Big things are happening for the smallest of Android devices. Over the last month, we've seen several attempts to extend the capabilities of Android Wear, some have worked out, while others haven't fared so well. Most of the activity has come in the form of 3rd-party apps, so there hasn't been much action for dedicated modders. That is, until today. Team Win just posted its first official custom recovery for the LG G Watch (dory).
The Google Glass developers are at it again; they keep coming up with new ways to burn through that tiny battery. Today, the Glass Development Kit changelog was updated to detail the addition of USB webcam support for developers looking to add access to views outside of the standard forward-facing perspective. Webcams must be attached via On-The-Go (OTG) cable, and Plug 'n Play isn't supported, so Glass must be rebooted before the attached camera can be recognized.
Account security is a tough issue for a lot of people. It's a constant balancing act between having a stronger system to keep out would-be invaders while also making it convenient enough that users won't reject it. After Google began offering its own 2-step verification system, several other services adopted the same mechanism and opt-in model for people that wanted more than a single password protecting their personal data. This generally left users with Google's Authenticator app, which got the job done, but it lacked features and languished on an early Holo dark design.
If you've been dying to start poking around the Android Wear source code, now is the time! Google just posted 4.4W to AOSP. The active development branches are distributed throughout each project repository as kitkat-wear. This is the location where further patches and minor updates will appear. There is are also tags for android-4.4w_r1 (build KTU84Q), which represent the first official release of the platform.
There aren't any repositories for either Dory (LG G Watch) or Sprat (Samsung Gear Live), but we can't be certain if they will appear in AOSP or if the distribution of device specific source code will be left up to the manufacturers.
Yesterday’s update to Google Maps was certainly no slouch for new features; it came packing some great improvements for cyclists, new voice commands during navigation, and a few other interface tweaks. In addition to these public changes, there are also two brand new features buried within the code which are not active yet, but they may point to some exciting stuff on the horizon.
"I Am Here"
Google Maps is pretty good at figuring out where we've gone; between GPS, Wi-Fi, and even things like BLE-based iBeacons, it's possible to pinpoint our locations just about everywhere, even inside of buildings.
Google I/O was pretty amazing this year, right? We got the deets on Material design, a preview version of Android L, the formal release of Android Wear, the first manifestations of Android TV and Android Auto, and plenty of other bits and pieces. However, all of that content and all of those developer sessions can take forever to absorb, and professional developers just don't have time for that. Now that all of the videos have been posted, I've combed through every last one to narrow the list down to just the sessions that absolutely can't be missed.
Yesterday, Google's Camera app was updated to add a pretty handy remote shutter feature that can be used on a paired Android Wear wristwatch. But what if you're packing some serious camera equipment –let's say, something in the Canon EOS family– and you'd like to appear in some of your own shots from time to time? Chainfire has you covered with the latest update to his incredibly powerful DSLR Controller. Not only does the new version offer a remote shutter button on Android Wear, but it's also sporting some big improvements to the Timelapse feature, new white icons and faster wi-fi transfer speeds on KitKat, and fixes for the way SD cards are handled on KitKat and above.
Google's recently launched Android Wear platform had a bit of a rough weekend when it ran into an unexpected snag regarding paid apps – it couldn't install them. It turns out that the behavior could be traced to a Play Store security feature that was responsible for encrypting paid apps to make them more difficult to pirate; but in doing so, it had also made it impossible to extract and install any micro-apps contained within the apk.
Android is really turning into a jack of all trades, having become the OS of choice for phones, tablets, face computers, and now wristwatches. The combination of flexibility, open source code, and low cost of entry make it a prime candidate for countless utilitarian purposes. With the upcoming release of Android L, Google is aiming to make it even easier to deploy highly specialized environments with a new feature called Task Locking that allows a single app to take control of the interface and prevent users from switching apps or even seeing notifications.