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Getting To Know Android

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Getting To Know Android: Lollipop Edition

Android 5.0 Lollipop (known previously as just L) was the biggest change to Android since Ice Cream Sandwich. Frankly, I’d rank it as the biggest change to Android ever, for a variety of reasons.

Google has ostensibly searched every corner of Android for opportunities to tweak, improve, or completely reimagine the platform, and Lollipop is the result.

The most noticeable change was undoubtedly the addition of material design, the very first time Google has openly, publicly taken on a cohesive and thoughtful design philosophy, making it - in theory - accessible to everyone, and defining its rules clearly. Material design, which I've written about before, is a huge design shift, which can trace its roots all the way back to Matias Duarte's work on Palm's WebOS.

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Getting To Know Android 4.4 KitKat Edition - Android Gets Cleaner, Brighter, More Useful

Now that the Android 4.4 KitKat fanfare is (finally) settling down, it's time to revisit our Getting To Know Android series, where we bring to light the new and awesome changes in Google's newest mobile OS - exposing the big stuff right along with some interface changes you may not have noticed yet.

There are plenty of new pixels in Android 4.4, changed UI elements, new design patterns, and a slightly more sophisticated language to decode, along with plenty of new features. The newest revision isn't without its faults (we'll get into those in the next Stock Android Isn't Perfect) but we've got plenty to cover.

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Getting To Know Android 4.2.2 - Many Extremely Tiny Changes, And An Android@Home Sighting!

Android 4.2.2 is out, which means it's time for another edition of Getting To Know Android, the series where I impress/frighten everyone with my borderline-mental-disorder powers of observation. Fair warning: These are going to be very minor changes. If Google moved a pixel, you're going to hear about it.

We already covered the big stuff like the ADB whitelist, the new download notification, Quick Settings toggles, and sounds, so we'll skip those for this article.

As usual for GTKA, the old version, 4.2.1, is on the left, and the new version, 4.2.2, is on the right. This edition promises to be pretty screenshot-heavy, so I hope your internet connection is feeling up to it.

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Getting To Know Android 4.2, Part 2: The Revamped Gallery

It's time for another installment of Getting To Know Android, the series where we show you every polished pixel in Google's latest Android update. Today's target is the Gallery, which, in a rare APK Teardown whiff, is not white. I have no idea what was going on with our crazy 4.2 alpha version, but the Gallery is still black, and the icon is still the same. Sorry about that. There is lots of new stuff to talk about, though.

About

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First up is the "App Info" screen. As always, the old version is on the left, and the new version is on the right.

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Getting To Know Android 4.2, Part 1: The Notification Panel, Recent Apps, And Other System-Wide Changes

We're back! A new version of Android is out, and that means a new round of GTKAs. If you somehow haven't heard of GTKA, the recipe is fairly simple: make before and after comparisons whenever there's an Android OS update, and point out all the differences. It's fun, it's interesting, and you just might learn something. Today's target is the system-wide stuff: The Notification Panel, Home Screen, Recent Apps, etc. Let's get to it!

Notification Panel

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Like always, the old thing, Android 4.1.2 in this case, is on the left, and the new thing, Android 4.2, is on the right. Starting at the top, we see the date has been rearranged, and, for some reason, abbreviated.

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Getting To Know The Upcoming Gmail 4.2 - Revamped Attachments, Better Navigation, And More!

If you haven't heard, we've got an unreleased copy of Gmail 4.2. Yesterday we showed you the major new features: pinch zoom and swipe to archive/delete, and today we've made a few more discoveries we thought you'd like to know about.

As usual, the old (well, current) version is on the left and the new, unreleased version is on the right.

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Attachments have been totally revamped. For starters, attachments are now below your message, where they belong, instead of above, like in the current version. Here, in the right image, you can see the message text, but you'd have to scroll down to see it on the left.

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Getting To Know Android 4.1.2 - A Location Settings Revamp, On-Demand 'Bug Reports,' Smoother Button Glows, And More

Hello and Welcome! Android 4.1.2 hit yesterday, and, in record time, we are pumping out a new version of everyone's favorite series. If you want to know about everything new in 4.1.2, you've come to the right place. To be perfectly honest, there isn't much to cover. 4.1.2 is just as minor as its 0.0.1 version bump would suggest. I've gone over all 164 system APKs (old and new) with a fine tooth comb, and this is all I could come up with.

First up, by now you've probably heard of the new, one finger notification expansion trick, and that the launcher has finally learned how to rotate.

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Getting To Know Android 4.1, Part 5: Calendar and Settings

We're back! If you are somehow just joining us, where have you been? This is Getting To Know Android, the series where we milk every little detail out of the latest version of Android and put other change logs to shame.

Expect this version to be heavy on the pictures because, honestly, we're getting down to the bottom of the barrel here. There won't be much left to cover after this. To make up for the sparse commentary, we're getting a two-for-one deal this week: Calendar and Settings!

The usual formatting applies, ICS is on the left, Jelly Bean is on the right.

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Getting To Know Android 4.1, Part 4: Miscellaneous Stuff, The New Default App Picker, And Insight From A Googler!

GTKA is back! For those that don't know, this is the series where we compare the new version of Android to the previous one, in excruciating detail. I'm going to dub this the "Miscellaneous edition," because there is a bunch of new things I want to talk about, but they don't really fit into a nice, organized category. (This doesn't mean I'm running out of things to talk about, not by a long shot.) The usual GTKA style applies, Ice Cream Sandwich is on the left, Jelly Bean is on the right. Let's get to it:

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Has anyone else noticed a general toning down of the Tron design from Honeycomb to ICS to Jelly Bean?

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Getting To Know Android 4.1, Part 3: Project Butter - How It Works And What It Added

Welcome back to GTKA, everyone's favorite investigative series where we learn all about the newest version of Android (with a heavy emphasis on "all"). The previous two episodes, if you didn't catch them, are here and here.

Today we'll be doing something a little different and looking at something near and dear to everyone's hearts: performance. Jelly Bean is crazy fast. Slap it on a Galaxy Nexus and it'll feel like a brand new phone. Scrolling is faster and smoother, and the touch response is hyper-sensitive. In addition to all the smoothness work, there are new transitions all over the place.

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