Android Police

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Android O feature spotlight: Google explains the new actionable battery menu

Google is focusing on battery life in Android O by clamping down on what apps can do in the background. At the same time, Android O includes a new battery settings menu that attempts to present your usage in a more understandable way. Instead of simply showing how much juice an app used, it puts battery use in the context of how you use the phone.

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Android O feature spotlight: Developer Preview 2 adds a Bluetooth AVRCP version selector

Bluetooth seems to be getting some improvements in Android O. When the first Developer Preview dropped, we saw that the OS will let you choose which Bluetooth codec, including aptX and aptX HD, to use when streaming audio wirelessly. In a similar vein, Developer Preview 2 now has an option for you to choose which AVRCP version to use, instead of just getting stuck with the default v1.4.

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Google will soon offer automatic APK size optimization to developers

Apps are probably one of the biggest uses of space on your device, and they might be slimming down in the future. Google is preparing to offer developers an automatic APK optimization service. The idea is to deliver smaller APKs to users that have all the extraneous bits stripped out.

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Devs can now autosize TextViews

Google has been smoothing Android's rougher edges over the last few revisions, but there's one thing you interact with constantly that still needs some work: text. Until now, developers had to specify a text size, and that's all the text would be without third-party workarounds—even if that meant it was super-tiny or so big it overflowed. Now, they can create "autosizing TextViews" with Google's tools.

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Google is working on a new payment API for the web and mobile

Manually entering your payment information every time you check out on a new site (or app) is incredibly annoying. In fact, Google says virtual shopping carts are abandoned twice as often on mobile for that very reason. To help alleviate this problem, it looks like Google is working on a PayPal-like payment API that works on desktop and mobile.

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On your feet soldier, Terminator Genisys: Future War is on the Play Store

Arnold Schwarzenegger is no stranger to the mobile gaming scene. Two years ago he starred in a Super Bowl commercial for the now popular strategy game Mobile Strike. Schwarzenegger also had his likeness appear in a Glu developed movie tie-in game. Disappointingly, these experiences must have been just the taste he needed of our sweet, sweet in-app purchase fueled market, as there is now a new mobile game bearing his likeness. It is titled Terminator Genisys: Future War, and it is the latest stab at cashing in on the Terminator franchise.

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Redesigned Pixel Launcher makes early appearance at Google I/O

A brand new Pixel Launcher UI has been spotted at Google I/O during a sandbox session on Instant Apps. We've not seen anything official about it yet, so it's either going to be debuted soon, or somebody messed up and it's not even a fully tested product. It seems the unreleased launcher was being used to show off new functionality relating to the now more widely available Instant Apps, which it can show in search results alongside those on the Play Store. Previously, the launcher could only show you apps already installed on your device.

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Funny video: 8 accents are tested on Google Home, Alexa, and Siri with 4 different questions

 

Google's speech recognition error rate is getting lower and lower - yesterday, the company said it's now under 5% and has dropped from 8.5% this time last year. And I find that to be more and more the case in my own use: Google seems to recognize almost everything I throw at it now, even when I add Lebanese/Arabic names from my contacts list that I wouldn't expect it to get right.

But if you're wondering how Google's speech recognition fares in comparison to other voice assistants, Wired has made a video in conjunction with Andy Wood and Matt Kirshen (from Probably Science) to show you just that.

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Netflix was just the start: Google Play Console lets developers exclude app availability for devices that don't pass SafetyNet

Last weekend, a huge turmoil swept the root-enthusiast Android community as it was discovered then confirmed that the Netflix app was being blocked from showing up in search results on the Play Store for rooted devices. At the time, Netflix said it was using Widevine to block unsupported devices, but that made no sense to us: the app was still functional if it was sideloaded, it was only not showing up as compatible in the Play Store. So what sorcery was Netflix really using?! Turns out it's a new function of the Google Play Console.

As part of the updates announced for the Play Console at I/O 2017, Google mentions a new Device Catalog section under Release management that lets developers choose with intricate granularity which devices their app supports on the Play Store.

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Google Assistant can now control more appliances and smart home devices including Roomba, LG, GE, and D-Link

Yesterday we learned that Google Assistant is about to offer more capabilities on your phones and gain several smart and interesting features, but there's one other piece of interesting news: it's also now adding support for more smart home devices and appliances.

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