Google Developers is rolling out a huge update to Actions on Google, the backbone through which developers can create those Assistant apps and integrations that are still a little hidden but can be very useful if you interact with your Home or phone a lot through voice. Both developers and users stand to benefit from these changes as there are a lot of improvements that will add up quickly for a better experience.
First, in terms of discovery, the Assistant's Explore tab / "app directory" will see two new sections for "What's new" and "What's trending." Now there's only a list of categories, which makes it impossible to spot popular services or new additions. Read More
Hot on the heels of Samsung and its Oreo beta for the Galaxy S8, for which an update has already been released, Essential has posted an Oreo beta image for owners to flash. Also now present are regular factory images, which were previously unavailable. The only caveat is that you must sideload it via ADB; there's no OTA. Read More
If there's one thing sure to ruin your day, it's a crashing smartphone. Even worse if the bug proves so bad that your phone eventually insists you do a factory reset, losing data in the process. This is exactly the situation that has befallen a number of Nexus and Pixel owners in recent days, and it's all to do with an adaptive icon bug that was discovered by the developer of third-party Facebook wrapper called Swipe. Read More
Google has been publishing its security bulletin for the monthly Android patches for a long time, but starting October 2017 (last month), it created a special bulletin for Nexus and Pixel devices. With the newly released November patch, Google has started populating one new section in the bulletin that details "Functional updates."
Google has recently started using the monthly patches not just for security fixes, but also as an opportunity to fix functional bugs on Nexus and Pixel phones and add really urgent features that could not wait until a full system software update. So it was only a matter of time before the bulletin started mentioning these other non-security changes. Read More
This will be great news for developers who live in Bangladesh and South Africa. Up until now, they couldn't register for a merchant account on Google Play, which meant that they could only publish free apps and games on the Store. But now they can, they finally can. Publishers in Bangladesh will have their currencies set to USD, but those in South Africa will be on the local ZAR.
This is good news for both publishers and users in these countries. Previously, devs had to go through dozens of hoops to trick the system and be able to sell their apps, now they can do so officially and, supposedly, without a lot of hassle. Read More
Back in 2015, Motorola released the Moto X Play, a 5.5" phone with a massive 3,630mAh battery. In the United States, the phone was called the DROID Maxx 2, and was a Verizon exclusive. Over the past month, Android 7.1.1 has slowly been rolling out to the X Play in some regions, with the phone previously running Android 6.0. An update is planned for the Maxx 2, but it hasn't been released yet. Read More
The Pixel Visual Core is Google's first in-house chip, and it was supposed to have been enabled in Android 8.1 Developer Preview 1. However, developers looking to try it out were unable to do so, eventually realizing that Google had neglected to enable it for the public preview. Now, the company has updated its documents to say that Visual Core will be able to be tried out in 8.1 Developer Preview 2. Read More
Technology is all about making things faster and easier, and that's exactly what the newly-announced Fast Pair by Google aims to do. If you have a device running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above, your days of fiddling with Bluetooth settings will soon be over (with some select devices). Read More
These days, a lot of phones come with some form of ambient/always-on displays. Samsung, Motorola, LG, and Google all have phones with a variant of this feature, and it can really come in handy if you just need to check something in a pinch. But while Google has updated its Ambient Display with 8.1 Oreo, it's still missing one crucial feature: battery level. However, you can help push Google to add it by starring this issue in its Issue Tracker. Read More