The AT&T LG Optimus G Pro is being updated to Android 4.4 KitKat starting today. The update changes the look of the new navigation and notification bars (transparent with white icons), improves speed and battery life, patches security holes, and adds wireless printing options. Users can check for an update by going to Settings > General > About phone > Software update > Update now. Be sure to charge the phone to at least 75 percent before downloading the over 700 MB.
Netflix has revealed its plan to expand farther into Europe this year. Though the company did not reveal dates or library options, it did confirm that the following six countries will launch with Netflix streaming later this year: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Prices will likely vary by market, as will the selection of streaming services, but consumers in the affected regions will finally be able to legally watch Netflix originals and pay a monthly subscription fee to get thousands of movies and television shows streamed to the web, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chromecast, and various other set top boxes.
Music streaming service Rdio is now serving 60 countries worldwide. The on-demand and personal radio service today launched in Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Thailand. The price varies in each country depending on the market, but all of the new countries are able to sign-up for an Rdio monthly subscription plan that provides access to several million songs on apps for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.
Last week we reported that AT&T would launch HD Voice through LTE on May 23 in select markets on only one device. That device, the Samsung Galaxy S5, goes on sale with the higher quality voice calls later this week. Minneapolis and Chicago are currently the only markets that have launched HD Voice. The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini will go on sale on Friday, May 23rd, for $49.99 when purchased with a two-year agreement ($14.24 on Next 18 or $18.50 on Next 12). The S4 Mini also has a 1,900 mAh battery, a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor, an IR sensor for remote controlling a television, an 8-megapixel camera, a 1.9-megapixel front camera, and a 4.3-inch qHD display.
The HTC One M8 has followed the path of its predecessor by debuting in a few select color options and slowly expanding to more hues beyond the typical black, white, and silver. HTC marketing executive Jeff Gordon today confirmed that the One M8 will be sold in red; however, the phone has only been launched in Taiwan. There's presently no sign that the phone will be delivered anywhere else like the United States. If the phone were to make it the US, it would likely be as an exclusive to one of the four major carriers. Current One M8 options are gray, silver, and black. A gold model is a Best Buy exclusive, but we're still waiting on the eye-popping red in the states.
HTC yesterday began updating the AT&T model of the HTC One M8. Though labeled a maintenance release, the update adds the important Extreme power saving mode that can extend the battery life of a One M8 by a considerable margin. The update also fixes a problem that prevented the phone from getting a free 50GB of storage from Google Drive, fixes assorted bugs, and adds more Duo Camera effects. Users can try to update the device by charging the phone to 75 percent and then going to Settings > AT&T Software update > Check for updates.
Microsoft has released an update for the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview. There's no changelog about what's new; however, Windows Phone lead Joe Belfiore notes that this is an update with "plenty of bug fixes including some battery improvements." I've been using a Lumia Icon lent to me by Microsoft and haven't had any problems, but many others on several devices have had issues related to staying power, Internet Explorer, and app loading speed. This updated reportedly fixes those issues. Anyone who has already installed the 8.1 preview can go to Settings > Phone update > Check for update.
Verizon has really improved its timeliness of Android firmware updates in recent months, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has until now been a nagging exception. Galaxy Note 3 owners on Verizon's network can finally grab Android 4.4 KitKat by connecting their device to the computer and downloading through the Upgrade Assistant or Samsung Kies software. An over-the-air update is not yet available but it should arrive shortly if you're willing to add a few more days to what's already been a long wait. The update should make some small visual changes in the notification bar and full-screen in some apps, as well as some incremental speed and battery improvements.
Sprint released an over-the-air update for the HTC One Max yesterday. Though the focus of the update was on the many software additions of version 6 of the Sense user interface, Sprint today announced that it has added the One Max to the list of devices that support Wi-Fi Calling. The update enables Sprint's service that connects phones o home or public Wi-Fi hotspots and routes calls for unlimited domestic phone calls or messaging. Customers on unlimited plans still benefit because connecting to Wi-Fi rather than cellular means improved coverage indoors or in areas of weak network performance. Wi-Fi calling is also available on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Mega, Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy S4 Spark edition.
Now that the Samsung Galaxy S5 has officially been released, Samsung can get to work on the mini version of the device, which may have been unintentionally leaked early by its own website. Someone appears to have found a page on Samsung's website that reveals a Galaxy S5 DX branding that could be the name of the upcoming S5 mini. The image shows a few renders of the phone in white, blue, gold, yellow, black, silver, and gray. It also shows the new Gear accessories, meaning it's likely compatible with the device. Price and release clues are not available yet.