While Android Lollipop added a flashlight toggle into Quick Settings, circumventing most third-party torch apps, the function was only accessible in the notification drop-down and as an on/off switch. If you wanted to use the flashlight with morse code, for signaling, or other patterns, you still had to use a separate application and developers of said apps didn't have any clear API to build their software on. They had to hack together solutions for various phones, relying on whatever way the different OEMs had created to access the camera's flash.
What everyone thought was an innocent little experiment from Google during last year's I/O has turned into a full-on Virtual Reality venture from the company. Cardboard, a piece of actual cardboard that you fold and insert your phone in for a make-shift low-cost VR display, has been getting more focus and momentum over the past year with 500 compatible apps and over 1 million viewers sold or given away. That rise culminated with a few announcements at yesterday's I/O keynote.
Last year's Android L preview changed little between its I/O announcement and Lollipop's November release. This will apparently not be the case with Android M—Google expects to push an OTA update to the developer preview about once per month until M is done.
Google I/O is first and foremost a developer conference. New products may be announced at the keynote, but just about everything is really meant for the people that build the apps. For Android developers, there are few things that matter more than their tools. Today, a fresh release of Android Studio hit the Canary channel, and it brings one of the most often requested features: C/C++ support.
Android apps, as most people think of them, are usually written in Java and have a runtime environment that imposes some additional overhead on execution.
You know how Google hates microSD cards and everything they stand for? Well, Android M might signal a change of heart. In the dev preview, there's support for adopting removable storage as part of the system and treating it as internal. You can also plug in and use USB drives on stock Android without any additional apps.
So you've read our exhaustive review of the NVIDIA SHIELD and decided that it's the Android TV device for you. Whelp, it's available for purchase right now in the US, from both NVIDIA's own store and Amazon.com. The standard 16GB SHIELD is $199.99, but it looks like the SHIELD Pro ($299.99) with its 500GB internal hard drive won't be available until June. According to the NVIDIA Store it's coming on the 3rd, while Amazon says it won't be in stock till the 12th.
Ever since its first release, Inbox by Gmail has been donning more and more features, all priming it for its graduation from an invite-only state to a public release. And that moment is now. Inbox no longer requires an invite for regular Gmail users and Work customers, and has gained a couple of interesting capabilities along the way.
We have already posted a pretty thorough preview of the features coming with the new Google Photos app, but that doesn't mean Google didn't save a couple of surprises for IO. The big bombshell is that, starting later today, users will be able to upload an unlimited number of photos and videos for free.
While we've been following this rumor for months now, Google made Android Pay official during today's keynote. We first heard the name back in February, and knew something was coming ever since they acquired the intellectual property of mobile payment competitor Isis, an agreement that would also make Wallet a pre-installed app on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon phones.