For some reason I keep telling people “Happy Monday”, despite it being Wednesday. Clearly my brain has just associated the work week with “fuck Mondays” permanently now. [shrugs]
So today I have quite a few things for you all. Some sales, some updates (literally and figuratively), plus some other stuff. If it’s a lengthy read then yay? Maybe. I don’t know. Frankly, I’m looking forward to hitting publish on this post so I can get back to Chasing the Scream, a book about the war on drugs. Really interesting book by the way, I’m not too far in and it is definitely a subject matter I’m very familiar with, but thus far I’d recommend it to anyone with a passing interest in the subject.
Let’s get this show on the road though!
First, a sale!
This is a sale I’ve seen mentioned in a few places and I just kept forgetting to share with you all, FreedomPop currently has the Nexus 5 (16 GB and white) on sale for $199.99 (although it is a refurbished model) with 1 year of unlimited talk and texting included, along with 500 MB a month of LTE data.
There are no contracts or early termination fees, should you wish to continue the service after that first year it’ll set you back less than $20 a month. For people who don’t use much data that’s a helluva good offer. Of course you could always just cancel at that point and have a decent device you can take to either T-Mobile or AT&T or any other SIM card using carrier.
And now, for some Lollipop update related news!
First off, I’ve written so many times about Motorola’s devices to the point I’m sure some of you are tired of hearing about them. Look, that isn’t gonna change anytime soon, so if that’s an issue you best skip ahead a little bit. Motorola has begun posting release notes related to the soon to be delivered 5.1 OTA update for a number of phones.
The Moto X (1st Gen.), Moto X (2nd Gen. on AT&T and the Pure Edition/T-Mobile version), and the Moto E (2nd Gen.). More devices are likely to get the update, as well as have their release notes posted, and as soon as I know more you’ll know more.
Yes, the rollout has taken longer than expected but as I’ve said several times here and elsewhere it is better to wait for a fully stable OTA update than to get something buggy. Bitching and complaining does nothing and if it’s really that much of an issue to where you don’t like it you can always get another phone, but good luck with updates then. Unless you buy a Nexus you’ll be waiting just as long, if not longer, than most Motorola owners have been.
On a related note, the roundup for 5.1 OTA update links has mostly been completed with one major exception, the Nexus 9 (WiFi and LTE models) has yet to receive said update.
If you need help updating you can also visit my previous Lollipop related write-up on factory images and OTA updates, I included everything you need there. If you need additional help just let me know and I’ll do my best to get you sorted.
On a related note, I have some news regarding a few devices and Lollipop updates for them. Well, lack thereof in this case.
The HTC One Mini and the HTC One Mini 2 (the ones based on the M7 and M8 respectively) will not be receiving the Lollipop update.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini may or may not receive the Lollipop update. I have seen reports from various carriers saying flat out it wouldn’t, flat out it would, and maybe. So it seems if you own the device and really want to know you’ll have to reach out to your carrier and ask them yourselves if it will or will not be receiving the update. Most seem to be replying via Twitter, so I’d go that route to contact them.
Speaking of Samsung, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was originally slated when Lollipop was first announced as going to receive the update. In the same vain as the Galaxy S4 Mini that is now just as up in the air and carrier dependent. Oh, also Samsung country subsidiary dependent. Samsung Italy said it would, while Samsung I forget where else but some other European country said it wouldn’t. So same thing, if you own that device you’ll have to ask and see what they say.
Some incredibly interesting devices have popped up over the course of the past week
ASUS has quietly unveiled a version of the ZenFone 2 that comes with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. No word yet on pricing or availability, but I expect it to naturally go for more than the 64 GB version of the similar ZenFone 2 with 4 GB of RAM.
This is a phone that had myself and a few others on here very intrigued back when it was first announced at CES. A part of me is still unbelievably intrigued by it, the only thing that gives me pause is the use of an Intel Atom processor. Well, that and the capacitive instead of onscreen buttons.
I believe though that the phone at present isn’t necessarily compatible with U.S. LTE networks. So if you’re in the U.S. and eager to pick up such an interesting device at cost I’d hold off for now. Unless you have extra cash to burn and really don’t care about LTE one way or another, in which case have at it. That said, I believe a version tailored to U.S. networks will be launching on May 18th. Like usual, when I know more you’ll know more.
In a “color me intrigued” note, Xiaomi has debuted the Mi Note Pro.
This seems to be a slightly more premium and thus high end version of the Mi Note, which received an amazing review by Ron Amadeo over on Ars Technica, with the article headline being Xiaomi’s Mi Note phablet outclasses the competition for half the price.
I’m just gonna be lazy and list the phone’s specs as opposed to pointing out any differences and whatnot over the regular Mi Note.
The phone has a 5.7” QHD 2560x1440 display, made by Sharp mind you, which has 515 pixels per inch (PPI). That’s a lot of damn pixels. It’s also got 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. A 13 MP camera with optical image stabilization (OIS). Dual SIM card slots with LTE Cat 9 support. It’s also got Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor. Now before those in the know ask “why?!” in regards to said processor, my understanding thus far is that this uses a revises design of the processor that is significantly less prone to the overheating heating that plagued the first version of it. So this is basically “the good 810”, as opposed to “the bad 810”. On top of that it’s got a 3,090mAh battery that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 tech.
I’m not sure on what version of Android it’s running, but if it’s like the Mi Note then it’s running Kit Kat 4.4.4 with the MIUI 6 skin on top of that.
Some might see all this and think it’s not bad but since it’s made by a Chinese OEM then it’s going to lack Google everything. That is in fact the case, but only for versions of the device in China. Everyone else should get Google’s services and apps like they’re used to. Note the “should” there though, we’ll have to wait and see to know for sure.
Rumor mill territory, Moto X (3rd Gen.) specs leaked. Maybe.
I hate sharing rumor news unless it’s something I can put adequate stock in insofar as “it’s likely true” goes, but if it’s Moto X related I just can’t help myself. Much like Fox Mulder I want to believe.
I know some of the stuff is slightly covered thanks to that freaking text being in the way on the pic, damn watermarks, so I’ll just write it out for those of you who are interested.
These are the specs for the purported third generation of the Moto X.
Screen size will remain the same, although there is going to be a bump to a QHD display.
We’re also seeing a spec bump in several areas. Namely the processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, which seems to be the rage now that the 810 has been proven as mostly a dud worth avoiding at all costs), memory (4 GB of RAM over the 2 GB currently found in the second generation model), and storage space (notably the removal of a 16 GB option entirely, with 32 GB becoming the base model and 64 GB being the higher end model). Oh, the battery has also received a sizable bump, now coming in at 3,280mAH as opposed to the 2,300mAh found in the model sitting currently on my desk.
Overall, assuming that turns out to be true, I know a certain someone who’ll be upgrading to the new Moto X when it comes out likely around September.
Project Fi invites are officially going out!
This was reported yesterday in a few places but nothing was really show, this morning though I noticed a post on reddit saying I got a Project Fi invite! AMA!
Now, per the AMA, I’d like to make a few things clear.
First off porting over your Google Voice number appears to kill it. Sort of. Basically Project Fi seems to be an alternative to Google Voice, same functionality just in a different form. So if you port your number you’ve basically turned your Google Voice number/account into a Project Fi number/account.
That’s not to say “OMG WE’RE DOOMED”, basically Project Fi duplicates the functionality of Google Voice in every way.
As far as the pay over time option for the Nexus 6, assuming you pass the credit check, depending on the version of the device selected (either 32 GB or 64 GB) you basically have 24 months to pay it off. The cost will be $27.04/month for the 32 GB model and $29.12/month for the 64 GB model. There’s no interest or fees on top of that, assuming you decide you’re done with Project Fi though and want to leave the service then you’ll have to pay off the remaining cost of the device then and there no exceptions.
I’ve already seen some people complaining online about the cost of Project Fi, namely the $10/gigabyte of data part of it. That’s not going to change anytime soon. So deal with it! If you’re current plan is “unlimited everything” for $30 or $50 a month and you use anything more than 3 gigs of data a month then stick with it. But don’t expect Google to change prices just because “I already pay less for more on X carrier/MVNO!” Not going to happen, so those comments and remarks need to stop.
This is something meant to motivate the carriers (looking at you AT&T and Verizon) to change, nothing more. It’s similar to what Google has done with Google Fiber.
I guess we’ll know more as the invites roll out further and more people report in on the service.
Meanwhile, some of us will be compulsively checking our inboxes to see if we’ve received our invites. (As if we weren’t already doing that.)
A few games of note are currently on sale
First up, is the release of Grim Fandango Remastered ($9.99 from $14.99, for its initial Play Store launch).
Apparently this game originally came out in 1998, which somehow I don’t remember but looking at the pics and everything I do vaguely remember being curious about the game back before I started high school. I just don’t remember anything about it at all.
Some of you might indeed remember the game though and be down for picking it up for your Android devices, be forewarned though: it comes in at a whopping 3.2 GB download/internal storage space needed for installation.
UPDATE! Google IO Agenda/Schedule is live!
If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to peruse the hell out of it. I’ll be busy setting my agenda for those days so I can watch as many of the events as I can. The keynote is just a given in that regard, I’ve watched it live in full for the past few years and I have no intention of not doing so again this year. (Fair warning to all: Seeing as how IO tends to last two days and so much information drops during it there will be no regularly scheduled Wednesday Android Update post that week, barring any non-IO related news that absolutely should be shared. Instead there will likely be two IO related posts that week, one to cover each day, and they’ll likely be posted around 5 PM or the evening. I’ve already requested those days off anyway, so I’ll be able to focus entirely on IO, which I tell my friends is like my birthday, Halloween, and Christmas all in one.)
Somewhat related, this popped up on Droid Life, among other places, and I’m a little skeptical about it.
Color me intrigued as fuck.
Also, naturally people are already speculating as to the name. Personally, of all the suggestions thus far I really like this one, if only because of the pic someone posted for their suggestion.
UPDATE 2! Google’s ATAP has a session that kicks off as “Badass and beautiful” with “wearables that we hope will blow your socks off”.
Let’s just all take a moment to read that in full and then reflect on the part that says, “We mean this more literally than you might think...” Are they talking smart socks? Cause it certainly sounds like they are and that’s just ridiculous. (Although a part of me really hopes they are, not the least reason of which is that if I didn’t have to wear shoes ever then I wouldn’t. Goddamn shoes and socks and society for all but forcing me to wear them!)
Man, IO cannot get here fast enough!
Beyond that I got nothing.
Plus it’s lunch time, which means time for me to hit the break room and read a book while I eat. Hopefully in complete silence, although one person who used to always leave the office now goes and gets food instead and seems to notice that I am reading and thus feels the need to try and chat me up about things I don’t care about. Honestly, if someone is reading it should be a crime to bother them while they do so. Cause it fucking feels like a crime! I’m reading! I will end you if you bother me! /end rant
Questions, comments, etc. you know what to do with them. Leave them below and I’ll address them as I can.
Beyond that, I hope all of you have a great day! : )
UPDATE 3! Throwing this on at the end here because it’s not quite related to anything above, the new episode of Hardcore History by Dan Carlin is out!
I received the episode earlier today, thanks to setting up Pocket Cast to automatically download new episodes of the five or show shows I listen to as soon as they air weekly. Also, holy shit! The new episode entitlted “Blueprint for Armageddon V” is four hours and eighteen minutes long. Seriously surpassing the length of any of the previous episodes thus far. I know what I’ll be listening to every morning and afternoon drive to and from work for the next week or two. (I listen in what are fifteen to thirty minute chunks at a time, barring days where I want to listen to tunes or another podcast.)