Friday, May 30, 2014

My Droid RAZR Update Experience (Kit Kat)

Droid RAZR Update to Kit Kat Experience and Observations of what's changed for me.

Published 5-30-14, Updated 6/2, 7/22::

A few days ago my Motorola Droid RAZR alerted me that I had an update to install. I somewhat welcomed it since I have been having odd, system slowness issues with the phone.  (I call a camera that takes 3 to 10 seconds to snap a pic, odd. Plus my other apps were acting up with a similar sluggishness. And I'm not alone in this category of frustration either, according to a few others I've spoken with.)

So yes, I welcomed an update for once. I mean, how much worse could my Motorola DROID RAZR experience become?

So after a few days of using the phone post update, here are my observations of what I've experienced now that I am on the other side of the update.

The update took about twenty minutes.  And there was one message about (paraphrasing) wiping my base partition (or something like that) and it asked me of I "Feel lucky" in performing maintenance on it.  Sure!

The DROID RAZR updated itself to v182.46.10.en.US. Wow, that's a lot of updates! And it has the "cute" name of KitKat Android 4.4.2.

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-The first thing I noticed was that my ringtone was a tiny chirp instead of the tone I had chosen for the last few years. The tone was there. My phone just lost the setting until I had reselected it. 

With all the sounds out there in the world, why so few are offered?  And where's that classic phone ringer sound? Come on guys.

-Second thing I noticed was that all blue font content is now white. This includes my signal indicators.

-Third was that I have a new control panel options up where my alerts and messages usually show up. That and instead of an X to dismiss messages, I now have this 3-bar symbol to touch to dismiss alerts and messages.

-Number four was that I had a bunch of new apps that started updating themselves. I took notice because I deactivate the "auto update" function* of all my apps and I suddenly had apps I've never seen before updating themselves.

I now have these new or additional apps:


"Cloud Print,"

"Droid Zap,"

"Google Pinyin Input,"

"Google Play Games,"

"Google Talkback,"

"Google Translate,"

"HP Print Service,"

"NFL Mobile," &

"Quick Office,"

I also see that now I'm forced to have my SMS, MMS, video calls and Google Hangouts all under one app roof, the "Hangouts" app. (Is that just one more step per moving the world over to their Google+ realm?  Their Facebook challenger.)

-My fifth observation was the keyboard. It is slightly different and the alternate keyboard modes that you can pull up by touching the "?123" button have been rearranged. So beware there.  But they pulled the 'touch to speak' button from the location where it was in the way.

     Updated 7/22/14: The keyboard is just different enough that I have a series of new kind of typos all over the place. The letters are packed together just a little bit more and I'm making about 500% more typos on this newer configuration.

-Six: The calendar app I had been using seemed non-responsive. I had to head to the Google Play store and download a new Google Calendar app that would sync my accounts and their calendars.

It's called "Google Calendar." (Yes, I know... kind of intuitively named.)

-Eight: My camera seems to be back to a reasonable speed in responding to the shutter click buttons. And the ambient light sensor seems to be working better.

That's all I have for ya right now...  If I see more, I'll append this list!

UPDATE 6-2-14:

When using apps that need GPS, (maps, CardioTrainer), they used to show that little cross-hairs symbol in the upper left of the screen.  No longer.  Now they just have a solid 'pin' looking item in the message bar, off to the right.

Battery usage seems higher than it used to be.  Sometimes, it seems much higher, but I haven't put it to the full-day test yet.

UPDATE 7-22-14:

The phone adjusts to the ambient light environment much better now.  But it is VERY SLOW in changing.  There are times that it takes so long to switch from a dark screen to a light screen that I swear my phone is off or bricked.

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*Have you figured out HOW TO deactivate the "auto update" mode of your apps yet?


If interested, all you have to do is go to the Google Play store, go to "My apps,"  and click (for this first exercise) any app in there.

When the main window for the app you've chose shows up, check out the three dots in the upper right corner, where they form a column.  For me, that's where the "Auto Update" option is being hidden.  Uncheck that and now all your app updates are manual, or done at your discretion.

Me? I control when I update apps and update at home when I'm on my own wireless network, saving bandwidth.  (I once had an app update itself exactly when I needed it, and it sucked waiting for it. It was just bad timing, but I have that a lot some days.)

Updates for most of my apps seem too frequent and seem to only bring "improved" ad delivery.  I had to uninstall my Angry Birds Star Wars edition because of all the movie previews I was getting. I hate when ads burn my bandwidth.  I should be getting rebates or refunds for that crap! Don't ya think?

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