It seems like the only thing anybody can talk about is Android M, but we should remember that we've got about 4 more months with Lollipop v5.1.1 as the current version until Mango Mojito (probably not) is officially released in October. This is no more apparent than when an update appears on AOSP and brings with it thousands of changes. In fact, this update is large enough it probably deserved more than a barely noticeable revision bump.
In its previous update, Pocket Casts added an Android Wear companion app that allowed you to browse your Up Next list of podcasts and pick an episode to play. It worked even when Pocket Casts wasn't launched on your phone and without requiring the notification first, which was awesome if you needed to start playback from your watch without having to dig your phone out of your pocket/purse. The whole idea though relied on you having already populated your playback queue because you couldn't browse your entire library from the watch.
Pioneer has been the only company thus far to ship Android Auto-equipped aftermarket head units, but now Kenwood has made good on its previous announcement. The DDX9902S and DDX9702S are shipping to retailers, but the pricing will be obscene. Kenwood's MSRP on the units is $900 (DDX9702S) and $950 (DDX9902S).
These head units both have a 6.95-inch resistive (!) touchscreen, HD radio, HDMI input, CD/DVD, and SiriusXM support. Kenwood says they're the only receivers on the market that can switch between Android Auto and CarPlay without modifying any system settings, which is... important? Make sure your car supports double-DIN head units before you get too excited, though.
There are a few big changes to the Google Play Music app in v6.0, but there are changes coming to your wearable too. There's a new Android Wear companion app in there (v2.0), and with it comes real download management for music synced to the watch. Finally!
The open-source nature of Android means that you can run the mobile operating system on just about anything if you've got the know-how. Case in point: A YouTube user named Josh Max has managed to get it running on his Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX. If that name conjures up images of middle school algebra exams, it's because it's a graphing calculator. Check it out in action in the video below:
The Nspire CX is one of the more robust graphing calculators on the market. Its 320x240 3.5" color screen, 100MB of storage, and 64MB of RAM are pretty paltry when compared to even the earliest Android phones (the original HTC G1 had 256MB of storage and 192MB of RAM).
Today, GMC and Buick wrapped up the larger set of Android Auto announcements for GM's 2016 model year lineup, adding five more Auto-ready vehicles into the mix. Those cars are as follows:
2016 GMC Canyon
2016 GMC Yukon
2016 GMC Sierra
2016 Buick LaCrosse
2016 Buick Regal
All but the Sierra have only GM's 8" infotainment system as an option, meaning they'll ship with CarPlay and get Android Auto at a later date (probably early 2016, if you want a rough estimate). The GMC Sierra is offered in some trims with the 7" GM infotainment system, and others with the 8", and the former system will ship with Android Auto from the factory.
Stock Android may not make a special noise when plugged in to charge over USB, but it does play a tone when your device comes in contact with a wireless charger. Until now though, it hasn't been possible to disable this sound without adjusting the system volume. In Android M that will apparently change, as a new toggle joins the lineup in "Other sounds."
Dial pad tones, screen lock sounds, touch sounds, and touch vibration entries are all still present.
This is a small change, but - even if they're buried in settings - sometimes adding more granular controls can be a good thing, and that seems to be one of the themes of Android M so far.
"Tap to wake" is advertised as a feature. Instead of reaching for your power button every time you want to wake up your phone, you simply tap the screen a few times instead. It reduces hand contortion and puts less abuse on the physical button all at the same time.
But maybe you accidentally toggle it more often than you would like, and you would rather do away with the feature entirely than continue to deal with rampant pocket dials and general battery wastage. For you, Android M appears to have added a setting that lets you toggle this feature on and off.
The T-Mobile Galaxy S6/S6Edge is (strangely) the only variant that currently has an official Android 5.1.1 build, and it turns out there's an interesting little bonus hiding inside. Samsung has added support for RAW photography to the Galaxy S6 in this update. The catch is that it's not supported in the stock app at this time.
Google has dropped a bunch of new Wear watch faces into the Play Store this morning in partnership with a variety of fashion designers and popular brands. Some of these you will have heard of and others probably not, but almost all of them are free.