At the moment Android does a pretty decent job of managing its memory... but not a very good one of telling you exactly how it does that. The "Running" portion of the Apps menu in Lollipop shows what's being used by your system and your apps, then a list of apps' RAM usage (with numerical readouts only), and that's it. Starting with the Android M Developer Preview, this screen is much more informative, breaking down both the current and recent RAM usage on a per-app basis. Read More
You know how Google hates microSD cards and everything they stand for? Well, Android M might signal a change of heart. In the dev preview, there's support for adopting removable storage as part of the system and treating it as internal. You can also plug in and use USB drives on stock Android without any additional apps.
Hey Android TV fans: have you checked out our review of the NVIDIA SHIELD? You should. We worked really hard on it, and it's kind of being blown away by all this Google I/O news. Two things that the SHIELD Android TV can do that the Nexus Player can't are accessing external storage via USB and broadcasting audio over Bluetooth (with the extra remote). But if you flash the Android M developer preview to your Nexus Player, you can access both of those things! Read More
Lurking in the developer options of the Android M dev preview is something called System UI Tuner. It's not a very descriptive name, but if you back out to the main system settings, you'll see it listed at the bottom. Open it up and you can customize the Quick Settings finally. It's something most Android OEMs have been doing for years.
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.