We've known for several weeks that Verizon's Galaxy Nexus would be updated to the latest Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but today the news is official, and Verizon has announced that the rollout will begin today. Verizon has noted that they'll be rolling out the update "in phases," so you may not get the update right away.
This week we're seeing the last of the iterations of the so-called Galaxy "Nexus" as it exists on Verizon's 4G LTE network. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus (made by Samsung, mind you) has since birth been plagued with talk of its mudblood-like software from the carrier as Verizon modified its contents past what Google originally intended - thus besmirching the purity of the Nexus smartphone line. Because of this Verizon-specific build, the Galaxy Nexus is last in line to receive the update to Android 4.2.2 - but here it is, ready for action!
This week it's being made official: every different kind of Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be at or upgraded to Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean+ except for the version with Verizon 4G LTE. The international edition "GT-i9250 "Maguro" was first to be upgraded, not long after the Google Nexus 4 was revealed, while the newest and last version to be upgraded is model SPH-L700 "Toro Plus". This last iteration is the one unit to be released without a SIM card slot and connectivity with 4G LTE in the 1900 MHz band (Band 25).
At the start of 2012 the folks at Google were seeing their beloved Android mobile operating system being used on more iPhone clones than we'd care to discuss - near the turn-over to 2013, big manufacturers like Samsung and HTC have made their own hero lines the likes of which Android has never known. What we saw in 2012 was recognition of the model that has worked for Apple extremely well since all the way back in 2007 - a focus on the ecosystem rather than on the individual specifications of any one device. This will continue in a very big way through 2013 with manufacturers holding up a single torch - like the Motorola RAZR brand - to keep themselves lit up brightly.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II is ready for action on Verizon's 4G LTE network now, and what better way to usher in a new version of the device that's also out on several other networks than to do some speed tests and processor benchmarks? The big differences between the Samsung Galaxy Note II on Verizon and the competition's carrier networks is the speed at which it accesses data, the cost of the data therein, and of course the Verizon-specific apps (mostly for tracking your data and your data costs.) Other than that it's the same cool Galaxy Note II experience you've gotten used to on T-Mobile, AT&T, and internationally.
We've been seeing a lot of really good high-end handsets lately (like the Galaxy Note II and the HTC DROID DNA), but all the while, LG has been putting out some solid mid-range phones. Not too long ago, we reviewed the LG Optimus L9, a mid-range device at T-Mobile that wasn't extraordinary in any way but still a quality handset all around, and today it's the Verizon Spectrum 2 that's taking center stage. The question is whether or not this smartphone is yet another good mid-range entry from LG, or if it falls short when held up against the dozens of other mid-range handsets ready to be taken home.
In the smartphone universe you're going to have some sorting to do starting with the carrier your gift receiver is working with. More than likely you're a parent or a significant other if you're purchasing a smartphone on-contract for that special someone, this meaning you've got a fair understanding of which carrier they'll be working with. After that, it's all about finding the best device for them based on their specific wants and needs.
Could you live your mobile life on WiFi? Attempts to ween users off of expensive, subsidized smartphone deals have been more successful this year than every before; word earlier today that Google had acquired a WiFi hotspot company - and which later turned out to be false - was believable in part because the search company is a prime candidate for ousting cellular from the mobile equation. The ICOA deal may be fake, but Google's appetite to ditch the traditional carriers and strike out more or less alone isn't new.
Google has snapped up ICOA Inc., a WiFi and wired broadband hotspot specialist providing internet access at airports and other public locations, in what could be another play to bypass traditional carriers. The deal, worth $400m, sees Google acquire more than 1,500 hotspot points across 45 US states, in addition to existing partnerships with other providers including Boingo Wireless and iPass.
Update: Sources close to the situation now tell us that, in fact, the acquisition did not go ahead, and that has been confirmed by ICOA's chairman. It's unclear why the press release was published, and there's no official comment from Google at this time.
The LTE modem discovered in the Nexus 4 is an evolutionary leftover akin to an appendix or tailbone, LG has explained, dashing any hopes of a firmware update unlocking future 4G capabilities. Interest was raised when teardowns of the latest Nexus smartphone revealed it had an LTE-capable modem, despite being billed as 3G only; as LG told TechRadar, however, that's just the vestigial remnants of the more advanced - and more expensive - device the Nexus 4 was based upon.