Floating apps have become emblematic of Android's unique flexibility and range. No other mobile OS allows non-system apps to directly interact with users and overtake the screen while another app is supposed to be in the foreground. This capability allows for a powerful and customizable user experience, but it can also quickly become a problem if an app is poorly implemented or its developer abuses this privilege for malicious purposes.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow is setting some new rules for drawing on the screen. Starting with Developer Preview 3, apps targeting API 23 (or above) will have to ask users to grant permission for them to draw on top of other apps.
Trello is a service that allows teams of people to delineate tasks and assignments. I've used it for various projects, and it's surprisingly effective once you get used to its somewhat unconventional drag-and-drop card/stack system. The design is most effective for large teams that don't often get everyone in the same place. But what about the times when you do happen to be close to your teammates? Enter Google's fancy audio/Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connection API, Nearby, which was integrated into Google Play Services last month.
Now if you want to add another Trello user to a board and said user happens to be near you (and also using an Android phone or tablet), you can do so with the Nearby feature.
It has been almost a month since Google Play services 7.8 began rolling out to users, and as of yesterday, it is in wide release to everybody. A previous blog post by Google discussed the big new feature for developers would be the Nearby Messages API, but it turns out there are a couple of other additions worth checking out. In a new post on the Android Developers blog, Google announced a new Mobile Vision API with the ability to detect the presence, orientation, and some details of faces when they are in frame on an active camera.
Now, Google is taking the feature public. In a post over on its developers blog, the company details ways in which Nearby will make sharing information with someone nearby easier than exchanging account information or scanning QR codes.
IF This Then That, or IFTTT for short, lets you automate the way products and services interact with one another. Want to receive an email every time your camera uploads an image to Dropbox? Go right ahead. Want to adjust the thermostat when your car nears the home? You can do that too.
Now Sony and IFTTT have worked together to produce a new channel using the Lifelog API. The channel lets you integrate the activity tracking you've done from a SmartBand or the Sony app with other services to accomplish all sorts of things. Some of the examples provided include posting a Facebook status every time you take a certain amount of steps, automatically sharing calories burned to Google Drive, and receiving an email summary of your daily Lifelog activity.
Remember that "Voice Access" talk that was supposed to happen at I/O but was removed from the schedule? It turns out that, while it wasn't the full-on in-app voice craziness we had hoped for, Google did have some news about voice interactions to share.
Specifically, with Android M, Google has introduced the Voice Interaction API, which will allow apps to get a better handle on a user's voice-initiated requests. Check out the video below, by the leaders of a sandbox talk at I/O about voice actions.
The new API, as Google Search Developer Advocate Jarek Wilkiewicz explains, shouldn't be confused with custom voice actions.
The current trend with to-do managers is for them to integrate with note-keeping and/or calendars. After all, a task you need to finish before a deadline does deserve its spot in your schedule and a note you're adding may require a reminder and a to-do date. Todoist understands that and is thus expanding on its API, announcing a full-fledged Developer Platform with a global Developer Challenge, and launching integration with Evernote, GitHub, and Google Calendar among others.
First up, the new API and Developer Platform will allow devs to hook their services into Todoist or create extensions for the service, all with the benefits of synchronization and oAuth authentication out of the box.
Like it or not, CyanogenMod is one of the most popular and widely supported custom Android ROMs. With other projects you're lucky to see a handful of devices supported, but CM runs on dozens of phones and tablets. Users of those devices may soon have some new goodies to play with when the CM team releases the new Cyanogen Platform SDK, allowing app developers to integrate with various features in CyanogenMod.
Google Play services 7.3 started rolling out to Android devices a little less than 2 weeks ago, making some small, but much needed changes in the process. It turns out that wasn't the only purpose for that release, as it also brings some cool new capabilities developers can use in their apps. Now that the rollout is finished, Google has released an updated Play Services SDK with new capabilities for Android Wear, Google Fit, and Location Services. There's also an improvement to the GoogleApiClient class to handle situations when APIs aren't available on a given device.
Magnus is back!
We learned last week from an update to the Android Wear app that support for connecting multiple watches – and possibly other devices – had become reality.
Early this month, Google announced a major update to its Play services framework, which brings the version number up to 7.0 and adds several great new APIs. The SDK for this update was held back until the corresponding apk had time to make its way out to Android devices everywhere. The wait is now over, and the SDK is live. Developers are now free to incorporate all of the new APIs into their apps. For a quick summary of the new features in Play services 7.0, check out the DevBytes video below. Fair warning, the video is hosted by Magnus Hyttsen, so make sure you've had your morning coffee.