Over the last few years, few topics have been more hotly contested by Android users and developers than how SD cards are handled by the OS. Back in February, I discussed some of Google's changes during the transition from Android 2.3 to 4.0, and then how more recent policy changes ultimately led to 3rd-party applications losing most of their access to removable storage. By the time I/O came around, Google acknowledged that KitKat's newly added Storage Access Framework still didn't offer enough range for apps to get their work done.
Early yesterday, Google began pushing the complete source code for Android 5.0 Lollipop to AOSP. The code drop was so large that the operation continued to run through the night and into the following day. But, it is finally done. For those that are determined to compile their own build of Android, it's a good time to get your downloads started. However, for the rest of us that are just interested in a more detailed list of changes than what Google has already shown to us, we can turn to the developer changelog generated by Al Sutton of Funky Android.
Months ago, we posted a rumor about "modular actions" set to come to Google's Search app (now just called Google) along with "Ok Google Everywhere" functionality that would allow users to activate search from anywhere on their device. The latter has already been implemented, but Google is still inching toward the former. With the technically unreleased Google app, the search interface can overlay apps from which it is called, but Google today announced another step forward - the ability to let apps hook into search by accepting voice queries from the user.
Have you felt the call of video game development? Maybe you've seen some game featured in the news and thought, "That sucks, I can do way better." Well, put your money where your mouth is and prove it. StackSocial is giving customers the opportunity to name their own price and pick up two courses offered by Udemy on the topics of game development and design, or pick up two additional courses by beating the average price.
Developers have a lot to look forward to with the latest release of Android, but not everything requires Lollipop to run. With the official release of the SDK for API Level 21, Google also included an updated version of the AppCompat Support Library, which contains back-ported versions of UI controls and other features for use on older versions of the OS. Some of the new libraries were first available with the L Preview SDK, but just about everything has received an update, and there are some additions for the official release.
Update: While the message sent out to developers may be new, as it turns out, the information is not. It repeats what Google said back when it announced the availability of the Android 5.0 SDK. Here's the relevant passage.
Google is pretty well known for building a fast and (usually) reliable infrastructure that can stand up to just about anything short a certain Nexus launch. This is why it came as no surprise when the tech giant announced its own cloud hosting service during I/O 2012, giving developers a path to tap into some of that power. Since the launch, Google has attempted to make its Cloud Platform product as appealing as possible, but the response has been fairly tepid.
On Wednesday, Google teased developers and enthusiasts by officially announcing Lollipop, but chose to delay the release of anything substantial for another two days. Well, we've waited for the obligatory 48 hours, and the SDK is finally available, just in time for the weekend. (Yay?) Developers can finally abandon the interim SDK and move on to the real thing. There's no more pretending 'L' counts as an API Level, Android 5.0 is officially numbered 21.
Developers won't have to put up with that junky "preview" SDK much longer. In just two days (October 17th) the final Android 5.0 SDK will be available for download in the SDK manager.
Back in June, Google announced Android was destined to gain 64-bit support in the coming L release. A few weeks later, Revision 10 of the Native Development Kit (NDK) was posted with support for the three 64-bit architectures that would be able to run the new version of Android: arm64-v8a, x86_64, and mips64. As we close in on the official release of Android L, Google has updated the NDK to revision 10b and added an emulator image developers can use to prepare their apps to run on devices built with Intel's 64-bit chips.