With any update to Android, it can be good to know more than just the major features and changes. Sometimes we've got to dig into the deepest little adjustments to figure out why something is working better – or worse – than before. We've now got the changelogs posted for all of the Android versions released yesterday, including both the major update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow and the much smaller 5.1.1 security updates for October.
The v5.1.1 updates aren't very exciting since they only account for about a dozen security fixes. The changelogs may not even be the best way to read about what has changed because there's a post in the Android Security Updates group that lists each of the issues that have been resolved with this month's updates.
It's that time of month again—yes, Google has updated the developer dashboard with new platform distribution numbers. A surprising twist this month is that 5.0 variants of Android have gone down slightly. In fact, everything has gone down, with the notable exception of Android 5.1. That one is up almost 3%.
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
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Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
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Google is a company well-known for allowing its employees to express their creative sides, and at today's Nexus / Chromecast event in San Francisco, a handful of them did just that. Using around 100 Nexus phones and a bunch of Chromecasts (and a few Wear devices), Google employees constructed a live sculpture of phones and watches displaying various photos. It's pretty awesome.
In the beginning, there was Android. Android was an open-source, largely hardware-agnostic operating system designed to work on a variety of devices and form-factors, and then Google bought the company that made it (also called Android, founded by Andy Rubin). Then, there was Google's Android. Google's Android was still open source, but now it came with stuff you'd actually want to use. Like an app store. And Google Maps. And Gmail. And Google Search. And did I mention Android itself was and is still open source? Because it was and is, and will continue to be likely for many, many, many years into the future.
In version 39, Chrome for Android learned an awesome trick: using a simple HTML tag, any webpage could tell Chrome to theme its UI (and your device's status bar) with a specified color. The downside to this feature was that it only worked if tabs and apps were "merged," meaning your Chrome tabs would show up inline with your recent apps, rather than relying on Chrome's own in-app tab switcher.
Today, a Chrome for Android developer at Google let Reddit know that the theme-color attribute will soon make Chrome snazzy even if you don't have tabs and apps merged. Right now the flag (chrome://flags/#enable-theme-color-in-tabbed-mode) will only work in Chrome Dev 47.0.2516.0 (available from the Play Store or APK Mirror), and support isn't complete yet - the flag won't allow Chrome to theme your status bar and swiping across the toolbar to switch tabs is a little glitchy, for instance.
Update: OK, it's finally happening! Here are our winners for the official Marshmallow figurine contest, in no particular order.
Jason Scofi - for his outstandingly awesome, one-of-a-kind upcycled Android statue. It's fantastic.
Keith Myers - for Artem's Luck... the game. You can download it here. Yes, really: Keith made an Android game about Artem's technological misadventures. It's hilarious. Keith, your figurine is well-earned.
Jeff Kosmicki - for this short animated video of a bugdroid getting hit by a flying marshmallow.
Evan Liao - for his outstanding Android Marshmallow wallpaper everyone should download immediately.
Here's a mobile wallpaper version with just the little marshmallow guy.