Android software

AT&T serves up Android 4.4 to Samsung Galaxy S4

AT&T on Wednesday confirmed that the Android 4.4 update is ready for Samsung Galaxy S4.

Expected to roll out over the coming days, the KitKat update also brings a number of other noteworthy changes. Specifically, it adds compatibility with the Samsung Galaxy Gear as well as the ability to drag and drop to uninstall apps. AT&T, for its part, promises improved call quality.

The update is a sizable one, weighing between 412MB and 842MB, depending on which version of Android the user is currently running. Because of its size AT&T will only allow … Read more

Google Now launcher pops up in Play Store for all Nexus devices

While the Nexus 5 ships with Android KitKat, the phone's home screens and app drawer get their unique and refined designs from a custom launcher. Now, if you're rocking a Nexus 4, Nexus 7, or a Google Play edition HTC One, you can get your hands on that launcher too, straight from the Play Store.

Dubbed the Google Now Launcher, this home-screen replacement gives you two useful Google Now-centric features. From your home screen, you can swipe right to bring up Google Now, where you can view your weather, sports scores, traffic, and reminder cards, and anything … Read more

Star Apps: JD Samson & Men

For some, work is a chore. For JD Samson & Men, music is a labor of love. Nowhere is that more apparent than on the electronic outfit's new, aptly titled album, "Labor." The LP's 13 tracks tackle heavy, highly personal topics suited for a therapy session -- gender identity, relationships, the challenges of making it in today's musical landscape -- yet listeners will likely experience a post-confessional lightness, buoyed by Men's synth-driven dance sound. I recently spoke to JD Samson about "Labor," the tour, gender identity, ex-bandmate Kathleen Hanna, and her favorite … Read more

Nokia X Software Platform: An Android-Windows Phone mess (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- The new Nokia X Software Platform unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2014 is kind of like the wedding adage: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Here, the phone-maker borrows, bends, and recombines elements of Android, Windows Phone, and Nokia's own Asha OS as a response to a particularly sticky conundrum: how to make users' beloved Android apps run on a non-Google-looking phone, thereby avoiding a betrayal of partner-and-soon-to-be-parent Microsoft.

The result is an awkward amalgamation that doesn't do justice to any of the hybrid platform's component parts. For someone familiar with all … Read more

Orange Gova brings 4G to Europe's technophobes

European mobile network operator Orange has a new own-brand handset, the Gova, that will be coming soon to parts of Europe. The Android phone is the first phone from Orange that comes with 4G LTE connectivity. The Gova also sports software designed to teach the basics of smartphone usage to those who are just taking their first steps away from older feature phones.

The first time you turn the phone on, you'll be given the option of going through the setup lessons. There's about 8 steps in total, but each one teaches you basic things such as how … Read more

CoPilot GPS navigation app wants to improve your commute

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, this week, app maker ALK Technologies is showing off its most recent additions to its CoPilot GPS app, a free app with downloadable maps, turn-by-turn navigation, and directions. The company has added two new features that aim to make your commute better.

The first new feature is CommuteMe, which learns your daily commute route as you drive, tracking the streets and freeways you prefer to use. Once it gets a good picture of your daily commute to and from work, it will start to alert you about traffic problems on that route. It … Read more

Star Apps: P.J. Byrne

As technology moves from desktop to handheld to wearable (connected fitness bands, smartwatches, Google Glass), one might wonder if microchipping is the next step in our tech evolution. The answer is an emphatic yes, according to CBS's "Intelligence," a new suspense series that airs Mondays (10 p.m. ET/PT). Josh Holloway plays Gabriel, a high-tech intelligence operative enhanced by a supercomputer microchip in his brain, which gives him unfettered access to the Internet, Wi-Fi, telephone, and satellite data -- info he uses to protect the US from foreign enemies. On the show, actor P.J. Byrne (&… Read more

Star Apps: YB

With explosive drums, fuzzed-out guitars, and Wolfmother-style vocals, YB's first English-language single, "Cigarette Girl," might finally break YB in the West. Though already regarded as the Bon Jovi of South Korea, YB has not made much of a dent stateside -- unless you happened to catch the band at one of its sold-out 2006 NYC performances or at its acclaimed 2007 SXSW showcase. Under new manager Doug Goldstein, who formerly managed Guns N' Roses, Danzig, and Blind Melon, they just might make it here. As YB prepared for its first US mini-tour in seven years, frontman Do-Hyun … Read more

Opera Max promises to cut data usage across apps

Android users looking to save on their data plans may want to get in line for Opera's latest beta app, Opera Max.

Initially announced in December, the app has spent the better part of two months in a private beta. On Tuesday, Opera is expanding the Opera Max beta to the public, albeit with a waiting list.

Like the company's flagship Opera Web browser, the Opera Max application is designed to compress data help save users from spilling their precious, allotted megabytes.

Instead of only helping out with Web sites, however, Max promises to do the same across … Read more

Amp up TV time with these second-screen Android, iOS apps

Let's face it, you're not watching television commercials. In fact, you're probably not paying attention all that closely to your favorite TV shows, either.

The sad truth is that many of us can't go longer than an hour without whipping out the phone or tablet. We can't be bothered to give the almighty tube our undivided attention when our friends are being snarky on Facebook.

Why not put that phone to good, practical use? There are some great apps out there that can actually enhance your viewing experience.

I've put together a small collection … Read more