Part of the 5000 new APIs and many small enhancements to be introduced with Android L that were revealed in a heavily packed slide at Google I/O is rotation lock on phones. That nifty Quick Setting toggle is currently only available on tablets in KitKat. On our stock Android phones, we have had to suffer the annoyance of delving into settings or using some third-party widget to lock the screen's orientation.
A while ago, we posted about explorations Google was undertaking in revamping Android's home screen. Part of this was a new notification shade that looked similar to Google Now.
Since then, we've seen new materials that show something a bit closer to what the notification shade and Quick Settings will resemble in Android's L release. The images we'll discuss in this post are based on more recent information, but as with any unreleased software, anything can change - particularly design.
The Chromecast is slowly worming its way into every part of the Google ecosystem, but there is at least one aspect you weren't supposed to see yet. There is incomplete screen casting support built into KitKat, but it has been surfacing in very odd ways for the last few months. Rest assured, you are not alone in spotting it. Update 7/9/14: It's live now
The various families of custom ROMs are in an arms race... in a really nice way. Each one is trying to one-up the others with new features and improvements on stock Android, with some genuinely spectacular results in some cases. The latest beta builds of Paranoid Android include some particularly useful features, most notably a revamped Quick Settings menu. The PA version of the drop-down icon grid allows for multiple functions for each square and on the fly rearranging.
Android 4.2.2 is out, and while an OCD-fueled 4.2.2 edition of Getting To Know Android is on the way, we figured it would be a good idea to highlight the big user facing changes that came with this release. We already covered the new ADB Whitelist and posted the raw developer changelog, so this should be the last of the important stuff.
New Download Notifications
First up is the new notification for in-progress app downloads, which now shows the percentage and an estimated time remaining for your app downloads while they are happening.
The most important phone of the year has arrived. We not only get a new version of Android, but a new approach to hardware design, too. This isn't just any new piece of hardware; this is (hopefully) the start of a revolution in design and materials for Android phones. This Nexus 4 hardware is so good, so well-built, and made with such attention to detail, that it is the new high bar for any hardware - not just Android hardware.
Finally. Since Hurricane Sandy flooded out New York and canceled Google's press event, we've been trying everything we can think of to get a review unit. Late yesterday we got an email back from an awesome Googler (thanks!), and I immediately flew out the door to go rescue a Nexus 4 from New York. We got one! Mission accomplished!
At this point, the LG Nexus 4 is the most-leaked phone since, well, that other phone. Today a video from the carrier 3 in Sweden has popped up on YouTube with a near two minute look at the device, showing us around Android 4.2 a bit. The phone itself looks just like all the pictures we've seen. The video also confirms the Quick Settings menu Ron found. Conveniently, users will access it via a button, not a second pull-down shade.
Welcome to the continuation of our Android 4.2 extravaganza. If you haven't guessed by now, we don't just have an unreleased version of Gmail; we have an entire LG Nexus system dump. Some LG Nexus prototypes are supposedly running 4.1.2, but the build we have is something different - something newer. It's an in-progress 4.2 build. Most apps in this build identify themselves as version "4.2-[###]" or "JellyBeanMR1" (4.1.2 is JellyBeanMR0).