Carriers are notoriously slow to update their devices to newer versions of Android, and while this is not only annoying for users who want to try out new features, it also has implications for the security of devices. Until now, the Verizon HTC Desire 530 had been running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow (released by Google in December 2015) with anything but up-to-date security patches. A new update has just been announced, and it does improve the situation, if only a little bit. Read More
Last week, Google announced that the Assistant is coming to Android TV starting with the NVIDIA SHIELD TV. The firmware update started rolling shortly thereafter and users were able to grab the new Google app that came with it: version 3.0.
After probing on Google+, we got limited feedback that v3.0 of the Google app for Android TV can be installed on other Android TV devices and it does indeed activate the Assistant on them. However, before you scream victory, there are several limitations to keep in mind.
First, since the SHIELD has an Arm processor, we only have the Arm APK now and thus this won't work on TVs or boxes with an x86 processor like the Nexus Player. Read More
Sony may not come to mind as one of the most developer-friendly mobile tech companies out there, but its Open Devices program proves otherwise. The latest fruits of this creation come in the form of AOSP Android 8.0 Oreo, which is now available for six Xperia smartphones. Read More
Now that Android 8.0 Oreo is out of beta and making its way onto devices in earnest, the Wear team is taking a turn with its own preliminary firmware update. Starting today, Google's Beta Program page is now distributing an early version of the next release of Android Wear. However, if you were looking forward to a lot of new features, you might be disappointed to hear that this is being referred to as a "technical upgrade to API 26" – mostly an update to the underlying infrastructure. On top of that, only one watch qualifies for betas at this time: The LG Watch Sport. Read More
Another month, another update to the Google Developer dashboards. This time there's something new in the Android version stats, although it's a very, very small something. After the unsurprising no-show last month, Android 8.0 Oreo has made its first appearance this time with a grand total of 0.2% device share. Read More
The Oreo update has gone smoothly for most Pixel owners, but it hasn't gone perfectly for everyone. Some Pixel owners have been plagued by reboot issues since that update, and the cause has been difficult to pin down. According to Google, the OTAs rolling out today on Pixel devices will stop the reboots, which have a few distinct causes. Read More
The month of October has just begun, which means Pumpkin Spice lattes, leaves falling off trees, and marathons of The Nightmare Before Christmas on TV. It also means Google has released another Android security bulletin, just like the company does at the start of every month. As usual, OTA zips and factory images with the fixes are already available for Pixel and Nexus devices. Read More
In a recent presentation at Linaro Connect, it was revealed that the Linux kernel would be moving to a six-year LTS. Right now LTS kernels are only supported for two years, which can be a problem when a hardware design pipeline can take more than 12-18 months for a device to make it into a consumer's hands, and that's not even taking into account SoC development. This new change, combined with Google's Project Treble, could further extend device support for Android updates and might spell good news for consumers. Read More
The following post was written by Ryne Hager and Corbin Davenport.
The vast majority of Android device buyers don't know or care what a custom ROM is. And that's completely fine - a phone or tablet's stock ROM will be enough for 99.9% of potential users. But for the 0.1% that like to tinker, the development community surrounding a given device can drastically impact the value. Your purchase can become a much better deal if there is a wealth of custom ROM options available, extending its lifespan for possibly years (and nearly a decade for the HD2).
There are quite a few popular custom ROMs in the wild, but LineageOS is probably one of the best overall. Read More
Amazon's fork of Android is known as Fire OS, and it ships on all of the company's tablets and TV devices. The current version, Fire OS 5, is getting a bit long in the tooth; it's based on either Lollipop or Marshmallow, depending on the device. Amazon revealed quite a few new products recently, but one announcement flew under the radar - Fire OS 6.0. Read More