One of the greatest problems in stock Android since the debut of Lollipop last year has been the volume slider - putting aside Lollipop's initially confusing volume modes, the slider unceremoniously pops into place when the user hits the volume keys on their device. Of course I'm kidding, but nevertheless it looks like Google has enhanced the volume controls in the latest Marshmallow dev preview with some motion design love.
Now, when users hit a volume key, the panel slides into place from off canvas. The slider's current position is highlighted with its own translucent halo (which may or may not really be necessary).
Google continues to tweak Android 6.0's visual interface with the latest Developer Preview, in ways both big and small. The default Google launcher has been seeing subtle changes since the M Preview was introduced, and the latest one is... interesting. The Preview 3 version of the app drawer includes a little "pop" effect when scrolling, highlighting the first app that begins with each successive letter in the alphabet. It's a little hard to describe verbally - check out the video below from YouTube user Zaid Salem.
If you'll recall, Developer Preview 1 separated apps by beginning a new drawer row for each new letter of the alphabet.
The Android public issue tracker is a place for users to report possible bugs to Google's engineers, but just because something is reported doesn't mean it'll get fixed right away. Many users have been experiencing a battery draining bug in Lollipop caused by the device's radio remaining active for too long, but only now is Google doing something about it. The fix is expected to roll out in Android 6.0.
Google added support for WiFi communication to Android Wear in the 5.1 update a few months ago, but not all watches had the necessary hardware. The pricey LG G Watch R was among those lacking proper support. LG said it planned to rectify that in an update over the summer, and indeed it has in the new Wear update.
We've known that it's coming for about a month, and today Google has made good on those expectations. According to a post on the official Android blog, Android Wear will be getting a software update "in the coming weeks" that will enable interactive watch faces. These are essentially tiny apps/widgets built into a watch face design that let you do more than simply tell the time or check the weather. A sufficiently advanced face app could replace several individual Wear apps, or do away with the need to check for updates from a specific app.
Here are some of the examples Google gives in its post.
As he tends to do, HTC VP Mo Versi has Tweeted details of a pending update for the M9. This time it's the Verizon version of the device, and it's getting Android 5.1 tomorrow. But it's more than just Android 5.1. This OTA also adds some LTE bands for roaming and patches Stagefright too.
The Android Auto app is getting an update to v1.2, and there are some notable changes this time, mostly revolving around the home screen. Google has posted a changelog in the Play Store, but it only tells part of the story.
Fossil has been talking about getting into wearable technology for some time, and now it is finally giving us a peek at what it's been working on with Intel. At Intel Developer Forum (IDF) today, Fossil had three Intel-powered wearable devices on hand, one of which was an Android Wear smartwatch. It looks like the offspring of a union between a Watch Urbane and a Moto 360.
You've probably heard of Shazam. You fire up the app when a song is playing that you can't remember the name of. It will do a little magic trick, then come back with the answer and maybe even lyrics. Google's Sound Search widget does something similar, and following the update contained within the latest Android Marshmallow developer preview, it looks more up-to-date doing it.
The widget doesn't just come with a new style. The developers have also tweaked the functionality. Now the widget launches into the Google Search app's sound recognition interface rather than inside the widget itself. And there's a 1x1 widget option to choose from.