Earlier today, Google released updated factory images for all of its supported Nexus devices to patch up some reasonably serious vulnerabilities in a core Android library called Stagefright. While we await the stream of OTAs that are sure to follow, there's a fresh code drop to the Android Open Source Project containing security-related patches. Don't expect to see any new features or user-facing changes, this one is all about closing loopholes. Nevertheless, there are some interesting things to peek at.
A quick look at the changelog shows the highest concentration of fixes were made to frameworks/av (audio/visual), which is used extensively in the Stagefright library. Read More
AirDroid offers one of the more Android-themed ways to get files from your computer to your smartphone or tablet. It's green, there's a bugdroid in the logo, and, well—this isn't the point. Besides, file sharing is just scratching the surface. AirDroid lets you control your device remotely, accessing texts and turning on the camera. Now the developers have rolled out a number of intriguing features in the latest updates to its Windows and Mac desktop clients.
On the Windows side of things, there's a new desktop widget. It lets you access much of the functionality the main client offers without having to load up the full window. Read More
It's been a good week for real-time strategy fans on Android. Yesterday a new game from the Anomaly developers was released, SPACECOM, and today gamers without access to NVIDIA-branded hardware can play Z: Steel Soldiers. If you don't recall, this Android port came out back in August of last year - about thirteen years after the original was released on the PC. It's a conventional real-time strategy game about robots killin' robots.
Z: Steel Soldiers can now be installed on any Android device running 2.3.3 or higher (or at least any of them that I've owned), so long as you've got $7 to put in the developers' jar. Read More
Xbox Music is now Groove. This is news that Microsoft detailed weeks ago, but it's only now—coinciding with the release of Windows 10—that we're seeing the name change on Android.
In the latest version, the rebranding has taken place. Microsoft highlights the ability to upload your music to OneDrive, stream music with a Music Pass subscription ($9.99 a month or $99 a year), and save files for offline use.
Not wasting any time, Sonos has already announced that it supports Groove. The integration is still in beta, but you're free to try it out right away. Look for it under Add Music Services. Read More
Android tablet users know what it's like to get stuck with a phone app stretched out to a large display. It's less of an issue today than it used to be, now that smartphones come with 1080p displays and apps sport visual elements that would look crisp on a television screen. But sometimes you're still left with an excess of white space or an interface that you can't spin horizontally, even though that's how you want to hold your tablet.
Well, Yahoo has updated its News Digest app to play along more nicely with Android tablets. The interface still looks similar to the highly stylized experience users have grown accustomed to on their phones, but now it's wider, and you get to swipe left and right. Read More
When Google unveiled its material design vision for Android 5.0, the changes included a new button that hovers in the bottom right-hand corner of apps. The Floating Action Button, or FAB, has become commonplace in the time since.
But in the latest version of Keep, Google wants you to forget all about it. The FAB is gone. In its place there's now a white bar across the bottom of the screen. This is now where you will go to create a new note, jot down a list, start a voice recording, or take a picture.
Left: Old, Right: New
Is this a step forward? Read More
Google Photos version 1.1 didn't come with much in the way of changes, and the tradition looks like it's holding true for 1.2 as well. But hey, sometimes we like minor tweaks just as much. So let's go over them, and then you can rush to grab the APK.
For starters, there's the ability to easily add individual photos to albums from the drop-down menu. Here's a before and after shot.
Left: Old, Right: New
And when you're inside of an album, you also have the option to set an image as the album cover.
There's no logic to this untitled album. Read More