Did you expect to wake up to a new version of Android this morning? Probably not. But that's exactly what you're getting, and Google's letting the information fly fast and hard (... and in some cases, slightly before we expected) about the latest iteration of their mobile OS, at this time only known as "N." Like previous... previews... N doesn't have a version number or name yet, but it's chock-full of new features for users and developers alike, and the list of those features will grow as we near the final release. Let's break down the key facts.
- Preview images: Android N preview images will be available today for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, General Mobile 4G (Android One), Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C.
Android N is here: have you heard? Of course you have (well, maybe a bit earlier than even we expected), because the internet is freaking littered with Android N news right now. But one piece you may not have broken out amongst all the ruckus was exactly when N is launching for real (read: this summer), as opposed to a developer preview. Well, Hiroshi Lockheimer, head of Android (and Chrome OS / Chromecast) at Google, dropped a little nugget of relevant info today in a post on Medium about Android N. Read More
Android's notification shade is getting a lot more powerful in N, and two new APIs are the key to that: direct replies and bundling. On the surface, both of these things sound fairly unexciting, but in reality, they have the potential to make the notification shade a powerful multitasking tool that reduces the amount of time you spend doing quick tasks and entering apps when you don't actually need to.
First, let's hit the direct reply API. The wonderful ability to reply to messages in Google Messenger or Hangouts directly from the notification bar was, you may be surprised to learn, not a standard Android feature. Read More
The latest factory images for the Nexus family have landed and people are getting their updates. What are they updating to? The changelogs built from developer comments can probably answer that, or at least give some pretty good hints.
Like most of the monthly updates, at least since Google started this practice, March's update focuses on security. Read More
If I were to say that I'm going to flash a new system image to your Nexus phone without attaching a USB cable, you might think I'm a little crazy. Well, I could be a little crazy, but that thing about the cable is definitely coming true in the very near future. Google has added networking support to the fastboot tool. When paired with a phone with a supported bootloader, it will be possible to perform all of the usual fastboot commands wirelessly.
In a recent commit to AOSP, support for the TCP protocol was added to fastboot. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is one of the basic building blocks of communication on the Internet, used for reliable transmission of data from one point to another. Read More
Jide Technology is focused on making Android more desktop-like. The company first kickstarted a Microsoft Surface-like tablet, then followed it with a small puck to turn any display into an Android desktop, the Remix Mini. When Michael reviewed the latter, he found the software interesting, but the hardware lacking. The third aspect of Jide's strategy was to release its Remix OS for free for anyone to install and use. Michael also reviewed it and called it promising while still pointing out its current limitations.
Microsoft makes a lot of apps for multiple platforms. It also makes a lot of tools that are used by other developers to build apps for multiple platforms. It only makes sense then that the company would be interested in buying Xamarin, one of the leading platform providers for mobile app development.
While you may not have heard of Xamarin, its solution counts as one of the invisible threads that play a role in running the Internet nowadays. The platform helps developers use a shared codebase in C# to build, test, and monitor native apps for iOS, Android, and Windows, all with the same IDE, language, and APIs. Read More