One thing we haven't seen change much in Android over the past several versions is the hotspot feature. I'm sure many of us have used it quite often, but it's one of those things that basically works fine as it is.
Left: Nexus 5, Right: Nexus 6
With Android M, however, Google is bumping the hotspot feature up to version 2.0, which includes one somewhat major new feature: the ability to broadcast in 5GHz mode. Read More
There are a lot of new things in Android M, but this is an example of something old made new again. The app drawer and widget picker in the Android M dev preview scroll vertically instead of side-to-side in a series of pages. The last time we had this behavior it was back in the pre-ICS days.
Some people were quite displeased by Google's move to a white system theme in Android 5.0 Lollipop. It can be quite retina-searing in a dark room, but the Android M preview offers a solution. In developer options is a menu that enables a new material dark system mode. Behold.
Yes, it's happening. Dot. Gif. Android apps are finally getting state backup in the new "M" version of the OS. The full details are here. The short of it is that Android apps will now automatically back up to Google Drive, up to 25MB per app, with no new code required from developers. This is huge.
What's backed up? Settings and app data, which is to say, basically everything so long as you're not talking about something over 25MB in total size. Read More
One year on, Google's material design philosophy is still picking up steam. As popular as it's become in the community though, there are still some holes left to fill in terms of implementation.
Until now, developers have had to rely on third-party libraries (in conjunction with Google's own support library) to create elements like floating action buttons, but Google is looking to fix that, releasing a new design support library today that fills in some of the holes. Read More
Android "M" preview images for Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Player are now live. Here are the direct download links.
If you run into problems during flashing like the dreaded "missing system.img" error, check out our article with instructions for doing a "dirty" flash (piece by piece) here.
Google has also announced that the "M" preview will be updated more regularly than L's, and specifically that updates will be issued over the air - no need to flash updates yourself. That will be very nice indeed.
When you hear the name "NVIDIA," the first thing that comes to mind is most likely graphics cards, or at the very least the company's Tegra chips that have been powering Android devices for several years now. Either way, it's probably not "the company that makes the killer Android TV box that's hanging out in my living room."
But after today, it honestly might be.
We've spent the last week or so playing with both the base model SHIELD and storage-laden SHIELD Pro, which at this point are unquestionably the best Android TV boxes that money can buy. Read More
We've all seen, probably many times, the common situation where you click a link on your Android device and you are then asked with which app you would like to open it. On one hand, this is a great feature; merely guessing could be very annoying and it is a sensible way to allow users to assign default apps. Sometimes, though, certain types of links should always open in a particular app without prompting the user.
A new addition to Android M, as discussed at I/O today, will allow that to happen. Developers can add an "autoVerify" attribute to their app manifest to tell the operating system that there is no need to prompt the user for certain types of links. Read More
Google has made fingerprint scanner support in Android official, but of course we knew that was coming. The Nexus 6 was supposed to have a fingerprint reader, but now future Android devices will be able to reap the benefits of native biometrics. This will be used for accessing the device, of course, but that's not all.
Google Now is based on getting you data that matches your context—your location, time of day, what you've been searching for, and so on. A new feature of Google Now in Android M called "On Tap" will take that a step further by using the context of what you're doing on the phone to find answers.