As we hit the last few days before Christmas, app updates from Google have gone from a firehose to a slow trickle. It's only natural that most of the developers don't want to ship any major updates right before their holiday plans for fear that they might be called in to fix a catastrophe. Hey, I've done it too. Nevertheless, there's a new version of Google Duo rolling out today. It probably comes as no surprise that this one isn't taking any unnecessary risks either. There are a few very minor tweaks to the interface. However, there is a little bit for a quick teardown, so let's get into it. Read More
Slightly over a week ago, XKCD posted a comic highlighting Android's volume problem. Mainly that trying to turn down the media volume before media playback starts usually results in the ringer volume being changed instead. But as the old saying goes, "there's an app for that," and the app for this is VolumeSync. Read More
Many of you have probably seen yesterday's XKCD comic about the laughably terrible state of volume controls on mobile devices. The issue is particularly bad in Android apps, and developers really need to do something about it. Quite honestly, it's embarrassing that this is still a problem in 2017. Read More
The Galaxy S8 has a bigger focus on audio than any previous Samsung flagships. The speaker gets surprisingly loud, nice AKG earphones come in the box, and the onboard Bluetooth 5.0 enables features such as Dual Audio (the ability to stream to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously). In keeping with this theme, Samsung has just published a SoundAssistant app on the Play Store for Samsung devices running Android 7.0 Nougat+. It's pretty cool. Read More
The Text-to-speech app doesn't see many major updates throughout the year, but when it does, there's often something interesting to see. Version 3.10 began rolling out yesterday and it comes bearing a pair of new settings to intelligently alter volume based on existing audio playback and to control the intonation of synthesized voices. As always, we've got a link below to grab the latest apk if you aren't among the first to get it straight from Google. Read More
The incremental security updates that Android gets are generally regarded as a good thing, but with every software update comes the chance that something could get borked. That's doubly true with faster updates, and it seems to be the case with the latest Marshmallow release for the Nexus 5. According to our own readers, commenters on XDA and Reddit, and not least users on the official AOSP issue tracker, the original Nexus 5 is encountering some serious problems with volume control on the latest build, MOB30P. Read More
One of the greatest problems in stock Android since the debut of Lollipop last year has been the volume slider - putting aside Lollipop's initially confusing volume modes, the slider unceremoniously pops into place when the user hits the volume keys on their device. Of course I'm kidding, but nevertheless it looks like Google has enhanced the volume controls in the latest Marshmallow dev preview with some motion design love.
Now, when users hit a volume key, the panel slides into place from off canvas. The slider's current position is highlighted with its own translucent halo (which may or may not really be necessary). Read More
Most of the app updates this week were relatively quiet, with the notable exception of Play Music with its new ad-supported radio feature. That doesn't have to mean some of the updates don't have something new to offer. The Google app (formerly "Search") was bumped up to v4.8 yesterday, but it doesn't seem to have any noticeable changes right now. However, a look under the hood reveals some pretty interesting features on the horizon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. There is always a chance that details may change or plans may be cancelled prior to the launch of a new feature discovered in a teardown.
The Lollipop update attached all the priority notification settings to the volume dialog, but you might recall most of that is gone. There's a little bit of Do Not Disturb in the Android M volume toggle, but more important is the improved access to individual volumes.
When Android 5.0 introduced the new
convoluted detailed notification and volume settings, it did one thing that annoyed a lot of users: it removed the option and the possibility of having a true silent mode, where the phone wouldn't ring or vibrate, but the notifications would still trigger the LED notification light, and the alarms would ring normally. You had your choice of "None," which didn't blink the LED nor sound the alarm, or "Priority," which still let some things through but required a tedious setup.
In Android 5.1, the 2 issues of the "None" mode are fixed: we already found out that you can set a deadline to your notification interruptions until the next alarm, and now a Reddit thread has confirmed that the LED light will blink for notifications even on that mode. Read More