Android Police

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Bluetooth Scanning Joins WiFi To Improve Location Accuracy

With Android 4.3, Android implemented the idea of always-on WiFi where, even if you had Wi-Fi toggled off, the device and apps could still scan for WiFi networks to improve the location's accuracy. Along with using network triangulation, it's another way of getting your current position as quickly as possible without having to rely too much on GPS signals.

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Android M is taking the idea further, adding Bluetooth scanning to the equation. Under the Location settings on M, you'll find a Scanning option in the menu, where both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning can be toggled on and off.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Bluetooth Low Energy Scanning By Apps Gets More Power Efficient

Bluetooth Low Energy is the current preferred method of communication between multiple accessories and Android devices. I can count 4 objects on my body right now that connect to my phone through BLE, not to mention the various accessories strewn across my desk and in other locations around me. Each of these has its own app on my phone that connects to the device every now and then and retrieves data, which, you can easily guess, has a toll on the battery.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Android Now Has A Native Flashlight API, Hopefully Negating The Need For OEM-Specific Solutions

While Android Lollipop added a flashlight toggle into Quick Settings, circumventing most third-party torch apps, the function was only accessible in the notification drop-down and as an on/off switch. If you wanted to use the flashlight with morse code, for signaling, or other patterns, you still had to use a separate application and developers of said apps didn't have any clear API to build their software on. They had to hack together solutions for various phones, relying on whatever way the different OEMs had created to access the camera's flash.

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Netflix' Update To 3.12.2 Adds Google Smart Lock Support

Google Smart Lock is one of the most practically useful features that have come out of the slew of announcements at I/O this year — allowing your device to associate your usernames and passwords for various apps and Chrome sites with your Google account so that you don't need to even bother with logging in when you want to use them.

Among Smart Lock's launch partners is Netflix, and the app's listing on the Play Store has been updated to include this functionality.

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[I/O 2015] Google's Cardboard Now Works With Phablets And iOS, Pushes For 360 Degree Videos, And Brings Expeditions To Classrooms

What everyone thought was an innocent little experiment from Google during last year's I/O has turned into a full-on Virtual Reality venture from the company. Cardboard, a piece of actual cardboard that you fold and insert your phone in for a make-shift low-cost VR display, has been getting more focus and momentum over the past year with 500 compatible apps and over 1 million viewers sold or given away. That rise culminated with a few announcements at yesterday's I/O keynote.

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[I/O 2015] Brillo And Weave Are The Foundations Of Google's Internet Of Things Push

We're still weeding through the fantasmagoric dump of announcements, features, and all the new things that Google has gifted us with yesterday during its I/O keynote, and we now reach the company's push for a unified and improved Internet of Things ecosystem. It was only a week ago that we heard rumors of this new venture, which seems to be a rethought Android@Home initiative that is adapted for broader purposes, and it's now official.

There are two pillars to Google's new ecosystem: Brillo and Weave.

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[I/O 2015] Google Maps Is Getting Offline Search And Turn-By-Turn Navigation

Let's face it, Google Maps' current offline functionality sucks. Even saving an area for offline viewing is a relatively hidden option that you either stumble upon by mistake once or that you have to actively remember how to get to when you need it. But Google seems intent on making offline maps better.

It doesn't look like they're changing the way saving offline maps work, which is a shame because it's difficult to find and there's no option to easily download a state or city, but they are adding more functionality that will be accessible when you're offline.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] A Swipe From The Left On The Lock Screen Now Launches Google Voice Search Instead Of The Dialer

There's a minor change to the way Android M implements the lock screen. Instead of the camera and phone shortcuts, you have camera and voice search. Voice Search is accessed by swiping from the lower left corner where you now have a mic icon.

Screenshot_20150528-191052 Screenshot_20150528-191117 2015-05-28 22.55.23

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] The Low-Power Doze Mode Can Be Turned On And Off On A Per-App Basis

One of Google's big projects for Android M is battery optimization. It's doing this by implementing a new Doze mode that puts unneeded apps into an ultra low-power state that keeps them from doing too much in the background. While this should all work smoothly on its own, it turns out you can go into the settings and fiddle with things.

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Google Does Not Plan To Make Google Now On Tap Available In The Developer Preview

Among all the interesting tweaks to Android M, the new Google Now on Tap feature has the potential to be the most revolutionary. We won't know for sure until later, though. Google doesn't plan to make this feature fully functional until Android M is officially released.

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