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Editorials

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[Ermahgerd] Verizon Apps Spotted On The Nexus 6's System Partition After The Android 5.1 Update, Rustled Jimmies Ensue

The Internet is in the midst of having a mini hemorrhage over something that, basically, doesn't matter. Shocking, right? It appears that a few people on XDA have noticed that their Nexus 6 had a couple of Verizon-specific APKs installed on the system partition after updating to Android 5.1. There are two issues at play here:

  • First, there are two APKs that are clearly identified as Verizon-specific. One is VZ Backup Assistant and the other is called VZWAPN.
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Yes, Your Brand Can Survive A Material Redesign

Google's material design, which I've written about a number of times, has generally been received well by designers, developers, and press alike. We've seen numerous apps adopt it, developers explain and evangelize it, and users react positively to it.

Still, there have been nagging questions about the new design philosophy. A big one, and one that could potentially be a stumbling block for adoption, is the question of branding. Some voice concerns that material design may overshadow existing brands if implemented to Google's spec, or that it's too difficult to brand a "material design app."

Someone recently asked me what I thought about the relationship between branding opportunities and material design, and while I was able to come up with a short version of the answer, there are a few different things packed into this issue that are worth exploring.

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Don't Trust Case Manufacturers For Device Leaks: HTC One M9 Edition

We are rapidly approaching that fun time of year when the largest Android smartphone manufacturers unveil their newest flagships. That means we're already in the silly season of rumors and leaks. Isn't it interesting to follow all the developments on, say, the HTC One M9? The M7 was great, the M8 was better...it's understandably hard to wait for official information about the 2015 iteration. However, whatever you do, do not look at product images from case manufacturers like Spigen to learn what the next phone will look like.

Remember when famous tipster @evleaks posted these supposed renders of the M9?

nexus2cee_HTCOneM9rendersleak

The supposed M9 is on the left.

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Editorial: The FCC's New "Net Neutrality" Rules Will Change Very Little About Wireless Carriers In America

Today, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled a working set of principles for his proposed plans to regulate ISPs (including mobile ones) under Title II of the 1996 Telecom Act. These providers would be overseen more like a utility, such as landline phones, granting the FCC much broader authority over companies that operate in this space.

Wheeler wants to enact a pretty narrow version of net neutrality under this (proposed) newfound authority, banning "paid prioritization," paid "fast lanes," and arbitrary throttling and blocking not part of reasonable network management. These new provisions are not trivial, and are definitely ensconced in the larger net neutrality "vision" of groups like the EFF and FSF.

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[WTF] Hey, Google And Asus, Where Are The Lollipop Updates For The Cellular Nexus 7s?

It has now been over two months since the Lollipop OTA updates for Nexus devices began rolling out en masse. So far, every Nexus and Google Play Edition device has received the bump to Google's latest sweet treat...except the cellular Nexus 7s. If you own a 2012 3G or 2013 LTE model, you've been left out in the cold, remaining on KitKat unless you want to venture into the world of custom ROMs.

Update delays when you own a Nexus are quite annoying when you consider that bleeding edge versions of Android are the reason most of us buy them in the first place.

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An In-Depth Look At Hearthstone's IAP Model, Or: How To Make A Free-To-Play Game That Doesn't Suck

Here at Android Police, we've made our position on the prevalence of free-to-play mobile games perfectly known, to wit: most of them suck. It often seems like instead of embracing the audience-widening possibilities that the phrase "free game" implies, developers and publishers use it as an excuse to design games around compelling in-app purchases for more and more fleeting rewards. The phenomenon is well-documented, so I won't bore you with the inherently manipulative methods of most F2P games - you can read here and here if you really need a refresher.

nexusae0_2013-02-08-12.46.35

Pictured: not something you want to see in your "free" game.

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The Many Faces Of Google's Hamburger Navigation Drawer

It goes without saying for most Android enthusiasts that the side-navigation drawer is a hot point of contention right now. With the introduction of material design, Google emphasized information hierarchy heavily, giving advice in its design specifications on how to arrange just about everything, including side navigation. According to the specifications (and Googler Roman Nurik), the "correct" behavior for the side drawer is to slide in as a sheet of paper over the entire canvas, including the app bar or toolbar.

The issue with the new navigation drawer paradigm is that it has not been followed consistently by Google. It could be argued that Google implemented a placeholder drawer design in some places because the support libraries were not available, or to maintain fidelity with other drawers on pre-L systems since Android Lollipop is not actually released yet.

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A Brief Look At How Android's Notification Shade Could Learn From Google's Inbox

Google's Inbox implements a really smart management paradigm - specifically, users can swipe in one direction to "snooze" a message (designating a time at which the message will reappear in the inbox), or swipe the other way to mark the message "done," essentially archiving it. Steve Albright, in a post to Google+, recently opined that this paradigm might find a good home among all of Android's notifications, rather than being confined to Inbox messages.

At the suggestion of another Google+ user I follow (Derek Traini), I decided to give the idea some thought, and work up at least a preliminary interface sketch for how something like this would work.

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Google's New Vision For Launcher Icons - Paper, Lighting, And How To Get Your Icon Ready

If you've been paying attention the last several months, you're probably aware that since we posted our early look at Google's revamped launcher icons, users have been yearning for the "materialized" versions of their favorite apps' icons. This new design direction even spurred custom icon packs to replicate the look and feel of the rumored Google goodies. For developers and designers on Android, it's easy to see the attention the new icons are getting and start thinking about redesigning your own app's launcher icon.

The only problem is that Google hasn't updated their launcher icon spec, and launcher icons have nary a mention in the Material Design spec.

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Motorola, Why Must You Torture Me With These Two Clear Shots Of The Perfectly Round Moto 360 Without The Flat Tire Look?

I think everyone knows by now that Motorola had to make a few sacrifices with the Moto 360, one of which I personally still notice every time I wear it - the flat tire look. The small blacked out area on the bottom of the watch contains the ambient sensor and a few other components that didn't fit elsewhere in this design, at least in the amount of time the company had to deliver the first iteration to consumers.

I know some of you will tell me that you stopped noticing it ages ago, and it's not a problem, but to me, it still is - every time I see a watchface that doesn't adjust for the inverted hump, I'm reminded of the shortcoming.

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