Earlier this year, both Evan 'Evleaks' Blass and The Information's Amir Efrati claimed that the upcoming Android Silver program would replace the Nexus line of developer phones. Blass went so far as to say, "There is no Nexus 6. Farewell, Nexus." Both of those reports would seem to be contradicted by our own exclusive reveal of the HTC Volantis, a new Nexus tablet. Now we've got even more claims that the Nexus hardware line isn't going anywhere soon, this time right from the proverbial horse's mouth.
Amazon's Android Appstore always has at least one paid app featured for free every day, but for whatever reason, they've decided to make a whopping 31 apps free right now. Taken together they're worth over $100 USD. Most of them are barely notable, but there are some worthy games and apps in there as well. Plex, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, The Room Two, AccuWeather, Root Explorer, Ravensword, Dungeon Village, and Splashtop are all worth it even at the paid price.
NVIDIA had the 4.4.2 update ready to roll out to Tegra Note 7 devices over four months ago, which is when it rolled out to the EVGA Tegra Note 7 (among others). The HP Slate 7 Extreme – which is virtually identical to other TN7s – has been waiting ever since. And finally, today, that same update started rolling out.
I guess it's better late than never, but it's still pretty clear HP dropped the ball here (surprise!).
Project Ara is still going strong, and Google demonstrated it at I/O at the ATAP presentation. Project Ara Technical Lead Paul Eremenko talks up the modular phone platform in the video below (starting at around 23:30), bringing the concept beyond simple phone component upgrades. "What if a phone could see in the dark? What if a phone could test if water is clean?" The collaborative Ara team wants the hardware to be just as flexible as the larger Android ecosystem.
Android 4.4 contained a number of interesting and very powerful features for developers, many of which went unused or misunderstood for quite a long time. Since it was introduced in KitKat, The Storage Access Framework (SAF) may be one of the best examples of an API that has been underutilized, despite offering a great method to provide cleaner and more informative interfaces. I even theorized that it may ultimately take the place of file system access.
Ever get frustrated trying to figure out exactly when your battery is going to hit 100% so you can take it off the charger? Well, Google's right there with you, apparently, because in the Android "L" release preview, your phone or tablet will now tell you how long it will take to fully charge.
It appears in both the battery menu of the settings and the lockscreen. You'll also find an estimated time until your battery hits 0% in the battery menu, though you accuracy may vary +/-allthehours, we've found.
I don't think the developer behind the Xposed Google Experience Launcher Settings (XGELS) module will be satisfied until he's made the stock Google Search launcher every bit as flexible as Nova and Apex. The latest update to the popular module adds even more customization options. Premium users can now assign custom icons to a single app or the app drawer icon, with or without a full icon theme applied, like most of the more advanced launchers allow.
If you're looking for the auto-brightness switch on the Android L preview build, you won't find it. That's because it's been replaced with the adaptive brightness toggle, shown below.
If you're familiar with iOS, you'll know this is how Apple has been doing things in regard to brightness for a while now, and many users prefer it. Samsung and LG, too, have shipped phones with adaptive auto-brightness in the past, though both seem to have shied away from it on US models of their phones in recent years.
A long-requested feature in Android has been a native "do not disturb" mode, similar to what Apple has featured in iOS for some time now. With Android L, that feature arrived. Do not disturb allows you to block "all interruptions" with exceptions for things like phones calls and SMS messages, which can be limited further still to contacts or starred contacts. You can set scheduling for the feature, too.
DND mode shows up in both the settings pulldown and the notification bar (though it looks a bit like a "no signal / SIM" icon if you ask me).