Among Android L's many, many features is one that will set game developers' hearts aflutter – support for the recently announced OpenGL ES 3.1. This is the cross-platform rendering API used in many games, both mobile and desktop. Android L's support for v3.1 of the standard brings a ton of new capabilities. Read More
You know the scenario: friends come over, want to use your Wi-Fi, and expect you to just hand over the password. I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty weird about just giving my password to everyone who walks through the door, regardless of how well I know them. Most of time I opt to type my password in for them, but there is an easier way: store your Wi-Fi info on an NFC tag. Read More
Compared to the popular third-party alternatives, Android's stock recovery has always been pretty...weak. Makes sense, because it's not really meant to do all the stuff that ROM flashers tend to use recovery for, but rather a failsafe of sorts in case something goes awry.
With L's Android release, the recovery is getting a little bit more useful with two new options: reboot to bootloader and power down. Nothing groundbreaking here, but still incredibly useful (especially "reboot to bootloader") for those times when stock recovery is the only option. Read More
Earlier this year, both Evan 'Evleaks' Blass and The Information's Amir Efrati claimed that the upcoming Android Silver program would replace the Nexus line of developer phones. Blass went so far as to say, "There is no Nexus 6. Farewell, Nexus." Both of those reports would seem to be contradicted by our own exclusive reveal of the HTC Volantis, a new Nexus tablet. Now we've got even more claims that the Nexus hardware line isn't going anywhere soon, this time right from the proverbial horse's mouth. Read More
Anyone who was hoping for big changes to the Google Keyboard's functionality is going to be disappointed with L. The performance and features are almost identical, but it looks a lot different. Don't freak out yet – the old themes are still there.
Android 4.4 contained a number of interesting and very powerful features for developers, many of which went unused or misunderstood for quite a long time. Since it was introduced in KitKat, The Storage Access Framework (SAF) may be one of the best examples of an API that has been underutilized, despite offering a great method to provide cleaner and more informative interfaces. I even theorized that it may ultimately take the place of file system access. Read More
Ever get frustrated trying to figure out exactly when your battery is going to hit 100% so you can take it off the charger? Well, Google's right there with you, apparently, because in the Android "L" release preview, your phone or tablet will now tell you how long it will take to fully charge.
It appears in both the battery menu of the settings and the lockscreen. You'll also find an estimated time until your battery hits 0% in the battery menu, though you accuracy may vary +/-allthehours, we've found. Read More
If you're looking for the auto-brightness switch on the Android L preview build, you won't find it. That's because it's been replaced with the adaptive brightness toggle, shown below.
If you're familiar with iOS, you'll know this is how Apple has been doing things in regard to brightness for a while now, and many users prefer it. Samsung and LG, too, have shipped phones with adaptive auto-brightness in the past, though both seem to have shied away from it on US models of their phones in recent years. Read More
A long-requested feature in Android has been a native "do not disturb" mode, similar to what Apple has featured in iOS for some time now. With Android L, that feature arrived. Do not disturb allows you to block "all interruptions" with exceptions for things like phones calls and SMS messages, which can be limited further still to contacts or starred contacts. You can set scheduling for the feature, too.
DND mode shows up in both the settings pulldown and the notification bar (though it looks a bit like a "no signal / SIM" icon if you ask me). Read More