Editorial: What is the primary reason you will select your new Android smartphone?

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I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I recognize that when it comes to smartphone buying, I’m stuck in a crossroads about my next device. Yes, it’s true that my position as a tech blogger affords me the opportunity to try the latest and greatest, often at the same time. However, with a 10 month old my primary methodology for selecting a smartphone lately comes down to camera, camera and camera.

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Eric Schmidt takes to Google+ and tells you all about ditching your iPhone

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I think we all deserve to give Google Chairman Eric Schmidt a round of applause for his recently posted Google+ message telling the world how to ditch the iPhone. In a fairly lengthy write-up, Schmidt describes in detail how to set up an Android device, move contacts over to Gmail from iCloud and a quick reminder that ditching Safari for Chrome is the new hotness.

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Amazon gives Android Appstore a facelift and some performance tweaks

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Amazon’s Appstore received a nice redesign this past week and while it fell under our radar early on, it’s still very much a worthwhile update. For those of you who prefer purchasing your apps from Amazon alongside Google Play or who have found many gems with Amazon’s “free app of the day” it’s nice to see the company breath new life into the store.

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Android 4.4 KitKat now rolling out to AT&T Moto X

Moto X KitKat

Just yesterday, Motorola began rolling out Android 4.4 KitKat to the T-Mobile variant of the Moto X, which was preceded by the Verizon model earlier this week. Today, the company has announced that the AT&T variant of its flagship will be the next device to receive the update.

Motorola says that the update will begin rolling out to Moto X users on AT&T today. The update will take the device to version number 140.44.5.ghost and includes all the features expected from KitKat, including the new design and much more.

  • An improved phone dialer. Now you can search for contacts directly from the dial-pad and easily see and tap on those you contact frequently.
  • More gallery goodies. KitKat packs in some cool, new gallery effects—such as Posterize, Highlights, and Edges. You can even use the Draw feature to annotate your photos freehand with your finger.
  • New Hangouts app. All of your conversations now in one place—texts, video calls, and other chats all together in one app. Plus, you can now send animated gifs and share your location.
  • Color emojis. For when words aren’t enough, the Google Keyboard now includes colorful characters to send in text messages and other communications.
  • Drag to focus and expose. An updated camera app lets you control both the focus and exposure of your photos. Simply drag your finger to set just the right exposure and focus point.
  • And more… Restyled status and navigation bars, new full-screen mode, and enhancements to Motorola features like Touchless Control.

We’re still waiting for a plethora of other devices to receive the update, including the Google Edition HTC One and Nexus 10. Motorola, however, finally appears to be on top of its game, and that’s certainly a good thing.

Expect more Chromecast apps soon as Google schedules hackathon

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We haven’t yet seen too many apps that can stream content to Chromecast dongles, but all that is likely to change over the next month or two as Google has scheduled a Chromecast ‘hackathon’ at its Mountain View HQ next month, reports Engadget.

Google has invited several developers including CyanogenMod / AirCast dev Koushik Dutta and Thomas Kjeldsen to a hackathon on December 7th and 8th in Mountain View. An opportunity to test drive the “upcoming release” of the Cast SDK is promised, plus an opportunity to talk with Google engineers about what it can do …  Read more

Android 4.4 KitKat update begins rolling out to Moto X on T-Mobile

After rolling out the KitKat update to Verizon first in somewhat of an unexpected move earlier this week, Motorola just announced on its blog that the update is now ready for T-Mobile users.

The update comes ahead of many other devices that we expected to get the update by now, including the HTC One Google Play Edition, the Nexus 4 for many users, and the Nexus 10, to name a few. There’s also still no official word on the update for the Moto X Developer Edition, but a few people today report they’ve received the update.  Read more

Verizon launches Samsung Galaxy S4 mini & S III mini for $49/$99 on contract

Verizon announced today that it is releasing new mini variants of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy devices. One is the Galaxy S4 mini, the latest mid-tier version of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4. However, Verizon is oddly also launching last year’s model today, the Galaxy S III mini.

Despite the fact that the S4 mini is the newer device, the S III mini might be the better option for those on a budget as it will cost customers just $50 on a two-year contract after a $50 mail-in rebate. The S4 mini will come in at $99 with the same rebate. You’ll also be able to grab a month-to-month plan if you drop $249 or $399 for the S4 mini or S III mini, and $10 and $16 a month offers are available through Verizon Edge.

You can grab the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini and the Galaxy S III mini from Verizon now.  Read more