsung’s second-generation smartwatch, out in April, doesn’t use Android at all, but rather a fledging system called Tizen.

With Android Wear, software developers won’t have to rewrite apps every time a new watch from Samsung, Sony or another manufacturer comes out. And collectively, there might be enough smartwatch users to lure developers.

In fact, developers should have an easier time with Android Wear than Android phones. Phone manufacturers had customised Android so much that apps sometimes didn’t work. Android on phones felt like dozens of different operating systems. With smartwatches, manufacturers will pretty much take the software Google gives them and limit customization to hardware, choices of watch face and apps that come pre-installed.

I’ll have more to say on the first two watches, Samsung’s $199 Gear Live and LG’s $229 G Watch, in a separate review later. I used both to test Android Wear, and this review is about that.

Android Wear requires a companion smartphone running Android 4.3 or later. That covers Kit Kat and the later versions of Jelly Bean, but according to Google’s own stats, only about a quarter of Android devices have either. For a variety of reasons, many recent phones can’t be upgraded. And of course, no iPhones.

The companion phone doesn’t have to be from the same manufacturer as the watch. With both watches, I was able to use Motorola’s Moto G phone from November, Samsung’s Galaxy S III phone from 2012 and LG’s G3, which is coming to the US this summer.

After getting or updating some free apps on your phone, you need to link the watch and the phone wirelessly using Bluetooth.

Most of your interactions with the watch are by voice, similar to using Google Now on Android phones and Siri on iPhones. You can scroll through a short menu of functions, but it’s primarily there as suggestions and isn’t comprehensive. To activate the voice function, just tap on the watch face or say “OK, Google.” You can ask the watch to set an alarm, check your calendar or send a reminder.

You can’t use the watch as a speakerphone for calls, the way previous Samsung smartwatches allowed. But you can make calls or answer ones that come in. The call still goes through the phone, but that’s not a problem if you have a Bluetooth headset.

You can send texts by dictating a message or using canned ones such as “Yes,” ”No,” or “On my way.” You can’t add your own prewritten response, the way you can on Samsung’s previous watches. Android Wear also lets you send and receive emails and read Facebook notifications. I sent myself a draft of this story and was able to read all of it on the watch. If you prefer using the phone, there’s a button you can tap to have the message automatically open there.

The watches can also keep track of your daily steps, and Samsung’s has a heart rate monitor. These tasks and the clock functions are about all you can do without the phone nearby.

Where Android Wear advances smartwatch technology is in navigation. As long as the phone is nearby, you can get turn-by-turn directions on the watch. While walking down the street, you can look at your wrist and avoid having to constantly pull the phone out of your pocket. Sony’s SmartWatch 2 has a maps app, but it doesn’t work as well as Google’s.

Beyond that, the watch offers the types of notifications you’d get through Google Now on the phone, if you’ve turned that feature on. That includes local weather, birthday reminders and scores for your favorite sports teams. While jogging to work Tuesday morning, Android Wear even offered nearby bus stops in case I wanted to cheat.

Of course, I can simply pull out my phone for all that. Android Wear is supposed to make your life better by displaying relevant information on your wrist, rather than in your pocket. But you still need the phone nearby, and the voice recognition feature doesn’t always hear me correctly.

Android Wear isn’t quite there yet as a must-have product, but I can only imagine what it will evolve into in the months and years ahead. It helps that there’s now a unified system that software developers can focus on improving.


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