Floating apps have become emblematic of Android's unique flexibility and range. No other mobile OS allows non-system apps to directly interact with users and overtake the screen while another app is supposed to be in the foreground. This capability allows for a powerful and customizable user experience, but it can also quickly become a problem if an app is poorly implemented or its developer abuses this privilege for malicious purposes.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow is setting some new rules for drawing on the screen. Starting with Developer Preview 3, apps targeting API 23 (or above) will have to ask users to grant permission for them to draw on top of other apps.
Wear Mini Launcher was one of the favorite tools in the opening months of Android Wear. Back when the platform's utility was somewhat limited, it was the best way to manually start a Wear app. Of course that utility has become somewhat redundant now that Wear has been updated with an integrated launcher. Even so, the gesture activation function still makes Wear Mini Launcher one of the easiest ways to quickly activate a Wear app without using voice control.
This feature has taken us a long time to confirm, readers - sorry about that. Testing it would have required us to call 9-1-1 for the sole purpose of testing out a neat new tool on a smartphone, and aside from being extremely illegal, none of us wanted to explain to a hard-working emergency dispatcher that we were using a vital service to write up a blog post. And on that note, please, pleasedon't test out this feature on your own Android M preview build. We're only sharing a screenshot sent in to us by a reader which we assume was taken during an actual emergency.
Are you tired of having to copy text, flip to the Translate app, paste the text, copy the translated text, then paste it back into whatever you're working on? It appears Google has you covered, as long as you're running Android 6.0. Taking advantage of Marshmallow's new contextual selection functionality, it appears that the latest version of the Google Translate app has added the ability to translate words on the fly from text fields that follow the new Text Selection behavior.
It goes without saying that this is incredibly useful. Besides translate, the mind wanders at the possibility of what else could be done with the contextual selection features in Marshmallow.
Full disclosure: I own an iPhone 6. It's not my daily driver (I use it for testing and design research), but when Android Wear for iOS was announced, I thought it might be fun to connect my Moto 360 to the iPhone and see what our friends using iOS might experience if they decide to pair up with an Android Wear watch.
First things first: the Android Wear app for iOS. In general the experience will seem familiar to Android users. Pair up your watch using its special name/code, then view a video going over the basics, etc. The iOS onboarding process feels a bit laborious, since - if you follow the app's guidance - you'll have to do things like venture into iOS settings to enable bluetooth, double click the home button, and go back to Wear, but it's not unbearable and in practice you can just swipe up the iOS quick settings from the bottom.
Motorola hasn't done a particularly good job of keeping its new Android Wear devices a secret, but today they've made them official. There are now four models to choose from: what you might call the "classic" version, 46mm wide, a new 42mm smaller version that comes in men's and women's variants, and the "sport" model with a silicone band and built-in GPS. All of them ditch Motorola's questionable choice of a Texas Instruments chipset in favor of the Snapdragon 400, which has become the de facto standard for Android Wear watches.
Aside from the new size and the sport model, the changes are few, at least on the outside.
DO Button is IFTTT's very easy way of triggering smart actions with a simple tap. You can control your Hue lights or Nest thermostat, log your workouts, get an update on the stock market, send files to cloud storage services, and more. All of that is done easily and quickly thanks to preset recipes. And now you'll be able to do it all from the more convenient location of your wrist since DO is adding an Android Wear app.
The update also includes support for new channels, the most interesting of which may be Amazon Cloud Drive. Here's the full changelog.
It's been a long time since there's been a new Android Wear watch available for pre-order, but this is the big day for the much anticipated Huawei Watch. This device starts at $349 and will eventually go all the way up to $799, but the expensive gold versions aren't part of today's pre-order. You can get the other versions at Amazon, Best Buy, and more.
Asus announced its new ZenWatch 2 at Computex back in May, but not a lot was known about the watch's availability and pricing then. Now the company is ready to unveil the full details of its second-generation Android Wear device at IFA and prepare for its release on the market.
The ZenWatch 2 will come in two sizes in width: 41mm and 37mm. The first has a 1.63" 320x320 screen, runs on a 400mAh battery that lasts about 66 hours on ambient mode, and takes 22mm straps. The second has a smaller 1.45" 280x280 display (which rounds out to about the same ppi as the larger watch), runs on a 300mAh battery that goes up to 57 hours in ambient mode, and takes 18mm straps. Both have a Snapdragon 400, with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, Bluetooth 4.1, Wifi, and IP67 water-resistance rating.