It's been a year since Android Auto was announced, and it's only now starting to hit the market. You can buy a handful of cars with support for Auto (with a software update), and more vehicles are on the way. There are also some aftermarket head units that can smarten up your dumb old car. Now that it's finally reaching consumer availability, we can see how Google's car infotainment platform works.
I've had a chance to play with one of Pioneer's NEX Android Auto kits (the AVIC-8100NEX), and have already posted some initial impressions. Now let's dig in and explore this new frontier for Android. Read More
You want the internet on your TV? There are several ways to go about that, but the latest is to use Android TV and the Opera TV Browser app. It's free to download, but compatibility is a bit odd. It doesn't seem to support the Nexus Player right now, but it will install on the Shield and ADT-1 just fine.
Cadillac has just announced that it, too, will be jumping on the Android Auto bandwagon, with all 2016 model year Cadillac vehicles that are equipped with the 8-inch CUE infotainment system being the first to get it. Cadillac has stated that Android Auto will not, however, ship immediately on these cars. Instead, they'll most likely get Auto via a dealer-installed software update, around which time Auto will also start to be phased into production vehicles. For now, Cadillac is estimating that Auto will be available around the mid-model year (think winter 2015/2016), but that's subject to change.
There's no specific list of which cars will be getting a 2016 model year in Cadillac's lineup, but presumably it's going to be almost all of them. Read More
The developers at Titanium Track continue plugging away at their beloved app, which reaches version 7.2.0 with its latest update. While we do get the standard variety of minor enhancements and bug fixes, the main draw this time is the addition of some formal support for Android M. It appears Titanium Backup had some function with the M Preview initially, but that would have been merely incidental. With some time to work on it, the development team has pushed changes that are specifically targeted to getting it to work on the newest Android version.
Based on their changelog, it seems one problem with the preview builds was detecting the folder where users had stored their backups. Read More
OnePlus' breakup with Cyanogen Inc. was neither amicable nor expected, which seems to have left OnePlus in a bit of a bind. The company has managed to get its Lollipop-based OxygenOS ROM out the door for OnePlus One owners, but those hoping for a quick update to Android 5.1 will be disappointed. That's not happening until after the OnePlus 2 is released. The new Cyanogen OS is coming soon, though.
While there have been third-party implementations of 4K video output on some Android-powered TV boxes or USB sticks in the past, Google hasn't provided a native 4K video solution on Android just yet - but that's changing in "M."
According to the Android Developers site, 4K display mode is one of the new APIs available to developers in Android's M-iest release. What exactly does that mean for you, though? Well, for one, it means that media player apps that are able to leverage your device's ability to decode 4K video content will finally have a way to push that content at its native resolution on a compatible 4K display. Read More
While you might file this one under "really? We weren't doing this already?" if you're a security expert, Google has added stricter validation of APKs in Android "M" that should prevent what I guess you could call tinkering by omission.
Previously, APK validation checks looked at the SHA-1 signature for every file in said APK against those stored in the app's manifest.mf file, which is automatically generated during the signing process. If any of the files were modified, the APK would fail validation, and then fail to install or launch. This is an obvious security measure, designed to prevent people from loading up malicious software or otherwise doing nefarious things with legitimate APKs. Read More
Google's initiative to put privacy and security back into the hands of users through a revised permission system has received generally positive responses. It's no secret that this approach closely matches the way iOS prompts users for access to things like the contacts or location. Aside from the possibility that permission requests could become annoying with too much frequency, this has proven to be a pretty effective approach. However, since the announcement, one sticking point seems to have emerged around access to the Internet. As it turns out, users will never be asked to grant access to the outside world, and it's not even possible to revoke it, even if they wanted to. Read More
Under the hood improvements don't always get much love, but there is a segment of Android users that will be thrilled to hear about what Google has done for those working with audio. The headlining change is an API for MIDI, which is the primary interface for communicating music-oriented information between devices. The net result of this will be making it far easier for developers to create apps that interact with hardware for making music or other sorts of sounds. Other changes add to the overall quality of audio that can be worked with on Android and give more options for creating complex tracks. Read More