Android Auto is probably the Android platform of least general public concern, but it's an exciting one, if you ask me - who doesn't want Google Now in the car? Still, if you've not been paying close attention to Auto news in the past few months very closely, you might not have noticed that Android Auto is... not actually officially released.
Which is why you're seeing some articles today about Pioneer's aftermarket head units with Android Auto being on sale. You can buy one - like this one, for $1400. And since it says Android Auto on the box, it's got Android Auto, right?
Sony promised it would bring Android 5.0 to all its Z series phones, and now it's starting to live up to that. The newest generation Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact are first up. The OTA is rolling out now to devices in Nordic and Baltic countries, but other markets should follow within two weeks. There's a nifty demo video to go along with the announcement.
If you like some granular control over synced accounts, you probably ran into a little roadblock with Android 5.0. If you wanted to manually sync items in one of your accounts, the button to do that was missing. Well, at least, sort of. In its place was "cancel sync," even though there was nothing to cancel. That should have only been present after initiating a sync manually with the "sync now" option. None of that worked in 5.0. With Android 5.1, though, everything is back to normal.
Above, you can see things working properly on Android 5.1. In the first screenshot, you can see the menu options for initiating sync.
In the Android community, Lollipop 5.0 is known for a lot of things. Unfortunately, among those things is a pretty severe memory leak that has plagued users with app crashes and launcher redraws, as device memory filled and failed to clear.
Motorola gained a lot of good will by updating its latter phones to the newest version of Android, starting with the Moto X. Even carrier-customized versions of that phone tended to get new incremental updates to KitKat long before other manufacturers' devices. But for some reason, the 2013 Moto X has lagged far behind for updates to Lollipop. Now, five months after Android 5.0 first started rolling out to Nexus devices, the OG Moto X is finally getting its Lollipop update. Well, sort of: it's getting a soak test.
A soak test is basically Motorola's beta test for device firmware. Participants of soak tests are usually limited to the members of Motorola's support forum, and the program is rarely commented on in any official capacity.
We've heard a number of rumors about Google launching its own Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), codenamed Nova. According to reports, the service will source wireless service from Sprint and T-Mobile, but it will rely on Wi-Fi networks to bear most of the weight of both data and voice services (though VoIP). While the details of this plan still aren't clear, another piece of the puzzle just emerged that indicates Google is going to offer its own virtual private network (VPN) service, and it may be targeted specifically at Nova subscribers.
This information resulted from a tip we received a few days ago, pointing us in the direction of a new application called Google Connectivity Services.
With Android 5.1, Google revealed that it was releasing a new feature for handsets called Device Protection. This anti-theft feature makes it basically impossible for a thief to use your phone in the event it is stolen and wiped. First things first, though: how do you get this feature?
Right now (as in, at the time of this article), there is a single device with the feature currently enabled: the Nexus 6. The Nexus 9 will get device protection as well, but its Android 5.1 update has not yet rolled out. Nexus 4, 5, 7 (2012 and 2013), and 10 will not receive the factory reset Device Protection feature.
One month ago, Sony announced the stainless steel version of its SmartWatch 3 Wear device would be hitting stores within a week. Then it just didn't. Here we are a month later with nothing to show for it. What gives, Sony?
It's no secret that Google advocates developing apps with multiple form factors in mind. While not all the apps in Google's own portfolio are quite up to speed on this front, apps like the ones in Google's Play suite have done a nice job so far in supporting phones and tablets alike.
But since I/O 2014, Google's been working on more than just phones and tablets. Last year saw the introduction of Android for TVs, watches, and even cars, so now is the time for developers to start thinking about how their experiences will look and feel on those new form factors.
To that end, Google has announced a new reference sample app - a music player - that's available for developers to play with.