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Google Details May Security Update for Android

May 2, 2016, 1:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today highlighted its May security patch, which is first being delivered to Nexus smartphones and tablets. The patch resolves 25 issues, of which six are considered critical. The most severe could enable remote code execution via certain media files, as well as through a Qualcomm WiFi driver and an Nvidia video driver. Google says it discovered the vulnerabilities earlier this year and alerted its parters to the risks on April 4. Google has already made the patch available in factory image form via the Google Developer Site. It will release the associated new builds to the Android Open Source Project within the next 48 hours, and will push the update over the air to Nexus handsets in the next few days. Google said, as far it is aware, none of the vulnerabilities were exploited. Google provides monthly security updates to Nexus-branded Android handsets.

Google Begins Marshmallow Push for Nexus Phones Today

Oct 5, 2015, 11:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 5, 2015, 11:19 AM

Google today said it has begun distributing Android 6.0 Marshmallow to the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 smartphones, as well as the Nexus 7 and Nexus 9 tablets, and the Nexus Player. The update, which will be pushed out in waves, is available as an over-the-air download. Google today also posted the factory images of Android 6.0 Marshmallow for Nexus devices to its web site. The factory images are for flashing manually onto the Nexus devices. The factory images are for knowledgable users who know how to side load the operating system from a PC; they are not meant for most consumers. The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, which are available for pre-order and will ship later this month, will have Android 6.0 Marshmallow preinstalled. Android 6.0 adds revised permissions, Google Now On Tap, Nexus Imprint fingerprint security, and better battery management.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Arrive 'Next Week'

Sep 29, 2015, 11:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 29, 2015, 12:51 PM

Google today said it will begin pushing Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Nexus devices during the week of Oct. 5. Existing handsets, such as the LG-made Nexus 5 and the Motorola Nexus 6, will be able to install the brand new operating system from Google. The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will ship with Android 6.0 on board. Android 6.0 Marshmallow brings a number of new features to the platform, including Google Now On Tap. Google's improved voice assistant is more aware of context when users make requests, and will automatically offer up certain types of information. Google Now is also accessible via voice command even when the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are locked. Marshmallow adds fast scrolling and faster search, as well as new animations and new notification behaviors. Further, the app drawer will learn which apps people use throughout the day and offer suggestions each time they open the drawer. Android 6.0 introduces a new permission model, and allows people to remove more unwanted apps. Marshmallow was first detailed by Google in May. The company did not say exactly when it will be released.

Google to Push Monthly Security Updates to Nexus Phones

Aug 5, 2015, 12:14 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said it plans to push security patches to Nexus-branded Android devices on a monthly basis to make sure they remain protected from potential and developing threats. Google is delivering the first security update today to the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9, Nexus 10, smartphones and tablets, and the Nexus Player. Google says the update contains fixes for the StageFright vulnerability and other issues submitted over the last few weeks by its carrier and handset partners. Google will simultaneously release security fixes to the public via the Android Open Source Project. Google committed to updating Nexus devices with major operating system versions for a period of two years, and security patches for a period of three years or 18 months from the date on which the phone is discontinued for sale.

Google Says Lollipop Is On Its Way to Nexus Devices

Nov 12, 2014, 3:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said it has begun the Android 5.0 Lollipop rollout to Nexus devices. The company said hardware such as the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and Nexus 7 will have the new operating system soon. Look for it in your system settings. Android 5.0 Lollipop introduces an entirely new design for the operating system, as well as hundreds of new features.

Use Different Camera Apps to Improve Photo Quality

Apr 5, 2014, 10:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Ever wondered if a third-party camera app could take better pictures than your stock camera app? Well, we did and decided to put the stock Google camera app in the Nexus 5 in a head-to-head competition with Camera FV-5 and Camera ZOOM FX. Here are our findings.

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Google Nexus 5 Now Available in Red

Feb 4, 2014, 1:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made a red version of the Nexus 5 available for sale via the Google Play Store. It has the same features and price as the black and white versions.

Google Now Pushing Android 4.4.1 to Nexus 5

Dec 5, 2013, 3:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today began distributing Android 4.4.1 to the Nexus 5. The update primarily improves performance of the phone's camera with speed enhancements, better focusing, and HDR+ mode.

Android 4.4.1, With Nexus 5 Camera Fix, Arriving Soon

Dec 5, 2013, 10:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Dec 5, 2013, 10:23 AM

Google will soon push out an update to the Nexus 5 that will provide a wide range of fixes to the phone's camera performance. Google admitted last month that an update was on the way, but more concrete details have emerged. The update will arrive within Android 4.4.1 and will be released very soon, according to The Verge. David Burke, Google's Director of Engineering for Android, said the update focuses on improving the speed of the camera across the board. The autofocus function now dials much faster, and the camera is faster to launch. Google made other adjustments that improve contrast, low-light performance, exposure, and white balance. It also added a progress bar to the HDR mode. Burke indicated that Android 4.4.1 represents the first of several forthcoming updates to the native Android camera software. It hopes to make the user interface and controls more intuitive down the line. For now, Google wanted to improve performance. Google didn't say exactly when Android 4.4.1 will arrive, but implied that the release is imminent.

Google Says Nexus 5 Camera Fix Is On the Way

Nov 26, 2013, 8:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google confirmed that the company is developing a fix for the Nexus 5's camera. "The team is aware of the issues and is working on a software update that will be available shortly," said Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano in a statement provided to CNET. The Nexus 5's camera performance leaves a lot to be desired. In addition to the Nexus 5 camera fix, Scigliano also confirmed that Google is working to add support for RAW imaging to the Android platform. "Android's latest camera HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and framework supports RAW and burst-mode photography. We will expose a developer API in a future release to expose more of the HAL functionality," said Scigliano. Google has laid the groundwork to permit RAW imaging, but has yet to provide developers with the tools they need to access it. Nokia recently added RAW imaging support to the Lumia 1520, and will soon add it to the Lumia 1020. RAW imaging provides photographers with an uncompressed digital negative that gives them more control over the end product.

Sprint MVNO Ting Will Support Nexus 5

Nov 18, 2013, 8:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Ting, an MVNO that runs on Sprint's network, recently announced that it will support the Google Nexus 5 smartphone. According to Ting, customers will need to acquire their own Nexus 5 handset and a Ting SIM card. They'll then be able to activate the Nexus 5 on Ting's network. Sprint, too, supports the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 can be ordered directly from Google, though most models are currently backordered by at least a couple of weeks.

T-Mobile to Sell Nexus 5 Starting Nov. 14

Nov 8, 2013, 3:26 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced that the Google Nexus 5 smartphone will be available online beginning November 14 and in stores starting on November 20. T-Mobile is asking for a down payment of $41.99 followed by 24 monthly payments of $17. The total for these payments equals $449. By way of comparison, Google sells the T-Mobile-compatible Nexus 5 unlocked directly for $349/$399, depending on the storage option. T-Mobile is only offering the 16GB model.

AT&T Refarming PCS Spectrum for LTE In Some Markets

Nov 8, 2013, 8:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T has begun to repurpose its 1900MHz PCS spectrum to help bolster its LTE network. GigaOm reports that AT&T is operating LTE in a 5MHz-by-5MHz slice of airwaves in its PCS band in New York City. AT&T has previously used the PCS band only for voice services and GSM/HSPA data. In addition to refarming some of its existing spectrum, GigaOm discovered that AT&T has already added LTE support in the PCS band to a number of its devices, including the iPhone 5s/5c, iPad Air/Mini, and the Nexus 5. These devices are already connecting to AT&T's LTE service in the 1900MHz band in New York. The additional LTE availability won't increase data speeds on AT&T's network, but it will offer more capacity in markets where it is needed. More than a year ago, AT&T said that it will shutter its GSM/EDGE network entirely by 2017 and reuse that spectrum for faster networks. AT&T competitors Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are all working on similar spectrum repurposing projects to improve the capacity of their own LTE networks in order to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband.

Hands-On: Google Nexus 5

Nov 4, 2013, 2:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Phone Scoop takes a first look at the Nexus 5 from Google and LG. Here are our initial impressions.

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Google Reveals Nexus 5 with Android 4.4 KitKat

Oct 31, 2013, 1:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today announced the Nexus 5, a new smartphone that runs Android 4.4 KitKat. The handset, manufactured for Google by LG, is similar to the LG G2. It features a 5.0-inch full HD display that is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Significantly, the Nexus 5 adds support for LTE, and it is compatible with the LTE networks run by AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the U.S. It also includes Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC. The Nexus 5 has an 8-megapixel camera with a optical image stabilization, HDR+ for improved colors, PhotoSphere, and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera for selfies and video chats. It also features some of the innovations seen on the Motorola Moto X, such as Touchless Control. This lets users say "OK Google Now" to wake the phone and launch Google Now voice searches. The Google Nexus 5 is available for preorder from the Google Play Store. It ships November 5. It is being sold in both black and white. The 16GB model costs $349 and the 32GB model costs $399. It will also be sold by several online retailers, such as Amazon.com, and brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Best Buy. Sprint and T-Mobile have announced that their own variants will be available shortly.

Nexus 5 Appears in Google Play Store for $349

Oct 17, 2013, 8:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Nexus 5, which has yet to be officially announced by Google, appeared in the Google Play Store this evening. A small photo of the device is visible alongside the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets, with the price listed at $349. There are no further details available in the Play Store at this time. A similar device manufactured by LG was approved by the FCC several weeks ago. The Nexus 5 is expected to run Android 4.4 KitKat.

FCC Reveals Photos of Possible Nexus Made by LG

Sep 12, 2013, 9:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 12, 2013, 9:19 AM

Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site provide the clearest look yet at what could be a new Google Nexus phone made by LG. LG submitted a "class 2 permissive change" for a variant of Verizon's LG G2 for "some hardware changes (antenna/PCB adjustments)" to the device. Such changes are typical close to the release of new phones. However, the photos that accompany the class 2 permissive change show what appears to be an entirely different device. The new device resembles the shape and design language of the Nexus 4, but has a larger camera design that is plainly visible on the back surface.

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Android 4.4 Named "KitKat"

Sep 3, 2013, 12:56 PM   by Rich Brome

Google today announced that the next major version of Android - version 4.4 - will be named KitKat, after the Kit Kat candy bar made by Nestlé. Each major version of Android is named for a sweet treat starting with a successive letter of the alphabet. Only major versions get a new name. So while version 4.0 was dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich, versions 4.1-4.3 all shared the name Jelly Bean. Therefore version 4.4 is expected to bring more major changes compared to versions 4.2 and 4.3. Google has not announced any details of the new release, hinting only that it will "make an amazing Android experience available for everybody". Google and Nestlé have teamed up on a promo for the new software. Specially-marked Kit Kat bars will come with a code good for the chance to win a Nexus 7 tablet or Google Play store credit.

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