Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition phones updated to Android

first_imgJust over a week after the next version of Android was officially announced, the Google Play edition variants of HTC and Samsung’s flagship phones are getting an OTS update to 4.3.When Google’s Hugo Barra pulled a unique Galaxy S4 out of his pocket during their developer conference keynote, he explained that one of the benefits to this new variant of this flagship phone would be prompt updates. This statement was further enhanced by the appearance of a leaked Android 4.3 ROM for the Galaxy S4 GPe before the next version of Android was even announced.The whole point to this program was to offer Google vision for Android on something other than the Nexus program. There was some concern regarding the speed of updates when it was discovered that HTC and Samsung respectively would be responsible for delivering the software updates instead of Google, but those concerns were put to rest when Android 4.3 started rolling out to the Google Play editions of both the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One over the weekend.Even though the US variant of the HTC One is still stuck on Android 4.1.2, the GPe phones are now running the very latest version of Android. This update is a little more significant than a Nexus device going from 4.2.2 to 4.3, because it comes with a number of fixes that only applied to these phones.The initial release of the Google Play edition phones showed that there was very little in the way of performance differences between the vanilla Android and OEM “enhanced” variants of the handsets. A little bit of digging into the software revealed that, especially with the HTC One, this was because much of the Sense framework was still being deployed under the hood. The update to Android 4.3 does away with a great deal of that, meaning this update brings both of these phones much closer to a pure vanilla experience than the initial release.HTC One GPe users will also find that the IR sensor now works. While the phone does not come with an IR app, there are several in the Google Play Store that take advantage of the sensor. The BeatsAudio system is still onboard the HTC One, continuing to allow users to take advantage of the impressive front facing speakers offered with that hardware.Galaxy S4 GPe users will notice that Bluetooth tethering is enabled, where previously the feature was broken. The random TouchWiz fragments, like the all black background in the menu areas and the incorrect tabs in the mail app are now gone entirely. As Bluetooth 4.0 is enabled in Android 4.3, both phones are now capable of using the Low Energy modes that ironically were working just fine in their bloatware riddled manufacturer supported counterparts.If you have a Google Play edition phone and have not yet received the update, it is expected to continue tolling out all week. If you’ve been waiting for a reason to get a Google Play edition phone, now is the best time to consider it. What was clearly a rush job to deliver the first versions of each of these phone has now been replaced with what appears to be a polished release product worthy of the attention it received back when the phones were announced.last_img read more