After Google released the Android Wear 2.0 Preview images for the Huawei Watch and LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, many of us quickly flashed the firmware onto our watches to test out the new features. Most of the major changes are pretty easy to find, and some could even be said to be a little in-your-face. However, we saw quite a few people were confused by what seemed to be the absence of the handwriting keyboard. It turns out that it's just not enabled by default on the preview firmware. While it's not exactly buried, knowing that it has to be activated and where to go isn't very intuitive; so we've made a quick how-to guide for those that got a little lost. Read More
The saga of "full importance" notification levels in Android N continues. The feature was introduced in the first developer preview as a more granular control method for notification settings, then it was further modified in the second developer preview with some shuffling and renaming of the different levels and the addition of a sixth one, and now in the third developer preview, we're seeing one more option: Automatic importance. Read More
Android Lollipop introduced screen pinning: a way for you to lock your device into one app until a specific shortcut was tapped to take you out of it and let you switch to something else.
In Lollipop, a screen is pinned by going to Recents and tapping the green pin button at the bottom right of any app card, and it is unpinned in one of two ways: short tapping Recents and Back simultaneously if no Accessibility service is enabled in your Settings at all, or long tapping Recents if at least one Accessibility service is switched on. That created several problems:
- the confusion over which shortcut to use depending on whether you have some Accessibility service enabled,
- the automatic switch to Recents each time you unpinned (you were pressing Recents after all...), which meant that you had to tap the app again to go back to using it,
- and more recently, the conflict with Multi-Window on N, which requires the same long-tap on Recents action to get triggered.
Confession: as a web writer who has to constantly research new stories, keep an eye on social networks, stay in contact with my coworkers, and see if that jerk on eBay has outbid me for the LEGO T-rex from the Dino Defense HQ set, I often have dozens and dozens of Chrome tabs open on my desktop by the end of the day. That sort of wanton disregard for computer memory doesn't really translate over to mobile, where the single screen limits multitasking to a certain degree. But Google is going to enable my bad habits on Android phones and tablets soon: in the third developer preview of Android N, users can open Chrome windows side by side. Read More
Android Auto is quite possibly shaping up to be the dark horse in Google's larger Android family. At I/O 2016, Google announced more new Android Auto features than it ever has before, including the much-demanded wireless mode which will finally see Android Auto freed from the tether of a USB cable (if that's something you're into).
The real story from an adoption perspective, though, wasn't really Wi-Fi mode, the standalone phone app, or Waze integration: it was a silly little tire pressure notification in a Honda Civic.
You see, to date, Android Auto's interface has had five tabs - telephony, navigation, media, home, and the mysterious "OEM" tab, which has an icon that looks like a vehicle gauge. Read More
It would definitely seem like Google is making Android N the 'polish' release: things which haven't seen any changes for years, like the System UI icon, are getting refreshed, while features are not being included in the final release because of a lack of polish (like the dark theme and night mode). Even the update procedure is getting updated.
As well as the aforementioned System UI icon, another long standing Android fan-favorite is getting a revamp: the OS update animation. Gone is the little Android figure with his front open, a prism turning, and his antenna going. It feels like it's been in Android forever, but it might be gone soon: instead, the new animation is a swirling circle of light, which looks great but maybe has lost some of its inherent Android-y-ness. Read More
Google's MODE watchbands launched about a month ago, but they're expensive at $50-60. Now you can get one a little cheaper if you were on the fence. Google is running a promotion in the Google Store for 20% off a single MODE band. Before you get too excited, this is US only. Sorry, everyone else. Read More
Joaomgcd hates touching his phone. At least that's what I think the drive behind all of these apps he keeps developing and improving is. He's truly the man who wants to make automation as attainable of a goal as possible, and to that extent, he has built apps like AutoNotification and AutoInput that allow you to create plenty of new actions that the famous Tasker app can make use of in its automation profiles.
Joao has been working on AutoNotification and AutoInput to add plenty of new features enabled by the additional APIs brought in Android N. AutoNotification is getting custom Quick Settings tiles (feature explanation) and Quick Reply in notifications and Notification Groups (feature explanation). Read More
Since 6.0.1 Marshmallow, Android has had a cool feature whereby you tap the power button twice in quick succession and the camera app will open. It's a handy feature, and one I use reasonably regularly to quickly snap a photo.
However, ever since it was introduced, there's been an issue: if the phone or tablet is unlocked and the power button is double tapped, the device will first lock and then open the camera app, rather than just opening the camera. This behaviour is definitely present in Marshmallow, and we're reasonably certain it was the same for N Developer Preview 2 (DP2), although we can't actually find a device to test on (if you have DP2 and find this isn't the case, let us know in the comments). Read More