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.
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
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.
OK, Music Boss, admit it: you tried pretty hard to get our attention with the 188.8.131.52 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.
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.
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.
It seems like most books on developing for Android are geared towards beginners and those who are accustomed to developing for other platforms or using other languages, while fewer help you put that extra layer of polish and shine on your app. With hundreds of thousands of apps already on the market for you to compete with, that's exactly what you need: something to kick your app up a notch or two.
Volume control on Android can be kind of a pain to manage, as there's multiple volume settings that need to be managed, but it's not always obvious what settings you're adjusting when. Slider Widget simplifies this process by placing all five independent volume controls, as wells a brightness control setting, on your homescreen in one convenient widget.
The widget not only displays what level the various settings are at, but gives the user a handy slider for adjusting each one without taking up a ton of space on the homescreen.
Do you find yourself constantly adjusting the volume of your phone's ringtone, or wishing that the annoying buzz of your phone's vibration could be toned down a little? Looking to solve all of your ringtone/vibration woes (while making sure you don't miss a call), Michael Pardo has introduced RingDimmer to the Android Market. The app adjusts vibration intensity and ringer volume based on ambient noise, ensuring that you never miss a call, and never have to be disrupted by an inappropriately loud ring tone.