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
Android 5.1 seemed like a very minor update when it was announced, but there are actually a lot of cool little changes throughout the OS. For example, you can now (finally!) change the system volume while you have audio playing. Google added a new button to make this happen.
Left: 5.0 volume, Middle: 5.1 with volume button, Right: 5.1 changing system volume Read More
Google has taken the lid off of Android 5.1, a minor update packed mostly with bug fixes, but that does little to remove the excitement that comes from seeing the 0 at the end of 5.0 turn into a 1. But some tweaks are included that edge over towards the new feature side of things. One such change is the ability to adjust alarm volume levels from inside the stock clock app.
To see this feature in action, just open Clock and hit your device's volume rocker. It doesn't matter which tab you're in.
Changing alarm volume in 5.1. Read More
File this one in the long list of small but nonetheless significant Android 5.1 improvements. In Lollipop, when you try changing the phone's volume, you get 3 different modes: None, Priority, and All. For better or worse, it's still the case in Android 5.1 with one minor addition: alarms are now integrated as a deadline option.
Left: 5.0 no alarm option. Middle & Right: 5.1 alarm option for None and Priority modes.
On Android 5.0, if you pick no interruptions or only priority ones, you can set an end time when your device will go back to showing all notifications. That is either indefinitely, for a specific amount of time, or until your downtime ends. Read More
OK, Music Boss, admit it: you tried pretty hard to get our attention with the 18.104.22.168 update. I mean, Pebble smartwatches, streaming movies, and Chromecast all in the same story? How could we resist?
Music Boss is a robust way to control playback of various media apps via your Pebble or Pebble Steel smartwatch, and it was also one of the very first additions to the official Pebble app store. The tool is light-years ahead of the basic music player built into the Pebble, allowing users to launch and switch Android music apps, adjust volume, and integrate with more esoteric apps like Tasker. Read More
If you read our Nexus 5 Voltron-style review, you know that one of the Nexus 5's only real failings is its tiny, tinny speaker. To quote Mr. Ruddock: "It doesn't get very loud, the quality is pretty gag-worthy." A few XDA-Developers members decided to investigate the actual hardware on the speaker, leading Adam Outler to conclude that at least some units were affected by a manufacturing defect. He decided to fix this problem the XDA way: by cracking the phone open and poking holes in it.
OK, so it's a little more subtle than that. Outler suspects that runny manufacturer glue is covering some of the ports in the speaker unit used to resonate sound outwards, muffling the speaker to an extreme and annoying degree for some users. Read More
Handy volume control app Silence got a nice update today to version 2.0. The update, besides introducing a new (holo) interface, adds a ton of new functionality. So much, in fact, that the app's functionality now overshadows its simple name.
For starters, the update adds Google Calendar integration (for Android 4.0+), and support for recurring events, each with their own volume profile. Users can configure the events to repeat until a given date, and the app can control notification, media, and alarm volumes with individual levels for each. Oh, and Silence can toggle mobile data, though that feature is currently in beta. Read More