One of the biggest challenges to creating good apps for Android Auto has been actually testing the experience. Many independent developers can't afford to purchase brand new cars with Auto built-in, and aftermarket head units won't fit in most recently manufactured cars without heavy modification, and most of those units aren't very good anyway. When the Auto SDK came out, it included simulators that could be used for basic testing of just the messaging and media browser interfaces, but even these weren't good substitutes for the real thing. Today, Google released the Android Auto Desktop Head Unit, a functioning implementation of the Android Auto platform that runs right on a desktop or laptop.
Initially, upon flashing the third developer preview of Android 6.0, we thought our beloved System UI Tuner had gone the way of the dodo. Not so - it's still here, it's just a little less obvious how to get it. If you flashed the latest developer preview and didn't wipe your user data (or received it via OTA), you probably didn't even notice anything changed aside from a little gear icon in your settings shortcut in the quick toggle area, and that little icon is key - press and hold it to activate (or deactivate) the system UI tuner, which will then appear at the bottom of the settings app.
Now that you've heard the new name for Android M, you're probably all excited to hear about how Amazon plans to deliver a customized version of Android Lollipop to its Fire devices later this year. Yeah, around the time regular Android will be making the leap to Marshmallow. The company released a developer preview of Fire OS 5 back in June for the Fire HD 6 and 7. Now it's releasing a version for Fire TV as well.
With Fire OS 5, Fire TV is making the substantial jump up from OS 3. The upcoming version will bring Android 5.1 along with support for Android TV and the v17 leanback library.
The next version number for Android is 6.0! We've confirmed the new version number in the official Android SDK, which was just updated moments ago to add the new platform. As for the name, we know it's Marshmallow, as per the statue which was just unveiled at Google HQ in Mountain View.
It also looks like the third developer preview is here alongside the SDK. Google says preview three will be the final Android 6.0 developer preview.
It has been almost a month since Google Play services 7.8 began rolling out to users, and as of yesterday, it is in wide release to everybody. A previous blog post by Google discussed the big new feature for developers would be the Nearby Messages API, but it turns out there are a couple of other additions worth checking out. In a new post on the Android Developers blog, Google announced a new Mobile Vision API with the ability to detect the presence, orientation, and some details of faces when they are in frame on an active camera.
With the official stable release of Android Studio v1.3 a couple of weeks ago, it's time to begin testing the next string of new features. The first preview release of version 1.4 is now in the Canary channel, and it's sporting some big new features. The Android Tools team has been working on the new theme editor first demonstrated in the I/O session titled What's New in Android Development Tools. There are also new performance monitors for GPU and network activity, a vector asset wizard for turning SVG files into XML vector drawables, and a few new lint checks.
Here is the Google I/O session video cued up to the beginning of the theme editor demo at 36 minutes:
The new theme editor examines the styles in a project and displays visual samples of what controls should look like on a live interface.
Android offers developers a great deal of freedom to experiment with apps and come up with (maybe) the next big thing. Now Google has launched a website where it plans to show off some of the most interesting projects on Android. It's called Android Experiments and there are already 20 apps and demos to check out.
Qualcomm's new Adreno 530 GPU won't be something you'll find in any phone until next year, but nonetheless the newer, better, faster GPU powering the upcoming Snapdragon 820 chipset was detailed (well, lightly detailed) at SIGGRAPH 2015 this week. Qualcomm also confirmed that Snapdragon 820 devices will be available starting in the first half of 2016 - all but ruling out the chip in rumored Nexus devices launching this fall (unless, of course, they're not launching until next year).
While the rest of Snapdragon 820 is still largely under wraps, the new Adreno 530 was described to us in a short presentation, with the major figures to take away being a 40% increase in speed over the Adreno 430, along with a 40% decrease in power consumption under the same workload.