The day has come. Okay, not quite. But you've waited a long time for Android apps to come to Chrome OS. You've left comments. You've replied to comments. You even left more comments. Now your work is being rewarded. As we've all recently heard, Google plans to bring the Play Store to Chromebooks. At Google I/O today, the company has made things official.
Google will be launching its new Allo chat application in the coming weeks, and with it comes true end-to-end encryption. Open Whisper Systems has announced that its own Signal Protocol is powering the encryption in Allo. It's not on by default, which has sent some privacy purists into a fit, but this is still a very good thing.
You might be seeing a lot more of Android Pay in the coming months. Google has deployed a new set of APIs for developers to build Pay into mobile web sites, instant apps, and even your email. The goal is to make the payment process faster and easier on mobile devices, but only in countries where Android Pay is accepted.
You know how when you use your phone or tablet for long periods of time, it gets a little warm? Sometimes it even goes toasty — hi, Snapdragon 810! — and app performance suffers: you start seeing lags and stutters and things don't work as smoothly or as reliably as they should. That's because the system throttles the SoC when it risks reaching its limit temperature. This is the kind of performance issues that the new Sustained Performance Mode aims to solve.
There's a new 'Sustained Performance API' in the latest Android N Developer Preview 3. It works based on feedback provided by OEMs regarding each device and its performance for long-running apps.
While Google I/O is all the rage on our side of the internetz, another conference is taking place that is probably a lot less exciting for us: INTX, the Internet and Television Expo. But one interesting nugget has escaped INTX and found its place on our radar as Android users and it's about Comcast, of all evil companies and things.
Last month, Comcast had announced the Xfinity TV Partner program, an initiative aimed to make the Xfinity TV app available to smart TVs, and TV-connected and IP-enabled devices (read: other set-top boxes) without the requirement for a Comcast set-top box. Think of this as Comcast wanting to be Netflix'ish, ie available to you through an app and with a subscription, no need to call the company and lease a physical box from it.
Android N still isn't officially released yet, but that hasn't stopped HTC from trying to grab some attention and get its time in the limelight during I/O's news cycle. The company announced through its official Twitter account that Android N will come to three of its existing devices.
Life is about to get a little sweeter. Android N will be coming to the HTC 10, HTC One A9 and the HTC One M9. pic.twitter.com/XzOEwTCVlU
Were you expecting any of these not to get N? No. The One M9 will be around a year and a half old by the time N is revealed, the One A9 will be approximately a year old, and the HTC 10 is newer than new.
It was only a couple of days ago that the Play Store got updated to version 6.7 with several new features including better access to betas and beta feedback, features that were soon reverted through a sever-side switch probably because they were revealed a little prematurely. Now we have official word from Google about those new betas as well as plenty of other goodies for Google Play that are in store for users and developers alike.
Better Beta Access
You'll no longer need to scour Google+ or read Android Police to find out about app betas. Wait, come back, please keep reading Android Police so I can get paid.
The first two N Developer Previews were alpha releases, so naturally a good number of things didn't work correctly. One of the apps that purposely did not work as intended was Android Pay, which produced a screen saying it was disabled until a future release. As Developer Preview 3 is now officially a beta, the Android team has seemingly seen fit to restore Android Pay to working order.
The reason Android Pay now works is because Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) is now approved. This also means other apps that depend on CTS should work too. On Developer Preview 1 and 2, this was not approved, and so Android Pay did not work.
There were plenty of features announced at Google I/O yesterday regarding Android and some of those new things are meant for Android Auto - Google's car dashboard system. The most exciting of them is the fact that you will no longer need an Auto-enabled vehicle to be able to benefit from the simplified car-friendly interface while you're driving. You can also learn more about the features in our video, below.
In the next few months, Android Auto will get several interesting additions. First is Waze compatibility with the app running on your dashboard and keeping you in the loop of hazards ahead and potential delays and problems. Second is OK Google hotwording which will activate voice commands when you say "OK Google" instead of requiring you to press a button to start listening.