There’s good and bad news for Samsung Galaxy Note 3 owners this week. Android 4.4, or KitKat, is appearing in a software update for the handset in more regions. The software first started rolling out in Poland but has found its way to India, South Korea, and Switzerland reports SamMobile. It’s sure to follow in more regions soon. Along with the update, however, are reports of third-party accessories not working the way they did prior to the KitKat upgrade.
Cases in particular appear to have a problem. Many mimic Samsung’s own case for the Note 3, showing data through a windowed cutout when the phone is sleeping, for example. Last October, Samsung was reportedly testing a chip verification system to ensure accessories would be compatible with its devices, but the company never announced such a program. However, a software workaround that bypasses accessory verification appears to fix the issue with third-party accessories, indicating Samsung has implemented a hardware check.
There’s no such check on the newest Nexus 7 docks. Asus published product pages for a pair of docks this week: one wired and one wireless. Both charge the 2013-edition of the Nexus 7 tablet and can prop up the tablet for watching video or browsing the web. The wired dock includes an HDMI port to shoot content to a larger display while the wireless dock simply charges the tablet; there’s no output from the dock. Neither dock is available in the U.S. yet. They have been sold in a few regions overseas for roughly $50.
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 isn’t available in any country yet since it hasn’t been launched. That hasn’t stopped the leaks flowing about the company’s next flagship phone, however.
This week screen shots of the reported home screen for the handset appeared on the web, courtesy of @evleaks.
This looks like a combination of Samsung’s Magazine UX — found on its latest tablets — and the cards of Google Now, showing contextual information as well as notifications from contacts and social networks. The approach also reminds me of Facebook Home, the Android launcher that focuses more on content and less on apps.
If the Galaxy S5 does use this as a home screen, it would be a big departure from the company’s TouchWiz user interface. That’s probably not a bad thing as TouchWiz has become a little stale over the past three to four years. Samsung needs some type of software to differentiate itself from other Android phones while also improving the user experience.
Will this type of layout do that? It’s difficult to say, but I like the idea of more glanceable information from the home screen of a handset.