Just yesterday Google announced that it would soon allow users to send video and other entertainment items to a nearby Chromecast even when they're not connected to the same WiFi network, with the backend relying on location data for verification. It looks like there's some even more interesting technology going on behind the scenes. GigaOm reports that the upcoming update will allow Chromecast and Android devices to authenticate each other using ultrasonic waves.
Here's a cool little Android "L" feature you may not have noticed - just bring up your lockscreen and swipe right. Boom. Dialer. This new shortcut, unlike the old camera gesture, does require that you enter your pin or unlock code before the dialer will actually open, but it's handy nonetheless.
You can, of course, alternatively swipe up on the dialer icon at the bottom of the lockscreen, too, though this is arguably quicker and definitely a bit more eyes-free in terms of getting the gesture right.
Developers and Android information fanatics, this is just a quick PSA that the official API overview, developer materials, and L Developer Preview reference are all now available on the Android developers site. The API overview can be found here, and the developer reference is right here.
If you want a detailed, piece-by-piece breakdown of the developer-facing changes in Android, the developer reference is by far your best bet. It includes tons of information, what's been added, what's been changed, and what's been removed in the "L" release.
In the "news that will ease your OCD" category, Android "L" finally adds proper support for the battery percentage trick we were first made aware of in Android 4.4. Yes, you still have to download an app from XDA (or use a couple lines of ADB commands) from this post to get it working in the first place, but in the "L" release it no longer periodically disappears or decides not to work in certain situations.
So, the Android L developer preview is here for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013, Wi-Fi) and a few of us here at AP have been playing with it today. The changes are vast and quite drastic (but all pretty damn good thus far), and we want to highlight a few of the more notable things.
The lockscreen is one of the areas that's getting a pretty heavy makeover in the L release (henceforth just known as L), and, since it's generally the first thing you see when a device is turned on, seemed like a logical starting point.
There have been rumblings of RAW-style image capture support in Android for some time now, and it looks like the "L" release will finally bring photographers everywhere the freedom to individually process and archive their smartphone photos DSLR-style. The "L" developer documentation specifically mentions the new DngCreator class, an API that will allow camera apps to capture images and save them in the Digital Negative format, an open standard published by Adobe as a more generally-compatible alternative to RAW images (which generally require OEM or camera-specific plugins).
Ever wondered why you have to open up a PDF in Android on Chrome or using a 3rd-party viewer? Well, it's because up until now Android hasn't had a native PDF rendering tool in place. As of Android "L," it does. If you're on Android 4.4 or below, try opening a PDF in the Drive app - you'll be sent to whatever your native PDF viewing tool happens to be.
Now, if you're on the "L" preview release, do the same thing in Drive (make sure no PDF viewers are installed, that might break this behavior), and you'll see the PDF displays natively in the app.
The images are live, and that means developers (and not developers) all over the world are getting their first taste of whatever version Android L is going to be (I assume 5.0). This is the most significant change Android has ever seen, but the version we're getting is slightly different than what Google showed off at I/O, but let's take a quick look at what we do get to play with.
Google has just released the "L" preview factory images for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi, and you can get them right now. Here are direct links:
- Nexus 5 (GSM/LTE) "hammerhead": hammerhead-lpv79-preview-ac1d8a8e.tgz
- Nexus 7 (Wi-Fi) "razor": razor-lpv79-preview-d0ddf8ce.tgz
Go! And if you're a developer, the "L" preview SDK is available now, as well.