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Summary:

Motorola’s Razr M is getting Android 4.1 quickly after launch, illustrating that the Google-owned company is looking to advance the pace of software updates. Verizon is tucking Isis support into the update. And Google is offering price protection on devices sold in the Google Play store.

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Droid Razr M, Motorola, Google, Android

Motorola’s Razr M is starting to show a little benefit from the company being owned by Google. The handset launched two months ago with Android 4.0, but already has an update to Android 4.1 available.

The software, known as Jelly Bean, will bring performance improvements, Google Now and improved notifications to the device. It’s a shame the Razr M didn’t ship with these software features, but a software upgrade such as this within two months of launch is quicker than most handsets experience; likely due to Google’s ownership of Motorola.

Indeed, Motorola is taking a Google-like step to further advance the pace of Android software updates. The company announced a program that will allow a limited number of handset owners to get early software changes in the future:

[W]e’re also introducing Test Drive, a new program that will allow consumers to take our major software upgrades for a trial run and provide valuable feedback before we launch the upgrade publicly.  Starting with Android 4.2, the next iteration of Jelly Bean, we will release a preview of our software to a few hundred consumers that sign up for Test Drive.  More details on how to sign-up and participate will be announced on the blog soon.

Verizon is taking advantage of the Razr M software update to add support for Isis, a U.S. carrier-backed digital payment system that competes against Google Wallet. Meanwhile, I’ve been unable to get Google Wallet working on my Galaxy Note 2 and now I see why.

Google officially won’t support Wallet on international versions of handsets, even if they’re unlocked. I bought my Note 2 from the U.K. which explains the situation. I’ll be looking to find a solution in the coming week by sideloading — installing the app directly and not from the Google Play store — the software myself.

My Nexus 7 tablet is on the list of supported device for Google Wallet, so if you bought one of those, you can use it for mobile payments. As an added bonus to your physical wallet, if you purchased the Nexus 7 on or after Oct. 14, Google will provide a $25 credit since it reduced the Nexus 7 price. According to Google, the credit policy applies to any device purchased on Google Play after a price drop, which provides a little more price protection in the future for the Nexus 4 or Nexus 10 as well.

  1. Will Samsung learn from Google? I’ve had my Galaxy S3 for 2 months and love it; but am frustrated that a product that has been out for nearly 6 months is still at 4.0.4. Interestingly, I kept my old HTC Incredible and used it the other day as a backup alarm and thought…”How tiny…and really unusable!” Size really does matter in a mobile internet world; width too. The less I have to use my fingers to scroll or swipe or squint with my eyes all day long the happier I am. Lastly, where is the FCC and DoJ on the issue of excluding Google Wallet????

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