The presence of Google+ is definitely growing as it continues to become a significant part of how we interact with many of Google's services. Early this year, the social network branched out to become a sign-in solution for virtually any kind of app or website. With an announcement yesterday, Google+ is now set up to accept sign-ins from Google Apps users and accounts without an actual Google+ profile. If that weren't good enough, the permission system has been greatly improved to support "incremental auth," which allows apps and websites to request only vital permissions to begin using them, and then ask for new permissions once the user is logged in.
Today, in a post on the Android Developers Blog, Google announced two new tools that might be of interest to quite a few of the game developers out there. Among the releases is a new open-source 2D physics library called LiquidFun and a Unity plugin for adding Google Play Games support. These releases coincide with the news of additional game categories coming to the Play Store in February, which we covered earlier today.
The odds are against most people in the Android world having heard of TouchDevelop by Microsoft. From the start, it was designed to be used with a small touchscreen interface by hobbyists and intended to ease people into programming. Things haven't changed too much in that department, but the project has grown from its humble beginnings on Windows Phone to supporting iOS, Windows, Mac, and now Android.
The app actually doesn't do very much, it only handles push notifications and acts as a shortcut to the website.
By now you've probably heard about ART and how it will improve the speed and performance of Android, but how does it actually perform today? The new Android Runtime promises to cut out a substantial amount of overhead by losing the baggage imposed by Dalvik, which sounds great, but it's still far from mature and hasn't been seriously optimized yet. I took to running a battery of benchmarks against it to find out if the new runtime could really deliver on these high expectations.
Did you know it's possible to unlock your Nexus 5 bootloader without wiping user data? If your device has already been rooted and relocked for optimal security, then unlocking is just a button tap away thanks to the latest update to BootUnlocker. Support for Google's latest flagship phone was just added with an update to version 1.4 of the app from XDA member segv11. Sadly, both generations of the Nexus 7 from ASUS remain unsupported.
It's fair to say that Android went through some chaotic years in the beginning. The pace of development was frantic as the operating system grew at an unprecedented rate. An as-yet undetermined future led to decisions that were made to conform to existing hardware and architectures, the available development tools, and the basic need to ship working code on tight deadlines. Now that the OS has matured, the Android team has been giving more attention to some of the components that haven't aged quite as well.
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.