Google has announced that the Now Launcher is end of life. The popular skin will be removed from the Play store in March, and manufacturers are encouraged to remove it from future products. What does this mean for consumers and OEMs? Let’s take a look.
Another handy Google announcement. After updating Youtube, Google is also making their stock camera available on Google Play!
If you’re familiar with a recent Nexus or the Moto X camera, Google is now allowing ANY phone running Android 4.4 (KitKat) to download the app for free. It’s helpful consistency if you’re considering switching to a different manufacturer for your next phone or tablet, you wont have to re-learn the camera UI. It’s also nice knowing that your camera software can be updated like a regular app instead of waiting for a full OS or ROM update to get carrier approval.
Here’s our full hands on feature walk through and review!
Google Play Edition phones are popular Android handsets running stock Android. We’ve seen Samsung and HTC strip out all of their custom software on the Galaxy S4 and One phones. LG will be offering up the first GPE tablet with the GPad 8.3. The specs make it a solid competitor for the Nexus 7: a 1080p screen powered by a Qualcomm 600 series chipset and 16GB of storage. Now you can choose between a GPad with LG’s custom software enhancements, or go with a clean, pure stock tablet.
GPad 8.3 GPE will start at $349, which on top of a Nexus 7 price, also nets you a MicroSD card slot and an IR blaster.
Full PR after the jump!
Author Jeff Jarvis is raising a bit of a stink on Google Plus. Apparently, after getting a Nexus 7 LTE, he tried to activate it on Verizon. During the Nexus 7 announcement it was stated that the New Nexus would be compatible on AT&T, T-Mo, and Verizon Wireless. That last one is proving to be a touch frustrating for Mr. Jarvis.
After reaching out to Verizon on Twitter he received the following cheeky reply:
@jeffjarvis I’m excited you got your Nexus 7 but not all LTE tablets are created equal. It’s not part of our line up & can’t be activated^JH
— VZW Support (@VZWSupport) September 17, 2013
Yeah, ya see VZW, that’s absolutely the wrong way to handle a customer with a problem. Sardonically patting them on the head with a “your bad”. This is made even funnier / more frustrating as their current line up of tablets is pretty uninspired. Well done VZW. You’ve managed to exacerbate a frustrating situation and highlight your own device line-up inadequacies all with one poorly thought out PR tweet.
It’s moves like this which just reinforce consumer desires to have less and less to do with their carriers. When they seemingly provide little value, and only stand as barriers to using the technology their customers want. The number of my personal friends who have expressed they wished their carrier was just a big dumb data pipe and to get out of the way. It doesn’t have to be that way VZW, but you have to offer a compelling reason or service.
Jeff Jarvis has been organizing his ordeal on Google Plus. At the time of this writing he was reaching out to Sundar Pichai, the Senior Vice President at Google in charge of Android and Chrome… So that’s probably not good…
As it stands now, Google is now advertising only AT&T and T-Mobile versions on Google Play. A little frustrating, as eventually you’d hope that we could get one version of the Nexus 7 which we could take to any carrier we want. It looks like Verizon doesn’t want to play ball…
The market disrupting Nexus 4 is no longer in stock for either the 8GB or 16GB flavors on Google Play. LG’s first attempt at a pure Google handset was a controversial entry into our list of Nexii. Some loved the glass back, some loathed. Some people felt the camera under performed, and heavy users wished for more battery life.
What no one complained about however was the price. Starting at $199 OFF contract, Google found a brilliant price to shake up the mid-range and high-end markets. In sharing the Nexus 4 with friends and family, telling them it was a $200 phone, few realized I meant $200 out the door, not $200 on contract.
But all good things must come to an end. Google isn’t known for being sentimental. You wont see the Nexus 4 stick around as a lower cost alternative. Now we play the waiting game for the Next Nexus. It’s been teased and leaked, and we know LG is behind this next one as well, most likely a cousin to LG’s G2 like the Nexus 4 was to the Optimus G.
Fingers crossed Google can keep disrupting smartphone pricing…