Android 4.4 KitKat rolling out today to old and new Nexus 7, Nexus 10 (Nexus 4, 3G Nexus 7 soon)

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Google has announced that the new Android KitKat operating system will begin rolling out to Google’s own tablets starting today. The rollout process will likely be completed over a period of time. Android 4.4 will be reaching the Nexus 7 (both last year’s model and this year’s new model) and the Nexus 10. KitKat brings several improvements to Android, including changes to Google Now, SMS integration with Hangouts, and general performance enhancements. Google says KitKat for the Nexus 4 and cellular-enabled Nexus 7 is coming soon.

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New CyanogenMod Installer app makes it even easier to install the custom ROM

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There’s no doubting that CyanogenMod is one of the most well-known custom ROMs available, with it being available for a plethora of new and old devices. Last month, the CyanogenMod team announced that it had raised $7 million in funding and was looking into a direct-to-consumer route for installing the ROM. Today, Cyanogen Inc. has announced (via Droid Life) the CyanogenMod Installer. This app, available on Google Play now, allows users to install the custom ROM incredibly easily.

Once the app is downloaded to one of the compatible devices (list here), it will pair to companion computer software in order to perform the ROM flash. All the user must do is plug their device into the computer and simply hit “start.” The process will wipe everything from the device and install the latest CyanogenMod build. Both the app and computer software are free to download.

As far as device compatibility goes, Cyanogen says that it “will continue to work on supporting additional devices beyond the initial set,” but that for the moment, the software supports “the majority of flagship models currently on the market.”

This is an incredible feat for a company that only received funding last month. CyanogenMod Installer will allow for people who are not technologically-inclined to easily install the latest version of Android to their device.

You can download the app from the Play Store now, and the computer software from Cyanogen’s website.

Steve Jobs went all Steve Jobs on Andy Rubin, calling him a “big, arrogant f***”

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs points to a member of the audience during a Q&A session at the end of the iPhone OS4 special event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino

Steve Jobs isn’t exactly a man known for keeping his thoughts to himself which is why excerpts found by Business Insider from a new book documenting the Google-Apple smartphone war are grabbing attention. According to the book written by Fred Vogelstein, Google was already working on its first Android-powered smartphone when Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007.

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(Update: Now available) Republic Wireless prepares Moto X release with plans starting at $5 per month

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Update: Republic Wireless now has the Moto X available on their website for purchase beginning this morning, November 14th. 

Republic Wireless is making good on their promise to release the Moto X to the public in November with the expected to hit shelves this week according to a Mashable report. The device will retail at $299 from the Republic Wireless store and features all the tricks we’ve come to expect from Motorola’s first true “Google” smartphone.

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Camera Awesome drops out of beta, now available in the Play Store

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There’s no shortage of camera apps available in the Play Store but few have the name SmugMug and “awesome” attached to them. That’s why we’re taking note that the good folks at SmugMug just dropped word on their blog that their Camera Awesome app is finally out of beta and on the Play Store. Camera Awesome has been downloaded by more than 20 million iPhone users and is almost always near the top of every “best iPhone camera app” list. The developers say the demand for an Android release has been steady every single day and that means today is your lucky day.

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Moto G specs appear on retailer site w/ £149 ($235) price tag ahead of Nov. 13 launch

Moto-GThere has been much talk of Motorola’s upcoming Moto G smartphone in recent weeks, the rumored “mini” follow up to its Moto X flagship launched earlier this year. After making a brief appearance on Motorola’s website, the company started teasing a November 13th live online announcement for the device, and now we get what look to be official specs from a German retailer already listing the Moto G. 

The Phone House, a german retailer, today quickly posted and then removed a listing for the Moto G that was caught by The Unwired. On top of listing what we assume are official specs (below), it also quoted a price of £149 (approximately $235 US). That seems a little pricey to be the on-contract price for what many assume will be a budget version of the Moto X, so it could very well be the off-contract price, which compares to the $499 Motorola and carriers charge for the Moto X without a two-year contract. The Moto X currently sells for $99 on contract.

Head below for the full list of Moto G specs:

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LG G2 looking beautiful in white leaks ahead of Verizon announcement

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I’ll be the first to admit that I think all smartphones look better dressed in white (no fingerprints!) and this newly leaked image of the LG G2 is no exception. However, even if the white looks more decadent than the black LG G2 that doesn’t take away from those horrible, eye-gouging Verizon logos that are so prominently placed. Twitter tipster @evleaks dropped the press image late last night and oh who am I kidding, those logos, kill them with fire.

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Developers grab the Nexus 5 camera by the horn, improve it with software

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I’ve already written about my disappointment in the Nexus 5 camera and that’s exactly why this news out of XDA Developers is grabbing my interest. A developer by the name of Jishnu Sir created a flashable .zip file that is said to greatly improve the quality of the camera. Any flashable file requires an unlocked bootloader and a custom recovery but beyond those extras, the “new” camera app will add or improve:

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The LG Nexus 5 review: Are the downgraded G2 specs offset by pure Kit Kat? (Spoiler: Yes!)


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As I come up on a week of use with the LG Nexus 5, a few things become clear:

  1. Tradeoffs were made to get this phone to $349. After some thought, I probably would have made the same decisions if $349 was my target price.
  2. I hate carrier and manufacturer ‘improvements’ more than ever. Having a ‘pure Google‘ phone is liberating.
  3. This will likely be my main Android phone for the next the year.
  4. This won’t be a best seller, even if it should be because it is the best value phone we’ll see all year.

How did I draw these conclusions? Start the week ago flashback sequence…

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Favorite app of the day: Customize your device with Themer

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When it comes to Android, one of the biggest advantages and selling points of the platform is customization, customization, customization. The opportunity to skin, theme, change, alter and design everything from widgets to icons to shortcuts is one of the great aspects of Android life. A quick walk-through of Google’s Play Store shows there is no shortage of launchers and many Android fans rattle off the names Nova, ADW and Apex like they are verbs. However, as popular as those three launchers are, they are just the tip of the iceberg and that’s where my newly minted favorite app comes into the story. Say hello to Themer.

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Custom Moto X now available on all major US carriers as AT&T’s MotoMaker exclusive ends

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When Motorola launched its first smartphone as a Google company with the Moto X back in August, the big stand out feature for the device was the ability to apply over 2000 customizations at the time of purchase. Motorola let users pick the front, back, and accent colors, match headphone and case colors, and more all though its MotoMaker.com online ordering tool. Unfortunately, until today the MotoMaker tool was exclusive to AT&T with other carriers only selling white and black models of the Moto X.

The good news is AT&T’s exclusivity window has now officially ended and starting today you can order a customized Moto X through Moto Maker from all major US carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Read more