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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Bluetooth Scanning Joins WiFi To Improve Location Accuracy

With Android 4.3, Android implemented the idea of always-on WiFi where, even if you had Wi-Fi toggled off, the device and apps could still scan for WiFi networks to improve the location's accuracy. Along with using network triangulation, it's another way of getting your current position as quickly as possible without having to rely too much on GPS signals.

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Android M is taking the idea further, adding Bluetooth scanning to the equation. Under the Location settings on M, you'll find a Scanning option in the menu, where both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning can be toggled on and off.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Bluetooth Low Energy Scanning By Apps Gets More Power Efficient

Bluetooth Low Energy is the current preferred method of communication between multiple accessories and Android devices. I can count 4 objects on my body right now that connect to my phone through BLE, not to mention the various accessories strewn across my desk and in other locations around me. Each of these has its own app on my phone that connects to the device every now and then and retrieves data, which, you can easily guess, has a toll on the battery.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Android Now Has A Native Flashlight API, Hopefully Negating The Need For OEM-Specific Solutions

While Android Lollipop added a flashlight toggle into Quick Settings, circumventing most third-party torch apps, the function was only accessible in the notification drop-down and as an on/off switch. If you wanted to use the flashlight with morse code, for signaling, or other patterns, you still had to use a separate application and developers of said apps didn't have any clear API to build their software on. They had to hack together solutions for various phones, relying on whatever way the different OEMs had created to access the camera's flash.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] A Swipe From The Left On The Lock Screen Now Launches Google Voice Search Instead Of The Dialer

There's a minor change to the way Android M implements the lock screen. Instead of the camera and phone shortcuts, you have camera and voice search. Voice Search is accessed by swiping from the lower left corner where you now have a mic icon.

Screenshot_20150528-191052 Screenshot_20150528-191117 2015-05-28 22.55.23

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] The Low-Power Doze Mode Can Be Turned On And Off On A Per-App Basis

One of Google's big projects for Android M is battery optimization. It's doing this by implementing a new Doze mode that puts unneeded apps into an ultra low-power state that keeps them from doing too much in the background. While this should all work smoothly on its own, it turns out you can go into the settings and fiddle with things.

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Google Does Not Plan To Make Google Now On Tap Available In The Developer Preview

Among all the interesting tweaks to Android M, the new Google Now on Tap feature has the potential to be the most revolutionary. We won't know for sure until later, though. Google doesn't plan to make this feature fully functional until Android M is officially released.

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Android M Developer Preview Will Receive Monthly OTA Updates Until Release

Last year's Android L preview changed little between its I/O announcement and Lollipop's November release. This will apparently not be the case with Android M—Google expects to push an OTA update to the developer preview about once per month until M is done.

2015-05-28 21.15.20

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Google Is Now A Top Level Item In System Settings Menu, Previously Only Accessible Via App Icon Shortcut

In the past few versions of Android, you could access your Google account-related settings via an app icon in your app drawer, like the one used in the featured image in this article. From there, you could opt out of ad tracking, look at apps connected to your account, and a variety of other things. In Android M, these have migrated to the system settings menu.

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The "old" method was never very intuitive, so this change makes sense.

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[I/O 2015] Android Studio v1.3 Developer Preview Adds C/C++ Support With Refactoring, Code Completion, And Debugging Capabilities

Google I/O is first and foremost a developer conference. New products may be announced at the keynote, but just about everything is really meant for the people that build the apps. For Android developers, there are few things that matter more than their tools. Today, a fresh release of Android Studio hit the Canary channel, and it brings one of the most often requested features: C/C++ support.

Android apps, as most people think of them, are usually written in Java and have a runtime environment that imposes some additional overhead on execution.

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Google Now Launcher Will Soon Allow You To Uninstall Apps From Home Screens Instead Of Just The App Drawer

One aspect of Google Now Launcher that never felt quite right was the way you removed apps. If you happened to be on a home screen, saw an app icon, and decided to uninstall that app, you had to go to the app drawer to do that. You could get rid of the shortcut from the home screen, but not uninstall it.

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