In an unusual turn, Google/Motorola launches Android 4.4 on Verizon variant of Moto X first

Moto X KitKat

Fresh from the Motorola Blog, it appears that Motorola will launch its first Android 4.4 KitKat update on Verizon first, with rollouts starting today. The KitKat update brings:

  • 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.

I say ‘unusual’ because Verizon is usually the last of the four US carriers to roll out Android updates, usually owing the increased wait to Verizon’s lengthier testing process.

Motorola and Verizon have an unusually close bond however with the Google-owned manufacturer now making all of the carrier’s Droid products as well as pioneering the Droid brand. I anticipate that other carrier versions will follow close behind.

Note that I’m still waiting on the 4.4 update to hit the Google Play edition HTC ONE, and even my Nexus 4 and 10!

I guess Google and Motorola are finally tearing down the firewall. Read more

Verizon releases video teasing new DROID devices, says that “When it matters, DROID DOES”

Verizon has just released a new video teasing its new Droid MAXX, Droid Ultra, and Droid Mini devices announced this morning. The video, in typical Verizon/Motorola fashion, is very robot-like. The video teases that “WHEN IT MATTERS, DROID DOES.”

The moments that matter offer no time to pause or stop, no room for bulk or bloat, and no chance to refuel. In those moments, the new lineup of DROID phones delivers.

The DROID Ultra and MAXX will be available on August 20 and the Droid Mini on August 29, with pre-orders starting today.  Read more

Motorola and Google to release stock Android phones with less overlay and smaller form-factor in second half of 2013

via skattertech.com

via skattertech.com

Since acquiring Motorola for $13 billion last May, Google has been expected to launch a Motorola smartphone running stock Android, but the most recent Google-branded Nexus 4 device was made in partnership with LG.

Motorola’s design chief Jim Wicks tells PC Mag, though, that Google and Motorola have been working closely during that time on multiple devices running stock Android with less overlay that we should expect later this year.

Read more