The Android team has been hard at work replacing old code that hasn't scaled well with newer and more powerful hardware. We've long known that the camera API was destined to see a massive update, but we were missing details like a release date or exactly what was coming. Thanks to the L release, we can finally see what has been in the works for all these many months.
One of the most important aspects of the new Camera 2 API is a dramatic increase in performance over the previous interface. The Camera 2 system is now capable of delivering full resolution images at the same speed the hardware can capture them thanks to a fully synchronized pipeline model. Read More
Perhaps you don't wander into the Android accessibility settings very much, but some users will be very happy to see what's going on in this menu as of the L release. Literally, they will be happy to see it. Android L has support for color inversion and correction for color blindness.
If you're a regular user of Google's video Hangouts service, you'll be glad to know that the experience on desktop for this service is about to get a little more stable (we hope). Google has officially deprecated the Hangouts plugin for Chrome on the developer and Canary channels of the Chrome browser, meaning Hangouts video functionality is now completely built in with the browser. The new UI for this implementation is shown below. Read More
As Google typically does upon the release of a new product, it has updated its support documentation with a series of common questions and issues users may find themselves facing when using Wear devices. Some are pretty handy. For example, if your phone is too far from your watch to maintain the pairing connection, you lose voice action controls. You can still set alarms, check your calendar, step count, heart rate, and a few other basic features, though. Read More
We've already started receiving a ton of emails from concerned readers about L's app compatibility issues, broken functionality, and the like. Of course, we understand how frustrating this can be, but that's actually the point of the developer release.
One of the primary purposes behind Google releasing L for the Nexus 5 and 7 is so developers can get their apps updated before the stable version rolls out, as the switch from Dalvik to ART requires apps to be updated to add support for the latter. Read More
Have you been wondering if Google really ran out of the Galaxy S4 GPE? Well, maybe there were a few left over. That would explain the cache of devices that just popped up on eBay. Someone has acquired a number of the devices and is selling them at a steep discount. Just $499.99 for an unlocked Google Play Edition smartphone. That's $150 off what Google was selling it for a few weeks ago. Read More
The new Google keyboard in Android L brings the Material Design aesthetic to text input, but the APK pulled from L doesn't work quite right on other Android builds. It actually breaks the keyboard for most devices. No worries, though. An XDA user has tweaked it to work correctly on (probably) all Android 4.0 and higher devices. There is one method that requires root (it's actually a ZIP file) and one that might not work on all devices that's an APK. Read More
Outside of Google, it looks like Sony is the first company to start pushing 4.4.4 to its devices, beginning with the Z1, Z1 Compact, and Z Ultra. While it's only a very minor update, it still says something about Sony's drive to push timely updates that it's the first to get 4.4.4 out the door to consumer devices.
Included in this software
There are many improvements in this upgrade for your Xperia™ smartphone, some examples are:
- Android 4.4.4 including the latest enhancements and security updates from Google
- Updated and improved camera experience
- Improvements when using Google voice, Contacts, Music streaming and Google+
- The latest versions of our Sony apps for you to enjoy
- All of our latest bug fixes, optimisations & improvements
The update is currently only rolling out in Europe, but it will likely follow in other regions fairly soon. Read More
Should you decide to swing by the main Android website (which there is very little reason to do), you might notice something odd in the section describing the Nexus 5. It comes in "black, white, red, and yellow." Oh, really now?
Update: Google seems to have pulled down the mention of "yellow" and still hasn't responded. So, that's maybe a little suspicious. Or maybe it was just a mistake. Time will tell. Read More