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Android Weekly: top 6 stories this week
This week in your world of Android: Android 4.4.4 took us by surprise, ART replaced Dalvik in AOSP, Google released updates to several of its core apps, the Galaxy S5 LTE-A launched in South Korea, Amazon finally unveiled its smartphone, reports emerged about Google’s Android in the car plans, and hacker Geohot released a widely effective root method.
These are the essential stories, the summary of an entire week in just a few words. It’s Android Weekly.
Hello, Android 4.4.4
Not all Nexus devices out there received their dose of Android 4.4.3 when Google kicked off a new update on Thursday. Android 4.4.4 brings mostly security patches, including the major SSL issue that reportedly prevent the on-time shipping of the OnePlus One.
- Google posts factory images for Android 4.4.4, mostly security patches
- Android 4.4.4 OTA file for Nexus 5 available for manual installation
“Dalvik is dead, long live Dalvik”
That’s how a Google employee prefaced the commit to the master branch of AOSP that removes Dalvik and replaces it with the shiny new ART. The new Android runtime will bring faster load times and better battery life, but some apps and the Xposed framework could suffer from compatibility issues.
- “Dalvik is dead”: Google replaces Dalvik with ART in AOSP master branch
- What does Android’s possible switch to ART mean for Xposed and other apps?
This week’s Update Wednesday was quite eventful, bringing updates to Google search, Waze, Drive and more, as well as the release of the stock Email app in the Play Store.
- Google launches stock Email app in the Play Store
- Waze version 3.8 adds in even more social features
- Google Drive gets updated with a few tweaks, minor Hangouts update too
- You can now play music from Google search results with just one tap
The S5 Prime is real, so why are we so disappointed?
The long rumored Galaxy S5 Prime turned out to be the LTE-A version of the device, launched this week as a South Korean exclusive. Some people declared themselves disappointed they didn’t get Prime specs on the regular S5, but Samsung probably didn’t have any choice in the first place.
- Galaxy S5 LTE-A is official: Snapdragon 805, 2560×1440 display, 225Mbps LTE
- Why I am not disappointed that Samsung launched a “better” Galaxy S5
The Fire phone is here
Amazon this week unleashed a firestorm of questionable puns when it finally launched the Fire Phone, its first smartphone. The device comes with 3D effects and a built-in tool for identifying and ordering products off Amazon, but the stingy price and AT&T exclusivity may put off a lot of customers.
- Amazon’s 3D Fire Phone official, can it compete?
- Will Amazon’s phone be on fire, or will it be a messy burn?
No Nexus 6 from LG
LG did a great job with the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, so fans will be disappointed to find that LG won’t be making the next Nexus, as confirmed by LG’s communications director. Okay, how about a Silver device then?
Auto Link OS
Remember the Open Automotive Alliance? Apparently, the first result of the initiative is Auto Link, a technology that will allow drivers to control their Android devices with the car’s controls. Expect it next week at Google I/O.
Towelroot all the things
When Geohot hacks something, he does it in style (see iPhone and PS3). Geohot’s latest achievement is a widely effective root method called Towelroot, that works with many previously unrootable devices, such as AT&T and Verizon’s Galaxy S5 and Note 3.
What’s the top Android news this week? Tell us in the comments.