Android L is going to be the biggest thing to happen to the platform since at least 2.0 – maybe even ever. Google is radically altering its design language and adding a ton of new features this time. Not only did we get a quick tour of the new OS at Google I/O a few weeks ago, Mountain View released a developer preview, which it's never done before. This is truly a new era for Android, and we've been keeping track of every little detail (some might say obsessively).
Yesterday, Google's Camera app was updated to add a pretty handy remote shutter feature that can be used on a paired Android Wear wristwatch. But what if you're packing some serious camera equipment –let's say, something in the Canon EOS family– and you'd like to appear in some of your own shots from time to time? Chainfire has you covered with the latest update to his incredibly powerful DSLR Controller. Not only does the new version offer a remote shutter button on Android Wear, but it's also sporting some big improvements to the Timelapse feature, new white icons and faster wi-fi transfer speeds on KitKat, and fixes for the way SD cards are handled on KitKat and above.
Though we just finished up our rumor recap for pre-I/O leaks and rumors, we've received information regarding Google's plans for the Play Store suggesting that Google may be building cross-device app restoration into the store's Android app.
Information is sparse so far, but from what's available to us, it appears that Google may be working on new functionality to restore apps and "data" to a new device, based on the data accrued on another device.
Google showed off screen casting from Android at Google I/O, and we've been seeing hints of it in KitKat for months, and now it's suddenly real. Google has thrown the switch and enabled casting on a number of Android devices, and it works with sound too.
The convergence of multiple devices can be a good thing. After all, who wants to carry a bunch of different stuff around when a single thing will do? This is, presumably, the rationale behind the Sprint LivePro, but maybe it's gone a little far. This is a mobile hotspot with a built-in projector and a battery that can charge your phone. The whole thing is, of course, powered by Android.
The first Android Wear devices are just starting to show up on doorsteps, but already a second update is heading out to the Samsung Gear Live. The OTA bumps the build to KMV78X from KMV78V. What does it do? Unclear.
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.
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.
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.
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.