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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Stock Android Now Appears To Support rSAP For "Premium" Bluetooth In Some Vehicles

If you have a vehicle with "enhanced" or "premium" Bluetooth support, your Android phone may or may not have supported that protocol, known as rSAP, to date. If you had a Nexus handset, it definitely didn't (unless you used some kind of root rSAP profile solution), because the functionality wasn't built into the Android OS. rSAP, for the record, allows you to connect your vehicle to a mobile network over Bluetooth using your phone's SIM card to authenticate against, allowing things like in-car Wi-Fi hotspots, connectivity to in-car apps requiring mobile data, and potentially other features depending on the brand of car.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] A Quick Look At Changes To The Dialer App

Android M has a lot of cool new features, and we're working hard to highlight as many of the good ones as we can. In this post, I'm going to quickly go over some of the changes we're seeing in the stock dialer app, which actually got a bit of a refresh all around.

First up, space is being used more efficiently, thanks to the most recent call card no longer being a thing.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Volume Controls Provide Quick Access To Individual Ringtone, Media, And Alarm Volume Again

The Lollipop update attached all the priority notification settings to the volume dialog, but you might recall most of that is gone. There's a little bit of Do Not Disturb in the Android M volume toggle, but more important is the improved access to individual volumes.

Screenshot_20150528-140914 Screenshot_20150528-140919 Screenshot_20150528-142715

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] There Is Now A Dedicated Default Apps UI

While many OEM-specific UI layers and custom ROMs have offered it for quite some time, stock Android has never featured a "default app" management interface for some reason. This doesn't really make much sense, considering Google introduced this whole default app thing to Android and it remains one of the OS's nicest features.

With Android M, it looks like we're finally getting a way to manage defaults without just using the draconian "reset app preferences" button. Here's what it looks like - just go to the apps area in settings and hit the 3-dot menu.

Screenshot_20150602-112100 Screenshot_20150602-112049 Screenshot_20150602-112040

From there, you'll see the "Default Apps" option, and then a list of activities mapped to specific applications.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Direct Share Can Provide Share Links To Specific Contacts Or Conversations Inside Apps

Android's share menu has always been useful and extensible, but Android M will make it even more handy with the addition of direct share. This is a set of APIs that will let developers specify sharing targets deeper inside their apps. So instead of sharing that photo to Hangouts, for example, you might be able to share it to a specific contact in Hangouts in a single tap.

direct-share-screen

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Animated Watch Faces Puts Nice Nature Scenes On Your Wrist

Watch faces are a dime a dozen on the Play Store, or more accurately a few bucks each, so there's no shortage of choice when you want to make your wrist gadgetry look good. But if you're always aching for something new and slightly different, Animated Watch Faces might fit the bill.

The app comes preloaded with 24 nature-focused animations, half with an analog clock and the other half with a digital one. There are blossoming flowers, windy leaves and fields, and wavy water, all of which animate nicely when you turn your watch on. The app works on circular and square watches and has a few customization options for the clock, date, weather, and notification card sizes. It also prominently displays all of that information, along with the battery level, in ambient mode.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] App Standby Forces Individual Unused Apps To Hibernate To Save Power

We've already talked about Doze in Android M a few times. That's a system-wide state that keeps your phone or tablet in deep sleep when it's not being used. App Standby is a distinct feature that works to keep individual unused apps from gobbling up power in the background. Depending on how many apps you install on your phone, this could be a bigger deal than Doze.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] App Info Revamped To Include Granular Permissions, More Notification Settings, Data Usage History, And More

The app info screens in Android M have become a repository, of sorts, for many of the cool new features brought to the latest OS. In previous versions of Android, I rarely found myself in need of going to an individual app's info screen. When I did, the actions I might have executed there were very limited. I don't know that Google necessarily wants you spending more time there in M, but they certainly built quite a bit more function into this interface.

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Left: Android 5.1 Right: Android M Preview 1

Starting at the root level of app info, you can see some of the minor changes.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] This Is Exactly How Doze Reduces Battery Drain

Doze is one of the more interesting features of Android M, and also potentially huge for the platform. Google has said again and again that the new version of Android would improve battery life, but they might have actually done it this time. Doze puts apps into deep sleep when the device isn't in use to save power, and Google's developer docs explain exactly how this will work.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] New Android Recovery Lets You Apply Updates From SD Card, View Recovery Logs, And Mount /System

Chances are that if you're in the recovery interface of your phone, it's because you broke something, need to force an update, and you're just fiddling with things. The stock recovery doesn't have a ton of options, which is why alternatives like ClockworkMod and TWRP exist. Still, the stock recovery in Android M is a little more capable than before.

2015-06-01 16.32.32

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