Android this week: KitKat 4.4.3 arrives; Asus PadFone X hands-on; HP Slatebook announced

Google(s goog) introduced Android 4.4 KitKat back in October and between than and now, the platform has seen several updates. The latest is Android 4.4.3, which Google released this week. The upgrade was available first for Google Nexus devices, which is standard practices and Motorola quickly released it for its Moto X, G and E phones.

moto e featured

Motorola’s efforts to distribute Android software updates is also become a standard practice; something that could help the handset maker continue to grow its sales. How much better is Motorola doing than the competition? In North America, it’s pretty noticeable, based on a report from Chitika this week. The ad network routinely scours data from the hundreds of millions of impressions it sees from its ads. In the U.S. and Canada, the percentage of Motorola devices running any version of KitKat comes second only to Google’s own devices based on web usage:

android upgrades by manufacturer June 2014


Although the change log is fairly extensive, Google didn’t make a big announcement about Android 4.4.3 and the update itself suggests performance boosts and stability fixes so don’t expect a complete overhaul of the software once it appears on your device. Instead, Google is expected to outline the next big update or features for Android later this month at its Google I/O developer event.

The newest Asus device for the U.S. doesn’t run Android 4.4.3 but it does have an earlier version of KitKat. And it also has a very unique feature: It’s both a 5-inch phone and a 9-inch tablet.


My colleague, Kif Leswing spent some time with the 2-in-1 device, which is now available from AT&T(t) for $199.99 on contract or through monthly payments on the company’s Next plans. To use the tablet, you dock the phone to the back of the slate and the phone powers the larger screen. The tablet itself is just a high-resolution display and battery; the phone’s hardware is the engine for the device.

So how does it work in practice? It can be a bit bulky but it shows promise:

“The Padfone as a phone is solid. The Padfone as a tablet is an oddly weighted, middle-of-the-road device. But the concept works: The tablet is perfectly usable and the phone can do everything you’d expect from a modern smartphone. Together, for the price of a high-end phone by itself, it could certainly gain a following.”

Also unique this week is a new Android device from HP(s hpq). The company launched the 14-inch Slatebook that was previously rumored. Overall, the laptop hardware is similar to HP’s 14-inch Chromebook; the big difference being the software. Inside is an Nvidia(s nada) Tegra 4 processor, 2 GB of memory and up to 64 GB of internal storage. The 14-inch display shows Android at 1920 x 1080 resolution and is touch capable.

HP Slatebook

Surprising to me is the price: Expect to pay $429 for the Slatebook. That’s a bit higher than Chromebooks cost although some may not mind the premium due to the wider range of apps available on Android. HP says the Slatebook will run for 9 hours on a charge, so if you want an Android powered notebook for your work day, this is worth the look when it arrives next month