Sundar Pichai made a series of statements at recode's Code Conference yesterday that seem to have the internet aflutter. Pichai claimed that Google would be adding more software features to future Nexus devices, specifically: "You’ll see us hopefully add more features on top of Android on Nexus phones... There’s a lot of software innovation to be had."
Some have taken this to mean that "stock Android" on Nexus phones is no more. That Google will begin to differentiate just like its partners, with proprietary features and software, and that this marks a move away from a "purer" interpretation of Android. This makes sense until you actually think about it, because Nexus phones haven't run "stock" Android in years, and it's time for us to have a conversation about what that word even means, let alone the idea that Google's interpretation of Android is somehow "purer."
For starters, all of the following applications that ship on Nexus phones today are closed-source. Read More
It's not often that we have cause to praise Verizon for, well, anything, but credit goes where credit is due. In the last month the carrier has upgraded its branded versions of the LG G Pad X 8.3, DROID Maxx 2, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy Tab S2 to Marshmallow. Never mind that they've come more than half a year after Android 6.0 AOSP code became available, we're just happy to see the updates at all (especially for those oft-neglected tablets). The latest device to get a version bump is the faux-leather-clad Galaxy Note 4. Read More
Samsung owners who are on Verizon are lucky this week. Yesterday, the operator started pushing Marshmallow in an OTA update to the Galaxy S5 and today it's ready to roll out the same Android 6.0 to the Galaxy Tab S2.
The software version number is MMB29K.T817VVRU2BPE1 and it brings all of Marshmallow's goodies to the Tab S2, including Doze mode for longer battery life, per-app permissions for more control over your apps, and Google Now on Tap for... whatever you find Now on Tap is useful for. There are many more Android 6.0 features to enjoy too, as we've previously detailed. Read More
Apps aren't just for phones anymore, now they're for your wrist. That's the focus of the Android Wear app and watch face roundup—apps that should go on your wrist. They might not all appeal to you personally, but these are all the best things that have come to Android Wear in the last few months. We've got timers, calendars, and oh so many watch faces. Read More
Devolver Digital has consistently brought some of its published titles to Android, so long as you're lucky enough to own a SHIELD-branded machine. Their latest port is Not A Hero, a 2D shooter that has a very old-school style of gameplay mixed with a somewhat modern approach to everything else. The game absolutely revels in its stylized, Guy Ritchie-esque British ultra-violence mixed with the kind of humor you might expect to see on any given Internet forum. Read More
You usually have to get a car with Android Auto pre-installed if you want the feature to ever be available to you, but Hyundai has embraced Google's car platform more so than others. It just announced an update is available for some of its 2015, 2016, and 2017 models that adds Android Auto and CarPlay. You can install them yourself or go to a dealership and pay them to do it. Read More
According to reporter Sarah Jeong on Twitter, the jury in the long-awaited Oracle v Google trial regarding Google's use of Oracle's Java APIs has found that Oracle's claims for copyright infringement are not valid. Google's use of the APIs structure, sequence, and organization fell under fair use.
Oracle had, after a higher court found certain aspects of the Java APIs copyrightable, sought damages against Google for using those APIs as part of Android's Dalvik virtual machine. Oracle's argument had long been considered near-baseless in terms of true technological "theft," but the finding that the structure, sequence, and organization of the APIs were copyrightable led many legal analysts to believe Google may well lose the case. Read More
Most flagship phones from last year have gotten their Marshmallow updates by this point, but not the OnePlus 2. Technically, it's not a flagship—it's a flagship killer. OnePlus took time out from killing flagships in March to release a community build (beta) of Marshmallow for the OP2, and now there's an update to that in the form of OxygenOS 3.0.1. Guess what, it's still just a community build. Read More
According to a Bloomberg article published this morning, Google has been actively tracking the time it takes Android device manufacturers to update their handsets to a new version of the Android OS. Better yet? There are supposedly discussions happening inside Google as to whether or not to make the stats public, as a sort of "name and shame" directive to encourage manufacturers and carriers alike to update their handsets more quickly. To which I respond: oh god yes please, do this, Google.
The report also mentions a few other tidbits that are interesting, and we'll get to those, but let's focus on what I will now call The Android Update Wall Of Shame, which should very much be what it is called if Google does, in fact, publish it. Read More