Fragmentation is the flaming torch we have to face each time a discussion about Android updates or development is started. Google releases monthly distribution numbers of its operating system, which detail the percentages of devices running a certain version of the OS that have visited the Play Store in the past 7 days. They're usually met with collective groans as Froyo and Gingerbread cling on to dear life month after month.
But as Apteligent's monthly data report points out, Google doesn't take into consideration two important factors: devices that don't have the Play Store installed (ie Chinese handsets mostly) and device usage. A phone may access the Play Store, but it may not be actively used. Read More
We've been keeping close tabs on the new features and adjustments made with each new developer preview of Android N, but there are obviously a boatload of other changes under the hood, many of them aren't obvious to the naked eye. That's where it can help to look deeper into the source code. It took a couple of weeks for the changes to be published to AOSP, but now that they are available, we've got a changelog ready for examination. Read More
Google's new Awareness API - part of Google Play Services - is legitimately cool. In theory. Announced at I/O, it allows apps to access what you're doing, in a general sense, and then give you information based on that status. For now, the API offers two ways for apps to monitor your current status, per Google's blog post. Read More
Marshmallow is making its way to Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge owners in the US. If you're on T-Mobile, you're next on the list. The Un-carrier is now sending out OTA updates to people on its network. Read More
Given the number of tips we've now received, it no longer seemed prudent to ignore a rather questionable rumor published by The Telegraph yesterday, claiming that Google plans to build a phone that is not a Nexus and release it by the end of the year. And yes: the report acknowledges that there are rumors HTC will build 2016's Nexus phones. The Telegraph claims this is something else. But the moment they started discussing reasoning, I became suspicious.
Although Android runs on the majority of smartphones sold globally, Apple still dominates the lucrative high-end of the market. The proliferation of Android device makers, many of which apply the software differently, means Google has struggled to ensure consistency, with some smartphone owners waiting months for updates, and some manufacturers relegating Google’s own internet services which are included in Android.
A long-standing gap in the Nexus device feature-set for "normal" buyers has been live on-device support. In the event you need help setting up your Nexus smartphone - a smartphone you bought on the internet, not a store - going through the online Google Support documentation or back and forth with a chat agent in the browser is not an ideal experience. Being able to share your screen with an agent who can see what's happening on your display is a lot easier for many people, and it helps support agents resolve issues more quickly by having direct visual access to a user's device. Read More
Android N is introducing multi-window support in a limited way. A split-screen option sits apps side-by-side, so you can see more than one at once. But if you want to resize and drag windows like you would on a PC, it can be done, but it takes a bit more work.
We didn't expect to see freeform multi-window support in the upcoming version of Android, but it would be nice to see the feature appear as an optional flag. That won't happen either. Read More
Android TV includes a universal search feature that is intended to find content wherever it may be, but it hasn't supported Netflix thus far. That changes today with the addition of a Netflix button to search results on Android TV. However, I think calling this "universal" is a bit of a stretch. Read More
Earlier this month, the Moto 360 and Moto 360 Sport started getting an update with May's security patches and a couple of Moto Body improvements, while other Wear watches got just the new security updates. And given that almost none of the other manufacturers share their update's details, we didn't know if anything else had changed in their software along with that.
Now ASUS has posted the release notes for its ZenWatch 2 update to software version MWD59,MWD48B. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but if you own this speaker-enabled and yet slightly cheap watch, you'll be happy to read about the different improvements along with the option to view the Peek card in ASUS' own watchfaces. Read More