Shortly after the new Android Runtime made its grand entrance, I ran a pretty exhaustive (and exhausting) series of performance benchmarks that showed ART wasn't really ready to blow us away. At the time, I opted to avoid the topic of battery life because it is so difficult to test accurately and with unbiased, meaningful results. As it turns out, that was dumb. Yup, so many of you have asked, I finally had no choice but to dive in and run a battery of tests on...well, the battery.
Much of Android's development is done out in the open, which is how several Android developers noticed that a recent commit to the Android Open Source Project master tree would break many of your favorite root apps. This is the result of a newly implemented security feature, rather than an active effort to lock things down on Google's part. Nevertheless, it could result in some inconvenience, so developer Chainfire has taken to his Google+ page to detail what will happen if the change is not reverted before the release of a future version of Android.
Earlier this week, Samsung officially started the rollout of the Galaxy Note 3's update to Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Appearing first for those in Poland through KIES, the update matched what had been leaked shortly before the rollout began.
Just a few days later, Samsung has uploaded the official kernel source files to its Open Source Release Center.
Interestingly, the manufacturer told developer Chainfire just yesterday "we only publish open source code of official version," responding to a request for access to the files.
Each month, Google updates Android's platform distribution numbers according to devices that have accessed the Play Store in a seven-day period. January's updated pie chart has just hit, and things seem to be following a fairly predictable pattern.
KitKat, which was positioned at 1.1% last month, has eked out an additional 0.3% to reach 1.4%. Gingerbread, meanwhile, fell from 24.1% to 21.2%, continuing its gradual decline. Jelly Bean (including API levels 16-18) has actually grown to 59.1%, up from 54.5%, as manufacturers work to catch up to Android's latest and greatest.
After a brief (read: 1-day) hiatus, popular ROM management app ROM Manager has returned to the Play Store. It was originally removed for violation of Google Play's Developer Program Policies, specifically the subsection regarding in-app purchases. Koush, the developer of ROM Manager, had long included a PayPal upgrade option inside of the app, a feature which doesn't jive with Google's policy that apps on the Play Store must use the Play Store billing service exclusively for in-app sales.
It's officially official: the Oppo N1 is the first Google-approved CyanogenMod phone. After passing through Google's CTS (compatibility test suite), CDD (compatibility definition document), and CTS Verifier, the phone can legitimately run Google's suite of apps and have access to the Google Play Store. It is an undeniably big milestone for Cyanogen Inc., who hope to release a true "CyanogenMod" phone at some point, with the "highest quality hardware available" through a partnership with an as-yet unannounced firm.
Even casual observers of the Android ecosystem know that piracy is a big issue for developers. But if a report from mobile security company Arxan is to be believed, app piracy and "hacking" is incredibly prevalent, or at least prevalent enough that most of the popular apps are available in a pirated or cracked form. According to the company's "State of Security in the App Economy" report for 2013 (PDF link), the top 100 paid Android apps have been "hacked."
We used "cracked" in the headline because Arxan doesn't mention the purpose behind these hacks, so we're assuming that in most cases they're free, pirated versions of paid apps.
Have issues with the Nexus 5 or Android 4.4 KitKat (we know you do)? Well, Google has iterated its way out of many of those issues while also polishing a few other things, rolling out Android 4.4.2 recently. We had actually been working on What's Really New in Android 4.4.1, but with the update to 4.4.2 close on its heels, we'll be discussing changes from both updates.
The hallmark of the 4.4.1 update, as described by Google, is camera enhancement for the Nexus 5.
Google has really been on a roll this week with exciting news for developers, such as a pair of new game-related libraries and enhancements to Google+ Sign-in. This time around, Chromecast is getting its turn with a brand new User Experience Guide. Coming just 2 days after some new apps were added to the whitelist, this 4000-word document details the recommended design patterns developers should follow while implementing their own Android, iOS, and web applications.