Over the years, one of the most annoying feature omissions in stock Android has been a battery indicator for connected Bluetooth devices. There is a public standard for reporting battery life from (supported) Bluetooth devices, but stock Android just doesn't use it. A few OEMs have implemented it themselves in the last few years, like Samsung and LG, but not Google. Read More
With each new version of Android, Google tends to make small tweaks to some of its default apps. Such changes are often nothing more than superficial, a way of giving the new OS release a fresh feel. We're now on the third Android O Developer Preview, and the official clock app has been treated to a visual refresh, its first meaningful update since February. Read More
While this isn't live now in any version of Chrome from stable to Canary, work is underway to improve the way notifications through the app that originate from websites are handled on Android O by giving them individual channels.
Currently, with all Chrome versions (59 stable to 62 Canary), the app offers 5 different notification channels: Browser, Downloads, Incognito, Media, and Sites. These let you assign different importance levels and choose how each type of notification is handled by the system. But the "Sites" channel treats all websites equally, so you can't give a low importance to facebook.com and a high importance to some other site, or vice versa. Read More
Google and LG teamed up on a pair of smartwatches to show off Android Wear 2.0, one of which had all the things and the other had very few things. That other watch is the LG Watch Style, which still sells for $249 on the Google Store. That's way too much, but it's on sale for a much more reasonable $139.99 on eBay right now. Read More
Different types of emoji, trivial as they may seem, can manufacture lots of controversy. Just look at how many votes and comments our blobmoji vs O-moji poll generated, or the fact that it caused a Change.org petition to be created. However, I think we can all agree that the "grinning face with smiling eyes" emoji that Google used in the first three Android O developer previews looked pretty stupid; it didn't so much look like a grin as it did constipated. Thankfully, Android O DP4 has fixed this terrible issue.
Google's Text-to-speech (TTS) is an accessibility feature that's long been a part of Android. It's a screen reader that can read aloud anything currently on display, a vital utility for users who are blind or partially-sighted. TTS isn't updated very often, but when it is it's usually to add something meaningful. The last update added support for new languages, as well as pronunciation and intonation improvements. We've now been made aware that there's also an experimental always-on language detection switch, available to those using Android O. Read More
Android Wear 2.0 has been a mixed bag, to say the least. The platform's largest update yet hasn't been popular with everyone, and several notable bugs plus a slow rollout have hindered its success. Another widely-reported bug related to setting up Google accounts on AW 2.0 still hasn't been fixed, almost three months after it was first reported. Read More