With last month's release of the Android N Preview, the Tools team launched a preview release of Android Studio 2.1. Not only did the new version add support for the N Preview SDK, but it also brought a few important important and welcomed additions, including adoption and support for many of the language features in Java 8, a semi-official switch to the Jack compiler, an updated New Project wizard, and further improvements to the new and faster Android Emulator. As of today, Android Studio 2.1 has been promoted to Stable and is available to all developers.
The biggest advantage of updating and switching to the Jack compiler, aside from playing with new Android N APIs like Launcher Shortcuts, is probably the addition of Lambda Expressions.
Google's introduction of Android N promises many great enhancements to the operating system, but we can't overlook some of the important awesome changes to the tools we use. The latest iteration of ADB brings some new features and significant performance improvements. Googler Elliott Hughes took to Google+ with details about the update, letting us know what we can look forward to from moving to the latest preview release of adb.
The first Developer Preview of Android N was a pretty big hit with a boatload of new features for both users and developers. Unlike last year, Google didn't ship the second preview with just a series of bug fixes–there are already new APIs for developers. One such addition is called Launcher Shortcuts and it promises to bring a new interaction model to the homescreen. The simple icons we've always known will soon be able to expose easily glanceable information, quick actions, and clever shortcuts into various parts of an app.
Launcher Shortcuts have a lot in common with the regular shortcuts supported by Android since the beginning.
Google has just published the official schedule for I/O 2016 - you can see it right here. This year's I/O is at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, near Google's own headquarters. Day one kicks off with a 10AM keynote that will go a full two hours (!), but there are lots of other interesting sessions, here are a few.
6 Degree of Freedom Gaming in Android with Project Tango
What's new in Android (our favorite)
Introducing Project Tango Area Learning
Android battery and memory optimizations (new battery optimizations in N, supposedly)
Android Auto for everyone
What's New with Project Tango
VR & Cinema
Google's Vision for VR
Android high-performance audio
Seven sessions feature "VR" as one of the tags, so I would not be surprised if more VR-related sessions (and hopefully, news) are added as we get close to the conference.
If you're into rooting these days, there's a good chance you've at least tried out FlashFire by well-known SuperSU developer Chainfire. It's one of the friendliest tools to use for flashing firmware images and mods, and it can even install official OTAs while keeping root intact. Today, Chainfire is releasing a new version of FlashFire with a pair of new features that will make it even more powerful: it can now create fastboot-flashable backups and there's a new option to preserve the existing recovery after installing OTAs and ZIPs.
FlashFire has long had the ability to create backups, but they could only be restored through a custom recovery or from FlashFire itself.
We often talk about CyanogenMod Nightlies here on Android Police, but unless you like living on the bleeding edge of custom ROMs or you're just running them on a secondary device, you'll likely think twice before flashing them on your phone. CyanogenMod Snapshots, on the other hand, are released intermittently and are more reliable versions of the ROM, sitting somewhere between "nightlies" and "stable" builds.
The first CyanogenMod 13.0 snapshot builds started rolling out about a month ago, and now a second snapshot is being pushed for plenty of devices. This one should be more stable and, depending on your device, might have a couple more features than the first snapshot.
The second round of N Preview factory images and OTAs are out and most people are updated. The team at Android Police HQ is still digging around to find all of the new additions, but in the meantime, there are a number of changes buried right in the source code. Google posted some of the source code for 'N' to the Android Open Source Project, and we've built a changelog from that commit history.
During the preview stage of a new OS version, Google usually limits the code it releases to just GPL-licensed projects. Unfortunately, that excludes most of the parts of Android where the big new features and UI changes would have happened, but don't count out those changes as boring, they can still contain quite a few interesting details if you look a bit closer.
Over the past week, CyanogenMod 13 nightlies have been released for several Android phones and tablets, breathing new life into what can be now considered old hardware. Most of the devices had CM12.1 prior, meaning that the jump they're witnessing is just from Lollipop 5.1 to Marshmallow 6.0, but the Verizon Galaxy S5 never had CM12, it was on CM 11 (KitKat) prior to this update. That must feel like a quantum leap.
Alright, now to the meat of the matter. The devices with new CM13 nightlies are:
Motorola Moto Maxx "quark"
Samsung Galaxy S4 (T-Mobile) "jfltetmo"
Samsung Galaxy S5 (Verizon) "kltevzw"
Galaxy Note 8 (GSM) "n5100"
Galaxy Note 8 (Wi-Fi) "n5110."
These being nightlies, expect bugs and instability so you may be better off flashing them on devices that aren't your daily drivers.
Android One devices usually get updates pretty quickly — that's the whole premise of their existence after all. But if you're the kind of person who isn't fully convinced by the speed of OTA rollouts to your phone or even the stock flavor of Android that your device shipped with, you might want to tinker with custom ROMs or flash mods or try weird things with your phone. The safest way to do that is through a reliable custom recovery that also lets you back up your current ROM or setup and restore it should things go wrong.
TWRP is one of the most popular and reliable recoveries for Android, and it just became available for the second generation of Android One devices, whether they have a Qualcomm or a Mediatek chipset. This means that it's compatible with the MediaTek-running Lava Pixel V1, Infinix Hot 2 X510, Bq Aquaris A4.5, as well as the Snapdragon-boasting Cherry Mobile One G1, General Mobile 4G, General Mobile 5 Plus, and i-mobile IQ II.
The factory images are up–some of them–so it's time to take a peek under the covers to discover any changes made to the Android Open Source Project for April's security updates. To make this a bit easier, we've generated changelogs based on the commit history that was just posted to AOSP last night.
As you might expect, the majority of the changes are going to be related to the issues set forth in the April Security Bulletin. A few others appear to be relatively small bug fixes, but nothing jumps out at me as a change that will directly affect user experience or any particularly noticeable bugs.