Sometimes updates to Google products are two steps forward, one step back. Ambient display originally showed up in stock Android with the launch of the Nexus 6, which turns on the display for a few seconds when notifications arrive. It has remained a popular feature, but Android O changes it quite a bit. Read More
While Google Assistant is rolling out to more devices, Microsoft is continuing to improve its own virtual helper. Microsoft's Cortana assistant made the jump to Android in 2015, and has continued to improve since with regular updates. The latest update, version 2.5, allows users to add Cortana to the lockscreen. Read More
Third-party Android lock screens are always at a disadvantage compared to the stock option when you care about security. Some of them do have neat features if all you really want is a quick way to see and access information without unlocking the device. Microsoft Next has some cool stuff going on, and it's getting an update today billed as the biggest it's ever had. Read More
Version 4.9 of the Google app began rolling out late yesterday, but it's not sporting a lot of obvious additions. The only immediately visible changes appear under Settings -> Now cards, where a new toggle has been added to enable or disable lock screen notifications based on cards. Some updated text also appears below the new toggle, if you care about that sort of thing.
Left: old version. Right: new version.
The existing Notifications toggle gave users the option to determine whether cards from Google Now could occupy space in the notification shade. The new toggle brings a little more control by allowing notifications to appear in the shade without being shown on the lock screen where they could potentially overwhelm more important notifications. Read More
There's a minor change to the way Android M implements the lock screen. Instead of the camera and phone shortcuts, you have camera and voice search. Voice Search is accessed by swiping from the lower left corner where you now have a mic icon.
To address several relatively minor problems and requests, Sony's Xperia Z2 and Z3 devices will be getting an update to their firmware. They will remain on 5.0 Lollipop, which speaks to the fact that these are mostly optimizations rather than wholesale changes. The headlining feature is probably the fact that the app switcher now has a close all button, but there are some other goodies as well.
Another feature change is making the LED light independent of the sound settings. Previously, putting the device on silent also turned off the LED indicator. This was probably annoying, since the light is the exact thing you would want in place of audio. Read More
Dedicated Google users may not be aware that the Bing homepage consists predominantly of a giant background image, sometimes animated, that changes by the day. In perhaps a fit of creativity, Microsoft has decided to release a lockscreen replacement app by the name of Picturesque that takes this background and makes it your phone's lock screen. Read More
This contest is now over.
The final results are listed below. If you've won, you will be contacted in the near future. Congratulations!
Everyone else - keep participating and stay tuned to Android Police so that you don't miss our upcoming giveaway announcements. You can follow AP on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and RSS.
Any decent bank heist movie always has one common hurdle for the would-be thieves: a regularly changing access code to the vault, and only one person knows what it is. Read More
The Battery Guru app from Qualcomm promises to learn how you use your phone and make small tweaks to improve battery life. Glance, a new app from Qualcomm, uses that same usage data to build an intelligent lock screen. Battery Guru is required, so that means this is a Snapdragon-only experience.
Glance integrates a lot of supposedly intelligent features that tailor themselves to your usage. It lists upcoming appointments, apps you might want to use, frequent contacts, and the weather (because everything has to show the weather). There's a bit of customization to be done if you don't like the way Glance organizes things, but the idea is that you just let it do its thing. Read More