The upcoming Android 4.4 KitKat and Nexus 5 appear in live photos

Android 4.4 KitKat and LG Nexus 5 appeared yet again before hitting officialdom. Android’s next major release got caught running on the upcoming Nexus smartphone in live photos.

The images reveal new features coming our way (click to enlarge)

The leaked images allow us to catch a glimpse of the Android 4.4 KitKat settings menu, which reveals some new features coming our way. They include a “tap & pay” option, as well as new location settings menu which offers high accuracy, battery saving, and device sensors modes. The high accuracy mode is said to use a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, and mobile networks, while the other two rely on GPS or mobile networks alone.

Furthermore, the images also give us a look at the UI of Android 4.4. In line with previous reports, the status bar is transparent and with white icons.

There’s also a camera shortcut placed in the lower right corner of the lockscreen – much like on iOS 7. The ability to access the camera via a swipe gesture is also available.

The homescreen has a few new icons, including Google Photos, which comes to replaceme the Gallery app. A rearranged, transparent app drawer grid which lacks direct access to widgets is also present. A couple of new wallpapers are also coming with the next Android release.

Android 4.4 KitKat and the Nexus 5 availability is expected to be officially detailed before the end of this month.



Samsung to show an 8-core big.LITTLE chipset next year

Samsung is rumored to put a quad Cortex-A15 CPU inside the Galaxy S IV with the Exynos 5450 chipset, but EETimes is reporting that the Korean company has a more interesting chipset in the works – the first one to use ARM’s big.LITTLE technology.

This tech pairs a number of powerful Cortex-A15 cores with the same number of low-power Cortex-A7 cores (similar to NVIDIA’s fifth core in Tegra 3). The chipset seamlessly switches between the high and low power cores depending on the load (but it can’t run all at the same time).

The chipset in particular will pack four A15s clocked at 1.8GHz and four A7s clocked at 1.2GHz. The A7s will reportedly match a quad-core Cortex-A8 CPU (not that such exist), while the four A15s should offer a big increase over the already powerful A15 duo that powers the Nexus 10. The chip will be built on a 28nm process and pack 2MB of cache.

We’re sure that there will be plenty of rumors that this will be the chipset in the Galaxy S IV, but it’s more likely to see it in a tablet first.

Sony working on a direct rival to the iPhone 5, Galaxy SIII

Sony is working on a high-end Android smartphone, ready to take on the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy SIII. Best of all, the company will have it on display at CES and MWC next year.

“In the near future we’ll finish a flagship model, which will be able to compete with Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S III,” said Dennis van Schie, CVP, Head of Sales and Marketing for Sony Mobile Communications in conversation with Financial Times Deutschland.

Additionally, a spokesperson for Sony has also suggested that this flagship model would be available on display at CES in Las Vegas and at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona early next year.

According to Van Schie, currently, Sony doesn’t have any plans to release a Windows Phone device and the company will focus all of its mobile efforts on Android.

There are several rumored Sony phones and the only one that fits the description of a true iPhone/Galaxy S III competitor is the Sony C660X ‘Yuga’. It’s supposed to run on a quad-core Krait CPU, have a 13MP camera, and enjoy a 5-inch 1080p display. Of course, you can never know with these things as some rumors suggest an Xperia C650x Odin will be the company’s flagship for next year.

“We will unveil new tablets besides our existing Xperia S tablet, but not many,” Van Schie also shared. The reason for that is the cut-throat price competition in this segment. “It has become very difficult to make money with tablets.”

Sony Mobile named by XDA Developers as ‘OEM of the Year’

Sony Mobile has been named ‘OEM of the Year’ by XDA Developers, highlighting the strides the company has made to become as developer friendly as possible. Actions from Sony include allowing users to unlock their bootloaders to allow custom ROMs, releasing kernel source, being one of the only manufacturers we know to release a beta of their ICS firmware, releasing ICS for their entire 2011 Xperia range, open-sourcing much of its code and more recently taking the lead in the Xperia S AOSP project.

We may be a bit biased here, but even so, it’s hard to argue that any other manufacturer has been as open to the developer community as Sony Mobile has. It’s a well-deserved accolade and we offer our congratulations to all of the developers at Sony Mobile and everyone involved in the Xperia developer scene including the FreeXperia team.

Android and Samsung build on their market shares in Q3 2012

Android’s market share increased significantly during the third quarter of 2012, with the Google OS powering 72.4% of all smartphones sold in the three months’ period. Apple’s iOS came a very distant second with a market share of 13.9%.

This is an impressive accomplishment for Google’s mobile OS, considering Android’s market share was 52.5% in Q3 of 2011.

Samsung saw its position as the leading mobile manufacturer increase to 22.9% after selling almost 100 million phones in the three month period ending in September. This was mostly at the expense of Nokia, which saw its market share slide almost 5 percent points year-over-year.

The holiday season should see Apple take back some of both of those pies, as many iOS-faithfuls held off on replacing their smartphones until the iPhone 5 came around. Apple’s new smartphone top dog is expanding its availability to many new markets in Q4, which should help Apple arrest the fall in iOS market share.

Android distribution unveils marginal Jelly Bean and ICS growth

Android distribution numbers for October are in and Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean are still short of the reach Google might have hoped for.

At merely 2.7%, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean usage has jumped just 0.9% compared to September, 2012. The OS debuted exactly 6 months ago, and despite Samsung and HTC’s best efforts to update their high-end devices, Jelly Bean is still to get proper traction.

Ice Cream Sandwich distribution is also on the rise clocking in at 25.8%, almost 2 points up from last month. With most manufacturers having completed their scheduled ICS updates, we don’t expect this number to continue to climb. Especially with the majority shifting their attention to Jelly Bean.

Finally, Gingerbread is continuing to drop from 55.8% in September to 53.9% in October. With most devices comprising this number being low-end droids that would never see an update in their life, this number isn’t likely to plummet anytime soon.

For more details and data, click on the source link below.