Estonian LG Optimus G receives Android 4.4 update [Updated]

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Back in October, France announced that their LG Optimus G would receive Android 4.4 as early as October. Considering KitKat’s release date was only October 31, that was preposterous. Still, it seems like the Optimus G will still be one of the first devices to receive the 4.4 update – at least in Estonia. LG’s Facebook page in Estonia announced that Optimus G customers of Elisa, the second largest carrier in the country, will begin receiving Android 4.4 today.

No word on when Optimus G owners outside of Estonia will receive KitKat, or when the higher-end LG G2 will receive 4.4.

Update: Unfortunately the information on LG’s Facebook page was untrue and LG reached out to us with the following statement…..

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HTC One Max shows up in black on HTC Hong Kong site

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When originally released, the HTC One Max was like a Ford Model T in that you could get it in any color you wanted as long as that color was silver. That appears to be slowly changing as a new image on the HTC Hong Kong official site reveals a new black version of the super-sized smartphone. This comes almost two weeks after a red version of the HTC One Max was revealed in some marketing collateral for the Taiwanese market.

Similar to the situation with the red HTC One Max, there is no information for this black version about how widely it will be distributed around the globe. However, the HTC One Mini is available in black, silver and blue while the original HTC One can be purchased in silver, black, red, blue and gold. With the HTC One Max now available in silver, red, and black, albeit in limited markets for now, it may yet shed its relation to Henry Ford.

source: Unwired View

HTC now able to sell all phones in UK again

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After HTC was ordered to stop selling a couple of their phones in the UK, the Court of Appeals has granted a stay of injunction to the Taiwanese company this afternoon. This means that they will be able to resume selling the HTC One mini and other devices, effective immediately.

HTC has issued a statement saying that they’re “delighted” that the Court of Appeals has granted the stay of injunction, and that they’ll “immediately resume shipping of all of their devices into the UK, including the entire HTC One family.”

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Google Maps update includes Gmail integration for reservations

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When Google updated their Maps app to version 7.5 last night, there was nothing new to be seen on the surface. However, thanks to Android Police, we now know that the biggest addition is Gmail integration. Hotel, restaurant, and flight reservations now appear when you open up their relevant locations in the Maps app. For example, if you have an upcoming flight, its info will appear when you search for the airport on Maps, if you have a hotel reservation, its info will show up when you search for the hotel, etc.

Gmail integration for Maps is currently available only for English users in the United States. You can find a few APK download links below.

Source: Android Police / Download Link #1 / Download Link #2

Contextually aware Cover lock screen replacement now in the Play Store

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Remember Cover, that contextually aware lock screen replacement that launched in October as a private beta? Well it’s still in beta, but Cover was able make enough improvements to the app making it ready for entry into the Play Store.They were able to improve battery life, car detection, and device compatibility. Users can also share their setup to social sites.

Cover changes with you, and will provide quick access to the “right apps at the right time” via your lock screen. Hit the break for a video of it in action along with download links. It’s free, so it’s worth checking out.

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Native Chromecast support comes to Play Movies and Play Music from the web

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Folks who have Chromecast devices know well that there are two types of casting from the desktop. First there are those applications or sites that support Chromecast directly. This includes services like YouTube or Netflix where the cast button can be found in the video player area and allow you to use the Chromecast as intended, with the content delivered directly to the Chromecast. The other type are those sites that require the user to just cast the entire web page from their browser tab. This is rather slow and requires the content to be delivered from the computer to the Chromecast. Surprisingly, Google did not include the first type of casting for Play Movies and Play Music from the web when using a laptop or desktop. That oversight has now changed.

According to Google, if the Google Cast extension is installed for your browser, you can look for the cast button in the video player area when you fire up your favorite title. This will then cause the movie, TV show, or song to be streamed directly to the Chromecast, just as it would if you had launched the title using a smartphone or tablet.

source: +Google Play

Google adds blue theme option into Google Keyboard update

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Remember the theme engine that’s baked in (but hidden away) in Google’s stock keyboard? Looks like Google might be taking advantage of it in their latest keyboard update.

The new version of the stock Android keyboard gives you two options for themes; the new white theme that matches with the color palette that’s been introduced in KitKat, or a theme that matches the more traditional Holo blue we’ve gotten used to ever since Ice Cream Sandwich was released. They aren’t exactly the most varied themes that we’ve ever seen, but it’s a good start. You never know, Google may start regularly rolling out new themes, or they might even open up that theme engine for third-party developers on the Play Store to take advantage of, similar to how Cyanogenmod does things. Read more

FCC and U.S. Carriers reach a deal to allow consumers to unlock their mobile phones and tablets

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It was back in January when it became illegal to unlock your mobile phone or tablet, which ticked a lot of people off. In most situations, the carrier would unlock it for you, but they didn’t have to. Well fast forward nearly 11 months, and things have changed. The FCC and CTIA have reached an agreement allowing you to unlock your mobile phone or tablet. This deal was reached with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless.

Each carrier will need to post their policy for unlocking on their respective websites. The way the rule works is that carriers will have to unlock devices requested by customers if their contract has been fully satisfied by either the term or termination fee is paid. If you own a prepaid phone, your carrier has to unlock it within a year of the original activation.

source: CTIA

Latest Google+ update allows you to shake your device like a snow globe to add snow to your photos

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Last week, Google gave us Auto Awesome Snow, but wouldn’t it be cool to add the effect to any photo? The most recent Google+ update lets you do just that by shaking your device like a snow globe. Snow will start falling, and if you like what you see, just shake again to save it.

Now that is not the only addition that you will get with this update. You can now search for posts, people, photos, and communities all from one place. There is also a new “Who can notify me” setting that allows you to control who can buzz your phone. If you frequently check out the What’s Hot stream, you can now explore content by a number of categories such as music, science, sports, and photography. Last but not least, Google promises that you will see something “lovely” when you +1 posts in the stream.

The update is rolling out gradually so it might take a couple of days to hit your device. Hit the break for a short video on the new shake and snow effect.

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Nexus 5 gets slight revision with improved buttons and larger speakers

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Google is now selling a “new” version of the Nexus 5 with a few tweaks. No, it doesn’t mean it’s an entirely new Nexus device, unfortunately. Google and LG have slightly tweaked a few things about the Nexus 5 to make a better device. This happens to many devices, it’s just rare that they get much press about it. When we’re talking about a device aimed at Android enthusiasts, though, you can expect those “slight” adjustments to be noticed pretty quickly.

The most major things you’ll notice are larger holes for the speaker at the bottom of the device and some adjusted buttons. Many users reported loose or rattling buttons on the Nexus 5, but the new ones appear to be a bit more stiff and more sturdy, which is definitely a good thing. You can see the small changes in the pictures below. Read more