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. One of the things reviewers consistently harped on when looking at the Nexus 5 was subpar camera performance.
Left: Android, Middle: iOS, Right: Google Chrome (web)
The guide includes recommended design principles for both the sender and receiver interfaces, where to place buttons, how to start and stop a cast, and what to do during the various states apps might find themselves in during operation.
The presence of Google+ is definitely growing as it continues to become a significant part of how we interact with many of Google's services. Early this year, the social network branched out to become a sign-in solution for virtually any kind of app or website. With an announcement yesterday, Google+ is now set up to accept sign-ins from Google Apps users and accounts without an actual Google+ profile. If that weren't good enough, the permission system has been greatly improved to support "incremental auth," which allows apps and websites to request only vital permissions to begin using them, and then ask for new permissions once the user is logged in.
Today, in a post on the Android Developers Blog, Google announced two new tools that might be of interest to quite a few of the game developers out there. Among the releases is a new open-source 2D physics library called LiquidFun and a Unity plugin for adding Google Play Games support. These releases coincide with the news of additional game categories coming to the Play Store in February, which we covered earlier today.
LiquidFun is a rigid-body physics library that does particularly well with fluid mechanics. It's based on Box2D, a popular open-source 2D physics engine written in C++ that has found its way onto quite a few platforms and spawned a few similar engines over the years.
Just hours ago the source code for Android 4.4.2 went live on AOSP, and now we already have our changelog from Al Sutton. With only four meaningful changes, this is probably the smallest changelog we've ever seen. That's not to say it isn't significant, as it further hides away App Ops and also shores up two fairly serious vulnerabilities.
The security fixes aren't much of a surprise. There is a patch to block the Class-0 "Flash" SMS attack we covered a couple of weeks ago. Instead of stacking each message onto the screen, the new behavior will display the first Class-0 message and queue up subsequent messages until they can be dismissed by the user.
With a new Android release comes another one of Funky Android's crazy-detailed AOSP developer changelogs, this time detailing every commit made between Android 4.4 (build KRT16M) and Android 4.4.1 (build KOT49E).
As usual, it's really long, and for the most part full of fairly cryptic comments you may not understand unless you have a pretty deep familiarity with the Android OS on a technical level. That said, there are always some interesting, readable tidbits people manage to pull from these logs, so if you can make the time, it may be worth perusing through for some unadvertised goodies packed in Android 4.4.1.
First, we heard that KitKat would bring some changes to the API, breaking many of the SMS apps we've come to rely on. On the day KitKat was released, we were given a more full explanation, shining some light on the technical details and exactly what types of apps would be affected. But did anybody really think this was the end of the story? It turns out that a hidden permission exists which can still grant non-default apps the right to modify the SMS database just like they used to - no rooting required.
If you live right on the bleeding edge of the Android modding world, but you just can't press the button on using beta software, you're in luck! Xposed 2.4 is now out of beta just one week after KitKat support was first announced. As with the previous release, this one comes with the new log viewer and some pretty serious performance improvements. Now that it has lost the beta tag, it should also be fairly stable, or at least as stable as you can expect for a super-charged modding framework.
If the beta version of CyanogenMod isn't quite stable on your device and you're uncomfortable with the idea of installing a nightly, today marks a big step forward. The CyanogenMod team has rolled out the first release candidate for 10.2. If you want a relatively clean build of Android 4.3 for your phone or tablet, this is a pretty solid way to go.
The first 10.1 release candidate (with Android 4.2) came out a week before Google unveiled Android 4.3. That turnaround clearly hasn't occurred this time, as KitKat is already nearly a month old, and 10.2 comes with Jelly Bean.
As you're probably well-aware, the only way you're going to get your hands on an easily-unlockable Motorola phone is going the Developer Edition route, as Moto has locked down the bootloaders of all its other handsets. And until now, even if you purchased a developer edition phone that Motorola explicitly advertises as having the benefit of an unlockable bootloader, Motorola would still void your warranty if you requested an unlock code. According to a post by Punit Soni on the official Motorola blog, that's changing as of today.
Requesting an unlock code for a developer edition handset will no longer void that handset's warranty.