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Play Store v5.9 Begins Preparation For Android 6.0, Adds Support For Fingerprint Readers, An Uninstall Manager, And More [APK Teardown + Download]

A late afternoon update to the Play Store just hit the scene. While we've only witnessed a single new dialog box in the live app, there are plenty of things standing out from a teardown. Preparation for Android 6.0 is clearly a big part of this release as signs pop up for support of the new optional permission model and fingerprint readers. There is also an uninstall manager in the works for those times when you've run out of space. We can also look forward to a new interface for requesting refunds and an option to get very precise recommendations based on location.

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Android Platform Distribution Numbers Updated, Lollipop Now On 21% Of Devices

It was starting to look like Google was going to skip another month of dashboard updates, but the platform distribution numbers have just been posted. No surprise, Lollipop continues to grow, just in time for Marshmallow to start rolling out. KitKat is still the largest piece of the pie, though.

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[Kudos] Sony Rolls Out Android 5.1 To The 2013 Original Xperia Z Series And 2014 T2 Ultra

Credits where credits are due. Sony had promised a comprehensive Android 5.1 roll-out to the quasi entirety of its line-up from the past years, and the company is steadily fulfilling that promise. After updating the Xperia Z3 and Z2 series of phones and tablets, it's time for older devices in the Sony ranks to join in on the Lollipop action.

According to Sony's official PR team, the Android 5.1 OTA will start going out to the original Xperia Z series and the T2 Ultra.

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Here's The Cute Little Android 6.0 Marshmallow USB Debug Icon

Every major version renaming of Android brings with it a series of new graphics and designs to enjoy that are interspersed across the interface. One of these is the USB Debug icon that shows up in the notification bar. Traditionally it has followed the naming of the version, but with two eyes and two antennae, so on Android 5.0 and 5.1, we had a mutant lollipop-insect icon, and over the previous versions we've seen all kinds of desserts become droid-like creatures.

When Android M's previews were released, the icon was a simple M graphic akin to the M logo but in plain white, because we didn't know what the dessert name would be.

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Android M Begins Locking Down Floating Apps, Requires Users To Grant Special Permission To Draw On Other Apps

 

Floating apps have become emblematic of Android's unique flexibility and range. No other mobile OS allows non-system apps to directly interact with users and overtake the screen while another app is supposed to be in the foreground. This capability allows for a powerful and customizable user experience, but it can also quickly become a problem if an app is poorly implemented or its developer abuses this privilege for malicious purposes.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow is setting some new rules for drawing on the screen. Starting with Developer Preview 3, apps targeting API 23 (or above) will have to ask users to grant permission for them to draw on top of other apps.

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Android Wear Mini Launcher Developer Sells The App To A New Dev

Wear Mini Launcher was one of the favorite tools in the opening months of Android Wear. Back when the platform's utility was somewhat limited, it was the best way to manually start a Wear app. Of course that utility has become somewhat redundant now that Wear has been updated with an integrated launcher. Even so, the gesture activation function still makes Wear Mini Launcher one of the easiest ways to quickly activate a Wear app without using voice control.

Unfortunately, Wear Mini Launcher seems to have gone the way of QuickPic. On his Google+ community dedicated to beta releases and feature requests, developer Nicolas Pomepuy announced that he sold the application to a new developer.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Emergency Calls Automatically Display The Nearest Contact Center And Your Current Location

This feature has taken us a long time to confirm, readers - sorry about that. Testing it would have required us to call 9-1-1 for the sole purpose of testing out a neat new tool on a smartphone, and aside from being extremely illegal, none of us wanted to explain to a hard-working emergency dispatcher that we were using a vital service to write up a blog post. And on that note, please, please don't test out this feature on your own Android M preview build. We're only sharing a screenshot sent in to us by a reader which we assume was taken during an actual emergency.

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Google Translate 4.3 Includes Systemwide Translation Option For Devices Running Marshmallow

Are you tired of having to copy text, flip to the Translate app, paste the text, copy the translated text, then paste it back into whatever you're working on? It appears Google has you covered, as long as you're running Android 6.0. Taking advantage of Marshmallow's new contextual selection functionality, it appears that the latest version of the Google Translate app has added the ability to translate words on the fly from text fields that follow the new Text Selection behavior.

translate_systemwide_2 translate_systemwide_1

It goes without saying that this is incredibly useful. Besides translate, the mind wanders at the possibility of what else could be done with the contextual selection features in Marshmallow.

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Hands On With Android Wear On iOS

Full disclosure: I own an iPhone 6. It's not my daily driver (I use it for testing and design research), but when Android Wear for iOS was announced, I thought it might be fun to connect my Moto 360 to the iPhone and see what our friends using iOS might experience if they decide to pair up with an Android Wear watch.

The app

First things first: the Android Wear app for iOS. In general the experience will seem familiar to Android users. Pair up your watch using its special name/code, then view a video going over the basics, etc. The iOS onboarding process feels a bit laborious, since - if you follow the app's guidance - you'll have to do things like venture into iOS settings to enable bluetooth, double click the home button, and go back to Wear, but it's not unbearable and in practice you can just swipe up the iOS quick settings from the bottom.

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