Incremental update brings a few UI changes
An over-the-air update to Android 4.1.2 is reportedly now available for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S. Some owners of the device report receiving notification of the update today, and others can check if the update is available for their devices yet by going to the System Updates section under Settings. The update is an incremental one, bringing a few modifications to the user interface.
How does the 18-month old Nexus S fare with Jelly Bean?
We recently reviewed the Google Nexus 7, which is the flag-bearing device for Google's latest mobile operating system, Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean.' Powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 processor utilizing the ARM Cortex-A9 architecture and clocked at 1.2GHz with 1GB of RAM, the Nexus 7 runs Jelly Bean with aplomb. So how does the official Android 4.1.1 update for the Nexus S, loaded with much less firepower fare?
Samsung to upgrade most, but leasves T-Mo open
Samsung has posted an upgrade guide for the US that shows just which devices in the country will get an Android 4.0 update. Galaxy S II variants at AT&T, including the regular and Skyrocket versions as well as the Epic 4G Touch, are slated to get the new OS. The Galaxy Note also gets an update, while the Nexus S and Nexus S 4G either have or already are getting their upgrades.
Google resumes pushing Android 4 to Nexus S
(Update: more devices) After halting updates in December, Google has resumed pushing the latest version of Android to Nexus S devices. Those with GSM versions, such as the AT&T and T-Mobile models as well as most any version outside of the US, are getting Android 4.0.4 as an over-the-air upgrade. Users can either wait for the update check or try to manually prompt the update if they want it faster.
T-Mobile USA sued for selling NFC-ready phones
Chip-based smart card maker On Track Innovations has sued T-Mobile USA because it sells phones equipped with NFC chips. OTI claims such phones violate its patents, though why it doesn't sue the makers of the phones themselves or other carriers that sell the very same phones in some cases isn't known. The lawsuit was filed in a New York federal court, though details such as the amount of damages or a licensing agreement sought haven't been revealed.
Google Voice for Android updates for 4.0 link
Google has pushed out a small but significant update to Google Voice on Android (Google Play Store) built just for Android 4.0 users. Those on a Galaxy Nexus or another phone on the new OS now get Google Voice's visual voicemail integrated directly into the call log. Users can both tell whether or not there's a Google Voice message in recent calls and play it directly from the stock interface instead of resorting to the stand-alone app.
Google Wallet said struggling
Google may be looking to implement major changes to Google Wallet after getting little support, leaks might have disclosed on Wednesday. Having only ever earned support from Sprint, the search giant was said by Bloomberg to be looking at a revenue split to get AT&T or Verizon offering support. The proposal would give a cut of Google Offers coupons and other deals.
Luxury housing placed on Nexus S internals
Mobiado has introduced a new luxury smartphone under the company's Grand Touch label. The new offering is borne of collaboration with Aston Martin, bringing a logo and design elements from the high-end British car brand, though the internals and Android Gingerbread build are taken directly from Samsung's Nexus S.
Swype beta lets Android 4 get alt keyboard
Swype has updated its beta track to answer a common request from Android 4.0 users for support. The early version lets Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and some tablet owners get the swipe-based text recognition as well as catch up on recent features. It should include DragonGo voice commands as well as downloadable languages on tablets.
Google Wallet prepaid cards go down for now
Google quickly reacted to mounting Google Wallet security issues by putting a temporary freeze on new prepaid cards. While at least some existing users could keep paying with theirs, Google was preventing new uses as a "precaution" before it could get a surefire fix, Wallet VP Osama Bedier said in a post Saturday. He nonetheless insisted that Google Wallet had multiple security layers, ranging from its own PIN code requirement to an auto-wipe of local Wallet data if the phone is rooted after the Android app is installed.
Chrome beta for Android gets our early test
Google answered one of the longstanding calls among Android users by putting out a beta version of Chrome for mobile (Android Market) that we've had an opportunity to test. The app borrows the extra tricks of the desktop browser to run faster than the stock Android browser as well as simplifying its use. When on Wi-Fi, it can pre-cache pages in the search results to load them faster, and the engine itself was visibly faster on a Galaxy Nexus in our own testing, not to mention somewhat more responsive to scrolling and multi-touch zooming.
Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, Nexus S 4G degraded
(Update: Google follow-up An investigation into Google's supported device has revealed that Google has quietly demoted the CDMA version of the Galaxy Nexus. The Verizon model, and possibly the upcoming Sprint version, aren't listed anymore as supported hardware, Droid-Life said. Google now claims "no CDMA devices are supported" and has also pulled the Nexus S 4G and Verizon-edition Motorola Xoom from the list.
Unofficial Android 4.0.4 leaks out for Nexus S 4G
The Nexus S 4G may soon get an update to Android 4.0, as indicated by a leaked ROM for testing on Google's servers. While it's since been removed, one developer over at the XDA Developers forum managed to get his hands on the code and shared it. The software carries build number IMM26 and will update the handset to Android 4.0.4, which isn't officially on any device.
New Galaxy S variant seems destined for China
The Galaxy GT-I9070 that surfaced in the past few days undergoing testing at the FCC has been given a name. Turning up in the Philippines, the new model has been dubbed the Galaxy S Advance. While originally thought to be a spin-off of the Galaxy S II, it appears like a cross between the original Galaxy S and the Nexus S, amounting to a what could be described as a Galaxy S 1.5. While it carries the same 1GHz clock speed as the Galaxy S and Nexus S, it includes a more advanced dual-core processor.
Android 4 has good early start with two devices
Google's updated Android usage data has shown that Android 4 is being adopted considerably more quickly than any of its predecessors. As of early January, the new platform had a total 0.6 percent of the user base split evenly between the absolute latest, 4.0.3, and the earlier builds. Almost all of these will be from Galaxy Nexus owners, although some Nexus S owners will have been upgraded as well.
TouchWiz skin culprit in Galaxy S missing ICS
Samsung has confirmed that it will not be releasing an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) update for both the original Galaxy S smartphone and the original Galaxy Tab. The company has explained in a blog that it cannot upgrade the devices and keep its TouchWiz layer as the devices do not have enough available memory to support both the OS and Samsung’s overlay. This is despite the fact that the Samsung Nexus S, which has virtually the same hardware, is in the process of being upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich.
Google Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus hit by battery bug
Google's Android 4.0 update for the Nexus S stalled out Tuesday. The company posted on its forums that it was holding the update to "monitor feedback" after users reported unusually high battery drain. Possibly triggered by a processor use spike, the problem wasn't enough to stop updates worldwide, but the upgrade wouldn't return until Google was satisfied there wasn't an issue.
Google Wallet rumored spreading to Britain
Google Wallet might leave the US for the first time based on the claims of French paper Les Echos. A trial run of the NFC-based wireless payment system would reportedly start up in early 2012 with the anticipation of having it ready for the summer Olympics, which start in London on July 27. Banks, distributors, and stores were supposedly in talks.
Google rolls Android 4 to employee Nexus S first
Google workers inadvertently gave away that the Nexus S was starting to get an official Android 4.0 rollout. At least Adnan Hodzic and Adel Saoud, and likely others, have reported getting the over-the-air update on their phones. It suggests that Google is ready to roll the OS to the public but is limiting the initial batch to workers in case there are any major bugs.
Senator says Carrier IQ may be in trouble
Carrier IQ's problems mounted dramatically on Thursday after Senator Al Franken sent a letter to the company demanding answers as to the company's extensive phone logging practices. He was concerned that Carrier IQ might be violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the pen register statute, and Stored Communications Act by recording without consent not just diagnostic information but phone numbers, text messages, web addresses, and the location. Carrier IQ's earlier denials that it wasn't tracking keystrokes or personal content were "especially concerning" given evidence showing just the the opposite, Franken said.
Nexus S ready for Android 4 with AOSP build
Google's posting of the Android 4.0 source code has led to an early port to the Nexus S for those willing to experiment. The custom-built firmware has most hardware and software features working, including 4.0-specific features like hardware acceleration of the interface and Face Unlock. A follow-up Wi-Fi patch is needed to get the shorter-ranged wireless working, but it can otherwise work as a full phone.
Samsung preps Secu-NFC for phones, tablets
Samsung late on Monday brought out a new NFC (near-field communications) chip that promised a tougher level of security for paying through a smartphone even as it became more elegant. The Secu-NFC, known also as the SENHRN1, borrows technology from smart cards and "advanced" encryption to keep payments, such as tapping the phone at a subway turnstile, safe. As a system-in-package, though, it doesn't need to consume as much space as a completely separate NFC chip, improving the footprint in the tight spaces of a smartphone.
BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Curve 9360 OK for PayPass
RIM had the distinction of providing the first phones to use a SIM card that support MasterCard's NFC-based PayPass tech for short-range wireless payments. Both the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the Curve 9360 can, with the right apps, pay at a store just by tapping a receiver. The account will be attached to the SIM card, not the phone, and let users swap phones with the same account, although it may create issues with switching carriers.
Android 4.0 to be hacked on to Nexus S 4G soon
Google’s Android 4.0 has started to unofficially make its way on to onto Android devices other than the Galaxy Nexus. Users who have access to the developer SDK have started hacking the OS onto devices that have yet to get official manufacturer support. The first to get the Ice Cream Sandwich treatment is the Nexus S 4G, which is the easiest to target because of its plain vanilla installation of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and unlocked bootloader.
Android 4.0 coming to soon to popular devices
Three of the first devices have been lined up for Android 4.0 upgrades. A source at ASUS told Pocket-Lint that the company's Eee Pad Transformer tablet will get an upgrade to the new OS soon, though a release date wasn't revealed. At the same time, the successor to the tablet, the Eee Pad Transformer 2, will ship with the OS preloaded as well, ASUS confirmed.
Google Wallet mixes buying and discounts
Google updated Google Wallet to add a fresh feature for the US and rework the interface. SingleTap lets users with a Wallet-equipped phone like the Nexus S 4G both buy something using NFC but take advantage of any discounts or rewards at the same time, instead of having to handle them one at a time. A Featured Offers addition helps by showing a Groupon-style daily deal list where users can tag them to take advantage when they check out.
Google Nexus S gets Google Wallet thanks to hack
Enterprising members of the XDA Developers forum have found a new hack to bring Google Wallet functionality to the original Nexus S smartphone. User Venumx got the credit for the hack, though it was shared by got2best. Officially, Google Wallet only works on the Nexus S 4G smartphone for Sprint.
NFC revision allows peer-to-peer message sending
The NFC Forum, an industry association devoted to Near Field Communications (NFC) tech, has just revised its specs, adding a new exchange protocol. Dubbed Simple NDEF Exchange Protocol (SNEP), it allows sending and receiving messages between two NFC-enabled devices. This is an extension of the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF), which was only applicable to NFC tags in the past.
Google starter packs with SIM card, Nexus S show
Spanish site Xataka Android has come across a Google-branded SIM card bundled with the Nexus S. The bundle is apparently being distributed to Google engineers. Little is known about the purpose of these, though the screen shows that Google_Es is the carrier once the handset is powered up.
Google Wallet gets hard launch date
Google is finally expected to switch on Google Wallet on Monday after unveiling it four months earlier. Partners are receiving a notice telling them that the NFC (near-field communications) tap-to-pay service will be ready to use anywhere a MasterCard PayPass terminal is active. Although a few NFC-aware phones have launched since, TechCrunch understood that the Nexus S 4G running Android 2.3.4 would still be the only phone to support it at first.
Google begins Android 2.3.6 rollout for Nexus S
In order to address the issue some users faced with its Voice Search feature, Google has released the Android 2.3.6 update starting with the Nexus S. The frustrating problem would have the feature active itself without any user input, making the devices unusable at times. The news broke on the Google Mobile Help Forum.
Android deals end September 7
Telus has lowered the price on one of its iPhones, and is running special promotions on several of its Android smartphones. The Canadian wireless provider is now selling the 16GB iPhone 4 for $99, down from its usual $159. It's simultaneously giving away Android smartphones from five different vendors for free with a three year contract in a time-limited deal that ends September 7.
Swype gestures hit Google Nexus S 4G in test
Swype this morning is offering a special promo to give Google Nexus S 4G owners first access to a new feature. Billed as App Gestures, the method lets users glide from the Swype key to other parts of the keyboard to cut, copy, and paste ,or else to put text in an app. At first, owners can move text either into Google Maps or into a new Twitter update.
Ice Cream Sandwich photos see Honeycomb, iOS roots
A pair of leaks have provided the first glimpse at Ice Cream Sandwich. The OS has its expected influences from Android 3 tablets but also appears to take some direct cues from iOS. The always-on app shortcuts on the home screen now have an iPhone-like grid, RootzWiki saw, and now also appears to have iOS 4-style app folders.
Visa fast tracks NFC mobile wallets
Visa on Tuesday said it would ramp up its NFC mobile payment plans. Its support for the short-range credit card payments would now include dual-mode chips that can support Europay along with domestic standards. The hardware would also bring in dynamic authentication that would introduce very specific values for each deal: even a replica card or fake data on a phone wouldn't work because it would produce different values each time.
Free phones to be sold on August 3
Best Buy has announced a promotion that will enable new or upgrade-eligible customers to purchase any Nexus S variants at no cost when the handsets are tied to contracts. The Best Buy Mobile sale is limited to Wednesday, August 3, and covers Nexus S models available through several carriers including AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
Sprint Q2 2011 defined by smaller adds, big losses
Sprint had mixed news on Thursday for its spring quarter. While it reached a deal with LightSquared for 4G, it posted a steep loss of $847 million, $87 million more than it lost a year ago. The company added 1.1 million new subscribers, though a lower than usual 275,000 of these were its core Sprint subscription customers, where the rest were either prepaid or those signing on through an affiliate carrier.
ATT promises Android 2.3 upgrades for most phones
AT&T started off the week with promises that much of its Android smartphone line would get Android 2.3. Starting with the just-live Atrix 4G update, every postpaid (regular subscription) phone would get the OS. The Inspire 4G was next with an August upgrade, but the Samsung Captivate and Infuse 4G, the LG Phoenix, and Pantech Crossover would all get the modern OS.
Sprint to push Nexus S 4G speed update on Monday
Sprint said Friday that it was rolling out a speed update for the Nexus S 4G. A patch will tackle complaints and improve speeds on the WiMAX network. The carrier said it had worked with both Google and Samsung to identify slowdown points.
Google Nexus S gets ATT-native 3G on July 24
Google on Thursday fulfilled a longstanding request as it said it would ship an AT&T-native version of the Nexus S in the US. Its version follows after the original T-Mobile version and Sprint's Nexus S 4G. The official Android 2.3 phone is functionally identical to the T-Mobile version other than a switch of frequencies to support the 7.2Mbps 3G.
Paypal demonstrates NFC payments on Nexus S
PayPal at the the Mobile Beat 2011 conference in San Francisco Wednesday showed off its first Near Field Communications (NFC) widget for Android-powered devices. During a demonstration, funds were transferred simply by running the widget and tapping two Nexus S phones together. The new PayPal NFC widget lets users send or receive money. Holding phones together until they buzz, then entering a PayPal password or mobile PIN is all that's required to complete the transfer.
Android 2.3.5 coming to Nexus S 4G, 2.3.4 leaked
The upcoming GRJ90 update to the Nexus S 4G written about yesterday and due for July 11 will also update the handset to Android 2.3.5, according to Droid-Life. The update will otherwise allow the secure element in the NFC chip to work, thus enabling Google Wallet functionality on the handset. Other changes the software will bring with it include a 4G Settings Widget, TTY Support, NI Push Support, and better Wi-Fi performance, speakerphone audio quality, 4G throughput and signal acquisition. The signal strength indicators get a new tune as well.
Atlantis to carry Android and iOS on last shuttle
The last Space Shuttle flight will have Android alongside the two iPhones when Atlantis launches on Friday, NASA said the day before. Two Google Nexus S phones will be taken to the International Space Station to expand the features of SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), drones used to test spacecraft techniques and satellite maintenance. The phones will give the floating pods freedom to be controlled from the ground, cameras for a first-person view, and extra performance than they would have on their own.
Nexus S 4G gets NFC update on July 11
The Google Nexus S 4G on Sprint is set to receive an OTA update on July 11. The minor update will bring the device’s software up to version GRJ90 and includes several enhancements including an update for the NFC Secure Element chip built-in to the device for Google Wallet.
Google Videos for Android pops up early
Google's Videos app is near reaching phones as Android users have reported briefly finding the app in Android Market late Friday. The app as it was seen didn't enable actual playback but was clearly optimized for phones. The app was promised getting support beyond tablets a few weeks after its Google I/O conference introduction but has never seen indications of an expansion until now.
Skype video calling finally reaches Android
Skype after prolonged delays at last enabled video calling in its Android app (Android Market). The update allows two-way calls on certain devices with front cameras and will talk to any other Skype platform, including iOS devices as well as Macs and Windows PCs. It also touts a much easier interface with better access to contacts, account info, and a new mood menu to share status independently of any call.
VeriFone PayWare for Tablets chases Square
VeriFone partly bowed to pressure on Wednesday with the introduction of PayWare Mobile Enterprise for Tablets. The option will give iPads, as well as Android 3 tablets, a hardware card reader and app combination that can serve as a store checkout much like Square's eponymous readers. The VeriFone option claims an edge with PIN-based debit cards and support for NFC devices that can tap to make a payment, such as a Nexus S 4G using Google Wallet.
Hulu Plus hits Android with fragmentation
Android caught up significantly on Thursday with the addition of Hulu Plus (free, Market). Coming a year after the iOS version, it lets users stream the full Hulu TV and movie catalog over both cellular and Wi-Fi. The service costs the same $8 per month.
HTC Evo 3D gets early Best Buy doors open
Buzz surrounding an Android phone returned for the first time in many months with Best Buy planning an early opening for the HTC Evo 3D. All Best Buy Mobile stores, and those regular Best Buy stores that offer Sprint, will open two hours early at 8AM on the June 24 launch day. The retail chain planned to keep the same $200 on-contract price.
Millennial June ad share leans to BBerry and WP7
Millennial Media on Wednesday showed a surprising spike in mobile ad share from companies that have mostly been pushed down until now. Android and iOS were largely static versus April at 53 percent and 27 percent, but the BlackBerry and Windows Phone platforms both increased in May. A rise in BlackBerry Curve use put RIM up one point to 17 percent of ad traffic, and Microsoft surged an unusual 92 percent.