The rollout for Google Play services v8.1 is complete and now it's time to open the floodgates for developers to begin working with some of the changes. When new versions come out, it's fairly common for Google to hold back a few extra details to be announced after the rollout has completed. This time around, there are improvements for the Maps API, Nearby API, and App Invites. The previously announced Play Games Play Stats API has been added, and Google has advice on properly handling Android 6.0 permissions. There are also a couple of minor breaking changes that have to be dealt with too. Read More
Playing games is fun, but what about making them? The Weekly Humble Bundle can help you do just that for a very reasonable price. In addition to a pile of games (mostly Windows), you can get a license to the popular GameMaker: Studio Pro software with Android export. That would usually cost you $299, but it's only $12 via Humble Bundle. Read More
T-Mobile began rolling out security-centric updates to Nexus devices yesterday. As we already know, there aren't any big changes due out in this release, but Google has pushed the latest code up to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for the world to see. As usual, we've put together a changelog for easy reading.
Updates for T-Mobile devices are built from a dedicated branch in AOSP with custom code to support the Wi-Fi calling feature. As it turns out, the list of changes for this update to LMY48M closely resembles the r6 to r9 update from last month, otherwise known as the update that (mostly) fixed Stagefright. Read More
Building a good, profitable game these days is more challenging than ever. Players are more demanding, business models require more creativity (at least they should), and there are plenty of competitors that are just as desperate to hold the attention of players for as long as possible. Since users are all over the world and generally don't point a camera at themselves while they play, the hardest part is actually figuring out what works and doesn't work for them. Google Play Games is trying to help with that by launching some very informative tools that can help make player behavior a little easier to understand. Read More
Floating apps have become emblematic of Android's unique flexibility and range. No other mobile OS allows non-system apps to directly interact with users and overtake the screen while another app is supposed to be in the foreground. This capability allows for a powerful and customizable user experience, but it can also quickly become a problem if an app is poorly implemented or its developer abuses this privilege for malicious purposes.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow is setting some new rules for drawing on the screen. Starting with Developer Preview 3, apps targeting API 23 (or above) will have to ask users to grant permission for them to draw on top of other apps. Read More
When the developers of Unreal Engine ship an update, they mean business. Version 4.9 was released late yesterday and its changelog is remarkably lengthy. Seriously, it's 36,950 words long and has 74 images, about a third of which are animated. It's basically the War And Peace of changelogs.
There are far too many things in this update to cover here, so game developers might want to check out the changelog in all its monumental glory. However, the list of Android-related items is a little more tenable and might be interesting to those who don't make a living (or hobby) out of building games. Read More
One of the biggest challenges to creating good apps for Android Auto has been actually testing the experience. Many independent developers can't afford to purchase brand new cars with Auto built-in, and aftermarket head units won't fit in most recently manufactured cars without heavy modification, and most of those units aren't very good anyway. When the Auto SDK came out, it included simulators that could be used for basic testing of just the messaging and media browser interfaces, but even these weren't good substitutes for the real thing. Today, Google released the Android Auto Desktop Head Unit, a functioning implementation of the Android Auto platform that runs right on a desktop or laptop. Read More
Now that you've heard the new name for Android M, you're probably all excited to hear about how Amazon plans to deliver a customized version of Android Lollipop to its Fire devices later this year. Yeah, around the time regular Android will be making the leap to Marshmallow. The company released a developer preview of Fire OS 5 back in June for the Fire HD 6 and 7. Now it's releasing a version for Fire TV as well.
With Fire OS 5, Fire TV is making the substantial jump up from OS 3. The upcoming version will bring Android 5.1 along with support for Android TV and the v17 leanback library. Read More