Android fans ask, 'for whom the KitKat tolls?'

Plus, the incredible, bendable LG G Flex, Samsung going big as ever on 4K phones, old bugs, and Verizon announces its own branded Android tablet, for some reason

The news that KitKat may not be coming to a Nexus phone near you has made waves among device owners, prompting some to protest – and in one notable case, even petition.

Max Duckwitz, a web developer with the Masem Research Institute in Wiesbaden, Germany, started a Change.org petition that has – at the time of this writing – drawn nearly 19,000 signatures urging Android boss Sundar Pichai to bring KitKat to the Galaxy Nexus, despite a statement saying that the older device could not be supported.

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Duckwitz apparently printed off the first 13,000 supporters’ names and sent them, along with almost 3,500 comments, to Pichai via certified mail, with the package coming in at about 510 pages.

Android

Credit: Max Duckwitz

Google’s stated policy is to provide updates to the latest version of Android to all Nexus phones for the first 18 months after their release, which means that most devices only see one or two major variants of the operating system. Despite KitKat’s stated intention of providing a platform that can be run on less powerful hardware, with the aim of counteracting Android version fragmentation, there’s little evidence that Google will break from that policy to include the popular Galaxy Nexus in a future Android 4.4 update.

Given that one of the main draws of the Nexus line has always been support for the latest and greatest Android versions, it’s a bit disappointing to see that Google actually only plans on supporting them for 75% of the typical American cellphone contract. And wouldn’t it be a good advertisement for KitKat’s lower-end device support to bring it to the Galaxy Nexus? Seems like a missed opportunity for the Goog.

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On the other end of the flexibility spectrum from Google is LG’s G Flex. (The extra G is for gonzo!) The G Flex is LG’s answer to competitor Samsung’s curved-body Galaxy Round, though it is bent across the short axis, not lengthwise like Samsung’s. What’s more, while the Galaxy Round is curved but rigid, the G Flex actually does bend, according to a video posted by Engadget.

It’s tough to tell from the video whether the G Flex is creaking under the strain or not – but it’s certainly a step up over no flexing at all. If flexing is what you want, that is.

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Samsung, according to an article in Recombu, is promising 4K resolution smartphone screens by 2015, raising two disturbing possibilities. The first is that this will prove a new excuse for Samsung to charge enormous premiums for a new feature that will make a vanishingly small difference to the user experience for most people, while the second is that we’ll be seeing the world’s first 18-inch smartphone at around that time.

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The Android sub-Reddit today turned up a funny piece of history – a bug present in early versions of the software meant that every single keystroke pecked into the G1’s keyboard was sent to a freaking root shell, which interpreted some inputs as commands, in addition to instructions to type whatever it was you were trying to type. So, for example, simply typing enter+r+e+b+o+o+t+enter would actually reboot the phone.

And you thought Android had security problems these days. Goodness me.

(H/T: r/Android)

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Verizon’s going to sell an own-brand mini-tablet called the Ellipsis 7 starting this Friday, Big Red announced this week. With specs that fall short of the latest model Nexus 7 and a higher base price, the only real selling points seem to be convenience – I mean, if you’re in the store and you just decide “hey, I need a 7-inch tablet right this minute,” the Ellipsis is there for you – and subsidy price, since you can get it for $150 with a contract. (The base price is $250.)

(H/T: The Verge)

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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