Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got several PC and console pilgrims including Hotline Miami, War Thunder, and Always Sometimes Monsters, a new Portal-inspired Zen Pinball table, a mashup of tactic, RPG, and city-building, and standard platformers and puzzlers.
We reported yesterday on Google's announcement that Android M would support deep links that skip the sometimes-annoying app selector prompt. Details were scarce at the time and many were worried that this would shut out third party apps or make it hard to view content with a browser when it might be more appropriate.
If you go to an app from the list within the "apps" section of the system settings, you will see something like the first picture. You can set defaults and decide whether that app should open its own links without asking. If you go to the advanced area instead of selecting an app, you will see the second screenshot.
For many, this one falls into the category of "fixing problems you didn't know you had." If you have a lot of apps installed, though, you probably have already been frustrated by the share menus on previous Android versions. God forbid the app you want falls too low in the alphabet, because you will be scrolling like the dickens to share with it. Android developers clearly recognized that they were really wasting some space, so the Android M version is a lot more efficient.
Left and middle: the old share menu Right: the new one
If you look closely, you'll notice that you can actually see more share options in the compact version of the new menu than you could in the fully expanded view of the old one.
Google recently dropped the price of the Project Tango developer tablet to $512, but there was no new hardware announced at I/O. Qualcomm just can't contain itself any longer, apparently. The chip maker has announced a new piece of Tango hardware is on the way, and it's powered by the Snapdragon 810 [insert overheating joke].
Almost a year ago, Google announced the Gmail API. Today, they're adding push notification support, meaning you no longer have to poll Gmail constantly for new messages if you're a developer or service utilizing that API, which is going to make the 3rd party Gmail app experience much better.
If you want to know about implementation, you can read about it on the Google developers site here, and it sounds like it's going to be a pretty simple switch.
Gmail offers both IMAP and its own native API for use by third-party developers, but only the official Gmail API supports features like threaded replies, drafts, specific permissions, native search, and more.
If you're not getting enough intrigue and treachery from HBO's Game of Thrones series on Sunday nights, TellTale is still pumping out new episodes in its licensed adventure game. Episode 4, Sons of Winter, is now available as a $5 in-app purchase for those who have played through the first three portions of the game. There are six episodes in total, so the first "season" of the adventure game should be wrapping up in two or three more months.
Game of Thrones takes place at the same fictional time as the third season of the television show, so you'll have to remember the various twists and turns of Westeros from a couple of years ago.
Wireless styli have generally been relegated to the Windows and iOS world, but now that more and more connected accessories are using Bluetooth, there are fewer reasons than ever for tools like these not to be universal. With Android "M," Google is introducing native support for Bluetooth styluses. Developers are, of course, getting APIs to interact with these devices, and that's where we're getting our information - the API overview for M.
Pressure sensitivity and accuracy make connected styluses much better than their capacitive cousins, and for the creative types out there, full cross-platform compatibility should end up making the product ecosystem as a whole better.
Google Cast is one of those things that just seems to keep getting better, and with Chromecast sales doing so well, it's no wonder Google is throwing resources at the platform to make it even more robust. While not technically a part of Google I/O, Google did announce yesterday that some very awesome new Cast APIs are coming... right now. As in, they're here - for both iOS and Android.
There are a few major new features, so let's go over them.
The first is second-screen functionality. Casting graphically intensive apps from your device is no longer limited to simple mirroring - the new Cast Remote Display APIs (which are betas, so beware) will allow full-on second-screen functionality when casting something like a video game.
There was a lot of backlash when Google did away with the dual notification/quick settings trays on large screen devices (which happened with Lollipop). Now it looks like the company is taking a slightly different approach with the notification shade on tablets - in the M release it has three different positions (left, center, right) and will drop down closest to wherever you actually swipe.
According to Liam, who installed M on his Nexus 9, this is actually kind of jarring since there's no visual indicator as to where the shade will actually show up. Sure, there are some rough guidelines here, but those are fairly extreme.