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.
The first gen Asus ZenWatch is $99.95 today on Amazon. It's been that price before, and it will likely be that price again. The silver & rose gold model with a tan strap is the only color option.
For someone still on the sidelines wondering what this whole Android Wear craze is all about, this is a solid entry into the world of wearables. The ZenWatch sports a 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM along with a square 1.63" 320 x 320 AMOLED touchscreen with Gorilla Glass 3. It's also dustproof and splashproof and has a heart rate sensor, which was oddly not included in the second gen watch (probably because people complained the one in the first gen watch isn't all that good). Read More
Are you bilingual? And I mean bilingual in the real, fluent sense, not in the "one year of high school Spanish" sense. If so, you'll want to check out a new multi-lingual option in the Language & Input menu in Android N. This might seem counterintuitive, but consider the advantages of your phone knowing which languages you know: when taking advantage of new API settings, apps like Search can show you content in multiple languages that are relevant to you, or skip the "translate to English" message when it knows you don't need it. Read More
File storage on Android has been a complicated subject over the years. It started very simply with private folders for each app and a pair of permissions for read and write access to just about everything else. The seeds of change were planted with Honeycomb when Google quietly closed off write access to secondary storage like SD cards, but most people didn't take notice until Google insisted OEMs enforce the same rules in KitKat.
Each year since, new APIs have been introduced to give developers new ways to work with the filesystem or even abstract it out of view while also improving security and maintaining privacy. Read More