As the latest update to Android looms ever closer, we've got our eyes peeled for anything that may hint at what's to come. While most of that information comes to us through leaks or hidden surprises, sometimes it will try to hide in plain sight. Over the last few weeks, an increasing number of code commits have been made to the android-3.10 branch of the kernel/common project. As you might be able to guess from the names, kernel/common is the codebase from which every device kernel is eventually derived.
Flash may have died a slow and agonizing death on Android, but it did not depart without leaving its heir apparent. Adobe's lighter-weight successor was built to better handle touchscreen interfaces, lower power processors, and to support applications living independently from a web browser. While the platform hasn't been a high-flying success on Android or iOS, it does play host to a few popular games like Machinarium. Exactly three years and one day after first appearing on the Android Market, Air has been updated to v3.9 and now includes support for multi-threading, background tasks, and xxhdpi icons.
Today, Autodesk announced Maya LT, a streamlined 3D modeling tool targeted at independent and mobile game developers. The maker of AutoCAD and 3ds Max is looking to make a splash with developers by introducing a lower-cost version of its Maya software, but still keeping it equipped with powerful animation tools, including a skeleton generator with the capability to calculate inverse kinematics (using Autodesk HumanIK), and a viewport preview system to visualize models as they would appear in game with full lighting and texture effects.
In the greater history of computer gaming, Linux is a relative newcomer, still missing out on quite a few AAA titles and only recently gaining access to Steam. While the library of games is growing for the open-sourced OS, the actual development process is still locked in to Windows. Most of the tools used for designing 3D models (e.g. Blender), landscapes, and other graphics have made the transition to Linux, but the primary coding tools are mysteriously absent.
Hot on the heels of Bluebox's disclosure of the "Master Key" exploit, a Chinese blog has posted details of a similar vulnerability. This attack also sidesteps a bug in the signature verification step and allows seemingly innocent APKs to include a potentially dangerous payload; and like its brethren, Google has already patched the flaw and posted it to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The information comes to us from a China-based group (or possibly individual) calling itself the Android Security Squad.
Scary tales about Android malware have been told since before people started guessing what dessert name would start with the letter 'D' (it's "Donut," in case anybody has forgotten.) Most of those claims came and went, amounting to little more than ghost stories. Unfortunately, there are a few real ghouls and goblins for which we should be afraid. Back in February, one such monster was discovered lurking about that allowed modified APKs to be installed on your device while successfully side-stepping the cryptographic signature used to prevent that very thing.
The first rule of Fight Club, is you don't... Wait, that was Project Mayhem? Oh, and this one is Project Anarchy. So many great movie jokes ruined because somebody gave this thing the wrong name. Alright, let's just be serious for a minute.
If you're a gamer, you've probably heard of a little company called Havok. You may have even heard of a few games using its Physics engine like Battlefield 3, BioShock (1 & 2), Assassin's Creed (all of 'em), Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and a few hundred more.
We know Blackberry isn't the most popular name around here, but it is a name that continues to pop up at some interesting times. Developers, in particular, may remember when the company - then known as RIM - launched Playbook OS 2.0 with the ability to run specially packaged apps developed for Android 2.3.3. Since that time, events and promotions have been run to encourage developers to bring their apps to the platform, but the aging requirement to target Gingerbread has become a burden.
Yesterday Google launched an early access preview of Android Studio, an integrated development environment (IDE) for Android based on IntelliJ IDEA. This one-stop shop for coding, compiling, and testing includes all the standard Android SDK tools, plus build support, quick fixes, tools to catch major coding flaws, and a preview window. The Android Developer Tools session at Google I/O went into massive detail on the new project. The 53-minute session is embedded below, in case you couldn't make it.