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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Android Now Supports Native 4K Video Output With New API

While there have been third-party implementations of 4K video output on some Android-powered TV boxes or USB sticks in the past, Google hasn't provided a native 4K video solution on Android just yet - but that's changing in "M."

According to the Android Developers site, 4K display mode is one of the new APIs available to developers in Android's M-iest release. What exactly does that mean for you, though? Well, for one, it means that media player apps that are able to leverage your device's ability to decode 4K video content will finally have a way to push that content at its native resolution on a compatible 4K display.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Stricter APK Validation Now Actually Checks If All Of An APK's Files Are Present

While you might file this one under "really? We weren't doing this already?" if you're a security expert, Google has added stricter validation of APKs in Android "M" that should prevent what I guess you could call tinkering by omission.

Previously, APK validation checks looked at the SHA-1 signature for every file in said APK against those stored in the app's manifest.mf file, which is automatically generated during the signing process. If any of the files were modified, the APK would fail validation, and then fail to install or launch. This is an obvious security measure, designed to prevent people from loading up malicious software or otherwise doing nefarious things with legitimate APKs.

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InBrief
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Sprint's LG G Flex 2 Gets The Android 5.1.1 OTA

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Android M Will Never Ask Users For Permission To Use The Internet, And That's Probably Okay

Google's initiative to put privacy and security back into the hands of users through a revised permission system has received generally positive responses. It's no secret that this approach closely matches the way iOS prompts users for access to things like the contacts or location. Aside from the possibility that permission requests could become annoying with too much frequency, this has proven to be a pretty effective approach. However, since the announcement, one sticking point seems to have emerged around access to the Internet. As it turns out, users will never be asked to grant access to the outside world, and it's not even possible to revoke it, even if they wanted to.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Formal MIDI Support And Several Other Improvements For Audio Input And Output Are On The Way

Under the hood improvements don't always get much love, but there is a segment of Android users that will be thrilled to hear about what Google has done for those working with audio. The headlining change is an API for MIDI, which is the primary interface for communicating music-oriented information between devices. The net result of this will be making it far easier for developers to create apps that interact with hardware for making music or other sorts of sounds. Other changes add to the overall quality of audio that can be worked with on Android and give more options for creating complex tracks.

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Google's Voice Interaction API Will Give Apps A Better Handle On Voice-Initiated Requests

Remember that "Voice Access" talk that was supposed to happen at I/O but was removed from the schedule? It turns out that, while it wasn't the full-on in-app voice craziness we had hoped for, Google did have some news about voice interactions to share.

Specifically, with Android M, Google has introduced the Voice Interaction API, which will allow apps to get a better handle on a user's voice-initiated requests. Check out the video below, by the leaders of a sandbox talk at I/O about voice actions.

The new API, as Google Search Developer Advocate Jarek Wilkiewicz explains, shouldn't be confused with custom voice actions.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] You Can Enable And Disable Battery Saver By Voice

Google added a battery saver mode in Android 5.0 that disables various features when you need to conserve juice. You could activate it manually or have it flip on at a certain battery level. Android M adds a third option—voice.

Screenshot_20150603-174123 Screenshot_20150603-174000 Screenshot_20150603-174226 Screenshot_20150603-174135

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Sony Will Start Android 5.1 Updates For All Z Series Devices (Plus Some Mid-Range Phones) In July

Sony doesn't have a huge presence in the US despite making a boatload of phones. Still, if you've got one, odds are good that you'll be seeing an Android 5.1 update in the coming months. The update will hit all Z series devices and a few of the mid-range models too.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] You Can Undo And Redo Text Changes With Bluetooth Keyboard Shortcuts

Sprinkled inside the big M letter slide during Google I/O was a list of new features on the platform, most of which we have discussed (and some of which we are still to discuss) in our M Feature Spotlight articles. One of these was a mysterious "Undo/Redo keyboard shortcuts" that you can spot in the seventh line on the left in the image below.

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After stumbling to figure out what this exactly was, we reached out to Dave Burke who explained that M now supports the CTRL+Z and CTRL+Shift+Z shortcuts in text fields in Android M. That is if you happen to be using a Bluetooth keyboard with your device. From our tests, it seems that the feature is a bit hit-and-miss on the M preview, and has a short window of time where you can trigger it, then nothing happens if you wait longer and try it.

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InBrief
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Verizon Rolls Out LG G Pad 10.1 LTE Android 5.0 OTA Software Update

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