"OK Google, what is Microsoft Garage?" Well, Rita, it's an idea incubator for Microsoft employees who like to dabble with things non-Microsofty in their spare time, like Android for example. They have a crush on us, but they still can't completely deny their allegiance to the quad colors of Redmond so they indulge by mixing in some Bing bangy bongiddy features. "Ah, thanks Google. Can you give me an example?" Sure Rita, that Bing Torque app they just released, though if you ask me, they need a copy editor for their Play Store listing: "It is like to have Microsoft’s Cortana running on your smart watch." That was a direct quote and it is like to read a torturous story for me.
Google has promised standalone music playback over Bluetooth as part of Android Wear for some time, and it appears with Wear version 4.4W2 we're finally getting it, at least if you use Play Music (you're also getting new playback controls). If you're using the latest Play Music APK on your Android phone and have the Android 4.4W2 update on your smartwatch, you can now download your pinned music from your smartphone to your watch.
Android 4.4W.2 is slowly rolling out to various Wear devices this week, and my G Watch R review unit just received it earlier this afternoon. A couple of commenters have pointed out a new feature in W2 that we hadn't yet noticed - you can now hide notifications, as opposed to dismissing them, directly from the watchface.
Among the many features Google talked about when the Android L preview rolled out was an improved version of Android Beam, and it's here in the new Android 5.0 dev preview. NFC sharing has existed since Android 4.0 in some form or another, but now it's finally something you can use without second-guessing yourself. Just pick a file and start beaming.
Google has used the CRT-style screen-off animation since Gingerbread. That animation is gone in Lollipop, replaced with a gentle fade out. Frankly, I'm surprised the CRT stuck around this long. However, the new animation isn't just a fade to black. It actually fades to black and white—observe.
Left: normal speed, Right: slowed by 5 times
Yesterday we reported on the appearance of several redesigned emoji in the keyboard Google's rolling out with Android 5.0. In the piece, I concentrated on the improved consistency brought in by the tweaks. As it turns out, there was one more change hidden in plain sight among the others, and its importance shadows all others. Google has quietly addressed a bug report that has lingered for years.
Let's take a look at the issue at hand here.
Back in September, we heard Google's official plans to update Android Wear and add more functionality to the platform and its watches. The first update promised to bring GPS and offline music playback capabilities, so that Wear watches could be used without a phone to track activities and listen to tunes via Bluetooth. The second update is supposed to add native support for watch faces. And it looks like LG's G Watch is the first Android Wear device to start benefiting from these additions.
The final round of Developer Preview images released on Friday left a number of users without root access on their devices, but a lightning fast quick-fix by Chainfire had them back in business the following day. Yesterday, he took to Google+ with a follow-up of how it works and the issues that are making it more difficult to acquire root on the latest version of Android.
Due to increasingly effective security measures and stricter enforcement of SELinux, it seems that many, or possibly all of the available methods for initializing the SuperSU daemon at startup have been rendered ineffective.
Android 5.0 has a lot of really useful features, which we've been covering in detail as part of the Lollipop Feature Spotlight series. You know what else it has, though? Animations. Many, many lovely animations. If you follow Artem on Google+, you've probably seen him post some GIFs of Lollipop looking hot, but we've pulled together all those GIFs along with some new ones to give you a quick tour of Google's latest and greatest.