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[Freebies And Fighting] Packt Is Kicking Off Android vs. iOS Week With Free Xamarin Cross-Platform Dev eBook And Promises Exclusive Deals To The Winning OS

Remember back in December (and January) when Packt Publishing gave away a couple free ebooks focused on Android development? The one-a-day promotion has been going strong since, but the books haven't exactly been targeted at the OS on our phones. But great news: this whole week is dedicated to mobile development!

The current freebie is all about showing love to both sides of the phone war – it's Xamarin Cross-platform Application Development. But you better hurry over and claim it, this particular book will expire in just over 5 hours. (Sorry, we saw this one a little late).

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While the free book is enough reason to drop by, there's something more interesting afoot in this promotion.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Scoped Directory Access Gives Apps An Easy Way To Ask Users For Access To Common Folders

File storage on Android has been a complicated subject over the years. It started very simply with private folders for each app and a pair of permissions for read and write access to just about everything else. The seeds of change were planted with Honeycomb when Google quietly closed off write access to secondary storage like SD cards, but most people didn't take notice until Google insisted OEMs enforce the same rules in KitKat.

Each year since, new APIs have been introduced to give developers new ways to work with the filesystem or even abstract it out of view while also improving security and maintaining privacy.

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TWRP Is Now Available For The Nextbit Robin

If you were a diligent Android Police reader over the past 24 hours, you must have noticed that somewhere along the deluge of Android N news and coverage, Ryan managed to sneak in his review of the Nextbit Robin. In it, he praised the phone's design, front-facing speakers, and mostly stock Android 6.0 software, but found little usefulness to the Robin's highlight feature: Smart Storage and its cloud backup support for freeing up space on the internal storage.

If you got a Robin and would prefer to flash a custom ROM on it or experiment with different features, there's only one way you can do that and it's by flashing a custom recovery.

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References To "N Preview" In Nexus 5 Code Repository Do Not Suggest The Nexus 5 Will Get Android N

We've received quite a few emails in the last 24 hours excitedly pointing to the following tag in the Nexus 5's repository on the Android project as evidence Google plans to bring Android N to the phone. Specifically, there is a tag in the Nexus 5 repo called "android-n-preview-1" - which many are taking to be a signal that Google is actively developing Android N for the Nexus 5.

Unfortunately, such interpretations are not supported by the existence of this tag. As a result of the tools Google uses as part of building Android, pretty much any device that is currently supported (note that current support does not mean future support) by Google will generate tags for new versions of the operating system regardless of whether or not they'll actually get them.

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Android Studio 2.1 Preview Adds Support For The Android N Preview And Java 8

Yesterday you read about (and maybe understood) the new Java 8 language features coming with the Android N Developer Preview. One of the prerequisites of using these improvements is the latest version of Android Studio. The IDE was briefly mentioned in that article, but we thought it deserved a little more attention for both the improvements and some of the caveats to updating right now.

The Android Studio 2.1 Preview 1 is based on the current 2.0 version in the beta channel. The changelog is basically a roadmap to supporting the new features promised with Android N: support for Java 8, improved support for the Jack compiler, and an updated New Project wizard to generate projects targeting the Android N Preview.

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[Update: Android One Too] The Android Beta Page Is Now Up And Running

It took a couple of hours, but the Android Beta page is finally live. There, you'll be able to sign up for the Android Beta Program and enroll any or all of your eligible devices.

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Partial AOSP Changelog Posted For Android N Developer Preview

Are you tired of Android N already, or are you itching to get even deeper into the preview release? If you're leaning towards the latter, you may want to check out the changelog generated from a fresh code push to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Don't get too excited, this isn't a complete platform release (confirmed by Bill Yi), so it doesn't include things like the changes to the notification shade. Rather, the changes uploaded yesterday are mostly for the GPL projects used in Android, and there are still plenty of interesting bites of knowledge to take away from those, as well.

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PSA: Don't Flash The Android N System Image If You Want To Receive OTA Updates [Update: Google Confirms You Can Get OTAs]

Patience is a virtue, and it's one that Google seems to value greatly. Just a few hours ago, Google released the preview images for Android N with the promise that future updates would come over-the-air through its new Android Beta program, but they forgot to mention that it didn't apply to anyone who manually flashed the images.

Tucked away in the Android Beta page, Google notes that "if you manually flashed Android N on your device by downloading the image from developer.android.com you won't receive OTA updates automatically." I'm sure that everyone who already flashed the update in the last three hours would really have appreciated knowing that before updating to Android N.

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[Update: More Details] Android N Feature Spotlight: Doze Will Now Work Whenever The Screen Is Off, Even When The Device Isn't Stationary

When Google first announced Doze for Android Marshmallow, it was touted as a bid to significantly boost battery life by putting the device into a very low power-consumption mode whenever it was stationary and the screen was turned off. This meant that leaving your phone on a table overnight or even for a full day would only sip away a very small amount of your battery. Unfortunately, since it only kicks in for a fully stationary device, Doze in Marshmallow doesn't get triggered if, say, you leave your phone in your pocket instead of placing it on the table, meaning that you won't see any of those battery savings.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Jack Compiler Gains Support For Many Java 8 Language Features Including Lambdas, Streams, Functional Interfaces, And More

Developers have plenty of great new APIs and features coming with Android N, but perhaps the best thing to look forward to is at the language level itself. Starting with the preview SDK due out today, some of the language features of Java 8 will be supported by the Jack compiler. This will bring things like support for lambdas, default and static methods, streams, and functional interfaces. Google is also declaring that the Jack compiler will also be able to remain more up-to-date with Java language features in the future.

One of the top requests from developers over the last few years has been for a more rapid uptake of new language features for Java, many of which would allow for more efficient use of development time and ultimately easier to read code.

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