Google's recently launched Android Wear platform had a bit of a rough weekend when it ran into an unexpected snag regarding paid apps – it couldn't install them. It turns out that the behavior could be traced to a Play Store security feature that was responsible for encrypting paid apps to make them more difficult to pirate; but in doing so, it had also made it impossible to extract and install any micro-apps contained within the apk. Tuesday night, Google responded to developers with an apology and a set of steps to reconfigure development projects to circumvent the installation issue. Read More
Android is really turning into a jack of all trades, having become the OS of choice for phones, tablets, face computers, and now wristwatches. The combination of flexibility, open source code, and low cost of entry make it a prime candidate for countless utilitarian purposes. With the upcoming release of Android L, Google is aiming to make it even easier to deploy highly specialized environments with a new feature called Task Locking that allows a single app to take control of the interface and prevent users from switching apps or even seeing notifications. Read More
Games made specifically for Android Wear devices were almost inevitable. Despite the small size, there's a lot of potential for Wear integration for full-sized Android games - you could use your watch as a Star Trek-style alert system for an RPG, or as a fun secondary screen, like the Visual Memory Unit on the old Dreamcast. Even games limited to Wear itself could do a lot with simple taps or swipes. Read More
Based on evidence from two tipsters, it seems all but inevitable that Google Now will be receiving media and music playback controls at some point in the future. Some users are already seeing these actions in proto-form on their devices, which can be activated simply by saying "next song." What appears, if your account is enabled for the feature, is shown in the left screenshot. If the function doesn't work, you'll see the one on the right. Read More
Another month, another set of platform distribution numbers. The constant ebb and flow of Android's population by version number continues to swing in KitKat's favor, though not by a whole lot. Android 4.4 is up 4.3% month over month during the 7-day period measured by Google from July 1st to the 7th, while Jelly Bean appears to have undergone its first net shrinkage. Though the number of 4.2 installs grew by 0.6%, 4.1 fell 1.2%, and 4.3 by 1.3%, marking a net decline for Jelly Bean of 1.9%. Read More
Android L still has a few tricks up its sleeve – specifically, in the Status menu. If you go to the About section of settings and tap on Status, Android L allows you to copy any of the values listed there with a long-press. Neat.
Google's hot new item, Android Wear, is barely out of the box, but there's already a pretty big issue deserving of a place in our Bug Watch series. The initial rush of native Android Wear apps is starting to roll into the Play Store as developers get their hands dirty with the freshly released SDK. So far, most of these apps have been given away at no cost, but the few that have attempted to charge a fee have run into a wall. Read More
Google has only posted official images of the Android L developer preview for the WiFi Nexus 7 and the Nexus 5, but Nexus 4 users want a piece of the action too. That's why folks on XDA have been burning the midnight oil to get Android L running on last year's Nexus. Beta 2 of the N4 port is now up, and it seems to have resolved the showstopper bugs from the first one. Read More
Be advised, some of the instructions below are now outdated due to significant changes to the Android Wear firmware and app since the Lollipop update. Most of these activities, like taking screenshots manually, enabling debugging, and even unlocking the bootloader will work with only minor modifications to the steps. However, the rooting steps below can not be expected to work any longer.
You saw Android Wear a couple of months ago when Google unveiled the SDK and both LG and Motorola presented the first promotional pictures. Read More
In the run-up to I/O (starting all the way back in March), we posted a relatively large number of leaks and rumors based on information that was provided to us about some of Google's plans. It's easy to lose track of all the rumors, and just how accurate they turned out (or didn't turn out) to be, so we thought it would be helpful to do a quick recap of the pre-I/O rumors now that the dust has settled. Read More