Before Android 4.4, media-focused apps replaced the navigation icons with three dimmed out dots. These placeholders shared the same functions as the regular buttons, but they were less intrusive.
With KitKat, design guidelines started nudging developers toward Immersive mode, which hides the navigation bar entirely, bringing it back with a swipe from the edge of the screen. The other encouraged option is Lean Back mode, which brings back the system bars by tapping.
But Lights Out mode and its three dimmed dots never went away for good, as some apps never embraced one of the alternative options. Now, in N, it seems to be taking a different form. Read More
Android 6.0 already includes support for pausing and time-shifting on TV devices, but Android N adds a more robust method of creating multiple recordings in supported apps. These can be scheduled in advance or triggered as you're watching. There aren't any apps yet to test this, but it sounds very much like DVR functionality. Read More
Android's Do Not Disturb feature has a long and complicated relationship with alarms. In Lollipop the tiers of "priority" and "none" did a poor job of explaining how alarms fit in. With Marshmallow, there's that ongoing bug that kills the "until next alarm" option every month. In Android N, there's a new option that might finally make alarms and DND work the way you expect. Alarms can simply override Do Not Disturb. Read More
Welcome back to another week of the Android Police Podcast! And, wait, this isn't the standard post header. This week, we're saying goodbye to Cameron Summerson - it's his last show, at least as a member of Android Police. I don't know if Cameron is planning a goodbye post on the site (he should do one of those), but given that he took time in the show to announce his departure, I felt really weird not mentioning it somehow. You can catch the uncut video version of this episode here. Be sure to keep sending us your voicemails, emails, texts, and antique Android devices! Read More
In Android M, the System UI Tuner included a Broadcast tile that allowed users to create their own custom tile to be added to the Quick Settings area. However, users had to be savvy enough to know how to create that tile and then use an app like Custom Quick Settings to personalize its look and actions. It's safe to say that the feature wasn't ready for primetime and only enterprising and techie users could benefit from it.
With Android N, custom tiles will be possible to implement directly by the developers for their apps. The N documentation explains that this is part of the reason Android N has a Quick Settings area with pagination and user-editable toggles. Read More
Google's approach to releasing preview firmware for upcoming versions of Android is evolving into a pretty cool system that allows developers to simply sign up a device and wait for the OTAs to come rolling in. However, no product launch is perfect, and this one is causing some real problems for some users. Complaints started rolling into the Nexus Help Form and AOSP Issue Tracker about devices that were left unable to boot after attempting to install the OTA. This problem is greatly compounded by the fact that many users are not able to unlock their bootloaders, which means they can't fix the issue with a factory image. Read More
Android N isn't all about the small tweaks and pixel changes, it's also a significant update when it comes to your safety. Well, provided you discover how to set it up and other people know how to get to it. What is it exactly? It's the new Emergency information feature that's accessible in Settings > Users and lets you display all the crucial info on your lockscreen for anyone to see, without requiring an unlock. It'll also show up in the setup wizard when you finish setting up a new Android N phone.
Left: Emergency info under Users. Right: "Emergency app" is a new setting in Default apps. Read More
Google's Android Wear site is a great place to get started learning about the operating system for your wrist, from the different watches you can buy to the features available to you, the apps you can use to make even more use of it, and the watchfaces and bands that help you customize the look even further.
The site just got an overhaul that puts visuals first and makes the entire experience even more interactive. Specifically, the different sections of Try these apps are now dynamic, changing the screenshot on the watch as you hover over the icons to show you exactly what to expect from each application. Read More
How many Android enthusiasts you know who actually enjoy talking on the phone? Yeah. Thought so. Google has figured this out, because not only does Android N make call blocking a system-level feature, this release also comes with call screening. Read More
Sprint customers have a lot to deal with, starting with the fact that they're paying for Sprint service. (I kid, I kid.) But those of them who use a Galaxy S6 or the curvier Galaxy S6 Edge have reason to celebrate, as both phones are being upgraded to Android 6.0 starting today. We have confirmation from multiple users that the OTA files are going out, and Sprint's support pages for both phones say the same thing.