Are you bilingual? And I mean bilingual in the real, fluent sense, not in the "one year of high school Spanish" sense. If so, you'll want to check out a new multi-lingual option in the Language & Input menu in Android N. This might seem counterintuitive, but consider the advantages of your phone knowing which languages you know: when taking advantage of new API settings, apps like Search can show you content in multiple languages that are relevant to you, or skip the "translate to English" message when it knows you don't need it. Read More
File storage on Android has been a complicated subject over the years. It started very simply with private folders for each app and a pair of permissions for read and write access to just about everything else. The seeds of change were planted with Honeycomb when Google quietly closed off write access to secondary storage like SD cards, but most people didn't take notice until Google insisted OEMs enforce the same rules in KitKat.
Each year since, new APIs have been introduced to give developers new ways to work with the filesystem or even abstract it out of view while also improving security and maintaining privacy. Read More
Many of you were a little overexcited when the Android N developer preview appeared the other day and instantly flashed it on your device. If so, you may have been dismayed to learn that doing so apparently prevented you from getting OTA updates in the new beta program. At least, that's how things looked at the time—it said so right on the download page. We reached out to Google to confirm that, and it turns out that warning wasn't worded quite right. You can still get OTAs after flashing the system image. Read More
Before Android 4.4, media-focused apps replaced the navigation icons with three dimmed out dots. These placeholders shared the same functions as the regular buttons, but they were less intrusive.
With KitKat, design guidelines started nudging developers toward Immersive mode, which hides the navigation bar entirely, bringing it back with a swipe from the edge of the screen. The other encouraged option is Lean Back mode, which brings back the system bars by tapping.
But Lights Out mode and its three dimmed dots never went away for good, as some apps never embraced one of the alternative options. Now, in N, it seems to be taking a different form. Read More
Android 6.0 already includes support for pausing and time-shifting on TV devices, but Android N adds a more robust method of creating multiple recordings in supported apps. These can be scheduled in advance or triggered as you're watching. There aren't any apps yet to test this, but it sounds very much like DVR functionality. Read More
Android's Do Not Disturb feature has a long and complicated relationship with alarms. In Lollipop the tiers of "priority" and "none" did a poor job of explaining how alarms fit in. With Marshmallow, there's that ongoing bug that kills the "until next alarm" option every month. In Android N, there's a new option that might finally make alarms and DND work the way you expect. Alarms can simply override Do Not Disturb. Read More
Welcome back to another week of the Android Police Podcast! And, wait, this isn't the standard post header. This week, we're saying goodbye to Cameron Summerson - it's his last show, at least as a member of Android Police. I don't know if Cameron is planning a goodbye post on the site (he should do one of those), but given that he took time in the show to announce his departure, I felt really weird not mentioning it somehow. You can catch the uncut video version of this episode here. Be sure to keep sending us your voicemails, emails, texts, and antique Android devices! Read More
In Android M, the System UI Tuner included a Broadcast tile that allowed users to create their own custom tile to be added to the Quick Settings area. However, users had to be savvy enough to know how to create that tile and then use an app like Custom Quick Settings to personalize its look and actions. It's safe to say that the feature wasn't ready for primetime and only enterprising and techie users could benefit from it.
With Android N, custom tiles will be possible to implement directly by the developers for their apps. The N documentation explains that this is part of the reason Android N has a Quick Settings area with pagination and user-editable toggles. Read More
Google's approach to releasing preview firmware for upcoming versions of Android is evolving into a pretty cool system that allows developers to simply sign up a device and wait for the OTAs to come rolling in. However, no product launch is perfect, and this one is causing some real problems for some users. Complaints started rolling into the Nexus Help Form and AOSP Issue Tracker about devices that were left unable to boot after attempting to install the OTA. This problem is greatly compounded by the fact that many users are not able to unlock their bootloaders, which means they can't fix the issue with a factory image. Read More