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Android for all and the new Nexus 5 (googleblog.blogspot.com)
262 points by hnalien on Oct 31, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 222 comments

I'm sad that the Galaxy Nexus isn't supported. My phone has increasingly been running out of RAM lately for reasons I don't understand - hearing Google boast about how KitKat has been optimized for memory had me hoping that it would support more than just the latest-greatest.

I am sad as well given KitKat was supposedly designed to work well on devices with 512MB RAM. Given the GNex has 1GB and over the time they've added bit of bloat with 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 - I was very much expecting that KitKat would be the last release for the GNex.

But to be fair it was released with 4.0 and got 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 - 3 major releases and more minor ones. So yeah I think I'll give them a pass and hope CM team will have 4.4 for the GNex sometime down the line.

Also no news on the integration of French startup they bought - forgot the name, but they had a native code converter for Android apps which helps further with low RAM low power devices - hoping that they release it to the Play Store (DroidBooster?).

Not to nitpick details, but really.

> But to be fair it was released with 4.0 and got 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 - 3 major releases and more minor ones

It only received one major update: ICS to Jellybean. If google calls all of 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 "Jellybean", getting updates from one version of Jellybean to another can hardly be called "major".

This is different from how Google did things back in the Gingerbread era, where these incremental updates were version 2.3.3, 2.3.4 etc.

But just because Google changed numbering scheme for Jelly Bean doesn't change that these were indeed minor updates. Almost nothing changed in the OS.

The Galaxy Nexus is the first and only Nexus device so far (sans the pointless Nexus Q) to only receive one major upgrade. That's less than most consumer-devices receive.

That's an insult to each and every buyer of that phone. I doubt you'll see them lining up for a new "Nexus" anytime soon.

>It only received one major update: ICS to Jellybean.

I am not sure people will agree with that. Even if Google called all 4.{1,2,3} releases JellyBean they did introduce significant new features in every version. Take a look - http://www.android.com/about/jelly-bean/ . 4.2 brought new camera with PhotoSphere HDR etc, full Braille accessibility services, stock browser HTML5 Video support and better performance and Gesture Keyboard. 4.3 brought Restricted User Profiles, OpenGL ES 3.0, Bluetooth LE/AVRCP etc. Not more of the same IMHO. (Now some of these required HW support not available on the GNex but still the point is it will work well at least another year on 4.3 giving it a 3 yr lifespan - not bad for that piece of crap hardware - it uses a TI SoC and TI isn't in that business anymore.)

What?? The whole point of getting a Nexus device is that, unlike a carrier phone, it's not supposed to get left behind by updates!

I don't know how accurate this is but I've read that the TI OMAP processor division no longer exists so the Galaxy Nexus can't receive updates that it may need to support 4.4.

I was upset when my N1 didn't get the Android 4 release. Apparently, the whole Nexus thing means you are first in line to get updates when they come out (as opposed to carrier phones which frequently get updates several months after they are released, and may never get updates), but that only lasts for about two years.

Although 3rd party developers eventually brought ICS (and Jelly Bean for that matter) to the Nexus One with a lot of hacking, there were good technical reasons why there was never an official release. ICS needed drastically more space on NAND than Gingerbread, as evidence by 3rd party ICS ROMs requiring you to repartition your NAND as well as mount /data on the SD card if you wanted to install more than two or three apps, which then led to greatly reduced I/O performance.

The Nexus One couldn't install ICS or JB because Google and HTC made the stupid decision to give the system only 256 MB of storage--relying instead on the "endless potential" of SD storage to store apps. <facepalm> I can wipe my Nexus One, return to a clean copy of Gingerbread and will still only have about 30 MB of space for apps. What a joke.

The Galaxy Nexus came out at the end of 2011. It can only handle the latest OS for so long...

This is in stark contrast to iOS, which runs on a phone released in June 2010.

The most recent iOS only now deprecated the iPhone 3GS which was released in June 2009.

Up until two months ago a 4 year old device was still running the latest version of iOS. Why is Google unable to do the same?

Because every Android device running an certain version of an OS all have exactly the same functionality for the most part.

iOS might have everyone on the same version, but features are pruned for older hardware. As if getting through one software revision wasn't difficult enough through manufacturers and carriers to a magnitude of devices...

users who are determined can still get the latest version of android on whatever phone they please.

> Because every Android device running an certain version of an OS all have exactly the same functionality for the most part.

Google seems to be encouraging the opposite:

"A new API, ActivityManager.isLowRamDevice(), lets you tune your app's behavior to match the device's memory configuration. You can modify or disable large-memory features as needed, depending on the use-cases you want to support on entry-level devices.”


It's not about user-facing features. It's about the damn API version! Fragmentation is a problem for users AND developers. With the news about the Galaxy Nexus, Google is basically telling developers to keep targeting old version of Android and avoid the latest APIs. As far as I'm concerned, the Android Support Library is the one true API.

Android API version isn't as big of a deal anymore, since they've been moving to offload everything onto apps which are updatable separate of the OS.

It's not about Google.

It's because each OEM would have to obtain, merge and release a new Android image for each of their old phones that have the specs to run the new Android. And the images originate from chip makers (because Android needs kernel and probably some userspace support for a particular chipset). And same merging and releasing process applies for the chip makers as well.

I would suppose that all OEMs and chip makers are currently busy porting the new Android for their new phones that will be out in the spring or the summer.

For Apple, the backporting process is linear rather than NM.

Based on history, it seems that some* chip makers and OEMs are willing to port a new Android to their previous-generation devices sometimes.

The Linux kernel 3.10 in Android 4.4 should support "device tree". I wonder if that will make it easier for OEM's to make "master images", at least for their own devices, which should make upgrading their own devices easier. But even if that happens, it will happen only from now on, and not with past phones.

Even my iPhone 5 feels as laggy as the original 2G iPhone did, now that I've updated to iOS 7. I wish I could hit the undo button on that 'upgrade.'

Yeah, but KitKat is supposed to run on low-end devices. Call me disappointed, but I'm a happy camper with my Galaxy Nexus and will be looking at possibly rooting my phone in the near future with 4.4. But am really disappointed Google didn't support Galaxy Nexus with 4.4 since the phone still rocks! :(

Really? My iPhone 5 and my friend's iPhone 4 feels as fast as ever in iOS 7.

My iPad however, has jaggy animations when opening multitasking interface.

Weird, the iPhone 4 test devices in my office on iOS 7 are sluggish to the point of unusable. I guess they get used in a different manner than a normal user since they are test devices, but still, I'm shocked to hear an iPhone 4 being called 'fast', even with iOS 6 - I would say extremely slow with 7.

The iPhone 5 runs great on iOS 7. Perhaps you're referring to the long animations for certain tasks, but those can be turned off.

The iPhone 5 runs very well on iOS 7. The iPhone 4S runs fine, but not quite as smooth. The iPhone 4 is a bit slow, and I highly recommend anyone with an older iOS device to turn off the animations and other effects. It makes for a smoother experience.

My 4S runs great on iOS 7.

>stark contrast

7 months difference doesn't seem that stark.

In the world of mobile phones? That's almost an entire device cycle.

iOS 4 was such shit on the 3G it ruined that phone for nearly everyone who bought it, only a year later...

For less than 2 years? That's worse than Apple, and not just a little.

I have an iPhone 4S, but I guess I could buy a new Nexus phone every year and it would cost me less. :-)

They seeded the Galaxy Nexus to developers at I/O in 2012. Presumably they'll seed the Nexus 5 at I/O in 2014. For the next seven months, developers who rely on Google-seeded devices will be using out-of-date software. That defeats the whole point of seeding devices.

I know Apple is heralded as the company that builds planned obsolescence, but until about 2 months ago an 4 year old iPhone 3GS was still able to run the latest iOS without issues.

Well, the older Android will receive Google Play Services which includes many API updates. New OS functionality will be missing of course (as is Siri on older iPhones) but that's just what happens.

That said, I feel like the Galaxy Nexus should be more than capable of running a release specifically created to handle lower end devices, let alone a flagship not even 2 years old.

Yeah I wouldn't say Apple goes out of their way to screw users, but compared to Microsoft in their heyday they have traditionally been pretty terrible. On the other hand, in the age of startups and smart phones Apple seems to be screwing over customers less than almost everyone.

I have iOS 7.0.3 on my iPhone 4S. Released a month before the Galaxy Nexus.

Have you gotten all the features, the iPhone 5S got? Do you have the nice blurred Control Center background?

Android's Problem is fragmentation, and it wouldn't help at all to just backport some functions to older devices, because then developers coulnd't be sure about tthe availability of any API.

My iPhone 4S benefited immensely from iOS7 (UX-feel not withstanding). The biggest difference for was in the camera software. I can't describe how much better it is performing in filming things as they happen.

By contrast, my Galaxy Nexus has become slower and slower with each upgrade. With the last update, my keyboard started to crash... I was really looking forward to the 4.4, hoping things would improve.

And yes, I use two phones and most of the time have both with me... GN is no longer used as a camera though.

Quite to the contrary, the whole point for iOS to be supported on "old" devices like iPhone 4 is reduce fragmentation: developers can focus on building for the latest iOS using the latest API and generate one binary. For god's sake, you can even target both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms with one build. You only need to deal with "availability of any API" when you hit hardware limit, like features that only work when there is Bluetooth LE or Dual Band Wi-Fi.

> Do you have the nice blurred Control Center background?

You get this on the 4S, yes, just not on the iPhone 4 or the iPad 2/3.

> because then developers coulnd't be sure about tthe availability of any API.

iOS 7 running on the iPhone 4 has the same APIs as on the 5S; it just doesn't have all the UI features (notably, the blurring stuff).

It's not about user-facing features. It's about the API and OS bug fixes. I upgraded my iPhone 4S from iOS 5 to iOS 7 not because I wanted iOS 7, but because I was unable to download new apps. Everyone in the App Store was already targeting exclusively iOS 6 and I didn't want to get further left behind. In the iOS world, developers target the latest and greatest API, taking advantage of new features and bug fixes. That's a good thing (tm) for users.

Contrast that with Android, where developers are still targeting Gingerbread and are unable to take advantage of any of the bug fixes in ICS, JB or KK.

> It can only handle the latest OS for so long

That would be reasonable if Google wasn't touting 4.4 as something that can run on devices with half the memory that the GNex has. In the past people have always made hardware excuses for why Google stopped supporting Nexus devices, but this time it's crystal clear: they just can't be bothered. 2 years is the lifespan of a Nexus.

Didn't the GN use an OMAP processor? TI doesn't make those anymore. Maybe there were problems getting drivers, etc because of that.

Galaxy Nexus isn't supported? Got a source on that? If so, that's really disappointing :\.

> "Android 4.4, KitKat, which comes on Nexus 5, will also soon be available on Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks."

Hopefully they get it working for the Galaxy Nexus somehow, mine has been a crapshoot for memory recently with Chrome just randomly restarting at times.

We'll see ports to the GNex by various teams soon enough, although it is a bit of a shame Google are not supporting it themselves, that leads me to believe they tried and failed to make it work properly.

That's a bit odd, though, as 4.0 works almost perfectly on my Galaxy S, and 4.3 runs "okay". The smaller memory footprint should make 4.4 work great in theory, but it might not be a memory issue at all.

Google stated they have a 18 month support period in one of their posts, so it's just a matter of not committing to too much.

That statement doesn't mention the Galaxy Nexus one way or the other. I imagine it's just a listing of the devices that Google has direct control over that they'll update in the near future. Since updates for the Galaxy Nexus have to go through the carriers, Google can't really say how soon the updates will go through, or if they ever will.

The Galaxy Nexus doesn't go through carriers unless you're on Verizon (or maybe Sprint). It was sold through Google Play (and given away at developer events like I/O) completely unlocked.

Here are the images Google has supplied for this device in the past:


Leaving it out of Google's announcement feels a lot like an implicit deprecation to me.

There is a FAQ page that confirm the deprecation of the support of the gnex : https://support.google.com/nexus/answer/3468085

Well, I'm a little bit disappointed, I hoped to have the update too.

That says they support for 18 months, but the Galaxy Nexus was available from Google Play as late as July 4[1] - that's less than 18 months.

[1] http://www.redmondpie.com/galaxy-nexus-pulled-from-google-pl...

My bad, I have the Galaxy Nexus through Verizon and assumed it was the same for other carriers. I forgot it was available unlocked through the Play store. I'm used to ignoring all of the news from Google and waiting an extra 6+ months for every update.

This statement pretty much covers it:


Thanks for the link. That's really a shame considering they titled the post "Android for all" and made a big deal out of Kit Kat's small memory foot print. Memory has been pretty tight on my Galaxy Nexus, those optimizations would have been nice. I guess I'll have to wait for the modding community to get it working.

"Android for all ... unless you have a Google phone that's older than 18 months."

... which has been Google's stated policy for quite some time now, so I'm not sure why you feel the need to be sarcastic about it.

Just because it's a stated policy doesn't make it a justified policy or even a good policy. To reiterate what's already been said in other comments here... iPhone 4S, iOS7, etc. etc.

I'm not making a value judgement on the policy. But claiming that Google is contradicting reality is silly given that stated policy.

"Android for most"

"Android for some"

"Android for the 1%"?

Android 4.4, KitKat, which comes on Nexus 5, will also soon be available on Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks.

Using Chrome brings older phones to exhaustion. When I switched back to the stock browser, my SII became much more responsive in general.

The problem is even chip makers don't support their own devices that long. For example Qualcomm only supported their own chip the Snapdragon S3 only for 18 months, which is why when HTC used it in the HTC One S in 2012, it was already on its last legs for support, and then HTC couldn't update it anymore in 2013 because they said Qualcomm wouldn't update the drivers for it anymore.

So it seems it may not be just OEM's fault, if their component suppliers won't support their components for longer either, although I guess you could make an argument for OEM's making their own drivers for everything, or Google trying to introduce another layer of abstraction for hardware, and upgrade everything themselves.

or you know, open sourcing the drivers, or providing the specifications so we can write our own.

Im aware of the torrent of weak excuses why this wont happen, save it.

Me too. I really wasn't planning on getting the Nexus 5, but I don't want to be on a phone that no longer sees operating system updates.

That's ok, Google can keep their OS for themselves. I look forward to taking some time later this year to put Ubuntu Touch or Firefox OS on my phone, and weaning off their services altogether.

Thank you very fucking much Google. 4.2 and 4.3 trashed the experience for GNex users, now that 4.4 is "butter smooth" again it ain't coming to the phone. Excellent

God bless CyanogenMod.

4.3 runs quite well on my Galaxy Nexus. 4.2 was a disaster though.

4.3 is okay, but 4.1 was pretty damn quick. Oh well...

You should get at least some of the memory benefits, as they'll be supplied in apps or play services or in better profiling tools for 3rd parties.

There will be a ROM for you somewhere.

Unacceptable. I put up with way too many buggy ROMs and crappy user experiences with my previous non-Nexus devices. The whole reason I bought a Nexus phone was so I'd receive timely updates and not have to worry about being left behind. The correct course of action for me now is to jump ship to iOS despite how invested I currently am in the Android platform. Luckily, owning an iPad (older than my GNex and running iOS 7!) makes it a little easier.

Here's the Android release notes:



* WebView is now based on Chromium * KSM and zRAM integrated into stock kernel * Public SMS framework * Printing framework * Storage access framework

>WebView is now based on Chromium

Does that mean that there will no more be stock 'Browser' app? I refuse to use Chrome on Android because of brain-dead, non-disablable 'font-boosting' that makes (among many others) Hacker News absolutely unusable.

If that means that the same engine is the only one officially supported on 4.4 forwards, then that's really sad and unfortunate.

I don't use HN site on Chrome Browser anymore because the app Hacker News 2 is so good: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.airlocksof...

Shameless plug: My app "HN" has slightly better ratings, but also a reduced feature set: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.manuelmaly...

I've always used this app. The only thing I think that's weird is the default text size. I actually like the fact that you can't post. It probably reduces the amount of times I would make a completely worthless post.

A great start, but until I can post a comment through the app, I can't really "use" it. :-/ I'm looking forward to that future update.

Yeah, it's definitely on the list. Sadly, life often gets in the way when I should have time to spend time on HN. I guess I have too many hobbies..

Hacker News 2 is virtually perfect.

I only have three gripes.

First, it removes my paragraph separation when I post. Second, when you go back to the topic list, it repositions the view at the top of the list again.

The third is that when viewing articles, it doesn't use the Chrome rendering engine, so JavaScript demos suffer greatly and I have to relaunch the article in Chrome to see most of the correctly. It sounds like that last point of contention, Google may have just fixed for me.

Personally, I like all the changes that I read about today.

I'd also like to point out that Chrome as the default webview is a natural fit with the direction Google is taking Android. For some time now on Nexus tablets, there has been no Android browser, only Chrome. Also, you can now save "web apps" as applications, not just as bookmarked links. I think it is only natural that by the time Android 5 is released, you might even be able to install Chrome packaged apps just as you do with regular APK applications.

Android and Chrome are merging, and ChromeCast, a lightweight Android kernel that only runs Chrome, is the proving ground.

Looks great. Any idea why it uses a different font than the one used by Android?

Really, it is. Use it.

Well, there's always Firefox and a whole bunch of other browsers if you don't like Chrome.

If your not using Firefox on Android, your browser woes are your own fault :D <3 Mozilla

Apart from Mozilla love, what are the good reasons to use Firefox on Android?

I tried it, found it slower and less responsive than Chrome. But as this is a completely biased feeling, I'd love to know more.

Those are mine:

* Firefox Sync. As I use Firefox on my desktop, it's nice to keep them synched.

* Addons. I know this might sound stupid on a phone, but having lastpass autofill your passwords on-the-go is awesome.

* Interface. I really like the Firefox Mobile UI, but I hate the Chrome (Tablet, I browse on a Nexus 7) Mobile UI. Chrome get really bad with 3 or 4 tabs, making it really hard to switch tabs, and really easy to close tabs by mistake.

* Smoothness. I find that Firefox is way better/faster than Chrome on my Nexus 7 (This might be because I run Nightly, but I've compared it to Chrome Beta too). Especially, try to open 2 or 3 pages with a video, Chrome just become unusable for 5/10 seconds for me.

* Memory usage. I have a 2012 Nexus 7, and it has "only" 1gb of ram. It seems that if I open more than 5 tabs, Chrome just love dropping old tabs them out of memory. I've yet to have Firefox drop a tab, even with 10 or more tabs open. (It does drop them if I leave it in background and open something memory-intensive, like a game, but that's expected).

I can second every point @Spittie wrote. I love Firefox for Android.

To be fair to Android Chrome, it also does Sync if you login with your Google Account. It doesn't handle passwords very well though. I also like how Chrome handles clicks on links - so if the link is too small, or if you're hitting two links at the same time, then it shows you a magnified view of the area you've hit, a feature that's very useful on a mobile phone (not so much on a tablet).

But Firefox did improve by leaps and bounds and has unique features that no other mobile browser currently has, like Addons (AdBlock FTW).

Having LastPass auto-fill passwords on my phone is indeed awesome. Scrolling feels a little weird on my Nexus 4 though.

Are you always signed into LastPass on your phone?

I've got a (simple) screen lock password + full encryption, but I'm still a bit paranoid to keep LastPass signed in. Instead, I have to type my 20+ character passphrase each time I have to use LastPass on my phone, which is frustrating, but not as frustrating as losing all my accounts together with my phone.

Firefox for Android supports add-ons like Adblock Plus: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/android/addon/adblock-plus/

Firefox for Android also runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and later. Chrome only supports Android 4.0 (ICS) and later.

I've recently seen more and more ads on pages in Chrome. Just a few days ago, I got fed up and switched to Firefox (with Ad Block Plus installed), and boy am I glad that I did. There are a few places where I feel it's a little slower, and it occasionally frustrates me with links that are close together as it doesn't have the zoom that Chrome does when you hit a link that's sufficiently close to another link as to be ambiguous. But the lack of ads more than makes up for those shortcomings. I've come to realize that I just cannot live without ad blocking any more.

And yes, I do realize that advertising pays for many of the services that I use. It's just that the advertising arms race always makes it more and more intrusive until it's unbearable; I just cannot put up with them. Those services that I value and which offer a subscription plan instead of ads I subscribe to (like LWN). Sadly there's not a lot of content that you can actually choose to pay for rather than receiving via ads, so I just use an ad blocker and move on.

Sync is one good reason if you're already using desktop Firefox.

I had problems using Firefox on a stock Android Nexus 4 (bugs with selecting text and freezing when scrolling) but it's been a flawless experience after switching to Cyanogen. I'm at a loss to explain the difference.

I use Firefox on Android for its proxy settings, so I can SSH tunnel out of China.

Performance depends on the hardware, it seems. On my dual-core+1GB RAM tablet (a Nook HD), Firefox is visibly faster than Chrome (to the point where the latter is almost unusable). On my N4, they're about the same.

Adobe Flash Player

Firefox does the same.

Firefox also has broken font-boosting

I just tried it, and it's even worse. While it doesn't do anything as brain-damaged as font boosting (at least not on HN), I uninstalled it after 45 seconds when I saw what it does to fonts. I don't care what it does wrong, but fonts definitely look different than on the whole OS and just generally bad. I know that getting this thing quite right isn't easy, but holy hell, is it annoying.

I'm too lazy for this shit. If there's no popular, working, desktop-class browser available for this platform, then, sincerely, fuck this shit, my next phone is iPhone, thank you very much.

The font-boosting has tons of known bugs: https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/list?q=Cr=Blink-Te...

Once that list gets shorter, it's slated for inclusion in Webkit, though. It's a useful feature if it works consistently. Prevents needless scrolling from side-to-side on tiny screens. (It's a lot less useful on my 21" Android Slate, however)

A lesson to developers here: Don't include a feature before it's ready, even if you think it's really cool.

It seems to have become much less annoying in the Chrome beta. Have you tried it recently?

I just did, following your suggestion. Unfortunately, it's still the same unusable garbage.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rnl8m9ioi9ric5v/2013-10-31%2020.04... - latest chrome beta (release looks absolutely identical) https://www.dropbox.com/s/867wrehnqsiu3oc/2013-10-31%2020.04... - CM10.1.3 stock browser

I dont think news.ycombinator.com is that usable on iphone either. I use ihackernews.com for 98% of my HN browsing. Try it on your phone.

> Does that mean that there will no more be stock 'Browser' app? I refuse to use Chrome on Android because of brain-dead, non-disablable 'font-boosting' that makes (among many others) Hacker News absolutely unusable.

WebView is the UI class for displaying webpages as a native Android view. The Browser app contains much more than the WebView class itself.

Nexus devices have shipped with Chrome instead of the stock browser for quite a while. However being Chromium, it'll probably be included in AOSP sources, so I'm unsure if they'll stick with Browser or make a Chromium. If it is a Chromium app, there are chances that it will be less bloated, as I don't think they opensourced the Chrome Android UI/enhancements.

On the subject of Chrome on Android, why can't we have a permanent desktop view option?

I'm not sure you mean exactly this but, it's added recently: https://developers.google.com/chrome/mobile/docs/installtoho...

ironically firefox is probably the best android browser right now. why not just use that?

I use Opera for this reason alone.

Did anyone else get a Google internal link for "Chrome DevTools" that gives you an internal Google login page?


I clicked on that link and got a page that says "moma: inside google. Single Sign On" and asks for a Google login, password, and OTP. It also appears to display a random image; I wonder if that random image is used as part of the authentication process, perhaps as an authenticator that this is a valid Google login page (perhaps something you can verify with your OTP device).

Doh! On it.. In the meantime, this is the link you want: https://developers.google.com/chrome-developer-tools/docs/re...

That seems busted. I'll see if I can get someone to fix it.

"Host card emulation" -- Does this mean I can "upload" my NFC bank cards and transport card and have my phone emulate them? If so that is -freaking awesome-.

Not quite, but everyone and his brother will be able to start issuing NFC 'cards' that work with existing contactless terminals. Think PayPal, Square, your favourite loyalty programmes etc etc.

And there's no need to negotiate/buy access to secure elements, or get involved with TSMs etc -- as long as the issuer looks after its own security.

This is going to blow NFC wide open :)

Hey does this mean that if a Bitcoin exchange gets a hold of an AID then they could write an app that would let me use my phone to pay with bitcoin at an existing contactless terminal? Like, apps can emulate contactless cards, but you can't necessarily upload existing cards you mean? Sorry, I just don't quite "get" it yet I think :P

BitPlastic[1] is a about as close as you can get right now. I have been working for the past year on a prototype Bitcoin smart-card compatible with existing contact less terminals, I've gone this route because I am not particularly comfortable with storing my private key on my phone.

Prototype works, but lets just say it needs a lot more work. Not sure whether to continue with, for anything like this to have any adoption by retailers the entire Bitcoin community needs to get behind one standard. That is the Bitcoin Payment Protocol[2] which is incompatible with my approach. The Bitcoin Payment Protocol will with the new Android 4.4 changes.

1. https://bitplastic.com/ 2. https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/BIP_0070

No, your cards contain special chips which you can't replicate (otherwise anyone could clone your card on touch). This post refers to the NFC hardware not needing a secure chip, to get around hardware and software limitations.

That would be cool as crap. And quickly the subject of all sorts of hell across the board.

Wonder if this means alert dialogs will start showing up from ads in embedded webviews. Window.alert() didn't work in Android's webview and the WebChrome client was the workaround.


This is expected, wondering if kiosk mode can be supported as it's supported in chromium.

"Chrome for Android supports a few features which aren't enabled in the WebView, including: WebGL 3D canvas WebRTC WebAudio Fullscreen API Form validation" Since Fullscreen API is unsupported, so no Kiosk.

> zRAM integrated into stock kernel

2013 definitely seems to be the year of memory compression.

"Android 4.4 introduces platform support for hardware sensor batching, a new optimization that can dramatically reduce power consumed by ongoing sensor activities."

This sounds remarkably similar to the M7. This functionality of Android 4.4 requires hardware support, which initially is only provided by the Nexus 5. It allows for continuous sensor measurements, only waking the application processor when it delivers a batch of them.

It's very much the same idea, if not the same underlying chips. The Snapdragon 800 SoC includes these sensors, so a lot of new high-end Android phones are going to support this.

Or Motorola (owned by Google)'s X8, which was released before the M7.

Oh for sure I definitely don't want to imply that anyone was copying Apple, and something like this doesn't appear in silicon and software overnight. Instead it was an obvious need to anyone who ever did continuous sensor readings to watch their battery life take a perilous dive.

Behind the polish on the screen is the power under the hood. Take the Phone app, which for most people hasn’t really changed since the days of flip phones. Now, we’re making calling easier than ever, by helping you search across your contacts, nearby places, or even Google Apps accounts (like your company’s directory), directly from within the app.

Is that marketing speak for, "We're moving the Phone app into Google Play Services"?

Some background on how this fits into a wider trend: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/googles-iron-grip-on-...

And the discussion, much of which involves explaining why this tendency is maybe not as sinister as the Ars article implies: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6582494

I'm more concerned about the integration of hangouts with sms and mms -- I read that as all other voip/video calls and messaging services (xmpp) will be further pushed into the cold.

The story behind the scene to my eyes is Google removing out of the box apps from Android to leave it PLAY dependent 100% if possible %200. This means that no other store like Amazon will be able to create a second store based on Android with a fresh environment out of the box. Google says is due to modularity I say due to market strategy. As a clear example (apart from the clear explanation of the article, great article BTW) a feature released today on KiKat 4.4 is that WebView is based on Chromium, this means the sole purpose of only Google using WebView. If I where Amazon I would be reconsidering having to develop all again for future releases or today make a fair deal with Google.

However this is not bad news at all for startups like myself because of two things.

1) Google will spend about a year or two on refactoring Android to fully cope with PLAY dependence allowing some spare "time" for third party ideas on features that can advance outside Google internal teams.

2) Third party developer a are now in equal position to compete with Google applications to win terrain into Android future tiny out of the box. Basically on future ex-activated apps like mail for example.

I suspect the webview was updated because of two related reasons, first they didn't want to maintain a separate webkit, and second because Chromium/Chrome have switched to Blink (a fork of webkit). Also, being Chromium this should be directly in the ASOP sources, so it's still separate from Chrome.

I had a terrible experience with the Nexus S. I bought it a couple years ago (which seems to be a vety long time in Google terms) and right now it's totally unusable. It's very slow, the battery is sucked up in less than an hour when on wifi, some apps can't work, the play store is a mess and I can go on and on.

I experienced the nexus 4 a little bit and though it's a great phone I'm afraid the next OS updates are going to ruin it just like it happened to the poor Nexus S.

My next phone is going to be an iPhone as I had a rather pleasant experience on the iPad.

I had (have) a Nexus S. The hardware at this point is coming up on it's third birthday... yes, it is ridiculously, unapologetically slow... but if you look at the iPhone 4, it's not fairing so well either.

Yes, old hardware will always fare poorly when running operating systems that are generations ahead. Try running Windows 7 on a 286... Nexus 4 and I'm loving it. I anticipate no issues moving between 4.3 and 4.4.

Oh, and I suspect your battery is torched. my wi-fi only nexus s reports on average a solid day of battery with moderate/heavy use.

I love my Nexus S, but I'm running CyanogenMod. I highly recommend trying it, especially if you aren't happy.


http://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/Crespo4g_Info (4G)

My Nexus S runs 4.3 happily, although a little laggy in some places, and not much multitasking. It would be more than usable though.

Just to counter your anecdote, my HTC Desire D which is the same hardware as Nexus S was one of the best phones I had with great battery life, durability and it works well even after I dropped it on the concrete and in the water on several occasions.

*Desire S

Same on the Galaxy Nexus. Less than 2 hours of idle time if I'm going through an area with poor service - less than 2 hours of battery life when browsing on wifi.

>which seems to be a very long time in Google terms

To be fair, that was during the iPhone 4 period.

The iPhone has since gone to the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, and then iPhone 5s. Many users report an absolutely miserable experience with iOS 7 (and even 6) on the iPhone 4.

The mobile industry has moved very, very quickly, and devices are a magnitude more powerful+ than just a couple of years ago. As a developer with an interest in mobile, I've gone through literally seven different smartphone devices in the past three years.

My colleague has an iPhone 4, iOS 7 works on it beautifully for him. My iPhone 4S has also not had any issues with iOS 7...

Interesting since my iPhone 4 has slowed the a crawl with iOS7. Nearly unusable now.

Have you upgraded to 7.0.3? This seems to help a lot. Also, you may want to try enabling reduced motion in the accessibility settings.

iOS 6.0 was fine, but iOS 7.0 introduced a whole bunch of bugs and inconsistent lag.

Anyone running iOS version 7.0.3 on the iPhone 4 should definitely enable 'Reduce Motion' in the accessibility settings.

It removes the 'fly in' 'fly out' animations for opening folders or apps, and greatly improves performance.

Same for the iPad mini.

Well.. that was probably the most impulsive buy I've made in a long time... Shame on Google Play for not crashing this time around!

Okay I thought the camera on my Nexus 4 would kick ass but it sucks compared to an iPhone. The only way I'm going to purchase this 5 is if it has iPhone-esque camera quality.

Definitely agree.

In a moment of madness I managed to easily buy a Nexus 5 on the UK Play store. Last year it was months after N4 release until I was able to grab one. I don't normally splurge on consumer goods but in this case, the camera looks like a step up, and more battery life can't be bad.

I thought "ach why not", but bought it at least partly out of surprise that the online store was working :)

First major smartphone which included India as one of the first few countries to be released. Nexus 5 will have a huge impact on high end market in budget conscious indians.

Selling at 28k where HTC one, note3 and Lumia 1025 are being sold at around 50k!. If distribution channel is properly organized it will just blow away the likes of samsung,nokia and HTC

Already bought the Nexus 5. My GNex is really showing it's age, and it'll be nice to have a device with the new OS to develop and debug apps with.

My GNex is still doing just fine! The recent 4.x dot releases have been a bit shabby, but fundamentally things work (bluetooth cough cough). I guess being stuck with a 4.3 device for testing will be ok. I do most of my Android dev and testing on the first gen Galaxy Tab 10.1 which is stuck on Android 4.0, and my consumption/games on a Nexus 10 which Google will no doubt abandon soon.

Doing dev and debug on a device I don't actually use has been effective. My most productive features have been having the device in a dock, and using wifi adb so I don't have to bother with cables.

Engadget says no Verizon support. Is this true? I thought they had Verizon's LTE bands listed but I'm not very familiar with all this stuff.

They have one of Verizon's LTE bands but it's more likely that Verizon will block the phone. Their networks run on a whitelist.

Verizon's band 13 LTE (700 c-block) is not listed as supported, but band 4 is (AWS). Slim chance of connectivity if Verizon has deployed AWS in your region.

...anyone else seeing 'out of stock' for all configurations and models?

Yep, definitely another high-grade Google Play user experience....

Keep checking. When I first looked they only had 32GB versions. I checked again and the 16GB ones showed up.

I just bought a black 16GB. Everything went through fine.

Hugely anticipated and closely watched release, and thirty minutes later you're complaining that they're sold out?

Come on.

I knew it was coming and got in early, finding it the most enjoyable Nexus purchase yet -- available in many markets the day it is announced, the Play store didn't crash and functioned speedily, and it will ship in days? I'd say it was a fantastic user experience.

Hugely anticipated only in the tech world...No one else really gives a shit -- as seen by the Nexus 4 sales numbers after more than year (3mil units)

Which would also mean they'd have a smaller initial inventory, no?

That's fascinating, but how is that relevant? Yes, this device was wanted by a lot of people, many of whom were going to storm the gates. Evidenced by the fact that it sold out. If it makes you feel better trying to niche the sales of Nexus devices, good for you, but I see absolutely no point in your comment.

You make it sound like they blew through a massive stock of them because of demand. More than likely they blew through Google's standard, lackluster supply which is hardly surprising. Google's ability to properly sell physical hardware is abysmal

What do you mean by "properly" sell physical hardware? They are a services company, and their interest is in the overall Android ecosystem. If you ask me they are doing a decent job of toeing the line between shipping a good reference implementation and a big Microsoftian middle finger to the OEMs that butter their bread.

I didn't make it sound like anything, beyond that -- relative to a Nexus device -- there is enormous pent up demand for this. The hype has been building for weeks, and the anticipated release has been very, very closely watched. Everyone knew this would be a hugely front-loaded purchase.

If Google does what they traditionally do they will be going through batches, with small delays between. With each batch the estimated delivery time will increase -- managers will meet and get agreements by vendors -- and supplies will reappear.

I'm disappointed with the current lack of details around this. For example, it's unclear if the rumoured Dalvik improvements made it in. The omission of GN support is slightly galling too, although with the variants of that in the wild it may be too complicated to deploy.

That said, a couple of things in the API, especially the storage framework, could be really good. That may provide a way forward to get apps working with the cloud or self hosted servers with a common API, which would be a great development.

Cyanogenmod usage may get a big spike when they get on to Kitkat, and that might be just what the Android ecosystem needs.

As a GNex owner, I'm a bit upset with the fact that there won't be official support for 4.4 on my phone. Supposedly, this choice is due to TI not supporting the chip anymore.

I almost choked when I was watching the video and I thought I saw Stallman on second 11:


Google keeps rolling more and more up under them. I can understand the "good" argument...it rids the platform of fragmentation.

...but Android is slowly becoming less open. Scares me a little. Why shouldn't it?

The "open" part of this is being blown up a bit out of proportion, I think. Nothing stops other OEMs from replacing the Play apps (the closed part of this) with their own.

Are you an developer at an OEM? I'm just not sure why this would worry you. It sure beats not getting timely updates for core pieces because of silly carriers.

"the book you're reading, the game you're playing, or the movie you're watching"

I'm confused, PDFs, games and movies already are full screen on previous android versions.

On my N7, reading replaces the action bar with faded out dots. I'm assuming that in 4.4 the action bar disappears now too. I've read that you swipe from an edge to make it reappear. I'm interested to see how edge swipe heavy apps (Kindle) will handle it.

For all, unless you are on Verizon.

The phone supports CDMA..? I'm on Verizon and really want this phone (eventually). Are you seeing that it doesn't work with Verizon somewhere specifically?

Edit: More comments here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6648976 and here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6648664 but not seeing links, feels like hearsay.

    senior VP of Android Sundar Pichai told us that "the Nexus 5 will not be on Verizon."
My bad. I should have included a source first.


I was wondering about that. Can you can still buy an unlocked phone and use it with their service?


Nexus 5 site: https://www.google.com/nexus/5

Already appears to be down.


What's the point of having google.com/nexus/5, when people are going to be purchasing it from the play store (splitting traffic, rather than sending it all to the store)?

Edit: www.google.com/nexus/5 is live now.

Well, people like to learn about things before buying. It strikes me as prudent.

I don't think the play store link works for people in countries where it isn't sold.

Its too bad the focus isn't on battery life. "7 hours" internet time on wifi, when you're on airplane mode. And they refresh the same page every 40 seconds.

How about a real battery test, where you simulate someone reading HN or reddit, opening gifs, images, web pages with crappy flash video. I'm tired of the same 3 hours of useful battery life I've had since the HTC evo. Maybe I'm just bitter because my galaxy nexus has around 8 hours of idle time if I have 4G on (this after doing a clean wipe not 1 month ago).

Finally, true full screen support! That was my main gripe with Android VS iOS. Personally I find the navigation bar very hindering in games, where I have to be careful not to touch it (not to mention the wasted screen space). My young kids keep touching the navigation buttons by mistake, making using drawing/music apps a very frustrating experience for them. I hope that various app developers will catch up quickly with this feature.

Holy crap, scrypt is now in android as a default method of key stretching for whole disk encryption! That makes it way of a legitimate option and I'm really happy to see a memory hard algorithm being adopted in such a large area!


This: " In addition, the new Chromium WebView supports remote debugging using Chrome DevTools. For example, you can use Chrome DevTools on your development machine to inspect, debug, and analyze your WebView content live on a mobile device."

This is a huge step forward for the development of HTML5 hybrid apps if it allows us to debug our app's embedded webviw. Good riddance console.log(*) debugging.

I love this as a stark juxtaposition to the Apple "Hold a grand event to announce new OS and phone dates"

Just a tip: Make sure you are logged into your Google account. Until I logged in it was showing as "Out of Stock".

32gb black was available when only the 16gb white was available previously.

Also note that mine is a Google Play Dev Account, which may or not affect availability.

Wait, wait, does that mean that I can expect some version (possibly not entirely official) of Android 4.4 to run on my old HTC Desire Z? A snappier Android on a device with a keyboard would be great.

Or is it for the billion people who buy a phone from now on?

You shouldn't rely on it. 4.3 barely runs and modern opengl apps fail badly in mysterious ways. It's not seeing much attention and it's basically dead these days.

I just bought a n5 to upgrade. I love the keyboard, but I also want a more modern device.

Android for all, except me:

> Sorry! Devices on Google Play is not available in your country yet.

Oh, wait, their "all" means "U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea", ie 10 out of 200ish countries in the world.

It really bothers me that they disallow people altogether from seeing the page just because they live in the wrong country (or happen to be passing by). The web is not supposed to be like this.

Some countries have specific laws that apply to the advertisement or listing of products to users. I suspect that's part of the reasoning.

I really hope the new version of Android fixes the bug in their Wifi-enabled location service in version 4.3, as it's been draining the battery on my Nexus 4, with the only fix available being to disable it.

5" screen is too big for me. Will probably stick with N4 for a while yet.

4: 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm 5: 137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm just slightly but thinner

Just purchased one thanks. It says dispatch 8th Nov. In uk. Moved from sg3

The thing that concerns me the most is their deep linking from Google search directly into native Android apps. The last thing the web needs is even more of being silo'd off into closed apps.

So it is now official that Nexus devices get 18 months of software support and then it's game over? That's quite disappointing, even Samsung supports the Galaxy SX line longer.

I will be sticking with my Nexus 4. I do not utilize the camera too much. KitKat will come to the Nexus 4 in time. The price is the really questionable point.

The Nexus 5 is just about the same physical size as the Nexus 4. The bezels are much smaller to accommodate the screen.

The doubling of screen resolution is what has inspired my update, not to mention the ridiculously powerful CPU/GPU.

Hit refresh. I saw it sold out, then when I reloaded there was one in stock. Also be sure to check the 16/32 & white/black permutations.

I just bought one. I currently have a GS4, used to have a Nexus 4. Every day I wish I had kept my Nexus 4. Now I can fix my mistake!

I'm with you. I fail to understand the hype behind the Galaxy series smartphones. The only thing I like about them is they are most always equipped with a beautiful display. Touchwiz is lack luster at best, and I'm unimpressed with the materials design. Battery and reception have glaring issues as well, at least in my anecdotal experience.

Google partnered with LG to develop Nexus 5... So remind me again why did Google bought Motorola for? ಠ_ಠ

Still no qwerty slider. No thanks.

If I wanted to waste half my screen on a keyboard I'd buy an iPhone.

The beauty of the iPhone is that the keyboard goes away when you don't need it. That's why qwerty sliders are obsolete - they're there whether or not you want them.

Don't hold your breath on that one. Does any major manufacturer have a flagship slider keyboard any more?

I thought it was "Key Lime Pie"? Did Android get a corporate sponsor?

It was announced a couple of months ago. I don't think any money changed hands it just a big marketing partnership. KitKat are producing millions of bars with a special Android competition and Google are naming the OS KitKat.

Has been less than a year since the 4. What is the major difference from the 4?

It's 2 weeks from a year, hasn't that been about the same as the release cycle for most flagship smartphones?

Also, site's down I think, but apparently there's a new camera, haven't heard of much else

1080p screen vs 720p, faster processor, wireless charging, opengl es 3.0 support.

Nice, wish I hadn't gotten my s4 now...

Note that the Nexus 4 has both OpenGL ES 3.0 and wireless charging. Still ordered a Nexus 5, but just wanted to note that.

LTE connectivity, a bigger battery, and a better camera. On, and a faster processors and more storage and stuff.

The only thing wrong with the nexus 4 is the battery life, and I don't think an 8% increase in battery size is going to help much. Maybe on average 15 minutes extra screen-on time, but then again it's meaningless without knowing something of the new processor in the nexus 5.

Well.. that was probably the most impulsive buy I've made in a long time... Shame on Google Play for not crashing this time around!

I was hoping for waterproofed...


>> "I'm a little bummed that this is now a consumer device instead of a legit developer powerhouse"

What's your reasoning here? You don't develop on it, you develop on a computer. As a developer I don't particularly want to be testing on a really powerful device as most of my customers won't have that power available to them. I want to test on a few screen sizes running average hardware.

That was to be expected, so long as Google and LG don't skimp on releasing sources I don't see the issue.

Developers shouldn't need a specific device to feel like a special snowflake, if you ask me, they are by default.

What's a legit developer powerhouse?

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