Fans of Android Wear have plenty to be excited about. A major update was just announced during the Google I/O 2016 keynote with many of the features users have been looking forward to. The headlining additions to the platform focus largely on more advanced watchfaces, improvements for messaging, and expanded integration and more automatic use of the Google Fit platform. A Preview program is also being launched for Wear, so developers will be able to work on new apps for the platform before official rollouts begin.
If you want a quick overview of what's new, watch our Wear 2.0 hands-on video. Read More
As the resident teardown guy, Update Wednesday was a huge letdown this week. After slicing and dicing a dozen or so apks, all I saw were bug fixes, minor adjustments, and updates with full changelogs. Come on Google, I can't write about the neat stuff if none of the secrets are allowed to leave Mountain View. Fortunately, I did get to look at an unreleased version of Play Services, and there are a few interesting things to take away from it. (Sorry, we don't have an APK to share with this one.)
: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and based on incomplete evidence.
Google has begun rolling out an update to the Play Services package we all know and love. Details about version 4.4 have already been posted to the Android Developers blog, and it features updates and new features to the APIs for Maps, Mobile Ads, Activity Recognition, plus a few minor fixes for Games Services and Wallet. Aside from general bug fixes, it looks like this update is mostly about giving new tools to developers.
The biggest improvement appears to be a new API for Google Maps that allows developers to expose Street View imagery in their own apps. Developers have always had the ability to incorporate satellite and street maps, but this will be the first time that street-level photos will be directly accessible outside of the Maps application. Read More
Chainfire has been a busy, busy developer. Just a few days ago he released the first working root app for Android 4.3, and now he's sharing an early alpha of his new location tracking project, GeoLog. It's similar to other coordinate logging applications, but takes full advantage of Google's new Fused Location Provider and Activity Recognition APIs (check out Google's demonstration at I/O) to determine how precisely it should be tracking your position, and if it should even be actively logging at all. The technique involves using various sensors on the phone, like the accelerometer and GPS, to determine when you're standing still, walking, or even riding in a car. Read More
The new activity recognition features introduced in the latest Google Play services update are just two days old, but SmarterApps has already released an AutomateIt update in the Play Store that takes advantage of the new functionality. The latest version touts the ability to make your phone smart enough to automate different tasks depending on if you're walking, running, biking, or driving.
The new sync adapter brought in via Wednesday's Google Play services update introduces a location reporting API, a task that previously was performed within apps themselves locally. Apps can now request location data from the new, more efficient fused location provider that's a part of Google Play Services, rather than having to work through Android's built-in location APIs that call on GPS / Wi-Fi / network location. Read More
Welcome back! Google Play Services 3.1 is such a ridiculously huge update; I had to stretch it out over two articles - that's a first for APK Teardown. If you somehow missed the Google Play Games extravaganza, part one is right here.
Part two is all about the non-games discoveries, which there are a lot of. Before we get into that though, there is one detail I left out of the games article that I really should mention:
The Play Games Codename
Google always comes up with the coolest code names for projects, and the Play Services games client is no exception. Read More