While many OEM-specific UI layers and custom ROMs have offered it for quite some time, stock Android has never featured a "default app" management interface for some reason. This doesn't really make much sense, considering Google introduced this whole default app thing to Android and it remains one of the OS's nicest features.
With Android M, it looks like we're finally getting a way to manage defaults without just using the draconian "reset app preferences" button. Here's what it looks like - just go to the apps area in settings and hit the 3-dot menu.
From there, you'll see the "Default Apps" option, and then a list of activities mapped to specific applications. Read More
Android's share menu has always been useful and extensible, but Android M will make it even more handy with the addition of direct share. This is a set of APIs that will let developers specify sharing targets deeper inside their apps. So instead of sharing that photo to Hangouts, for example, you might be able to share it to a specific contact in Hangouts in a single tap.
Watch faces are a dime a dozen on the Play Store, or more accurately a few bucks each, so there's no shortage of choice when you want to make your wrist gadgetry look good. But if you're always aching for something new and slightly different, Animated Watch Faces might fit the bill.
The app comes preloaded with 24 nature-focused animations, half with an analog clock and the other half with a digital one. There are blossoming flowers, windy leaves and fields, and wavy water, all of which animate nicely when you turn your watch on. The app works on circular and square watches and has a few customization options for the clock, date, weather, and notification card sizes. It also prominently displays all of that information, along with the battery level, in ambient mode. Read More
We've already talked about Doze in Android M a few times. That's a system-wide state that keeps your phone or tablet in deep sleep when it's not being used. App Standby is a distinct feature that works to keep individual unused apps from gobbling up power in the background. Depending on how many apps you install on your phone, this could be a bigger deal than Doze. Read More
The app info screens in Android M have become a repository, of sorts, for many of the cool new features brought to the latest OS. In previous versions of Android, I rarely found myself in need of going to an individual app's info screen. When I did, the actions I might have executed there were very limited. I don't know that Google necessarily wants you spending more time there in M, but they certainly built quite a bit more function into this interface.
Left: Android 5.1 Right: Android M Preview 1
Starting at the root level of app info, you can see some of the minor changes. Read More
Doze is one of the more interesting features of Android M, and also potentially huge for the platform. Google has said again and again that the new version of Android would improve battery life, but they might have actually done it this time. Doze puts apps into deep sleep when the device isn't in use to save power, and Google's developer docs explain exactly how this will work. Read More
Chances are that if you're in the recovery interface of your phone, it's because you broke something, need to force an update, and you're just fiddling with things. The stock recovery doesn't have a ton of options, which is why alternatives like ClockworkMod and TWRP exist. Still, the stock recovery in Android M is a little more capable than before.
Google is a little early with the platform distribution numbers this month, but if you were hoping for big changes, you're going to be disappointed. The numbers look rather stable this month with Lollipop continuing its slow rise, even though Android M is just around the corner. Everything else has ticked downward, but guess what's still there... Froyo with 0.3%, just like last month.
Samsung's latest and most advanced tablet series is the Galaxy Tab S. That's kind of amazing when you consider the company's previous rate of releasing new tablets, and that the Tab S 8.4 and Tab S 10.5 were released almost a year ago. But I suppose it's nice if you happen to have one, so Samsung is more motivated to release faster updates. Today the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 on US Cellular gets its Android 5.0 update.
The update information was just posted to Samsung's support site, with a release date marked as today. So the update itself (version T807R4TYUBOE5, Android 5.0.2, if you're wondering) may or may not actually go out over US Cellular's network immediately. Read More
Google likes jokes, but it has confined most of the Android gags to one specific place. When you open the secret version logo, you can long press to see what Google has cooked up for an Easter egg. In KitKat it was an interactive mosaic of platform logos, in Lollipop it was a Flappy Bird clone, and in the M preview it's a shrug emoticon.
To see the shrug for yourself, you have to go into About Phone (or tablet) and tap a few times on the Android version line, which just says M right now. Read More