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.
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.
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.
Among Android L's many, many features is one that will set game developers' hearts aflutter – support for the recently announced OpenGL ES 3.1. This is the cross-platform rendering API used in many games, both mobile and desktop. Android L's support for v3.1 of the standard brings a ton of new capabilities.
You know the scenario: friends come over, want to use your Wi-Fi, and expect you to just hand over the password. I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty weird about just giving my password to everyone who walks through the door, regardless of how well I know them. Most of time I opt to type my password in for them, but there is an easier way: store your Wi-Fi info on an NFC tag.
The biggest reason to turn down Samsung's Pro line of tablets is easily the exorbitant pricing. $750 for a tablet? Seriously, Sammy? Unsurprisingly, the various models have quickly fallen to some dramatic discounts, none more so than the top-of-the-line Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. BuyDig's eBay seller account has a refurbished 32GB model going for $449.99. That's $200 off the Amazon price (and technically $300 off retail), and $50 cheaper than we saw earlier this month.
As with most of these promoted eBay deals, standard shipping is free, at least if you live in the United States.
Compared to the popular third-party alternatives, Android's stock recovery has always been pretty...weak. Makes sense, because it's not really meant to do all the stuff that ROM flashers tend to use recovery for, but rather a failsafe of sorts in case something goes awry.
With L's Android release, the recovery is getting a little bit more useful with two new options: reboot to bootloader and power down. Nothing groundbreaking here, but still incredibly useful (especially "reboot to bootloader") for those times when stock recovery is the only option.
There are big things happening at the world's biggest video site. Which one is biggest will probably depend on exactly what you want out out of Google's streaming behemoth, but the most notable addition from an Android perspective is the new YouTube Creator Studio app. This add-on allows frequent YouTube uploaders to check analytics, likes, comments, and that sort of thing without needing a PC. If you make your living on YouTube, which is statistically unlikely, this will be an invaluable resource.
Lucky developers and Google I/O attendees who received an Android Wear watch and tried to use navigation commands must have noticed that this aspect of the experience wasn't working at all. Commands simply wouldn't carry through to the phone. This will all be fixed with the update to Google Maps version 8.1.1.
The update, which should be pushed to your device or coming shortly, squashes the regular bugs and adds support for Android Wear devices.