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. Read More
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. Read More
Google is done shrugging off its easter egg in Android M. While the Preview releases show a string of ¯\\_(ツ)_/¯ after tapping the Android version number repeatedly in settings, the official Marshmallow release will have an honest-to-God easter egg. Here is a look at it in the screenshot below. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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.
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. Read More
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.
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. Read More