Category Archives: Android

Google Nexus 7 OTA 4.1.2

Lots of users over at XDA-Developers Forum have started to get an update for their Google Nexus 7 tablets, this updates brings Android 4.1.2 Jellybean to the device. This isn’t a big update from what people have seen, it seems to increase performance and stability of the tablet along with bug fixes. The only real visible change is the ability to rotate the home screen in landscape mode. Below is a post on the Android Building Group.

We’re releasing Android 4.1.2 to AOSP today, which is a minor update on top of 4.1.1.

As a note to maintainers of community builds running on Nexus 7: please update to 4.1.2 at the first opportunity. Future variants of the grouper hardware will have a minor change in one of the components (the power management chip) that will not be compatible with 4.1.1.

The build number is JZO54K, and the tag is android-4.1.2_r1.

Enjoy,
Conley and JBQ


Jean-Baptiste M. “JBQ” Queru
Technical Lead, Android Open Source Project, Google.

I have been setting my Nexus 7 to look for an update but none yet for me, but thanks to user PTzero of XDA you can download the update from Google’s servers and flash the update yourself if you want. If you are like me you may just do this, and is reported to keep ROOT on your tablet if you have done that like I have. Otherwise wait a day or so and it should update your device.

Images from: EE Times

Second-Generation Nest Thermostat

Nest announced today that they have an update to the Nest Thermostat that makes it compatible with 95% of low voltage heating and cooling systems, along with a slimmer unit, and updated software. The Nest is a “learning thermostat” that is connected to the internet, it tracks your settings such as when you come home and want your house warmer or when you are gone and don’t want the heat up. You can also control the thermostat from an iOS device or Android device, the App shows things like current temperature, set the system to heat or cool, setup schedules, or see statistics of your heating or cooling use.

The updated software on the new Nest adds better controls for forced air systems that start in the morning, better energy savings on radiant heat systems, and support for heat pump systems and other extra add-ons to different systems. They also updated the mobile apps for the new features and support for Android tablets.

The new Nest can be pre-ordered for $249 and ship later in October, and will be available on Amazon.com, Apple online store, and in Lowe’s stores. The updated Nest Software 3.0 will be updating existing Nest thermostats tonight.

FreedomPop Free 4G Data

FreedomPop is a company using Sprint WiMax 4G service to give users 500MB of free data usage a month. They also plan on updating the service later on to use Sprints 4G LTE network for wider coverage. While you get 500MB of data free they also offer reasonable rates for extra data, such as the “Casual 2GB Data Plan” is $17.99 a month. To get the service you also have to put down a security deposit for the MiFi or USB Stick, and depending on the one you get the price.

After looking at their coverage map it shows that the WiMax is the real problem, it’s only in major cities. For me the closest cities are Salt Lake or Denver that have coverage. If this worked on Sprint’s entire network I would be down for spending the $20.98 for the 2GB and the “Speed Plus” that is said to give a 50% boost in speeds whatever that means. The change to LTE is expected to happen sometime in 2013.

They also have an iPhone and iPod sleeve being made that works like a MiFi but also adds 6 hours of battery life to the iPhone case. With one of these you could turn an iPod into a real mobile device without an expansive contract. Both sleeves are only pre-order right now and will cost $99.

Check out the charts below for more details.

Device Deposit
Freedom Sleeve for iPod Touch $99
Freedom Sleeve for iPhone 4/4S $99
Freedom Spot – Photon $89
Freedom Stick – Bolt $49

The iPhone and iPod sleeves are said to come in a few weeks if you pre-order them.

Name Data per Month Price per Month
Free 500MB 500MB + $0.02 per 1MB after Free
Casual 2GB 2GB + $0.01 per 1MB after $17.99
Premiere 4GB 4GB + $0.01 per 1MB after $28.99

All plans can add FreedomPop Speed Plus for $2.99 per month for “50% faster speeds”.

For now if you have service in your area this could be a nice way to add data to a Tablet, Laptop, or other device if you want some free data that you would use from time to time, but otherwise hold off for a while until they change over to LTE. But it is good to see companies taking some risks in the mobile data field trying to come up with new ways to get people data service, also Sprint should be thought of as they seem to be the one network that is open to other companies trying new things using their equipment.

25 Billion Downloads on Google Play

Google announced today that they have hit the 25 billion download mark. They didn’t specify if it was just apps or included music, books, movies, or magazines, but it means we get some good deals! They will have a bunch of apps for 25 cents along with collections of 25 top movies, 25 banned books, 25 albums that changed the world, and 25 top selling magazines at special prices.

They also gave us a number, 675,000 app and games available in the Play Store. Also in geek style they put out the numbers such as, 25 billion is twice the distance that Voyager 1 has traveled in miles over 35 years. But ether way these milestone numbers have been good things for Android users as we get good deals on paid apps and this time they are also giving deals on other content they offer. Look for these deals today and will probably be around for a week or so, so don’t miss out.

RadioShack No-Contract Wireless using Cricket

RadioShack is now working with Cricket Wireless to offer a set of no contract plans and limited set of phones with the service. Prices range from $25 to $60 a month for service, and the cost of the phones is $39.99 for the feature phone, $149.99 for the Android 2.3 Smartphone. They also have Cricket’s Muve music service included with the smartphone plans. The smartphone plans say they have unlimited data, but get slowed from 3G to 2G after 1 to 2.5GB of data. Check out the table of the plans below.

Plan Details $25/mo Feature $35/mo Feather $50/mo Smartphone $60/mo Smartphone
Minutes per Month 300 1,000 Unlimited Unlimited
Unlimited Text Yes Yes Yes Yes
Unlimited Muve Music No No Yes Yes
Unlimited Data Yes Yes Yes (1GB 3G Speed) Yes (2.5GB 3G Speed) w/ Tethering

For people who don’t want a contract and are looking for just a phone or a smartphone with no contract this isn’t too bad of a deal. I looked up my zip code on crickets website and it showed that I was covered and after some research found out that that’s because they are using Sprint’s Network. There was no details on bringing your own device to this service or indication on how many more devices they will be adding to the RadioShack branded wireless service.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

More IFA releases this from Samsung, the Galaxy Note II. This is the new version of the popular large screen Android smartphone that comes with a stylus dubbed the S Pen. This phone has a large 5.5″ screen, Android 4.1 and 1.6 GHz quad-core processer. Full specs below.

  • 5.5″ HD Super AMOLED screen
  • Android 4.1
  • 8MP front, 1.9MP back camera
  • 1.6 GHz quad-core processer
  • S Pen and digitizer
  • 16/32/64 GB Memory, microSD (up to 64GB), and 2 GB RAM
  • Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, mHL, GPS
  • 4G LTE / 3G HSPA+
  • S Pen applications

The Note II comes with a lot of extra applications and customizations to make using the S Pen more useful on Android. They also include a bunch of Samsung apps that you may or may not want to use. But from the looks and specs this is a good upgrade to the Galaxy Note.

Amazon.com Now Ships More with Prime Free Two Day Shipping

Today Amazon.com announced they are shipping more products using their Prime free two day shipping then they do with the free super saver shipping. They also put out some numbers on how much you get by being part of Prime. These include the following.

  • 15 million items ship free with Prime
  • 22,000 free Prime unlimited streaming movies and TV shows
  • Watch Prime videos on Kindle Fire, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and iPad
  • 180,000 Prime Kindle Owners’ Lending Library books

Some other things they shared yet without any real numbers…

With the Prime membership you get the Free Two Day shipping on most things you are looking for, the movies and TV shows to watch, and the books. It is worth the $79 price per year just for the free shipping if you order items off of Amazon.com often. It has saved me lots of money in shipping and just having easy access to almost everything I could need, I have even seen the free two day shipping on fridges and beds.

Samsung GALAXY S DUOS

If you’re looking for a Dual SIM phone but want a good smart phone you may want to check out the Samsung GALAXY S DUOS. It has 2 SIM card slots that are always on, Android 4.0, 4.0″ screen, and 4GB internal storage. No info has been given on the processer or speed and is said to be out in September in Europe.

  • Network: HSDPA 7.2 M 900/2100 EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900
  • Display: 4.0″ WVGA(480×800) TFT
  • OS: Android Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Camera: Main(Rear) : 5 Megapixel camera with LED flash Front: VGA Camera
  • Memory: 4GB internal memory microSD (up to 32GB)
  • Battery: Standard battery, Li-ion 1,500 mAh
  • Other: A-GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, WI-FI, MicroUSB, Samsung TouchWiz, Stereo FM Radio

Dual SIM isn’t something popular in the United States, part because half the carriers use CDMA and part because plans are so expensive. But in Europe and Asia most people like dual SIM so they can have their work and personal phone numbers on the same device and only have to carry one phone with them.

Will keep an eye out for more details and release dates.

Google Play Store Smart Updates

If you use an Android Phone you most likely get your apps from Google Play Store, but updates can take lots of time and data if you have lots of apps. But earlier at Google I/O, Google talked about the new update system that would only download the parts of your apps that changed along with encrypting them so paid apps couldn’t be ripped off.

Reports now show that system has been started and will work even on older phones (2.3, 4.0 …) and can save you lots of data when updating apps. When you update an app it will download the part you need then start installing it if that’s all you need before the full download is done. This update should happen the next time you load the Google Play store on your device and happen without you having to do anything because the Play Store updates its self all the time.

Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1

If you are looking for an Android Tablet with a stylus you may want to check out the Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 that includes what they call the S Pen that is like a WACOM pen and not the nub that most touch screen devices get. It uses an active digitizer so if you the creative type this can make drawing or writing on the screen easy and accurate. Many people who had the 5″ Samsun GALAXY Note phone liked how good the pen was and how big the screen was.

As for specs it has a 1.4 GHz quad-core processer, Android 4.0 ICS, HSPA+ Quad Band, 5 Megapixel and 1.9 Megapixel cameras, S Pen, and loaded with a bunch of S Pen friendly apps.

  • 1.4 GHz quad-core processor
  • Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • HSPA 21-Mbps (HSDPA 21Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps) Quad Band 850/900/1900/2100 MHz
  • Main(Rear): 5 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash Sub(Front): 1.9 Megapixel VT Camera
  • 16/32/64GB User memory 2GB (RAM) microSD (up to 64GB)
  • Standard battery, Li-ion 7,000mAh
  • Bluetooth v4, WiFi, mHL, IR LED, USB 2.0 Host, 3.5mm Ear Jack

Below is a video put out by Samsung showing off what you can do with the S Pen and some of the extra apps built into the tablet.

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