The latest post to the official Google Maps blog brings some welcome news. A couple of features that have been exclusive to betas of the Android app, not to mention hinted at by our cheeky teardown posts, are now in the public version. Specifically, that handy Wi-Fi-only mode for users on a limited data allotment should now be live for everyone (it was limited to a subset of users before), and the option to save local mapping data to the SD card is now active as well. Read More
It was a nice surprise when Samsung announced that its new flagship phones would be running Android 6.0, and that they were bringing back the much-requested expandable storage was icing on the cake. The news that the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge would not support adoptable storage, Android Marshmallow's ability to take an SD card and partition it as semi-permanent device storage, was met with less enthusiasm. But all is not lost, expandable storage fans: long-time modder and ROM developer Paul "MoDaCo" O'Brien has got this covered. Read More
You knew this was coming sooner or later. Android Auto has been viewed as a mostly closed system, if not by nature of the software itself (which is technically open source) then by the fact that it's an extension of Android running on a big chunk of metal installed in your car. But some intrepid developers over on enthusiast forum AVIC411 have discovered a way to boot software directly from the SD card slot on Pioneer's NEX series of aftermarket Android Auto head units. That paves the way for custom ROMs in your car, or at least your car's entertainment system. Read More
Every power user has a favorite file manager. It doesn't matter how many are installed or why, there is always one that takes the lead position. Of course, as new features become popular, it's not uncommon for people to switch out their favorite app to pull up one that offers whatever they need. The new must-have among file managers is support for writing to the SD card on Android 5.0 Lollipop. One week after Root Explorer added this ability, Solid Explorer comes rolling in with its own update.
-ability to write SD card contents on Android Lollipop
-improved root handling on Android Lollipop
-fixed misaligned splashscreen on high resolution displays
Now that Lollipop no longer requires root permission to gain access to the SD card, most file managers will be working to add compatibility fairly quickly. Read More
Root Explorer is one of those apps that has been on each and every one of my Android devices for years, and part of the reason why is that developer Speed Software has kept it relevant with near-constant useful updates. The latest, version 3.3, takes advantage of the revised SD card management on Android 5.0. Those with Lollipop devices can once again write to an external SD card even without root.
Yes, Root Explorer works without root permissions - if you haven't rooted your device (or you can't), it's basically just a well-rounded file manager that can't modify the /system partition or other protected areas of Android's file system. Read More
Since the launch of Android 5.0 last month, the sheer number of app updates has been magnificent – and downright overwhelming. Believe it or not, most of the new versions haven't done much more than add Lollipop support and splash a fresh coat of Materialized paint on the UIs. Seriously, we've been checking. This isn't entirely a bad thing, as it's giving me time to work on some other projects... You'll see soon enough <wink>. But, we've finally got something to talk about with the latest release of Google Play services 6.5. Strictly speaking, a few of tidbits to follow were actually first seen in different minor releases of 6.1, but we're putting it all together here. Read More
Over the last few years, few topics have been more hotly contested by Android users and developers than how SD cards are handled by the OS. Back in February, I discussed some of Google's changes during the transition from Android 2.3 to 4.0, and then how more recent policy changes ultimately led to 3rd-party applications losing most of their access to removable storage. By the time I/O came around, Google acknowledged that KitKat's newly added Storage Access Framework still didn't offer enough range for apps to get their work done. With the release of the L Developer Preview, new APIs were added to allow apps to request access to directories owned by other providers. Read More