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Samsung appears to be rolling out firmware update to improve Samsung Galaxy S 5 performance

Posted by wicked July - 23 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

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According to reports, owners of the unlocked European version of the Samsung Galaxy S 5 are starting to receive a firmware update that promises general performance improvements. Sources indicate the update not only includes several “under-the-hood” improvements, it comes with a new kernel and baseband. The firmware version for this update is XXU1ANG2. No specific details are available, but at least one user has reported the amount of useable RAM was reduced after receiving the update. There is no word on when the update may roll out to devices in markets outside of Europe.

source: phoneArena

Come comment on this article: Samsung appears to be rolling out firmware update to improve Samsung Galaxy S 5 performance

Xperia Z2 gets update from Sony, with enhanced call quality

Posted by wicked July - 21 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

The Sony Xperia Z2 got an update which is in the process of being rolled out to carriers and regions as of today, but will be available for all Xperia Z2 variants regardless of region. According to Sony, the major thing to look out for in this update will be the “enhanced call quality” that should be a major improvement to the already impressive handset.

As per usual, the update – official firmware tag is 17.1.2.A.0.314 – is being rolled out in a staggered manner, and Sony cannot give exact dates as to when the update will be pushed to a user’s Xperia Z2. It does, however, support updating directly via PC with your Xperia Z2 connected by data cable.

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The folks at Reddit – where the news of the update was spotted – are already expressing their relative pleasure at the enhanced call quality. Some have even said that the “tap to wake” feature has been greatly improved by the update – as Sony did list improvements for touch features as part of this update.

Another feature of the update that should be useful is “improved charging while battery is low”, which should mean that battery charging when in this situation would be faster and more efficient. The update will of course be available only to Xperia Z2 units with Android 4.4 Kitkat operating systems running, although the firmware installation will not bump up the version of the OS installed. Grab the update at the Sony Xperia 2 update page here.

VIA: Reddit

Xperia Overlay brings new Android look to 2011 Sony devices

Posted by wicked July - 14 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

For owners of Sony Xperia devices that were released in 2011, back when they were still Sony Ericsson, looking at all the advances that the OEM has made these past three years can be a source of envy. But now you can finally join the world of the new Sony Android UI that we’ve all been enjoying. All it takes is to install the “Xperia Overlay” firmware that will transform your 2011 phone into a new one, of sorts.

This firmware was created by the Dev Team specifically to update the 2011 HDPI devices like the Xperia Arc, Arc S, Neo, Neo V, Pro and Xperia Ray (in case anyone’s still using them to this day). They were able to create it by rewriting the Overlay source code and merging it with AOSP. They are letting the 2011 devices finally be upgraded to the current Xperia Z2’s Android KitKat 4.4.2 firmware.

In order for you, we’re assuming the still proud owner of any of the Sony devices mentioned above, to install the Xperia Ovelay to your devices, you need to have an unlocked bootloader. You also need to download the files from the XDA. While your phone is rebooting using the CWV Recovery, you install the firmware in order for your old gadget to be upgraded.

The phones can now run as fast as 1.6 GHz and can even run several apps at the same time, something that wasn’t all that common back in 2011. What’s more, you can also now play games on your device because it should now run faster. Battery life is also a big improvement brought about by the firmware, as it helps minimise battery drain by turning off the features that you don’t need when it detects that you’re not using it or are in hibernate mode. The over-all look of the phone’s software will of course change into the latest KitKat version.

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SOURCE: XperiaOverlay

International Galaxy Note 3 update: Kids Mode, Download Booster

Posted by wicked June - 30 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Have an international model of the Galaxy Note 3 and jealous of the T-Mobile version getting some flagship features? Now you can stop being the green-eyed monster, as some owners in the UK are reporting an update to their device that brings at least two desirable features from the Galaxy S5 to the latest S-Pen phablet, namely Download Booster and Kids Mode.

There are other “modes” that Samsung’s flagship boasts of, but these two are the ones that seem portable to other devices with a little less effort. Kids Mode, as the name suggests, relieves parents of the worry and stress of handing over their device for their child, or any other toddler, to play with by limiting their access to apps and features. Download Booster, on the other, is rather contentious, at least for carriers, feature that Samsung recently introduced. It practically combines both WiFi and cellular data connections in order to, well, boost download speeds. This latter feature was discovered to be missing from AT&T’s Galaxy S5 model precisely because of its network-hogging tendency, which still needed to be tested and certified.

Those might not be issues for international variants of the Galaxy Note 3, namely those with the model number SM-N9005. The Kids Mode is noted to require a separate download after the feature has been installed, not unlike some other exclusive Samsung apps like KNOX, S Health, or Story Album. Other than those two new features and a new KNOX 2.0 version, the update doesn’t seem to add anything else. The Android version remains at 4.4.2.

The update, with build number N9005XXUFNF4., was first spotted in the UK and will most likely roll out to other markets soon, though, like always, it will take some time. The update is around 185 MB in size and delivered via OTA, so best to ensure you have a good WiFi connection and at least 50 percent battery charge when attempting the upgrade.

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VIA: SamMobile, XDA

Pebble 2.2 firmware adds music volume controls, launcher reordering

Posted by wicked June - 5 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Pebble has just announced a new firmware update for the popular smartwatch, bringing with it two much requested and long overdue features. In version 2.2 of the smartwatch software, users will be able organize launcher items the way they want as well as control music volume right from their Pebble.

If you’ve become used to organizing apps and whatnot on your smartphone or tablet, then Pebble’s inability to let you do so has probably irked you to no end. Well, be irked no more, as Pebble can now let you customize items in the Launcher Menu. Given the limited number of controls on the smartwatch, it’s not exactly gong to be convenient, but at least the feature is now there. All you need to do is to press the Select button and hold it until the desired item starts shaking, indicating that it is ready to be moved.

Another feature that seems so natural that it is surprising that it’s arriving only now is volume controls. The feature was actually teased about a year ago but it is only now that Pebble is integrating it into the firmware. Now users will be able to pump up the volume of music playing on their paired devices or dial it down directly from Pebble’s buttons.

The update also features a redesign music app, a prolonged alarm vibration time, and, of course, bug fixes. To update the Pebble firmware, users need to go to the Pebble app on their smartphone, though the update might not exactly be arriving to everyone at the same time.

SOURCE: Pebble

Android 4.4.3 images available for recent Nexus devices

Posted by wicked June - 3 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

The anticipated next Android update is now official, but Android 4.4.3 won’t be the exciting next version that you might have been hoping for. Nonetheless, binaries and factory images bearing the new Android version are now up for the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 10, and some versions of the Nexus 7.

There has been some speculation about what the next Android release will be. The version number 4.4.3 has been thrown around and seen here and there. With Google I/O so close, some have hoped that we will be seeing a major change. However, Android 4.4.3 is not that, as indicated by the very minor version number change. This release is made up mostly of bug fixes and performance tweaks, with very little in the way of new features or behaviors, which is as it should be. Nonetheless, it is still a very welcome maintenance update.

What is more notable in this release is actually what is not included. According to various early bird testers, the dreary picture painted by developer Chainfire regarding stricter permissions have not yet taken place. In particular, his latest analysis that a future Android version would prevent writing to the sacrosanct /system directory, even by rooted users and apps, has fortunately not come to pass. That said, his observations were based on code movement in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which does not always end up in the immediate Android release. Bottomline, it could still happen.

In the meantime, this new Android 4.4.3 version is now available as firmware images and binaries, mostly to be used for restoring Nexus devices to their pristine state. Nexus devices that now have those images include the Nexus 4 “occam”, the Nexus 5 “hammerhead”, the Nexus 10 “mantaray”, the WiFi variant of the Nexus 7 2013 “razor”, and the older Nexus 7 in both WiFi “nakasi” and 3G “nakasiq” models. Noticeably missing is support for the Nexus 7 2013 mobile version “razorq”, though that could arrive soon as well. With the code changes slowly trickling down to AOSP, it will only be a matter of time before custom ROMs begin churning out Android 4.4.3 builds as well.

SOURCE: Google (1), (2)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S firmware reveals fingerprint sensor, ultra power saving mode

Posted by wicked May - 29 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Samsung‘s next AMOLED tablet might still be a good week or two away, but the firmware for the Galaxy Tab S is now already available online. And thanks to some sleuthing by the folks at SamMobile, we’re getting a peek at some of the features in this device, including a fingerprint scanner.

The manufacturer already made it known that it wants to bring the its biometrics-based security technology to more of its Galaxy line in the future. For now, that has so far been limited to a fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S5. An inspection of the firmware for the upcoming Galaxy Tab S, however, revealed instructions on how to use a fingerprint scanner, which pretty much confirms the presence of that feature in the tablet as well.

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Also interesting is the presence of Ultra Power Saving Mode, a feature again so far only found on the Galaxy S5. This special mode tries to conserve battery by muting colors on the screen and turning completely black and white. Considering how this feature works only or most efficiently with AMOLED displays, which uses no power to display a black pixel, this also confirms the rumors and leaks of AMOLED technology being used for this tablet. The firmware also has other interesting tidbits, like the camera app interface and the new Magazine UX that debuted with the Galaxy Pro tablet line.

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The firmware for the WiFi-only model of the Galaxy Tab S, namely the SM-T800, is already up, but mostly for the purposes of reflashing to stock ROM. The existence of this 10.5-inch tablet isn’t expected to be formally acknowledge until around June 12.

VIA: SamMobile (1), (2)

AT&T Optimus G Pro finally gets Android 4.4 today

Posted by wicked May - 22 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

It has been more than two months since the update was accidentally discovered, but now it’s official. Owners of the LG Optimus G Pro are now getting their Android 4.4 update, bringing the early 2013 device a bit closer to its successor, the LG G Pro 2.

The happy accident that led to the leak of an Android 4.4 image for the device happened early March, when a device sent in for repair returned with an Android version from the future. LG hasn’t actually formally acknowledged or hinted at an upcoming update, so this was a very welcome surprise that other owners were likely waiting for since that day. Now AT&T is formally confirming that by rolling out the update to all users.

The list of changes for Android 4.4 is probably old news by now, including redesigned status and navigation bars, cloud printing support, fullscreen immersive mode, and improved performance and battery life. Not all changes are good, however, as some affect the way apps, and by extension you, can access files on external storage like micro SD cards. Some manufacturers have implemented workarounds to this new Android 4.4 limitation, but some have stuck to Google’s example.

The firmware update should now be rolling out to users, who will be notified about it when it arrives. If you do own such a device, do note that you can only postpone the update up to three times. After that, the update will automatically download and install whether you like to or not.

SOURCE: AT&T

Pebble updates firmware, Android app, adds Pandora to store

Posted by wicked May - 7 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Today is quite a big day for owners of Pebble smartwatches and Android smartphones. Not only did Pebble roll out updates to both firmware and Android app for the smartwatch, it also rolled in a new app for the popular Pandora music discovery service.

Pebble surprisingly announced the update for the Android app at the same time as iOS, breaking the curse of Android lagging behind at times. The changes for the Android app isn’t that much really, but it does fix a crash-on-boot bug that some users were experiencing. The firmware update, now at version 2.1, does have a couple of tasty fixes and features. The update improves Bluetooth and battery monitoring, fixes a caller ID bug for outgoing calls, and adds a feature to clear Notifications via the Settings menu.

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Also in this round of good news is the new Pandora watch app, While it does let you control playback and jump around music stations, the app integrates even deeper into Pandora’s music rating and discovery features. Right from your smartwatch, you can see the info for the current track and thumbs up or down the song, which will affect its rating and thus, Pandora’s future recommendations.

The updated Android up, which is now at version 2.0.15.1, should be rolling out to Android users soon. From there, you can update the Pebble firmware once it is available for download. The Pandora Pebble app, on the other hand, can be claimed from Pebble’s appstore.

SOURCE: Pebble (1), (2), Pandora

OUYA “Chupacabra” system update brings in XBMC audio passthrough and revamped pages

Posted by wicked April - 17 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Following its tradition of naming major system updates after mythical creatures, the OUYA team has announced the release of “Chupacabra”. And just like previous updates, this one drags in quite a huge amount of new features and fixes, including support for audio passthrough in XBMC, redesigned PLAY, DISCOVER, and Details pages, as well as better support for game controllers and media remotes.

Although OUYA is a gaming console, like other boxes of its kind, it can also serve its life as a media center. However, it did not yet support the much coveted audio passthrough feature via XBMC. That all changes in this release and this new feature is one of the major highlights of Chupacabra. OUYA now gains audio passthrough support for AC3, DTS, and AAS formats. Those who wish to use this new feature should ensure that they are running not only the latest OUYA firmware but also the update XBMC app as well.

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Moving on to the user interface, OUYA has introduced yet another set of changes to how it presents content on your big screen. Just because you have a lot screen space doesn’t mean you need to litter it with every single piece of information. To that end, the DETAILS page for each game has considerably reduced its information density and is now easier to read. But it also adds some new types of information via a Developers section, so that users can get to better know the makers of their favorite game as well as other games made by them, in case they become interested.

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The PLAY page has also seen a slight redesign to make it easier to find the games that matter to you. A new Favorites row has been added just below the old Recent Games section and two new ways to view games, Purchased and Recent Downloads, as been added at the very bottom. OUYA now also has a download manager that lets you prioritize your download queue on the fly. The video below summarizes the update changelog and gives a look at the new features in moving pictures format.

The Chupacabra update isn’t just for end users either. Also included in this round is the new developer policy foreshadowed last month. Starting this update, game developers will be free to choose whether they want to sell their wares upfront or stick to the old system that let them give out free demos for gamers to try before buying. All in all, this latest OTA update has something in store for both developers and gamers alike that will hopefully take small console gaming, and ultimately Android gaming, up a notch.

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