Android N is all around us — seriously, have you seen the number of Android N Feature Spotlight stories we've published in less than a week? (Hint: there are 40 and more are pending), but there's a lot we don't know about the next version of Android yet. We know the preview will get more frequent updates than L or M prior to release, we know the final release will be available in the summer, and we know that it's the bestest, awesomest, and most feature-packed'est version of Android yet. We don't know the name though, nor the software version.
But just as it did with KitKat (Key Lime Pie), Lollipop (Lemon Meringue Pie), and Marshmallow (Macadamia Nut Cookie), Google has an internal name for N: New York Cheesecake. Read More
Developer Mocha17 noticed that if you count the wrist where you're actually wearing an Android Wear watch, you actually have to use two hands to access notifications. It's a fair point, and one that's solved with his custom Wear app, JorSay (Hindi for "aloud"). The idea is simple: when you feel a vibration for an incoming notification, shake your wrist twice, and your phone will speak the notification aloud using Android's built-in text-to-speech system. Pretty neat, huh? Read More
Every time there's a new version of Android on the horizon, there's also a rash of speculation as to what dessert Google will use for its next codename. For Android N, now in an early and promising developer preview, the situation is no different. Android fans seem stuck on "Nutella," which would mean another licensed deal like the one with the KitKat rollout, though it's at least faintly possible that Google will use the name of an Indian dessert, as CEO Sundar Pichai hinted in a question and answer session. He also said in that same session that Google might conduct an online poll for future Android codenames... Read More
The Galaxy S III, first released back in 2012, only has official software support up to Android 4.3. No matter: the folks at the CyanogenMod development team are keeping the device alive long after Samsung threw in the towel. Today the AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint variants of the GSIII all get their very first nightly ROM builds for CyanogenMod 13, which is based on Android 6.0. You can find them at the d2att, d2tmo, and d2spr listings on the CM download page, respectively.
In contrast, Asus has already promised a Marshmallow build for the Zenfone 2, which is less than a year old at this point. Read More
The developer preview of Android N may have been released a week ago, but we're still discovering loads of changes and new stuff across the OS. The most recent one that's come to our attention is a new toggle in Sound Settings for mono audio, which makes both left and right audio channels get played back simultaneously through any active sound output.
There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to play sound in mono instead of stereo. Many people prefer listening to music with a single earbud in their ear, but with stereo playback this meant that half the song was never heard. Read More
A couple of days ago, Google revamped the Android Wear website to make it more interactive and today it's rolling out an update to another website: Android Auto. This time though, it's not the whole site that's getting completely overhauled, just the section at the bottom for supported manufacturers.
Previously, that only listed car and head unit manufacturers with links to their websites' landing pages - not even a specific Android Auto section on their site. Now, that list has been moved to the second Brands tab, with a new Models tab taking the first place. This has a list of all manufacturers with the exact models of cars and head units that support Auto. Read More
Ever looked at your smartwatch and wished there were real LEDs inside that lit up and turned off to tell you the time? Ever checked all those Android Wear watchfaces and wanted them to feel a little more vibrant and a little less dull? Well, here you go, you'll love Real LED Watchface.
The watchface's interface is based on 3D renders of LEDs and the developer says it achieves "photorealistic light, reflections, and shadows." I've been using it for half an hour and I tend to agree: it looks quite real and just as good as the screenshots. Aside from the lights, the face is very straightforward: the big LED is for the hours, the small one is for the minutes, and the super small LEDs in the center light up with the seconds. Read More
The Android N preview is here, and we're all rather excited about it. (Galaxy S7? G5? Mi 5? What's that?) Android N, even in its primordial preview form, is already showing us tons of new features and changes to the Android OS at large. There are over forty Android N stories on Android Police already, and N has been announced for under a week. And we're still on the first preview. There's a lot going on here.
And there's doubtless more we haven't discovered yet. Changes that will pop up as the N preview continues to update over the next four-plus months, the longest preview of any Android OS release yet. Read More
You're probably aware of Google's new multi-window feature in Android N. We've demoed it a few times, but there's yet more multitasking goodness to go over. When you're in split-screen, it's possible to drag and drop text between windows. Yes, Samsung has done this for a few years, and the Android N implementation is messy. Buy hey, we're getting there. Read More
Google is really focused on making Android more work-friendly, and N adds a bunch of new features to improve Android for Work. For starters, there's now a toggle that'll completely disable a device's work profile, including apps, notifications, and background sync. While work mode is turned off, a persistent icon will be displayed in the status bar to remind users that work apps can't launch.
Image credit to Andrew Quebe
Work profiles in N now also support an additional layer of protection by letting administrators specify a security challenge whenever a work app is launched. This challenge may be in the form of either a pin, a fingerprint, or a password, and the administrator can also specify things like the required minimum password length or the password's "quality."
Here's a quick overview of the many more new additions to Android for Work in N:
- Always-on VPN lets the device automatically start up a work VPN at boot time, so that apps can only access the internet through a "secure" connection.