Confession: as a web writer who has to constantly research new stories, keep an eye on social networks, stay in contact with my coworkers, and see if that jerk on eBay has outbid me for the LEGO T-rex from the Dino Defense HQ set, I often have dozens and dozens of Chrome tabs open on my desktop by the end of the day. That sort of wanton disregard for computer memory doesn't really translate over to mobile, where the single screen limits multitasking to a certain degree. But Google is going to enable my bad habits on Android phones and tablets soon: in the third developer preview of Android N, users can open Chrome windows side by side.
While maybe not the biggest change in Android N, Google announced a few interface changes to app switching that were particularly well-received during the I/O keynote. A couple of them had already popped up in the Developer Previews, but the keynote serves as confirmation that they will make it to the final builds. A change that is new to all of us is that there will be a reduction in the number of apps shown in the recent apps UI. Anything that hasn't been used "in a while" will be hidden from the user.
This, Google says, is because their user research showed that over 99% of users never accessed an app further back than 7 in the recent apps UI.
While the Note 5 and S6 edge+ are far from the first Samsung phones with reported issues killing background tasks with unusual aggressiveness, they are the first ones with four freaking gigabytes of RAM to do so. We've long assumed that Samsung's background task issues on certain handsets are related to a lack of RAM headroom due to TouchWiz, and yet, the Note 5 and S6 edge+ may exhibit the most aggravating task killing of any Samsung devices we've yet seen. Let's cut to the video for a complete explanation. (I realize it's long, but I'd recommend watching all the way through to see what's going on here.)
The issue was readily reproducible on both our S6 edge+ and Note 5 review units, and we aren't the first people to point this out.
We had a little early information on the Project Hera task switching system before the announcement, but now things are becoming clearer as Googlers chime in with the specifics. At the I/O keynote, Google showed Chrome adding multiple tabs to the app switcher, but that's just the start of what's going to happen in Android L's multitasking.
If you play games to relax, it might be in your best interest to leave this page right away. Here are forty other games you could consider instead. Don't worry, we won't hold it against you. You see, contrary to how it looks, Dual Survivor isn't an action game. Things shoot at you, but you do not get to shoot back. Your goal is just to protect your cargo as best as you can, only you're not simply maneuvering one energy core around various threats, you're transporting two. Simultaneously.
You don't have any offensive measures to turn the tides in your favor.
If your device hasn't gotten the YouTube v5 update today yet, and you're just itching to see the new navigation and UI, and experience the in-app multitasking first hand, we have your fix down below. Simply flash this verified APK to your phone or tablet, and your YouTube app will suddenly look better than ever before.
Google has started rolling out a staged YouTube for Android update, and it's probably the biggest redesign the app has seen yet. We've gotten a hold of the APK with exact version 5.0.21 (the previous version is 4.5.17), and after playing with it for about 30 minutes so far, I can definitively say that it's hugely improved.
The biggest new features I've spotted so far are:
A brand new card-based UI - the app looks better than ever before. It's like Matias Duarte has reached down from the sky and graced it with his magic touch.
The developers behind ParanoidAndroid have been busy building incremental updates to the popular ROM. It's usually a few bug fixes and a couple new features, but the newest version of ParanoidAndroid contains something super-cool. Halo 2.0 has been demoed on video as part of PA 3.97.
Halo is ParanoidAndroid's custom multitasking system that works on the same premise as Facebook Chat Heads. A tiny floating icon can be used to retrieve notifications and background apps without leaving the current application. It was already cool, but v2.0 could be an amazing update. The new Halo supports multitouch so you can interact with the notifications and app previews without pulling up the floating window.
So you have that beautiful quad-core processor, but aside from games, what do you really use it for? Rockchip's newly unveiled upgrade to its Android multi-window system enables the windowed use of apps on Android tablets. Users can theoretically browse the web, stream a YouTube video, toggle system settings, and chat with friends without the hassle of hopping back and forth between full-screen applications. While we've seen windowed Android apps before, most notably on Samsung devices, only a few apps were supported, limiting the functionality's usefulness.
Rockchip's offering supports resizing windows via two-finger and three-finger gestures. Users can drag windows and position them manually, or watch as they snap automatically to fill half or a fourth of the screen.
While Samsung has been dipping its toes into the single-screen multitasking world, Google has yet to do the same. According to noted Android and Google tipster ryan_socio (Ryan Matthews, not his real name), that's about to change. Ryan posted a message to The Verge's social user section, detailing an upcoming version of the YouTube Android app that will let users watch videos and interact with the rest of Android at the same time.
According to Ryan's description of the current test app, you'll start a video using the familiar interface, then send it to a smaller window via a swipe button in the corner.