Google began rolling out v8.3 of the Play services framework a few weeks ago, and it looks like it's in a wide release. While this version didn't present with any direct user-facing features and only a few cryptic hints for a teardown, it did bring some definite improvements to the Play services SDK. There are some changes to streamline the sign-in experience for app developers and users alike, along with some additional enhancements that should make it easier for developers to set up new user accounts. New APIs have also been added to make data delivery more efficient between a phone and an Android Wear watch. Read More
Nick Butcher (Developer Advocate at Google) recently published the source code for Plaid, an app meant to showcase material design on Android with playful animations, impeccable typography, and a simple, bold aesthetic. The code will provide useful examples for developers, but the app itself is worth keeping installed too - Plaid pulls stories from Designer News, Dribbble, and Product Hunt to serve up design news and inspiration, catered to your preferences.
Besides more standard material elements, the app has a few unique tricks. Specifically, the toolbar is behind the content rather than lying on top of it, making the scrolling action on the main grid a little more elegant. Read More
Google releases an Android app each year providing Google I/O attendees with the schedule for the upcoming conference, and it uses the opportunity to show off how an Android app is supposed to feel. Then a couple months later it releases the source code, providing developers with a look at best practices. The source code for 2015's app has taken longer to arrive than last year's, but at last, it's here.
The Google I/O 2014 app arrived during the pre-Lollipop time when full material design wasn't yet possible on most Android devices due to the lack of the necessary APIs. Read More
The first Android Studio v1.4 preview release came out just a short six weeks ago, and now it's moving into the Stable channel, right on schedule. The features remain largely the same as the original v1.4 preview, but a ton of bugs have been fixed and a few of the capabilities have been improved in some awesome ways. Read More
It's Nexus Eve Day, and let's be honest, nobody is getting any work done because we're reading all of the exciting news about tomorrow's announcements. Your wish list may already be written and tucked beneath your pillow waiting for St. Matias to give it a look. While we await the big event, Google actually has some of its own official news to share today. As it turns out, Google is raising the maximum apk file size on the Play Store from 50 MB to 100 MB.
The change is largely a formality since the file size restriction is an artificial cap. Read More
The rollout for Google Play services v8.1 is complete and now it's time to open the floodgates for developers to begin working with some of the changes. When new versions come out, it's fairly common for Google to hold back a few extra details to be announced after the rollout has completed. This time around, there are improvements for the Maps API, Nearby API, and App Invites. The previously announced Play Games Play Stats API has been added, and Google has advice on properly handling Android 6.0 permissions. There are also a couple of minor breaking changes that have to be dealt with too. Read More
T-Mobile began rolling out security-centric updates to Nexus devices yesterday. As we already know, there aren't any big changes due out in this release, but Google has pushed the latest code up to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for the world to see. As usual, we've put together a changelog for easy reading.
Updates for T-Mobile devices are built from a dedicated branch in AOSP with custom code to support the Wi-Fi calling feature. As it turns out, the list of changes for this update to LMY48M closely resembles the r6 to r9 update from last month, otherwise known as the update that (mostly) fixed Stagefright. Read More
Building a good, profitable game these days is more challenging than ever. Players are more demanding, business models require more creativity (at least they should), and there are plenty of competitors that are just as desperate to hold the attention of players for as long as possible. Since users are all over the world and generally don't point a camera at themselves while they play, the hardest part is actually figuring out what works and doesn't work for them. Google Play Games is trying to help with that by launching some very informative tools that can help make player behavior a little easier to understand. Read More
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. Read More
When the developers of Unreal Engine ship an update, they mean business. Version 4.9 was released late yesterday and its changelog is remarkably lengthy. Seriously, it's 36,950 words long and has 74 images, about a third of which are animated. It's basically the War And Peace of changelogs.
There are far too many things in this update to cover here, so game developers might want to check out the changelog in all its monumental glory. However, the list of Android-related items is a little more tenable and might be interesting to those who don't make a living (or hobby) out of building games. Read More