Android 7.0 Nougat is now truly official and available to those of us toting around certain Nexus devices. The hardware support will grow soon, and seemingly more quickly than versions in the past. We've already seen much of what 7.0 has to offer, but there's surely much more to discover.
As always, along with the brand new firmware comes some brand new source code. There's entirely too much for one person to look through, so we instead generate a log of the changes from a previous version to make it easier to read. This is how we get some idea of what the developers at Google have been up to while they were behind the curtain.
Microsoft's home-built (or home-bought) smartphone lineup may not be long for this world, but it looks like the development community isn't giving up on it. The Nokia Lumia 520 is an entry-level Windows Phone 8 device, announced back in 2013, and later succeeded by the Lumia 525 and 530.
A few days ago, XDA developer banmeifyouwant posted a video of his in-progress CyanogenMod 13 port to the Lumia 525. The video shows CM13, based on Android 6.0, booting on the device as well as opening and closing apps.
The developer only demonstrated the 525 booting, but he is currently working on kernel tweaks to allow the 520 to boot as well.
One of the reasons the Samsung Gear S2 was quite so interesting was its primary input method. Similar to the Apple Watch's 'crown' button, the bezel around the watch's screen could be used to navigate menus and perform other functions. Even now, it's one of the best input methods I've seen on a smartwatch. But if a research project from the University of St Andrews holds practical promise, similar interactions - really, even more powerful ones - could be implemented on Android Wear, and without any new hardware.
WatchMI is a new technology being developed by computer scientists at St Andrews. The WatchMI software hooks into the smartwatch's accelerometer, gyro, and magnetometer sensors to detect pressure and twisting motions.
Every single operating system developed by Google to date has one thing in common: they're based on the Linux kernel. Chrome OS, Android, Chromecasts, you name it. Linux has powered Google hardware for years.
However, the Linux kernel is not ideal for every situation. Especially in the case of embedded devices like car dashboards or GPS units, full-blown desktop kernels like Linux impact performance and cause other issues. There’s a massive ecosystem of operating systems designed for embedded hardware, and Google may be working on their own.
Enter “Fuchsia.” Google’s own description for it on the project’s GitHub page is simply, “Pink + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System)”.
ZTE has been making some fine devices lately, and one of them is the Axon 7 which just went on sale a couple of weeks ago. The problem ZTE faces with enthusiasts though is the locked bootloader on its phones. This complicates things a lot for custom ROM enthusiasts as well as developers and modders who like to tinker with their devices.
But that situation is about to be resolved now. ZTE has announced that it will unlock the bootloader of the US versions of both the ZTE Axon 7 and Axon Pro, but only if you ask nicely. The requests will be processed on the Z-Community forums, within the Developers Lounge sub-space, and ZTE says it's reserved to "those with a high level of technical expertise and have had experience flashing custom ROMs." It's not clear whether or not it plans to verify that about each person who submits a request, or how exactly that'll be done.
The odds are pretty good that if you're using a still-supported Nexus device, it's probably running August's security update by now. The factory images became available on Monday of last week and OTAs have been intermittently rolling out since then. The push to AOSP took a little longer and finally included a couple of other tags that were behind schedule. All of the changes have been compiled into their respective lists and the changelogs are ready for perusal.
Google's Android Security Bulletin details the potential vulnerabilities addressed by the August updates, but it's not too rare to see other small bug fixes and adjustments hidden among the changes.
Android's Platform Distribution chart has been updated for August, and this month brings little in the way of interesting change. Marshmallow has risen around 1.9 points, to 15.2% of installs, with Lollipop 5.0 and 5.1 actually netting a 0.4 point gain this time around. Last month, total Lollipop installs actually dropped around 0.3 points, meaning this month's increased numbers have actually reversed that change and then some. Given that 5.0 installs didn't actually grow - gains were made solely by v5.1 - it's not exactly clear what happened there. Perhaps a large number of devices have gone straight from KitKat to Android 5.1, though that's an awful strange time for a jump.