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26 Dec 12 HTC One S Android 4.1 update begins rolling out in select markets

We’ve been hearing about the Jelly Bean update for the HTC One S since July this year. While the One X received the update last month, the Taiwanese manufacturer seems to have kept up with its promise by beginning to roll out the Android 4.1 update for the One S. The update is available to select UK users of the device.

According to Android Central, the OTA update is rather large at 612.27MB and carries version number 3.16.401.8 and lists Android 4.1.1 as the software version. It brings along major Jelly Bean elements to the device along with a new version of HTC’s Sense UI, Sense 4+.

The Sense 4+ UI available as part of the Jelly Bean update, has several new features like HTC Get Started, HTC Watch 2.0, changes to the Gallery app and views, tweaks with the Camera app and much more. As of now, Sense 4+ is available to HTC One X (Review I Pictures) and HTC One S (Review I Pictures) users post the update. The HTC One X+ comes with Sense 4+ straight out of the box.

Other features as part of the update include a fix for battery issues that users have been complaining about as well as accessing the power saver option from the Notification menu.

Apart from the One X and One S, HTC had also confirmed its plans to upgrade the One XL with Jelly Bean. Now that two of the three have received their updates, we hope to see One XL users to be part of the Android 4.1 fraternity soon.

As a reminder, Jelly Bean aka Android 4.1 brings several performance improvements including Project Butter, which aims to make the user interface smoother. It also comes with Google Now and updates to Android Beam functionality.

HTC One S: First Look

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25 Dec 12 Christmas surprise for Droid Razr, Razr Maxx

Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, Motorola Droid Razr

Motorola Droid Razr Maxx (L) and Motorola Droid Razr (R)

Sarah Tew/CNET)

The original Droid Razr and Droid
Razr Maxx have begun receiving their over-the-air update to
Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, according to a report at Android Central.

The update is clocking in at more than 300 MB, so it’s recommended that you upgrade over Wi-Fi only, unless you’ve got a high or non-existent mobile data cap. Many people are reporting in the Android Central forums that their updates are failing to complete install on first try, too.

To check if you’ve got the update, go to Settings, About Phone, and then System Update.

The update comes follows on the heels of the Droid Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD getting their update to Jelly Bean at the beginning of December, and keeps Motorola’s promise to update their phones more frequently.

There’s no word yet on whether the original Razr or Razr Maxx will see Android 4.2.

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20 Dec 12 Samsung working to fix latest Galaxy S III exploit

Samsung says it’s working “as quickly as possible” to fix an exploit in some of its Android phones, which could allow hackers to gain total control over the device.

The exploit was first reported on the XDA Developers forums on Saturday, and attracted lots of attention from the tech press. It allows malicious apps to control all physical memory on the device, thereby allowing for remote wipes, access to user data and other malicious activities.

All Samsung Android phones based on Exynos 4210 and 4412 processors are vulnerable. As Android Central notes, that includes the Galaxy S II on Sprint, Galaxy Tab 2, Galaxy Note 10.1 and certain Galaxy Player models. International versions of the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note II are affected, as well as U.S. versions of the Galaxy Note II, but U.S. versions of the Galaxy S III are not affected.

In a statement to Android Central, Samsung says it’s aware of the issue and is working on a software update to fix it. “Samsung will continue to closely monitor the situation until the software fix has been made available to all affected mobile devices,” the company said.

No biggie, says Samsung

Although this exploit sounds pretty dangerous, Samsung says that “most devices operating credible and authenticated applications” won’t be affected. In other words, if you’re downloading trustworthy apps from the Google Play Store, you probably have nothing to worry about. (It’s unclear whether Google’s malware scanner, which examines all new apps in its store, is picking up on this new exploit.)

Still, the exploit doesn’t look good for Samsung, which just a few months ago had to scramble to fix another software vulnerability. That security flaw allowed attackers to remotely wipe phones running Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, using only a Web link with malicious code.

To be clear, these are security flaws in specific Samsung phones, not to be confused with general malware such as apps that send premium-rate SMS messages without permission. The common thread, however, is Android’s open app ecosystem, which allows users to install any software they want. While all Google Play Store apps must pass a malware check, the system isn’t foolproof. Neither is the new built-in malware scanner in Android 4.2 for apps from outside the store.

Which brings us back to the usual refrain: An occasional security threat is the byproduct of having that open ecosystem. That means users should take some basic precautions before downloading an app, like seeing how many users have downloaded it, and what they’re saying about it. As Samsung says, credible applications won’t pose any danger, even for this new exploit. But if a little extra care sounds like too much work, there’s always the iPhone or Windows Phone instead.

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02 Feb 12 Chrome to Phone, Google Docs updates

It’s days like these when we know Google has our back. They’re constantly working to make all their services better. Today, the Search Giant has released solid updates to two of their services – Google Docs and Chrome to Phone. These updates include some aesthetic improvements for both phones and tablets, as well as offline availability for your documents.

Chrome to Phone

This new update comes with a rehashed look to the interface. Mostly, the minimalist arrows make it much sharper and more sleek. It might be a bit different for those who don’t have Android 4.0, though. When I tested the update on an HTC Thunderbolt with Gingerbread, the arrows still had the older look.

The guys from Android Central have a much different look, though. And it might be due to the software differences of Ice Cream Sandwich.

The UI is still missing the new unified Ice Cream Sandwich look. It would be great if Google could integrate the same updated look to all of its apps, including this one. Instead of the image on top, it could be a bar with options, the search button and the menu button, much like Google Docs (image below) and many other apps out there.

The update also includes a fix to the crashes when copying text, which is definitely welcome. Also, if you’re a landscape user, you might be happy to know that this feature has been included to Chrome to Phone as well.

Google Docs

Google Docs saw a more exciting update this time around. Many of our tablets are WiFi-only. This means that we find ourselves without an internet connection much of the time, in which case you can’t access or edit documents from Google Docs.

This update adds offline usability to Google Docs. Simply choose which documents you want to be able to access offline, and they become available wherever you might be.

As with all Google Services in Android, this app is meant to be easy to work with. Basically, after you choose a document to be available offline, the app syncs automatically whenever possible. You can make any changes to a document, and the changes will be updated as soon as the tablet hits internet connectivity. (This can also be done manually).

This would be very helpful for tablet users who are constantly working on their documents. Go ahead and work; the changes will be automatically updated when possible, creating a much more unified experience. That’s not the only new feature in this update, though.

There’s also a new feature for tablet users. Now when you open a document (while online) you will see a “high-resolution” version. This has much of a magazine feel. You can swype left and right through the pages, displaying all your hard work.


Keep them coming, Google! If you want to check out these new updates, go ahead and get them straight from the Android Market. We have posted the links below for your convenience. Be sure to let us know what you think.

Google Chrome to Phone
Google Inc.

Google Docs
Google Inc.

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