I didn’t know if it would ever happen, but experimental nightly builds for Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) have arrived for the venerable Nook Color. I installed it tonight.
Since I’ve previously run other versions of Cyanogenmod on the Nook Color, the upgrade was pretty straightforward. I had to reboot to recovery, update my recovery because my existing recovery was old and incompatible, reboot again (to recovery of course), which put me in Clockworkmod 18.104.22.168, and from there I installed the Cyanogenmod 11 zip followed by the Google Apps zip.
Newly flashed Android devices sometimes take some time to settle in before they’re really usable. On this 1 GHz, 512MB device, Kit Kat does seem faster than any of the Jelly Bean builds (Android 4.1-4.3) I’ve tried to run on it, but it’s not as quick as my Samsung Galaxy S 4G running Android 4.0.4. I’ll give it a little time.
I’ll get back to the Android questions momentarily, but here’s an interesting development: randomblame on XDA-Developers has managed to develop a working Jelly Bean 4.3 ROM called Jelly Time for the Sero 7 Pro, even without kernel source.
As one would expect, the workarounds are causing some issues, but even with the limitations he’s working with, the reports have been very good. I’ll be trying it out on my Sero 7 Pro as soon as I have a bit more time.
I have zero intention of doing a mobile roundup every week, but it sure seems like there were a few noteworthy developments in the mobile field this week that are worth mentioning. So, here goes.
Disabling animation is one way to make a Hisense Sero 7 Pro, or anything else running Jelly Bean, feel faster and smoother. That’s a hidden feature, but it’s not difficult to make it visible and selectable.
So when I decided to bring myself into the current decade, tablet-wise, I opted for the $150 Hisense Sero 7 Pro, though I was certainly curious about its $99 little brother. Unfortunately, information on the Sero 7 Lite hasn’t been as easy to come by–people are understandably excited about getting a Nexus 7 clone for $50 less that actually includes two desirable features that the real thing lacks. This must be what it felt like to be in the market for an IBM PC/XT when the Leading Edge Model D came out in the summer of 1985.
But of course I was still curious what $99 can buy today, so I’m glad that Ars Technica gave it a look. Read more
Last month, low-end television maker Hisense introduced two new 7-inch Android tablets. The $149 Hisense Sero 7 Pro is a fairly close clone of the Google Nexus 7 that adds an SD card slot. With its quad-core processor and 1280×800 display, a lot of people are excited about it. Overall, the reaction I’ve seen on xda-developers has been very positive. The $99 Sero 7 LT, which is decidedly below the Nexus 7 in capability, hasn’t gotten as much attention.
But I found this teardown. Their verdict: Nothing to get too excited about, but it’s good enough for the average user most of the time, much better than the other sub-$100 tablets on the market, and as good as or better than most of the sub-$149 tablets on the market. The two weak spots are the wimpy camera and weak battery.
Now Asus is jumping into the sub-$150 tablet range too, but with a device that’s much more subdued than what Polaroid and Archos are offering.
It appears to me that Asus is trying to remain mid-tier, and hope that name recognition and reliability advantages (whether perceived or real) keep their tablet in the game.
Their $149 Memo Pad has a 7-inch 1024×600 display and a single-core VIA WM8950 CPU, running at 1 GHz. It will be running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and has the precious microSD card slot, which accepts up to a 32 GB card. Read more
I didn’t buy a tablet last month. I knew about Acer’s new low-end tablet, the Iconia B1, and that they were at least initially reluctant to release it in the United States, but I hoped that either Acer would change their mind or that someone else would decide that the U.S. market really needs something in between the $80 cheapie no-name 1-ish GHz, single-core, 800×480 tablets sold in every drugstore, closeout store, and vacant gas station lot in the country and the $200 tablets that the likes of Samsung and Acer sell.
I’d be lying if I said I saw the Polaroid M7 and M10 coming. Lying like the evil spawn of a politician and a used car salesman. Read more