Android has gone through quite a few changes during its short 6 years of life. The Android that drives most of the world's smartphones of today would be almost unrecognizable to what was launched in late 2008. We've seen massive visual changes, expansion to almost every conceivable form factor, and a completely fleshed-out content ecosystem for multimedia and apps. As the operating system matured, some elements have successfully grown with it, and others have become dead weight.
People regularly rely on Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to hide their activities from nosy governments, circumvent geographically restricted and region-locked services, and increase security on untrusted Wi-Fi networks. But the big problem with piping your communications through a secure digital tunnel is that it's an all-or-nothing deal – web browsing, IM chats, and email are all going over the wire to the same place. That can become a really serious issue for people that use an employer's VPN for work.
It's been almost exactly 18 months since it was announced at I/O 2013, but Android Studio has finally hit version 1.0. Well, almost. This is a release candidate, so it's pretty close to what will become the first official stable release. For this release, the Android Tools team has been focusing on getting the bugs fixed and improving stability, but there are a couple of notable changes, as well.
Left: old splash screen, Right: new splash screen.
One of the things we all kind of deal with when using a web browser is a total lack of elegant transitions. Most browsers and web pages lack anything in the way of transition animations, and those that do are one-off jobs coded in things like Ajax that can be complex. Otherwise, we're left with white flashes in-between page loads and seemingly random assemblage of elements as they render. Google wants to change that, and they want to do it with something called the Navigation Transitions API.
TWRP support for the Nexus 9 went live just a bit earlier today, and now the Nexus 6 is getting in on the action. TeamWin Recovery Project version 220.127.116.11 is ready for your flashing pleasure, just head over to the TWRP site to get it. Here, again, is the changelog for TWRP 18.104.22.168, which is the build specifically released to better support Android 5.0 Lollipop.
-Pull in all changes from Android 5.0 lollipop into TWRP -Add decrypt support for Android 5.0 lollipop encrypted partitions including automatic decrypt when the default_password is in use -Revert some changes to exFAT that were breaking exFAT support on some devices -Other minor fixes and updates
To install, you simply need to unlock the bootloader and flash the .img recovery file in fastboot.
It's not unusual to see slightly customized builds of Android rolling out to Nexus devices shortly after the release of a new version. It certainly happened a few times with KitKat, and it looks like Lollipop is on track to do the same. As the rush of factory images and OTAs roll out, AOSP is also receiving commits for the new device-specific builds; and Al Sutton was quick to put out changelogs for each version.
We've all seen it happen. A great technology, service, or platform comes out, but without a solid base of users and apps, it fails to gain traction. Google wants to see the Fit API work out, and developers have been called upon to help make that happen. If you know how to write an Android app, and you've got a great idea for something that will get people off the couch and into the gym, you're invited to join the Google Fit Developer Challenge.
Google hasn't had much to say about Android Auto since it previewed the platform back at I/O in June. Now there's some movement as we wait on Android Auto to show up in vehicles. The Google Developers blog has posted an introduction to Android Auto and announced that the final APIs are ready for developers to get to work.
Most of us don't want to think of Android without Google Play services. There's a good reason for that, without all of the tools Google offers, we would miss out on features like push notifications, integrated maps, and even newer things like Google Fit. Developers keep asking for more and Google is answering that call. With the latest release of Google Play services, new features are coming to Fit, Maps, Drive, And Wallet.
Update: It looks like the Tango tablet is available to purchase if you signed up to be on the list to buy one at Google I/O. The rest of you will, presumably, have to wait.
It looks like Google's Project Tango AR / sensor-beast tablet is headed to the Play Store soon, packing an NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor and a boatload of sensors. Not to mention 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, for some reason.