In our latest Android Police video, we take a look at some of the more notable changes in Android N Developer Preview 2. Mark Burstiner, as usual, guides you through the new goodies you can expect in the latest preview release, including changes to direct reply, new emoji, a potential vector for adding "3D touch" style functionality to Android, a new calculator quick settings shortcut, and more!
Even though it was announced almost a year and a half after the original LG G Pad 8.3, the G Pad X8.3 (notice the X?) is only a small improvement over its predecessor. The size, screen, software, storage, battery, remained more or less the same. Only the processor was bumped from a Snapdragon 600 to a 615 and the camera from a 5MP to an 8MP shooter.
Still, if you bought the X8.3 on Verizon, you might have been bummed because your relatively new tablet was stuck on Lollipop even though all the cool flagship phones got Marshmallow. Well, no more.
It's the beginning of the month again, and that means it's time for Google to update the Android platform distribution numbers. We've been waiting ages for Froyo to die, but it lives on this month. However, Marshmallow continues to show strong performance as the only version gaining market share right now.
Here's the full breakdown of this month's numbers.
Android version stats, May 2016
Previous data (%)
Current data (%)
So, as you can see, Froyo is still sitting there at 0.1%, mocking us with its obsolescence.
A Marshmallow update for the T-Mobile LG G3 started popping up about a week ago, but only in the LG PC Suite. Now, T-Mobile has made the Marshmallow OTA official. The rollout started yesterday, and should be done in the coming days. Not bad for a phone that's nearly two years old.
Android Wear, and smartwatches at large, were pitched to us with the promise of their becoming the indispensable "second screen" to our smartphones. Notifications, voice communication, smart home integration, highly contextual information and alerts - smartwatches were, in theory, the companion that could give us all the simple things that necessitated taking out our smartphone, but didn't actually require a large screen or access to a keyboard to accomplish.
Android Wear is coming up on its second birthday, and the decreasing number of compelling new Wear apps we see each month that aren't watch faces has actually led to us slowing the regular publication of our "new Wear apps and watch faces" series.
It's the first Monday of May, and that means there are some new factory images and OTAs for the Nexus line. As usual, these new firmware packages include the latest security patches from the preceding month, and possibly some bug fixes and optimizations, as well. While we'll be looking for changes in the AOSP changelog (coming soon), Google has posted the security bulletin to explain the major risks that that have been fixed in this release.
Google took special care to point out that the security bulletin has been renamed (from "Nexus" to "Android") to reflect its relationship to all devices running Android, not just those directly supported by Google.
Say what you will about the latest crop of Android Wear devices, but it would be hard to call any of them "feminine." Even with gold-plated bodies or thin bands, the chunky or boxy nature of the watches mean that they don't easily conform to the current designs of women's conventional watches. (For my money, the most svelte looking Android Wear device right now is the Asus Zenwatch 2.) But Huawei is willing to give it a shot: a few months ago we caught wind of two new variants of the Huawei Watch, the "Jewel" and the "Elegant," and now it appears both of them will soon be available in the US.
Last week, Sony had a nice gift for a large portion of the owners of their relatively recent devices: Marshmallow! That was following up on March updates to their newest releases. Still, a few were left out. The wait should be over soon, if not already, for owners of the Z3 Tablet Compact.
The updates are going to both the LTE-enabled and WiFi-only variants of the tablet, which were released in late 2014. Here's the summary info provided by Sony's web pages for eachvariant:
Android version: Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
Latest available software: 23.5.A.0.570
Release started: 2016-04-26
The version number is common to most or all of the recent Marshmallow releases to the Z2 and Z3 lines.