Android L might feature customizable quick settings toggles

The new Quick Settings menu introduced in Android L (right)
With Android 4.2, Google introduced a Quick Settings panel in the notifications menu to enable quick toggling of various system settings, a feature OEM skins had been offering long before 4.2 came along. In fact, OEM skins have also been giving users the option to customize what toggles they see in the notifications menu, and with Android L, Google might finally be bringing that much-needed feature to stock Android. 
On one of the issue trackers for the Android L project, a user has asked why the quick toggles cannot be customized, rightly arguing that not everyone needs the same options in their settings menu (there’s not even a direct option for toggling mobile data, something that can come in quite handy.) Thankfully, someone from the Android L team decided to pass along the issue to the development team, instead of ignoring it like many other issues that users report on the issue trackers.
The new Quick Settings menu introduced in Android L (right)
Of course, this isn’t a confirmation that Android L really will offer customizable quick settings. Google hasn’t never been at the forefront of building in functionality that, despite being seemingly minor, go a long way in increasing day-to-day usability, but with all the changes that are coming to the OS with Android L, one can always hope Google will finally get around to adding some basic features users have been clamoring for (like a battery percentage in the status bar.)

Microsoft opens beta testing for their Android OneNote app

OneNote for Android
For Microsoft, individual applications that can grow their brand are important, especially for the ones that make their presence known on other mobile platforms, outside of their own Windows Phone ecosystem. One of their more popular apps is OneNote, a note taking application, and Microsoft is hoping that Android users out there will invest some time to check out beta versions of the app before their public launch.
Microsoft has confirmed that their focus on OneNote for Android is not completely lost, thanks to an announcement that upcoming beta releases for the app are on the way. For those who have used the app in the past, you’ll probably know that it’s been a few months since the company has updated the note app, but it looks like that could be changing soon.
For anyone that’s interested in checking out new features before they’re publicly available, Microsoft has opened a Google+ community, called the OneNote for Android Beta Program. You’ll need to find the “Become a tester’ link, fill out the form, and then once you do Microsoft says you’ll receive an update to the beta version of the app as soon as they release it. (And, one would imagine, any future updates to beta releases as well.)
Microsoft’s OneNote for Android is available now in the Google Play Store, for free.
Do you use Microsoft’s OneNote app, or do you prefer another note taking app?
[via Microsoft OneNote for Android Google+]

OnePlus explains how they plan on making money

Even before the One was unveiled, OnePlus has been in constant news for all the right and wrong reasons. One of the reasons why so many people are interested in buying the handset, even though it is hard to get your hands on one, is because of its low price-point, which even gives Google’s Nexus line-up of devices a run for their money.

OnePlus has already explained that they don’t intend to make a profit for the first two years, which allows them to offer the One for so cheap. Along with this, the company has also managed to keep its costs down by dramatically cutting down on its marketing expenses and selling the OnePlus One directl. If they had taken the traditional course of selling their devices via retailers, the final price of the device would have been easily higher by around 20-40%.
But money is not unlimited, right? What if the company runs out of money before that? How do they exactly plan on making a profit? On this matter, Carl said that the company will not run out of money in the next couple of years and is still thinking of various ways to make money. This includes selling accessories for their devices, where they have kept a reasonable profit margin.
Other possible options that would be viable down the line are an increase in scale, which would dramatically drive down the component cost for OnePlus devices, allowing the company to make a small profit on every unit sold and providing software services to users.
In the end though, Carl states that making money is not the company’s prime motivator. Instead, they are sing the Silicon Valley startup approach here and are first creating a great product that will automatically attract customers and then find a way to earn money off them later on.
[Via OnePlus]

Google Glass update XE 19.1 released, gives voice actions a cleaner look and more

Google Glass XE 19.1 update
Google Glass received an update to Android’s KitKat version back in April of 2014, and most recently we heard about a brand new piece of hardware with 2GB of RAM right out of the box that would start shipping to new owners of the wearable. Today, though, Google has updated the software to bring a slight visual improvement to the table.
For those who own Google Glass, software updates are just about as common as they are on stock Android devices, and generally they can either offer quite a bit in new stuff, or just trim the very surface of new content. In this particular update, it’s a bit of both. Interestingly enough, it looks like Google has chosen to skip an update to bring Google Glass to XE 19, but instead decided to just leapfrog that to XE 19.1 with this newest update.
However, despite having a rather major upgrade number, there’s only a couple of major bullet points to look at. First, the new voice commands display. Google has said that with the new update, the voice actions menu is cleaner, sleeker. But, to actually make using voice connections worthwhile, being worried about connectivity with the wearable on your face shouldn’t be an issue.
Thankfully, that’s the second major part of the XE 19.1 update: better connectivity. Google’s not necessarily all that detailed when it comes to that particular detail, just offering “provides even more reliable connectivity,” but they do suggest that it should be better across the board, especially when providing those voice commands.
The update is rolling out now, so if you haven’t received it quite yet on your Glass unit, don’t fret — it’s coming.
[via Google Support]

Android 4.4.4 maintenance update headed to Nexus 5 in India, New Zealand and Australia

While it’s not a massive new update, for owners of the Nexus 5 in New Zealand, Australia or India, a new maintenance upgrade is being sent out to your device right now.
Officially revealed by Google, and as first reported by Android Police, the newest update to be sent out to the Nexus 5 in those aforementioned countries is meant to tweak only a few things behind the scenes, as well as potentially address a network issue that some users may have noticed. Or, even if they didn’t, Google noticed, and an update is on its way to alleviate the situation.
In the update, a new radio image comes along for the ride, as well as plenty of bug squashing for good measure. The build number has been updated to KTU84Q, with the specific version listed as Android 4.4.4_r2, and the factory image details the release as “Android 4.4.4 Release 2 (for 2Degrees/NZ, Telsta/AUS and India ONLY)(KTU84Q).”
As usual, a lot of details on the technical side, but this is far from the major update that you’re really waiting for with Android L, still tentatively scheduled or a release this fall.
Are you using a Nexus 5 in New Zealand, India or Australia, and have you received this update?
[via Android Police]

Google launches ‘Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals’ to help developers

Android Developers Udacity
It’s not uncommon for Google to want to reach out to the developers that help make Android what it is. We’ve seen plenty of videos tuned for developers, like the company showing off the details for Android Wear before its official launch at Google I/O this year. Now the company is back with a new tool for developers, this one meant to act as a continuous resource for those who’d like to develop for the mobile platform.
Officially launched on July 15, Google has announced “Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals,” where you’ll “learn to think like an Android developer.” This is a new online training course that features Developer Advocates from Google, including Dan Galpin, Katherine Kuan, and Reto Meier.
The videos are meant to help developers, especially those new to the effort, learn how to make their apps a reality with step-by-step instructions on how to bring those to Android. This includes in-depth looks at the best practices for building apps for the platform, but as well as for the mobile experience as a whole. Each video is hosted through Udacity, and every single one of them is said to be free:
The full course materials — all the videos, quizzes, and forums — are available for free for all students by selecting “View Courseware”. Personalized ongoing feedback and guidance from Coaches is also available to anyone who chooses to enroll in Udacity’s guided program.
You can head through the source links below to learn more about the videos, and to get started building apps for Android. If you’ve ever thought about getting started, it looks like Google has made it easier than ever before to jump right in.
[via Android Developers; Udacity]

HTC One (M8) for Sprint updated to Android 4.4.3, now supports WiFi Calling

Not too long ago, Sprint officially released a new software update for the LG G Flex, which brought the device up to the latest version of Android, but also brought WiFi Calling to the mix. Now it’s HTC’s 2014 flagship to get the same treatment.
Confirmed by Sprint on July 15, the wireless carrier’s branded version of the HTC One (M8) has been granted permission to receive a software update. The update will bring the Android version on the flagship handset up to Android 4.4.3, KitKat, but it doesn’t necessarily change anything when it comes to the visuals. But that doesn’t mean it’s a weightless update, either.
The biggest addition to the One (M8) for Sprint is the WiFi Calling feature. But, if you love to get new apps on your device, too, then the addition of an HD Voice icon in your applications tray may just make your day. There are also some squashed bugs behind the scenes, as well as some performance tweaks.
The update is available now for the One (M8), and Sprint has officially begun rolling it out, but these updates generally take time to reach every device activated on the network.
Did you pick up an HTC One (M8) for Sprint?
[via Sprint]

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 for AT&T goes on sale for $269.99 with a new contract

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 was announced earlier in 2014, and has taken its time arriving on wireless networks in the United States. Verizon was the first to release their version of the tablet, featuring their new XLTE connctivity, but T-Mobile was quick to follow up with their own announcement, even if it was just a pre-order (with a subsequent launch at the end of July). Now it’s AT&T’s turn to throw their hat into the ring.
Officially announced today by AT&T, the Samsung-branded Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 has gone on sale at the Big Blue network beginning today, July 15. But only if you order online. AT&T says if you do that, then you’ll get your device before July 25, when the tablet is scheduled to land in physical retail stores. You’ll be able to choose from a full retail price of $369.99; 20 monthly installment plans set at $18.50; or the $269.99 price tag set with a new, two-year contract.
As far as features go, here’s what you’re looking at:
  • 8-inch 1200×800 display
  • 3MP rear camera; 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor
  • 1.5GB of RAM
  • 16GB of built-in storage; microSD card support
  • 4450mAh battery
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • For anyone that happens to be in the market for a new tablet and a new smartphone, AT&T is offering up a limited time deal that will give you $50 off the price of the tablet if you opt to buy a Samsung Galaxy-branded smartphone at the same time.
    Does the Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 grab your interest?
    [via AT&T]

    HTC fires two of its top level executives “in a nice way”

    icon HTC
    HTC may have managed to earn a meagre profit in the previous quarter but the company is still far from being out of danger. To make conditions worse, the company’s top level executives have been periodically leaving the company making its administration unstable.
    Two of HTC’s senior level executives — Fred Liu and Ben Ho — have again left the company but this time it is HTC who has fired them “in a nice way”. 
    Fred has been HTC’s president of engineering and operations since June 2013, while Ben Ho has been looking at the company’s marketing and communications effort since the end of 2012.
    The initial report from Bloomberg suggested that these two top-level executives were leaving the company but sources familiar with HTC’s operation informed The Verge that they were being “fired in a nice way”.
    Fred Liu has already been been stripped of most of his duties while Ben Ho has, apparently, been missing since months. In fact, when HTC hired Paul Golden, who played a chief role in making the Galaxy brand, Ho was already stepping down from his duties. According to Engadget, the failure of HTC’s Here’s To Change campaign featuring Robert Downey Jr. played a major role in Ho being fired from the company.

    MediaTek launches the MT6795, a 64-bit ‘true’ octa-core processor with LTE, 2K display support

    MediaTek launches the MT6795, a 64-bit 'true' octa-core processor with 2K display support
    MediaTek has made quite a name for itself as a maker of mobile processors that power a plethora of budget and low mid-range smartphones, and today, the company is putting a big foot in the high-end segment of the mobile SoC market. MediaTek has announced the MT6795, a chipset that supports features like 64-bit processing and 4K video recording. 
    The MT6795 is a “true” octa-core chip, meaning all of its eight cores can be active at a given moment and can attain the same max clock speed of 2.2GHz. The chip comes with MediaTek’s “CorePilot” technology, which helps balance load across cores for the best performance while keeping power usage and heat output to a minimum. Thanks to 64-bit support, the chip should be a good match for the upcoming Android L, which will bring official 64-bit support to Google’s popular mobile OS.
    The MT6795 includes support for recording and playing Ultra HD (4K) videos, 480fps slow motion video at 1080p, and can natively drive 2K (2560×1600) displays, which should make it a good choice for OEMs wanting to employ such high-resolution screens while keeping a lid on the total cost of a device. On the connectivity front, there is support for Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, Category 4 LTE (150 mbps), standard 2G and 3G networks, and multimode wireless charging.
    MediaTek’s processors have heavily penetrated the white box device market, but with the MT6795, the Taiwanese chip maker looks well poised to challenge more established players like Qualcomm, especially in the high-end smartphone market. MediaTek hasn’t announced any official partners or devices that will be powered by the MT6795, but the first such devices are expected to show up by the end of this year.